you're reading...

Serial Killers and Crack Pipes

[STUDY] SEE MY MOST POPULAR POST! SERIAL KILLERS, PINA COLODAS, CRACK PIPES AND U.F.O.’S [Note- I do update this section every now and then, I just left the first entry at the top for effect. As you scroll down there are more recent posts]

I must admit I used dramatic effect to get you to read this entry. As you read this section you will come across entries on serial killers, Pena Coloda’s, crack pipes and U.F.O.’S. Most of these entries are humorous [I hope!] the only serious one is the ‘serial killers’ entry. This one talks about the conversion of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, I read the book on his conversion in prison before he was killed and wrote a brief book review.

(869) WHO WEAR’S SHORT SHORTS? [ I innocently stuck this entry on some Christian forum, geez! It got more hits than any other post!] ROMANS 14:1-9 Paul discusses Christian convictions. Things that are personal habits of discipline where the scripture is silent on. Some believers abstain from certain types of food. Others see certain days as ‘more special’ than the others. It’s important to see that in this discussion Paul is not concerned with ‘who is right’. Though he will describe the legalistic believers as ‘weak in the faith’. And he himself will say he is convinced that ‘nothing is unclean in and of itself’. He is speaking about the convictions mentioned above. When I first became a believer I attended a good church. It was a Fundamental Baptist church that was a little legalistic in these areas. I remember a funny story, some of the brothers went on a canoe trip. We had a blast. One of the guys was wearing these old cut off shorts that looked like ‘blue jean hot pants’ [who wears short shorts, we wear short shorts!] the pants were old and the ‘fly’ kept unzipping. We told the brother ‘hey James, your gonna get us arrested or something if you can’t keep your shorts on!’. He got mad and called us a bunch of legalists! As you can see there are times where this accusation can simply be an excuse. But seriously the church was old fashioned [though well meaning]. I had another friend of mine that I led to the Lord and he asked ‘what’s wrong with the Christian rock, I like it’? He had heard some songs from the group Petra and he thought they were great. He also questioned why it was wrong for his boys to play mixed sports in public school. He was taught that the boys and girls wearing shorts in mixed company was wrong. So things like this are personal convictions that believers should not use to judge others. I want to stress that Paul does not condemn the more legalistic brothers, but he does make it clear that this is a sign of ‘weaker faith’. A faith that looks at the insignificant things and makes them significant. Many ‘Emergent’ church folk [of which I am one to a degree] seem to have had this type of background. Or at least are familiar with the classic evangelical message and preaching. Some have found a revolution in their thinking by re-organizing their lives around the actual lifestyle and teachings of Christ [which is a very good thing!]. But some seem to despise the older type churches and expressions of Christianity that they experienced while growing up. Some even cast away the good with the bad! Though many of the more legalistic churches practiced this type of Christianity, yet I commend them on spreading the gospel of Gods grace. Taking seriously their faith in the Lord. And being historic defenders of the faith at a time when the more liberal universities were throwing out the baby with the bathwater [the 20th century fundamentalist movement].

