New Music I Love: The Wheat & The Tares by Pas Neos

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Buy it here:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-wheat-and-the-tares/id439939962

I have a special place in my heart for electronic and ambient music. I love listening to The Album Leaf, M83, Saxon Shore and other artists like them. So when I heard that there was a electronic worship duo from IHOP-KC that were coming out with a full length cd, I set myself to buy it the day it came out. I was not disappointed.

The greatest thing I can say about this cd is that the sound of Pas Neos is truly unique. They sound like no one I’ve ever heard. This is a welcome thing since worship albums are anything but unique sounding nowadays. All the tracks on the album are a feast for the ears. I was blown away by how intricate each song is. For this album they decided to blend electronic instruments while some real guitars, strings and drums. This gives the album a mixture of sounds at times. It feels etherial at times, it feels like garage rock at other times. Sometimes it’s soft and melodic, other times it’s loud and complex. After listening to the cd I posted this on Twitter:

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That’s how I view the cd. It feels like a musical version of the movie Inception. It’s more than an album, it’s an experience.

The other thing that’s great about this cd are the lyrics. As complex and intricate as the music gets, the vocals and lyrics are never lacking or wanting. In fact it’s amazing to me how deep the lyrics are. The lyrics pass the David Crowder Band standard in regards to poetry and lyricism, but the lyrics aren’t just pretty or creative. They’re solid theology and in-depth Bible teaching. I feel like I’m eating a meal, both musically and theologically everytime I listen to the cd.

My favorite tracks are “The Day That Our Lord Came Down”, “Take It All Back” and “On Their Faces (Glory Song)”. You can also download the song “City of the Great King” here for free: http://pasneos.bandcamp.com.

I am looking forward to many more cds and songs from them in the years to come.

My Father’s Day Testimony

Yesterday (Father’s Day) at church, our pastor preached his message through multiple testimonies from the men at our church. There were too many to go through them all hence we didn’t get to mine, so I thought I would post it here:

Father’s Day was a terrible day for roughly 10 years of my life. I spent the many years of my life without a father. I spent many more years without any friends, not even one. I don’t exagerate, I didn’t even have a mutually-rejected person as a friend at school, church or home. I was bound up in sin and strongholds. I wasn’t just bound, I was trapped. I was losing all hope of ever escaping.

But I remember the day and the place where I told God:

“Help me out of this. Whatever it takes, get me out of all of this.”

I’m not going to lie to you. My life didn’t get better. In fact it got a lot harder, but today I stand completely changed. He gave me a father that not only took care of my family, but adopted my brothers and me. I have many friends. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and we have a child on the way. I am not bound by fear and I am not bound by shame or my troubled past.

God knows how to deliver people who will let Him use whatever means possible. Total surrender is the path to freedom.

Culture says that I am a product of my experiences. God says I am a new creation.

I praise God for hearing my prayers not just that day but everyday before and after that and on this Father’s Day I also praise God for my father, father-in-law and Himself, my heavenly Father.

Proving “Speaking In Tongues” Is Scriptural & Debunking The Arguments Against It

I recently googled “proving speaking in tongues is biblical” and was surprised that most of the results were blog posts and articles speaking against speaking in tongues. I decided to try to balance out those results by writing a simple blog post proving that speaking in tongues is biblical and answering some of the biggest complaints/questions regarding it.

First, let’s look at what the Bible says about speaking in tongues.

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4 ESV)

This is the first mention of a group of people speaking in tongues in the New Testament. There are a few things to note regarding this passage:

  1. Disciples of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit for the first time
  2. They all spoke in tongues
  3. The utterances they spoke didn’t come from them, it came from the Holy Spirit

Let’s continue reading:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:38-39 ESV)

I think it’s important to mention that the gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t location-based. When Peter said it’s for “all those who are far-off”, he was talking about generations (you, your children, etc). That means this gift is for my generation, my children and even my great-great-great-great grandchildren. Peter states that this gift isn’t a seasonal thing, this is here for all peoples, for this entire age of time.

While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Acts 10:44-48 ESV)

“They were speaking in tongues and extolling God.” What a statement. When someone speaks in tongues, they are glorifying God! This is also the first time that Gentiles spoke in tongues, which means the Lord designed it for all people, not a particular race or people.

And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all. (Acts 19:1-7 ESV)

This is an epic story and after reading this I don’t know how people can doubt the gift of tongues and being baptized in the Spirit after reading it. There are several things to point out:

  1. Holy Spirit baptism was something new back then. Many people hadn’t heard of it yet.
  2. There are two baptisms: a water baptism focused on repentance and a Holy Spirit baptism focusing on Jesus
  3. This baptism can be given with the laying on of hands
  4. The two evidences that they were baptized in the Spirit was speaking in tongues and prophesying. They go together.
  5. All twelve men were filled. None were left out.

