Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?

Sunday Sermon Series

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the second-to-the-last part of our study on biblical peace. Next Sunday we’ll complete our first Sunday Sermon Series! Thank you to all of you who have continued with us to this point. If you’d like to start at the beginning, please click here – “Peace In: Part I.”

Where We Have Been

Over the past five weeks we’ve seen that . . .

  1. Peace is a conditional promise of divine soul rest powerful enough to overcome out feeling of doubt, depression, anxiety, and anger.
  2. The first Peace Prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to God by finding our sole joy in Him.
  3. The second prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to others by showing our gentleness in all things because not only is God in us, He is returning soon to collect us unto Himself.
  4. The third requirement is that we must fulfill our responsibility to this life by not being anxious, but instead taking all of our cares and anxieties to God in humble and thankful trust that He will work in and through them as He’s promised.
  5. When we are faithful to obey God, He provides a divine peace that stations a spiritual guard over our thoughts and desires – under the ultimate authority of none other than Jesus Christ.

Where We Are Now

In pure Pauline fashion, it’s as if Paul realizes there’s one more important thing he must say to the Philippians on the subject of peace. So he lays out a fourth Peace Prerequisite followed by a second Peace Promise.

Continue reading “Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?”

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Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1

 

Sunday Sermon Series

Welcome back. As always, I’d like to welcome anyone just joining us to take few minutes to catch up with out study. You can start here: “Peace In: part I.” If you missed any other parts, you may click here.

The passage we’re dipping into today is so extremely exciting because it’s the first of two Peace Promises we’ll see before we’re done.

The Peace Prerequisites

Remember, peace is not a natural consequence of being a Christian. If that were so, no Christian would ever be afraid or depressed. But peace is a conditional promise offered to every Christian. All we have to do is do our part. Of course, we can never accomplish anything Christ-honoring with His power, so in the end, God is asking us to do things we can only do through Him to have peace only He can provide. It really is a win-win-win for us.

1. Find your complete and utter joy in nothing and no one else other than God and His Truth. Don’t let a job, spouse, team, grade, children, hobby, song, food, or house be your goal. Make God and His glory your preeminent mission in life. This means His Word and the work He has for us must be more important than our fleeting fancies.

2. Be gentle, gracious, and loving to all men. Men may call you their enemy because they side with sin, but no man should you ever consider unlovable. Peace with the antagonistic, unity with the brethren, and truth in love to all men should be our aim. Know that God provides power to accomplish this by His indwelling Spirit, and that He may return at any moment and wants to find us serving Him.

3. Never be anxious for anything. Instead of dwelling on the problem and fretting over the outcome, allow your thoughts to turn to God, His promises, and His throne. Bow before Him in humble submission, casting your care on Him with a thankful heart that He is using these circumstances to work in you and bring Him glory.

When you accomplish all of this with Christ’s power for Christ’s glory the result is and will always be . . .

Continue reading “Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1”

Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?

Sunday Sermon Series

If you missed the introduction to this series, please click on the following link to join us in our study on peace. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left behind: Peace In: Introduction

Peace In: Part I

As we delve back into our study in Philippians 4:4-9, we need to determine what “peace” actually is. Since we’re commanded to have peace . . .

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

. . . it would behoove us to know what we have to do or be. How many Christians commit the sin of lasciviousness because they never bothered to figure out what it was? Let’s not make that same mistake here.

One way to discern what peace is is to figure out what it’s not.
Continue reading “Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?”

Reflections on Being Jesus

reflections

I’ve been asked to be Jesus ten times.

The first time I portrayed Him on stage was for Bethel Baptist Church’s Easter production of God’s Masterpiece in 2009. I was 28. During Easter of 2014, I played Him for the fifth time in that same production. I was 33.

imageimageBeing a pasty-skinned red-head, my yearly transformation into a dark-haired, dark-skinned Jew was always a shock to my family and friends.

But aside from the physical metamorphosis required to portray Jesus on stage, I believe I’ve changed even more as a follower of Christ. Six years later (over one hundred shows, across multiple cities, in two states, for three different productions) . . . I’d like to share some insights I believe are extremely important for everyone who professes Jesus as Lord.