(1440) CAN GOD FURNISH A TABLE IN THE WILDERNESS? Psalms 78:19 The story is found in Numbers chapter 11, the children of Israel are stuck in the desert with no meat and fish and all the great food they had back in Egypt [they keep reminiscing about the good old days, sounds like Hannity and Reagan!] and God hears their complaints and gets angry. So how does Moses respond? He complains too! ‘God, why did you stick me with these people, did I give birth to them for heaven’s sake? Just take my life, I can’t do this anymore- I’m ready for a special rapture’ now Moses was running himself ragged, and actually God shows some mercy on him- before the lord deals with the complaining he tells Moses to take 70 elders and meet him at the tabernacle and God will take of the spirit/gifts of Moses and spread them to the 70, this will take some pressure off Moses. But then God will deal with the complaining, if you read the chapter it actually is Moses who makes the chief complaint ‘can God furnish a table in the desert’ and Moses gets into this debate with the Lord; God tells him in the morning they will have more meat they can handle, a whole months worth! Moses says ‘how, are all the beasts or all the fish in the sea enough to do this? There are 600 thousand footmen alone!’ The Lord says ‘can’t I do anything? I will do it’ and sure enough that night the lord brought a strong wind and it blew thousands of quail from the water over the desert and they were covered with quail. God did it. A few things to note; the people were being provided for by God with Manna, a type of wafer thing that appeared on the ground every morning- it seems as if this food was highly nutritious, yet probably didn’t taste as good as all the meat and stuff they were used to, they wanted what they wanted, and God gave them what they wanted! The church goes thru stages; one was the whole stage of mastering the techniques of getting what we want. You could attend seminars on it, watch your favorite TV preacher teach it, move to some city that has a mega church that embraces the doctrine- yet in the end God might just be giving us what we want, not because its best, but because we have rejected him. These debates go on forever; I have a prosperity brother who has been writing me for years; showing me ‘from the bible’ how Jesus was the richest man of his day, lived in luxury- on and on. These poor brothers have been taught a system of doctrine that gets them what they want, but not what God wants for them. I know the Lord will eventually bring the people into the promised land, and yes they will have abundance then, but to simply assume that the Christian walk is one where we live to fulfill our desires is very misguided indeed. Moses led the people on a dangerous journey, dangerous for him and them. The other day I posted an entry on Moses striking the rock out of anger and bringing the water out of it; we often don’t see the price Moses had to pay in order to fulfill his prophetic symbolism of the Cross. One of the punishments of Moses act was he would not be allowed to enter the promised land, which was a type of the Cross and work of God that he was to be a picture of; God needed Moses to strike the rock in anger in order for him to fulfill the picture we see from Isaiah 53 ‘it pleased God to bruise his Son’ that is Moses needed to be at a place of real wrath in order to fulfill the picture, yet mans wrath is not like Gods- Mans wrath always has a degree of human anger associated with it, God’s wrath is just and right. So how could God tell Moses ‘Moses, go and get perfectly mad, and strike the rock’ Moses was incapable of ‘perfect wrath’ so instead God used the wrath of man, which he could not really condone, to accomplish his purpose. In essence Moses really got mad, and paid a real price for it. He pictured God’s wrath in a limited way, and he pictured the reality of the punishment of Jesus, that is Moses punishment of not being able to enter the land was a type of Gods judgment on Jesus at the Cross. Get it? God allowed things to happen, even the mistakes, to work for his glory. We often measure ‘success’ by the worlds measuring rod, God does not use that as a standard. Maybe you’re at a place where you’re eating Manna every day, maybe the Lord is leading you thru a stage where he is restricting your intake for an eternal purpose; where you can say like the apostle Paul ‘I have learned to be content in whatever state I am, having enough or being in lack’ don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of viewing the faith thru a lens of a never ending journey to get more, to feed your desires, to get back ‘what the devil has stolen’ sometimes we are actually getting the wrong stuff.

(1424) AVOIDING THE ECHO CHAMBER- A week or so ago the president was asked his opinion about the cable news shows and the talk radio community; he wisely answered that he felt there was a sort of dynamic like an echo chamber with these shows, that people need to be careful that they are not simply spending all their time and effort bouncing their own ideas off of the walls of others who only think in the same framework. In Christianity this is a problem that we all regularly deal with. I remember listening to a tape by an ‘organic church’ brother one time, he was trying to explain where the idea of elders arose in the writings of the apostle Paul. Now he was speaking from/to a community of people that at the time were writing and teaching against the New Testament idea of leadership, many felt like leaders in the New Testament were forbidden based on verses like ‘the gentiles exercise lordship over each other, it will not be like this with you’ and other verses that speak of servant leadership. The well meaning brother went on to espouse his theory that when the Jewish Diaspora took place in the first century, many were sent to the Christian churches and they told the leaders of the churches ‘here are our people, who are your elders that they need to report to’ and that in response Paul and the others said ‘Oh yeah, here they are’ sort of like they were ad libbing just to appease the Jewish converts. Now, this idea is interesting, but there is no foundation for it to rest on. The New Testament had elders, leaders, etc. for this brother to have thought this deeply about the matter was simply a symptom of living in the echo chamber of others who also rejected elders/leaders as a normative role of the New Testament churches. But many of these brothers have brought out the fact that none of the churches in the New Testament had the singular office of ‘the pastor’ that functioned as the weekly speaking office that the believers would gather around and hear, week after week, month after month, year after year. The development of this office [often referred to as the pastor] took place over time; some ascribe its development to 4th century pagan sources, others see it as arising out of the synagogue to church model [it should be noted that in the synagogues you had a person overseeing the meeting, but anyone could take the scrolls and read as the lord led- that’s why Jesus could read from the scrolls, even thought the Pharisees did not think he was ‘ordained’ by God]. The point being we all have blind spots that we need to be aware of. Most bible schools, universities teach courses on ‘pastoral counseling, finances, budgets, speaking, etc.’ and to be honest they too usually are approaching things from the echo chamber of ‘church’ as the corporate model, the actual meeting place of believers, as opposed to a community of people. Many of these courses never really question the validity of this singular role that we define as pastor, they just teach around it as a given office that existed in this way. The other night I was watching the Huckabee show on Fox news, they had on the actor Jon Voight. I liked Voight in the movie The Deliverance and of course George from Seinfeld was elated when he thought he bought Jon’s used car [though Jerry doubted it was authentic, being the name was spelled differently] as Voight was being interviewed he read a prepared letter that he had brought with him. Voight expressed many of the key talking points of Beck, Rush and Hannity; he mentioned the Olinsky method, hit a few more ideas on Obama being a socialist, you know the whole deal. When he was thru Huckabee graciously defended Obama in saying that he disagreed with his policies, but felt like the president means well. Voight is a victim of the echo chamber, seeing and hearing things on a regular basis, without a regular inflow of contrary data. As believers we need to be willing to hear both sides of the issues, maybe the critics are right about one thing, and wrong about another. That’s fine, just be willing to hear. Living in the echo chamber can be deafening at times.

