Posts Tagged Jesus

Sinning and Then Follow Me by Nicola MENZIE- christian Post Reporter

ovember 10, 2014|3:11 pm

Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church recently shared that he believes that Christians for too long have been putting unnecessary focus on telling people what not to do instead of simply asking people to “follow Jesus” in order to make disciples.)

Perry Noble, pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, speaks via a pre-recorded video during The Nines 2014 online conference held Nov. 3 and 4. The annual event was presented by Leadership Network. Noble, claiming that tax collectors and sinners were viewed as “scum of the earth” in first century Palestine during Jesus’ time, insisted that still today, “All of us, whether we want to admit it or not, we have certain categories that we label people in, as far as sinners.”Top of Form

 

The founding and senior pastor of the multi-campus NewSpring Church in South Carolina spoke on the topic of Christian Civility for The Nines 2014 online conference last week, which was themed “Culture Clash: When Church and Culture Collide.”

The aim of this year’s online conference was to highlight areas churches have to “deal (with) now or later,” such as same-sex marriage, inclusive culture, and Christian civility, which was Noble’s point of focus.

Sharing a brief message titled “Follow Jesus and Be Nice,” the megachurch pastor used Matthew 9:9 as an illustration of his point that some Christians have been not been following Jesus’ example of making disciples.

The passage found in the first four books of the Gospels tells of Jesus calling on Matthew, a tax collector, to follow him and be one of his disciples.

The passage, in context, is highlighted below:

9 As Jesus went on from there (his own town), he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

“You could literally look at this verse and say, ‘Jesus saw Matthew sinning.’ And it wasn’t like your average, ordinary everyday run-of-the-mill sin. It was tax collecting, the worse sin imaginable in the ancient world,” said Noble, who went on to explain how this verse “gripped” him and affected how he has done ministry.

“Jesus did not ask Matthew to stop sinning. He didn’t say, ‘Stop tax collecting and then follow me,'” explained Noble. “He said, ‘Hey, Matthew. I want you to follow me.’ Because Jesus knew something. Jesus knew that if he could get Matthew to follow him, eventually he would walk away from the sin he had become enslaved and addicted to.”

Noble insisted that the challenge for any Christian leader dealing with any issue is not to convince people that they must stop sinning, but to convince them of their need to follow Jesus.

“If people are pursuing Jesus, they cannot pursue sin,” said Noble, adding that the Christian church for too long has been in business of behavior modification. “It has not worked,” he claimed.

Going back to Matthew 9:9, Noble shared that, based on the four Gospel accounts, he believes Matthew followed Jesus “because Jesus was actually nice.”

“Jesus was a likable person. Jesus was the person that everybody else wanted to hang around,” explained Noble. “So I believe, as a church, we can and should tackle issues of same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, immigration issues. Name a controversial issue, I believe we should tackle it, but I believe the emphasis should be on challenging people to follow Jesus, and being nice.”

“I believe if we do that, we’ll make a greater difference that we ever thought imaginable,” said Noble.

Noble, whose multi-campus church gathers more than 32,000 weekend worshippers, was among 130 scheduled pastors, church leaders, and parachurch directors that appeared either via pre-recorded video or live webcast during the free, two-day Nines conference. The annual online conference, first organized in 2009, was presented by the Leadership Network, and presented discussions on: The Church and Same-Sex Marriage, The Church in an Inclusive Culture, The Church and Christian Civility, The Church and Changing Sexual Norms, The Church and Social Justice, and The Church and Immigration.

Last year, Nines organizer Todd Rhoades was criticized for including only four women among the event’s 112 listed speakers.This year, the number of female guests was 14.

Speaking to the concern of diverse representation of speakers and viewpoints, the Leadership Network insists in its Diversity Statement: “We strive to create a respectful, diverse group of speakers and contributors for our online events that allow for these different perspectives and points of view. We do this through invitations to a wide variety of prospective speakers from a broad range of ethnic, racial, gender and age ranges.”

The Nines conference has been known to attract thousands of viewers. The Christian Post was not able to obtain viewership numbers for this year’s event before press time. Learn more about The Nines online: http://thenines.tv/.

Follow this Christian Post reporter on Twitter namenzie

 

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Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbean

            No, that is not a mistake. For so many years of my life, I depended almost entirely on my hearing and that is what I heard as a child, “Jesus wants me for a Sunbean.” It didn’t make any sense. I didn’t know what a sunbean was, but if Jesus wanted me to be one I was ready. I knew that He would show me what to do. The truth is that I probably didn’t know what a sunbeam was either. We lived in a small town and were poor. We couldn’t afford sunbeams. We just had plain old sunlight which I couldn’t stay out in anyway because of my fair complexion.

            Gradually I came to the realization of what a sunbeam really is, but it really didn’t matter. I was already hooked on what Jesus wanted. Over these many years I have stayed hooked. There have been so many times that I did not understand why things were happening as they were, but that childhood faith got me through. I knew that if I just waited Jesus would shine a light for me to follow. It’s a funny thing about faith. Just as Jesus told us we don’t need much because he will supply the rest. If we commit just to being that little sunbeam, He will make the light bright enough for us to see and for others to follow. In the meantime that mustard seed of faith will continue to grow.

            At the end of my time, if I could choose what my legacy would be that would be it. I would like to be remembered as someone who tried his best to be a sunbeam for Jesus.

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FBC – Woodruff, SC Will Celebrate June 6

Carol and I had a wonderful trip to Woodruff, SC where I spoke to the Golden Age Club of First Baptist Church. These wonderful Christian people greeted us with great hospitality. We reconnected with many old friends and made new ones. My topic dealt with the observance of Say Something Nice Sunday on June 6. My talk included some examples of encouragement I had received in Woodruff growing up there. I also stressed the importance of our communication reflecting our belief in Jesus and that our speech should honor Him. I am happy to say that First Baptist Church of Woodruff will join this year’s observance on June 6. If you are in the Woodruff area, you would find a great warm welcome with these folks.

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The Purpose of Say Something Nice Sunday

            The purpose of Say Something Nice Sunday is to urge Christians and Christian churches, denominations and groups to honor God with our sacred gift of communication and to build up the Kingdom of God through building each other up with our speech. We recognize that our speech is a reflection of what is in our hearts and ultimately our goal is that we will grow in our love and knowledge of Jesus and of each other. We may differ in our thoughts, opinions and theology but we recognize that we are all creations of the same God and that we are sisters and brothers in Christ.

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