What I’ve Learned:

  1. He was perfectly bold, especially given His earthly age. The first time I played Him, I was 28. In preparation for the role, I consulted many pastors in hopes of gleaning helpful insights. But the most dramatic revelation I had when conversing with them was that the men I talked to were significantly older than I. I then realized that the religious leaders in Jesus’ day would have been equally as old if not older. Then I imagined today’s pastors hearing me, an almost-thirty-something proclaiming to be God! I’d received enough condescension in my life to realize that what Jesus had to do was extremely difficult, not simply because He was turning conventional wisdom on it’s head and manifesting His deity, but because He was so young.
  2. He was perfectly wise. Jesus knew exactly what to say and when to say it. He wasn’t distracted by His audience’s rabbit trails. He always spoke directly and immediately to their deepest need. When the woman at the well tried to distract Jesus with racial/political considerations, He pinpointed her sin and need of a Savior. When Martha rushed out to Him after Lazarus’ death, His first words weren’t empty platitudes of sympathy. He replied, “Your brother will rise again.” When Nicodemus made the observation that Jesus had to be from God because of His miracles, Jesus skipped the pleasantries and said “You must be born again.”
  3. He was perfectly focused. Whether He was twelve years old in the temple or thirty-three years old on the cross, His sole goal was to fulfill God the Father’s will.
  4. He was perfectly loving. It became a running joke over the first few years that I had to make sure to touch everyone I could on stage at any given time. Whether I was placing a hand on a shoulder, picking up a child, or giving a hug, I needed to be touching someone. This desire to physically connect with people grew out of the fact that I knew Jesus would have loved these people with His whole being. It made all the sense in the world that if He loved them that much, He would connect with them . . . and gladly die for them.
  5. He was perfectly joyful. The first (but definitely not the last) criticism I received for my portrayal came after the very first performance in ’09. A gentlemen stopped me and said that though he enjoyed the performance greatly, he believed Jesus was probably more “serious” and “grave” than I had performed Him. I thanked the man for his insights, but then politely explained that as I reflected on Who Jesus was, I realized that He was not only perfectly holy and just, He was also perfectly joyful. Would someone with an infinite source of divine contentment, joy, and peace never smile? Is it possible He never joked with His disciples? I think not.
  6. He was perfectly serving. Christ’s entire ministry was one of service. Everything He did, He did for others. Coming to the earth, casting out demons, healing sickness, preaching, washing, dying, rising. It was all done out of obedience to the Father and as a sacrificial service to the people He ministered to.
  7. Lastly, and most uncomfortably, He was perfectly exemplary for us. Whether we’re playing Him on stage or not, we have the responsibility to be just like Him. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son [emphasis mine].” The passage continues by laying out for us God’s eternal purpose for His children. He predestines, calls, justifies, and will eventually glorify us. This whole process is designed to transform us into the image of His Son. When we’re finally glorified, we’ll be as much like Him as we possibly can be, yet in the meantime, we’re to be consistently being changed into His image (progressive sanctification).

I made the observation that first year that everyone should have the opportunity to portray Christ on stage, because that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do in real life anyway. We’re supposed to say what He would say, the way He would say it, for the reasons He would say it . . . all the time.

What this Means for Us:

    1. What if we were bolder in our proclamations? We would be far more passionate about our Lord regardless of the age of our audience or the situation we found ourselves in. Whether posting on Facebook or conversing in the office, boldness would radically change our interactions.
    2. What if we thought and analyzed in line with Christ’s wisdom? The rabbit trails and worldly philosophies wouldn’t distract us or cause us to stumble. God’s wisdom would perfectly answer each situation, and, if we plumbed its depth, we wouldn’t needlessly flounder in our culture’s Disney worldview and pre-pagan mindset.
    3. What if we were focused on the mission of our Father instead of being distracted by the temporary and sinful foolishness of this life? If Christ’s one goal was to fulfill the will of the Father, why are sports and relationships and diplomas and careers so all-consumingly important to us? With a sanctified life-goal like that, we could continue the apostle’s ministry of turning this world upside down!
    4. What would change in our relationships if we loved like Christ? Goodbye arguments, gossip, bad advice, and weather-casting small talk. Hello prayer, intentional edification, wise counsel, significant discussion, and life-changing intimacy.
    5. What if our lives were categorized by joy? Imagine the griping, complaining, whining, and general discontentment that would disappear! Imagine now what would necessarily have to take it’s place.
    6. What if we served our family, friends, and foes as Christ did? Think of the bridges that would be built. Consider the example that would be shown. Imagine the work that would be accomplished!
    7. What if we were the same example to others that Jesus was to us? Spiritual multiplication produces faster than any math equation! We have countless peers, coworkers, children, parents, friends, and strangers who would benefit from seeing Christ in us.

I don’t know if the Lord will afford me the opportunity to portray Him again, but whether He does or not, I purpose to be bold, wise, focused, loving, joyful, serving, and exemplifying just like He was . . . and I suggest you do the same.

#Evermind #MoreOfHimLessOfUs

For Your Consideration:

As a writer, I’ve dabbled in many forms of communication. I’ve written short stories, books, stage & screenplays, articles, etc. But my most prolific genre is poetry. I wrote voraciously in high school and college and have recently decided I need to start scrawling again. I also figured the best writing prompts are the topics I discuss here. So, please accept this as my first poetic submission on Taking Back the Bible. Others will be appearing shortly as I write new articles, but I also plan to write poems for previous posts.

