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Gregory A. Johnson: Christ follower, pastor, and author 
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
God has lifted Jesus up to be the King of kings and has exalted Him to the holy hill of Zion!  Jesus came to earth as the sacrificial Lamb to be offered as a sacrifice for the sins of this world so that whoever believes in Him can be saved from the wrath of God and be given eternal life.  Coming into our world, humbling Himself to serve instead of rule, obeying the Heavenly Father in all aspects of His mission, resulted in the Father re-glorifying Him and placing Him back in His original state of glory.

Psalm 2 records God’s response to those in the world who rage and plot in vain against Him:  “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill (Psalms 2:4-6 ESV).”

Notice Jesus’ response:  “I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel"  (Psalms 2:7-9 ESV).”

As the result of His obedience to the Father, Jesus inherits the nations, and the earth will be His possession.   In the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), Satan promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would just worship him.  Jesus’ response to him was, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10 ESV).”

Offering Jesus the kingdoms of this world was not an idle offer made by Satan.  The world that we live in is truly Satan’s kingdom.  But for the Christ follower, God’s kingdom is currently in them and will be consummated upon Jesus’ return as He rules in total justice and righteousness.  God has made the nations Jesus’ inheritance and the ends of the earth His possession!  Satan’s offer to Jesus was temporary.  God’s offer was eternal.  Jesus declined the temporal for the eternal.

What will you do?  Satan constantly offers us temporary gratification in return to our disobedience to God and His Word.  God offers us eternal life.  Follow Jesus and chose the eternal over the temporal!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 02:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 30 June 2011
The good news of God calls all people, regardless of race, to obedience that comes by faith.  Concerning Jesus, Paul says, ”through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:5-7 ESV) “

Sad to say today, people discriminate.  You find discrimination all around you.  It’s in the work place.  It’s in school.  It’s even in churches and denominations.  A big issue right now in America is immigration.  You may have very strong feelings on immigration.  Let me share a perspective with you that you may not have thought about.  America was founded as a Christian nation or a “good news of God” nation.    God has made it possible for people of all races to come to America to have opportunity to hear about God’s good news and to see it lived out by example.  They think they are coming for a better life.  God is bringing them and placing them next to you in the work place, in the school house, in the market place and in your neighborhood so that you can share the good news of God with them through your actions and through your words. 

May we never close down a door of opportunity that God has given us.  May we constantly be reminded by the Holy Spirit that there will be those from all nations around the throne of God, worshipping Him for all eternity.  It’s a dream that Martin Luther King had that has now become a reality to him around God’s throne.  Let’s pray and live as Jesus taught:  “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

I have a dream for Loving God Fellowship.  In that dream, I see people from all nations sitting together and worshipping God together in cities across America and around the world.  Not a racially segmented fellowship of people that love God and others, but a united fellowship of people that love God and people regardless of race.  You can help make that dream become reality in your city and where you live.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 16 June 2011
Beloved, as we follow Christ, His goodness will overwhelm our being, flowing outward to all those around us because of who He is and what He has imparted within us, allowing us to become more and more like Him, and allowing others to be touched by His good works.

"Goodness is a process of becoming, not of being. What we do over and over again is what we become in the end."  - Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun, author, and lecturer.
Let His goodness overwhelm you today.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 03 June 2011
Beloved, may we continually give of our lives in ways allowing those who witness the consumption pointed to the One we serve and follow.

I am your message, Lord. Throw me like a blazing torch into the night, that all may see and understand what it means to be a disciple. - St. Maria Skobtsova, Orthodox nun and martyr (1891-1945)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 03:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 26 May 2011
The hunger for God can only be satisfied by a love that is face to face, person to person. It is only in the eyes of another that we can find the Icon of Christ. We must make the other person aware we love him. If we do, he will know that God loves him. He will never hunger again.

- Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Catholic social activist and founder of Madonna House (1896-1985)

Beloved, satisfy your and others hunger for God today.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
The Bible was written by people inspired by God.

The words written are for our instruction.

God's Word is our GPS for life, and if followed, will get us to heaven.

Those who obey the words, receive God.

Those who do not obey the words, reject God.

Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit. -- 1 Thessalonians 4:8 tniv

Beloved, it's important to get direction from this God given GPS on a daily basis.

Read the Word.

Study the Word.

Hide it in your heart.

Obey it.

Don't take the wrong turn on your journey from earth to glory.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:20 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

 -- 1 Peter 4:9-10 nlt

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:14 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. -- Romans 12:6-8 tniv

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 06 April 2011

How did Jesus walk?

What did He say?

What did He do?

Where did He do it?

Where did He go?

How did He pray?

When did He pray?

Where did He pray?

Why did He pray?

Was He baptized?

Where did He minister to people’s needs?

Who did He hang out with?

What did He seek?

What did He say to the religionists of His day?

What moved Him with compassion?

What commandments did He say were the greatest?

Did He invite people to church (the synagogue in His day) or to participate in His Kingdom?

Did He ask people to be a member of a church?

Did He consider the church building the place to come to receive ministry?

Did He spend all of his time in church activity?

Did He set up camp in a building, and wait for needy people to come to Him on a certain day of the week, between certain hours?

Did He plan super events that would attract crowds?

Did He speak in King James?

Did He make people comfortable?

What did He say about heaven?

What did He say about hell?

What did He teach about the Kingdom?

When did He say the Kingdom would be available?

How did He say one could come into the Kingdom?

Did He ever have a person walk an aisle?

Did He ever have a person say a prayer after Him?

Did He ever ask anyone to ask Him into their heart?

Did He ever tell anyone, “you are saved.”

Did He expect His followers to keep on sinning?

Did He condemn?

Did He judge?

Did He stereotype?

Did He discriminate?

Was He pro or anti government?

Was He a member of a political party or persuasion?

Did He pay taxes?

Did He complain about paying taxes?

Did He promote helping the poor and needy with His words and actions?

Was He radical?

Did He love?

Did He forgive?

Did He extend mercy?

Did He extend grace?

Did He suffer for the sake of others?

These are questions that can be answered and should be investigated by every person.

The answers are found in four books of the Bible; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

One last question - what would happen in communities if every person who attends church, either occasionally or regularly, would read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over again?

Over and over again.

Over and over again.

And did not confuse point of need ministry with church activity?

And each one walked as Jesus did in their community?

What would happen?

God’s Word says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”   1 John 2:6

I think things in our communities would be a lot different.

Don't you?

Know that you are loved,

gaj

Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Lord, let the thick skin that covers me not be a hindrance to you. Pass through it. My eyes, my hands, my mouth are yours. This sad lady in front of me: here is my mouth for you to smile at her ... This smug young man, so dull, so hard: here is my heart, that you may love him, more strongly than he has ever been loved before.

- Madeleine Delbrjl, Missionary and activist (1904-1964)

Pass through my thick skin Lord, and touch others with your grace, peace and love.

That is my prayer today.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:39 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 17 March 2011
If so, are you?

If not, He will.

When He does, will you?

And he [Jesus] said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 10 March 2011
We all have done things in the past that we would do differently in the present.

We were not perfect in the past, nor are we in the present.

As we follow Christ, there are improvements along the way, until one day, when our journey here is completed, we achieve that which we have long awaited.

The struggle is over.

The battle is won.

What a glorious day that will be.

In the meantime, we follow Him.

John Ortberg says, "God sees with utter clarity who we are. He is undeceived as to our warts and wickedness. But when God looks at us that is not all He sees. He also sees who we are intended to be, who we will one day become."

So Beloved, lift up your head today.

Be encouraged!

Your redemption is nearer today than yesterday.

The best is yet to come!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:41 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 03 March 2011
My wife, Becky, is a pro at saving money on food and necessity purchases.

She amazes me.

She watches store ads, collects coupons from the newspaper and files them.

When the stores nearby have an item on sale in which she has a coupon, she goes into action.

Some stores double the coupon and she gets the item free.

Now, that's redemption!

Jesus came into our world and experienced the difficulties of our life.

He was homeless, having nowhere to lay His head at night.

He was rejected, despised, and ridiculed.

He suffered and was crucified.

He willingly gave His life so that we can have life with the Father now and for all eternity.

Now, that's real redemption!

He is the foundation of each of His followers.

He is the Rock, and those anchored to Him will not be moved, even in the fiercest of storms that life can bring.

He finds pleasure in each of His followers as they allow Him to shape their words and thoughts.

He is the Rock and the Redeemer!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. -- Psalm 19:14

Please Him beloved.

Please Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 28 February 2011
Who makes up the nation of God?

Every Christ follower, regardless of where they live.

They have denied self, taken up the cross and are following Him.

Being a part of God's nation is what makes them blessed, and not their race, health, gender or economic status.

They are God's inheritance.

Be blessed today as you follow Christ. 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12, New International Version

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 01 February 2011
Today, I’m finishing my first half century hoping the second half goes a lot slower, while still allowing me to contribute. 

I’m thankful for God, family, and friends who love me in spite of all my imperfections. 

I’m still realizing, day by day, how truly amazing God’s grace is.

I’m sure that I have hurt many, as sometimes my youthful ambitions and shortage of wisdom blinded me from seeing clearly, that it is all about people and nothing else. 

I can only hope that I have helped some. 

For the remainder of this marathon called life, I desire to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus who will lead me to the finish line, where the celebration of life, and the race that is run, truly begins.

Until that day, I will continue to run the race to receive the prize, receiving the needed endurance along the way from Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:19 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 21 January 2011
What is the best way for others to know that we are Christian?

Is it by our words?

Is it by our actions?

Or, could it be by both our words and our actions?
The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief. -- T. S. Eliot
Genuine faith will always produce action, no matter what the cost.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, 09 January 2011
Many years ago as a child in church camp, I was taught a song that I have never forgotten.  It goes like this:

Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had father Abraham
I am one
So are you
So let's just praise the Lord!

Many think today that God only blesses one nation.

In my country, America, you always hear people say "God Bless America."

Some believe that Jesus is returning for one physical nation.

Some believe that Jesus is returning for a physical piece of land in the middle east.

Check out what God promised Abraham:

Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. (Genesis 17:4-5 ESV)

According to the Bible, God is for all nations. 

God's heart is that none should parish, but that all have everlasting life through His son, Jesus Christ.

Color of skin does not matter to God.

Language does not matter to God.

Gender does not matter to God.

Economic status does not matter to God.

Physical location does not matter to God.

Jesus is not returning for one physical nation.

Jesus is not returning for a piece of land in the middle east.

Jesus is returning for His faithful followers who have denied self and taken up the cross.

Jesus' return is the consummation of His Kingdom here on earth that is already within His followers and He is ruling over it.

His Kingdom is full of love, grace and peace with race, gender, economic, and health equality for all.

His kingdom already consists of people from all nations.

So I say "Let's just praise the Lord!"

And I conclude by saying "God Bless the World!"

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:01 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Life is full of much uncertainty with no one knowing what today or tomorrow may bring.  Some say to live life to it's fullest with total disregard of following any path that is void of your own will.  Although temporary satisfaction may be the result of such a lifestyle, the end result may lead to a destiny that is far less than desirable for the self absorbed individual.

What about the one who trusts God and submits to the will of God?  Does that bring a certainty in life? Does one find satisfaction in the will of God?  A life of losing one's will for God's will does not provide certainty for day to day living nor does it always provide a temporary satisfaction, but the end result leads to a satisfaction and destiny that is far above anything we could obtain, achieve or imagine by following our own will.

Losing our will for God's will often leads us into uncertainty and if we are not careful it will lead us into a fear that will cause us to not reach the full potential of what God has for us to do.  Fear is not of God, and when it begins to show it's frightful head, we are in risk of missing the life that God is leading us into and we will miss it if we allow the fear of uncertainty to overcome us.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was hand picked by God to bring Jesus into our world.  Her submission to God's will for her life would bring much uncertainty, ridicule, and even pain to her.  When the revelation of God's will came to her, fear came with it.  The revelation was from God; the fear was not.  In the midst of oncoming fear, God gave her the reassurance she needed through His Word.  We can always count on Gods Word for the reassurance needed on our journey.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:30-33 ESV)

Through Mary, the Savior of the world was born and the kingdom of God was established on earth through Him.  His kingdom now is within Christ followers and Jesus is ruling over it.  As each Christ follower loses their will for the will of Christ, they will follow Him in total abandonment and Jesus' kingdom will be enlarged on earth as faithful followers stay busy continuing His point of need ministry until He returns with the consummation of His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

I encourage you today to move forward in total abandonment to Jesus and His will for your life.  Take it a step at a time and always remember to keep your eyes fixed on Him.  He will take you on a wonderful journey and His kingdom will be enlarged in you and through you.  You will be satisfied!

Know that you are loved,
gaj

You can get your copy of my book The Characters of Christmas on Amazon.  Please be one of the first to read it and post a review for it on Amazon.

Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 12:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 02 November 2010
Christ followers can meet together for the purpose of encouraging each other:

at work

at school

at a backyard barbecue

in a neighborhood

in a home

in a church building

in a theater

in a school

in a business

on Facebook

on Twitter

on Internet church

...the list goes on and on.

The focus is not on where and how.  The focus is on meeting together as Christ followers for the purpose of encouragement.

How frequent?  Often.

How do we know this?

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:25, NLT

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 15 October 2010
Many in our day are falling for a different gospel.  We need to be careful to line up every thing that we see and hear in church and every thing that we read from Christian authors with the teachings and actions of Christ.  If it doesn't line up, it is a different gospel and we, as Christ followers, are to stay clear.

The apostle Paul sums it up best:

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Beloved, be careful.  Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over again to be familiar with the teachings and actions of Christ.  Don't accept anything less or anything other no matter who is teaching, preaching, writing or doing it.  Be careful.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, 11 October 2010
Beloved, please give me the freedom of asking you some questions.  What are you doing with your life today?  Are you denying self daily?  Are you following Christ daily?  Is your life a reflection of His life?  Are you a part of the kingdom of God that has been established in Jesus that He is currently ruling over?  Have you been baptized into His body by the Holy Spirit (referred to as regeneration or born again)? 

Please do not confuse church membership or walking an aisle and repeating a prayer after a minister as a replacement for any of these.  These acts of the modern church are not found in Scripture.  Following Jesus and continuing His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit is found in Scripture and is the fruit of those who have been birthed into His Kingdom through the Holy Spirit.

Follow Jesus today Beloved.  Follow Him.  He will take you on a wonderful journey from earth to glory and many people will be touched along the way as you reveal His kingdom to them through following Him.  You will befriend people along the way that you never imagined as you see them through His eyes instead of through the eyes of society.  Many will sense His love through you and desire to be a citizen of His Kingdom.  That is how His Kingdom grows.  We are given opportunity to not only participate in His Kingdom now, but also to help it expand.  What a wonderful opportunity.  Do not pass it up.  And never go back.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Jesus said “For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14 ESV).” Through my years of ministry, study of Scripture and my personal experience with our Lord,  I am convinced that the difference between the “called” and the “chosen” is obedience. 

