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Gregory A. Johnson: Christ follower, pastor, and author 
Friday, 15 July 2011
Today, there is more of an infatuation with the end of days than in any other time I can recall during my lifetime.  Movies have been made, books written, and predictions made.  People are building bomb shelters, buying up precious metals as silver and gold, storing up food, and making sure they have ample supplies of water.  Are we living in the last days?
 
The “last days” began over 2,000 years ago at the cross of Christ when those three powerful words, “it is finished,” were uttered from the parched lips of our tortured and dying Savior.  Ever since and throughout the years, many have predicted the return of Christ for His followers prior to the wrath of God being poured out on a world that has rejected Him.  These dates have come and gone, but the truth of Jesus’ return remains.  Each time a prediction is made and the date goes by, some are swayed into believing that it is nothing more than a myth, but it is not a myth; it is truth and will occur at God’s beckoning, which will not be in response to His creation’s predictions.  God will not consult with anyone.  
 
Jesus said, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)”
 
So, as Christ followers, besides being in a continual state of readiness, what are we to do?  Jesus answers that question in a few verses of Scripture prior when He says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14 ESV)”  
 
The gospel is good news.  Jesus showed us what the kingdom is all about through His words and actions when He came into our world to show us how to live and how to die.  I’m writing a book this summer that the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart titled “The Kingdom According to Jesus.”  I believe that we have missed so much of what God intended in His kingdom as revealed through the life and teachings of Jesus.   Please pray for me as I seek to obey our Lord in this endeavor.
 
The ministries of LGF are now touching 13,739 people around the world per day with the “gospel of the kingdom.”  We thank God constantly for the faithful prayer and financial support that we receive.    
 
Know that you are loved,

gaj
 
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 01:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Through the writing of the Palmist, Psalm 2 comes to a conclusion with a warning from the Holy Spirit:  “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:10-12 ESV)”
 
The Holy Spirit gives us three imperatives in this paragraph of Scripture, which if followed, will result in blessed living.  First of all, the Holy Spirit compels those of our day to be “wise” and to be “warned.”  Wisdom and warning come from God’s Word and His Holy Spirit.  Christ followers must constantly be people of the Word and the Spirit to live for Jesus as the Word and the Spirit will come together and do a powerful work in our lives.  When either the Word or the Spirit is rejected, wisdom and warning is cast away and the result is destruction. 
 
The second imperative given by the Holy Spirit in these verses is to “serve the LORD.”  Salvation from the wrath of God that is to come is not complete by only accepting Jesus as your savior; you must make Jesus LORD of your life.  You must follow Him and commit your life to His lordship.  
 
The third imperative the Holy Spirit gives us is to “Kiss the Son” which implies intimacy in relationship.  Jesus came to earth rejecting religion and religionist, proclaiming and portraying relationship with God instead.  You see, it’s not about religion.  It’s not about manmade denominations.  It’s not about church membership.  It’s not about devoting all of your extra time to church activity.  It’s all about relationship with Jesus; kissing the Son; having an intimate relationship with Jesus.
 
Why does the Holy Spirit give us these three imperatives?  Because the wrath of God is coming on all those that do not love Him and have rejected His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those who will obey these imperatives are found in Jesus and there is wonderful news for them in the face of world destruction like has never been seen before.  That wonderful news is found in the last sentence of Psalm 2: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
 
Beloved, take refuge in Jesus, making Him your LORD and Savior, receiving the bountiful blessings found only in Him.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
 
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 12:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
Psalm 2 is both a prophetic and messianic psalm that points to Jesus and that which is to come.  The present condition of our world is described prophetically in the first three verses: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us (Psalms 2:1-3 ESV).”

Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30 ESV),” but, in our day, nations and rulers have decided that God’s yoke declared through Jesus, the Word that became flesh, is “bonds” and “cords” restraining them from fulfilling their fleshly desires birthed through selfish ambition.  Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God, has been denied by entire nations, their rulers and their religions.

Nations fight against God through rejecting His Anointed, Jesus Christ, His only begotten son.  Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him (John 14:6-7 ESV).”  If Jesus is rejected, God Himself is rejected; If Jesus is received, God Himself is received.

Receive Jesus today; receive God.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 01:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 01 July 2011
Set apart are two words that demand separation of their subject from the group that it occupies in order for it to be used for something specific.  When you set something apart, you separate it from multiples of the same or from distinctly different items, in order for it to be utilized for a specific purpose.  Throughout Scripture, from tabernacle utensils to entire nations, from donkeys to kings, from fishermen to doctors, God reveals that He sets apart for His purposes.  Jesus Christ came into our world and set apart His followers, and He continues to do so today.  Christ followers are set apart for His service and they realize it.

The Apostle Paul knew that he was set apart by Jesus as told in his words:  ”Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1 ESV).”  You can read about the beginnings of Paul’s setting apart in the book of Acts of the Bible, in chapter 9.