To Show the Christ

I’ve worn the mantle Jesus bore
Upon His frame.
I’ve shod my feet with sandals torn
From distance traveled to a score
Of unbelieving plains.
I’ve burned my skin with suns that scorch
My head. But despite the marks
They’ve left on me, my Lighted torch –
That leads men north –
Fades all their beams to dark.

I’ve spoken with the Pharisees who understand the law
So well they thought that they could trap
Within their tangled scrawls
The One Who sounded Sinai’s calls.
Their pride exposed their wisdom’s lack.
I’ve called the men who all
Left home and ship to follow Him.
I’ve washed their feet. I saw
Them preach, and fall,
And return again, lost souls to ever win.

I’ve preached the sermons, cried the prayers,
And healed the chosen nation’s
Pains. Their stares
I’ve met with His great love, and shared
Each word our Father gave to lead them to salvation.
I broke the bread and felt the glare
Of Satan in the garden.
I’ve watched as one who cared
Too much for silver dared
Betray the One Who’d pay his pardon.

I’ve even felt the tear of thorns and bite of flail
Announce that He would die.
But deeper still than piercing nail
Can drive, I’ve felt the bitter, ugly wail
That must have coursed when palm’s cried “Crucify!”
The cross is all too home to me. I fail
To justly tell its horror.
And though His death I’ve never shared
In truest form, I’ve experienced a measure.

Yet all these shared events can no more
Messiah of me make
Than simple dirt could form
The mirror of the world . . .
For I cannot pretend to save.
So, in the end, all I can hope
Is barely point back to the Light
Who stooped to earth, was born,
And lived, and died, and destroyed the thorn
Grown up from Eden. This is my goal – to show the Christ.

-AMBrewster-

“To Show the Christ”

“To Show the Christ”

I’ve worn the mantle Jesus bore
Upon His frame.
I’ve shod my feet with sandals torn
From distance traveled to a score
Of unbelieving plains.
I’ve burned my skin with suns that scorch
My head. But despite the marks
They’ve left on me, my Lighted torch –
That leads men north –
Fades all their beams to dark.

I’ve spoken with the Pharisees who understand the law
So well they thought that they could trap
Within their tangled scrawls
The One Who sounded Sinai’s calls.
Their pride exposed their wisdom’s lack.
I’ve called the men who all
Left home and ship to follow Him.
I’ve washed their feet. I saw
Them preach, and fall,
And return again, lost souls to ever win.

I’ve preached the sermons, cried the prayers,
And healed the chosen nation’s
Pains. Their stares
I’ve met with His great love, and shared
Each word our Father gave to lead them to salvation.
I broke the bread and felt the glare
Of Satan in the garden.
I’ve watched as one who cared
Too much for silver dared
Betray the One Who’d pay his pardon.

I’ve even felt the tear of thorns and bite of flail
Announce that He would die.
But deeper still than piercing nail
Can drive, I’ve felt the bitter, ugly wail
That must have coursed when palm’s cried “Crucify!”
The cross is all too home to me. I fail
To justly tell its horror.
And though His death I’ve never shared
In truest form, I’ve experienced a measure.

Yet all these shared events can no more
Messiah of me make
Than simple dirt could form
The mirror of the world . . .
For I cannot pretend to save.
So, in the end, all I can hope
Is barely point back to the Light
Who stooped to earth, was born,
And lived, and died, and destroyed the thorn
Grown up from Eden. This is my goal – to show the Christ.

-AMBrewster-

Written for “Reflections on Being Jesus.”

Please feel free to share this image.

To Show the Christ

 

Evermind Ministries

What Does Evermind Mean?

If you Google the word evermind you will find links for bands, web designers, and organizations. You will also find that Merriam-Webster says it’s not a word. Hmmm.

But Evermind Ministries is a Bible-based organization with a very well-defined purpose.

In the late 90′s Aaron Brewster came up with the word evermind to mean the exact opposite of never mind. It means simply “to continually keep at the forefront of one’s mind, and to make the center of one’s thoughts and motivations.”

We chose to use this word for our Ministry because we’ve found that God’s truth is frequently the last thing on people’s mind when they’re in line for coffee, navigating a mine field of bad drivers, in the throws of a child’s tantrum, or when they’re typing empty words into a business memo. But the divine reality is that God’s truth should not only always be in view, it should be the reason we’re standing in line for coffee or handling a child’s tantrum.

I Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Everything I need for life can only be found in the true knowledge of God. That true knowledge can only be found in the Scriptures. We must evermind God’s Word.