Many hear the call of Jesus to follow Him, but few are willing to deny self and follow Jesus.  They count the cost and it is too costly.  Levi counted the cost that day and he made the right choice.  Levi, like the fishermen earlier, decided to give up everything to follow Jesus.  But for Levi, there would be no turning back.  Levi, also named Matthew (Matthew 9:9), would later give us the Gospel of Matthew as another God inspired writing of the life and teachings of Jesus.

Many in our day confuse going to a church building and attending a service as following Christ and serving Him.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with attending church, but I fear we have missed the whole meaning of following Christ and I have dedicated the rest of my life to help people around the world understand what following Christ means so that they can count the cost and make the right decision as Levi did.  There are so many in our day who have fell for a different gospel that is not based on the life and teachings of Christ.  We must get back to following Christ and His teachings.  It’s an imperative from Him that we must obey to be among the “chosen.”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 09 October 2010
Levi’s tax booth is located at the Sea of Galilee so that taxes (a small business tax) could be imposed on all of the fish that the fishermen where catching for their livelihood (Mark 2:13-14).  Jesus, just days earlier had called four fishermen at the same location to follow Him and He would make them become “fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-20).  Now Jesus takes these four individuals, Simon, Andrew, James and John, back to the same booth where they were extorted taxes from throughout their careers as fisherman and He shows them that He not only came to befriend the fishermen, but He also came to befriend the tax collector. 

What a lesson for these new followers to learn about Jesus and His Kingdom.  It was a lesson revealing equality for all which is an attribute of His kingdom.  To answer the call of Jesus to follow Him meant that people would have to leave their professions and livelihoods.  It was a tough decision to make on very little information.  The fishermen Jesus had called earlier had an easier decision than Levi though, because if things didn’t work out with Jesus, they could always go back to fishing.  But if Levi left his very lucrative government profession, he could never go back.

Beloved, please know that it is all about choices that we make.  Today, as in Jesus’ day, He is still calling people to follow Him, but we must choose.  God will never make the choice for us.  He loves us so much that He desires to spend eternity with us, but He will not choose if we follow Jesus or not.  If He did, He would override our human will and in doing so would not be a just God.  But, God is just, so He calls us and allows us to choose if we will deny self and follow Jesus, making Him our Lord and our Savior.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 08 October 2010
It doesn't matter what we have done or what we have become, The imperative to follow Jesus remains.
He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
(Mark 2:13-14 ESV)
Levi was a tax collector who, like others, had heard about Jesus and the Kingdom He was revealing through His words and actions.  Levi didn’t go to the synagogue and hear Jesus there on the Sabbath, nor did he attend the meeting in the home that Jesus had just left where He preached, forgave sins and brought health equality to a paralytic (Mark 2:1-12).  So on this particular day, Jesus went to where Levi worked. 

Jesus went to Levi’s place of unjust business practices, but He not go there to condemn Levi, debate with him or to ridicule him.  Instead, Jesus went there to befriend Levi the tax collector, the one who the religionists of Jesus’ day considered worse than a sinner.  Jesus went to befriend Levi, the publican; the Jew who collected unjust taxes for the roman authorities.  The Jewish people classified tax collectors with the murderers and robbers. 

Jesus wanted to befriend this man that was wealthy and despised so He went beyond the walls of a religious institution and the confines of a service to go to the tax booth.  Along the way He taught the crowds who followed Him more about His Kingdom which was being established through Him.

Notice what Jesus does not do when He arrives at the tax booth.  He does not tell Levi that He needs to be “saved.”  He does not invite Levi to a building, service, program or event.  He does not have Levi repeat the “sinners” prayer.  When Jesus arrives at Levi’s workplace, all that He says is “follow me.”

That's all Jesus asks today.  It doesn't matter what we have done or what we have become, Jesus still requests that we follow Him.  He will make us in to what He desires us to be as we deny self and follow Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 07 October 2010
There are big debates today over taxes.  There are those who favor cutting taxes for the wealthy so that money can trickle down.  There are those who favor cutting taxes for the middle class and raising taxes for the wealthy so that money can trickle up.  There are those who favor a flat tax.  There are those for big government and more taxes.  There are those for small government and fewer taxes.  Whatever your opinion is, we all must admit that concerning taxes, we are far better off than it was in Jesus’ day.

In Jesus’ day, Palestine was under Roman oppression and the tax system was unjust and very corrupt taking advantage of the poor so that the wealthy empire of Rome with its powerful war machine could operate and its rulers live a luxurious life.  Now some would say that it is the same in our day, but stay with me for a minute. 

In Jesus’ day, the emperor of Rome would decide how much it would take to not only run his government and big war machine, but also how much he would need to live a luxurious life.  He would charge the governors of the providences under roman occupation and oppression to collect a tax that would support what was needed for Rome.  The governor of the providence would then decide how much he needed to live a luxurious life and would increase the percentage of taxes to be collected for his cut before passing the rest to Rome.  The governor hired tax collectors from the people who were oppressed and allowed them to raise the tax percentage collected however much they wanted to take their cut of the tax pie. 

Needless to say, tax collectors were very wealthy and very much disliked.  Jesus called Levi out of tax collecting and into following Him.

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
(Mark 2:13-14 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 06 October 2010
In the second chapter of Mark, Jesus continues to show His followers that ministry goes beyond the walls of a religious institution and the confines of a service.  Jesus goes from preaching the Word, forgiving sins and bringing health equality to a paralytic in a home (Mark 2:1-12) to teaching beside the sea and going to befriend a tax collector.

He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
(Mark 2:13-14 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Beloved, in the world there is sin, sickness, disease and disability.  As Christ followers, we have citizenship in God’s Kingdom that Christ is ruling over. 

Our citizenship is not of this world and we are to utilize our remaining days on earth putting our faith in action so that those in need can have opportunity to experience Jesus’ forgiveness of sins while seeing the Kingdom in action and desiring to be a part of it.  In God’s Kingdom there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 26 September 2010
We need to see that Jesus recognized the most important need that this man had – the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:6-12).  I’m sure that those sitting there thought that being able to walk was his greatest need, but Jesus looked beyond the obvious.  The result of faith was forgiveness of sins for this man.

Beloved, as we put our faith in action within our cities and communities, Jesus will do the rest.  As we minister at the point of need, people will sense the love of Christ as our motivation and many will come to Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins.  We will reach more people for Christ this way than by telling them that they are going to hell as sinners.  If you go to the marginalized in your city and tell them that they are going to hell unless they come to Jesus, they will not understand because they are already living in hell.  But, if churches meet the needs of the marginalized in their city, people will experience the kingdom of God in action and want to be a part of it. 

I thank God for the Christ following churches who are bringing people out of the hellish conditions in their city and introducing them to the love, grace, peace and freedom of God’s Kingdom through point of need ministry.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 25 September 2010
The religionists who got there early for the best seats in the house (Mark 2:6-12) did not take kindly to Jesus forgiving this man’s sin, but I don’t want to focus entirely on the behavior of these religionists and miss the message proclaimed through Jesus’ actions.  The first thing we need to notice is that Jesus was moved by the faith of the paralytic and friends.  It took faith for the paralytic to allow these friends to take him to Jesus and his friend’s faith is obvious as they used their expendable time to minister to their friend and take him to where his needs could be met.

Beloved, faith without action is dead faith and nothing will come of it.  Putting our faith in action will yield abundant results as we utilize our expendable time helping people and getting their needs met.  What would happen in our cities if everyone who attended church on Sundays would put their faith in action during the week utilizing their expendable time to help others?  It may be as simple as taking an elderly person to the doctor, coaching a little league team, providing a meal for a shut in or volunteering at a homeless shelter, hospital, nursing home, prison or jail. 

It seems that in our day, churches pride their self on getting parishioners to volunteer their expendable time within the walls of the church building in programs and events designed to bring people to the building.  I think we have missed something vital in this strategy and people in our cities are suffering as a result.  If we put our faith in action throughout the week, Jesus will do the rest and the needs of people will be met in our cities.

Let's always put our faith into action and see Jesus do wonderful things outside the walls of a church building and beyond the confines of a service.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 24 September 2010
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--he said to the paralytic-- "I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
(Mark 2:6-12 ESV)

Jesus’ message of the Kingdom and demonstration of it was attracting large crowds of people, including the religionists of His day.  We can’t help but notice that the religionists had seats in the crowded house and did not give them up for those who were in obvious need, such as this paralytic.  Could this mimic our houses of worship today?  Are the needy being taken care of or are they being crowded out? 

May we in our day take note that Jesus treated all people equal. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 16 September 2010
In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is ministering in Capernaum and He ministers at the synagogue, in Simon and Andrew’s home, and in the streets prior to taking His preaching ministry to the cities of the province of Galilee.  The second chapter begins with Jesus returning to Capernaum and beginning where He left off there – preaching.    

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
(Mark 2:1-5 ESV)

As chapter two begins, Jesus is back in Capernaum.  The “home” that He is preaching in is more than likely again the house of Simon and Andrew.  Much to the dislike of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and our day, Jesus shows by example that preaching and ministry is to go beyond the walls of a religious institution and the confines of a religious service.  He does not ignore the synagogue and its service, but He also is not bound to its functions or its leadership.  He was preaching in a house that was packed full of people all the way backing out the door.

More to come tomorrow...  Your comments are encouraged!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Jesus Christ is a peacemaker.  So, if we want to be God's children and Christ's disciples, we must be peacemakers too.

      -- John R. W. Stott
Beloved, always remember that we are called to follow Christ and not just to profess Christianity. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 07 September 2010
The church in Florida that is hosting a "burn the Quran day" on 9/11 may be Christian, but it is of my opinion that they are not following Christ. Christ taught His followers to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and to love our neighbor as we do our self (Matthew 22:37-40). Christ, from the cross, prayed for those who had violently nailed Him there and asked the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:32-34).

It would be naive for me not to think that there will be some who read what I just stated and say that I am being judgmental, but I am not judging this church and it's leadership. I am simply inspecting their fruit as Christ encouraged His followers to do (Matthew 7:15-23, John 15:1-6). So, is this good fruit of a church or is this bad fruit?

Quran burning will not portray the love of Christ to the world and is not how citizens of the Kingdom of God are to respond. It is acts such as these that fuel the hate of America in other parts of the world which lead to extremist activity spreading death and destruction. Acts such as these also stereotype the Christian church and makes it harder for the numerous Christ following churches to make a difference in their community through displaying the true nature of God's Kingdom which includes love and peace.

I pray that this church and it's leaders repent, change their plans and react to those of the Islam faith in love and peace, praying for them and showing the world that citizens of God's Kingdom live recognizing that their allegiance is first to the Kingdom of God, and after that, to their nation.

I am glad that American General Petraeus condemned this church's plan to burn qurans. I pray that Pastors across America will have the same courage and do the same in their churches so that their parishioners will understand that this type of action is not Christ following.

May God bless the world.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:14 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, "If you will, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them." But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
(Mark 1:40-45 ESV)

What Jesus does in this paragraph of Scripture is startling to the people watching, but Jesus was not focused on the watching people.  He was not interested in attracting crowds and that was not why He did the miracles that He did.  He was focused on an individual who had lost his health, his dignity, his ability to earn income, his social status, his family and his friends.  Jesus responded with a touch and the words “I will; be clean”.  The crowds gasped when Jesus touched the leper, but the leper was filled with healing warmth that flooded His being as he was healed of leprosy and was made clean.  It was love that moved Jesus to act to make this man’s life better.  Jesus did not just feel sorry for him.  Jesus helped him.  Jesus responded with compassion – a love that compels one to act.

The first touch this man felt for probably many years was the touch of Jesus.  He would never be the same.  Why did Jesus touch him?  He did not have to do so.  In all of the recorded exorcisms, Jesus spoke a word and freed the individuals.  He never once laid a hand on a demoniac.  He would speak a word and the winds and waves would obey Him, so why did He touch this leper?  Maybe, he touched the leper to be our example; a pattern for us to follow.

Who are the social outcasts of our day?  Is it the diseased?  Is it those living in poverty?  Is it the homeless?  Is it the incarcerated?  Is it the shut-in?  Is it those living alternate lifestyles?  Is it those of a different race?  Is it those of a different faith?

Who are the social outcasts in your city?  Who in your city is financially and socially isolated?  Who is shut-in?  What would happen in your city if each person makes it a point every day to do an act of compassion, reaching out to touch one that is in need?  I believe more people would realize the Kingdom of God and want to be a part of it.

Beloved, we live in a day where there is an overabundance of armchair theologians and armchair politicians.  We don’t need any more of those.  What we need in our day are people who will follow Jesus and get their hands dirty in point of need ministry revealing that in the Kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all. 

Touch people beloved.  Touch people.  Be Jesus’ hand extended.   

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Beloved, there will be those times that you will need to get by yourself in a quiet place and just spend time with God.  It’s there that you will refuel, refocus and receive endurance and direction for your journey.  If you don’t take the time to pray, you will burn out, fizzle out and be used up.  That is not God’s desire for you.  He wants to spend time with you and impart Himself to you so that you can continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

There’s a time for prayer and a time for action.  As we follow Jesus, He will lead us in reaching our full potential in His Kingdom.  Follow Jesus Beloved.  Don’t expect Him to follow you.  Follow Jesus.  It’s an exciting journey full of love, grace, peace and freedom.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
While many non-profits have went under during this great economic recession, Becky and I are still committed to live by faith and obey what God has placed on our heart for Loving God Fellowship (LGF) while steering it through these difficult times.  Launching the LGF mobile site last week is testimony of this. 

I'm excited about taking LGF mobile because it allows us to potentially reach 3 more billion people with the Gospel of Christ in support of our point of need ministry model.  People will be able to listen to Christ Centric Bible Messages while they are on the go with their mobile devices.  Our potential on the Internet is 1 billion people, so this now raises our potential to 4 billion out of 6 billion people in the world.  I'm excited about this opportunity and feel that LGF needs to take full advantage of it.

Although our mobile site just has the basics now, more and better functionality will be provided as we go.  Please take a look at http://mobile.lovinggodfellowship.org .  If you like it, be sure and check the "like" button.
 
The next thing we need to add to LGF mobile is a signup for SMS texting.  To provide this functionality will cost $19 per 100 users that sign up to receive text messages such as Be Encouraged!  and notification of new Bible Messages on their mobile devices.   Would you consider a monthly donation? A donation of $19 per month will enable us to reach 100 people around the world through their mobile device.  If you desire to do more than that, each $19 will enable us to reach 100 people with the Gospel of Christ on their mobile devices.

Please know that all donations are an answer to prayer as we are not endowed by any group or denomination and we don't pass an offering plate in any church service.  LGF functions only on what is donated by loving Christ followers from around the world who believe in what LGF is all about.