Beloved, please know that you also have been set apart for the good news of God.  You are no longer your own.  You were bought by God.  The purchase price was more precious than money.  The purchase price was the blood of Jesus Christ the son of God.  Now you are no longer your own doing your own thing in a world that grows increasing out of step with the good news of God.  No, you are called and set apart by God to live and to share the good news through your actions and words. 

A set apart life is such an exciting life to live.  Our life is not our own.  We are living for Jesus and Jesus is living within us.  We are in this world, but we are not a part of this world.  We have been separated and set apart from this world for the good news of God!  Praise the Lord for His good news!  Praise the Lord for buying us back from sin with His blood and setting us apart!  Praise the Lord for His goodness, His mercy and His grace!

Be set apart, Beloved.  Be set apart for Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 03:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
It’s all about Jesus.  The Old Testament points to Jesus.  The sacrifices, the feasts, the tabernacle, the furniture in the tabernacle, the placement of the furniture in the tabernacle; everything points to Jesus.  Studying the types of Christ in the Old Testament is fascinating and faith building as the student sees God’s wonderful plan of redemption foretold in such detail.

Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,  (Romans 1:2-4 ESV).”

This speaks of the humanity and the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He was both man and God; a concept that is hard for our feeble minds to understand, but a truth that we as believers receive by faith.  It took a man to stand in the gap for our sins, but the man had to be sinless.  God came into our world through Jesus Christ to be a sin sacrifice; a sinless offering for our sins.  Jesus was a descendant of David and was birthed through a virgin.  He was crucified as an innocent man.  He was resurrected the Son of God and being re-glorified, He was placed back at the right hand of the Father.

Beloved, the good news of God is that He loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to take care of our sin problem.  God wants to spend eternity with us, but sin separated us from God.  At the cross, Jesus took our punishment for sin, which is death, so that we can have eternal life.  We are God’s inheritance and He longs to spend eternity with us.  Isn’t that good news?  That’s the good news of God!       

Know that you are loved,
gaj  
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 27 June 2011
When Paul says “which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (Romans 1:2 ESV),” he is referring to the Old Testament as the New Testament was currently being written with two thirds of it being written by Paul under the Holy Spirit’s unction.  Throughout the whole Old Testament, we are given the promise of the good news of God.  Everything in the Old Testament points to the good news of God, which is Jesus Christ.

Many people today have devalued the Old Testament since we are now living under the new covenant.  Beloved, never devalue the Old Testament; read it; study it; understand it.  It will strengthen your faith as you understand that God did not randomly react to our sinful condition.  No, God did not randomly react; He graciously had a plan of redemption in place.  The Old Testament points to and reveals God’s good news of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:23 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
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
When I was in my early teens, a thought took hold of me: Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering—he died to teach us how to suffer.... Sometimes I actually mean it. I’d rather die young, having lived a life crammed with meaning, than to die old, even in security, but without meaning.

- Mev Puleo
Witness of solidarity (1963-1996)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 10 June 2011
Beloved,

I prayed and asked the Lord to give me a word for you today and He laid Hebrews 1:3 on my heart to share with you.  In this verse of Scripture given to us in the midst of everything that comes our way; we are pointed to Jesus Christ.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3 ESV) 

Becky and I hear daily from people nearing the end of their rope, not knowing what to do, or where to turn.  Some are torn by broken relationships, painfully haunting, weighing constantly on frail emotions, leaving the one desiring better wondering why the other is so rejecting and seemingly disinterested in making mends and building back that which has been ripped away.  Some are hardly able to make it on limited or drying up finances, making paying rent, keeping the house, buying medicine, receiving adequate healthcare, putting food on the table all stressful happenings instead of normal living, leaving one wondering day to day if they will even survive the next day, week, or month.  From the mother who is one week from being homeless, to the husband whose wife has fallen in the arms of another, to the parent who is heartbroken with a rebellious child, we minister daily the only way we know how.  We spend our life pointing the hurting, suffering, and seemingly hopeless to Jesus.

Life is seldom easy, often messy, proving difficult on more occasion than not, but can be lived graciously and victoriously because of Jesus and what He has done for each of us.  God loves us so much, He sent Jesus into our world.  Jesus loves us so much; He willingly came, experiencing how we live in this world filled with pain, heartache, suffering and death.  He willingly gave his life, so that we can have life in Him, not only now, but for all eternity.

Beloved, whatever you are going through right now, rest assured that Jesus knows, He cares, and He is praying that your faith will not fail even though you may be going through the greatest sifting of your faith that you can recently remember.  You will come through this trial, the next, and every trial victoriously as you fix your eyes on Jesus who “upholds the universe by the word of his power.”

