What Doesn’t Belong

Episode 51

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Hey, welcome to the show. I had this online discussion with some fellow believers this past week, and I felt the need to dive into it on this podcast. Are there some things that don’t belong in a church service? I’m sure the answer is yes, but when it comes to rattling off a list of things that shouldn’t take place in church it’s pretty easy for us to get way off on a tangent. I want to address this because it comes up quite often, and I think that TOO OFTEN we tend to make mountains out of mole hills – as my daddy would say.

A lot of what I’m going to talk about here, it depends greatly on our background, the culture, and generally what we’re used to. We tend to see things that are out of the ordinary to us as being strange. If we don’t understand it, we often look on it with disdain or with a judgmental attitude. And this, I believe, is where we get ourselves into trouble – thinking we are the arbiters of what is right and just, as well as what just has no place being.

So the question came up a few days ago on a friend’s social media post. This is a dear friend and brother in Christ, and a man I love and respect. His question was this: “Why does anyone need a smoke machine in church?” Okay, fair enough. I think it’s a valid question for someone who truly wants to know the answer. Personally, I probably would not be one to use a smoke machine during the service. But I found myself on the side of trying to give the benefit of the doubt to whoever it was that chose to employ smoke during church. Why? Keep listening…

The argument of most who commented on his post was that the smoke machine has absolutely no place in a church service. Some people made jokes about “smoke and mirrors,” others remarked cynically that it was somehow meant to put on a show and invoke higher offerings when the plate is passed, and it just went downhill from there. I’ll admit that, as much as I would NOT use smoke that way myself, I DO often like to play “devil’s advocate” – so-to-speak. And trust me, plenty of those commenting thought the smoke thing was probably “of the devil.”

My immediate thought on this was that the same argument has been made time and time again against various things that have become more or less commonplace in church today. Musical instruments, sound systems, lighting, even the building itself – why do we need any of that? And the truth is, we don’t. None of those things are necessary to having church, worshiping, and preaching God’s Word. But the fact is that times change, customs change, methods of praise and preaching change, and we either change with it or we sit back, point fingers, and complain about things we don’t understand.

Now, I’ll come back to the whole smoke machine thing in a bit, and I’ll even offer up a possible reason or two why some might choose to use it. But for the moment, let’s follow this logic out to its fullest extent. Should we simply continue doing just those things we’re use to and never change? Ever? There was a time when hymnals were the new thing, and plenty of people didn’t like them. Over time, they became the norm, and things changed again. “Choruses” or “praise & worship music” was the newest thing, and lots of people resisted. Humans tend to not like change, but change is constant. Those who don’t adapt will always have plenty to gripe about.

I’ve heard people question why church’s have darker lighting in the audience and bright lights on the stage. They said things like, “They’re just putting on a show,” “That stuff doesn’t belong in church,” and, “God doesn’t need any help!” But what’s really happening is, they were attacking something they didn’t understand and saying it didn’t belong there because they weren’t used to it or didn’t like it.

I have explained before the reasons for that kind of lighting. As an audio visual person, I know that darker lighting in the audience and more light on stage helps to eliminate distractions and draw attention to a central point. If someone is speaking or preaching, that type of lighting helps focus people’s attention on the person they’re listening to. Also, during worship, there are other reasons why more light on stage is needed. Musicians have to be able to see what they’re doing to play or read their music, for example. And if the church is streaming their services online, like our church does – we learned that we have to pour a lot of light onto the stage in order for the video camera to properly pick up and show a visual for the online live feed.

That’s the thing, though. There are tons of legitimate reasons – often technical – for things that most people never know about because they aren’t involved with the technical aspects of a church service. As technology changes, all sorts of new things become desirable if not outright necessary. Like heat and air conditioning – it might not be completely necessary, and NO, God doesn’t require it in order for Him to show up, but it sure is nice to be in a comfortable temperature at church, isn’t it? The same applies to lots of other things – like the padded seating, the sound system, lights, etc.

I said earlier that the question my friend asked was indeed a valid one IF he was truly wanting to know the answer. And this is a crucial thing to take note of. Indulge me for a moment as I give a prime example of what I’m talking about…

Some years ago, my brother Stan worked at a learning center. While teaching a particular student, the young boy asked, “Why do I need to learn algebra? I’m never going to use it in real life, am I?” It’s a common question a teenager might ask, and Stan knew exactly how to handle it. He looked at this young man and said the following:

“Before I answer your question, are you sure you really want to know the answer? Think about it. Are you asking the question because you want to know, or are you asking because you just don’t want to do it? Here’s the thing. If I give you the answer to your question, then you’ll never be able to use that question like an excuse. Once you have the answer, the question can never be asked again. So, knowing this, do you truly want to know the answer?”

Wow, right? The kid looked at him, thought for a second, and finally decided he was too curious now to NOT listen to the answer, so he said, “Okay, sure, why do I need to learn algebra?” Stan’s answer was brief and to-the-point, and it was also 100% correct. And now that some of you are wondering about it yourself, I’ll tell you his reply:

“Algebra teaches you critical thinking and valuable problem-solving skills that you will use throughout your life no matter what type of work you go into.”

BAM! There ya go. And now you can never ever ask the question again.

Fine. Let’s get back to this “smoke” thing. What possible purpose could that serve? Before I give a couple of possible answers, I have to ask: Are we asking the question because we want to hear an actual answer, or are we asking because we’ve already decided that there IS NO GOOD reason for it and we just want to point our fingers at it and ridicule it? Seriously. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t automatically give us license to say, “Hey, that’s stupid. That doesn’t belong in church!”

It’s a lot like when people say in judgment that Christians ought not do this or that. When we do that, we’re super-imposing our own sense of morality on top of God’s and claiming our own interpretation as how everyone should behave. That seems very Pharisaical to me. The Pharisees knew the scriptures. And boy, they KNEW that they knew the scriptures. They let that knowledge elevate them in their minds as being more reverent than they actually were. And Jesus called them on it more than once. Knowing the Word is awesome, but you also have to be able to properly apply it to your life.

Anyway, back to the smoke machine. I said I would offer you a couple of plausible reasons for why someone might use it in a worship service. But remember, once you hear these reasons, you can’t ask the question ever again. You ready? Here goes… Have you ever read up about the golden altar of incense? It was used by the chief priests in the temple. As the incense was burned, smoke would rise from the altar, carrying a fragrance upward to God. This was symbolic. The offering of incense symbolizes our praise and worship. As it burns and the smoke rises, that symbolizes those praises rising up to God. Our worship is said to be like a sweet fragrance to Him, and that is derived from the priest’s offering on the golden altar of incense.

With that in mind, isn’t it just possible that utilizing a smoke machine during a worship service is also offering a visual symbol of our praises rising to God? Maybe? I think that’s very plausible, and frankly, not so out of place after all. Now, I don’t know if that’s the reason or not, but I sure do think it would qualify as a pretty good one. Another reason, perhaps a bit less likely but still possible, is that the smoke machine – which actually creates vapor – helps create a more cloud-like heavenly atmosphere. You might think that’s silly. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. But my point here is just THAT – I do not know what their reason is, but I’m sure they have one, and who am I to judge?

I think far too much time is spent, by Christians, looking down our noses at things we just don’t understand. We take it upon ourselves to deem it uncalled for, unworthy, irreverent, unnecessary, and out of place. But just because we don’t understand it or it doesn’t make sense to us DOES NOT MEAN that it’s wrong or that it has no place in church. What truly has no place in church is our own self-righteous, sanctimonious, and judgmental attitudes. Are we guilty of passing judgment on things simply due to a lack of comprehension?

Again, the arguments we make against things are often self-defeating. Why do we need padded chairs instead of pews? Why do we need dark sanctuaries and brightly lit stages? Why doesn’t the pastor wear a suit and tie? Why does the worship leader have tattoos? How about this: Why do we need to keep asking why we need this or that? Why can’t we just worship while we’re at church instead of looking for things to complain about? I mean this honestly, and with all due respect. But why is it that we are so focused on the carpet or the curtains or the lights or the smoke – things we don’t like – INSTEAD OF being focused on God?

If I go to a worship service or even a praise and worship concert somewhere, I gotta tell ya, I’m not gonna be noticing all the lights and smoke (if there is any). Because my focus should be on worshipping Jesus. If I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, then I’m not gonna be looking around and noticing a bunch of stuff that I don’t like, or that I think is unnecessary, or that I think has no place there. What doesn’t belong in that environment is my self-righteous attitude. What DOES belong is my focus on God and my praises uplifted to Him. If there truly IS something there that doesn’t belong, I’m sure God is big enough to deal with it. What He want’s from me is my participation, my worship, and my adoration. And that’s what matters.

We need to stop picking apart our fellow man, and especially our fellow believers. We ought to do more building up, and less tearing down. As God’s children, we are called to be better than this. Not to be petty and point our fingers at things we don’t understand or don’t like, but to bear all things and endure all things in love. When we cut down fellow believers who are worshipping in a way that is strange or unfamiliar to us, we are alienating part of our Christian family – the body of Christ.

If you were to visit Christian churches in other parts of the world, you would undoubtedly see some customs and forms of worship that might surprise or even shock you. Cultural differences may seem odd to us, but it doesn’t diminish those people’s faith and inheritance in God. Why on earth would a believer want to chastise another believer for worshipping in a way that seems odd or different? Don’t we realize that we are given an awesome responsibility to love on another, to build up, and to serve?

Speaking of the human tongue, James 3:9-10 says…

“With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

So I implore you, please, don’t be too quick to wag your finger at someone or something and pass judgment regarding things you don’t understand. We are to speak blessings and not cursings, to build up rather than to tear down. Let’s keep our attitudes in check. Worship God in Spirit and in Truth, and whether or not you use lights or smoke or whatever really isn’t the point. Don’t focus on the trivial things that aren’t worth our time. But focus instead on Jesus.

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Choosing a Better Life

Episode 50

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Why do I have to endure pain, sickness, tragedy, emotional scars, etc? Have you ever asked that question? Maybe you’ve been told seemingly empty platitudes like, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” or something like that. Perhaps hearing things like that even makes you angry because you feel it’s a load of garbage. On this episode, I want to deal with the trials we face from a slightly different perspective. And I think we’ll see that, too often, we get in our own way when it comes to conquering the trying times we all endure.

Let me start with an analogy. We are often rigid like dried up pasta. Stubbornness, pride, whatever causes an immovability in us. When the pressure comes and we hang on to our rigidity, we break. We shatter into millions of pieces. We had no room within us for withstanding or surviving – the slightest trial just seems to be overwhelming and completely wrecks us. And where does that leave us? Just a bunch of scattered and shattered bits of dried up pasta. Nobody likes dry pasta. There’s no use for it – it’s no good at all.

So how do we avoid this? Well, what do you normally do with dry pasta? You prepare it in boiling water. Now, think about that. If you are this rigid dry pasta, and you have to go into a pot of boiling hot water for a period of time, that doesn’t sound like a very pleasant process, does it? No! But the process, as trying as it may be, doesn’t destroy you. What does boiling water do to pasta? It softens it up and makes it usable.