Please click here to make a monthly donation today. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
Beloved, Jesus does not follow us, we are to follow Him.  There are those who, like Peter, expect Jesus to do it their way and in their timing.  If Jesus doesn’t, they become hurt and discouraged allowing unbelief to rob them of what God has in store for them. 

To be a good leader in the Kingdom of God, one must first follow Christ.  It is Jesus that is ruling over His Kingdom.  We are to always remember that we are to follow Him and He will make us into what He wants us to be in His timing and in His way.  We are just simply to follow Him.  He will do the rest and we will enter into our full potential in the Kingdom of God. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj

 
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 09 August 2010
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Prayer is priority in this paragraph of Scripture, but there is a deeper meaning than what appears on the surface that I would like to articulate to you.

First of all, notice that Simon (Peter) is beginning to take a leadership role as a follower of Christ.  Notice also that Peter has the right heart.  Peter sees all of these people in need of healing and in bondage to evil and he desires to see them healed and set free.  Peter is beginning to get a glimpse of what the Kingdom of God is all about – love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.  He still does not fully understand, but he is getting a glimpse of it and he desires that people experience the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.  So Peter and others with him go looking for Jesus.  They know that Jesus is the answer, but He has disappeared!  What were they to do with all of these people that still needed healing and deliverance?

When Peter finds Jesus praying, He couldn’t believe it.  The actual Greek here has tones of a sense of hostile pursuing.  It was like Peter was saying “What are you doing here?  Everyone is looking for you!  Don’t you know that there is still work to be done?  People are in need!”

Notice how Jesus responds to Peter.  Jesus said "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out."  Jesus is showing through His words and actions that He was not following Peter.  He was not doing it Peter’s way and He was not on Peter’s time schedule.  Peter was called to follow Jesus.  Jesus says here that His main focus is to preach the same sermon in every town - “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).”

Peter would eventually learn to follow.  It would not be an easy lesson, as it’s not an easy one for most of us, but he would learn to follow Christ.  And when he does, he will reach his full potential in the Kingdom while using his words and actions to reveal the Kingdom to others. 

Follow Jesus friends.  Follow Jesus.  Don't expect Him to follow you.  If you do expect Him to follow you, you will be highly disappointed.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:14 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 06 August 2010
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Prayer is a powerful privilege given to us by God.  Prayer is the opportunity to communicate to Him all of our burdens and anxieties while receiving from Him strength, endurance and direction for the journey that He has in front of us.  Preaching and ministering at the point of need are important, but they will become powerless and ineffective without prayer.  Prayer must be a priority in every Christ follower.  In fact, if we don’t pray, we are not following Christ because He prayed and left us that example to follow. 

We can learn much from this paragraph of Scripture. 
  • We learn that although the needs of people are great, we can not neglect prayer to minister.
  • We learn that there are times that we must get alone in a quiet place to pray.
  • We learn that there is a time to pray and a time to work.
  • We learn that prayer is a place to refuel and refocus.
  • We learn that prayer is a place to receive direction and confirmation.
Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 05 August 2010
On the first Sabbath of Jesus’ earthly ministry recorded in the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus ministers all day and late into the night.  He performs an exorcism in the Synagogue (Mark 1:21-28), a healing in a house (Mark 1:29-31) and numerous healings and exorcisms in the streets of Capernaum (Mark 1:32-34).  He has to be physically tired, as although He is the Son of God, He is ministering on earth in a human body as the Son of Man.  As the Son of Man, Jesus gives us an example to follow.  As the Son of God He reveals His Kingdom to us in words and actions as He heads towards the cross to take God’s judgment of our sins upon Himself.  He has to be physically tired after such an eventful day so He gets off by Himself and prays.

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, "Everyone is looking for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
(Mark 1:35-39 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:06 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 04 August 2010
You may have a heart for people and you may want to make a difference in our day, but please know that Jesus will not follow you on your journey.  The faster you learn this, the faster you will enjoy life.  Until you learn this, you will go through the motions and may even become religious, but you will lack the joy, grace, peace and freedom that Christ gives to those who follow Him.

Follow Jesus friends.  Follow Jesus.  Don't try to lead Him to where you want to go.  Follow Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj 
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 01 August 2010
Beloved, we are to advance the Kingdom in our day.  It has already been established in Jesus.  He is now ruling over His Kingdom and has called us to follow Him and make His Kingdom known to the world through, not only words, but more importantly actions.  In the Kingdom there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.  The need is the call.  As we minister at the point of need, we are not only ministering as Jesus did, but we are also ministering as unto Jesus.  Advance the Kingdom Beloved.  Advance the Kingdom.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:11 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Beloved, ministry is to take place at the point of need.  Ministry is not restricted to within the walls of a church building or the confines of a service.  The need is the call.  When we see a need, and we have the ability to meet that need, we are to minister as unto Jesus. 

Jesus said "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
(Matthew 25:31-40 ESV)”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:07 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 29 July 2010
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
(Mark 1:32-34 ESV)

The Jewish Sabbath is a weekly day of rest observed from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday.  A lot has taken place on this Sabbath day that Mark tells us about in chapter 1 of his gospel.  Earlier in the day, Jesus teaches in the Synagogue and casts a demon out of a man who was in attendance there (Mark 1:21-28).  After the service, He heals Simon’s mother-in-law in the house of Simon and Andrew who were brothers (Mark 1:29-31).  And now, Mark is detailed in telling us that after the Sabbath was over, as marked by sundown, people brought to Jesus those “who were sick or oppressed by demons.”

Notice that the people who were brought to Him where either “sick or oppressed by demons.”  Some in our day have associated illness, especially mental illness, as demonic possession, but this account of Jesus’ life and ministry in Scripture is careful to separate the two.  It would be wrong for anyone in our day to attribute a person’s illness, whether it is physical or mental, to demon possession. 

I have been in the ministry for over 19 years.  I have ministered both within the walls of the church building and outside the walls of church building and beyond the confines of a church service.  I have ministered to those in hospitals and prisons.  I have ministered to young gang bangers in correctional facilities and the homeless on the streets.  I have ministered in America and in third world countries.  I have ministered to literally thousands of ill people both mentally and physically, but I can count on one hand those who were possessed by demons that were made obvious through physical manifestations including voice, facial distortions and actions.  I was never afraid and the Holy Spirit within me always triumphed over these evil encounters.  I tell this to implore you to not associate illness with demon possession.  Many precious people have been wounded and hurt because there are those who have taken their illness and proclaimed them to be demon possessed when they were not at all demon possessed.  It should not be and it hinders the work of those who are utilizing their life to advance God’s Kingdom with the help of the Holy Spirit who gives them the needed and necessary spiritual discernment.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:54 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 25 July 2010
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

I don’t want to neglect a piece of this paragraph of Scripture that is very important and must be touched on.  Notice what Simon’s mother-in-law does after Jesus heals her of both her fever and whatever was causing it.  She get’s up out of the bed and immediately helps others. 

Beloved, Jesus helps us so that we can help others.  Live your life recognizing His hand on it and using it to always help others.  As you do, His kingdom will be revealed through your actions.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Saturday, 24 July 2010
It is unfortunate that not everyone has equal and affordable access to heath care in our day.  I believe that this grieves the heart of God because every person, regardless of location and finances, are God’s children. He loves each one and expects us to make available to each one, the same opportunities for healing and ease from suffering.  Beloved, as we do, more people will realize the kingdom that Jesus is ruling over. 

I thank God for hospitals that churches have founded such as St. Mary's in Huntington, West Virginia.  Let’s make make these healing facilities available to all people in our day.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
I’m so thankful for medical professionals.  They minister at the point of need.  Sure, many do not realize it and some are in it just for the monetary rewards, but God uses them nevertheless to bring the healing needed.

I’m fortunate to have a sister-in-law, Shelia, who has been a nurse taking care of the ill and ministering at their point of need for over 20 years.  She now teaches nursing.  The beautiful part is that her daughter Kristen was one of her students and is following her mother’s steps in using her life to help others.  It thrills my heart.  I’m also fortunate to have a cousin, David, who is a surgeon.  I’m sure that you also have friends and family in the medical profession.  God is using each of these to bring much healing and ease of suffering.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:36 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 19 July 2010
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
(Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

Notice what Simon, Andrew, James and John does.  When they leave the synagogue with Jesus, their faith in Jesus and His kingdom that He was revealing was enlarged.  They go to Simon and Andrew’s house which must have just been a short distance from the synagogue as revealed through the words “and immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.”  When they get there, Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever.  Upon the news of her illness these Christ followers had a heart to provide this lady the care she needed for her health and they tell Jesus about her fever.  Their faith had grown and they now knew to take their needs to Jesus. 

Beloved, we all have needs and we must take those needs to Jesus knowing that He cares for us and desires for us to place all of our cares and anxieties on Him.  Jesus desires to help us and as He does, His kingdom is revealed and faith always grows.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 18 July 2010
In Mark 1:23-28 Jesus is in the synagogue with Simon, Andrew, James and John who where fishermen that He had just called to follow Him.  These four who left everything to follow Jesus witnessed the power of Jesus’ Kingdom that He was revealing through His words and actions.  In these five verses, Satan’s kingdom is interrupted by Jesus’ Kingdom and the victory over evil is a glimpse of many victories to come in leading up to the ultimate victories at the cross and the empty tomb.  Can you imagine what these four new followers were thinking after witnessing this first victory over evil?  Perhaps a sense of confirmation was consuming them over the decision that they made to forsake all and follow Jesus.  Undoubtedly their faith was growing as they were hanging out with Jesus and experiencing His Kingdom firsthand.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Jesus helps us so that we can help others.  As we follow Him, our faith grows in His ability to meet not only our needs, but also the needs of others.  As our faith grows, we are quick to reveal His kingdom to others through our actions.  We pray and have faith, but we also put our faith into action. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 16 July 2010
Beloved, evil has been defeated through Jesus Christ.  Each of us has been called to deny self, take up our cross and follow Jesus.  As we do, the felt needs of others will be met through our actions.  God blesses us so that we can bless others.  Every time we meet a felt need, we are revealing what God’s Kingdom is all about – grace, love and peace with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:24 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 15 July 2010
My sister, Ramona has been battling Lupus for over two decades.  There is no cure and the disease has caused so much damage to every part of her body.  She has had multiple strokes in her young life and has trouble getting around, but she doesn’t have trouble meeting the felt needs of others.  She ministers the love of Christ to everyone she comes in contact with.  She cooks meals and she and her husband Chuck takes food to people.  They have provided my family with manna many times and God has used them to sustain us in ministry over and over again.  These are Christ followers who get it and they are revealing the Kingdom of God to so many through taking care of their felt needs.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:17 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
I was fortunate to be raised by Christ following parents who used their God given abilities to minister at the point of need and take care of felt needs just as Jesus did.  I grew up seeing them do without and give of their time, talent and treasure so that the needs of others would be taken care of.  I’m glad that they did not teach me to leave the needs of others in the sovereign hands of God.  I am glad that Jesus did not teach us to leave the needs of others in the sovereign hands of God.  I am glad that so many people get it and are continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus and not just merely attending a church service expecting God to take care of people.

Mom and Dad are now in their senior years of life and I will take care of them and their needs.  I will do it out of my love for them and in obedience to Scripture, just as they taught me by example.

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Some Christians today feel as though we should leave the care of others in the hands of a sovereign God.  Some believe the care of others should be left up to the government, but yet they get upset at government if they raise taxes due to providing social programs.  What is the answer that Christ gives us?  What is the answer that Scripture gives us?  I’m often reminded of this Scripture found in James 2:14-18 that helps us with the answer:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (ESV)” 

Beloved, if God reveals a need to us and if He has given us the ability to meet that need, it is His expectation that we do so.  We don’t have to pray about it.  The need is the call.  God takes care of the needs of people through us.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 12 July 2010
In Mark 1:16-20 we are told that Jesus and the freshly called fishermen were in the Synagogue on the Sabbath.  Scripture tells us that the people are astonished at His teaching.  His message was about the Kingdom that was being established in Him and was different than the teaching they were accustomed to and delivered by religionists who demanded obedience to manmade rules, regulations and traditions.  As Jesus teaches, there is a collision of good and evil which is manifested in a sudden interruption.

And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
(Mark 1:23-28 ESV)

Jesus not only taught about the Kingdom of God, but demonstrates the kingdom of God through His actions that will be described throughout the Gospel of Mark.  Mark’s writing style is to get the reader to understand the meaning of events instead of giving details of the events he writes about.  As we read and study Mark, we should always be looking for the meaning of the events that take place and this event is no exception.

Jesus introduced to the world the kingdom of God, not only through His words, but through His actions.  With Jesus coming into our world, Satan’s kingdom was disturbed.  Satan’s kingdom realized who Jesus was and what authority He had as the Son of God even though the people did not.  In these five verses of Mark we see the two kingdoms collide, but it’s just the beginning.  Jesus will not only be victorious over demons, but also sickness, disease, hunger and death.  He will show through his actions that the Kingdom of God breaks through the powers of evil that seeks to destroy people.  His authority as the Son of God ensures His victory.  He walks the earth conquering the powers of evil and He dies on an old rugged cross.  On the third day He was resurrected and defeated death which is evil’s greatest weapon and people’s greatest enemy. 

At the cross, Satan was defeated, the power of sin was broken and God’s Kingdom became available to ALL people through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  Jesus accomplished His mission on earth and because of His obedience to Father, He was re-glorified and placed back at the right hand of Father (John 17:1-5).  Jesus is now ruling supreme over His Kingdom.  As we fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him and continue His point of need ministry, those around us will realize the wonderful kingdom that He places in each follower.  Why? - Because their felt needs will be met through Christ followers continuing His point of need ministry.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:57 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Jesus came into our world, defeated evil and has established the Kingdom of God in Him. 

That Kingdom is not inactive, but active. 

It’s not weak, but strong. 

It’s not defeated, but victorious. 

It’s not finite, but infinite. 

It’s not future, but present. 

Christ is currently ruling over His Kingdom. 

It resides in Christ followers and is revealed to the world through their actions as they continue the point of need ministry of Jesus.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, 09 July 2010
Beloved, we don't have to wait for God's kingdom to come in some future event as we are already a part of His kingdom and He has imparted it into our lives through the Holy Spirit.  We are to spend our lives revealing to the world His kingdom in us.

The apostle Paul taught that the supreme gift is love. Christ said that the world will know that we are His followers by our love for one another. As we love God and ALL people ministering at the point of need, His kingdom is revealed to the world and many will desire to be a part of it. That is so much more than mere church attendance.