(1413) O THOU AFFLICTED AND NOT COMFORTED, I WILL LAY THY STONES WITH FAIR COLORS, AND THY FOUNDATIONS WITH SAPPHIRES- Isaiah 54. A few weeks ago I read a story in the paper about the problems Europe is having with their new common currency, called the Euro. A few years ago Europe had a bunch of countries join together and share a common money system, the purpose was to give them more influence in the global market place. But Greece is going thru their own economic catastrophe and it’s affecting the other countries in the group. So they are debating whether or not to bail out Greece, their own TARP thing. Some of the countries are mad and are wanting out of the whole deal; Germany has criticized Greece by saying ‘well if you guys need cash, why don’t you sell one of your islands’ not a very brotherly thing to say. Greece responds ‘well if you gave us back the money the Nazis stole from us during the war, maybe we wouldn’t be in such a bind’. Like Jesus said ‘nation rising up against nation’ to be honest it’s quite funny. Okay, let’s talk the concept of reparations. I know some of you are saying ‘that’s it, this guy has just gone too far for me! I’m gonna shut this blog and go watch Beck’. Just a warning to all my readers; you will read sections on this site where you will think I’m a stark raving conservative, other posts might sound like I’m a socialist, just to be clear- I consider myself an independent and believe that Christians should not be bound to any one party or group, except the kingdom of God. Now, what does the bible say about reparations? [The idea that the sins of White America against the Blacks should be atoned for in a monetary way] Most Americans cringe at the thought, though the idea itself is not totally foreign to scripture. The bible teaches us that when people [or people groups] wrong and sin against other groups, that the groups who committed the sin should try and make things right thru a process called restitution, which includes paying back what was stolen. Now I am not saying that the current ideas on reparations fall into this category, but the concept is there. Some people feel the years of the slave trade that produced a financial harvest for the nation overall, that the generations of Black kids that never had the opportunity to have grown up in families with wealth, they missed out on building wealthy dynasties for their kids, that we as a govt. should try and make up for this sin, not by punishing whites today for the sins of their forefathers, but by seeing this reality and making things right generationally- so to speak. I do not fully hold to the idea myself, but wanted to give you an honest view from scripture. I believe that we as a people [we being all Americans] should strive for equality and a color blind society as much as possible, we should advocate for all our brothers and sisters regardless of race or creed. We should avoid seeing our positions of influence thru a lens that says ‘I am White, Hispanic, Black, etc. and my job is to advance my ethnic group at the expense of other ethnic groups’. This mindset, which I see all the time, is frankly racist at its core. Now I am not saying that an ethnic person can never try and improve the plight of his own ethnic group, he just needs to make sure that he is not doing it at the expense of the other groups he represents. Years ago while working at the fire dept we had a new group of rookies get hired, one of them was a Black brother. When a promotional test was coming up I had a Mexican friend tell me ‘well, why even take the test, so and so will get pushed to the top no matter what we score’. One day while on shift I went upstairs to the dorm area and noticed my Black friend mopping the floors, it was ‘floor day’ and it just so happened that he was the only one mopping the floor [often times the other guys might be on a run, or doing another chore]. Though I was in a supervisory type job at the time [which means I did not really have to help!] I immediately grabbed a mop and helped. I am not telling you guys this to make it sound like I am more noble, I am saying that we all need to be aware of both the things that look racist, or actually are racist. My Mexican friend was not a racist, he simply has been brought up with the reality of seeing how affirmative action [hiring quotas] has caused what he saw as an injustice to exist. The fine Black friend might have gotten the top score regardless of affirmative action, and yet he would be seen as getting the promotion because of an unfair policy. When we as Americans try and do the right thing now, to make up for the sins of the past, we need to make sure that we don’t create a new environment that discriminates against other races as well, because in the end it only makes things worse.