We thank God constantly for the faithful prayer and financial support that we receive for LGF.  It is allowing us to touch 12,609 people per day with the love and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Know that you are loved,

gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 03:55 pm   |  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
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Virgin birth.

Miracles.

Fulfillment of prophecy.

Resurrection.

Ascension.

These are some of the evidences for the deity of Jesus.

There is evidence for the deity of Jesus -- good, strong, historical , cumulative evidence; evidence to which an honest person can subscribe without committing intellectual suicide. -- John Stott

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Reverend Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 13 May 2011
In over two decades of teaching, preaching, and pastoring, I have taught parishioners that any time you read a promise in the Bible, you need to start looking around for the conditions to obey in order to receive the promise.  If you do your part in obeying the Scripture, God does His part, and the promise will be realized in you.  It's a central theme throughout the Bible.  The "Bible Promise" books that have been so popular over the years leave the conditions of the promises of God out, leaving people standing on the promises, but ignorant to the conditions to obey in order to receive them.
 
Now we have a book that explains how to read and understand Scripture finding the conditions that lead to fulfilled promises, and it is written by a friend and mentor of mine, Robert P. Holland, who has been pastoring since 1965.  First a word concerning Pastor Holland, and then I will talk more about his book which I have completed reading and highly recommend for all those who are serious about understanding and receiving the promises of Holy Scripture.
 
Pastor Holland is one of my heroes of faith.  I have known him for two decades and had opportunity to sit under his ministry for a short season prior to pastoring my first church in the early 1990s.  Pastor Holland has a keen understanding of Scripture that is reflected in his life.  He portrays the image of Christ more than any other person I have had the privilege of knowing.  His ability to communicate and teach the Word is a gift given to us by God.  Those who have had the privilege of sitting under his ministry have not experienced a famine of the Word under it, and have instead been given a bountiful feast that brings growth in the Lord.
 
I just finished reading his book, Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7, and highly recommend it.  The book begins with an explanation of the title which is fundamental to the 44 chapters which follow.  In each chapter, which Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom and Promise workshops", a Scripture promise and its conditions (Pastor Holland refers to as "Wisdom") are identified and proper exegesis, application and exhortation is given.
 
For those who will read the book, I believe that the Holy Spirit will bring attention to the areas of life where proper wisdom is not applied, and where promises are not being realized, allowing for proper application of Scripture to take place.   I"m sure that every reader who has a desire to please God and live for Him will be able to properly apply wisdom and receive promises as they prayerfully read and glean from each chapter.
 
There have been some great books that I have read that I commit to reading again.  With this book, I plan to incorporate it into my daily discipline of reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture, by reading a chapter each day for a while to come. In the days ahead, I will also be tweeting (@Gregory_Johnson) some quotes from the book and posting some quotes on my Facebook page (GregoryAJohnsonPage).
 
I encourage you to get a copy of the book today, read it, and let God speak into your life as you discover the wisdom and promises that God would have you receive.  The book is available as a paperback and as an ebook on Amazon. Click here and get your copy today - Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7: Finding Wisdom and Receiving Promises.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow. -- Theodore Epp

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
Monday, 25 April 2011
"There are many rooms in my Father's house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back. Then I will take you with me, so that you can be where I am." ~ Jesus, John 14:2-3 (ERV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 21 April 2011
With Good Friday and Easter Sunday of Holy Week this weekend, I invite you to listen to a message that God laid on my heart titled, "The Cross and the Empty Tomb".  This is probably one of the most important messages that I've been honored to deliver in more than 20 years of ministry.

My prayer is that this message will minister encouragement to you as you listen, and that if you feel led , you will use it to encourage others in your family and sphere of influence.

You can listen on your PC, laptop, or mobile devices including phones and tablets.

You can listen on your PC and laptop at http://lovinggodfellowship.org/bible_messages

You can listen on your mobile devices including phones and tablets at http://lovinggodfellowship.org/m-listen

May God surround you with His grace and peace in ever increasing measures.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 18 April 2011
"If a person knows my commands and obeys those commands, then that person truly loves me. And my Father will love the person that loves me. And I will love that person. I will show myself to him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But Lord, why do you plan to show yourself to us, but not to the world?" Jesus answered, "If any person loves me, then he will obey my teaching. My Father will love that person. My Father and I will come to that person and live with him."

-- John 14:21-23 (ERV)
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 02:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Historians have proven that there was a historical Jesus that walked this earth teaching and doing good.

Often times, there are but two opinions of Jesus.

These two opinions separate major faiths around the world.

They have split nations.

They have split families.

They have split relationships.

They have split criminals.

In our work in jails, in prisons, to the homeless, within gangs and in transitional facilities, we have experienced this split firsthand as we have taken the good news of Jesus to the point of need.

Jesus experienced the same split of opinion at the cross.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43 ESV)

The one criminal was interested in Jesus only for an immediate fix to his problem saying, "Save yourself and us!"