If we are willing to endure the preparation process, God will season us and make us into something amazing and beneficial to others. This brings us to the life-changing concept of helping others, and the ways doing so benefits us as well. But before I dive into that, let me mention something else to help set this up…

A friend of mine recently shared his frustration with life in general. He spoke about how pretty much everything in his life stinks, he feels like it will never get any better, and he’s just tired – so very tired. Frankly, I think there are a lot of people who feel that way. And I could totally relate to his frustrations to a large extent. So I felt compelled to respond to him. Not to belittle or quash any of what he said or what he may be going through, but I did tell him this:

“I could write a book about all the different types of pain I literally have to live with every single day. There have been multitudes of times that I have asked God why physical pain is such a constant in my life. I don’t doubt God, and my faith is not at all shaken by all the stuff I’ve dealt with physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve accepted that it’s all part of this life, but I choose to not allow it to define me.”

I went on to say:

“Trust me, I am immensely tired, too. Tired of the pain, and tired of being tired. The person people usually see when they see me isn’t indicative of my struggles. But it’s not that I put on a facade, it’s that I don’t want to be defined by my pain. I would be a miserable person if I allowed that. And yes, sometimes I AM miserable, but only when I’m focused on the plentiful bounty of negative in my life.”

I finished up by telling him:

“It took me a long time to realize that I actually DO have a choice in what my outlook is. I’m not merely pretending that things are better than they are, but I’m learning everyday that things are actually better than I thought, and how to appreciate the multitude of good that exists in my life. And that’s tough when the pain is so constant. But I’m quite certain that I’m not alone in these feelings.”

So if you, like my friend or myself, are going through struggles – and hey, who isn’t? But if you are having a hard time keeping your troubles from defining your life, know first of all that you are by no means alone. While that in itself may not make you feel any better, it’s important to realize that we aren’t the only ones struggling with seemingly overwhelming issues because otherwise we tend to keep our focus on ourselves and our troubles. The more we keep this narrow perspective, the more miserable we become.

Something, at some point, HAS TO shake us out of our funk and make us look outside our own little miserable bubble. And what I believe is probably the best way to break ourselves out of that self-focusing misery is – yeah, you got it – shifting our focus onto helping others. See? We came full circle. What better way to get away from what we might think of as the miserable existence of our own troubles than to see how we might be able to improve someone else’s life? And in the process, we end up improving our own lives as well.

Now someone out there may say, “But you just don’t understand! You don’t know how awful I have it. You can’t just tell me to get past it and try to help someone else when you don’t know how bad my life is!” And I’ll grant you part of that. I don’t claim to know or understand what all you might be going through. But I CAN tell you without hesitation that your outlook is your choice. It doesn’t matter how bad you have it, your attitude does not have to be ruled by your circumstances. You CHOOSE whether or not to let that happen.

I have even known people who seemed to be almost addicted to their own misery. Seriously. There are those who have become so consumed by their bad circumstances that they actually purposely choose to wallow in them. Having something to constantly complain about can truly become like a drug. I’ve seen first hand how someone like that would turn every little thing into another tragic part of their own pitiful existence.

And I have to tell ya, it is exhausting to simply be near a person like that. So they end up feeling lonely on top of everything else, thinking no one cares about them, and it just continues to feed their self-absorbed life. The misery is their drug, and they don’t seem to want it to ever be taken away.

Allow me to qualify what I’m calling self-absorbed. I don’t mean selfish. Being selfish is something that you pretty much choose to be. But being self-absorbed in the sense that I’m referring to is more of a default position that occurs when we’re dealing with a lot of stuff in our lives. Let’s face it. It’s easy for anyone to become self-absorbed because you can never get away from your own issues, and they may indeed seem overwhelming. You are the one person you live with every day. You can’t escape yourself. Like the saying goes, “No matter where you go, there you are.” You don’t really choose that, rather you have to choose NOT to be controlled by it.

My friends, you DO NOT HAVE TO live a miserable life. However, you DO HAVE TO make the choice to live better. You CAN, and I know this from experience. No, everyone’s situation isn’t the same, but anyone CAN make that decision and start living a more positive, fulfilling, and abundant life.

If you’re willing to put in some effort and really want your life to improve, then the next thought you should have is, “Okay, tell me how.” If that’s you, keep listening… You’re going to need to refocus your outlook on life, adjust your attitude, and change your daily goals.

First of all, get rid of the idea that this life is all about you and your circumstances. When your focus is constantly on yourself, you will quickly become fixated on the negatives – the things you don’t have, the aches and pains, the crappy job, and so on. And yes, I learned this the hard way.

I’ve been married and divorced twice, and I went through the blame game. I’ve been in car accidents, and other injuries, and endured a lot of pain because of it. I’ve lost friends and family who died seemingly before their time. I’ve had to file bankruptcy twice. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. If at some point I didn’t get my focus off of me and how unfair life was treating me, I would be miserable all day long and absolutely loathe my life.

What did I do? I had to recognize the positive stuff. This required me to stop wallowing in self pity and realize that I was still very blessed. I dare say that I could never have done that without my relationship with God, a praying family, and a few good friends. But that support from God and the Holy Spirit was at the forefront of my recovery from every single trial or tragic circumstance that I faced. Leading us to the next thing…

Secondly, you need to allow yourself to be surrounded by a strong supportive group of people. I’m not saying that you have to necessarily start going to therapy or an actual support group. I’m talking about leaning on those who you know that truly care about you and your well being. It might be family. It might be one or two good friends. Or yes, it might be a pastor or spiritual leader.

For me, my church family was greatly instrumental in helping me get through the toughest of times. But that doesn’t just happen. You actually have to intentionally cultivate those kinds of relationships with people who can count on you as much as you can count on them. This takes a little time, but only a little, and the benefits are immeasurable. That brings us to the crux of the matter…

Thirdly, while investing time in REAL relationships with people, you need to begin thinking more about how you can help THEM than how they can help you. I have spoken repeatedly on my show about the vital importance of serving others. We were created to love one another, to care for and serve our fellow man. And doing so comes with its own reward. The more you do things for other people, the more fulfilling your life becomes, and the happier a person you will be. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to TRY IT and see for yourself.

Misery, of some sort, is something that we all are likely to experience during our lives. But we don’t have to live there. You can choose to live a better and more rewarding life. But you do have to make that choice. And know that you are not on your own. You can find help when you look in the right places.

Ask, seek, and knock. Change your perspective. Change your outlook. Change your attitude. And change your life, for the better. No one else can do it for you. You have to willingly and purposefully do it for yourself, and there are those who are ready and waiting to help – greatest of all being God Himself. And He cares more for you than anyone else ever will. What do you have to lose by giving Him a try?

Choose today to live a better life. I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying.

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Love Above and Beyond

Episode 49

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God’s Word teaches us that we should literally go out of our way to intentionally show love for one another. This isn’t some cheesy or sappy idea of love, either. This is true Agape. It’s the kind of unconditional and endless love that the Father showed us by sending His Son. Jesus taught all about love. He said it is the greatest commandment given to us. And Romans 12:10 even says…

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

This tells me, we ought to continually try to “one-up” one another in showing honor and affection. So, how can we achieve this caliber of love for each other? It’s time to step up our commitment to loving our fellowman. It’s time to LEVEL UP! I am Stace Massengill, and welcome to the Kingdom Hero Show.

On this episode, I wanna talk about some ways that we can love above and beyond – going all out for one another. But before we dive straight into that, let’s see why this is something we should be doing anyway. And soon, we’ll see how it is totally worth our time and effort. Of course, love is something that is done without regard for what we can get in return, but it certainly comes with its own rewards.

As mentioned before, love is at the heart of the Gospel of Christ. From the onset, God created mankind in His own image and He walked and talked with Adam in the Garden. That very first bond between man and his Creator was love. Then, when sin entered the scene and wrecked that relationship, God still sought to make a way for mankind to be redeemed. His ultimate plan involved a sacrifice on His part. Jesus, the Son of God, was that sacrifice. We all know John 3:16…

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus Himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” Yes, He called us His FRIENDS! And Romans 5:8 says…

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This Gospel message is ALL ABOUT LOVE! So, if God viewed love as being so important, and Jesus deemed His love for us as more valuable than even His life, then shouldn’t we be practicing this same kind of love for each other? The truth is that, whether we think so or not, we certainly SHOULD be – and that’s why God made it a command.

Remember, when they asked Jesus what’s the greatest commandment, He told them how that all the commandments hinge upon LOVE. Jesus said the greatest command was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. The first few of the ten commandments are ways to show that love for God:

  • Have no other gods before Me
  • Don’t take Lord’s name in vain
  • Keep the Sabbath Holy

Jesus then told them that the second greatest command was like the first, to love others as yourself. Looking at the ten commandments again, the remaining ones are things that should be automatic if you love others in this way:

  • Honor your parents
  • Don’t murder
  • Don’t commit adultery
  • Don’t steal
  • Don’t lie about others
  • Don’t lust after someone else’s spouse
  • Don’t long for other people’s property

Indeed then, we are COMMANDED to love. But that love is not subject to our own interpretations. The bar is set pretty high. There are a lot of things we tend to associate with love that just don’t come close to the real thing. Love is not that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’re attracted to someone. Love is not synonymous with sex. Love isn’t any of the garbage that years of TV and movies have tried to tell us it is. No, real love is selfless and unconditional. All the stuff that 1 Corinthians 13 says about love, THAT’S the real deal right there…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Most of us, if we’re honest, get tripped up with that very first characteristic of love – patience. Ouch, talk about high bars. I rarely have enough patience to deal with that slow motorist in front of me, let alone the one who cut me off – and I’m supposed to LOVE them?! Yikes. In this fallen world where we’re constantly being told to look out for number one and if it feels good do it, the easiest thing to do in my traffic scenario is get angry and lay on the horn. It may not help the situation, but man, it feels good, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s not really the best way to handle things. Getting upset at people isn’t healthy for us – physically OR spiritually. And learning to have love in our hearts at ALL times can radically change our attitudes as well as our outlook on life in general.

Again, Jesus was our example. Read the scriptures in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Study up on how He interacted with people. And seek God’s help in prayer. Ask Him to plant that Agape kind of love in your heart, to see others as He sees them, and to grow your affection toward them. Ask Him specifically for those character traits of love in the passage we just read: to be patient and kind, not to envy or boast or be arrogant or rude or selfish or irritable or resentful, etc.

The more you truly seek after it, the more you will find that kind of love manifesting itself in your daily life. Then, you’re ready for the advanced course. This is where you take things to the next level. And this is also where you will begin to see the most benefit to your own life – loving above and beyond.

Now, being nice or polite is one thing. But going out of our way to be kind and loving is a whole ‘nother thing. But it’s worth it. So, how do we get ourselves in the right frame of mind to accomplish this next-level love? It basically boils down to three things…

  • Desire
  • Prayer
  • Intentionality

First, you have to have a real desire to show people this kind of love. If you aren’t willing to go all out to achieve the goal, you likely won’t. If you’re like most Christians, you probably feel only so comfortable showing affection toward other people – especially if you don’t know them that well. But this is a great reason to better get to know others. You can start small. Find someone you see at church but don’t really spend time with, and make it a point to get better acquainted. I suggest joining a small life group from your church if possible. It’s a great way to really get to know fellow believers beyond the church doors. In doing so, you’ll find your life enriched by these relationships, and your desire to show them affection will greatly increase.

