Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Shepherd and the Good News

   "8      In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
          9      And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
          10      But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
          11      for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
          12      “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
          13      And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
               14      “Glory to God in the highest,
         And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
          15      When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
          16      So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
          17      When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
          18      And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
          19      But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
          20      The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."

This time of year studies on the nativity can be heard all throughout the Christmas season. While preparing for a teaching on the nativity myself I observed something I had never noticed before and would like to share it.

 The text listed above surrounds shepherds keeping watch over the flock that encounter a visitation from an angel proclaiming the arrival of the long awaited messiah. This is followed by their visit to Jesus in a manger to behold what the angel had told them.

As we read through the passages we easily see the role of the shepherds shift to ministers of the good news, "gospel". In the koine greek the word for "good news" is synonymous with the word "gospel". I began to reflect on if this passage held any significant parallels following the ascension of our Lord Jesus. While studying I remembered something important prior to Jesus' ascension.

 These shepherds represented the first who went out to share the good news. Just as other shepherds will spread the good news, the Gospel after Jesus’ ascension. Peter is told by Jesus to do the work of a shepherd with the Lord's people three times in John 21:15-17: “tend my lambs”, "shepherd my sheep”, “tend my sheep”. We have established the Peter and shepherd connection but let's see if we can make a connection with sharing the good news / Gospel and shepherd.

 We find Peter (shepherd) used on the day of Pentecost to preach the Gospel to a great crowd in the beginning of Acts 2. Paul shares that Peter was sent to share the Gospel with those of the circumcision in Galatians 2:7-8. These are just a couple of important ways listed where Peter was used to share the Gospel. Now that the shepherd and good news motif seemed to fit following the ascension I continued further on how it might be applied today.
 We now turn to The book of  2nd Timothy which is part of what is commonly known as the pastoral epistles (in addition to Titus and 1 Timothy but here we are concerned with 2 Timothy). We read that Timothy was prepared for pastoral care specifically to Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3) and was mentored through Paul (Rom 16:21, Acts 20:4, 1 Corinthians 4:17, etc.). This would warrant Timothy as a shepherd establishing an interesting connection to a shepherd and sharing the Gospel. You see it is in Paul's second letter to Timothy that the Holy Spirit through Paul speaks these words: "But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:5. An exhortation for a shepherd to do the work of an evangelist. This text is the glue that brings the "shepherd" and "good news" together. Sadly I've met many pastors who based on their responses would lead me to believe they have never seriously considered this text.

 While I was out in Orange County the Lord had opened up some great fellowship with other brothers and sisters who loved to share the Gospel, yet there were many I had met who had no interest in evangelism. What was worse is I had met people who believed they were called to be pastors who refused to share the Gospel because they said that was not their gift. It is true that the Lord can gift someone as an "evangelist" as we read in Eph. 4:11 and that might not be someones gifting. But what we understand from scripture is that the 11 (at the time, until Matthias completed the 12 replacing Judas Iscariot in Acts 1) were instructed to go out and share the Gospel (Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15). So even though, as mentioned earlier, Paul instructs Timothy (shepherd) to "
do the work of an evangelist" (sharing the good news) we unfortunately have many modern day pastors (shepherds) that ignore this passage. I'm always amazed how someone can shepherd a flock who is not interested in sharing the good news. Let's take a look back at our text in Luke chapter 2.

We see the setting was at "night" that the shepherds were both visited and had shared the good news at Jesus' first coming. As some readers my be familiar that "night" can be associated with the last days (John 9:4 "night is coming when no one can work."). These shepherds were "guarding" the flock to protect them from wolves and other beast throughout the night. It's also important to notice that the shepherds that go and share the "good news" still returned back to their duty of tending/ guarding the flock ("glorifying and praising God"). This is what a true shepherd in these last days will look like, guarding their sheep from wolves (false teachers) (Acts 20:17-31, 1 Tim 4:1-3, 2 Tim 4:1-4) and as we noted earlier the sharing of the good news (Gospel). This description is also contrasted to John 10:12-13 which describes a hireling / hired hand who will flee and abandon the sheep at the sight of a wolf. These will be the two traits of the type of shepherds that will be prepared for the return of Christ. I wonder if this describes your pastor of where you fellowship at? I know personally only a couple of pastors who are willing to share the Gospel out of quite a few I have met over the years. Where are the shepherds who are willing to share the good news and guard the flock? This is not only addressed to pastors but also applies to us.
 Notice the shepherds back in Luke 2:15 they were eager to share the "good news" (granted the fact that the long awaited messiah had arrived can not be dismissed from the equation.) I've always said the Gospel is the one thing a new believer should know. They should at least be able to explain:

- repentance of sins (Luke 24:47)

- asking for forgiveness of our sins (Luke 24:47, 1 Cor 15:3)
- trusting solely in the finished work of Jesus on the cross (John 14:6, Col 2:14)
- His resurrection after three days proving deity (Rom 1:4, 1  Cor 15:4)
- His return (in the simplest form He is coming back) (Heb 9:28)

The shepherds who received the "good news" were able to share what they had heard/ believed with Mary, Joseph and all those who were present in Luke 2:17-19. They were excited to share the "good news". I wonder if the same can be said of most believers, especially of those older in the faith. It's true most believers are not called to be "shepherds", but all believers are still called to share the Gospel as we mentioned earlier (Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15). I again ask both pastor and laymen how can we know of such great a salvation and remain silent to a fallen world around us? This Christmas I challenge every believer with this question: when was the last time you shared the "good news"?