This verse is what John the Baptist said of Jesus:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11 ESV)

It’s also what Paul references in the story that I just listed above in Acts 19:1-7. What happens when you get baptized in the Holy Spirit? All these verses say that you start speaking in tongues. Has Jesus ministry changed? No. So He is still baptizing people in the Holy Spirit? Yes. So that means people are still speaking in tongues? Yes. It’s that simple.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ESV)

Several things to point out here:

  1. “Same Spirit”, “same Lord” and “same God”. He doesn’t change.
  2. Each person is given a manifestation of the Spirit in their lives. These are all supernatural things.
  3. Miracles, healings and prophecy are put in the same category. If one is happening still, the others are too.
  4. The Spirit does all these things.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28 ESV)

This is pretty much the same point as the last portion of scripture. If the other gifts are still in effect (like helping, healing and administrating) then it means tongues is as well.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:18 ESV)

This is Paul speaking. Do you want the impact of your life to be like Paul’s? Speak and pray in tongues more. Also, this was something that Paul was thankful for. He didn’t see it as a detriment. He saw it for what it was — a generous gift that God gives.

Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. (1 Corinthians 14:5 ESV)

Paul is stating that prophecy is more important in a corporate gathering because people can understand it, but we can’t overlook the words “I want you all to speak in tongues.”

Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. (1 Corinthians 14:22 ESV)

This is pretty clear. Tongues are a sign to unbelievers that God speaks to us and we speak to Him personally. Tongues can go away once there are no more unbelievers. I’ll talk more on that point later, but since there are still unbelievers, there are still people speaking in tongues.

So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:39 ESV)

Here is the clearest verse in the Bible about the role of tongues in the church. Desire these things and don’t forbid them. This command is given for public gatherings. How much more for personal life?

So as we have seen, speaking in tongues is very scriptural. The problem comes when we decide to make the Word and Spirit of God line up to our carnal mind. We tend to reject things we don’t understand or comprehend. Let’s look at some of the basic questions and criticisms people have against speaking in tongues.

Q: Didn’t tongues die out with the apostles?

A: I have never heard a direct reference in the Bible to this. On the contrary, Acts 2:38-39 says they are for the apostles generation, the next generation and for every generation that calls on the name of the Lord.

Q: But doesn’t 1 Corinthians 13:8 say: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” 

A: Yes it does, but the following verses say: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-10 ESV) What Paul is saying is that once Jesus comes back, there will have no need of tongues or prophecy or words of knowledge cause He will be with us. One day tongues will end. We will also be perfect and sinless then too. I should also mention that since 1 Corinthians is post-cross book, meaning that Jesus had already came, died, resurrected and ascended. When Paul talks about the “perfect” coming, he wasn’t talking about Jesus’ first trip to Earth, but His return.

Q: I’ve heard that Hebrews 1:3 says because Jesus came, we have no more need of prophecy or tongues.

A: Let’s look at what that verse in context actually says:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV)

What the verse is actually saying is that at one time God used other people to speak to us and used other people to describe what He was like, but now Jesus speaks to us and He shows us what God is like (Colossians 1:15). That’s exactly what tongues is: God speaking to us and we in turn speaking to God. It’s also good to remember that man didn’t invent tongues. God did. This isn’t something man-made that goes out of style over time Like praying, worshiping and fasting, tongues is something God designed to be a part of our life in Him.

Q: I’ve heard that since we now have the complete Bible, we don’t need tongues anymore.

A: As good as this sounds, it is not scriptural or found anywhere in the Bible.

Q: Is speaking in tongues a requirement for salvation?

A: No. Plenty of people are saved and don’t speak in tongues. I should mention that the Bible emphaizes being “filled with the Spirit”, not speaking in tongues. One of the multiple evidences that a Spirit-filled believer can possess is speaking in tongues, but it is not a must (1 Corinthians 12:30). Other evidences can be found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. The New Testament does lead us to believe that the “normal Christian birth” in Acts consisted of people believing in Jesus and confessing that fact, repenting from their sin, being water baptized and becoming filled with the Spirit. At the same time, we cannot make “gifts” requirements for salvation.

Q: I heard the reason the baptism of the Holy Spirit was needed back then was because of the unreached people groups.

A: At that time there were probably 300 million people that hadn’t heard the gospel. We have millions if not billions more now. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit more now than ever!