Our Mission Statement is simple:

Evermind Ministries exists to keep God’s Word at the center of the human experience by teaching it, reminding of it, and applying it to life.

1. Teaching – Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Teaching includes any time someone hears God truth for the first time. This can be a gospel presentation, or when someone learns something new about God they didn’t previously know. It is one of our foundational tenants that God’s truth can only be learned from His Word, the Bible.

2. Reminding – The doctrine of Remembrance is fleshed out in the entirety of Scripture. Most of us don’t struggle with biblical ignorance so much as we simply forget what we know. James 1:23-24 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. ” We have God’s truth in His perfect mirror, but then we forget what we saw there! We all need daily reminders about what we have learned.

3.  Applying – When we apply sunscreen, do we leave the lotion in the bottle? Do we pour it on the ground? Of course, not! We spread it directly where it’s needed. The application of God’s truth is something that is daily ignored in our Christian culture. We memorize verses about loving God. We tell people from the pulpit that they need to love God. But many Christians wonder, “How do I love God? What does that actually mean? Is loving God any different than what I’m already doing?” Teaching and reminding people of God’s truth is fruitless if we do not intentionally apply it to life.

How Does Evermind Fulfill It’s Mission?

We are tackling our three-pronged mission with a three-pronged communication approach.

1. Counseling – We view our counseling program not simply as advice or clinical therapy. Counseling for us is a dynamic, life-on-life, intentional discipleship process that utilizes the Word of God to find the answers we need for life and godliness. It’s iron-on-iron, one-another ministry. Though we are delighted to offer biblical advice and give counsel via social media, email, Skype, etc., our counseling ministry is primarily a local ministry to the people geographically near us. As more people join Evermind Ministries, we will be able to biblically counsel more people in more places. Until then, we’d be happy to point you to biblical counselors in your area who can do for you exactly what we would do.

2. Speaking – God’s truth was meant to be spoken. Counseling affords an intimate, one-on-one or small group setting, but conference speaking gives us the opportunity to share God’s glorious revelation with larger groups. Time allowing, we would love to participate in your conferences, special meetings, services, chapels, and programs. Over the past ten years we have ministered in churches, schools, camps, mission boards, universities, boarding homes, academic associations, and Christian media companies. We count every opportunity to teach, remind, and apply a blessing from God. If we can partner with your ministry, please contact us at AaronMichaelBrewster@gmail.com.

3. Social Media – When we can’t be proclaiming God’s truth with our lips, we turn to the internet! We have a presence on Facebook called Evermind Ministries, you can follow our founder, Aaron Brewster on Twitter @AMBrewster, and you have obviously found our blog, Taking Back the Bible. We hope to grow our internet presence with more articles, links, and videos. Our goal is not our own popularity, instead we desire to do this because our day and age has afforded us, like no other, the opportunity to reach people we otherwise would never have met. We can simultaneously teach, remind, and apply the Bible to millions of people in hundreds of countries! We would ask that you strongly consider following us online and sharing anything we post that’s a blessing to you. It’s so easy to share God’s Word with the simple click of a “share” button!

How Can You Help Evermind Fulfill Its Mission?

Please strongly consider doing one or all of the following:

1. Pray – Petition God that He grants us the grace and wisdom we need to share His truth in His way for His reasons.

2. Follow – Like us, follow us, and share us on social media. The more people we can reach with the answers to life and godliness, the better!

3. Invite – We know there are a lot of resources available out there, but we would love to partner with your family, group, class, ministry, or program. We have a driving passion to share with the broader body of Christ what He is daily showing us!

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us.

Always,

Aaron M. Brewster and the Evermind Staff

Not as the Word of Men

On my drive to school today I listened to talk radio. To be perfectly honest I don’t do that often. I don’t even like to watch the news. It’s depressing, and since there are as many opinions as there are opinion-makers, they must be ingested with a strong draught of discrimination if anything intellectually-nutritional is to be gained from them.

Pretty strong words coming from someone who writes a blog! Thankfully, on Taking Back the Bible, we have one saving grace: I Thessalonians 2:13.

On this blog, if we’re careful, our words are not the “word of men.” I Thessalonians says

For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe [italics mine].”

Every true Christian understands that the Bible is not just a collection of works from forty different writers spanning thousands of years . . . it is the very Word of God. It is true, perfect, and efficacious.

As I said, human beings are fallible. My writing is not inspired; it has the potential of being very wrong! But as long as my opinions and philosophies are grounded in God’s Word I cannot go wrong. That goes for you as well! That’s what this site is all about: 1. Taking a firm stand that the Bible is indeed the spoken Word from the one and only, Almighty, All powerful, All knowing God of the universe, & 2. From that starting point, dissecting God’s Word so as to apply it to our lives.