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Absolute Truth

                             WHAT IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH?

                            Christelle Baldovinos | Christianity

 

 

“You believe what you want, but I believe…”

I am sure you have heard this said before. I know I have many, many times.

Although we can choose to believe whatever we want, that doesn’t make it right.

It is staggering how many times people confidently state their opinions on morality yet have no backing for their stance other than opinion, an out of context scripture verse, or life experiences. 

Our opinion has been overly magnified in our eyes. Sadly in many ways our opinions have become based on what suits our needs, desires, sins and compromises best.

God gives us truth so that we are free. To change, twist or ignore truth is keep us in the chains of bondage forfeiting the freedom found in Christ.

As Christians we are called to so much more than just stand on our opinions. We are called to be truth seekers and line our lives up with truth as God reveals it. As we study and rightly divide the Word of truth our hearts and lives are changed (2 Tim. 2:15). When we do this the Holy Spirit will illuminate the truth to us and as result we will grow from glory to glory and strength to strength (2 Cor. 3:18).

Following Jesus is about what makes Him happy, NOT what makes me happy. It is about what He thinks, NOT what I think. It is to please Him, NOT me. And as result we find a freedom and joy that cannot be found any other way.

I know that the ability to simply “believe” something to be true, so my life can go on without confronting issues, sounds tempting and easy. But as followers of Jesus we have the truth. To fail to line our lives up to the standard the God who created us gives is not only arrogant but is straight up foolish. 

There is a moral absolute, a standard from which all standards come from. It’s called the Bible

Believe me I don’t always like what I’m reading. I don’t always “feel like” agreeing with scriptures I read. But the point is just because I don’t want to believe something or because a certain standard makes me uncomfortable doesn’t make it any less true. 

The real question is; are we truth seekers? Do we want a life full of abundance, joy, peace and satisfaction? Do we want to live for something bigger than ourselves? 

You see when we live our lives to please us and make ourselves comfortable by picking and choosing what scriptures we like; we are not really living at all.

Jesus desires for us to be with Him where He is (Jn. 17). And when we don’t take the guidance of scripture and the gentle nudges of the Spirit we end trapped, bound and distant from the God who loves and made a way for us to be near Him. In the same way I won’t let my kids touch fire so they wont get burned, God helps us by giving us truth so we won’t get burned.

When we live our lives fully surrendering to Jesus, His word and His ways we will have joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

It’s time to lay down our areas of pride and say, “not my will, but yours be done, I am yours.”

SEX IN MARRIAGE

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                                            SEX IN MARRIAGE

                                          By Antonio Baldovinos

 

I have heard the saddest news and reports about sex in marriage.

So I think as we are writing about Marriage and Family it is important to talk about sex in marriage.

So much of our worldviews about sex comes from secular media; our pornified world and unbiblical sources like friends and family members.

CONFUSED AND SHOCKED

While in a Barnes and Noble bookstore on a Daddy and daughter date last year with my daughter I was shocked to see some of the books on the stands.

While grabbing a hot chocolate and a coffee and leaving, I noticed four full aisles of sensual soft cover books of endless types of Romance novels.

This is what I noticed and which I further researched:

  • Many romance novels have the word “Love” in the title.
  • There are requirements from publishers that there must be a minimum number of sex scenes allowed and a minimum of crisis points allowed.
  •  Romance fiction is the largest share of the consumer book market.
  • They are full of fantasy where the imagination is invigorated.
  • They are unrealistic.
  • Sex with full details and beyond.
  • They are porn for women. Romance novels can be as addictive as pornography. I would include girl and guy magazines to this.
  • In 2012 estimates found that romance novels was the single biggest money making genre, with sales of $1.44 billion a year.

  

NEED A DRASTIC CHANGE!

We can’t talk about sex without talking about pornography. It is one of the greatest crises of our time.

Pornography is one of the most destructive obsessions of our society, as it dishonors God, degrades and harms women and children, and destroys lives and families. Christians need to acknowledge the lust of the heart beneath the physical act and follow biblical counsel in order to kill sin and live in purity.