(1393) POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY- in John chapter 11 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. The news gets back to the religious leaders and they say ‘If this keeps going on, we will lose our influence with the people and the Roman authorities will come and take away our position’ and one of their own, the high priest Caiaphas, says ‘Don’t you guys understand that it is expedient that one should die for the nation, instead of the whole nation suffering’ and John says ‘this spake he by the Spirit, being he was the high priest he was prophesying of Jesus death’. Okay, did the brother realize what he was saying? I doubt it. But he was stating a political reality of the time, that this railroading of Jesus would play a cathartic role for the political times that they were in. I finally watched the interview with the disgraced congressman, Eric Massa. He went on Beck and the whole thing is really a fiasco. Beck was hoping to expose the hidden conspiracies of the administration, instead Massa confessed to tickling his navy bunkmates! The sad thing is, as I listened to Beck, he really believes in many of the conspiracy theories he espouses. It doesn’t help that the president, as well meaning and pluralistic as he is, puts people to work for him that have held fringe beliefs. This allows the Becks of the world to find these hidden treasures [UTUBE] and lo and behold, we have one of his people praising Mau Se Tung, or signing a 911 petition that claims Bush was in on it. What purpose do the Becks of the world [or to be fair, the MSNBC crowd] play? I see them as sort of a cathartic for the people who also hold to their views, it seems to be a necessary evil that allows people to vent, a sort of political necessity if you will. I saw Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy, rebuking the media for their coverage of Massa, while at the same time they have forgotten about the seriousness of the war in Afghanistan and the money and cost of lives on both sides, he was mad and raging on the floor. Though I am not a fan of Kennedy, yet I believe he spoke much truth. I thinks its appalling that the media has dropped the ball on this, every so often a story or so will leak out, a bunch of accidental deaths that our govt. denies being involved with, then a month or so passes and a small report comes out ‘yes, we did accidently kill 40 people’ what? The media seems to not hold the current president accountable in these things. They play sides to the point where real atrocities are glossed over. How many more stories on Sarah Palin’s daughter will they do? They trodded out the ex boyfriend onto the main media outlets to share their dirty laundry. They gave a forum to a disgruntled kid who posed for playgirl, and they keep on doing this stuff. I mean this is the daughter of a ‘private’ citizen for heaven’s sake. How much coverage did they give to the ‘partner’ of Joe Biden’s daughter who made a sex tape with her? How often have you heard the story? How many stories on Chelsea Clintons sex life? MSNBC is just as bad as Beck when they do these things to a girl dealing with all the situations that life can throw at you, and yet from letterman to Chris Matthews to the major news outlets, they have all been guilty of this double standard. Caiaphas saw the writing on the wall, he wasn’t worried about the fact that what he was prophesying was that a corrupt system was going to railroad someone thru a kangaroo court and execute an innocent man, he was simply calculating the political balances of the day ‘will this help or hurt our cause’ type of a thing. They should have been more worried about losing their souls, then their seats in congress.