Second, as with anything important to your Christian walk, you should seek God’s assistance. Praying is a great way to lay all your doubts and fears out there and allow God to help you see past them. Ask Him for courage, insight, or anything you feel you are lacking. Let Him instill His love for others within you. Hear me on this, what ever else you do, never short-change yourself by failing to take things to God in prayer.

Third, all of that preparation is for nothing if you aren’t intentional about reaching your goal. You must purpose yourself to see it through. Set reminders on your smart phone, daily reminders, to seek out opportunities to show God’s love to others. One thing my brother (Stan) has done – and I love this – he has a note app on his smart phone where he keeps a grocery list, and in the middle of that list, it says, “Look for opportunities to witness.” Likewise, we should look for any chance to be a blessing. Set aside some time to make a list of ways you could totally WOW someone with a gift or whatever. Look for needs, but also the little things that would just make someone smile. Then follow through. Figure out how to make someone’s day or week, and just DO IT.

Another good idea is to involve other people in the effort. Think about it: if you were planning a surprise birthday party for someone, getting friends to help out would make it easier to do more – it could be bigger and better with more help. If someone you know needs a porch painted (for example), get a group together to get it done. Know someone who really needs a vacation but can’t afford it? Start a collection with others to help gift that person with a nice little getaway. Or maybe you know a shut-in who could simply use a bit of companionship once in a while. The possibilities are only limited by your own dedication and imagination. But you can be the light that brightens up someone else’s day.

Finally, shut off the negative voice in your head that keeps tossing out reasons why you just don’t have the time for any of that. As Pastor Aaron said on our last podcast, you will never have time to do something until you make the time for it. And frankly, you won’t make the time if you don’t think it’s worth the time. Let me assure you, it is SO WORTH IT. In fact, once you start exercising this next-level love, you may become to addicted to it. You should already know that it feels good to do good, and there’s good reason for that. God, in His infinite wisdom, designed us in such a way that our acts of kindness toward others cause a release of endorphins in our own bodies – making us feel happy. The more we do this, the happier we are.

Let’s look one more time at that scripture from Romans 12:10…

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

So remember, whether it’s inviting a widow over for a Thanksgiving meal, or planning an appreciation party for your pastor, showing Godly love for others is both a duty and a pleasure. But hey, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing BIG! Go all out, out of your way even, and love above and beyond! I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying.

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The Truth About Witnessing

Episode 48

This episode is only partially transcribed below due to the dialog interaction with our guest. Please click one of the following links to hear the show in its entirety…

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– Begin Transcript –

Hello and welcome to the show! As has been stated numerous times, our great calling as believers in Christ is to replicate ourselves – to witness to others and make more disciples. This is what the Great Commission is, the clear instructions that Jesus laid out to His disciples (and to us who would follow). However, we often tend to place undue limits upon ourselves. We make excuses and convince ourselves that we can’t really do that much. We let the enemy whisper discouraging lies in our ears like, “You’re just one person, you can’t make any real difference in the world, reaching people is too hard, and you don’t have what it takes.”

But while we often think of witnessing as this monumental task that’s too big for us, the TRUTH is that 1) The devil is a liar; 2) Witnessing is our duty; 3) It’s more than worth the effort; and 4) You are neither alone nor underequipped for the task. And on this episode, I’m pleased to have my good friend and pastor here to help us better understand this. So first of all, I want to welcome Pastor Aaron Zielinske from my home church, Grace Pointe in Dacula, GA – thank you, sir, for being on the Kingdom Hero Show.

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

Now I find it interesting when God seems to be speaking about similar topics or even the same exact ones to different people at the same time, almost like it’s a kind of season of learning, like He’s saying, “Okay THIS is what I want you to learn about right now,” so He then drops a particular biblical concept in my head and compels me to study about it, and then in the same week, He has you preaching on almost the exact same thing with a somewhat different viewpoint. I’ve noticed this happens fairly often, actually, and it’s always great when God orchestrates things in such a way that I end up learning more than I perhaps would have on my own.

So, you’ve been preaching a series on “Leadership” during this month at church. And this past Sunday you dealt specifically with this topic of discipling others. It’s a favorite topic of mine, and I want to start off by reading the familiar passage known as The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28. I’ve often said that these words that Jesus spoke to His disciples are a directive to us today as His followers. Verses 18 through 20 tell us…

Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This, of course, is our calling as Christians today – to be witnesses of Jesus to those around us and lead them into their own relationships with Him. And unfortunately, we can let a lot of things get in the way of that. So my first question to you, Pastor Aaron, is this: What are the typical things that we allow to become roadblocks to being effective witnesses?

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

Earlier, I mentioned some of the lies that satan will tell us. He’ll try to convince us that we are somehow inadequate or ill-equipped, but I think we have to recognize who we truly are in Christ. And having a real sense of who and what God has created us to be, I believe, is essential to recognizing the enemy’s lies and overcoming them and reaching our potential. Would you agree?

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

So then, if witnessing is our duty as believers, and the devil is just lying to us because he’s a low down dirty rotten deceiver [chuckle] – and we’re literally talking about altering people’s eternal destiny here, right? Making disciples would seem to be perhaps the most important job we have. Shouldn’t that be a defining part of who we are as Christians?

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

Okay, we’ve pretty well established the importance of witnessing. But for those who still might think that they need to be, like, a Bible scholar or theologian of some type in order to lead people to Jesus, what would you say to them? Or someone who is afraid to witness because people may ask questions that they don’t have the answers to, how would you encourage them?

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

I want to read that last part of The Great Commission again, with regard to anyone who might feel like the task of evangelizing is just too big to handle alone – the key here is that you’re NOT alone. Listen to what Jesus told the disciples after giving them this charge to go and make disciples of others…

He states plainly, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I think we too often forget that He didn’t just tell us to do something without equipping us, and He certainly didn’t give us this great commission and follow it up with, “Okay, and now you’re on your own.” No! He’s with us all the time, and so His help is always available to us. Even though we know that, we many times act like we are expected to tackle everything alone. Sometimes, maybe, it’s even a prideful thing. Like the hubris of man is this notion that we should be able to handle stuff by ourselves. “I don’t need to read the instructions. I don’t need to stop and ask for directions. I’m perfectly capable of doing this on my own.” Uh, NO. It really is okay to ask for help.

It has certainly been a blessing for me to cultivate relationships over the years with godly people who can help me better understand the scriptures and the concepts of walking with the Lord. Just like it’s been great having you on the show, Pastor Aaron. I really do appreciate it. So before we go, I want to give you the opportunity to offer any final thoughts on making disciples and to encourage those who have perhaps been timid or hesitant in the past to share the love of God with others. What would you like to say to them?

PLACE HOLDER FOR PASTOR AARON

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Episode 47: Living Dead

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– Begin Transcript –

There has long been a fascination with the idea of zombies, or the living dead. And you may wonder, “Where on earth is he going with this? What’s it got to do with Christianity?” But stay with me here. There is indeed a point to this topic, and the relevance will become clear shortly, I promise. The premise I’m about to lay out is complete conjecture on my part, so don’t go claiming that I said it was biblical fact. This will all make sense in a bit. Let’s start at the beginning…

In Genesis chapter one, we read of how God created everything. Genesis two gives a bit more detail of the Garden of Eden and the creation of man and woman. Verse 9 says:

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Keep in mind, there are two specific trees mentioned here. It states that in the midst of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all know the story, of course. God told Adam and Eve they could eat fruit from of any of the trees in the garden EXCEPT that of the tree of knowledge. But they let the serpent deceive them into eating from it anyway, thus they disobeyed God and sin enter the world. Sin wrecked everything, and so God kicked them out of the garden, cutting off their access to all the blessings it had to offer. Genesis 3:22-24 says:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Have you ever pondered this: Why was God so adamant that Adam and Eve be cut off from the Tree of Life? The Bible tells us that “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Our fleshly bodies are corruptible and perishable. So, is it possible then – and this is my own whacky theory – what if our physical existence – though corrupted by sin – had access to immortality? Might it still age and grow feeble due to the curse of sin, and yet, never die? Eventually, that existence would be horrific.

Imagine your natural body getting old, diseased, or irreparably damaged in an accident – but without the ability to die. At some point, dying would be preferable, but you can’t. Your body would decay and become an awful thing to behold, but continue to live in that horrifying existence. Though still alive, you would be as the living dead. Not a very pleasant thought, huh?

This was not God’s plan for you. It wasn’t His plan for mankind, and humans – corrupted by sin – were prevented from gaining access to the Tree of Life. His plan for us to live eternally would come to fruition through the Resurrection of Christ. In order to regain access to immortality, we must be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. God’s Word tells us plainly in Hebrews 9:22 that:

…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

According to 1st Corinthians 15:54, the perishable must put on imperishable, and mortality must put on immortality. And this is only accomplished through Christ. In this way, we can live forever as God intended, with perfect and glorified bodies that will not only never die but never grow old or decay or get sick or suffer in any way. I gotta tell ya – I, for one, am looking forward to having no more aches and pains.

There is another way, however, that we become like the living dead. It’s not enough to know the truth of the Resurrection, but it should also change how we behave. That knowledge should compel us share it with other people! If we’re not doing this, not fulfilling the Great Commission as we’re instructed, then we’re not bearing fruit. If we aren’t producing any fruit and growing the kingdom of God, then we are as good as dead. If we are simply going through the motions and not actually living out our faith, we are like zombies – like the living dead – wandering aimlessly and without direction.

But we have been given direction! God has provided clear instructions for how we should live, and He gave us the example of the life of Christ. We should model our lives after His, loving our fellow man as He did – sacrificially and unconditionally. That’s not easy for us because our flesh has been corrupted by sin, but we are not merely beings of flesh – but also of spirit.

God breathed life into us, His own Spirit, so our spirits were once a part of Him. Our spirits long to be reunited with Him, and if we allow the spirit to overcome the flesh, we will become more like Jesus. Living a loving life like Christ is our calling, and in doing so, we will one day be rejoined with God the Father in Heaven. And THAT, my friends, is an amazing thought!

So, which is more preferable? To become as the living dead? Or to live by the example of Jesus and claim His Resurrection power, becoming alive in Christ? And we need to share this with everyone – that the choice is theirs to make. Forever damned, or forever glorified. An eternity of misery, or everlasting joy. Damnation, or salvation. And yes, now is a great time to choose. It’s the best time. And not choosing is actually not an option – that’s a default choice in itself to reject Jesus.

Sin is the curse that will corrupt your life if you let it. Sin wrecked all of mankind, so God made a way – through Jesus – to make all things new and to redeem us. But again, we’re all born into corrupted flesh – into sin itself. So our default destination is hell – an eternity of damnation, separated from God. He doesn’t send people to hell, but they choose it by rejecting His Son. We must intentionally CHOOSE to accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, believing on Him, and professing Him as Lord of our lives. Then, we’re saved.