In his mind, if Jesus was really the Christ, He would have to prove it through an act of selfishness that would have only saved three.

Jesus was all about saving, but He was not selfish, and He had no need to prove anything.

The other criminal had a different opinion of Jesus, realizing his own guilt and Jesus' innocence, desiring to be with Jesus, the Christ, in His Kingdom.

That criminal has been saved and is with Jesus today.

He had the right opinion of Jesus that led to salvation in the presence of Jesus for all eternity.

My opinion?

Jesus is the Christ. 

I'm nothing but a criminal who deserves punishment.

I long to be where Jesus is and choose to participate in His kingdom, which He is ruling over, both now and forever.

What's your opinion?

Know that you are loved,
gaj




Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:58 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  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, 02 April 2011
People can be cruel with their words and actions.

This cruelity can come from unexpected or unlikely sources.  

I have personally found that those who claim to be in a relationship with Christ can be the worse offenders of others, but yet a relationship with Christ includes following his teachings, and allowing them to transform us.  

Many believe in Christ, but are not transformed by His life, teachings, and Spirit; they have no relationship with Him.

They offend while professing Christianity.

Sadly, true Christ followers may be stereotyped as being mean and cruel, as these offenders are who believe in Christ, but are not transformed by Him.  

These offenders, oftentimes, substitute relationship with a church or denomination for relationship with Him.  

We are not all like the pastor Terry Jones, and looking for a Koran to burn.

Some of us really do love God and our neighbors as ourselves.

That's the Great Commandment Christ left us with. 

Christ followers live by it.

Unfortunately, others just know about it.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
 
Posted by: Rev. Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:47 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, 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
Thursday, 24 February 2011
Every day, no matter what our age, we get older, but the Spirit within us never ages and continues to give us life.
But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. -- Romans 8:10-11 tniv
Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 11:01 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
"I came from the Father into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." Then the followers of Jesus said, "You are speaking clearly to us now. You are not using words that are hard to understand. We can see now that you know all things. You can answer a person's question even before he asks it. This makes us believe that you came from God." -- John 16:28-30 (ERV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 09:39 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 21 February 2011
[Jesus said] "I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble. But be brave! I have defeated the world!"

-- John 16:33 (ERV)

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, 17 February 2011
To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.

-- John Henry Newman

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Gregory A. Johnson AT 07:33 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
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
Sunday, 12 December 2010
I just completed writing my first book and it is available on Amazon.  The title is "The Characters of Christmas: God at Work in our Lives".

In this simple and easy to read book, I attempt to take the characters of Christmas – Mary, Joseph, Herod and the Magi – and bring to the readers attention that nothing is impossible for God, God’s plan for us is best, God delivers us from evil and God is at work in our lives. I call these God themes. God themes are found throughout the Bible. Although the word “Christmas” is in the title of this book and I use the characters of Christmas throughout, these God themes are relative to us during any calendar season or any season of life.

My prayer is that the words written will encourage, strengthen and build faith in each reader. May God open the windows of heaven and pour out all of His spiritual blessings on each one as they read.

The book is only available as an e-book.  You can read it on your Kindle or you can read it on you Windows PC, Ipad, Iphone, Mac, Blackberry, Android or Windows 7 phone by downloading the FREE Kindle reading apps.  Click here to download the FREE Kindle reading apps.

Click here to get your copy of The Characters of Christmas.  Please be one of the first to read it and post a review for it on Amazon.



Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:58 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
 -- Ephesians 2:19-20
Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 05:00 pm   |  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
Thursday, 14 October 2010
We stay strong and courageous because of God’s abiding presence.  God tells Joshua "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."    (Joshua 1:5 NIV)  God also tells Joshua "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 NIV)  

God is not telling Joshua that the journey is going to be easy.  No, it is going to be everything but easy.  Get your Bible out and read the book of Joshua and you will see how uneasy it was.  God didn’t say it would be easy, but God did say that no one would be able to stand against him so there is no need to be terrified or discouraged.

In the midst of huge obstacles, Joshua was able to overcome and not be terrified or discouraged because of God’s abiding presence.  God told Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went and that God would never leave him or forsake him.  Joshua found out in all situations that if God is with you, it doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is, you will prevail.

Beloved, what obstacles are you facing in your journey?  What seems to be insurmountable?   What’s taking your joy?  What’s taking your peace?  What do you lie awake thinking about?  Know this, that if God is with you, it doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is, you will prevail!  You will overcome!  When you look at that big obstacle, don’t be terrified and don’t be discouraged.  God is with you and you will prevail!

The moment that you decided to follow Jesus and accepted the work He did for you on the cross, the Holy Spirit set up residence in you.  He abides in you!  You are now a temple of God.  You house His Holy Spirit.  That is the abiding presence of God in you.

