Monday, July 2, 2018

My Book Now Published: The Authority of the Church


My book is finally published! I have been working on editing this book off and on for years and I kept delaying publishing thinking it would be difficult to complete. However, I found that Kindle makes it very easy.

My book is basically a description of the life that Jesus called us to. It explores the reasons as to why the power of the Holy Spirit seemed so prevalent in the early church and seems less prevalent today. It is the teaching behind my life vision to bring the church today back to the passion, purity and power of the early church as shown in the book of Acts.

I start with a story from my trip to the Philippines in which God used me to heal a little boy. I then proceed to ask the question why these types of miracles seem to be less prevalent today then they were in the Bible. A lot of preachers have addressed this question and simplify it to one issue like lack of faith, lack of holiness, etc. Others tend to explain miracles away with theories of different eras or ideas that only certain people are given the gift of miracles. I address all of these ideas in this book.

Ultimately it comes down to the fact that our power comes from a transferred authority from Jesus, and with that authority comes a responsibility. A responsibility to live the life that Jesus mandated us to live. We are not walking in the power that comes from the authority of Christ simply because we are not picking up the responsibility that comes with that power.

This is an important message for today's church and I encourage you to order the book. It will inform you and empower to live the life that Jesus has called us to live. If you order and agree that it is a timely message then please spread the word. Share the book, share the link for others to buy, and feel free to reach out to me at martureo77@gmail.com if you would like to invite me to come speak at your church, event, or meeting.

The book is available in two formats:

Kindle e-book for $2.99

Paperback book for $7.50

Also if you liked the book please write a review of it on Amazon so that others can see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Seeking the Kingdom of God

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33

This is a favorite promise for many Christians to quote. Taken by itself, out of context, the verse has two main questions:

What does it mean to seek "the Kingdom of God" first?

and

What are "all these things"?

The second question is easiest to answer because we can simply look earlier in the chapter. This comes at the end of Matthew chapter 6 right after Jesus is telling us not to worry about what to eat or what to wear because God feeds the sparrows and God clothes the lilies, how much more will he clothe and feed us? In other words, "all these things" is referring to our basic needs in life. Jesus is saying here that if we focus first on the Kingdom of God then our basic needs will naturally be provided.

So what does it mean to seek "the Kingdom of God" first? 

This is a bit more challenging to answer, not because it is difficult to find the answer but because there are several different ways to approach the answer. I approached it in one way in my post from 2015 titled Four Ways We Should Seek Him First!. In this post I discuss four general methods of how to seek His Kingdom first, through prayer, finances, service, and evangelism. Lately God has been bringing me back to this verse with some more thoughts on what the focus of our seeking should be. What is the Kingdom of God in practical terms? He actually brought a connection in my heart between this passage and another one that we don't always connect.

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of 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 took Me in; 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? When did we see You a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?' 
And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
Matthew 25:34-40

Notice there is some similar language here in his passage. Right at the beginning the "King" says, "Come... inherit the kingdom". Which shows that we are continuing to talk about how to get a kingdom. Jesus then later calls this group of people, "righteous" which correlates with seeking after righteousness in the first verse.

When noticing that the two passages are talking about similar things we can read on and see what it actually means to seek after the Kingdom. Jesus tells them that what they do to the "least of these" they do to Him. This is how you seek after the Kingdom. If you search this verse on Google several articles come up discussing, "Who are the Least of These?" It seems silly to me that you would need an entire article on that question though because Jesus lists them out right in the verse. They are:

Those who are hungry
Those who are thirsty
Strangers - also could be translated foreigners
The naked
The sick
Those in prison

The interesting thing is that it does not specify any type of moral standing for any of these individuals. When he talks about visiting people in prison he doesn't say that they have to be wrongfully accused. When he talks about people who are hungry or thirsty he doesn't say they have to be working as hard as they possibly can and still be hungry or thirsty. He basically lists anyone with a need and says, if you fill this need for this person then you are doing it for me.

If you are familiar with this passage then you also know that this is one of the most defining splits between people in the Bible. The "King" calls those who are doing these things to "inherit the kingdom" and he tells those who are not to, "Depart from Me". This shows that our actions in this regard are paramount to our Christian life.

What are you doing to help the "least of these" today?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Is Our Independence Killing Us?

"And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone
I will make him a helper comparable to him."
Genesis 2:18


Lately, there have been a lot of high profile suicides. The most recent were Anthony Bourdaine and Kate Spade, back in 2014 it was Robin Williams and there are many others. It seems that suicide is on the increase but these high profile suicides are simply bringing attention to an epidemic that goes deeper in our society than we care to realize. 

The natural question in the midst of unexplained tragedy is, "Why?"

So we as a society are left to question "Why?" One myth that has immediately been debunked b these high profile suicides is that depression only happens when someone fails. Just looking at these three that I named you can see that they are some of the most successful people in their fields. They were people that others in their field looked up to and attempted to emulate so clearly it was not failure that caused them to give up on life. 

Our goal-oriented, capitalistic, independent society has fed us with the lie that success is the most important thing in life.

We are all taught to strive for success. Even when we are taught that failure isn't so bad it is because we can learn from failure and better succeed but what happens when we finally do succeed? Where do we go from there? 

A one-track mind after success may make us successful but it ultimately leaves us alone.

When God created the heavens and the earth he then created Adam and gave it all to Adam. It's an interesting story when you think about it because Adam never had to strive for success, he had it from the beginning. He never had to strive for a relationship with God and was closer than any other human (other than Jesus) has ever been to God. Yet there was still something missing. God, Himself, declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone. 

The idea that, "All I need is Jesus" is not Biblical.

It sounds very holy to say, "All I need is Jesus!" but it's not Biblical. Think about it. Adam had more of God than any of us could possibly have, sin had not yet entered the world and created a barrier between him and God, and yet God said he was alone and that it wasn't good. We were made to be social creatures. We were made to be dependent on each other. 

American society is built on independence, on doing it ourselves. Even our national day is called Independence Day. We shame people who live with their parents too long and we have given a negative connotation to the word 'dependent'. But here's the thing, we are all dependent on others whether we like it or not. We need each other. We need relationship. 

So what can we do to help prevent depression and suicide?

I'm not saying it is the end all solution but we can start by building relationship with those around us. Make sure that you don't distract yourself so much on your pursuit towards success that you alienate yourself, and if you see someone doing that, make it a point to reach out to them. Ultimately, don't go at it alone and don't let those around you be alone either.