How about you, my Christian friends? Are you bearing fruit? Are you witnessing? How often do you talk to nonbelievers about Jesus? Do you share the joys of what He has done for you? Are you telling others about the Good News of Christ? Let me encourage you – don’t be like the living dead. But instead, live daily in the resurrected life of Jesus! And let your light so shine among all those around you.

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Episode 46: Tools of the Trade

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Start Transcript

Welcome, everyone. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe whole-heartedly that there is an ongoing effort to silence, stamp out, and otherwise control the notion of a free-thinking society. I further believe that this effort is tied directly to the desire to squelch and squash Christianity. If citizens of a nation subscribe to the idea that God is their source of life and liberty, then the government lacks the level of power and control that the corrupt among them crave. There are many arms of this which we can observe today, and many tools of the trade (so-to-speak) which are used to turn our dependence away from God and onto government. I’m Stace Massengill, and this is the Kingdom Hero Show.

Show Intro

One consistent strategy of the establishment has been to demonize free thinking people as being haters. They call us racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, etc. So called “Asian hate” is the latest misnomer for the recognition that CoViD-19 is a virus that originated in China, as well as viewing the Chinese government as the oppressors they are. The truth is, it’s not the Chinese people so many have issue with, but rather it’s the tyrannical Chinese government. That reality gets twisted, however, by the media. But here’s a fact they don’t want to face: Weaving your narrative by twisting truth into lies is a sign of weakness. It shows that you have no valid argument upon which to stand.

Cancel culture and name-calling have always been tools of the establishment to shame and silence their free-thinking opponents. These are the tools of liars who know they can’t prove themselves right. Instead, they attack the opposition.

This is the same thing the Pharisees did when attacking Jesus… They got people to slander Him. They made false accusations, called Him a heretic, and worse. But the truth is that they feared Jesus. They were afraid of His influence on the people. The more the people trusted and believed in the words of Jesus, the less power and influence the Pharisees themselves could maintain over them. He was a threat to them, just as Christianity is a threat to those who wish to control our lives today. And that’s why there is such an attack on our faith – it threatens the power of the establishment.

Another tool of the establishment, when trying to deceive the populous, is misdirection. They’ll make you think they’re doing one thing you don’t like, getting all your attention focused on that, when something much worse is their actual intent. What do I mean? Have you noticed that even some of the leftist media propaganda complex is starting to challenge Biden now? These same people who were falling all over themselves covering for his lack of mental presence are now calling him on the carpet for his border policy and other things. Why? They’re following the script.

Getting a lame duck in the White House was their game plan from the start, so they could easily ditch him afterwards for a much more radical president…a.k.a. Kamala Harris. As much as we know Biden didn’t really beat Trump, there’s no way she could’ve. Allow me to elaborate…

As it was, their election fraud almost didn’t work out. The Dominion voting machines, which were set up to change a certain percentage of Trump votes to Biden, wasn’t enough to overcome the literal landslide of votes for Trump. So they had to take extreme measures to ensure Biden’s vote count was high enough to win.

Let me interject here, everything that I’m about to say has been documented. Contrary to what the establishment wants us to believe, the evidence is there, and lots of it. There are hundreds of signed affidavits attesting these things to be true, and I’ve seen the videos myself of this stuff happening. I saw the testimony of one of the truck drivers involved with transporting huge pallets full of signed ballots to other states. This is what people are being silenced and kicked off of Twitter and Facebook for saying, and it’s all absolutely true.

Specifically, poll workers ran batches of Biden ballots through the machines over and over again after the poll watchers were sent home for the night. That’s why we saw such massive spikes in Biden votes in the early hours of the next morning. That, plus the truckloads of Biden ballots that were transported from one city to another overnight. This was also why there were more votes than registered voters in those cities.

Now remember, this was all necessary to put Biden in the White House. Imagine the difficulty they would have had putting Kamala directly in the Oval Office. They didn’t even manage to get her the DNC nomination, but she’s who they wanted to use to bring about their radical agenda. So, they attached her as Biden’s VP pick – and we all knew He didn’t pick her himself. Make no mistake, a very radical agenda is what the establishment has in mind. Biden was the pawn they used to get their real choice in position to implement radical changes.

This tool of misdirection or deception is certainly not new either. It has been the method of choice for satan’s evil forces for as long as he’s been scheming against God and God’s people.

Still another tool being utilized is the rewriting or reinterpreting of our nation’s history and laws. This is literally taking truth and twisting it into outright lies. And yes, satan has been mastering that little trick since the Garden of Eden. Today, we see it evidenced by the idea that government is boss and we mere peons are to simply do as we’re told without question. That ruffles the feathers of the traditional red-blooded American, and with good reason – it goes completely against what the framers of our Constitution stated.

What is supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has instead become a bunch power-hungry establishment elites trying to rule over us rather than represent us. These folks see themselves as more intelligent than us and more qualified to tell us how we should live our lives. Rather than help, they interfere. Rather than uphold the Constitution, they continually attempt to subvert it. And rather than serve us as they ought, they try more and more to force us into submission.

If ever there was a blatant example of government overreach, we saw it in the past year. They overhyped the CoViD-19 scare in order to instill fear and use it to infringe on our freedoms. To this day, despite the theatrical claims of the virus being a deadly threat, the numbers continue to show that those who test positive still have a 99.9% survival rate. Have people died? Yes. Is it a threat? Mainly to those in certain high risk categories – like the elderly. But the same could be said for several much more deadly viruses and diseases where the death rate is much higher, and yet never in our history has a virus with such a high SURVIVAL RATE been considered as deadly as we’re told covid is. And this deception was used to excuse the overstepping governmental shutdowns and restrictions we have witnessed in the last year plus.

Worse still, many of the deaths attributed to CoViD-19 were not actually caused by it. Hospitals and other medical facilities were incentivized to put down covid as the cause of death because of governmental funding. In other words, they were paid to lie. I don’t say this flippantly, either. I didn’t just hear that or just happen to read it somewhere – I knew of several cases of it happening locally. And then, it happened in my own family. After my father’s long struggle with dementia and failing health, he passed away late last year. To my mother’s dismay, she soon discovered the cause of death on his death certificate was listed as CoViD-19. We all know that is a blatant lie. But it did not surprise me because it had already happened to so many others.

Now, our government is maintaining the lie. They scare people into wearing masks and social distancing, then they use that same fear to get us to take vaccines. The motivation for many to get vaccinated is to get back to some since of normalcy. We were led to believe that getting vaccinations would be the key to ending all the restrictions. Those restrictions, by the way, were initially supposed to be temporary – just a couple of weeks to flatten the curve, remember? More than a year later, the restrictions remain. And worse yet, now we’re told that even after getting the vaccine we’ll still have to wear masks and socially distance and all that. Well then, what exactly is the point of the vaccine?!

Again, make no mistake, there’s a method to their madness. Mainly, it’s to further establish the mentality that government is in control, and they rule over us. This further embeds the false notion that they know what’s best for us. And that deepens the people’s sense of dependence upon government. And if you’re dependent upon them, they really do own you. You are their slaves.

If you haven’t noticed the attempts to take away more and more of our freedoms, then you really haven’t been paying attention. From religious liberties to parental rights to crucial rights recognized by the Constitution like freedom of speech and the right to bear arms, one liberty after another is being threatened. Why? Because the less opportunity you have to live freely, the more you must rely on the government.

Lost your job due to the overstepping restrictions enacted due to the overhyped covid scare? Yeah, the government has programs for that. Just put your trust in the government. We’ve got you. They created the crisis, but they want you to believe they have all the answers. And just like that, yep, they’ve got you alright. Hooked. Stuck. Dependent. Enslaved.

But listen closely. That’s exactly what happened to me. I lost my job because – despite the best efforts of my employers – the government’s overreaching imposition of restrictions due to the overhyped covid scare forced my company out of business. And for months and months since, with those job-killing restrictions still in place, all I’ve had to rely on was unemployment benefits. That made me dependent upon the government. However, I am not fully dependent on them. They are not my only source. Because I don’t place my trust in them, rather my trust is in a God who has always taken care of me and has never ever let me down.

Though I can’t really explain how, I can actually say that God has mercifully supplied my needs better during this time of unemployment than ever before. My trust in Him is well placed because He literally never disappoints. I know that He will soon lead me to the right job situation, and I have no worries about that at all. I am confident in my God because He has proven Himself time and time again.

Probably one of the most successful tools that’s been used against us is the tried and true concept of divide and conquer. If we stand united as citizens, we have numbers on our side. The establishment, then, has continually tried to divide us through class warfare and accusations of racism, homophobia, transphobia, or other bias. These are all tools of division, and we need to start recognizing them as such.

If they can get us all separated into different groups and sub-categories, training our focus on all the things that make us different from one another, then they’ll keep us from seeing all the ways that we are truly alike. They equate disagreement with hate, accusing we in the Christian category of hating people in the LGBT category. None of this stuff is about equality, as they claim. It’s all about causing divisions.

Racism has probably been one of the most popular tools the establishment has used to divide us, and it is ironically one of the most ridiculous concepts mankind has ever given credence to. We are all various shades of brown, and members of a single race – human. Skin color is frankly irrelevant. To think otherwise is simply ignorant. How any educated or reasonably intelligent person could cling to racist notions today is beyond comprehension.

And yet, the establishment and those in the leftist media propaganda complex have even recently been diligently seeking to confuse and divide people with the lie that Georgia’s voter ID bill is somehow racist. It is nothing of the kind, and anyone who has actually read the bill knows that claim is not true. We’ve already discussed the gross amount of voter fraud that has taken place, and the need for registered voters to have an ID is painfully obvious. Again, this has nothing at all to do with racism – it’s about dividing people as a means of control.

The tools of the enemy are many, and they all serve a singular purpose: to lead us away from truth and away from God. Now, more than ever, we need to hold firmly to our faith and to our trust in the Lord. There is much evil in this world. Satan schemes and plots daily against the Church. He seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. He uses fear and countless other tools to gain a foothold in our lives. He wants to control us, ruin us, and ultimately to drag us down to hell with him in the end. But we have the upper hand! We have Jesus! We don’t have to fear. We don’t need to be worried about our lives because God is so much bigger than all the problems of this world. And God actually loves us.

So hear what I’m saying. If you, like so many others have lately, have been struggling – if you’ve been afraid of what’s next – if you’ve found yourself worried and fearful regarding the future, I’m here to tell you right now that no politician or government program is the answer to your problems. The answer is Jesus. The answer is found in surrendering all your worries to Him and trusting Him to meet your needs. Put your trust in the Creator of all things, the God who loves you and wants to guide you through all the storms of this life and into the glory of life in Him.

Beware the tricks of the enemy. Don’t fall for that voice that uses fear to control you, then promises things and never delivers. God is a God of perfect love, and that perfect love casts out all fear. Don’t become a slave to a deceiving overlord, but rather put your faith in the King of kings and Lord of lords. Study the Word of God and ask for His wisdom. Put on the whole armor of God, and stand ready for battle knowing that victory is already ours in Christ.