  • A total of 69% of all boys experienced first exposure between the ages of 10 and 14 while, 68% of all girls faced first exposure from ages 13 and up, and over one-third of those girls, or 39%, never saw porn until after their 16th birthday.
  • Pornography is a 13.3 billion enterprise in North America- Lets put it in context- pornography makes more money a year than the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB combined.
  • 91% of teens, Ages 8-16 years old are viewing pornography- most of the time while doing homework.
  • 72% of men view pornography and 28% of women.

You didn’t need me to share all those statistics of romantic novels and viewing pornography to know there is a problem.

I simply wanted to point out to you the extent of the war we are in for true purity and intimacy and how important and needed sexual intimacy and purity in marriage is. Our enemy, the devil wants to break a part marriage with this powerful weapon.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

Deuteronomy 32:30 says, “One can put 1,000 to flight but two can put 10,000 to flight.”

It’s a multiplying affect. God created desires for intimacy, oneness in marriage, for a multiplying affect. God does not work with addition but multiplication. We multiply not add, that’s why division is so tragic.

LETS LOOK AT HOW TO STRENGTHEN SEXUAL INTIMACY!

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Love is built by giving and receiving in unselfish pleasure. The more we can find how our spouse in pleased, the more satisfied we become.

(Genesis 2:25) “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed. Both Man and Woman have an inherit desire to be known for who they really are. All people want to share his or her life with someone else, knowing fully and being fully known.

Marriage of transparency where husband and wife know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, victories, and defeats is one of greatest pleasures. A side-by-side marriage is unsatisfying & self-preserving.

A covenantal, friendship-based, face-to-face marriage is what God intended marriage to be, a covenant between a man and woman, and before God. It’s a fierce struggle but the ultimate reward.

One of God’s purposes for marriage is that a man and a woman come to know each other, which is not temporary but ever growing. It is not merely intellectual, as we normally understand knowledge. Nor is it merely sexual—you can lay sexually with a man or a woman but not truly know them. You can have intimacy without sex and you can have sex without intimacy but as soon as you have sex and intimacy you have lovemaking. You have an explosion!

In a good marriage you sometimes will have sex without intimacy. And other times you will have intimacy and sex together, neither is wrong or right, but ultimately you want to build a legacy of growing together in building a legacy of intimacy.

Knowing your spouse means completely, unreservedly opening up each other’s personalities. It embraces every area—physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. There is so much to know of the other person that it is also endless searching of each other.

God designed marriage for oneness, sharing, interchanging, bonding, growing, enjoying, all of this equals: relationship. The bible calls this “one flesh”.

The way God created our brains is that we are to grow with our spouse over time. By the time you reach old age, the most comfortable person is your spouse. We have experienced this in only 18 years of marriage.

Christelle and I are beginning to sit the same way, finish each other’s sentences, think the same thoughts and enjoy the same things. Yet we have extremely different personalities. Why, does this happen? Studies show that your brain grows together. “One of the great discoveries of our era: that the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on daily life.”

BOTTOM LINE:

Here are some helpful things to implement into your marriage for strengthening your sex life:

1.    Sex and intimacy is more than the “act” of sex. Its what happens throughout the day. This includes words toward each other, thoughts towards each other, touches that lead to intimacy and lovemaking. I’ve heard it said that sex begins at the breakfast table.

2.    Have lots of sex. Regular occasions are so very important. God gave women the gift of sex but God gave men the need for sex. The couple has to figure out what best fits them. I would recommend defaulting on more and not less.

3.    Ask each other questions of what pleases the other and do that. Love is built by giving and receiving in unselfish pleasure. The more we can find how our spouse is pleased, the more satisfied we become.

4.    Create your bedroom as a place for each other, like a hotel room or a retreat. Not a work place, but an atmosphere that will serve intimacy, friendship and relaxing. This could be candles, music, etc.

5.    Date each other regularly. Making this a priority in your schedule and finances. If finances are an issue than be creative.

6.    Dress for each other. We are so trained to dress for others outside of the home but when dating each other finishes, we dress less and less for our spouse. Dress for each other in and outside of the bedroom!

7.    Please each other. A side-by-side marriage is unsatisfying & self-preserving so find ways to please your spouse. This is much more than what takes place in the bedroom but overall in your lives together.  

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                        # 1 GOAL EVERY MARRIAGE SHOULD HAVE

                             Antonio Baldovinos | Marriage and Family

 

The most important day of your marriage is not your wedding day.

