Sunday, June 24, 2012

What is your Denomination- Darrell Evans

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

Darrell Evans is an anointed worshiper. It's not his emotion that draws you in. It's the anointing that the Lord puts on Darrell, and his worship. Your spirit bears witness to the truth. Best known as the writer of songs like “Trading my Sorrows”, “Let the River Flow”, “Your Love is Extravagant”, and “Freedom”, he is considered by many to be a pioneer in the modern worship music movement. Darrell’s projects “Let the River Flow” and “Freedom” both garnered Dove award nominations and influenced a new wave of congregational worship.

For the past several years Darrell has traveled the world alone and with the band ministering the gospel through worship, preaching, and prayer. His authenticity, genuine spirit and passion have connected with many as he ministers worship to the Lord. Darrell has seen numerous people come to know Christ and has encouraged many others to a deeper walk with God. People are healed, refreshed and renewed through Darrell’s ministry. He has served as a worship pastor for churches in Washington, California, Oklahoma and Texas.

I attended Darrell’s Worship performance in the First Gospel Assemblies Of God Church Springfield, Illinois during 2001. Darrell’s music has been stability in my personal life and the spiritual life of my church. It never grows old. I have felt connected to him in worship, his songs, and in prayer. The best songs which I usually play in my car is ‘Trading my sorrows ‘ and ‘Let the river flow’. I am so thankful for the godly influence Darrell had upon us. I also remember Pastor Eric Hansen who was another great singer like Darrell. Brother Spiro, Carmelita, Biju and Sara were also with us and had a wonderful time.

During this past worship, Darrell posed the question ,"Who is Jesus to you?". What a worthy question to ponder with Easter quickly approaching. I am absolutely overcome when I think about who Jesus is and all He has come to mean to me. It's so easy to take Him for granted, but He's much, much more than just a man who died on a cross. Darrell quickly added a open ended question : which denomination do you belong to- Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostal ……. or which one. Pause and think for a while……….and he just said belonging to Jesus Christ should be the answer....... and that is  all what matters. 


Is there only one right denomination?

First of all, in Ephesians 4:4 we read that there is only one body. That one body is the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, it doesn’t say one congregation. The body of Christ is bigger than one congregation, but there is one body. Now, there is a local expression of that body, and from my study of the Scriptures, I sincerely, honestly believe that every born believer ought to be a member of a local New Testament congregation. That is the plan of God.

But the church is a spiritual body. The church is not a corporation with Jesus as the president; the church is a body with Jesus as the head. That’s all of the difference in the world. Now, again, I want to say not one denomination.

But whether you’re a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, or Episcopalian if you have given your heart to Jesus Christ, if you have been born again; you are a part of the mystical body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When this question is personalized, it becomes the most important question one will ever be asked or answer.  Who is Jesus Christ to YOU?  
Who is he? 
A religious figure from the past-- like Gandhi, Buddha or Mohammad?
A nice man who had long hair and taught people good things a long time ago?
The founder of the Christian religion-- whatever that means?
Maybe, you don't know.  Maybe you don't really care.


Life’s greatest Question: Who is Jesus to You?

At some point in our lives we will ask: How should I relate to God? I believe this is life’s greatest question. Most people have some concept of God. Over the years my opinions have covered the waterfront. I’ve viewed him as a higher power, a creator, a stern judge to be feared or a friend to be loved. I’ve been a skeptic, a seeker, a cultural Christian and …well, that’s what I   want to tell you about now. Jesus’ deeds—especially his miracles—offer additional insights into how Jesus viewed himself. It’s not the fact that Jesus performed miracles that illuminates his self-understanding (especially since his own disciples later performed miracles), but what’s important is how he interpreted his own miracles.

Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20). He’s not like other miracle workers who do amazing things and then life proceeds as it always has. No—to Jesus, his miracles were a sign indicating the coming of the kingdom of God. They were a foretaste of what the kingdom is going to be like. And that sets Jesus apart.

Jesus saw his miracles as bringing about something unprecedented—the coming of God’s dominion. He didn’t merely see himself as a worker of miracles; he saw himself as the one in whom and through whom the promises of God come to pass. That’s a not-too-thinly-veiled claim of transcendence.

What a worthy question to ponder. I am absolutely overcome when I think about who Jesus is and all He has come to mean to me. It's so easy to take Him for granted, but He's much, much more than just a man who died on a cross.

Take a moment and think about what matters most to you.

  “...and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

1. Question: "Who is God?"

Who is God? - The Fact

The fact of God’s existence is so conspicuous, both through creation and through man’s conscience, that the Bible calls the atheist a “fool” (Psalm 14:1). Accordingly, the Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; rather, it assumes His existence from the very beginning (Genesis 1:1). What the Bible does is reveal the nature, character, and work of God.

2. Who is God? - The Definition

Thinking correctly about God is of utmost importance because a false idea about God is idolatry. In Psalm 50:21, God reproves the wicked man with this accusation: “You thought I was altogether like you.” To start with, a good summary definition of God is “the Supreme Being; the Creator and Ruler of all that is; the Self-existent One who is perfect in power, goodness, and wisdom.”