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying. Until next time, God bless you!

End Transcript

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Episode 45: Are You Comfy?

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-Begin Transcript –

We are not meant to be comfortable when evil is lurking. We are meant to overcome it with good. As long as we are living in a fallen world, we should not be on the sidelines. Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

Don’t believe the lie that you can’t make a difference, that there’s really nothing of consequence that you can do. Everyone can pray. Everyone can seek out God’s wisdom. And most everyone can speak truth to others in some way.

Don’t be afraid of perception. Don’t be swayed by fear of backlash. Truth has always been the enemy of lies, light the enemy of darkness, and good the enemy of evil. There is much wickedness to be fought, and there is no grand call for you to remain silent and complacent in your comfort zone.

But there IS a call to spiritual warfare, a call to right wrongs and take back what the enemy has stolen from us. So let me ask you, are you comfy? Or are you ready to become something more?

I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Show.

– Show Intro –

For several years now, I have attempted to encourage Christians to be more than the sum of their parts – to live up to the name Christian – to make a real difference in the world and in the lives of those around us. As some of you know, this is where the term Kingdom Hero came from. For those of you who may be new to this program, here’s a quick recap…

A few years back when I was producing “the GC” web-series, I did an episode entitled, “Kingdom Heroes.” Some time later, I condensed that episode into a short “67 Seconds of Encouragement” video. Check it out:

So, this gives you the basics – the gist of what it means to be a Kingdom Hero. And this is why I continue to use that terminology today. But how often do we stop to realize the full implications of taking on the name Christian, or Kingdom Hero? The reality of trying to live our lives more and more like Jesus is huge. It’s more than just occasionally doing a good deed, and it’s definitely more than just showing up at church on Sunday.

There are usually a couple of roadblocks that the enemy will throw in our path to prevent us from being all we can be as believers. One is the lie that we as individuals can’t really make that big of a difference. This lie is straight out of the pit of hell, but it appeals to our carnal tendency to be a bystander. That’s where the other big obstacle comes in – complacency. Satan will use these things in concert with one another to keep us from being effective in the kingdom.

We need to get it through our heads that, there are no bystanders in the kingdom of God. Rather, that kingdom is composed 100% of DOERS. If you’re not doing the Lord’s work, then you are useless to the kingdom.

Do you realize that one of the first commands that God gave to mankind was to be fruitful? He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” You may say, but that’s talking about procreation. Okay, but it doesn’t only apply to having physical offspring and populating the earth. It goes hand in hand with the Great Commission itself when Jesus speaks of “making disciples of all nations.” See, WE are disciples of Christ, and we are to replicate ourselves by making MORE disciples out of others. This is how we are fruitful, and it’s how we grow the kingdom. And if we’re not fruitful, then what good are we?

All throughout the Gospels, it is made abundantly clear that unfruitfulness is just not the way of things in the kingdom of God. It is repeated several times, but starting with Matthew 3:10…

Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

This is a warning to us. It says even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. We are charged as followers of Jesus to do His work – to make disciples – to spread the Gospel message to others – and in so doing, to be fruitful. Is that what we’re doing? Are we DOING anything to grow the kingdom? Are we telling others about Jesus? Are we living our lives in such a way that we are witnessing to those around us? Are we showing them by example how to be like Christ by living out His teachings? If not – if we are not being fruitful in any way – if we’re not even TRYING, then we are spiritually useless. And useless, non-productive branches get cut off and tossed into the fire.

Now, you might say, “Hold on, there! I’m saved! I’m a believer in Jesus. I’m not getting thrown into any fire. That’s crazy talk.” Alright, then. I would point you to Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21. The Lord asked him 3 times, “Do you love me?” And 3 times, Peter answered, “Yes, You KNOW I do!” What did Jesus tell him each time after he claimed to love Him? He told Peter to DO something, didn’t He? “Feed my sheep.” “Feed my lambs.” “Feed my sheep, Peter.” In other words, don’t just SAY you love Jesus – don’t merely CLAIM to believe in Him -but ACT ACCORDINGLY, DO SOMETHING that SHOWS it.

God’s Word doesn’t just call on us to believe, but to serve. And the scriptures illustrate to us time and time again that, in order to serve the Lord, we are to serve others. Jesus didn’t just say, these are my words, believe them. No, He told us plainly to DO his work. He literally commissioned us to continue the work He started in this world. His words in Matthew 28 are clear…

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He was given all authority in heaven to commission us. He instructs us to GO – not sit idly by while the world spins ’round and ’round. He says to MAKE DISCIPLES, BAPTIZE, TEACH – not just to keep His teachings to ourselves. He says others should be able to OBSERVE all He commanded by watching us – so if they’re not seeing Jesus in us, what are they seeing? And He let’s us know that we are NOT ALONE in this work – we’re not on our own, but He is with us, and He will guide us in doing it if we just let Him.

Jesus also gives us a pretty good clue that doing His work here on earth won’t always be all puppies and rainbows. It IS work, after all. But it’s a labor of love. We have to remember that there will be roadblocks. There will be times when doing this work is really tough. People mocked Jesus, so they will mock us. They hated Him, so yeah, some will hate us. Because of our faith in Him, there can definitely be some times of suffering. But in Romans 5, Paul says…

… but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

And further, in Romans 8, he says…

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Yes, there’s real WORK involved in being a disciple of Christ. Ask yourself what may be holding you back from doing more. Are there impediments that you struggle with which keep you from being a mighty warrior for God – from being a Kingdom Hero?

– Break Transcript –

As human beings, we can indeed be creatures of comfort. We like our perfect temperature settings, our comfortable recliners – yeah, believe me, I know. In fact, a few years ago, I was in a furniture store because I needed a some new living room furniture. And I saw this living room set that I just had to have. Was there a recliner? Yes. Did the couch also recline? Yes. Were there cupholders in the recliner, love-seat, AND sofa? Oh, YES! But what really sold me was that the recliners were all POWERED. Yep, just sit down, put your finger on a button, and your seat reclines back for comfort. Tap another button, and the headrest also adjusts for maximum comfort. Still another button illuminates the cupholder. I was in heaven, so-to-speak. And yes, I still own that amazingly comfortable living room set.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. We like our church services in a climate controlled building where we can sit on padded chairs, right? It’s hard to get good sleep if you don’t have a nice comfy bed, right? Comfort is a big selling point on a great many things in our lives, but what can be a problem is when comfort becomes more important to us than things that ultimately matter so much more. Physical comfort isn’t nearly as important as the condition of our souls. Social comfort isn’t as beneficial as risking an awkward moment and potentially reaching a soul for Christ. In this sense, we can limit ourselves as effective soul-winners by choosing instead to remain safe inside our comfort zone.

Too often, our comfort level doesn’t allow for much eternal significance. Frankly, that’s tragic. Think about this for a moment: What if Jesus, the Crown Prince of Heaven, had just decided to remain there in the glorious and magnificent comfort of heaven? What if He hadn’t put all that aside to come to earth as a man? What if God had chosen not to take on flesh and make a way for our redemption? Is that plain enough for ya? How about this – What if there was someone about to die in their sins, and you had a chance to save them? But it required that you step out of your comfy place, wouldn’t you?

That is precisely the work that God has for us – saving souls from hell by reaching them with the message of Christ – and too many of us can’t seem to find it within ourselves to get up out of our comfortable recliners with powered neck rests and illuminated cupholders. Ouch, that hit close to home.

You might say, “But I would never ignore someone in real need.” Really? Well, that’s exactly what we do when we are so preoccupied with staying in our comfort zone that we can’t even SEE the need right in front of us. Or when we try to avoid an socially awkward situation, and in so-doing, avoid the very opportunity to help someone in need. Take the story of the Good Samaritan…

Luke 10

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

In this parable that Jesus told, the man in need was ignored by both a priest and a Levite. They went out of their way to avoid the man, passing by on the opposite side of the street. They didn’t deem that man’s troubles as being more important than their own comfort. They didn’t want to bother with him, so they pretended not to see him. Sounds like awful behavior, especially for supposed men of God like a priest and a Levite. But if we’re honest, that kind of callousness is all too common – yes, even among those of us who call ourselves Christians.

Moreover, the point that Jesus made was that our calling – if we are indeed followers of His teachings and set to inherit eternal life – is to show kindness, mercy, and compassion for others EVEN WHEN it isn’t comfortable to do so. The law that Christ fulfilled – and the greatest commandments He gave – were to LOVE God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself. The good Samaritan in the story was indicative of the one who shows mercy and is truly a neighbor to the one in need.

And if you look closely at just how above and beyond this Samaritan went, he was also a great example of a Kingdom Hero. He didn’t only NOT ignore the man’s need like the other two men did, he had actual compassion for him. He went straight to him, not around him over on the other side of the street. He saw the need and immediately took action. But he didn’t only care for the man’s wounds, he then put this guy on his own animal and took him over to a lodging place, paid for a room there, and stayed overnight taking care of him. But wait, he didn’t stop there!

The next day, this Samaritan gave the innkeeper some money and had him see to the man’s needs, offering to repay anything above the amount he’d given if necessary. Wow! Who among us would go that far? Would you go that far out of your way? Would you go that far out of your comfort zone to help someone in need? That’s what a Kingdom Hero does, folks. And that’s what we should do. That’s the kind of people we ought to be.

But, it’s easy for us to get so caught up in our own bubble. We often don’t choose to look at anything outside of it. I’ve got places to be, things to do, and I can’t be getting sidetracked with stuff that I don’t have time for. Sound familiar? Are we so busy with our own cares that we think we don’t have time for doing what WE WERE PUT HERE TO DO in the first place?

– Break Transcript –

Finally, I’d like to approach this topic of serving others from a slightly different perspective. It’s the same, really, but just – ya know – different. The proper role of leadership really ought to be rooted in servanthood. I’m talking about a concept called “servant leadership,” and it’s something that too many so-called “leaders” don’t seem to understand. It’s unfortunate that so many who hold public office don’t seem to remember that they work for us. They instead seek to serve themselves and desire power to rule rather than to serve us.

Whether you are in a position of leadership in your job or at church or in some community program, you need to be familiar with this concept. If you’re a boss or supervisor, the best way to lead is through your own example. You need the respect of those you lead if you want them to actually follow you. When I worked as a manager in the food industry, I had to demonstrate my own willingness to get down in the thick of things and work hard if I wanted to inspire others to work hard for me. I also had to win them over by showing genuine concern for their needs. In many ways, I became a servant to them, which inspired them to serve our customers more fervently.

This is a biblical precept. Jesus spoke of the willingness to serve others first as essential to someone who wanted to lead. More than that, He illustrated it with His own actions by being a servant to His Disciples. In the Gospels, we read where He said…

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In Luke 22, He puts it this way…

26 … let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

We’ve all probably had an overbearing boss or two in the past, right? Maybe you even have one now. There are some that think leading is just bossing people around, telling others what to do while sitting around doing little else themselves. That’s not good leadership. That causes resentment. It doesn’t inspire hard work or good morale. People don’t want to work for someone like that. But now, if you see your boss getting out there and working every bit as hard as he or she expects you to, you’re more inclined to follow that example.