Church attendance is not bad unless we replace serving Christ and revealing His kingdom with serving the institution. It then becomes an idol and the fruit is communities not realizing that the kingdom of God is at hand and Christ is already ruling supreme. There can be a church on every corner in the city with the city not realizing the kingdom of God. They see the church buildings in their community, but don't see the kingdom of God in action. I believe that we can change that in our day and have been called to do so as Christ followers.  Be free in Christ!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:23 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 08 July 2010
In Mark 1:15, we hear Jesus say "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." After making His message simple and clear, He began to call those who would follow Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  They immediately started to follow Christ, learn from Him and serve Him (Mark 1:16-20)

And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
(Mark 1:21-22 ESV)

Capernaum was a village on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.  It is possible that the fishermen whom Jesus had just called to follow Him (Mark 1:16-20) lived and worked near or in this village.  We do know that there was a synagogue there and, on this occasion, Jesus and the called fishermen  went to it on the Sabbath (“they went”, 1:21).

The Temple was in Jerusalem, but the Jewish law required that wherever there were at least 10 Jewish families there must be a synagogue.  In the synagogue there would be no music, no singing and no sacrifice.  The synagogue service would consist only of prayer, the reading of God’s Word and the exposition of it.  The synagogue was a teaching institution.  At the service on the Sabbath of each week, the ruler of the synagogue would call on any competent person to read the Scripture and give exposition on it so that the people in attendance could learn.  

In the synagogue there was no professional minister.  Scribes were experts in the Jewish law and the title of the leader among them was “Rabbi.”  Scribes used the Torah which is the first five books of the Old Testament and they would develop rules and regulations for every possible situation in life.  They reduced the principles of the moral law given in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) to hundreds of manmade rules and regulations which was legalism.  Their religion became a matter of obeying these rules and regulations that they taught in the synagogues.

Jesus had a message to deliver and the synagogue in each community provided a forum in which to spread that message.  Mark did not find it necessary in these two verses of Scripture to repeat Jesus’ message that he communicated earlier.  "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15 ESV).  Instead, he gives us the response of the people who heard the message and that response describes a contrast with the Scribes.  Jesus was telling them about the kingdom of God that was being established through Him.  He was not reinforcing the teachings of the Scribes which demanded obedience to their rules and regulations.

Following manmade rules and regulations is religion and religion binds, but Christ sets us free.  Obtain your freedom in Christ today!  Allow Him to set you free and establish His kingdom in you.  Those who Jesus sets free are the church; the true Bride of Christ that He is coming for.  He is not coming back for a building or an institution.  He is coming back for His followers who have faithfully served Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:17 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 07 July 2010
It is God’s heart that every person serves Christ and walks in the freedom that He provides.  Jesus’ teachings and actions revealed the heart of God.  The religious leaders of Jesus’ day taught rules and regulations that were manmade.  Jesus taught about being in harmony with God’s Kingdom that was being established in Him.  He is now ruling supreme over that kingdom and leads His followers to reveal it to the world. 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:08 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, 05 July 2010
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"   -- Matthew 25:37-40

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:26 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 01 July 2010
Jesus changes us.  He changes our way of thinking towards others.  He changes our behavior towards others.  He changes us to be more like Him as we continually deny self and follow Him.  The best is always yet to come as we follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him.  And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.

Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus.  At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years.  Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though.  After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him.  After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day.  But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers.  As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.

The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria.  John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated.  It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56).  Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.

It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers.  They were following Jesus once again to Samaria.  He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.

Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus.  He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ.  Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power.  Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”.  Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked.  He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.

As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their hearts.  Their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others.  On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother preaching the word to the villages in Samaria.  As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they did preach the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25).   Jesus had brought more change to them.  They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
As we continually choose to follow Jesus and we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He changes us.  We develop more of His mind and more of His heart which impacts our behavior each step of the way on our journey from earth to glory.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:23 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Beloved, it’s not as much about whom we are as it is what Jesus can make us.  Those Jesus calls, He will make into what He desires them to be and the finished person will not look like the one that answered the call.   All that those called must do is keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and follow Him.  Along the way, He will perfect the faith that He initiated in them when He first called them.  God’s Word says in Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:09 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Friend, if you are not yet following Jesus, please know today that Jesus is calling you.  His call is the same as it was on this day alongside the Sea of Galilee.  He calls you right where you are at and He calls you just as you are.  You are not what He wants you to be yet, but that does not matter to Him.  He calls you anyway and promises to make you what He wants you to be.  What you will become depends upon you following Him.  You don’t have to go to a church service, walk an aisle and repeat a prayer after a pastor.  Jesus did not teach that at all.  All you have to do is to step out of what you have grown accustomed to – that is the boat that you are in.  Don’t hold on to the things of this world with a white knuckled intensity – that is your nets.  Just drop the nets, get out of the boat and follow Jesus.  He will take you on an exciting and rewarding journey from earth to glory.

Jesus’ call demands an immediate response.  These ones alongside the Sea of Galilee this day would have to leave their former way of life and its agenda.  They would have to leave the security in which they had grown comfortable.  They would have to place themselves under the authority and teachings of Jesus.  They would have to trust Him.  They would have to walk in the faith that Jesus was now initiating in them in order for that faith to grow and one day reach perfection.  It would not be an easy journey, but it would be a rewarding journey. 

They made the right choice that day.  It was immediate.  They dropped the nets.  They got out of the boat.  And they followed Jesus.  What will you do today?    

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
The first 15 verses of the Gospel of Mark tells us about the ministry of John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, the temptation of Jesus and the message of Jesus, which is the same message for us in our day.  In verse 15, we hear Jesus say "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." After making His message simple and clear, He began to call those who would follow Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
(Mark 1:16-20 ESV)

John the Baptist is in prison and Jesus could have decided to continue His ministry alone, but He chose not to do so.  His plan is to call people to follow Him.  He will train, empower and direct them to continue His point of need ministry.  He trains by example, He empowers by the Holy Spirit and He directs through His Word.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 21 June 2010
The world is looking for leaders to step up today.  Jesus is looking for followers to step out today and follow Him in point of need ministry.  Stepping out will require faith and that faith is initiated by Jesus in those who He calls.  He calls us right where we are at.  He calls us as just as we are.  He makes us into what He wants us to be as we answer the call and follow Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 18 June 2010
At this time of Jesus, the Jews believed in two ages.  They believed in the present age of sinfulness ruled by Satan and they believed in an age to come when God would destroy Satan and evil once and for all.  Jesus comes along and preaches something different than what they believe in.  He says the “kingdom of God is at hand”.  The people would not have to wait until a future age because Jesus brought the kingdom to earth.  This kingdom will ultimately include the restoration of all creation, but we can be a part of God’s kingdom today.  It is all about the kingly rule of Jesus.  Jesus rules in the hearts and minds of those who follow Him.  He not only is their savior, but Jesus is their Lord!

After Jesus’ startling announcement of the immediacy of the kingdom, He is quick to point out how one can be a part of that kingdom with two words – repent and believe.  It’s not about walking and aisle and repeating a prayer asking Jesus to come into your heart.  Jesus did not teach that.  In fact, you will find it nowhere in Scripture.  Beloved, we need to get back to what Jesus preached – repent and believe!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Many today have turned to entertainment which appeals to the flesh, but does nothing to reconcile us to God and man, nor does it grow God’s kingdom.  What is needed today is a genuine move of God through Christ followers who are willing to reveal God’s kingdom through their words and actions resulting in people repenting, believing and being baptized.  In Acts 8:9-13 we see a contrast in the impact that an entertainer and a Christ follower has on the public. 

Notice the contrast between Simon the magician and Peter the Christ follower.

Simon the Magician:
  • Was a popular entertainer
  • Drew attention to himself
  • Amazed the people with his magic
Peter the Christ Follower:
  • Revealed the good news about the kingdom of God through his words and actions
  • Pointed people to Jesus instead of self
  • Baptized believers as a sign of conversion
The great conclusion of Acts 8:9-13 is that even an entertainer realizes that there is need for something more and that they desire the real over the entertaining.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 08 June 2010
I am a Christ follower and I believe that immigration reform is a moral issue.

I have proclaimed to church congregations for 19 years now that God is bringing immigrants to America to experience the love that flows out of Christ followers as we love God and ALL people.  He is allowing them to be our neighbors.  Will we love them?

I pray that in these days the church steps up and does not act like many American white churches did during the days of slavery and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  What a negative piece of church history that was.  Although we have made many strides towards racial equality in this nation, the church on Sunday mornings continues to be the most segregated place in America.  May God help us in our day.  And  may immigrants experience the love of Christ through Christ followers as we stand for faith and justice while loving God and ALL people.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that "bad laws are worth going to jail over". I'm sure that you would agree with me that segregated buses, restaurants, bathrooms, water fountains and schools were bad laws. Nevertheless, they existed in the 1960s and prior.  Dr. King and others took a stand against these bad laws and led the African American community in nonviolent protests against them. Dr. King was placed in jail many times over these bad laws, but as a Christ follower, he took a stand for faith and justice in his day and we must do the same in our day.  “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:24 ESV)”

The Federal immigration laws need to be reformed to be more compassionate. Until they are reformed, states are left to do their own thing and each state could develop their own laws concerning immigrants like Arizona has already done. I believe Arizona's law is racist in heart and will lead to results in that state that will not be good.

Jesus said (Matthew 25:35-40 NIV) For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, [36] I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' [37] "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? [38] When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? [39] When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' [40] "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Welcoming the stranger in our midst (Matthew 25:35) is the direction of Christ, the One we follow. 

I have created a group on facebook called “Christ Followers for Compassionate Reform of Immigration Laws”.  It’s a place where information can be shared and Christ followers who support compassionate reform of immigration laws can gather, stay informed and be encouraged as we stand for faith and justice.

I give you a personal invitation to click and join this group.  Invite other Christ followers you know and utilize the group for information and encouragement.

Let us take a stand for faith and justice in our day showing the world that we love God and ALL people.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 05 June 2010
Beloved, as we follow Jesus into the wilderness, the place of helplessness, we will learn that it is there that we grow dependent upon God.  It is God that leads us there because He desires to do a work in us that will allow us to reach our full potential in His Kingdom.  God does this work in His timing and not ours.  Temptation will come to us and as we make the right choices instead of believing the lies of the devil, we will be given strength and endurance for our journey as God ministers to us right there in our wilderness.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 02 June 2010
As we follow Christ on our journey from earth to glory, it is the Spirit that drives us into the wilderness.  It’s a God thing.  He desires us to draw close to Him and allow Him to prepare us for the ministry ahead of us on our journey.  Each Christ follower has great potential in God’s Kingdom and revealing that Kingdom here on earth, but they must be prepared.  Beloved, the wilderness is where such preparation is made.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
The timing of us entering the wilderness is in God’s perfect timing.  In Jesus’ case, the Spirit did not waste any time.  After Jesus submitted to the will of Father which was pleasing to God, the Spirit “immediately drove Him out into the wilderness”.  If you are not already in the wilderness being prepared by God for the next step in your journey, you have either just came out or you are getting ready to go in.  The timing is God’s.  Beloved, allow Him to do a full work in you as you focus entirely upon Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 30 May 2010
A true Christ follower allows God to direct their steps and can recognize God’s hand upon them as they journey from earth to glory.  Along the way, they learn that it is good for them to release more of their self dependence and become more God reliant.  As they submit to the will of God, they receive all the strength and endurance that they need for the journey that is not void of wilderness periods.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Beloved, submit to God and His plans for your life letting him direct your every step.  Follow Christ.  Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him.  And be assured that you are baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit that dwells within you.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Beloved, we are indwelt by the same Spirit that indwelt Christ.  Christ walked this earth as the Son of Man, full of the Holy Spirit, heading to the cross as the Son of God to die for our sins so that we can have fullness of life in Him now and for all eternity.  It is the Spirit that births us into the Kingdom of God.  The church does not birth us into the Kingdom, nor does church membership. Walking an aisle and repeating a prayer does not birth us into the Kingdom.  Being religious does not birth us into the Kingdom.  The Spirit and the Spirit only births us into the Kingdom of God.  And as we deny self, take up our cross and follow Jesus, the same Spirit that indwelt Christ indwells us.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
We are to follow Christ in water baptism.  In the early church, people were baptized as soon as they denied self, took up their cross and started to follow Jesus.  In the modern church, baptism is often put off for weeks, months and even years.  I’ve pastored some people through the years that came to church every Sunday, but were never baptized.  They didn’t see the need for it.  Maybe, they just didn’t want to get their hair wet.  I don’t know the reasons why people put it off, but I have found out that while it may be possible to be a Christian without experiencing water baptism, it is impossible to be a Christ follower without following Christ in water baptism.  And if one can not follow Christ in water baptism, what can they follow Him in?  Well, I choose not to be a Christian only.  I choose to be a Christ follower.  There is a big difference.  Follow Christ today Friend.  Follow Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 23 May 2010
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."
(Mark 1:9-11 ESV)

As John was baptizing all of the people who were repenting of their sins, Jesus appears on the scene.  This is the most unlikely time for the Son of God to show up.  Jesus had no need to repent of sins because He was sinless.  But yet, He allowed John to baptize Him.  His baptism was not for sins, but was to identify with people in their sin showing His willingness to submit to God’s judgment of their sin.

Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will, which meant certain death on a cross, was pleasing to the Father and demonstrated by the Father’s words and the Spirit’s descent upon Jesus.  Notice that all three persons of the Trinity was present – the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

It is hard for us to comprehend what is taking place.  Jesus came into our world to die for our sin.  He was sinless and had no need to die for Himself.  It was all about us.  The Father loves us and wants to spend eternity with us so much that He sent Jesus.  The Father wants us to experience life in Him and not death.  And Jesus submitted to the will of the Father and He came.  He left the glory of heaven and the splendor of the Father’s presence to come into our world to live and to die.  He came as the son of man and He came as the son of God.  He was 100% human and 100% God.  As the son of man, he lived his life as an example for us to follow.  As the son of God, He died for our sin taking God’s judgment for it upon Himself.  And here at His baptism He, as a man, is indwelt by the Spirit just as all those who are born into God’s Kingdom would be.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 22 May 2010
Jesus lived a life on this earth that pleased the Father.  It is our hearts desire to please the Father through living in Jesus.  We can glean and learn much in the example that Christ gave us as He walked this earth as the Son of Man full of the Spirit while heading to the cross to die for our sins as the Son of God.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Our relationship with Christ is what transforms us into servants that can be used of God.  This relationship will mold and shape us to reach our full potential in the Kingdom of God.  It is not about religion, tradition or a code of conduct.  It’s about a relationship with Jesus that transforms our mind, our heart, our life and our actions.  This relationship includes trusting Jesus, confessing Him as Lord, following His example, following His teaching and being transformed by it.  It also includes being prepared to face the same kind of suffering that Jesus faced for the sake of others.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Beloved, it’s all about Jesus Christ.  He came to save us from our sin and he broke the power of sin that held us captive.  He came into our world.  He lived.  He died.  He rose from the dead.  He ascended back to the right hand of God.  And He baptizes with the Holy Spirit all who decide to follow Him and make Him their Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit dwells within the Christ follower.  Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:1-8)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Jesus came into our world.  He lived.  He died.  He rose again.  He ascended into heaven.  He has given His followers a mission to continue His ministry on earth until He comes again.  And He has not left His followers powerless.  He has given us the Holy Spirit that dwells within the Christ follower who has made Jesus their Lord and Savior.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Putting faith into action is the right thing to do.  Putting faith into action costs us something.  Putting faith into action will advance God’s kingdom.