People put all this energy into the first day of marriage by getting ready with invitations, dresses, venues, dinners, videos, etc. Though this is fine, it does not have any lasting impact on a marriage. We need to put far more effort on that last day than on the first day—the last day is the most important.

A marriage has to be built for a 50, 60, 70 year run, not a 50-yard sprint.

It’s safe for me to say, and you would probably agree with me, that marriage is under attack from every side.

Our culture bombards our minds with the idea that our aim in life is to make us happy. Marriage is looked upon as no more than simply dating; it is not viewed as a covenant relationship. Even the concept of one man and one woman in marriage is under attack. This isn’t news to you.

Why do I say this?

We would not dream of going through a battlefield in World War II with bullets whirling past our head and bombs and mines exploding around us, and simply stroll through hoping we not only survive, but win.

No! We would train, exercise and study the battle plan, study the enemy’s tactics, and most importantly we would be alert and ready!

When we build a good foundation in marriage we build a great foundation for our children and the generations that follow.

Marriages don’t necessarily choose to grow apart, but husbands and wives stop fighting and choosing to stay together.

It’s the second law of thermodynamics: things are naturally pulling apart; things are naturally going into ruin.

It is so easy for this to happen in a marriage through parenting, vocation, and your own avocations and hobby’s. This is not even taking into consideration our worldviews and what culture preaches.

 

THE LONGEVITY OF MARRIAGE IS FOUNDED UPON ONE THING


Friedrich Nietzsche once said “It’s not a lack of love but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

Without friendship in marriage, you live a lonely life.

Marriage is two imperfect people walking face to face by the grace of God. It is the greatest and only strength a marriage can have to thrive, and it takes God to have this!

You’ll find countless volumes of books on romance, intimacy, and passion in marriage, but not much on the simple act of being good friends as husband and wife. It seems friendship is secondary to romance in the minds of many. 

FRIENDSHIP IS THE ANSWER FOR LONGEVITY

I can’t emphasize enough the only thing that will be the glue in your marriage is a lasting friendship.

Many in years past used to stay married for the sake of children when they went through struggle. But what happens when the children are gone?

It’s increasingly become more common to “gray divorce.” Meaning, the 50 and older population has increased in divorce by 52 percent in the last several years.

As soon as kids leave the nest it wrecks havoc on the loneliness the couple feels because there was no friendship established within marriage. The glue that kept them together was the children, and when the children leave it seems there is no reason to stay together.

I’m not endorsing divorce for the reasons people are getting divorced today—the reasons are ridiculous and unbiblical.

Today’s mindset (and main goal of marriage) is to enhance personal happiness rather than seeing marriage through the eyes of Biblical love.

However, to strengthen long-term marriage the couple has to be committed to building a lasting, deep friendship; a marriage that is planted by streams of water, that brings forth fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither; you will prosper in all seasons of marriage (Psalm 1 paraphrased). 

HOW TO CULTIVATE FRIENDSHIP


Cultivating a friendship will take time, labor and attention.

Most relationships go through highs and lows.

At the beginning of all relationships, especially a marriage, it begins with some kind of infatuation. But Infatuation doesn’t last longer than 2 years. When the honeymoon settles, then what?

Friendship.

If there is no friendship, there is no root system.

Friendship takes focus and attention.

It begs to ask, what makes a good friendship?

A couple should be best friends.

Best friends talk.

Best friends share thing with each other, both good and bad; there are no secrets.

Best friends look for the interest of the other.

Best friends sacrifice for the other, with no strings attached. And, sometimes they do things they don’t necessarily like.

They work out their differences.

We are talking more than just any type of relationship. We are talking about the lifelong, till death do us part; the kind of relationship made in blood, covenant blood, under heaven and before witnesses!

The number 1 aim and goal for every marriage to have lasting fruit is to build it on friendship, not on children, a mission or any other thing.

After all, the reason why God created marriage in the first place was because it was not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18). Tons of other benefits overflow from this friendship, but the base of a lasting and strong marriage is friendship!

REDISCOVERING BIBLICAL MASCULINITY

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                                    REDISCOVERING BIBLICAL MASCULINITY

                        Antonio Baldovinos | House on Fire: Revival Begins in the Home

 

 

I am saddened by the state of affairs in marriage and in family.