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Also see here for some of my supplemental thoughts and confirmations regarding speaking in tongues.

Hopefully this helps some questions and arguments regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. I encourage you to ask the Lord for the fullness of His Spirit. He longs to give you what you ask!

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13 ESV)

Supplemental Confirmations Regarding the Viability Of Speaking In Tongues

One of the greatest debates between mainstream churches and spirit-filled churches is the gift and manifestation of speaking in tongues. There has been much arguing about whether this gift of God is still viable today or whether it stopped being given after the apostles died.

I believe that the Bible teaches that tongues is a gift of God meant for all people till Jesus returns. I also go to a Pentecostal church where I have seen people being baptized in the Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, with myself being one. My wife grew up a Presbyterian and a Baptist and was taught that tongues are not biblical. She now speaks in tongues as well. I am not going to prove tongues are biblical in this post, but I wanted to look at the gift and experience in a broader sense and give a couple of general reasons that I think can also help prove that tongues is a work of God in a believer’s life.

1. It seems to be utter foolishness

God loves using weak and foolish things to confound the seemingly wise and strong:

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2)

Speaking in tongues makes no sense to the natural mind. For the most part, it is a language that no man can understand. But it is not meant for man to understand. It is a direct communication to the Father utter by His Spirit. He has chosen to work through things that are utter foolishness to carnal minds and sophisticated people.

2. It takes faith

When a person asks God to be filled in the Spirit, the Lord doesn’t force their mouth open and make them speak strange syllables. While the Spirit inside will start giving “words” to speak, it takes the faith of a believer to open their mouth and speak them. The reason I think this helps show that this is a work of God is that God’s interaction with our lives require faith and “without faith it is impossible to please God.” This gift requires faith, which means that the act of this gift functioning in a believer’s life can please God.

3. It’s for the relationship, not for a show

This is a major point. Speaking in tongues is not for a show but to help enhance a person’s personal relationship with God. It boosts boldness and fervency in prayer. It helps a person stir themselves in the faith and love for God. The Bible speaks that it benefits the person greatly to speak in tongues. While there are corporate uses for the gift, the main point of speaking in tongues is talking to the Father Himself. How can talking to God and improving one’s relationship with Him be a bad thing?

We’re Having A Baby

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I have some exciting news today. My wife and I are excited to finally tell everyone that she is ten weeks pregnant. We had a ultrasound today and we made sure that there was only one baby in there (both sides of our families have twins). The baby has a great heartbeat and is doing well.

In the next month or two we will get to find out whether our child is a girl or a boy. The names we have picked out are Lily Elise or Micah James.

Be on the lookout for more updates soon. 🙂

New Music I Love: King of Nations by Newday

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Buy the cd here:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/king-of-nations/id400442316

Newday is an annual Christian youth festival in the UK. During the festival, a live album is often recorded. King of Nations is the seventh album from this event. It contains songs from multiple worship leaders: Lou Fellingham, Phatfish, Matt Redman, Jordan Dillon and Jules Burt.

I found this album during my free trail of Rdio. This album has become my favorite new worship cd to listen to since then. As a musician, I love good rocking music and memorable melodies, but as a Christian, songwriter and teacher I long for solid lyrics that teach theology and hold a right view of God that’s full of revelation. That why I love this cd. The songs are good and singable and the melodies are catchy but the lyrics and heart of worship that’s on the album makes you want to sing and listen to them. No track shows this better than the opening track “The Righteousness of God”. This track is like a sermon in a song. It is a great song to do for Easter. The album also has a more-simple version of “You Are Good”, a song originally by Bethel Church. While the song isn’t instrumentally as complex as Bethel plays it on their album “Be Lifted High”, it loses none of it’s dance feeling.

My favorite song on the album is “See The Lamb of God / Lift Up His Name”. It is a great song hailing Jesus as the Risen Lord on the throne, but the reason I like the song so much is the spontaneous song section at the end where they also go into “Lift Up His Name”, a older song that I grew up with. King of Nations also contains an updated version of “To God Be The Glory (Great Things He Has Done)” which is sure to eventually work it’s way into the hymn-revamping worship circles.

Most Americans know most of Matt Redman’s songs that are on this album, however they are still great songs and possibly the first time they’ve been heard on a live album. The beauty of this album is the lesser-known artists who, like Matt Redman, are writing songs that appeal both musically and theologically. Sadly, most American churches don’t know of this cd or these artists, which is why I chose King of Nations to be the first album that I write about on my blog.

I hope you enjoy this cd as much as I have.