As we follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to use us in continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus, we will put our faith in action advancing God’s kingdom beyond any ethnic, racial and gender boundaries and extend it to ALL people in our sphere of influence and beyond.  It will cost us something, but Christ followers counted the cost when they denied their self, took up their cross and followed Jesus.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 14 May 2010
The Kingdom of God is advanced as Christ followers put their faith in action.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 10 May 2010
The supreme motivation of the Christ follower's journey is to bring God glory.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 07 May 2010
The world is full of both leaders and quitters.  Leaders recognize that promotion comes from the Lord even if there are those promoted past them.  They willingly accept the role that God has for them as they follow Jesus and continue His point of need ministry no matter what vocation they are in.  Quitters return to where they started, but they do not have to stay there.  The ones who get up and allow their failures to propel them to their God prepared destiny will walk in it and one day become a respected leader deemed very useful.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 06 May 2010
Religionists hang on to the status quo, lie, spread fear, grow angry and even kill, but not Christ followers.  Christ teaches His followers how to live and how to die, not how to kill.  He teaches His followers how to stand for faith and justice.  He teaches His followers how to pray, even for those who mistreat and abuse them due to their Christ exalting stand. 

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and allow Him to perfect your faith on your journey from earth to glory (Hebrews 12:2).  It is an exciting and rewarding journey.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
In the paragraph of Scripture as given to us in Acts 7:54-60, the religionists break the Roman law which prohibits them from executing a death sentence.   As a mob, they react to Stephen’s stand for faith and justice.  They kill the messenger and God’s instrument of grace.  Instead of making the right choice, repenting of their religious ways and following Christ, they make the wrong choice and choose religion over Christ.  Their actions show how religion is full of anger and leads to death and not life.

As I read this paragraph of Scripture, it is Stephen’s reaction that catches my eye and speaks volumes into my life.  Notice with me:

  • Stephen the Christ follower, even in death, kept his eyes fixed on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of faith (Acts 7:55).
  • Stephen the Christ follower left this world praying to Jesus and releasing himself to Jesus’ care (Acts 7:59).
  • Stephen the Christ follower prayed for his enemies as they violently attacked and killed him (Acts 7:60).

What a picture of Christ portrayed by a follower!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 04 May 2010
All through Acts chapter 7, Stephen is giving a defense in response to the religionist of His day trying desperately to hang on to the status quo.  They feel threatened that Jesus and His followers were going to bring change to their religious structures including the Temple and the Law.  Instead of embracing the change that Christ brings, they resort to lies and the spreading of fear in order to hang on to what they are accustomed.  Stephen takes a stand for faith and justice.  He lives and dies for Christ and Christ alone.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 03 May 2010
Religionists live and die for religion and tradition hanging on to the status quo with a white knuckled intensity.  Christ followers live and die for Christ and for Christ alone.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 02 May 2010
The gospel is powerful!  Jesus came into our world and lived an example for us to follow.  He died for our sins.  He defeated death, hell and the grave.  He ascended back to the right hand of the Father, but has sent us the Holy Spirit to empower us to continue His point of need ministry until He returns.  Run from evil and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Be quick to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It will not be an easy life to live, but it will be rewarding and the Kingdom of God will grow as the result.  You will prevail through all opposition as you follow Jesus Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Each Christ follower is given the mission of continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus.  The Holy Spirit has been given to direct and empower the Christ follower.  Opposition will be real and sometimes very intense, but the message of Christ will prevail and many will believe.   

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Religious people will never be used of God to bring about change for all people.  Those who follow Christ will stand for faith and justice and be used of God to bring much needed change for all people.  Scriptures declare this truth through and through.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 22 April 2010
On your journey as you follow Christ from earth to glory, the Holy Spirit will give you guidance.  That guidance will often come in times of fasting, praying, worshiping, and studying the Word of God.  The guidance of the Holy Spirit will be confirmed to you through God’s Word and through the council of other Christ followers.  The guidance may be vague, but details will be given along the way as you move out in total faith.  As you move forward in adventurous faith, more specific guidance will come in the exact timing needed.  The journey may be rough and turbulent at times, but the end result will always be Christ exalting.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Jesus promised that He would not leave us on this journey alone.  He promised us the help of the Holy Spirit.  As we follow Jesus on this journey from earth to glory, the Holy Spirit will guide us along the way.  It will take adventurous faith for us to move forward, but Christ followers do what God wants them to do instead of what they want to do. 

Know that you are love,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Sean and Rebecca Lawrence are precious Christ followers who love God and people with a genuine authenticity.  Sean is student of God’s Word and a gifted teacher. 

Last month Sean Lawrence was credentialed as a licensed minister under Loving God Fellowship.  Becky and I traveled to Middletown, Ohio, yesterday to attend a Bible study that Sean conducts on Wednesdays from noon to 1pm at the public library there.  We were blessed and recognized God's hand upon Sean and Rebecca as they ministered to all who were present there.

Sean and Rebecca also minister on Sundays in the basement of a local church providing a meal and message for those in the community.  They minister at the point of need as unto Christ and reflect through their words and actions what Loving God Fellowship is all about.  Becky and I are so thankful that God has added them to the Loving God Fellowship team.

Please uplift Sean and Rebecca in your prayers.  Pray for the people of Middletown, Ohio – that they will experience the love of God firsthand through loving Christ followers such as Sean and Rebecca Lawrence.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:14 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Even when our faith is immature and deficient, God does a work that only He can do.  And through it all, God still loves us and is perfecting our faith as we focus our attention on Jesus and follow Him.

In Acts 12:1-11 we are told of how the Apostle James was killed and Peter was placed in prison awaiting his death. After Herod Agrippa I saw that beheading James pleased the people, he decided to do the same to Peter and He had him put in prison.  Because Herod was now observing the Jewish law and trying to win favor with the people, he would not put Peter to death during the Passover season.  He would wait until afterward and do to Peter in front of all the people what he had already done to James.  In the meantime, he would hold Peter prisoner and make it impossible for him to escape or be freed by assigning four squads of soldiers to guard him.  Each squad consisted of four Roman soldiers and each squad would have a six hour shift.  Two soldiers would be chained to either side of him and two soldiers would guard the door.  There was seemingly no way Peter would be able to escape, but God sent an angel to deliver Peter out of the prison in the middle of the night.  As Peter followed the angel, he was set free.  Peter was still in a daze from it all and when his mind finally cleared, he realized that he was supernaturally delivered by God and saved from death.

When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, "You are out of your mind." But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, "It is his angel!" But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell these things to James and to the brothers." Then he departed and went to another place. Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.
(Acts 12:12-19 ESV)


The church survived without a church building for three hundred years.  There were no building funds.  There were no campaigns to pay down building debt.  There were neither maintenance invoices nor utility bills to pay.  Instead, Christ followers met in houses and existing facilities.  At this time in Jerusalem, the church had grown to large numbers and was meeting in many houses in the city.  Upon his supernatural deliverance from prison, Peter went to John Mark’s mother’s house.  Many believe that this was the house that held the upper room where Jesus had His last supper with the disciples the night before His crucifixion.  This was probably the house where Peter met with other Christ followers regularly and was the people he was most familiar with as Rhoda knew his voice.  In any case, Peter went to where he knew people would be meeting in the middle of the night to pray for His safe release.

Prayer has always been a quality that identifies the church.  Christ followers are praying people and follow the example that Christ gave as He walked this earth ministering at the point of need.  Jesus took the time to pray and the disciples, seeing that this was a priority in Jesus’ life, asked for Him to teach them how to pray. 

Faith is exercised as one communicates to God and asks for his help, guidance and intervention.  A person prays believing in God and believing that He can do the impossible.  Those who met in this house knew that Herod had beheaded the Apostle James and was planning to do the same to Peter the next day at the conclusion of the Passover.  They were praying earnestly for him day and night knowing that God could deliver and in this case, it would take God. 

Peter knocked at the gate indicating that this house had a courtyard which was typical of the bigger homes of that day that could accommodate many people.  Rhoda goes to see who is knocking.  Upon recognizing Peter’s voice and without opening the gate and letting Peter in, she goes back inside tell the people it was Peter.  The people thought she was out of her mind!  Anyway you look at this it is humorous.  Their prayers had been answered.  Evidently they had enough faith to pray knowing that God could deliver Peter out of this seemingly hopeless situation, but their faith was deficient in realizing that God was willing to deliver Peter.  Even though their faith was deficient, God moved on their behalf and supernaturally delivered Peter from the chains of bondage and certain death.

Beloved, we have been supernaturally delivered from the bondage of sin and saved from death by Jesus Christ.  Some may doubt our deliverance and that doubt may come from some who have prayed for our deliverance, but nevertheless we have been delivered!  We didn’t do anything to deserve it.  It was all God pouring our His amazing grace upon us.  We were bound in the chains of sin and held captive in its prison.  But Jesus set us free.  And when Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed!

Not only is God able to deliver and set the captive free from the power of sin, God is willing.  All Peter had to do was follow the angel the Lord sent out of the prison he was held captive in.  We have been given Jesus to follow.  All of those friends and loved ones that you are praying for, God can and he will deliver as they follow Jesus out of their prison.  Keep praying for them.  Pray earnestly for them.  God will do in an instance what no person could do in a lifetime.

If you are held captive by the power of sin today, I encourage you to follow Jesus out of that prison.  As you fix your eyes on Him and follow Him, He will break every shackle that binds you.  He will lead you out of darkness and despair.  He will take away your hopelessness and give you a reason for living.  He will truly set you free!

Beloved, as we follow Christ and keep our eyes fixed on Him, our faith will grow because He is the founder and the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).  When our faith is immature and deficient, God still loves us.  He does supernatural things in our life and in our circumstances regardless of the size of our faith.  And as He does, our faith grows.  It is simply Jesus perfecting our faith.


Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Regardless of one’s political and economic convictions, there is a God given relationship expressed throughout the Bible between ability and need.  God blesses people with ability and it is His expectation that those with the ability take care of those in need.  This is in direct opposition to greed which is not of God.

We find the Christ followers in Antioch being blessed in Acts 11:19-26.  The work of God in Antioch was authenticated by good works.  It was in Antioch that Christ followers were first called Christian which means good, kind, loving benevolent, useful and generous.  They showed their love in practical ways. 

Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
(Acts 11:27-30 ESV)

Claudius Caesar ruled from A.D. 41 to 54.  During this period there was a series of bad harvests and serious famines in various parts of the Roman Empire.  Jewish historian Josephus wrote of a great famine during the reign of Claudius that oppressed the people of Judea.  Many people starved to death without the means to obtain food.  Two Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, have recorded that there were several localized famines during the Claudius period.  Barnabas arrived at Antioch in A.D. 41 which was the beginning of Claudius’ rule.

In this paragraph of Scripture we find that Luke, the author of Acts, was more concerned with recording the generous response of the Christ followers in Antioch than he was with the fulfillment of the prophecy of famine.  We can glean much from these verses of Scripture that will help us be everything that God intends for us to be in our day.

First of all notice that the need was presented by the moving of the Holy Spirit.  Prophecy is a gift of the Spirit and a verbal manifestation.  Prophecy is both foretelling and forthtelling, but prophecy in the Bible is mostly forthtelling or speaking God’s message rather than foretelling the future.  The important fact here is that God revealed a need to the Christ followers in Antioch by the Holy Spirit.  Beloved, God identifies needs to us in our day and if we are people of the Spirit and we walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh, we will know when God is revealing a need to us that he has given us the ability to meet.

Next, notice that their faith was not dead.  Their faith led to a decision and the decision led to action.  Beloved, our faith will always lead to action because faith without action is dead.  God’s Word says “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18 ESV)

Finally, notice that they each gave according to their ability.  They were not illogical in their giving and did not give beyond their means.  Each one voluntarily gave what they could based on the ability that God had given them.  Beloved, God blesses us so that we can bless others.  The Apostle Paul wrote “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ESV)

Beloved, God’s requirement for us in our day is very simple.  As we are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, He will show us needs that we can meet based upon the ability that He has given us.  Whether we act or not will be based upon the condition of our faith.  If our faith is dead, we will do nothing.  If our faith is alive, we will utilize the ability that God has given us to meet the need that He reveals to us. 

I encourage you today to recognize the ability that God has given you.  Your ability is a gift of God’s precious and amazing grace.  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He will direct you to needs that you can meet based on the ability you have been given.  Be quick to act upon your faith.  Decide in your heart what you are to do and act upon it, not reluctantly or under compulsion, realizing that God loves a cheerful giver. 

Know that you are loved,

Rev. Greg Johnson
Founder
LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 02 March 2010
We are entering into the March madness time of year when college basketball has their conference tournaments and then the big dance – the NCAA tournament.

You will hear coaches and commentators commenting on a team’s ability to play offense and defense.

During this time of year, I’m always reminded of teamwork and how championships are won by teamwork and good coaching.

Christ followers belong to a team.

They have been selected by Christ alone.

He is their coach and He is a good coach.

He simply asks them to deny self, take up their cross and follow Him.

He showed them how.

They don’t need a popular sports drink.

Their thirst is quenched by the Holy Spirit who empowers them to continue the point of need ministry of their coach.

A lot of defense has been played, but coach showed them by example how to play offense.

It’s time rise up as a team and play offense in our day!

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear...  Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power.  Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Let’s play some offense!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 12 February 2010
If you are obedient to God and include all people in your sphere of influence, regardless of who they are and what they have done, you will be criticized by those who still don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.  And those who criticize you may be a part of your community of believers.

Acts chapter 10 begins with Peter being partial to those of his own race and belief system.  The chapter concludes with Peter obeying God and making those outside of his own race and belief system a part of his sphere of influence.  He does not condemn them or judge them; he simply associates with them and points them to Jesus.  As he does this, the Holy Spirit does the rest.  Acts chapter 11 begins with Peter being criticized by those in his community of believers for including those who were different.

Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."
(Act 11:1-3 ESV)

Peter was criticized for obeying God and including those in his sphere of influence who were different.  You would think that those in his community of believers would be rejoicing over his obedience to God, but they were not.  Instead, they were upset.  They just didn’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.

Take a moment and consider who you have included in your sphere of influence.  Are they different from you?  Or are they just like you?  There are a lot of people in our day who go to church, but only include people who are like them.  Most churches are segregated and do not fairly represent the racial diversity of God’s Kingdom. 