Never before in history have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father.

I believe that fatherlessness is the leading cause of the decline we see in a child’s-well being in our society. The result is a tremendous loss of self worth and identity.

There is an aggressive attack on boyhood and manhood: masculinity, and girlhood and womanhood: femininity.

 

Here are some others issues I see:

  • Maturity compromised: Men having adult bodies but really immature.
  • Fathers who are only friends: Men who wanted a father to be a friend lead in the same way. Their efforts at parenting are like their efforts in high school—to be liked and accepted rather than to influence and guide.
  • Men marry later and later: The average North American man is getting married at 29 years old.
  • Fantasy life: Men in extended adolescence engage others in an artificial world (pornography, video games and social media).


This epidemic is not necessarily men’s fault. The devil has worked overtime through various ways to destroy masculinity and bring confusion so that men don’t lead but become weak.

The reason why this is so important is because everything reproduces after its own kind (see Genesis 1).

GOD CREATED MALE & FEMALE COMPLEMENTARY

God created male and female. We are both of equal value in His sight, with equal dignity and equal status, but we are different, with different roles. God made us complementary, not just within marriage but for life. In every part and aspect of male and female.

God made man to take the initiative. In sex for example, it is he who penetrates the female. Her body is built to respond to his initiative. He takes the first step and she responds. Her body, her soul, and her spirit respond.

In reproduction, it is the male sperm that takes the initiative. The male is active and the female responds. This tells us that the male is responsible and the female is responsive.

Even when the original sin occurred, Eve sinned first and Eve was held responsible, however Adam was held responsible first. Men are held responsible for the state of their GARDENS (homes).

MASCULINE MANDATE

Let’s look at God’s original intention and mandate for man:


“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” (Gen. 2:15)

 

Man’s initial mandate was to tend and keep. What does that mean?

“Tend” means: to cultivate, care for, manage, look after and attend in making something grow.

“Keep” means: Take charge, to guard, protect and sustain the Garden that God has created.


MAN’S EXAMPLE IS JESUS – THE GOD-MAN

Let’s look at the example of Jesus through the book of revelation. John gets taken to heaven:

 

“But an elder said to him “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. 6 “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns, seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God.” (Rev. 5:5-6)

 

We see Jesus as a lion, and we also see him as a lamb.

LION: Aggressive, strong, and it conquers. It’s a Fighter, a protector. A lion is admirable for its ferocious strength and imperial appearance.

LAMB: Meek and a servant. A Lamb is sheared for wool. Harmless. Kind. A lamb is admirable for its meekness and servant-like provision of wool for clothing. Sacrificed.

Throughout scripture we also see Jesus’ example of being tough yet tender.

TOUGH: protecting, working, fighting for their family.

TENDER: gentle, serving leader, cherishing his wife and children.

A man should be tough FOR his family and tender WITH his family.

Mature Biblical masculinity expresses itself not in the demand to be served, but in the strength to serve and to sacrifice for the good of woman and family. Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest and the leader as one who serves” (Luke 22:26).

It’s time to rediscover this original intent for men—all men, single or married. Even through sin and generational curses this is still the original mandate for men: to serve and to lead.

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To Learn More Go to: www.antoniobaldovinos.org

RAISING BOYS: 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

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                                   RAISING BOYS: 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

                                     Christelle Baldovinos | Marriage and Family

 

Pop cans shaken and sprayed on our walls, Happy Birthday being “burped” and not sung, a sword fight and a pillow fight quickly followed by nine – 8 year old boys screaming as one had blood dripping down his face from a cut on his head. This was the scene at our son Elijah’s 8th birthday party.

Our daughter Isabella’s 6th birthday was one week later. I still remember the drastic contrast. Ten little girls in dresses, quietly playing dolls, painting their nails and brushing each others hair.

In case you haven’t noticed boys are very different than girls. In raising our 4 boys we have come to realize that keeping them alive during their adolescent years may be our greatest accomplishment.

Although the disposition of boys varies they tend to be more aggressive and risky than girls. This is exactly the way God made boys. They are designed to lead, protect and risk life and limb for others.