(1391) NO MAS [SA]! Back in the 70’s us boxing fans were treated to one of those so called ‘super fights’ you know, a matchup between greats. Roberto Duran faced Sugar Ray Leonard. A few rounds into the fight Duran got so frustrated that he walked out of the ring while chanting ‘NO MAS’. Yesterday a Democratic congressman from N.Y. – by the name of Massa- resigned his seat and went on the war path against his own party. It seems like he has a history of making racy comments to other men, but his excuse for being rail roaded is that he voted against Obama Care. It’s quite sad, he is making the rounds [today he’ll be on Beck] and he’s describing all these encounters with the administrations men, he says they approached him in the showers at the gym, wearing nothing, and he describes Rahm Emanuel’s ‘tush’. He seems like he can’t escape language that pits him up against other men, while nude! All of this wouldn’t be so tragic if it weren’t happening to the most ethical congress in U.S. history! Plus, it really stains N.Y. politics, I bet Spitzer and Patterson can’t even sleep at night. Okay, in John chapter 9 Jesus heals a man that was blind from birth, the disciples ask him ‘who did sin, this man or his parents, that caused this man’s plight’? Jesus said neither, but this happened so the works of God could be manifested in him. This might be the most important verse in the chapter. This man and his family lived many years with the insinuation that they must have been children of a lesser God, sure their neighbors didn’t come right out and say it, but you could sure feel the underlying accusation. Now, the news makes it to the religious crowd and they find out he was healed on the Sabbath, a big no no, a real ‘No Mas’ moment. They question the man and his family, they can’t escape the fact that this is a real miracle, so they try and convince the man that he should thank God for the miracle, but this Jesus is not authentic. The more they question him, the more he becomes a vocal advocate for Jesus. Finally at one point the religious leaders get fed up and they say ‘who are you to teach us anything, YOU WERE ALL TOGETHER BORIN IN SIN!’ There it is, that underlying accusation that he always felt from the religious crowd- you know, the group who always had their act together, they prided themselves in their upper class status ‘thank God that I am not like this beggar’ type of thing. But now, at the moment of truth, they blurt it out ‘Look at you, your whole life has been a testimony of your utter worthlessness, sure we never said it openly, but we always felt that way’ so the truth came out. I had a good friend a few years ago, New York Tony, he was a homeless brother that came from my home turf, never knew him from the north, but ran into him while making the rounds. Tony was a good friend, hooked on Coke and Crack, but a hard worker and Army vet. Tony used to always question why he was like the way he was, he was adopted and he thought maybe his real mom passed something off to him- was he like this because of what he did, or what his parents did? In the religious world we often create mindsets that say to people ‘surely if you were right with God, these things wouldn’t have happened to you’ we often violate the mandate from James ‘Don’t despise the poor’. At the end of the chapter Jesus tells the man that he came into the world to make the blind see, and the ‘seers’ blind. The religious leaders would find no help until they got to the end of their rope, the point where they could say ‘No Mas’ to the road they were on, but instead they said to Jesus ‘No Mas’.

(1385) JOHN 4- Jesus does the unthinkable, he travels thru a bad side of town- Samaria. If you read our Kings study you will remember the history of the region, by the time of Jesus day they were considered the ‘dogs’ of society. Now Jesus meets the woman at the well and they engage is this intriguing conversation, she brings up the debate over where the true place of worship should be- do we meet in the church building or the house? Ah, Jesus says ‘woman, the time is coming and it is even here now when the true worshippers of God will do it in spirit and truth’. It really wasn’t a matter of ‘where’. Okay, she gets into this religious discussion with this strange person in the middle of her busy day, she really doesn’t have time to get into the whole thing. But for some reason she’s drawn to this person, he seems to have insight that is rare for the day. Jesus tells her ‘if you knew who it was that you were talking to, you would have asked for water and I would have given you water that once a person drinks from they will never thirst again’. Okay, another one of those strange sayings, but she’s running out of time, she needs to finish her business at the well at get back to town. What the heck, she says ‘Okay, give me the water’ well, first we have to deal with a few things- remember I’m looking for sprit and truth, brutal honesty about your life and situation. This isn’t an encounter with some ‘wealth coach’ for heaven’s sake! Here we go ‘call your husband’ what? What a strange question to interject at this point-okay, she knows how to answer questions about her past in a way that makes it sound like everything is all right, when we all know it’s not. She says ‘I have no husband’ got ya now. Jesus tells her ‘you have spoken the truth’ the man your living with now is not your husband, and you have been divorced 5 times already, so yes, you ‘have no husband’. Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road, this is what Jesus was getting at when he told her that worship is not about ‘where’ but about truth and honesty when confronted by God. At this point many walk away and stay offended for life, but she was thirsty enough to allow the confrontation/offense to happen. ‘Well, I know that the Messiah is going to come some day, and when he comes he will tell us all things’! It was really a shot at Jesus ‘sure, you know SOME STUFF about me, but the real Messiah knows everything!’ Jesus says ‘I that speak unto you am he’. At that point the disciples returned with the food, they are shocked that Jesus is engaging this woman, they must be thinking ‘thank God the Pharisees aren’t here for this one’ I mean they were always looking for an excuse to discredit him. Well the woman goes back into town and tells all the other ‘mongrels’ about Jesus, he is invited to the town and spends 2 days and this truly is the first great ‘gentile/Samaritan’ outreach of the first century. In our day there is much debate about the how and way to ‘do church’ much of what is missing from the conversation is the ‘spirit and truth’ aspect. I have noticed that when a famous preacher falls into some public sin, that when they make the rounds [Larry King, etc.] there is much interest. People want to know that the things that they have struggled with are also things that we all deal with. The ‘spirit and truth’ aspect is often missing from our modern practice of Christianity. This woman allowed the confrontation to happen; it needed to happen for her to get to the next step where she would believe that Jesus was the Messiah. She truly found the water that she asked for.