And when you know your leader is someone who actually cares about you and does things to help you succeed, that’s when you know you’ve got a great example to follow. Jesus was like this for His Disciples. Great leaders are like this for those who follow them. And this applies to teachers, pastors, and others who are charged with leading. Serving others is more important than barking out orders. Likewise, we have to be examples to those we hope to reach for Christ. We can’t just tell them to follow Christ – we need to show them how through our own example.

We can’t accomplish the work that Jesus commissioned us to do without serving. And we can’t do that without loving. It’s not enough to simply say we are Christians – we have to demonstrate it by really being Christ-like. Believing in Him is the just the beginning. We are called to live out our faith through our actions. We’re called to serve and reach others with the Gospel. We’re called to go above and beyond, much like the good Samaritan did. And yes, again, we’re called to be Kingdom Heroes and effect real change in the world. We’ll never do that by sitting on the sidelines and watching the world burn. It’s time to leave that comfort zone behind, and get involved in building God’s kingdom.

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just saying. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, God bless you!

– End Transcript –

Listen to the show HERE!

Episode 44: Foundation Is Key

Watch Show HERE

– Begin Transcript –

What we build on is important. You can’t just erect a house on any old thing. You wouldn’t want to just build it directly on top of dirt. Perhaps that’s how it was done when people didn’t know any better, but we’ve learned a few things the hard way over time. No, you first need to lay a good, solid, firm foundation. THEN, you can start to build the framework.

On this episode, we’ll deal with this concept as it relates to both our country and our lives as Christians. We will see that a foundation of lies is like quicksand – nothing can stand for long on that. But a foundation of truth is firm, and you won’t be moved or shaken when troubles come.

So, stick around. I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Show…

– Show Intro –

Over the years of my life, I have worked a great variety of jobs. One of my least favorites was when I helped install septic systems. There’s not a lot of glory in a job like that. It’s dirty, back-breaking, and – did I mention? – dirty. But I did learn a lot while doing it. I was in a lot of new neighborhoods where new houses were being built, so I got to see the very beginnings of the construction work. If you’ve ever built a home or other building, it goes without saying that having a solid foundation is key.

The bigger the building, the more crucial the foundation is. Pouring the cement, smoothing it out in a timely manner while it’s drying, and forming it into a usable concrete slab – that’s a lot of hard work! And it’s not exactly a glamourous job, either. But the people who do it usually get paid quite well. That’s because the foundation is one of the most important parts of the building. It doesn’t get seen and admired, but it’s necessary to all the other parts that do get seen and admired.

Now, why is this so important? Well, you could just throw something together without a firm foundation. In the military, I learned to build a lean-to out of crude materials you can find in the woods – just put a few branches here, a few leaves and mud and pine-straw there, and boom. You’ve got yourself a nifty little temporary structure that might or might not keep the rain off of you. But it’s not gonna last long. A good gust of wind may blow it away, a wild animal could tear it down, or any number of things could utterly destroy it in very short order. That’s not something I’d wanna live in.

And I know you’re probably familiar with the story of the wise man who built his house on a rock, and the foolish man who built his house on sand. Things didn’t work out too well for the guy who built on top of sand, did it? Sand isn’t stable – it shifts and moves about under pressure. Think about it. Have you ever walked on a beach by the ocean? You can feel the sand under your feet shifting around just from the weight of you walking on it. Imagine how unstable that would be if the weight of an entire house was placed on it.

I know, this is elementary stuff, right? Sure, but these simple concepts sometimes seem to escape us. I mean, how many times have you seen a marriage or other relationship fall apart because it was built carelessly on things that are shallow or unstable. Foundation is key for lots of things. Buildings, relationships, and definitely our walk with God. Without the proper footing beneath us, we can easily slip and fall. And in our relationship with God, well now, that’s gotta be built on the firmest of foundations – the Rock that is Jesus Christ Himself.

On this show, I talk a lot about truth. Whatever the topic is, I have to rely heavily on the truth I know to keep things in the right perspective. In that way, truth is the foundation upon which I build a discussion. And truth is the tool I use to reach the proper conclusions. Without truth to build on, the discussion will fall apart and amount to nothing. I’d just be wasting your time and mine. But not everyone chooses to build on something as stable and immutable as the truth. No, some people like to live on the wild side – their foundation is one of lies.

But a foundation of lies is like trying to walk on top of quicksand. You very quickly start to sink, and you get deeper the more you struggle to free yourself. People who build their lives around lies have to work a lot harder, too. And that’s not a good thing. Ever notice that, in order to maintain one lie, you usually have to tell another lie? And then another, and another… Pretty soon, all you have a web of lies that’s easy to get tangled up in. You end up tripping over one lie while trying to keep another lie from being found out. It’s exhausting! —Not that I’ve ever done that myself.

Truth, on the other hand, stand on its own. You don’t have to try to support it when it’s true – it just stands there, SOLID. Yeah, like a ROCK! If I tell the truth – which I always do (snicker) – then I don’t have to remember what I said. Make up a lie, and you might forget it. But the truth is always the truth. That’s a pretty solid foundation. That’s something you can build on.

What’s one of the biggest problems with a very large number of politicians? You got it – their tendency to lie. I mean, it’s what they’re notorious for, right? When someone mentions politicians, you usually think of these dishonest people who make phony campaign promises to get votes and lie through their teeth every time they speak, don’t you? And such a person as that has basically become addicted to the power of their office, corrupted by greed, and lies are their first language.

That sounds an awful lot like one of the descriptions of satan, doesn’t it? He is referred to as “the father of lies.” One passage says that when he lies he is speaking his native tongue. But while it’s easy to point fingers at crooked politicians, or even at the devil, we tend to gloss over or excuse our own lies. But those lies, however harmless they may seem, can be insidious. If we give satan any foothold in our lives, he will exploit it. One little lie can lead to another, and another, until we find ourselves in quicksand. And the enemy will destroy you if he can, starting with a weakening of your foundation.

I’ve often noted that our country was founded upon Godly principles. The biblical values held by the vast majority of our founding fathers was what formed the foundation of America. The fact that she has stood for so long is a tribute to the wisdom of those biblical principles she was built on. But our government, however nobly intended, is still run by fallible men and women. And that once solid foundation is becoming more and more unstable year after year. It’s being chipped away at by corrupt people who want to remold it into something other than the constitutional republic that has assured freedom for more than two centuries.

The more they jack-hammer that foundation, the closer it gets to crumbling beneath the weight of oppression and tyranny. And why? Why would anyone want to destroy the very foundation under our feet? Precisely because it IS Godly in nature. They’re rejection of those founding principles are in fact a rejection of scripture – a rejection of God’s Word. I’m not trying to equate our founding documents with the Bible, understand. I’m merely pointing out that those documents are full of biblical truths and precepts, and THAT is what these people are rejecting.

This is the very foundation that has kept us strong and thriving. It has ensured our liberties. It has kept tyranny at bay. It has protected the rights of the people from being infringed upon by the government. And yet those who are foolish enough to do so are actually trying to tear it down in some misguided attempt to remake it in their image – in their idea of it ought to be. Essentially, they are cutting of the nose in spite of the face.

– Break Transcript –

What makes a foundation stable? Firmness. Durability. Being able to withstand all the pressure and weight of that which is built on top of it. A small structure only needs a foundation strong enough to support a little. A larger building, like a skyscraper, needs a much stronger foundation. What about a nation? Obviously, the foundation has to be seriously strong in order to support something as monumental as an entire country, its infrastructure, and its people. And that’s the foundation that so many have been trying to undo here in the USA for a very long time.

What’s an even more pressing concern is what this does to the people. When a country goes against the will of God, its people suffer for it. The moral decay that has been allowed to exist and spread like a cancer for so long is threatening to eat away at the very soul of America. Homeless people are being neglected in our streets – where’s their American dream? Innocent unborn babies are being barbarically butchered in the womb – where’s their safe space? These atrocities and others go on right under our very noses, and we just go on like it’s what? No big deal?

You might say, “Oh come on, that stuff has been happening forever.” Well, an awful lot of evil can happen when “good” people sit by and do absolutely nothing to prevent it. Don’t we then share in the blame? Feeding the hungry, comforting the weary, praying for the sick, speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves – are these things really so hard to do? If so, then why? What have you built your life upon? Are you committed to God’s principles? Does His love and grace flow from you to those around you? If not my friends, then perhaps we should check ourselves.

I’ll say it again… What we build on is important. Are our lives built on the firm foundation of God’s Word? If so, then we ought to be making a difference in this world – by our actions and by our words. Are we getting tangled up in our own proclivities? Do we claim Christianity in name only rather than living it out? Are we letting Jesus be our example, or are we fashioning our lives to resemble someone else? Are we holding fast to the truth and rebuking the lies?

Psalm 15

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

If you really want to firm up your foundation, study this passage. It’s full of goodies. It speaks of walking blamelessly, doing what’s right, speaking truth, not slandering, doing no evil, not holding a grudge, despising what is vile and honoring those who revere God, committing to follow through even if it hurts, and – look at this – not even charging interest on a loan, and refusing bribery. These are all attributes of someone who has a firm foundation in God’s Word and will NOT be moved, swayed, or otherwise deterred.

I don’t know about you, but I would love for such words to describe me and my walk with the Lord. But it doesn’t just happen. Much like that concrete slab we looked at earlier, it takes a lot of effort and hard work. It takes commitment. And it takes a willingness to trust God with those details that we usually want to put our own hands on. We get bogged down in the details way too often. We ask ourselves questions like, “How can I even make a difference anyway?” – “What if I fail?” – “How do I know that person is really homeless and not running a scam?” – or one of my personal favorites, “Can’t someone else do it?”

[clip – Homer: “Can’t someone else do it?”]

When we let those silly questions consume us, we tend to end up doing nothing. Best to not even go there. Just commit to doing good, pray about it, and let God point out opportunities to fulfill His will. Intentionally look and listen. Put in the work, and let God bless it. Read His Word and let Him bring it to life within you. Meditate on it. And walk it out. The more you do this, and the more time you spend seeking God and His will, the more firm your foundation will become. It’s not gonna happen without work.

Sometimes people can mistakenly think that all they have to do is maybe read a little scripture here and there, or go to church once in a while, or anything else that gives them a sense of doing their part. I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’ve been in church for a while now, and I think I know a thing or two about God’s will.” But that’s actually the problem. Too many times, we only know a thing or two and think we know it all. There’s a lot more to it than that, just like there’s more to laying a foundation than dumping out a little cement.

Let’s look a little more closely at that story of the wise man and the foolish man we mentioned before. And remember, this is Jesus talking…

Luke 6

47 “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been founded upon the rock. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

You see, it’s the wise man who hears the words of Jesus and DOES them. And it’s the foolish man who hears those words and does NOT do them. Our foundation has to be the words of Jesus. We must hear them AND do them. Otherwise, our foundation will be weak or non-existent, and our house – our very lives – will fall. And this passage emphasizes that it won’t just be ruined, but greatly ruined.