It’s all because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  He took our punishment.  He shielded us from the wrath of God.  He suffered, bled and died so that we could experience the abiding presence of God for now and for all eternity!  And now God has set up residence in us.  In earthen vessels that are nothing but jars of clay.  Everywhere we go, God goes with us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us!  He will get us through every obstacle on our journey from earth to Glory!

Praise God Beloved!  Don’t be terrified!  Don’t be discouraged!  God is with you and has given you His Word.  Talk about it!  Meditate on it!  Do it!  God will give you the strength and the courage to be successful on your journey from earth to Glory!  Nothing, absolutely nothing will prevail against you!  No obstacle will hinder you on your Journey!  God is taking you out of the wilderness and into His Promised Land.  Be strong and courageous!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
Monday, 27 September 2010
Notice that Jesus knew what the religionists were thinking and addressed them (Mark 2:6-12).  They were upset because Jesus forgave this man of His sins.  Their logic and theology convinced them that only God could forgive sin.  Who did Jesus think He was?  Anyone could say that they forgive a person’s sin, but there is no evidence that what they say has been accomplished. 

Jesus, knowing what was in their heart, gave the physical evidence that verified that He had the authority to forgive sins.  He gave the paralytic specific instruction and when the paralytic obeyed Jesus, physical healing took place.  This man not only received the forgiveness of sin, but He could finally move and walk.  The people were amazed and God was glorified.

Friend, we are sinners and Christ forgives sins.  A church doesn’t.  A pastor or priest doesn’t.  Church membership or church attendance doesn’t.  Christ does.  I encourage you to allow Christ to forgive you of your sins today.  Scripture tells us ”This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10 ESV)”

We are sinners and Christ forgives sins.

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, 23 September 2010
In the first five verses of chapter two in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is ministering in a house in Capernaum.  He is preaching about the Kingdom, repentance and faith.  The house is so full of people, not another person could get through the entrance.  Mark tells us that there was a paralytic who was brought to the house by four friends.  They had heard about the Kingdom that Jesus was introducing throughout the land in both His words and through His actions.  If they could just get this paralytic friend to Jesus they knew that things would be different. 

They didn’t let a packed house and blocked entry way stop them.  They took the man up to the roof, removed the tiles and lowered the man down on his bed.  This took much faith, both in the paralytic and his friends “and when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.””

Don't allow any obstacles keep you and your friends from Jesus and His Kingdom that He is ruling over.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
We all have one thing in common. 

We all are sinners in need of forgiveness. 

Please know today that Christ forgives sin.

....and know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Monday, 20 September 2010
Beloved, Jesus loves us.  He desires to forgive us of all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  His Kingdom has been established in Him.  Be quick to repent and believe. 

Repent and believe… Repent and believe. 

Be a full participant in God’s Kingdom revealing it to others throughout your journey from earth to Glory as you follow Christ.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 18 September 2010
Preaching Christ and His Kingdom builds faith in the listener.  The listener believes Christ and wants to participate in His Kingdom so they repent of their sins and Jesus is quick to forgive.

The word of God tells us this:  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom 10:14-17 ESV)

Beloved, what takes precedence in your gatherings whether they take place in a church building, a home, a theater or other locations and technologies?  Evaluate your faith.  Is it growing?  Is your life changing as you live in repentance?  If so, I would venture to say that you are listening to the word of Christ and your faith is growing along with your participation in His Kingdom.  If not, I would venture to say that something other than the preaching of the word of Christ is taking precedence in the gatherings you attend.  Many in are day are falling for a different gospel.

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
Friday, 17 September 2010
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)

Mark is very explicit in pointing out that Jesus was there “preaching the word.”  Taking care of people’s needs was important, but preaching the word was priority in Jesus’ life and ministry.  The “word” that Jesus preached is defined in Mark 1:14-15 which reads “… Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (ESV)"

Needs being met attracted the crowds, but Jesus constantly brings attention back to the preaching of the Kingdom which is His priority.  Near the conclusion of chapter one Jesus tells His followers "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out. (Mark 1:38 ESV)”

In the kingdom that Jesus is ruling over there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.  That message must take priority over all else in our day.  Taking care of the needs of people is vital and is to be the result of preaching Christ and His Kingdom which must be priority.  Actions must follow words. The result will be a realization of the Kingdom and participation in it.

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
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
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
What we are in need of today is the word of Christ.  Many are proclaiming a different gospel and many listeners are confused, lacking faith and developing a misguided concept of the Kingdom of God that Christ is presently ruling over.  The word of Christ leads to repentance, faith and the forgiveness of sins resulting in revelations of His Kingdom that He is currently ruling over.

I will be writing more on my blog concerning this in the days ahead.  Your comments are encouraged!

Tune in...