(1384) YOU’RE NO EINSTEIN! A few weeks back my wife was getting on me for looking like a homeless guy, she tells me ‘John, why don’t you cut your hair- at least brush it’ and I responded ‘Einstein let his hair grow out’- the response ‘your no Einstein’. Humility is one of those gifts that just keeps on giving. Okay, seriously I have become a little messy these last few years. I am feeling okay physically though I realize all things are not well. About a year [actually a few years] ago I noticed some physical signs that probably needed to be checked out, but I had just lost my health insurance and finally went on line and did the best with what I had. At the same time there were days where I would get off of work and barely be able to walk [back problems] and would go to the homeless mission to see the brothers and some of them are in there 20’s, doing much better than me, and yet they are on Social Security, getting medical stuff for free, and I couldn’t even get the darn VA clinic to check me out! [I was in the navy, and my wife also. Tried but failed to get approved for the clinic]. So I guess after a while you get frustrated. Okay, in John chapter 2 Jesus turns the water into wine. The governor of the wedding drinks it and says ‘wow, most people serve the best stuff first, and after everyone is feeling good- then he sets out the cheap stuff. But you have saved the best for last’. Of course we know this is a story that speaks about the New Covenant in Jesus Blood being better than the old, but the point I want to make is this governor testified about Jesus and he didn’t even know it. Later on after the leaders draw up their personal opinions of him, they will not give him the credit for ‘the good wine’ they will find all sorts of reasons to demean him, but those who simply got a taste of the wine said ‘wow, that’s some of the best ever’. Do you [I] have a tendency to reject the ‘wine’ because we have already pre judged the source? Have people ever approached you and said ‘hey, did you hear that brothers teaching, it’s really good’ and yet you felt offended because ‘that brother’ might have hit a nerve or 2 along the way. Jesus turned the water into wine, not just any wine, but some of the best stuff on the planet. Many wouldn’t access it because they were offended by his straight forward approach- they even said of John the Baptist that he had strange eating habits [locusts!] and looked a little shabby [camels hair wardrobe]. Don’t let the personal animosities keep you from the good wine, people are going to drink it whether you like it or not, might as well get in on it while there’s still some time left.

(1381) DON’T THINK YOU NEED TO PUT ON A FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN BEFORE YOU START, YOU ARE THE EQUIPMENT… WHEN YOU ENTER A TOWN/CITY, DON’T INSIST ON STAYING IN A LUXURY INN, GET A MODEST PLACE WITH MODEST PEOPLE, AND BE CONTENT WITH THAT- Jesus, message bible [Matthew 10] One day I was reading the Billy Graham column in the paper; the question asked ‘Dear Doctor, I am having a problem with ED [erectile dysfunction] and would like your advice on…’ I thought, you gotta be kidding me man! Then I realized it was a question to another ‘doctor’ that gives medical advice on the same page. It’s easy to confuse ‘the way of the world’ with the way of God. Notice in Jesus above words that he clearly lays down the parameters for us; he flat out tells us ‘don’t go for the luxury, the expensive ‘go getter’ lifestyle, you guys are my witnesses and it won’t help the cause’. Now was Jesus saying there should never be an expression of ministry that uses lots of wealth? No. A good example would be Billy Graham, though his organization has used lots of money over many years, yet society at large does not view brother Graham as a luxurious high thrift spender. You don’t hear messages from Graham on ‘we are the king’s kids! We are the head and not the tail!’ type stuff. Even though you can find this ‘head and not the tail’ principle in scripture [Duet. 28] yet in context we need to hear the whole counsel of God. Jesus flat out gives us up front instructions on how to operate in the area of staying in motels for heaven’s sake, the last thing we need to see is another media expose on some evangelist who stayed in a 5 thousand dollar a night luxury resort on the peoples tab, and then using these other [out of context] verses to justify it! This week we had a guy fly his plane into the IRS building in Austin, as the story unfolded he was disgruntled about the way the IRS fined him and taxed him. In his on line rant he accused the catholic church [and churches in general] as being these hypocrites who use all this money, live these flashy TV lives, and yet have IRS exempt status. It turns out that the scam he was caught up in was he and a bunch of friends started their own ‘house churches’ and would use this as a tax dodge. The IRS caught up with them and fined them for back taxes. In the rant the man sort of admitted that they weren’t really ‘a church’ but at least they weren’t using there status to connive people out of money [like the churches- in his mind]. Do we as believers have a responsibility to examine our selves and how we approach ‘wealth and luxury’ and re-tool our lives/ministries back to the Jesus mandate? I recently had a bill from one of the news papers that I run the blog ad in; it was an unexpected bill that really was a mistake from the papers billing dept. But I did have some past months that they forgot to automatically deduct from my checking. So anyway as I was discussing the situation [thru emails] I finally worked out a deal, but also explained to the paper that I’m not trying to be a cheapskate, but that I pay for all of this stuff from my retirement check and do not take offerings [or accept money in any way]. I also do not use any ministry stuff in any way to gain a financial benefit [I do not deduct my giving from my taxes]. It seems as if when they realized where I was coming from that their attitude changed somewhat. The point being Jesus wants us to approach the kingdom thru a different lens, seeing things differently. How would you feel if you saw Billy Graham on TV doing some teaching on the end time transfer of wealth and heard him justifying his Rolex watch or something to that effect? It would seem to not fit the man’s message; I would hope that we could claim that too.