– Break Transcript –

Ask yourself this… “Am I firmly founded on the Rock? Am I following and living out the words and instructions of Jesus?” If you’ve struggled to make your life into something and find yourself falling short, is it because you’re trying to build on a shaky or faulty foundation? What are you building on? Anything less than the truth of God’s Word, and it might as well be shifting sand.

1 Corinthians 3

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Paul was speaking of the church which is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. No other foundation will do. Further down, he says what others build on it will be tested by fire, and…

14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Now, what I find interesting is that right after Paul speaks of the importance of having Jesus as our foundation, he goes on to speak of us as being the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit…

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

This sheds new light on our need for a good foundation in our lives. If we ourselves are to be the temple for God’s Spirit, then we certainly wouldn’t build Him some shoddy old rickety shack to live in. No, we’d want to build Him a glorious place worthy of His Presence. And since we, within ourselves, are completely unworthy, we can only be made worthy through Jesus!

With the words of Jesus written on our hearts, and with our own commitment to carrying out His commands, we lay that firm foundation for our lives. That is something we can build upon, and the Bible is our blueprint for constructing lives befitting as children of God.

– End Transcript –

Watch Show HERE

Episode 43: Unity or Conformity?

Watch the show HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to the show, everyone. We are doing something new here at Great Commission Ministries – we are combining our regular podcast with video and adding a new aspect to the program. Of course, GCM began in 2011 with a video web-series. After it ran for 7 seasons, we transitioned into other projects, moved into blogging, and then began a podcast from those blogs. Now with the addition of video again, I hope to expand the outreach of this show. For those of you who follow the blog, the printed transcripts will still be available at the website, kingdomheroblog.com [repeat]. These shows will now be found on our YouTube Channel, and we are also adding a video channel on the Rumble platform. I’ll have more info on that in the near future.

On this episode, I wanna talk a bit about the obvious double-standard that is running rampant in our current society. We’ve all seen and heard the recent calls for “unity.” But the ones calling for unity are the same ones who just a few months ago were calling for public outrage and social unrest. They spent over 4 years spreading lies about Trump and his supporters, blaming us for everything that’s wrong with the country. They claimed it was Trump who caused division and racial tension, when it was those on the left who had been fueling those fires since the Obama administration. BLM began under Obama, not Trump. Antifa has been the militant arm of the democrat party, much like the KKK once was. But for all the riots and unrest they on the left promoted, they blamed it all on Trump. And now – now that Biden is in office – now they are calling for “unity?” Really?

Let’s get to it. I’m Stace Massengill, and THIS is the Kingdom Hero Blogcast.

– Show Intro –

Some of you who have been following this program or my blogs for a while might be thinking, “Here we go, he’s getting political again.” But let me remind you that, as Christians, our call is to the truth, and we deal with moral issues. Often times those issues overlap with politics, but that’s no reason to ignore them. Whoever says that Christians should stay out of the political arena is either short-sighted or has a somewhat questionable agenda. And as I’ve pointed out in the past, moral issues should never be given a pass just because they’re perceived as political ones.

In dealing with the concept of unity, this is most definitely a moral topic. Living at peace and in harmony with our fellowman is lauded throughout scripture. On my show, I try very hard to keep a biblical perspective about everything. Now, I’m not perfect yet – God’s still working on me – so I may not always succeed at keeping that perspective, but that is indeed the goal here. So let’s start with the Word of God and what it says about unity.

Psalm 133

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Yes, it is talking about “God’s people” in this passage, but it should be just as easily understood that it is good and pleasant when everyone can live in unity. Plus, further down in the verse 3, it says…

For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

So, when people live together in unity, God is pleased and He blesses the people for it.

1 Corinthians 12

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

This passage is speaking of unity as it pertains to the body of Christ, or the church – which is made up of people – us. But it also deals with the concept of diversity and how it ought to exist along with unity. Regardless of our differences – be they political, ethnic, social, or whatever – we should still be able to work together in harmony with one another. We can have different opinions and still get along. We can have different political views and get along. We can certainly have different shades of skin color and still get along. To think otherwise is just plain ignorant.

But there are many on the left who speak of coexistence and tolerance, all while being completely intolerant of Christianity. They make it out to be the problem. They say we Christians are the intolerant ones, when we actually should only be intolerant of evil and wickedness. They call good evil and evil good, and yet they say we should get along with their wicked ways. They speak of unity, when what they really want is conformity. But we’ll come back to this.

Ephesians 4

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Again, this is a clear call to Christians to be unified in spirit. But unity only works when everyone is participating in it. Where we should be patient with one another, there are unfortunately those who have no patience at all toward those they see as opposition. All the hate that has fomented from the establishment types in DC toward President Trump and his supporters is astounding. They paint us all in such a bad light that it would seem ridiculous to think they’d ever want to coexist with us. Leftist pundit Bill Maher has even gone so far recently as to claim that “Christianity is to blame for the Capitol riots.” Wow, I mean, really Bill?

Colossians 3

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Okay, now we’re getting to the one thing that is required for unity to prevail in our hearts – LOVE. I’ve talked ad nauseum about the topic of love in the past, and we see here that is an essential and integral part of living in unity. It is safe to assume then that, the biggest reason for there not to be unity in our society is because there isn’t enough real love for one another. Where there is no desire to love, there is no hope for unity. And frankly, those who we hear calling now for unity have absolutely no desire to embrace those with whom they disagree. Again, they don’t really want unity – they say they do, but they want it on their terms – when it’s my way or the highway, that’s not unity. That’s conformity. That’s what they want. They want us to give in and agree to do things their way.

– Break Transcript –

So we’ve learned that love is necessary for unity. You can’t have the latter without the former. And the reason for a lack of unity is the sheer lack of love. In fact, we’ve seen the exact opposite. Racial divisions were reignited during the Obama administration. Anyone who disagreed with his policies was labeled a racist. This tactic was pushed in our faces at every turn. Out of this rising hatred, spurred on by false accusations of racism, the leftist media began upping their game, making police officers out to be racists. There was growing resentment toward good police officers because of the acts of a very few, and often times even those incidents were misrepresented.

This is when the organization calling themselves Black Lives Matter was born. As we’ve dealt with previously, this group is not at all what its name would have you believe. But if you disagree with their stance against what they call the patriarchy or their tendency to violently riot and loot, again you’re labeled a racist. They attempt to justify their actions and lay all the blame on “systemic racism,” the idea of which is toxic malarkey. Leftist groups like this have done more damage than good (if any good at all) and done more to perpetuate racism than to counter it. By spreading hate instead of love, they foster more and more division rather than unity.

And again, this started during President Obama’s time in office. Still, the establishment elites in Washington DC laid all the blame at the feet of Trump. Understand, when I speak of the establishment in DC, I’m not just referring to democrats and the left. No, this includes those on the right and within the republican party who only want to hold on to their political power and ill-gotten gains. These people are corrupt and encourage a corrupt system. They are self-serving bureaucrats who represent their own interests rather than the interests of the people they’re suppose to serve. Trump came along and challenged all that, and they hate him for it.

Donald Trump wasn’t a politician. He was a successful businessman who loved his country and got tired of seeing it go down the tubes at the hands of these power-hungry crooks. He was a real threat to them. So they had to make him out to be anything and everything the people would despise – racist, misogynistic, homophobic, crooked, a Russian asset, a traitor, a xenophobe, a liar and spreader of hate, etc. And everyone who supported Trump was demonized, as well. Hillary called us deplorables. The media called us racist and stupid. All of this hate was generated by those on the left and those in the establishment because Trump was determined to “drain the swamp” and get rid of their corrupt kind. They hated him and us so much that they cheated Trump out of his landslide re-election, and they said those of us who cried “foul” were dangerous and should be silenced and censored.

Right on schedule, Big Tech answered the call and silenced conservative voices. They kicked President Trump off of their platforms and even kicked alternative platform Parler off of the internet. These people who refuse to tolerate any opposing viewpoints, who have done everything in their power to shut us up, are now coming out and saying, “Hey, let’s all just get along now, okay?” After showing so much disdain and hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them, they now have the audacity to call for unity. After causing so much divisiveness and blaming us for it, they call for unity. After censoring their opposition, and cheating people out of their choice for president, now they want us to just sit back and shut up. But again, that’s not unity – it’s conformity.

When conformity is the call of our leaders, blind obedience and compliance is what’s expected. But that isn’t freedom – it’s tyranny. And the hatred on both sides of the aisle is what’s tearing our nation apart from the inside. As President Ronald Reagan once put it, “If America ever falls, it won’t be because of an enemy from without, but due to an enemy within.” Wickedness and corruption are ripping at the fabric of our foundations, and total destruction is their goal. A turn from God is their goal. Complete reliance upon government is their goal. Silencing every voice of truth is their goal. Control – total power and control of our lives is their goal. And they will settle for nothing less.

Ezekiel 11

1This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgment on you at the borders of Israel. 12 And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.

This passage is dealing with God executing judgement upon Israel for not keeping His laws but instead conforming to the surrounding nations’ standards. Giving in to conformity is the easy thing to do, especially when you don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers or appear to be going against popular opinion. But we are called to something higher than the standards of other people. We are called to uphold the standards of the Living God.

Romans 12

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This familiar passage is quite clear in its instruction to us. Conforming to the pattern of this world is not at all our mandate as Christians. Instead, we are to be transformed by the renewing power of God’s Word. Only then can we pass the tests of this life and stay within His perfect will. When people who have shown us only hatred and intolerance call us to unity, without showing love or a real desire to tolerate our beliefs, what they are really calling us to is conformity. “Do as we say.” That’s a call to bondage – to slavery. But that’s not our call.

– Break Transcript –

So then, what should our response be? You who have followed this program for a while have heard me say that we should try to live peaceably with men but give the devil hell. It’s important to keep the two separate as much as possible. I’ve said many times that people are not our enemy – satan is. I often quote Ephesians 6:12, which states…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This is indeed a spiritual battle, and as such, it will not be won in the court of public opinion or in arguments with those who lack spiritual wisdom. This is a fight that is not with people, but against evil forces that are at work in our world. It can’t be won with physical weapons, but with weapons of spiritual warfare. That passage in Ephesians 6 goes on to tell us how to face such spiritual battles, and I encourage you to read and re-read these scriptures regarding the Armor of God. I won’t get into all that again now, but it’s worth your time to study it.

The point here is that, those people who are perhaps unwitting pawns of our true enemy, we should still try to view them in love. Those who are lost will never be found unless we care enough to witness and pray for them. In our battle to promote the truth, we need to keep in mind that there are lost souls at stake. Yes, we should fight lies with truth. Yes, we should stand up and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. But yes, we also ought to treat everyone with love and grace – even when they speak ill of us. We don’t have to conform to their ways to show them love. We can demonstrate the true nature of unity to them by doing what Jesus has called us to do – follow His example.