There are those in our day who only include people who:

  • Vote like they do belonging to the same political party
  • Are of the same faith
  • Are of the same denomination
  • Have the same color of skin
  • Are of the same economic status
  • Have the same sexual orientation

They exclude others who are different than they.  I feel sorry for these people because they just don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do.  There is hope for these people though.  If God could change Peter, God can change them.  That is what gives me great hope for change in our day.

Beloved, I encourage you today to look at all people through the eyes of Christ.  Christ died for all people.  It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have become, God loves them as much as He loves you.  Don’t try to change people and make them just like you.  Instead, obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  He will broaden your sphere of influence and speak God messages through you.  He will do the rest.  When criticism comes from those who don’t get who God is and what He has left us here to do, you will know that you are right on course as a Christ follower.

Click and check out our audio Bible messages.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 02:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 04 February 2010
God puts together gatherings where people are presented with the truth of His Word so that their faith can grow to a point where they can receive all of His spiritual blessings.  These God gatherings cross all barriers that man has instituted; they transcend learned traditions and practices and are used to build the church of Jesus Christ regardless of race or nationality.  

In Acts chapter 10, we are seeing God put together a gathering of people to receive the good news of Jesus Christ.  It would require that barriers be broken down and it would require obedience.  In the first paragraph (Acts 10:1-8), God is working on a Gentile named Cornelius.  In the second and third paragraphs (Acts 10:9-23), God is working on a Jew named Peter.  In the fourth and fifth paragraph, we see the gathering come together as these two individuals obey God.

So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am a man." And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me." And Cornelius said, "Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.' So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord."
(Act 10:23-33 ESV)

As Jesus was helping Peter see that racial barriers had to come down, Cornelius was busy getting his house full of his friends and family so that they could receive the blessings of God that were coming.  He didn’t know what they were going to receive; he just knew that if God was putting it together, it would be good. 

By the time Peter gets to the house of Cornelius, the house is full of people.  This was a God gathering designed by God, but for it to take place and people’s faith grow to receive God’s spiritual blessings; it required the obedience of Cornelius and Peter.  In this paragraph of Scripture we see that their obedience to the instructions that came to them through prayer resulted in a God gathering.  When God puts a gathering together, good things are going to happen.

These two individuals did not realize what the result of their obedience would bring prior to obeying.  They knew God and they knew that if they obeyed Him, the result would be good.  Many never enter into all that God has for them because they can’t see what the results of their obedience will bring.  These two did not have to see the results before they moved forward in obedience.  They trusted God and knew that if He was leading, the result would be good.

Beloved, trust God and move forward in obedience as He instructs you through His Word and through prayer.  You may not understand it all, but that is not a requirement.  All that God requires is obedience and as we step out in obedience, we know that the best is yet to come.  God rewards obedience with His spiritual blessings.

We need God gatherings in our day, but it will require stepping out in obedience.  At Loving God Fellowship we have built a platform for God gatherings to take place in cities across America and around the world.  We have stepped out in faith believing the instructions God has given us, not knowing what the end result will be while realizing that God’s spiritual blessings are for all nations and they will follow obedience.  We are calling these gatherings Loving God Fellowship or LGF Gatherings and all we need on the other end are for people like Cornelius to step out in obedience and gather their friends and family.  God will show up and with Him comes spiritual blessings.  To learn more about these gatherings and how you can be a part, please go to our website at LovingGodFellowship.org and click on the link “Building the Church without a Building” or the link “Church without Walls”.

May those who love God and ALL people rise up in obedience to the Lord in our day.  May God gatherings where the truth of God’s Word is proclaimed and faith is enlarged be commonplace.  May we realize that God gatherings do not have to take place in a church building and on a church day.  And may we receive the spiritual blessings that always follow our obedience to God.

Click and check out our audio Bible studies available online.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 03 February 2010
We are living in a day where some churches devote more finances and time to buildings, programs and events than they do in taking care of the felt needs of the people in their community and encouraging their attendees to continue the point of need ministry of Jesus within that community during the week.  Here in America there are churches that are thousands, millions, and some are billions of dollars in debt for facilities and building projects.  There is church finance institutions in place that are thriving on helping churches go into dept.  For a fee they will consult, loan funds and develop payback plans that will entice the church members to pay for the building projects that are oftentimes the fruit of the church leaderships pride and ego.

Some church facilities are only used a few times per week at the most.  Pride is taken in accumulating maximum volunteer hours from church attendees for church activities that take place within the walls of these facilities instead of within the community at the point of need.

It’s amazing that the church thrived for over 3 centuries without building projects. From the beginnings of the church as recorded in the book of Acts until Christianity became popular when Constantine became Christian, the focus was on continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus.  When the buildings started going up, the focus shifted off of needy people and onto needless buildings and the methods to pay for them.

We at Loving God Fellowship are seeking to help change this mindset that has held the church captive for way to long.  In doing so, we have implemented what we call “building the church without a building” or “church without walls”.

May God help us in our day keep our focus on people and not on buildings.  May we never put the needs of a building before the needs of people within our communities.  Christ took care of people at their point of need.  Christ died for people.  Christ is returning for people.

For some more information on “building the church without a building” and “church without walls”, check out the direct link at http://lovinggodfellowship.org/church_without_walls .

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
I received the following question yesterday and want to take time to answer it here on my blog:

What do you think the words "dead works" mean? I know what it means to me, but could you expound on it for me? I know how it is used in the scripture, but could it also apply to Christians? Thanks for your thoughts on this!
My Answer:

We know that faith without works, or faith without action is dead.  Check out what the Word of God says:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
(Jas 1:22-25 ESV)

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"--and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
(Jas 2:14-26 ESV)

So according to what God’s Word tells us, if a person does not act on what they believe, it is "dead faith".

I believe that "dead works" would be doing good deeds without truly believing in the simplicity of the cross, denying self, taking up the cross and following Jesus, having a personal relationship with Him.

There are a lot of good people destined to spend eternity in hell separated from God because they believe, but don't act or they act, but don't believe.

I've spent the last 18 years of my life encouraging people to build a relationship with Jesus and put their faith into action.  I stopped referring to myself a long time ago as being a "Christian".  Instead, I refer to myself as a "Christ follower".  There is a big difference. 

Christians believe and churches are full of them each weekend.  Christ followers believe and follow Christ in point of need ministry outside the walls of a church building.  They put their faith into action daily.  When they see a need or an injustice, they go into action.  They can not help it.  It is a change that Jesus has brought to their way of thinking and their heart because they decided to follow Him.

If everyone that attended a church building on the weekends would put their faith in action during the week, our cities would be turned upside down for Jesus Christ.  A justice revival would take place in every city. 

It has been my experience that the Christians who believe, but do not put their faith into action are the hardest people in the world to reach for Jesus Christ.  They think they are okay, but they are not.  May God open their eyes to what it means to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus as they love God and ALL people as their self.

And for all those who do good deeds, but do not believe - may they be drawn to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; that their works would not be dead, but alive in Jesus Christ.  They are close to the Kingdom of God which is already at hand.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:17 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 24 January 2010
According to an article published by WebMD Medical News “Top 10 Causes of Death Worldwide” the top two causes of death is heart disease and stroke.  Doctors tell us that the main causes of heart disease and stroke are genetics, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and stress.  Genetics are out of our control, but we can eat healthier, exercise and guard our heart from the stresses of our journey.  We need to look at what the Bible says about guarding our heart from the stresses of our journey and specifically look at something Jesus tells us concerning this.

In John chapter 13, Jesus is spending time with His followers in an upper room just prior to His crucifixion.  Jesus predicts Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial and begins to prepare them for His death.  You can detect the heaviness in the room as these followers begin to try to comprehend such news.  They had left everything to follow Jesus – jobs, homes, families.  They left everything to follow the person they thought was going to set up His Kingdom and rule on earth and deliver them from the Roman oppression that in itself was heart wrenching and depressing. 

Jesus senses the heaviness, the depression, the anxiety, the worries, the stress and He ministers these words:  (John 14:1-3 NIV)  ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."  In these words, Jesus gives us the cure for a troubled heart.

Do not let your heart be troubled.
We live in troubling times.  There are wars being fought and genocide taking place.  There are terrorists.  There are famines.  There are earthquakes.  There are increasingly more severe and frequent natural disasters.  It is like Jesus said it would be prior to His return (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). 

Many things that are happening bring stress.  When devastation occurs in our day it is because of a destructive, life destroying devil and not a loving, life giving God.    Jesus said (John 10:10 NIV)  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."   

In the midst of all that is going on around us, we must not let our hearts be troubled.  It’s a command given to us by Jesus.  Jesus not only gives us this command in John 14:1, but He also gives us the methodology of keeping our hearts from being troubled.

We are to place all of our trust in Jesus.
Jesus said (John 14:1 NIV) "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me."  The only way we are going to keep our hearts from being troubled is to place our total trust in Jesus.  We must constantly remind ourselves that He is the Good Shepherd and we are the sheep.  Jesus said (John 10:11 NIV) "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." 

King David knew how to trust the Lord.  David said (Psalms 23 NIV)  "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. {2} He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, {3} he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. {4} Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. {5} You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. {6} Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Beloved, to keep our hearts from being troubled on this journey that we are on, we must place our trust in the Lord.  Jesus will see us through whatever comes our way as we fix our eyes on Him and follow Him.

We are to forget the past and look beyond the present.
Some people allow their heart to be troubled by living in the past.  Others are so consumed with present trials that are overwhelming.  We must put the past behind us and look beyond the present in order to protect our hearts from being troubled.  Jesus said “(John 14:2-3 NIV)  "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

Beloved, no matter what you have gone through in the past and no matter what you are going through now, you have a bright future.  Jesus is preparing your eternal home and He is coming back for you.   That is the very next event on God’s agenda.  All Bible prophecy up to that point has been fulfilled.  Jesus is returning for the beloved.  God’s Word says “(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV)  "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. {18} Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Beloved, be encouraged with these Words today!  God is not against you.  He is for you!  Jesus is coming to rescue you!  Keep following Jesus on this journey from earth to glory!  Keep your eyes fixed on Him and keep your hearts from being troubled!


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 14 January 2010
As Christ followers wait for specific direction to come to them from their Lord, they pray and do all that they know to do to continue the point of need ministry of the One they follow.  When direction comes it will always be in Christ’s timing and the Christ follower’s obedience to the direction will always result in Christ being exalted.

Acts 9:32-35 gives us account of Peter continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus outside of Jerusalem in a city named Lydda.  As He followed Christ there, Peter was used as an instrument in the healing of a man who had been paralyzed and had not walked in 8 years.  Jesus healed this man through Peter’s willingness to be His hand extended.  Revival broke out in the city as true revival always impacts the community and brings social change to it.

Where would Peter go next?  When would he go?  How would he know to go?  What would he do until he received direction?

Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, "Please come to us without delay." So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.
(Act 9:36-43 ESV)

Peter followed Christ in point of need ministry in Lydda, until He received the next step.  The next step came through unlikely sources that communicated a need.  Peter did not delay.  He did not put it off explaining that things were happening where he was at that required his attention.  When Peter found out there was a need, he got up and went.  The need was the call of God.  The need was the instruction of Jesus.  He received all of the direction he needed to step out in obedience when he was informed of a need.

As a Christ follower, Tabitha was continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus through making undergarments and outer garments and distributing them to the poor in her city.  Her city was seeing the love of Christ and the Kingdom of God demonstrated through her actions as she provided for their felt needs, but her godly life and good works did not prevent her from sickness and death.  She died and the community, along with the other Christ followers, was grieving at her loss. 

When Peter arrived, he separated himself from all distractions and did what Jesus showed him to do; he prayed.  He prayed until he knew what to do next.  He received his direction through prayer.  In a boldness that only comes as a result of prayer and through the unction of the Holy Spirit, he told Tabitha to get up and he presented her to the people alive. 

Notice that Peter took no credit for this miracle.  All the credit belonged to Jesus.  A Christ follower receives direction and obeys.  Jesus does the rest.  And when Jesus does it, He will be exalted.  As a result of this miracle, many in Joppa believed.

All the while, God was doing a deep work in Peter, eliminating all prejudices from his heart so that he could minister at the point of need regardless of race, gender or status.  How do we know such a work was being done in Peter?  As he stayed in Joppa for many days waiting for his next assignment, notice that Peter stayed with Simon, a tanner.  The occupation of a tanner was considered unclean.  Because of the stink of the dead animals, the job was carried on outside a town or city.  God was doing a work in Peter and he was overcoming the prejudices of a Jew, for he recognized God’s grace in Simon regardless of his race or his occupation.

Direction comes to those who follow Christ and pray.  They may receive direction through unlikely sources, but it will come and it will always point to a need that Jesus desires that they meet.  As they step out in obedience, Christ is exalted, lives are touched and the Kingdom of God is realized on earth.

Click and listen

Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Christ followers bring encouragement and healing to people as they continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saul deciding to deny self take up his cross and follow Jesus, as recorded in Acts chapter nine, brings peace to the church that had become scattered from Jerusalem due to the persecution spearheaded by Saul.  It’s in this peace that we see Peter at the conclusion of Acts chapter nine leaving Jerusalem and visiting those who make up the church in the surrounding areas bringing encouragement and healing to them.

Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed." And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
(Act 9:32-35 ESV)


Peter went to the people and did not expect them to come to him.  Peter could have stayed in Jerusalem and been comfortable as a leader of the early church, but he didn’t.  He couldn’t and be a Christ follower.  Jesus did not stay in the synagogue on the Sabbath and expect needy people to come to Him.  Jesus allowed the Holy Spirit to direct His steps as he went and ministered to people at their point of need every day of the week.  And now we see Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, following Jesus and continuing His point of need ministry. 

Peter knew that within himself, he could do nothing.  He knew the source of healing was Jesus Christ.  Through the knowledge given by the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to tell Aeneas that Jesus was healing him.  Aeneas had been paralyzed and confined to a bed for eight years.  Peter would not dare say these words unless the Holy Spirit prompted Him.  He spoke the words and the healing was immediate. 

This miracle was instrumental in the residents of Lydda and Sharon deciding to become Christ followers.  They could not deny the healing power of Christ when they witnessed this man walking again after eight years of bed confinement.

We need Christ exalting miracles in our day and I believe that they will increase as more and more people decide to shake off the shackles of dead stale religion and deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus.  I believe that in the last days, there will be a supernatural reaping of the harvest of souls that is already ripe for harvest.  Christ exalting miracles will draw people to Him.  I’m not talking about superstars making a circus out of faith healing.  I’m talking about common folk, full of the Holy Spirit, continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus on a daily basis wherever the Holy Spirit directs them.

Christ followers minister encouragement and healing at the point of need.  They rely on the prompting of the Holy Spirit knowing that they can not heal, but Christ will heal.  They are willing to go instead of wait; act instead of just attend.  They know that Jesus will do the rest as they simply follow Him.