(1366) IT’S NOT A CHARGER! I was reading the account of Jesus on the Cross. One of the accusations that his enemies hurled at him was ‘he said that the temple would be destroyed and he would rebuild it in 3 days, wow, what happened to your big expectations’? Actually they misunderstood him, Jesus was speaking of his own death and resurrection when he said this, but the misunderstanding remained. Of course Jesus could have said ‘you fools! I am presently in the process of doing it’ but he decided earlier not to waste his time refuting all the accusations against him. Many years ago I had some neighbors who were good friends, but they kinda gave the impression ‘O no, these guys are one of those bible Christians’. Though they never expressed the thought, you could sense it. Anyway one time the wife rang the bell and asked if I could jump start her car, she was late for an appointment and had no time for a battery charge. So she expressly tells me ‘I need a jump, not a charger’. Well I have one of those ‘chargers’ that also ‘jumps’ the car [booster]. So as I was walking to her driveway she managed to start it, but not before expressing her attitude of ‘I told you I don’t need a charger [you idiot!] but never mind I got it started’. Now it would have taken around 8 words to explain why I’m not an idiot, but why waste the time. Till this day she still thinks I brought the charger. Some times in life it’s worth the time to correct and even at times defend your position, but you can also become consumed with trying to correct the record, in the long run its really a waste of time. This week the president shot back at his critics over the handling of the Christmas day bomber. He sent out one of his intelligence men [John Brennan] to defend their actions. The problem is that Brennan wrote an op-ed in the USA today that made it sound like they briefed the top intelligence officials along with the Republicans and that they had enough info to know that they were going to read the Miranda rights to the guy. But during the recent public hearings on the case, both Democrats and Republicans revealed that the top officials were not consulted, they were simply ‘informed’ of the decision that Attorney general Holder had made. Why did the FBI read the rights to the man? In their defense the administration has brought up the fact that Bush also did this with Richard Reid [shoe bomber]. Bush did this around 9 years ago, shortly after 911. Our govt. admittedly did not have the procedures in place to deal effectively with detaining terrorists. Bush and Cheney spent a few years retooling our govt. to fit the job. That’s why we built the jail and military court system at Gitmo, the ‘enhanced’ interrogation unit [water boarding] and various other tools to handle the new threat. The tapping of suspected phone calls leaving the country was a new procedure that also came under fierce criticism from the Democrats. One of the main tools Bush implemented was a team of top interrogators from the CIA who mastered the art of apprehending the suspects and interrogating them before reading them their rights. The whole system at Gitmo was Bush’s way of trying to bypass the entire American court system and have a way that these guys would be first dealt with as possible outlets of info. Of course the Democrats spent many years condemning all these new procedures, from accusing the administration as being torturers to saying we threw out the constitution in our efforts to deal with the problem. So Obama made a very conscious choice to say he would close Gitmo in a year [still not done] he ‘un-did’ the governments wire tapping program for suspects calling from inside the country- and he straight out dismantled the interrogation unit from the CIA. At the time there actually were military trials under way, Obama stopped them, read all the detainees their Miranda rights and started over. Okay, many felt that all these things seriously set back the country in its fight against terror, that’s why Cheney was so vocal. So why did we treat the Christmas bomber like a criminal? Obama never replaced the dismantled CIA interrogation unit with a new unit from the FBI [like he said he would do]. In essence they did drop the ball. But they are sending out their guys to make it sound like ‘look, we are doing the same stuff as Bush, look at Richard Reid’ but that was a few months after 911, grant it Bush did treat him like a common criminal ,because it took them a few years to develop all these other tools. But if you dismantle the tools, then yes, you are willingly going back to square 1 with the whole thing. The whole point is Obama certainly did ‘un-do’ many of the procedures put in place by Bush- fine. But don’t now defend yourself by saying ‘we are doing all that Bush did’. This new administration has made some very serious mistakes and dropped the ball on some stuff; both Democrats and Republicans agree. Lets rethink some stuff and if need be re institute the interrogation team from the CIA [absent the water boarding]. Don’t simply spend all your time trying to say ‘we did nothing wrong’ it’s about as futile as telling my neighbor ‘it’s not a charger’!