 

Here are FIVE things TO KNOW in raising boys:

#1: Be VERY specific in your instructions. When they say they didn’t hear you, they probably didn’t. We have learned that when instructing our sons in any task we must clearly lay out all the expectations and have them repeat it back to us. It also helps to even put one hand on their shoulder as you speak to them; it keeps them focused on your instructions.

 

#2: They Love their moms. Boys are full of cuddles, and affection for their moms. Moms have a great opportunity to help shape their boys. Men need respect more than love. Give your boys respect and as they grow teach them what it means to love and protect a woman. Give them affirmation about their character qualities. Show them how to treat a woman. Let them protect you, open the door for you and order their own food.

#3: They are boys, they act like boys and it is GOOD. Our culture is trying to “feminize” our boys and moms especially must recognize this. Boys will inevitably make guns out of bananas, where capes, jump off of things and flex their muscles. We can’t overlook naughty behavior, but we can acknowledge their assertiveness as a God-given part of their nature. Our society is desperate for “real men” who love Jesus and will lead many to follow Him. And our little boys are these real men in training. Shape them do not change them.

#4: Boys learn by example. To become a man, boys need to watch a man. Sociologist Peter Karl believes “that because boys spend up to 80 percent of their time with women, they don’t know how to act as men when they grow up. When that happens, the relationship between the sexes is directly affected. Men become helpless and more and more like big kids”. If there is not a dad available, find a coach, uncle or friend to mentor your son. The behavior your son sees in another man will be directly emulated so help channel that influence.

 

#5: Have regular age-appropriate talks about sexuality. Talking to your children about sexuality should not be a “one-time” conversation, but a regular dialogue. Kids are exposed to sexual things at far earlier ages and their first knowledge of sexuality needs to be pure and bible-based. We highly recommend the book series called “Learning about sex for the Christian family” here’s the link:

http://www.christianbook.com/learning-about-sex-for-boys-pack/pd/61413X?product_redirect=1&Ntt=61413X&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

WHAT SINGLE MEN SHOULD KNOW TO PURSUE A GIRL

                            WHAT SINGLE MEN SHOULD KNOW TO PURSUE A GIRL

                                        Antonio Baldovinos | Marriage and Family

 

The current Christian culture says basically “don’t have sex" and “date only Christians”.

People view singleness as merely a time to “try out” different girls/guys romantically.

People believe they need a girlfriend/boyfriend to find who is your possible soul mate.

The decline of a culture is marked by a decline in its respect for marriage and the opposite sex. One of the most important social developments of our time is the recent rise in age at first marriage, which now stands at 27 for women and 29 for men, a historic high.

Finding a Great life mate is not like winning the lottery. It’s not a mystical exercise. It’s a pursuit: one is intentional in pursuing and one is to be pursued and responds accordingly.

There is a big difference between a man and a woman. The make up of a man, with testosterone and woman with estrogen. After puberty, testosterone in males is fifteen times that in females and estrogen in females is eight times to ten times in males. This is why men have facial hair, squeaky voices, larger muscles, etc. Men are combative, aggressive in nature. They are to pursue!

Proverbs 31:10 “A wife of noble character who can find.”

Passivity in a man is not God’s fault.

Every man needs to become proactive, intentional, and find her. Hang around places you want your future wife to be and be intentional about pursuing her.

The bible tells young men to search for a woman of character; it reminds these men that while looks won’t last, godly character improves with age. It says nothing – absolutely nothing about “feelings”. This verse Proverbs 31:10 makes a woman’s faith the defining characteristic of her suitability to be an excellent wife.

This is not to say that you are not to find someone who is sexually compatible.

Simply the first priority, according to Scripture, is to find a spiritually compatible person, and then, under that umbrella, find a sexually compatible person.

TEXTING AND RELATIONSHIP

Texting and Facebook is not a relationship. Texting is not a real connection. Text-based relationships can bring false sense of intimacy – the same way following your favorite blogger.

Texting handicaps the communication that is necessary to build a healthy relationship. After all, you don’t want to text your spouse do you?

Men: texting is a sign of laziness and passivity. It’s either a tool for players or a crutch for the timid. If a guy doesn’t really have to work for something, he won’t hesitate to discard it for something even easier. We don’t value for what we haven’t earned.

Let me suggest some things you should consider when discerning and choosing a future wife:

1.         You have to start by knowing yourself. Who are you? What is your ministry call and life’s work? What is your personality like? Without really knowing this, you will be lost in trying to find who you would be compatible with you.

