Tag Archives: believers

Dwelling on & Living in an Irresistible Grace

Yesterday I ended a sermon about “irresistible grace” with the following quotes by Shane Claiborne:

Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.”

…I believe in a God of scandalous grace. I have pledged allegiance to a King who loved evildoers so much He died for them, teaching us there is something worth dying for but nothing worth killing for”.

In citing these quotes, I was calling our congregation (Blue Point Bible Church) to “live in” the “irresistible grace” we believe in. We can read of the “Common Grace” bestowed upon all people in Matthew 5:43-45,

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven: for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous.”

If we are called to live in such a love as that in response to “common grace”, imagine what type of love we are called to live out in response to an “irresistible grace” that saves God’s own!

You can listen to that podcast by visiting the following link,

http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630/234018-calvinism-for-christmas-bible-series-part-5

So…this morning in prayer I was praying upon this and felt so convicted! It’s a blessing when a Godly conviction comes upon us and spurs us to respond. That is the essence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Daily I read through the Common Prayer book which I find to be a blessed Spiritual Discipline. As the New Year comes upon us, Spiritual Disciplines, or what many refer to as “New Year’s Resolutions”, should be at the forefront of our lives. Sure enough, the Common Prayer book was compiled and organized by a Spirit-led movement called “New Monasticism”. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once spoke about the need for a “new monasticism” within the Church. I have been blessed to both learn about and participate in the New Monasticism movement.

Last months focus for Common Prayer was “Locating our Lives to the Abandoned Places of the Empire”. A great point was made that, “Everything in our society teaches us to move away from suffering…, however Jesus compels us to mourn with and comfort them”. In response to the Biblical expression of ‘loving the stranger’, Common prayer says, “We are to laugh at fear, to lean into suffering, to open ourselves to the stranger”.

I must say…God has been working on my mind and heart quite a bit lately. In October I felt convicted upon the realities of “hell” and what that means from a truly Biblical perspective. I have mentioned many times I am working on publishing a book in mid-2015 based upon my theological and application convictions of a post-judgment perspective called “Wicked”. Then studying systematic theology through the lens of John Calvin has surely had an impact on my spiritual convictions in regards to those who are outside of Christ. As I prepared for our Christmas Eve message at B.P.B.C. I was impacted by the power of the incarnation and how that should call us to “live incarnationally” and bring light to the dark places of the world.

How often we forget to bring light into the areas we deem “Nazareth’s” of the world. Remember, they said about our Lord, “Nothing good comes from Nazareth.”

As I have been praying for some time now through Common Prayer and being impacted about these “abandoned places”, I have realized it is not necessarily about physically moving to another location, but rather taking time to be convicted to spend time in the areas, or with the people, we have somehow made ‘abandoned’.

In my New Year’s resolutions I made a point to “resolve” to spend more time with family, friends, and others whom I have not really developed “true friendships” with, yet desire to, and therefore spend time appreciating how God in working in there life, and seek to comfort or help where it is needed Surely “irresistible grace” calls us to that!

This has called me to an “intentionality” in 2015 to respond to God’s grace, and I hope as you maybe listen to the podcast, or spend time studying through the amazing story of God’s grace through Scripture, and how Jesus instructs His disciples to respond- you will be compelled with a similar intentionality.

INTENTIONALITY DEFINED, is that which is done by intention or design. Pray and allow God’s Spirit to compel to do this amazing work in your heart and mind.

Blessings in Christ you you and your loved ones in this blessed New Year!

In His Service,

Pastor Michael Miano

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2014 – Advent Challenge

The Greek word, Advent, corresponds to the term ‘parousia’ which means “a coming”. Celebrating Advent is bringing us back to the time right before Christ was born- when Israel longed for a prophet, to hear from God, and to be healed.

It’s been said that the ‘Advent season’ has been celebrated in the church as early as the 4th and 5th centuries. There are a host of different thoughts toward what we should focus on as we go through the ‘Advent season’. In the 6th century, the church in Rome, utilized the time instilling a preparation for the soon-to-come Messiah. Gregory the Great, a church father from 6th and 7th century, focused on the celebration of the incarnate Christ, because he understood that this event marked the beginning of salvation. In Gaul, the church has primarily focused on the eschatological “coming of tghe Lord”, fostering the need for penance and readiness.