- Michael -Anthony Rene Chavez

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eternity is Not a Movie

This is a featured article used with permission of  Flynn Huseby of Once Lost Ministries, the original article found here:

By Flynn Huseby
As a child, I remember watching movies with my parents, often waiting for the moment my dad would call out some part that made no sense to him. “Why would that person really do that?” or “There’s no way that person could still be alive after falling that far!” and other like phrases were regularly interjected into the storyline courtesy of my dad’s critical mind. His comments were not very helpful and definitely became a distraction throughout our family film nights. A loving, but slightly irritated “Shhh…” was a common addition at the end of each remark.
When viewing a movie, it’s hopefully obvious to most that the scenes in the script often times don’t happen in real life. That, of course, is the point of many story lines. But to my dad it was almost like a game to see if he could catch things that didn’t make sense. In reality, does it actually matter in a fictional story if a person really makes an unrealistic choice to further the plot line? To my dad it sure did, however to most people, probably not. And although I believe movies can be very powerful vehic
les for teaching false beliefs, for a writer to have a character make a few illogical decisions that add a little extra drama or to move the story line along is nothing more than what happens in a fictional story written by men.

I can’t help but wonder if there are those within the church who view any in the body who are willing to point out the error running rampant throughout today’s professing Christianity the same way. I wonder if many see those moved to lovingly warn and teach the truth of God’s Word as distractions from the unfolding story of today’s ecumenical enigma calling itself Christianity? Too often, I believe those willing to thoughtfully and biblically point out the dangers coming into the church are thought of somewhat like the peanut gallery, like movie critics talking about things that don’t quite matter. But is that really the case? There’s literally a plot line penned by the enemy for this dark and dying world and sadly many Christians are playing a part in the story.

The enemy of our souls desires to see the entire world reject the True and Living God, however those who are born again are kept by the power of God and are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing their entrance into the Kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5,Ephesians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:5) So what is an enemy to do with those who he cannot keep from eternal life? The answer is simple- make them as ineffective as possible. Confusion and subterfuge are both starring roles in his script.

One of Satan’s many seductive strategies in keeping saints sedentary is by promoting a storyline of Scripture synthesized with his own diabolical doctrines. The title might be something like “New and Improved Christianity-Joining Hands with the World”. Thankfully, some within the body of Christ do see the last days plan for an integrated and seductive move to ecumenism and are greatly saddened to watch some who are even part of the true body of Christ seeking after the enemy’s plot line. For those who have become seduced by Satan’s synthesized storyline, it’s as if those warning the saints are simply viewed as antagonists interrupting their comfortable entertainment. May we instead go back to the Word, diligently seeking the truth about the direction of the world and the church.

When a person’s truly been born again by the Spirit of God, passing from death to life through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new “story” is brought to light, one revealing a very real contrast between the True and Living God and the god of this world. In the script revealed in Scripture, one role that repeatedly enters the scene is the watchman, willing to warn when danger approaches. (Psalm 127:1, Isaiah 21:6, Ezekiel 3:17, Ezekiel 33:2,6,7) The watchman should not be “cast” by only a select few. In fact, the heart of a watchman should at some degree be within every believer. After all, same Spirit of the Lord upon the watchmen of the Old Testament is the same Holy Spirit indwelling all New Testament saints. The Spirit Himself is the Spirit of Truth, and Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit without measure, often warned those around Him, especially those claiming to be the religious rulers.

Rather than being viewed as perhaps an annoying critic, always pointing out incidentals and nitpicking the gnats that cause little to no harm, the role of warning the flock is one that is central throughout Scripture. To love the truth of God’s Word means we are going to hate evil, lovingly exposing the doctrines and practices that are going to cause the body to remain anemic, unable to grow and be strong in the Lord. In Ephesians 5, the Holy Spirit through Paul writes, “[H]ave no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11. Again in Colossians 1 it says, “[Jesus] we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28. May we never allow the spirit of the age, the prince of the power of the air, to dissuade us from the high calling we have in Christ Jesus.