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  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
Monday, 16 August 2010
The first chapter of the Gospel of Mark closes with a startling paragraph of Scripture that displays both human despair and the love of God.  Jesus comes into our world proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God that is established in Him.  He victoriously combated evil and it’s captivity of people.  Along the way, He left His followers a wonderful pattern; an example to follow.  Let’s look at the last paragraph of Scripture in Mark chapter one.  

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)
Take a look at the one in need in this paragraph of Scripture.  His name and past is not given, but his present situation is and it is not pleasant.  This man has leprosy, an incurable disease.  Leprosy is described in Leviticus chapter 13 of God’s Word.  To have leprosy in the days of Jesus meant that you were separated from your friends and family.  No longer could you be touched as your would be considered “unclean” under the Mosaic Law.  You would be separated from family and friends being forced to live on the outskirts of the city with other lepers.  When you walked through the city, you were to keep your upper lip covered and have to declare yourself unclean as you walked shouting “leper, leper, unclean.”  You watched the crowds divide and stay far from you as you walk through.  Being shunned by all, you were financially and socially isolated, unable to work and dependent on charity.  That was the life of this leper. 

I wonder what life was like for this man prior to being declared “unclean” with leprosy.  Did he have a wife?  If so, how long had it been since he felt her loving touch?  How long had it been since her lips touched his? 

Did He have children?  How long had it been since he felt the loving embrace of his child’s arms around his neck?  How long since he had held his children in his lap.

I’m sure that he longed once again to just be touched and to touch his family and his friends.  He could no longer associate with them.  Their touches were now just a part of his memory and he stayed secluded for their well being.  He would never want any of them to go through what he was experiencing.  He loved them too much.

Then one day, he heard about Jesus being in His city.  He had heard of the exorcisms and miracles that were happening, but would Jesus be willing to associate with a social outcast who was “unclean” and incurable?  In his total desperation, he goes to Jesus and says “if you will, you can make me clean.”  This leper did not doubt Jesus’ ability to heal him.  He doubted Jesus’ willingness to heal him.

Beloved, we know that Jesus can help us, but do we sometimes doubt His willingness?  May we always remember that Jesus is not only able, but He is willing to help.  His help may come when we least expect it and in ways that we never imagined, but He will help us.  He will help us from earth to glory as we follow Him.  It will be a wonderful and victorious journey.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 13 August 2010
Many in our day are suffering.  Many are isolated socially and financially.  Some are not able to earn income, and some are able but can not find employment.  There are those who have been separated from family and friends.  There are those who are fighting sickness and disease, struggling just to stay alive another day.  In the midst of it all, I have hope.  My hope is in Jesus.  More and more suffering people must feel the touch of Jesus in our day.

Over the next several days I will be blogging on how more and more suffering people can feel the touch of Jesus in our day.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:52 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
Friday, 30 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)

Notice in this paragraph of Scripture the advancement of the Kingdom being established through Jesus.  The Kingdom is always advanced through point of need ministry and we will see that throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry as we study the Gospels.  It started that Sabbath day in the synagogue with the deliverance of the man possessed by a demon (Mark 1:26) and spread to inside a house with the healing of a woman (Mark 1:31) and now Jesus takes it to the streets of the city of Capernaum as people are brought to Him there.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
In the first chapter of Mark the Kingdom of God was manifested in the deliverance of a man (Mark 1:26) and the healing of a woman (Mark 1:31).  Jesus not only talked about the Kingdom that was being established in Him, but he also demonstrated this Kingdom through His actions.  It was not Jesus’ intention to prove He was the divine Son and the Bearer of the Holy Spirit by His acts of authority and power.  He cast out demons because they had no right to be in any part of human life which they sought to destroy.  He brought healing out of love for the sufferer.  When Jesus saw people suffering, He moved with compassion - a love that compels one to act to relieve the suffering.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:47 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
In the Kingdom of God there is love, grace, peace and freedom with race, gender, health and economic equality for all.  The Kingdom is established in Jesus.  He is ruling over it and it is advancing.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 01:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 26 July 2010
Beloved, Jesus’ kingdom is more powerful than sickness and disease.  He still works immediate miracles and He also has provided us with processes of healing provided through medical science, medicine and medical professionals. 

Let’s never put Jesus in a box and pray expecting Him to bring healing a certain way.  Instead, let’s exercise our faith by taking advantage of all healing processes that He makes available to us.  Let’s also make available His healing to ALL people revealing to them, His kingdom in action.  Let’s help others as He has helped us.  In Jesus’ kingdom, there is health equality for all!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 20 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)

At first glance of this passage of Scripture it would be easy to minimize this miracle by saying “it was only a fever.”  But, with closer inspection and with our own personal experiences, we know that something wrong in the body causes the fever.  A fever makes a person feel bad enough and keeps one in bed, but more importantly there is something going on in the body that is causing the fever.  In Jesus’ day, with limited medical knowledge, they treated a fever as a disease in itself and treated the fever instead of the cause.  Many would die as a result.