This past Sunday, I was able to welcome The Blue Point Bible Church into celebrating the ‘Advent season. One of the members of our congregation shared excitment because our church has never done that before.

For the past month I have been preaching sermons about “walking worthy” of all that we believe we posess as Christ’s body. This included but is not limited to exercising the “power of prayer”, walking in an assured, confident, and clear understanding of God, and being expectant and adaptable to what God is doing in our church, is us, and in His world. You can listen to those podcasts as the following link:  http://www.buzzsprout.com/11630

As Preterists, who understand the “eschatological events” of the coming of the Lord, the judgment, and the resurrecton of the dead ones as past events, we must be compelled to live in the salvific reality. As we endeavor to understand the victorious narrative of Scripture, we are called to live in the reality of the “New Jerusalem” and thus call the other nations to drink of the “Water of Life”. You can read through this imagery in Revelation chapters 21-22.

It should surely be looked at as “Divine Providence” that immediately following the “season” in which we are called to be grateful, we turn to a season of expectation- advent. Granted, us Preterists are not waiting and saying “O Come Lord Jesus” as is seen throughout the Catholic Missal for this season. Yet, even more so, as those who allow the Scriptures to be clear and consistent, we should understand that living in the fullness and reality of His promise, is supposed to lead us to the expectation of seeing His glory in the world, daily.

As we go through Advent, we are provided with hosts of Bible verses that show us what reality the Messiah was going to bring to His people. I look forward to all that can be produced in this season, if we, the ‘Children of the Light’ are willing to walk diligently.

Out of the Common Prayer book we recieve this excerpt of information, “Advent is the season when we remember how Jesus put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. God getting born in a barn reminds us that God shows up in the most forsaken corners of the Earth. Movements throughout church history have gone to the desert, to the slums, to the most difficult places on Earth to follow Jesus. Jesus comes from Nazareth, a town from which folks said nothing good could come.”

Now only was God willing to come in human flesh to be our solution/ salvation. He also ushered in the reality of the New Covenant. Let it be our goal this season to grow in a more solid understanding of what the current reality of the New Jerusalem (the fully consumated Kingdom of God) should look like as displayed by us. As we continue to be amazed by all that God has accomplished for us, and in us, let us display that to the world. In this manner, we are able to allow our gratitude to make others grateful.

We are not expecting a coming kingdom, we are living in the yet under-realized, fully consummated, kingdom of God. Surely, we have the responsibility to make this known both in word and deed.

All of that said, I invite YOU to come along with me for a season of Godly Conspiracy. For example, at The Blue Point Bible Church we are going through a month or two of examining the doctrines of John Calvin (since we refer to ourselves as a ‘Sovereign Grace’ church and hold to the tents of Calvinism). Also, this month I am hosting a “ministry meeting” which is going to be a time where our congregation “conspires together” how we can make those outside our church want to visit, make our visitors feel welcomed, and allow the manifold wisdom of God to be revealed through us in all that we do. Yes, we are truly endeavoring to “walk worthy” in all that we do. 🙂

If you are not local, no worries. I am always involving our “far off” brothers and sisters, whether that be through Facebook, email programs, etc. There is so much more to come in how we can “conspire” to allow God’s Kingdom shine through us, and thus light up the world.

As a resource I would like to provide you with the daily readings throughout the month.

First week – Isaiah 40:1-5; Isaiah 52:7-10 (Isaiah 2 & 4); Isaiah 40:9-11; Genesis 3:8-15; Genesis 15:1-6; Dueteronomy 18:15-19; Psalms 89:1-4

Second week – Isaiah 11:1-10; Zechariah 6:12-13; Micah 5:2-4; Malachi 3:1-6; John 1:1-8; John 1:9-18; Mark 1:1-3

Third week – Luke 1:5-13; Luke 1:14-17; Luke 1:18-25; Luke 1:39-45; Luke 1:46-56; Luke 1:57-66; Luke 1:67-80

Fourth week – Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-35; Isaiah 9:2-7; Mattew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-2; Luke 2:21-35

“Loving God, as we enter this Advent season, we open all the dark places in our lives and memories to the healing light of Christ. Show us the creative power of hope. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, that we may walk in the Light of Christ.”