2.         What is your prophetic history? What are some of the things that God has spoken over your life? Being a Christian is a must, but more than that does their life have long-term fruit? Do they spur you on in the things of God or cause you to compromise? What are your theological stances that are unshakeable?

3.         What are some things that you know you can’t live without? For example, if you want to have many children and she doesn’t. How will this work? Or if you want to be a missionary in India and she is only into western lifestyle and not adventurous is someone willing to bend? How will that work? Or if she doesn’t cook or will ever cook, you will starve. 

4.         Know who she is: If she is used to and expects to have a high standard of living financially and you want to be a missionary in Zambia choosing to live simply how will this work?

Questions Every Man need to ask when consider a wife:

1. Does she have noble character? (Prov. 31)

2. Is she modest? (1 Tim. 2:9)

3. Will she follow your leadership?

4. Can you provide the lifestyle she expects?

5. Is she like the worst women in Proverbs? (nag, quarreling, foolish, unfaithful?)

6. Is she a one-man woman?

7.  Do you want your daughters to be like her & your sons to marry someone like her?

Now Lets Get Real Practical:

After a season of hanging out in groups in the right environment, having established a friendship, communicate your interest in person, face to face speak your intentions.

If she responds vocalizing her interest back, the next step is to go and speak to her parents or her mentors. If she doesn’t have them help her find someone who loves her, such a grandparent or friend, that she looks up to and speak to them about your intentions. This will show honor, create accountability and enhance her covering. This is the next level of commitment and step to taking the relationship more serious and intentional.

This is not marriage, so there is a way out, but this is not an excuse to date around and hop around. If it doesn’t work out, it was done with safety and nothing was lost or regrets created. You set your sights on the one girl you want to pursue and go after her.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave me any comments or questions at info@antoniobaldovinos.org

How to Personally Grow

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                                        HOW TO PERSONALLY GROW

                                          Antonio Baldovinos | Leadership


I remember when I first got into ministry I would look with awe at certain leaders and want to be like them.

After spending time with many of them I realized the key was that they were always learning and therefore always growing.

Growing yourself allows you to grow others.  And, you can’t give what you don’t have.

Over the years I have seen too many people with potential to grow but they hardly do. Many have a romantic idea of success and also have a romantic idea of how to get there.

Without an intentional growth plan, many won’t grow. If you don’t develop your life growth plan, you will fall into someone else’s. Having said that, I don’t believe that you can grow by yourself. We need to be exposed to circumstances, people, and pressure to be tested, and hopefully we grow as we pass through learning curves.

Growth is not inevitable; failure is. Growth cannot happen without failure but failure can happen without growth.

Really, people are afraid and so they don’t step out and try new things.

Fear cripples because they are afraid of failure. 


Will you fail?

Yep.


But if you don’t fail, you can’t grow. Just like your physical body can’t grow without being pushed to the point of failure, so it is for personal growth.  

If you view it like this then failure becomes your friend and not your enemy.

I am a big believer that you can grow anywhere and that every circumstance will expose who you really are. For example, circumstances under pressure will expose certain things:

·        How hard I work today exposes my character.

·        We can fake attitude in front of people, but we can’t behind the scenes.

·        How I treat people exposes what I really think of people & think of myself.

·        Do we do what we say, even when no one is looking?

·        Do we get distracted easily or are we focused?

·        Am I teachable or do I think I have arrived?

·        When the “honeymoon” is over or the pressure comes, do I quit?

Growth is a lifelong pursuit—a journey.

If you ask the question, “How long will this take?” then you’re asking the wrong question.

You should be asking, “How far can I go?”

You need to start with direction, not distance. Consider these questions:


1.       Where do I want to go in life?

2.       What direction do I want to go?

3.       What’s the farthest I can imagine going?


The Bible is clear, “where there is not vision, we cast off restraint” (Prov. 29:18). We need that vision in order for us to know where we are going.

TAKE ACTION

Growth happens intentionally, aggressively and in the time period of “NOW”!

Whatever area or category you want to develop in, you must do it now! I recommend that you tackle the hardest things first. Some like to take the easy ones first to build confidence, but when it comes to my personal growth plan, I like to focus on the greatest return. What will benefit me the greatest? Focus on that. Never wait to be inspired, or wait until your fears go away. Step out now.