We are so blessed in our day.  Now we have medical science and medicine which are instruments of healing in our day, but the source of healing is always God.  Whether healing comes from an instant miracle or through a process aided by medical procedures and medicine, it is God that brings the healing.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:32 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
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
Saturday, 10 July 2010
I received the following email that I feel led to share:

Just wanted to let you know that I am enjoying the study of Mark.  It is so convenient how you have set it up that the student can view the discussed scriptures right as you are teaching them.  How you did that is beyond me!  Also another plus to the study is that you can progress at the rate you want.  Some of the studies have been so good that I have listened to them several times and each time I gain benefit!

Each study in Mark is only 9-13 minutes long.  If you are not yet following along in Mark with us, please join us .   Please take a moment to invite your friends to join us also.  Each study can be listened to individually or in a group setting. You can even facilitate a LGF gathering right where you are at!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 10:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
Sunday, 27 June 2010
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."    (Revelation 7:14 NIV)  They have overcome the world.  While they were on earth, they washed their robes.  They accepted Jesus as their Savior.  They placed their faith in Jesus and accepted everything He did for them at the cross of Calvary.  They made Jesus their Lord; they fixed their eyes on Jesus and they followed Jesus.  In doing so, they overcame the world.

Beloved, we live in an evil and perverse world that increasingly grows out of step with God’s Word.  Only now on earth can we wash our robes in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Without the blood there is no cleansing.  Without cleansing, there is no redemption.  There is no salvation.  Wash your robes.  Daily go to the foot of the cross and wash your robes in the blood of Jesus Christ.  Daily go to the cross and crucify self. Crucify your fleshly nature at the foot of the cross.  As we decrease at the cross, Jesus increases in our life.  We make Jesus Lord; we deny ourselves and we take up our cross and follow Him.  And one day beloved, we will find ourselves around the throne full of joy and wearing spotless white robes!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 25 June 2010
Beloved, salvation is only by God and Jesus.  God desires to save us from sin, guilt, death and wrath.  As a person places their faith in Jesus, God saves them by His grace.  They are placed among the beloved and will be around the throne shouting God’s salvation!  They are full of joy because they know without God’s grace, they would not be there.

"And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."    (Revelation 7:10 NIV) 

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
Sunday, 20 June 2010
In what does one believe?  Jesus said “repent and believe in the gospel.”  One must believe that Father loves them so much that he placed in motion a plan of redemption from sin even before they were created.  He wants to give us His very best to show His love for us, so He sent Jesus, His only begotten son, to be the sacrifice for our sin.  We must believe in that good news.  It is the good news of God.  We must believe in the love of Father.  We must believe that Jesus is the Savior, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Jesus made it simple – repent and believe.  Those who truly repent and believe will experience the kingdom of God now and be participants in growing His kingdom here on earth as we await the return of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ.

Beloved, Jesus’ message has not changed.  It’s the same today as it was when He walked this earth over 2,000 years ago.  He brought the good news of God which is that God loves us and the kingdom of God is near.  We can participate in it now.  We don’t have to wait for a future age.  All we have to do is repent and believe.  Praise the Lord!  To God be all the glory!  Amen.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 19 June 2010
How does one repent?  Repentance is a change in the mind that results in a change in actions.  A person becomes aware of their sinfulness and it sickens them so much, they no longer want to live in that sinfulness.  God’s Word says “For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10, NLT” 

We can not confuse being sickened by the consequences of sin with being sickened of sin itself.  Many are sorry for their sins because of the consequences they bring, but that sorrow does not lead to true repentance.  The sorrow that leads to repentance is a sickening of sin itself.  When we get to that point we will decide to run from it and run to Jesus.  He will save us.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 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
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Time is something in which we are much attuned.  We look back on our life and wonder where all the time has gone.  We can not account for all of it, but we have milestones along the timeline of our life that are very meaningful.  For me those times are when I graduated from college, when I got married, when I had children, when I was ordained as a minister of the Gospel and when I finally realized what it meant to follow Christ, taking up the cross and beginning this wonderful journey from earth to glory.  

Throughout the time of the Old Testament, from Abraham through the Prophets, Christ was anticipated and expected.  As we today read through the Old Testament, we see that Christ was typified throughout.  We learn that the salvation of man through Christ is not a random act, but very well orchestrated by Father.  Father loves all people so much; He had a plan of redemption in place even before the foundation of the world was formed.  But it would not be in man’s timing.  It would be in Father’s perfect timing.  Jesus came into our world and announces that the time is fulfilled, and indeed it is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus fulfilled the old covenant which identified our sinfulness and He brought us a new covenant that would bring deliverance from the power of sin.  Under the old covenant the power of sin was identified, but not broken.  Under the new covenant, the power of sin has been broken through what Christ accomplished at the cross of Calvary.   And in Father’s perfect timing Jesus came into our world.  Beloved, God is and has always been in total control.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Jesus was the greatest person that has ever walked this earth.  He came into our world and revealed to us the heart of God through His words and through His actions.  His message continues to speak to us in our day.  His message has not changed.  If He were invited into church services this weekend, what would He preach?  What message would He deliver? 