Click and listen

Click and check out our verse by verse Bible study of Acts.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

I am adding Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian to my recommended list of books.  Just Courage is written by Gary A. Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM).

If you want to stay safe and just be a church attendee, this book is probably not for you.  But if you want to go on an adventure and make a difference with your life as you follow Christ, you will devour this book.  I did.  It spoke to my soul and gave me great encouragement as it refreshed my resolve to be brave and follow Christ in what I call "point of need ministry."

I love when Haugen talks about the great commandment of loving God and people.  How can we love God who we can not see when we don’t love our neighbor who we do see?  If we love our neighbor who we do see, we will follow Jesus and seek justice for them.  This will cost us something.  It will require action from us as we do something with our life to make a difference for those who are oppressed.

My favorite chapter in the book is titled “Would You Rather be Safe or Brave?”  You can be a Christian and be safe, but you can not be safe and follow Christ.  To follow Christ you must be brave because it may cost you your life.  It just takes courage.

Seek justice,
   Rescue the oppressed,
   Defend the orphan,
   Plead for the widow.  (Isaiah 1:17 NRSV)

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
   Then your light will rise in the darkness,
   And your night will become like the noonday.

The Lord will Guide you always;
   He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   And will strengthen your frame.
   You will be like a well-watered garden,
   Like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:10-11)

And Jesus says, “Come, follow me.”

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org



Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 06 January 2010
What would happen in America and around the world if every existing church would encourage their attendees to volunteer time helping people in the community instead of spending their time in church activity or just attending church? 

What would happen if church leadership would teach attendees that according to the New Testament, ministry extends beyond the walls of a building and the confines of a service? 

What would happen if a church spent the same or more on helping the poor of their city as they do on buildings and the programs/ events designed to draw people into those buildings one or two times per week?

Where did Jesus spend His time?

Where did Jesus minister?

At the point of need.

Where are Christ followers to minister?

At the point of need.

I can wrap up the ministry model of LovingGodFellowship.org to you in one word – Jesus.

As we follow Him, we will minister beyond the walls of a building and the confines of a service. 

As we follow Him, we will minister at the point of need.

What will happen in our cities as we follow Him?

Social change which is the fruit of true revival.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 05:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 05 January 2010
It is important to know what we believe and why we believe it.  I personally believe that God’s Word is the authoritative guide for all all of a Christ follower’s beliefs and actions.  That is why it is so important to read, study and know the Scripture as a Christ follower.  It’s very important in our day because there are many false teachers, authors, prophets and preachers among us.  Jesus said it would get this way in the last days.  We must learn God’s Word and contend for faith and justice in our day based on what Scripture tells us.

Don’t rely solely on what someone tells you or you read in a book.  A Christ follower strives to be so familiar with Scripture that they know if what they are hearing in church, through a ministry or in a book is correct or not.  And when someone asks them “what do you believe?”, they are able to tell.  And when someone asks “why do you believe that?” they are able to point them to the Scriptures.

I was online today and visited one of today’s popular authors and pastor of a very large mega church.  I went to their “What We Believe” page to try to figure out what they believed and found a few very general statements with no Scripture reference at all.  It left me wondering if they really know what they believe and if they believe that God’s Word is the authoritative guide to all of our beliefs and actions.

At LovingGodFellowship.org, it’s all about God’s Word.  We know what we believe and why we believe it.  We love God’s Word.  We read it.  We study it.  We learn it.  We point people to it.  We preach it.  And we live it.

Click here and check out the "What We Believe" page at LovingGodFellowship.org. 

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, 03 January 2010

Twenty years ago, corporations developed mission and vision statements.

Ten years ago, churches saw the value of publicly stating and promoting mission and vision statements to describe what they are all about.

When we established LovingGodFellowship.org in December 2005, we saw the importance of putting what God laid on our hearts to accomplish in words utilizing a mission and vision statement and making it known.  We took it one step further than most churches do though.  We placed the mission and vision statement in our founding Constitution and Bylaws so that it could not be easily changed.  With the mission and vision statement being in the Constitution and Bylaws, it will take a 75% vote of the Board of Directors to change what LovingGodFellowship.org is all about. 

What are the mission and vision statements of LovingGodFellowship.org?

Mission Statement
Loving God Fellowship is an interdenominational fellowship of believers desiring to reach, equip and empower people to fulfill the Great Commandment of loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:36-39, Luke 10:25-37) and to fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

What does that tell us about LovingGodFellowship.org?
 

We are interdenominational – we are made up of Christ followers from all denominational backgrounds and do not allow doctrinal beliefs, which are manmade, to stop us from our Jesus mandated mission of loving God, loving people and making disciples.

Our mission is simplified to the two commandments that Jesus left all of His followers to accomplish until He returns.
 
How can we love God who we can not see when we do not love people whom we do see?  If we love people whom we do see, we will stand for justice and equality for all.  We will use all of our available resources to care for the needs of people and thus continue the point of need ministry of Jesus.  Along the way, we will show others, by our example, how to follow Christ just as Jesus has shown us by His example.


That’s our mission.  That’s what LovingGodFellowship.org is all about.

The purpose of the vision statement is to dial in on how we will go about accomplishing the mission.

Vision Statement
The vision of Loving God Fellowship is to impact cities and communities through believers ministering at the point of need just as Jesus led, commissioned and empowered His followers to do until He comes.

In 2010, we will be emphasizing the start of LovingGodFellowship.org (LGF) gatherings in cities around the world who will meet once a week for Bible study, fellowship and encouragement, but will spend the rest of the week ministering at the point of need as they follow Jesus.  Members will be encouraged to volunteer in community activity instead of just attending a church service and utilizing all of their expendable time volunteering in church activity.  This takes ministry beyond the walls of a church and the confines of a church service.

Most churches have set goals in obtaining as many volunteers as they can for their church and its activities, programs and events.  Our goal is to facilitate volunteers to minister in the community, at the point of need as Jesus did.

Please pray with us that God will lift up men and women in 2010 that will facilitate these weekly LGF gatherings in their cities and that God will attract to these gatherings those who desire to utilize their life to make a difference in our day.  This is vital in fulfilling our vision and accomplishing our mission.

As you pray, God may lead you to be one of these facilitators in your city, on your campus, or in your neighborhood.  If He does, please be quick to respond to Him in total obedience.  We are here to help you every step of the way!

Know that you are loved,

Reverend Gregory A. Johnson
Founder and President, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

NOTE:  This post is in continuation to the post Worldwide Ministry.

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 30 December 2009
My grandfather, Rev. Andrew Johnson, talked about breaking ice on the creek in the dead of winter to baptize people in the early and mid 1900's once they chose to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus.

I've been baptizing people for 18 years now.

I've baptized people indoors.

I've baptized people outdoors.

I've baptized people in swimming pools.

I've baptized people in cow troughs.

I've baptized people in water so cold that my legs where numb and blue, but have never had to break ice yet. 

To me, one of the thrills of ministry is baptizing those who choose to deny self, take up the cross and follow Jesus.

But, throughout my time in ministry, it has truly amazed me that there are so many who profess to be Christian, but delay being baptized in water.

Jesus was baptized in water prior to starting His earthly ministry.

If we are following Christ, we will follow Him in water baptism.

If you are a Christian who has not yet been baptized in water, I encourage you to make the transition to being a Christ follower and make the first step of your journey water baptism.

Get your hair wet!

Follow Christ in water baptism.

Allow the Holy Spirit to stir the waters and do something supernatural in your life.

Anne Lamott, in Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith says "Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy, and absurd. It's about surrender, giving in to all those things we can't control; it's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched."

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 29 December 2009
By God's grace, we are called to pick up our cross, deny self and follow Jesus. 

We choose to follow or not.

He does not choose for us.

If He did, He would not be a just God.

And He is just.

So the choice is ours.

As we follow Him, a wonderful and supernatural work happens within us on our journey.

We develop His mind.

We develop His heart.

He changes the way we think.

Our behavior toward others change.

His love develops within us and extends to those in need around us.

We stand for faith and justice no matter what it costs us.

That's true religion my friend...  that's true religion.

Henry Scougal said "True religion is a union of God with the soul, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or in the apostle's phrase, it is Christ formed in us."

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Christ followers are sojourners.

They realize that their life is but a journey.

They hang onto nothing tightly.

They discard anything that hinders their walk.

Their focus is intense.

Their gait is straight.

Their destiny is sure.

Their help is certain.

The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
(Psa 146:9 ESV)

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 05 December 2009
The Holy Spirit intervenes in the life of a Christ follower again and again, providing direction and protection needed to not only enter into one’s destiny, but also to complete the journey. 

In Damascus, Saul had entered into his destiny as he denied self, took up the cross and followed Jesus.  Entering into one’s destiny is not entering into some waiting pattern until a future event takes place.  Instead, it is a life long journey that is full of adventure and excitement.  Saul had just started on his journey and there was much for him to accomplish for Christ and His kingdom,

When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.  (Act 9:23-25 ESV)

Saul had entered into his destiny but had not completed his journey.  There was much to do ahead of him.
  • He would go on to become the apostle to the Gentiles.
  • He would go on to establish churches on his missionary journeys.
  • He would go on to write two thirds of the New Testament.

The Holy Spirit intervened again and again to direct and protect Saul and assure that he completed his journey as He followed Jesus.

Beloved, you have a destiny.  The moment you denied self, took up the cross and began to follow Jesus, you took your first step into your God given destiny of continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  What all you will accomplish for Jesus and His kingdom is still yet to be written.  It’s a journey.  The Holy Spirit will intervene again and again in your life providing you the direction and the protection needed to complete the journey and accomplish everything God has intended. 

The days in front of the Christ follower are always exciting and adventuresome.  From the first step of entering one’s destiny to completing the journey, there is much to be accomplished for Jesus and His kingdom.  The Holy Spirit has been given as a supernatural partner and He will direct and protect.  The Christ follower marches forward knowing that the best is yet to come! 

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 03 December 2009
Jesus picks common folk to accomplish extraordinary tasks.  J. C. Ryle said “The best and brightest of God's saints is but a poor mixed being.”

It's okay to be common.

It's okay to be "a poor mixed being."

It's okay with Jesus.  He picks us just as we are and takes us on a wonderful journey full of excitement and adventure as we follow Him.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:56 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Practicing humility is one of the core values of our worldwide fellowship.  I like what Joan Chittister says about humility:
Humility is what gives us the vision to look upon our world with fresh eyes. Humility enables us to respect others enough to put down our spurious images of ourselves and open our arms, as individuals and as a nation.
As we follow Christ, we will practice humility my friend. 

Keep following Christ. 

Keep practicing humility.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I am finding, day by day, that following Christ is an exciting journey.  It’s not always easy and requires much self sacrifice, but it is so rewarding.  Not rewarding in the sense of gaining material possessions or notoriety, but rewarding in seeing Jesus take a life that is hopeless, desperate and needy and fill if full of hope and love along with His grace and peace as they are ministered to at the point of need.  There’s nothing like it. 

I didn’t find joy and satisfaction in the corporate world.  I didn’t find joy and satisfaction in the intuitional church world.  I was a participant in both those worlds for years and found no joy or satisfaction in life.  I find much joy and satisfaction in following Jesus. 

For 18 years now, Becky and I have spent our lives ministering at the point of need while encouraging every Christian to make the transition to being a Christ follower.  We look forward to doing the same until Jesus comes.  We want Him to find faith in us upon His return.  We also want Him to find us busy continuing His point of need ministry, fulfilling His great Commandment and His Great Commission when He returns.

There is a chorus that floods my heart today.  I don’t know the writer but it goes like this:

To be like Jesus.
To be like Jesus.
All I ask, is to be like Him.
All through life’s journey, from earth to glory.
All I ask, is to be like Him.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 08:53 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
I’ve seen so much suffering and so much lack of compassion in our day, but I stay full of hope.

Half of this world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Many go hungry daily.

Many die daily of preventable and treatable disease.

Some say that government is the solution.

Some say that the institutional church is the solution.

What does Jesus say?

What does Jesus expect?

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." But Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." (Mat 14:14-16 ESV)

Jesus teaches His followers that they are the solution.

They are to use what He gives them in time, talent and treasure, however little it may seem, to take care of needy people.

This is the life of the Christ follower.

What would happen in our world if the 2+ billion Christians became Christ followers?

This, I believe, is the solution and I choose to receive my hope from Jesus, the Blessed Hope.

The best is yet to come!

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 04 November 2009
I wonder if we at times base our understanding of God’s willingness to help us on man’s willingness to help us.  Let me give you some examples of what I mean.  There is the job interview.  The interviewer is able to hire, but is the interviewer willing to hire you?  There is the loan process.  The loan officer is able to give a loan, but is the loan officer willing to give the loan to you?  There is that house that you want.  The seller is able to agree to your offer, but is the seller willing to agree to your offer?  There is your education.  Your teacher is able to take your late assignment because your dog ate your homework, but is your teacher willing to take your late assignment?  The police officer that pulls you over for going just a little over the speed limit is able to let you go with just a warning, but is the police officer willing to let you go with just a warning?  People are able, but are they willing?

You may be thinking, “I don’t get it.  What’s your point and how is it relevant to me?”  My point is this: we can not base our understanding of God’s willingness to help us on people’s willingness to help us.  We must base our understanding of God on the Bible.  The Bible is our authoritative guide to all of our beliefs and our actions.

At the end of Mark Chapter one, we meet a man that has a need.  A job is not his primary need.  Neither is a loan, a house or an education.  This man needs health care.  "A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, If you are willing, you can make me clean." (Mark 1:40 NIV) 

Leprosy is a terrible disease.  In Jesus’ day, leprosy is incurable.  Lepers were separated from society and considered to be outcasts.  With the disease, skin decays off of the bones.  Once a person was diagnosed with this disease, they were separated from their family and could no longer touch or be touched.  Can you imagine living the rest of your life and not being able to touch and be touched? -  A child no longer feeling the touch of a parent and a parent no longer feeling the touch of a child, a husband no longer feeling the touch of his wife and a wife no longer feeling the touch of her husband.  The disease itself brought much physical suffering and disability, but the mental and emotional suffering due to being an untouchable was just as continually tormenting.  

To make matters worse, the leper was required by law to walk through the crowded walkways of the city declaring at the top of their voice “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, LEPER, UNCLEAN.”  Upon hearing this, the crowd would part and allow the leper to come through making sure that no one touched the outcast.  That pretty much describes this man’s world that we read about in Mark chapter one; untouchable and a social outcast.  