Consider some things as well:

  • What books or resources are you going to read to develop yourself?
  •  When are you going to start?
  • Who can you talk to in the process of developing yourself?
  • Who are the people that you’re going to get constructive criticism from?
  • Are you consistent in developing? (Daily consistency is the only way you will grow and strengthen!)

SHOULD CHRISTIANS AFFECT POLITICS?

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                                     SHOULD CHRISTIANS AFFECT POLITICS?

                                              Antonio Baldovinos | Christianity


On June 5, 2005 our family moved to Canada.

As soon as we moved, I hit the ground running to set up a city wide evangelistic campaign. This work necessitated involvement of most Churches in the city, many of which I had visited months prior to the move.

On July 20, 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world, and the first country outside of Europe, to legalize same sex marriage nationwide.

After the law had passed, I was surprised that in all the visits I had made to Churches, I had never heard a comment—not one “peep”—nor did I hear a message on the issue or the effects it would have, yet it is one that is so tremendous in size!

It was like it never happened or the churches felt so powerless to do anything about it, that they didn’t say anything; I saw a voiceless church.

I’m not saying leaders and churches weren’t standing up, or prayer meetings weren’t taking place, but I simply didn’t hear a sound!

THE QUESTION

Should churches exert any influence in politics? Should Pastors preach about political issues? Does the Bible teach anything about how people should vote?

Many sincere Christians believe that the church should stay out and stick to evangelism and helping the poor. Some even believe that all governments are evil.

Without question, Jesus is neither liberal nor conservative. He is neither Republican nor democrat.

Jesus does show in Matthew 22:20-21 that there are two different spheres of influence, one of the earthly government and one of the Kingdom of God. Political issues, such as taxes, belong to civil government and “to Cesar.” The Church should not control it.

On the other hand, the things of the Kingdom of God, or religious life, belong to God, and government should not try to control it.

In His own ministry, Jesus went about teaching and preaching, as well as doing good and healing. Jesus showed compassion for people’s physical bodies as well as their spiritual life.

Governments make a huge difference to the work of God’s Kingdom. They either limit or free people to worship God. They can control or help.

This is why Paul urged us to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:2).

I truly believe that the Church is the messenger and ambassador of heaven on earth declaring the Gospel of the Kingdom. This includes transformation in society.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8). The good news of the Gospel will result in changed lives, homes, neighbourhoods, businesses, schools and societies.

 

WHATS THE BOTTOM LINE?

Martin Luther once said something that should provoke all of us! He said, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proven, and to be steady on all the battle fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

So should Christians influence and speak publicly prior to elections, certain legislation and various issues?

Without a doubt, if I am a professing Christian, I should be voting and speaking about the issues at hand. Specifically on the issues at hand!

If Christians and their leaders are silent about moral and ethical issues, then where will moral standards come from?

  • Sharia law?
  • Gay Propagandist?
  • Or better yet, how about Hollywood?
  • No, I got it…facebook!

 

I obviously believe wholeheartedly that Christians should be speaking to every sphere of society (education, church, government, home, media, arts & entertainment, and business).

This doesn’t mean that Christians may persuade a majority in every case but no doubt there will be some arguments won!

OBLIGATION

1.    Every Christian has an obligation to be informed and to vote with consistent Biblical principles. This is a stewardship principle that we should not neglect.

2.    We have a command to pray for our leaders (1 Tim. 2:2).

3.    Christians should engage in politics, run for office, get in every sphere of society and be a voice that is consistent to Biblical truths.

 In addition to voting, you can volunteer in your community, serve as a poll worker, help with a campaign or run for office yourself. You can write a letter to a local newspaper editor or an elected official.

One trend that has become more normal is the notion of private faith. This is dangerous on many fronts. Private faith mindsets affect evangelism, moral standards and spreading of the Gospel throughout society!

We are to fully participate in all spheres of society without losing essential Christian values, identity and vision in the process.

We are to draw on Christian values of truthfulness, justice and fairness and go into the public square and impact society for good.

Let me conclude with this verse:

James 2:17-18

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”


I hope this was helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at info@antoniobaldovinos.org.

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