To answer that question we must go back to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry here on earth.  Jesus had just been baptized in water by John the Baptist.  At His baptism, the Spirit descended on Him and Father spoke words of pleasure from the heavens.  He was immediately driven into the wilderness where He would spend 40 days in seclusion being prepared for the ministry in front of Him that would include a violent death on a cross.  He overcame temptation in the wilderness and came out ready to touch people at their point of need while He headed to the cross as the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
(Mark 1:14-15 ESV)

The location is Galilee, a province of Palestine.  Palestine was divided into three provinces – Judea, Samaria and Galilee.  Galilee was the northern most province and it’s here that we get to listen in to the message of Christ.  He delivered the good news of God and it was fourfold: the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel.

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
Saturday, 12 June 2010
The kingdom of God is good news to all who will listen, repent and believe that it is here through Jesus Christ.  Entertainment will bring temporary satisfaction, but becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom provides eternal fulfillment.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 11 June 2010
As we follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to use us in continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus, we will discover that Christ is for the entire world.  We will put faith before country and develop a worldview that includes all of God’s children no matter where they live.  May God bless the world!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 10 June 2010
During the days of Christ and His early followers, the Jews did not like the Samaritans.  The hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans had lasted a thousand years.  It began when the 12 tribes of Israel broke up in the 10th Century BC.  Ten tribes made Samaria their capital and the remaining 2 tribes made Jerusalem their capital.  In the 7th Century BC, Samaria was captured by Assyria, thousands of people were deported and their land was re-populated with foreigners.  The Samaritans intermarried with those of other races.  They had lost their racial purity and that, for the Jews, was an unforgiveable crime.  In the 6th century BC, the Jews refused the help of the Samaritans in rebuilding their temple.  In the 4th century BC, the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim.  This really upset the Jews.  

But, Christ came into our world and specifically reached out to the Samaritans (John 4).  In the paragraph of Scripture found in Acts 8:4-8, we find that the early Christ followers are discovering that Christ is for all the world and we see them reaching out to the Samaritans just as Christ had done.

Note in Acts 8:4-8 what Christ followers brought to these people:

  • The message of the love of God in Jesus Christ
  • Health Care
  • Joy
Know thta you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 09 June 2010
Some believe that Christ favors one group of people over another or one country over another.  Here in America, people always say "God Bless America".  I love my country and I want God to bless where I live, but what about the rest of the world? Christ is for the entire world!

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 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
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Those who follow Christ making Him their Lord and Savior are baptized with the Holy Spirit by Jesus. 

Paul explains this baptism best: 

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:5-11 ESV)”

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 17 May 2010
Mark jumps right into truth as he begins the Gospel of Mark.  In the first eight verses we are introduced to John the Baptist and Jesus Christ is exalted.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'" John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:1-8 ESV)

The very first verse of Mark is short, but it speaks volumes – “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1 ESV)” Throughout the entire Gospel of Mark, we are told about Jesus.  It is good news to all who learn of Him, but this good news did have its beginning with Mark’s Gospel.  Jesus was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament and the Prophets and Mark is implying to this with a reference to Isaiah. 

Mark declares that Jesus is the Son of God and the Christ.  The name “Jesus” means “Yahweh is salvation”.  Matthew brings particular attention to this meaning – “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21 ESV)” 

Christ is a title and means “the anointed one”, or “the Messiah”.  So here at the start of the Gospel of Mark we have the declaration that Jesus is the son of God and the Messiah who saves us from our sin and delivers us out of its captivity and bondage.

I thank God that He sent Jesus into our world!


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
Saturday, 08 May 2010
Don’t be discouraged at the advancement of others even if you feel you are being bypassed.  Promotion comes from the Lord.  Keep yourself from complaining and becoming bitter through praying and knowing that Jesus is forming you and shaping you.  Rest assured that in His due time, He will place you in the position He has for you and others will see His hand of work in your life.  Learn and be patient.  Allow others to mentor you.  Prove yourself faithful.  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Make yourself available for service while continuing the point of need ministry of Jesus and allow Him to do the rest.

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
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
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
As in Jesus' day, we still have religionist trying to contain and confine God to a specific place or a set of rules and regulations.  God is the Creator; how can the maker of everything be confined within man-made structures?  Jesus came and replaced the Temple and fulfilled the Law.  He has made God’s children the dwelling place of God and everywhere they go, God is there.

Know that you are loved,
gaj
Posted by: Rev. Greg Johnson AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  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
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