This man brought his need to Jesus.
In the midst of his physical suffering and mental anguish; in the midst of emotional devastation, this man did the right thing.  He came to Jesus with his need.  In the first part of Mark chapter one, we see Jesus healing people and setting captives free from the bondages of sin and evil.  The whole city of Capernaum in the providence of Galilee is impacted.  Can you imagine the crowds that are now following Jesus?  This man with leprosy, void of any self esteem or respect from others presses through the crowd to bring his need to Jesus.  His steps to Jesus were humiliating as he shouted “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN, LEPER, UNCLEAN.”  As the people moved out of the way to let him by, he could undoubtedly feel the stares and hear the whispers.  But he pressed onward knowing that he had to get to Jesus with his need. 

Beloved, we have to press through whatever life deals us and get to Jesus just like this man did.  What are you going through right now in your life?  What are your needs?  What are you struggling with?  Do you need a miracle?  I encourage you to press through until you get to Jesus.  He is able to help you.

Expectations shaped by human treatment.
I imagine that this man turned to many people that were able to help him in some way or fashion, but they were not willing to help him.  Listen to his words to Jesus as he says "If you are willing, you can make me clean." (Mark 1:40 NIV)  I believe this man went to many people that could help him, but were not willing to help him.  His expectations were shaped by others actions and reactions to him.  You can hear in his words that he had great faith in Jesus’ ability to help him, but he was not sure if Jesus was willing.  This man with leprosy knew that Jesus could help him, but he was managing his expectations based on how others had treated him.

As I meditated on the words of this man with leprosy, God began to show me that our expectations in our day have been shaped by human treatment.  We live in a world where others have the ability to meet needs of people, yet they are not willing.  In our day, there seems to be more concern over oil in the Middle East than genocide in Sudan.  It spills over to our understanding of God and it diminishes our level of faith.  We approach God, not doubting His ability, but doubting His willingness to meet our need.  That’s why we pray prayers like “God, if it is your will, please heal my body…..”  We are not questioning God’s ability to heal, we are questioning His willingness to heal.  Our expectations have been shaped by human treatment.

Jesus reveals His heart to us in the way He responds to this man.
Jesus responds to this man’s request, which was conditioned by his experiences of denial for help.  "Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.”I am willing," he said. "Be clean!""  (Mark 1:41 NIV)  Notice that Jesus does not condemn this man for lack of faith in Jesus’ willingness.  No, instead Jesus reaches out and touches the man.  This is very significant.  Jesus touched the one that was untouchable showing physical evidence that He was willing to help this man.  Can you imagine?  Who knows how long it had been since this man had felt someone’s touch and here the Son of God reaches out and touches him.

Not only does Jesus physically touch the man, but He verbally tells him that He is willing to meet his need.  With a spoken command of “Be Clean!” Jesus demonstrates not only His ability to meet needs, but also His willingness to meet needs.  The result of the man coming to Jesus and Jesus touching the man was supernatural.  "Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured." (Mark 1:42 NIV) 

Beloved, this has great relevance to us in our day.  As we press through whatever we are going through and we take our needs to Jesus, He has compassion on us and works miracles in our life.  Please know that according to the Word of God, Jesus has not changed.  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)  Not only is Jesus able to meet your every need, He is also willing.  Continually bring your needs to Jesus Christ.  Jesus will have compassion on you.  Jesus will reach out and touch you.  Jesus will defy the natural and will work the supernatural in you.  In these days that we live, refuse to let human treatment shape your expectations in what God can do.  Expect a miracle each time you come in contact with Jesus!

As Christ followers, we are to minister at the point of need as Jesus did.  I call it, "getting our hands dirty." As Jesus leads us to where the need is and has given us the resources of time, talent and treasure to meet the need, we are to be willing.  The recipient of point of need ministry will see Jesus in us and experience His love and willingness to help through us.  His point of need ministry will continue.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 03 November 2009
Christ followers learn that remaining still, allowing God to do a deep work within them by the indwelling Holy Spirit, prepares them for point of need ministry.  They learn the voice of Jesus and listen, knowing that God is also preparing someone on the other end to receive the point of need ministry that they will bring as they follow Christ.  Jesus will show them the need.  They will be quick to minister as unto Him. 

The highest attainment in life is to remain still, allowing God to act and speak in you preparing you to continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remain still my friend.

He will prepare.

He will instruct.

Be quick to go.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 02 November 2009
Jesus works in each of His followers in different ways that produces the same result.  The result is always obedience that leads to point of need ministry.

In Acts 9:10-19 of God’s word we see Jesus working in Saul and Ananias, molding and shaping them to obey Him and continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Only Jesus can do this work and it only happens in those who submit to His leadership.

Saul was picked by Jesus in Acts 9:1-9.  He humbled himself and submitted to Jesus’ leadership.  He once was self led and now he is Christ led.  Jesus instructed him to go to Damascus and wait there for further instruction.  Saul obeyed. 

It was in the waiting that Christ did a deeper work in Saul, preparing him to enter into his destiny as a Christ follower.  While waiting, Saul fasted and prayed.  This went against Saul’s nature of being self led and self sufficient.  He was use to going and blowing; doing his own thing in his own time.  He rested, worked and played on his own schedule.  This had to change in order for Christ to fully utilize him.  Saul waited.  Saul prayed.  Saul fasted.  Saul obeyed.  He didn’t know why, but he obeyed.

Ananias was a Christ follower in Damascus.  Jesus came to him in a vision and gave him detailed instructions.  He tells him specifically what street and what house to go to in order lay hands on Saul so that Saul would receive his sight back.  Jesus was telling Ananias to go help the man who came to town to throw you in prison and would like to murder you.  Wow, what an instruction and what a step of obedience by a Christ follower.

Ananias obedience led to point of need ministry.  When he arrives, he specifically addresses Saul as “brother”.  What an example of the love and forgiveness that are fruit of a Christ follower’s life.  Saul received his sight after Ananias laid his hands on him.  Saul followed Christ that day as Ananias baptized him in water.  Ananias took care of Saul’s basic needs and prepared food for him to eat so that he could regain his strength.  Once again, the obedience of a Christ follower leads to continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Saul learned a lot that day.  He learned the value of obedience and he benefited from its result as a Christ follower ministered to him at his point of need that day.  Saul didn’t have to go to a church building and attend a service.  Saul didn’t have to go to an evangelistic event or a faith healing crusade.  Saul did not have to wait in line at the homeless shelter for a cup of hot soup.  No, the Christ follower came to him and took care of his needs right where he was at.

This act of unconditional love and forgiveness undoubtedly started to shape Saul for the ministry that was ahead of him.  In the rest of the book of Acts we will see Saul, in complete obedience, continue the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Ananias will not be mentioned again, but rest assured, a Christ follower does not retire until they reach glory.  Ananias kept living a life of obedience, continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we follow Christ, He will direct our steps and lead us to where He desires us to continue His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We will be pleasantly surprised as we realize that Jesus’ ministry goes far beyond the walls of a church building and the confines of a service.  His ministry is where the need is and that is where He will lead us.  Will we go?  The difference between the called and the chosen is obedience.


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Sometimes we forget that our spiritual journey involves a downwardness.   There are some who attribute this downwardness to direct attacks of Satan or lack of faith.  In doing so, they bring much harm to those experiencing these downward periods.

We must always remember that Christ revealed the downward aspect of the journey when He left the realm of glory to come into our world and show us how to live and how to die.  As Christ followers, we follow Him even in the downward periods of our life knowing that glory is ahead of us and the best is yet to come.

Thanks to my friend Milton W. Kliesch for this video clip of Parker Palmer talking about his spiritual journey that has included 3 bouts of clinical depression.  He refers to a downwardness of the the journey in which he has learned much.  

Parker Palmer - Spiritual Journey - Moving beyond pain from 30goodminutes on Vimeo.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder
www.LovingGodFellowship.org

 

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
We can do no great things; only small things with great love.

~ Mother Teresa

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 04:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 19 October 2009
As one grows in their walk with Christ, they continually learn that the Holy Spirit directs their steps.  They begin to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him to prepare and design God encounters with others at their point of need.

In Acts 8:26-40 we see a Holy Spirit designed encounter take place that we can learn much from and it will help us be able to recognize future Holy Spirit designed encounters in our journey as we follow Christ and increase His kingdom.  Please notice some things with me in these Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit caused the paths of two unlikely people to cross – a Jewish Christ follower and an Ethiopian non Christ follower. 

Jesus desires for us to mix with people that are not like us.  If we continually mix with only those who are like us, we will miss our Holy Spirit designed encounters.  That is why Christ followers have allowed Him to remove all prejudices that they have learned from their heart.  They love God and ALL people.  They are willing to mix with people of all race, belief, and economic status.

The Holy Spirit prepared both individuals beforehand for this encounter.

Philip was full of the Holy Spirit and had developed a heart to help people (Acts 6:1-6).  He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and was used by God in a powerful way there and now he was led by the Spirit to just head south.  Phillip had allowed Christ to break down all prejudices in his heart and he was willing to minister at the point of need to anyone, no matter who they were and where they were located.

The Ethiopian had just been to Jerusalem representing the queen of the Ethiopians and was now heading back home to Ethiopia.  He was not yet a Christ follower, but God was working in His heart. 

Scripture was used as a basis to reveal Christ.

The Holy Spirit had attracted the Ethiopian to the Scriptures and he was reading in Isaiah 53.  He did not know that Isaiah 53 pointed to Christ.  He did not know that Christ had already come and fulfilled the Old Testament.  He had questions concerning Scripture.  Phillip the Christ follower answered his questions and pointed him to Jesus.

Christ followers must know Scripture.  It’s not an option.  Scripture is our authoritative guide to our beliefs and our actions.  The Holy Spirit works on people’s hearts through Scripture and for us to be used by the Holy Spirit, we must know Scripture and be constantly ready to lovingly point people to Jesus through Scripture as they ask questions.  If they are not asking questions, the Holy Spirit has not prepared them yet and we are just simply to love them and take care of their felt needs.  Christ followers know when the Holy Spirit has prepared an individual by the questions they ask and we must be prepared to give the answer of Christ.

The desire to follow Christ in water baptism was the indicator that something genuine had taken place within the Ethiopian.

After having Christ revealed to Him, the Ethiopian did not have the desire to go to a church service, walk an aisle and repeat a prayer after somebody asking Jesus into his heart.  No, all of those things are man made and not found in Scripture.  The Ethiopian did have a genuine desire to follow Christ in water baptism.  Water baptism is the first step a Christ follower takes in their journey with Christ and it is an outside indicator of what has already taken place on the inside.

The kingdom of God grew that day.  It grew by one on that road heading south, but when the Ethiopian got back to Ethiopia, the good news about Jesus compelled others into the kingdom and Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 continued to come to pass.

Is Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 being fulfilled through your life? 

A Christ follower will always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and minister at the point of need resulting in Christ being exalted and the kingdom of God growing.  They can not keep the joy and the good news of the kingdom to their self as they come across people that the Holy Spirit has already prepared to receive point of need ministry and the love of Christ.  


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 11:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

    -- 1 John 4:11
Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 03:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
I have had to do a lot of unlearning as a follower of Christ.  I was raised in the church and have been a Christian all of my life.  But I have not been a Christ follower all of my life (1 Peter 2:21).  When I decided to follow Jesus, I had to unlearn a lot that the modern church had taught me that is not found in Scripture. 

There is a big difference between being a Christian and being a Christ follower.  Christians believe in Christ.  Christ followers deny self and follow Christ continuing His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is possible and most probable in our day and within our culture to be a Christian while not being a Christ follower.

Matthew was a tax collector in Jesus’ day.  Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were considered to be worse than sinners.  They oppressed the people.  Caesar would declare a tax to fund his luscious life style and it was up to the governors of provinces to collect the tax.  The governors were allowed to add a tax to that tax in order to support their life style.  They would hire tax collectors to collect these taxes and the tax collectors would be allowed to add onto the tax they collected an amount they desired to fund the way that they wanted to live.  And they lived nice at the expense of oppressing people.  That was Matthew.  In Matthew 9:9-12, Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him. 

I notice some interesting facts concerning Jesus’ contact with Matthew:

What Jesus didn’t do: 
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to go the synagogue with Him the next Sabbath
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to repeat a prayer after Him and ask Him to come into his heart
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to attend some evangelistic event
  • Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to participate in a synagogue designed and led program that would help him change his behavior and become a good person
What Jesus did:
  • Jesus went to where Matthew was (point of need ministry)
  • Jesus did not point out all the things that Matthew was doing wrong and did not condemn nor judge Matthew for what he had did in the past or what he had become
  • Jesus showed Matthew that he cared for him just as he was
  • Jesus spent time building a relationship with Matthew that included Matthew’s friends who were all sinners
What the religionists of Jesus’ day did:
  • Avoided all people who did not believe or act as they did
  • Only associated with people that attended their service at the synagogue
  • Questioned why Jesus was hanging out with sinners
Jesus only made one request of Matthew and that was “follow me”.  Jesus makes the same request to us today.   Yes the culture has changed, but not Jesus’ request or His methodology.  He still is asking people to simply follow Him.  He doesn’t ask them to join a church and utilize all of their expendable time volunteering for church activity designed to attract people into the walls of a building and the confines of a service.  He just simply asks us to follow Him.  As a person answers that call, they begin an exciting journey that will lead them from earth to glory and on the way, they will touch many people at their point of need as Jesus did.  They can’t help it.  It’s the fruit of following Jesus. 


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 12:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, 12 October 2009
As we continually choose to follow Jesus and we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He changes us.  We develop more of His mind and more of His heart which impacts our behavior each step of the way on our journey from earth to glory.

In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him.  And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.

Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus.  At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years.  Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though.  After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him.  After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit.  On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day.  But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers.  As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.

The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria.  John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated.  It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56).  Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.

It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers.  They were following Jesus once again to Samaria.  He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.

Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus.  He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ.  Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power.  Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”.  Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked.  He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.

As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their heart and their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others.  On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother communicating with those in the villages of Samaria.  As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they preached the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25).   Jesus had brought more change to them.  They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.

Jesus changes us.  He changes our way of thinking towards others.  He changes our behavior towards others.  He changes us to be more like Him as we continually deny self and follow Him.  The best is always yet to come as we follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.


Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 07 October 2009
A massive quake and tsunami struck the Samoan islands on September 29, 2009, killing at least 500 people and trapping survivors beneath debris and rubble from collapsed buildings. Support is needed to get emergency aid to survivors.

I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa.  With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
 
Will you click here and join us in showing the survivors the love of Christ? 




Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 06 October 2009
Health workers fanned out across Padang on Tuesday to douse the Indonesian city with disinfectant over concerns about disease outbreaks six days after a deadly earthquake rattled Sumatra.

The rescue mission in Padang, a port city of 900,000, and in surrounding hills devastated by landslides has now turned to a huge relief effort to help thousands who have lost their homes. ~ PADANG, Indonesia, Oct 6 (Reuters)




I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa.  With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.

Know that you are loved,

@PastorGreg
Founder, www.LovingGodFellowship.org

Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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