Although we all have different roles within the body of Christ, we are all called to grow in every area. Sure, some may have the gift of helps, but we are all called to be helpful. Some are given the gift of evangelism, however we are all called to share the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Do we not even train our children to recognize the signs of danger? Why? So we can teach them to be nitpicky and critical of everything around them? No. We teach them to understand the signs so they remain safe and healthy and can continue growing with a mind that can think critically, as well as carefully and discerningly navigate the world around them. We should always desire to allow the Holy Spirit to teach them how to utilize God’s Word, the Bible, as their compass, no matter where they go. To do otherwise is really to hate a child,
and so it is within the body of Christ.

Sometimes a script’s blunders and illogical actions may very well detract from a movie’s overall enjoyment level, however in the end the actions and characters are simply penned by writers. And although we must be on guard against many of today’s movie messages, regardless of what happens to the characters themselves, they are simply that, characters in a movie. Even if someone pretends to get shot and die, that actor is not really dead. At the end of the day, he will go home and live his life. Here lies the difference between simply critiquing a movie and being a loving watchman in the Spirit! In real life, men have eternal souls. We will all live forever! Eternity truly is not a fictional story written by some man, rather the truth revealed to every heart and written by the God who created the universe in six short days some 6,000 years ago. How important is it that we be sure to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth both to those within and without the body of Christ? I would argue it is vitally important! It’s not a matter of whether or not mankind will remain forever, but where we will all spend eternity that is at stake.

There is nothing critical or nitpicky in lovingly warning and teaching those around us according to the whole counsel of God. Having a watchman’s heart is crucial especially in the confusing times in which we live. May we all be willing to speak the truth in love, know our redemption draws near, knowing that this life is much more than a movie. May we never forget that eternity is the destiny of all who step onto this world’s stage. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

Monday, July 29, 2013

Miss us?

We haven't forgotten about the ministry but as evident it has been put on hold. Lord willing we hope it will be up and running again soon. In the mean time we hope to still encourage you with devotionals as you continue to walk and serve our Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit & Truth. Any questions you can contact us on our Facebook: May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and your loved ones.

In Christ,
Michael-Anthony Rene Chavez
(Psalm 119:103-104)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Who is Mary according to the scriptures?

"Mariology - Who is Mary according to Scripture?"
A great debate with Cecil Andrews be blessed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Oldest Lie-Pride

This is a featured article used with permission of Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, the original article found here:


Apprising Ministries has often told you about “contexualization,” i.e. attempting to make “the Gospel relevant” to a postmodern culture and a postChristian nation. But, 1) the original liberals already tried that with their “modern theology” attempting to cobble together a form of Christianity for their modern culture.
And, 2) the United States was never a Christian nation to begin with; it’s always featured a plurality of religions in order to be accommodating to its melting pot of different races and nationalities. So, rather than Christian, it’s more accurate to say that America, by and large, has always been a religious culture.
Now let me zero in on the heart of Satan’s scheme, which is: The Church must change for today’s version of capricious culture; and to accept contradicting views of truth from people’s personalized spiritual experiences, because God understands that they have many different ways to come to Him in relationship.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Interview With Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministires

Today we were blessed to interview Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries and Pastor of Conneticut River Baptist Church Claremont, New Hampshire. Today Ken will give us some background on how Apprising Ministries got started, comment on modern day christian worship, the emergent church's impact on today's church, the connection b/w the word faith / seeker driven movement among many other topics. We hope you are blessed, let's listen in.

Click here to listen or right click to save an mp3 of our interview:
It's very important that you clearly understand that the inclusion of any guest interviewed on SAID Radio or any link from anywhere within or web site does not necessarily imply our endorsement of that ministry, resource, or organization featured regarding anything that it does or teaches. The only endorsement that is worthwhile is that which is in alignment with biblical truth. It's our position that we can agree or disagree with you, you can agree or disagree with us, but only so far as it agrees or disagrees with God's Word.
Whilst recognizing the good fruit from linked sites or special guests, we cannot vouch for their every belief. As with all things in this world, the onus is upon you to check out each site and to exercise spiritual discretion, testing everything (even us) against the Word of God (1 Thes. 5:21)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Mark Driscoll and Loveline: Friend of the World, Enemy of God?

Before I begin commenting on the subject on this post, let me share some Scripture:

The Apostle Peter talking about False Teachers:
“For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” (2 Peter 2:18-19)

The Apostle John also talking about False Teachers:
“They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
(1 John 4:5-6)

False teachers are characterized by certain attributes.  First, they attract people through the lusts of the flesh.  It can be money, fame, or sex.  Think of anything the flesh wants; false teachers use these things to lure people.  Secondly, because they use the means of the world, the world hears them.  As you read this article, I want you to keep these Scriptures in mind.  It is not my word or presentation of the facts that stands, it is God’s Word compared to the facts that ultimately will judge.  It will split the very marrow between the bones as it divides truth from error.  We don’t split hairs here; only bone and marrow.

(Full article after the jump)