3. Who is God? - His Nature

We know certain things to be true of God for one reason: in His mercy He has condescended to reveal some of His qualities to us. God is spirit, by nature intangible (John 4:24). God is One, but He exists as three Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17). God is infinite (1 Timothy 1:17), incomparable (2 Samuel 7:22), and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). God exists everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12), knows everything (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28), and has all power and authority (Ephesians 1, Revelation 19:6).

4. Who is God? - His Character

Here are some of God’s characteristics as revealed in the Bible: God is just (Acts 17:31), loving (Ephesians 2:4-5), truthful (John 14:6), and holy (1 John 1:5). God shows compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3), mercy (Romans 9:15), and grace (Romans 5:17). God judges sin (Psalm 5:5) but also offers forgiveness (Psalm 130:4).

5. Who is God? - His Work

We cannot understand God apart from His works, because what God does flows from who He is. Here is an abbreviated list of God’s works, past, present, and future: God created the world (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 42:5); He actively sustains the world (Colossians 1:17); He is executing His eternal plan (Ephesians 1:11) which involves the redemption of man from the curse of sin and death (Galatians 3:13-14); He draws people to Christ (John 6:44); He disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:6); and He will judge the world (Revelation 20:11-15).

6. Who is God? - A Relationship with Him

In the Person of the Son, God became incarnate (John 1:14). The Son of God became the Son of Man and is therefore the “bridge” between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). It is only through the Son that we can have forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), reconciliation with God (John 15:15; Romans 5:10), and eternal salvation (2 Timothy 2:10). In Jesus Christ “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). So, to really know who God is, all we have to do is look at Jesus.(1)

The God every person wants is a God who is good, a God who gives good things to the ones He loves. But to have a God who is good, we must first have a God who is holy. God’s goodness flows out of His holiness. The God of the Bible is a holy God. This attribute of God draws attention to His otherness, His set-apartness, the vast gulf between Creator and creature. It tells us that God must be separated from sin, and it says that He is committed to seeking His own honor. God is unimaginably holy, utterly perfect to the greatest degree and the farthest extent. And because He is holy, He is good.

What a stark contrast we make. We human beings are sinful in body, mind, and spirit—no part of us has escaped or remained undefiled. It is only God’s restraining grace that keeps any of us from pursuing our sin to a greater and greater degree, from becoming as utterly and horribly sinful as we could possibly be (James 1:14–15; Romans 1:28–32; 8:2). Only the grace of God stands between any one of us and the vilest of sins. We are not this way because God made us this way, but because this is what we have chosen for ourselves (James 1:13–14). No one has forced us into such unholiness, such moral depravity. This is what we have desired and the path we have taken. Our moral freedom has led us to utter moral corruption..  
People today love to put on a good façade when deep down, they’re deeply hurting. Chuck Swindoll, the noted author and pastor said on this subject:

Most of us are pretty good at dressing up the outside of our lives.  Perfectly decorated homes, immaculately landscaped yards, polished status symbol cars, dressed for success clothes, sparkling teeth. But underneath, many of our manicured lives are withering souls. The polluting emphasis on empty externals and prayerless activity has produced a smog in our inner world. In unguarded moments of silence and solitude, we can almost feel the grime that covers our real selves.

It’s so true, isn’t it? Especially in our culture, where image is everything and what’s inside is almost nothing. And behind the nice cars, big houses, and everything anyone could buy, there is pain and brokenness at a level unsurpassed in the history of the world. Help people understand that God walked the Earth.

Impeccable, Priceless and Eternal

Lastly here comes the magnificent news. Unimaginably, I still can't believe what He did for me. Utterly blameless and without sin, He bore all my shame, all my sin, every evil thought, every ugly thing I have ever done or ever will do. He was the pure and spotless Lamb of God, yet He was beaten and tortured as though He were responsible for all the sin of the world across the entire span of time, from beginning to end.

Just thinking of what He suffered due to my sin alone brings me to tears and brokenness.

His precious blood was poured out for me on a cruel cross, and by His wounds I am healed and justified and redeemed. When He looks at me He sees me as spot-free and without blemish. I can't even fathom how this is possible because I know me. I know all the ugliness in my heart. I know my ungodly thoughts and actions. Yet through His sacrifice He has purified me and made me as white and innocent and clean and holy as He is. I am so unworthy.

He fills the void in our home and makes up for everything that's missing. When I hear a beautiful love song that makes me want to cry. When I get one of those silly personal survey emails and read that heartbreaking "Who is the love of your life?" question, Jesus is my answer. He's the One whose unfailing love brings healing to my broken heart. Gentle and lowly, He is the true picture of genuine humility. Jesus lovingly encourages me to take His yoke and hand Him my burdens. He yearns for me to cry out to Him, and He faithfully runs to me even when I refuse to run to Him. 

In conclusion, Jesus is the One by Whom I have all authority over the enemy. He defeated all the powers of hell through His death and resurrection, and His every victory also belongs to me through the shedding of His blood on the cross. The mere mention of His name brings healing, peace, comfort, wisdom, direction, and rest. He still does miracles, even today. He is right there with me in the furnace and through every fire, and he goes to battle for me without fail. Jesus is the One whose arms are around me when others cause me pain. I am in Him, and when my enemies hurt me, He shields me and protects me and makes it all bearable.

Corrie ten Boom said it so well..."You can never learn that Christ is all you need until He is all you have."


Raj Kosaraju


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