Blessings to you, in and through Jesus Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano

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Called to Ministry (Part one)

            As of March 2013, I was called to pastor- The Blue Point Bible Church (BPBC). Considering that BPBC is more of a “traditional structured” church, it has provided a delightful challenge for me, considering I am used to being the pastor of an “emergent conversation” style church community and director of a discipleship ministry. As I read through the “constitution” of Blue Point Bible Church, as well as talked with the membership, I realized the “high regard” this congregation held toward the pastorate. I have never been one to just accept a role with complacency, so I took this calling as a challenge.

         As I have talked with other men in ministry leadership I have noted a variety of styles, there really is no “one way” to do it. This makes it even more of a challenge since there is no specific “right” way to be a pastor..ahhh, how is one to know if he/she is doing it “right”?

            Let me make a personal conviction clear. I have struggled with the concept of “full-time ministry” for years, since I believe all Christians are called to “full-time ministry”. We are ALL called to “evangelize”, all called to have knowledge of the Scriptures, have a strong devoted relationship with God, and to make disciples- so what’s the deal with this “leadership ministry” stuff? I have come to a point where I recognize the importance of “leadership” because it helps empower, engage, and encourage others within a congregation. It is with this mentality that I enter into the role of “pastor”.

            So, I picked up a book recommended by a friend, a Baptist pastor. The book is called “The Christian Ministry: An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency”. Yikes, quite the title, right? This book was written in the 1800’s as a critic of the problems within Christian leadership. As a brother recently said, “the deader the better”.  It is time we get a historic look into the details of this style of ministry.

 (From here on out, I will share my thoughts, notes, and quotations from the book)

WORKING AS A COMMUNITY (WHAT I WOULD REFER TO AS THE “APEST”)

“The privileges communicated to the Church by its instrumentality, are union with her glorious Head, and the communion of the several members with others in their diversified relations, and mutual dependencies”.

“Each member contributes to the establishment of the system”.

“The whole body…is enriched by the MUTUAL IMPARTATION of the gifts severally distributed to the members, EACH OF WHOM READILY FORGETS HIS OWN PROPER INDIVIDUALITY IN A CONSIDERATE REGARD TO THE GENERAL INTEREST”.

“And surely it is not easy to conceive of a machine better adapted for the grand purposes which it was intended to subserve- the completion of the Church, and the regeneration of the world. Suppose it to be in its full effective operation- how admirably it is framed to make the Church the most important blessing to the world”.

            ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR ‘WORKING IN THE BODY’? GET ON THE FREAKED OUT MOVEMENT’S EMAIL LIST FOR HELP IN THIS AREA. EMAIL: CHRISTIANITYGONEWILD@YAHOO.COM

“The dignity however of this SACRED OFFICE belongs to a kingdom “not of this world”. It is distinguished therefore, not by the passing glitter of this world’s vanity, but by eternal results, productive, even in their present influence, of the most solid and enduring happiness. For surely it is ‘the highest dignity, if not the greatest happiness, that human nature is capable of here in this vale below, the have the soul so far enlightened as to become the mirror, or conduit or conveyor of God’s truth to others”.

Oh, how we have failed to recognize the ‘sacred office’ of being a Christian, being an ambassador of His kingdom. Amen? As this next line exhibits the reality of what we face today in Christianity:

“The moment we permit ourselves to think lightly of the ChristianMinistry, our right arm is withered; nothing but imbecility and relaxation remains”.

When we return to “a sense of dignity of our office” by recognizing the need for proper discipleship that is “accurately formed, carefully maintained, and habitually exercised”, we will then again place Christianity in our lives and the lives of others “of the highest importance”.

“We must work, like Nehemiah and his men, with the trowel in one hand and the sword in another”.

“’Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’. But though many see little necessity for preparation; here, if ever, LABOUR, DILIGENCE, OBSERVATION, AND INTELLIGENCE, are needed to produce a ‘workman that needeth not to be ashamed’”.

 Let us walk worthy, Blessings in Christ,

           Michael Miano        Christianitygonewild@yahoo.com

     Be sure to visit www.bluepointbiblechurch.org

 

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