Understand that, when we do this, many of them will continue to hate us. They hated Jesus, so they’ll hate anyone who is like Him. But conforming to their way of thinking and living is not the answer. That might gain us a few friends and make us more acceptable to the world, but it would separate us from Christ.

Mark 8

36 For how does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his own soul?

We are not called to be man-pleasers, but to be God-pleasers. And we can’t please God by turning from His ways and conforming to those of the world. Unity is a wonderful and even a righteous concept, but it cannot be achieved by those who would force us into submission. Anyone who tells you differently has ulterior motives in play. Love them. Pray for their salvation. But do not conform to their ways. Ever.

– End Transcript –

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Episode 42: The Hope We Have

Listen to the podcast HERE

– Begin Transcript –

Welcome to the show, folks. We’ve been talking recently about the concept of love, and it’s one of many words today that is misused and tossed around out of context until its meaning is unrecognizable. Another term that is often misrepresented is the word, hope. If we listen carefully – with discerning ears – to those who spread this word on really thick in the political arena, we notice it being used to appeal to people who have lost a sense of hope. But in this arena, when uttered in an attempt to win votes or sell you an idea, the word is bereft of any real meaning. It is spoken in vain, devoid of worth, empty.

When hope is rendered in such a way, it becomes nothing more than fluffy terminology – something that sounds good but, in the end, means nothing. This has often been the result of political figures using the term for their own purposes, in empty campaign slogans, and to promise things they never intend to follow through on. Problem is, too many people fall prey to this. Too many people consider their source of hope to be the government. “If we can just elect these people into office, they’ll solve all our problems.” This is how governments get so big and intrusive and powerful and oppressive – people lose real hope and begin to place all their trust in government to save them.

Today, we will deal with this topic and remind ourselves that our true source of hope is not a politician or a government program – no, the hope we have is found in Jesus. And our trust is in the Lord. I’m Stace Massengill, and this is the Kingdom Hero Blogcast…

– Show Intro –

I’m sure you remember in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election to Donald Trump. Forget all the party-line political aspects to this, I’m just talking about the reactions of people reliant upon leaders in government to save them and make their lives better. Remember all the downcast faces of the Hillary supporters who were utterly devastated that she had lost? They were crying, screaming, and acting as if their entire world had just come to a tragic end. They were fearful – mainly due to the lies they were fed my the media – that Trump would destroy all of accomplishments of former President Obama, and that the country was doomed.

And even though the world didn’t end, and Trump actually got us out of wars and bad trade deals, he definitely took the country in a different direction – and that still made people on the left think he was the wrong person for the job. Regardless of any good that he did – which the media refused to speak of – people were unhappy that he was making government less intrusive. Many folks would rather be dependent upon government than to take responsibility for themselves. That’s just a fact. But now let’s flip the script, because it’s not just those on the left who tend to put way too much faith in people in power.

Since Trump has left the Oval Office, and Biden has assumed the role of POTUS, we cannot deny that there are plenty of people on the right who have appeared to lose hope. No, we don’t see all the ridiculous crying and screaming that we saw from Hillary’s supporters 4 years ago, but there are those who were supporting Trump that seem almost as devastated that he’s no longer in office. And most of these are afraid that Biden is going to undo all the good Trump accomplished, as he’s already made strides to undo some of it.

What we’re talking about here is misplaced hope. Too many of us tend to invest an unhealthy amount of faith in man – who is flawed – rather than in God – who is completely incorruptible. Yeah, Trump did an incredible amount of good – despite the constant opposition from his many enemies – and we were hopeful that he would remain office another 4 years and do even more. But is it possible that some of us forgot that our hope is not in man? A lot of the posts I’ve seen from folks would seem to indicate that they think our nation is doomed now that Biden is in office. But wait a minute, isn’t God still on the throne?

The truth is that we, as long-standing citizens of the most FREE nation on the planet, have such a narrow view of what real oppression is like. We are spoiled as Americans, having been born into all these amazing rights and liberties, and we take most of them for granted. We don’t know what it’s like in this country – yet anyway – to be rounded up and executed for our faith. We don’t understand the concept of persecution like many in other parts of the world. We’ve become so spoiled by our freedoms, in fact, that we feel entitled to them and even more. And all a politician has to do is promise you something else that you think you deserve and ought to have, and we grow even more dependent upon them. They become our source of hope, and we become less and less free.

Taking on a worldly view, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are independent. But it’s not that we’re truly independent because we become dependent on this government program and that government bail-out and government subsidies and government-run healthcare and so on. So what is it that we think we’re independent from in this worldly view of things? God. That is the tragedy of mankind’s modern arrogance – that he thinks he no longer needs God. “I can just rely on this government benefit. I deserve it anyway. I’m entitled to it.” But little to no thought is given to what happens when that government you’ve put all your hope into decides that you’re not essential to its purposes and cuts you off.

Hey, don’t tell me that can’t happen. Were you paying ANY attention in 2020? Here was this virus with a 99+% survival rate, which was used as a political tool to undermine the greatest economy we’ve ever seen. Despite the incredibly high survival rate, it was hyped up and used to cause widespread panic, and our own government committed serious oversteps of its power. Mandates, lockdowns, and useless restrictions were put into place – supposedly for our own good. But those restrictions caused countless businesses to lose revenue and ultimately close down. If you weren’t deemed as essential, you were simply our of luck. I know this first-hand because I lost my job during this time when the company I worked for was forced to shut down permanently.

We saw in the last year just how easily this kind of thing can and did happen. And you’d better believe it still can and will happen again. So do you really want to put all your hope into a government run by flawed and corruptible men and women? Do you really think that they have your best interest in mind? Or wouldn’t you rather place your trust and dependence on the God who created you and truly does have your best interest in mind? The God who formed you in the womb with a plan and purpose for your life? The God who redeemed us to Himself through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, so that we could have REAL HOPE for eternal life? No politician – of any party – can ever offer you that.

– Break Transcript –

Scripture has a lot to say about hope. In the book of Psalms, David asks himself this question:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

~ Psalms 42:5, 42:11, 43:5 [ESV]

Again, how downcast do we allow ourselves to become when our candidate doesn’t come out on top? Yes, whether we think the election was legitimate or rigged. Where is our hope? In the man? In the election process? In the powers of our government? Or are we hopeful in God, who cannot be ousted from His rightful place in heaven?

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

~ Romans 5:2 [ESV]

This passage tells us that it is through Jesus that we have been given access to grace, and it is this grace that sustains us – not a government program or subsidy. God is our provider, not some politician. And we should be rejoicing in the hope we have in Him, rather than being all negative and acting like we’re all in big trouble now that so-and-so is president. How short-sighted is that thinking?! And how pitiful if our hope is based on who’s in office rather than on He who is on the throne of glory.

Do we really have to remind ourselves of where our hope lies? Time and time again, we can find ourselves acting like we’ve forgotten this most basic of biblical lessons. When we lose a battle or our plans somehow fail, we revert to our carnal nature of doubt and hopelessness. For Christians, that should never be. But when it does, we need to remember these truths.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever…

Psalm 146:4-6 [ESV]

See, eventually we all die and return to the ground from which we were made. Whatever plans we may have had for the future will fall by the wayside, but God’s plans always see fruition. When our hope is in the Lord our God who made everything – including us – His blessings on us are assured, both during and after this life. Our faith can endure in spite of all circumstance if our hope is in Him. If bound to this life and the corruptible things within it, hope will fail us. But that doesn’t happen when our hope is in the eternal.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14 [ESV]

So this scripture says that God has given us His grace – the grace to live this life in a righteous manner despite the ungodliness around us – and He brought the gift of salvation for all people. This is to be our hope. Not material things. Not any of the ungodly or worldly desires of the flesh. Instead, we are to renounce such things, living our lives in obedience to God and in waiting for our “blessed hope” to appear. What is that? The promise of glory, the return of Christ, and the deliverance from this life into one that is eternal. In light of this, our hope is in Him, and we ought to have great zeal to do good works in His name.

Furthermore, we should realize that any hope in things of this world is a fading or passing hope because this world is passing away. That is a dead hope, which is really no hope at all. In a world that denies God, the belief is that after this life is over, we’re done. That’s it. We just cease to exist. Our hope is not a dead one, but a living one, with faith that we will live forever with the Lord.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…

1 Peter 1:3-4 [ESV]

Again, we see that OUR HOPE is grounded in the gift of salvation through Jesus and the promise of everlasting life. Because of what Christ did for us, we hold on to a living hope – and we have an inheritance that will not perish, cannot be defiled or corrupted or plundered, and will never fade away. Our hope is not merely in this life, but also in the one to come. And it is Jesus Himself who is our ever-present, living, and eternal hope.

– Break Transcript –

This is why, as believers, we should stand out from other people in the world. He have a hope that can’t be squashed. You can hope for a better job, a better car, a nicer house, or for a certain person to be elected to an office. But when that thing you hope for doesn’t happen, you can end up losing all hope if you’re not careful. Your ultimate hope can’t simply rest on the things of this life or on a human being who can fail you. That’s a recipe for a miserable existence. You’d better get used to disappointment if that’s your idea of hope.

But no, we should be different. As Christians, the world should look at us and go, “Why are they always so hopeful? How on earth are they smiling and happy? What is it that keeps them in such a good mood even when things are going bad?” Because your positive witness to them will lead them to say, “I want whatever it is that they have.” And then, we can introduce them to Jesus – our everlasting source of hope.

And when the opportunity to witness comes, we need to be ready. They’re gonna have doubts. They’re gonna have questions. They’re gonna need to hear from your experiences that there is real hope in Christ. And God’s Word tells us to always be ready to give reason for the hope we have.

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…

1 Peter 3:15 [ESV]

When offering our reasons for this hope in Christ, the manner in which we speak to the non-believer is crucial. We can’t just say, “Well, I’m a Christian, so I have real hope.” Where’s the explanation in that? Where’s the God-like love and compassion? No, our witness needs to be genuine, personal, and have real-world application to the life of the one we’re sharing Jesus with. More like, “Well, this is where I was when I found a better way. This is how beginning a relationship with Jesus changed my life. This is the hope I have and why I have it. This is how God made Himself real to me. And this is something you can have, too.” And fill in the blanks there with your own personal story of how the Savior gave you a hope that endures every circumstance.

We live in a world that seems to be without hope. It’s a world that too often puts its trust in corruptible things and people. Sometimes, we ourselves fall into this carnal trap. But there IS hope. And this hope is for all mankind. Christ came to make things new, to save the lost, and to redeem us to the Father. And the hope He gives us isn’t merely for this life.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:19 [ESV]

Indeed, the hope we have is not rooted in the temporary things of this world, but in the eternal things of the life to come. We have the hope of salvation, yes, but it’s also a hope of everlasting life – a hope that there’s so much more to our existence than what this life has to offer. There is a life to come that will last forever, where everything will be renewed, and where we’ll have new and glorified bodies that will never succumb to disease or death. THIS is the hope we have. And it is available to everyone who would believe in Jesus, accept His gifts of salvation and eternal life, and follow in His ways. And unlike most campaign promises, God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen.”

– End Transcript –

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