(1362) SPANDEX! The other night my daughter called my wife and invited her to go workout at the gym, I told her ‘tell her dad wants to go too, he’s changing into his spandex right now’ she replied she can only take one guest per day. Now, were her words accurate? Yes. Was that the primary reason I wasn’t going? Highly doubtful. In the Christian world there are times when the things we say might be ‘orthodox’ but the motives might be questionable. The other night I caught Hank Hanegraaff’s [bible answer man] show. I at one time was accused of being like him [heresy hunter] but it’s only been the last few months that I’ve ever really heard him. We don’t get his radio show in Corpus and his TV show just started airing on the religious networks. But I did read his groundbreaking book ‘Christianity in Crisis’ and some thought my stand against the prosperity gospel came from that, they were wrong. I did not agree with all the arguments and style of the book. But this month’s magazine from Hank [which I also don’t subscribe to] deals with the ‘Local Church’ movement started by the great apostle/missionary Watchmen Nee. I have written on Nee before [under the cults section- not because I think their one!] and have read on the movement before. Nee started an indigenous Chinese church that has been persecuted for years by the communist govt., he died for the faith in prison and his house church movement is considered one of the most influential in the world today. Back in the 70’s during the Jesus movement on the west coast they had some influence in the area, this was at the same time the ‘counter cult’ movement sprung up. Many of the statements from Nee and his successor ‘Witness Lee’ were scrutinized and labeled as cultic, a war raged between the apologists and has even gone to the courts. The Local Church sued Harvest house [Christian book publisher] and claimed they were defamed by the cult books that included their church in them, and the Texas Supreme court eventually sided with harvest house, the Local Church is appealing. Enter Hank H., the original research done against the movement was by Hank Hanegraaff and CRI, others followed. The reason they were labeled as a cult was primarily because of their statements on the Trinity and the ‘deification’ of the believer. Some of their official statements said ‘Jesus is the Holy Spirit’ and ‘Jesus is also the Father’. These statements were deemed ‘Modalistic’ [an ancient heresy condemned by the early church that described God as having different modes as opposed to being One in 3] and thus the title cult was stuck on them. But after many years of research and fellowship with the group, Hank changed his mind and came to their defense. This made him a target for the other apologetic groups and they strongly disagreed with his change of mind. Hank said that even though many of the statements sounded questionable, that as you read further into their materials and personally interview members of the group that they for the most part accept the Trinity and do not fall into the cult category. Some of the on line stuff against them states ‘they believe that Jesus is the Spirit, this is heresy’ yet the movement quotes Paul in Corinthians ‘The Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty’. This verse actually says ‘the Lord is that same Holy Spirit’ does this mean that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are ‘the same person’? No, but it does use language that is in keeping with what the Local Church movement has said. The other verse in Isaiah speaks of Jesus as ‘the mighty God, everlasting Father’ so this also is language that the movement has used ‘Jesus is the Father’. Though these statements from the movement cause some concern, overall Hank believed that they did not finally fall into the cult category. When reading some of their statements on line last night I still had some problems with the way they said stuff [that after Jesus rose from the dead he became the Spirit] but I also see how difficult it is to explain both the Triune nature of God and also declare his Unity. When Jesus was asked what the great commandment was, in Marks gospel he begins the famous answer with ‘hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one’ he is quoting Deuteronomy. So those who focus on the Oneness of God can see these verses as saying ‘yes God is Father, Son and Spirit- yet they are also one’. So as you can see we need to be careful when parsing words like this. All in all I always accepted the Local Church movement [which is not a name they have given to their movement, but it is how they are labeled when reading about them] as fellow believers in Christ, while at the same time having problems with some of the official statements that the church has made [and still holds to] but wanted to give Hanegraaff credit for his change of mind, while I have not read the article in their magazine [Christian Research Journal] I have been familiar with this debate for a few years. I appreciate Hanks willingness to say ‘we were wrong’.

(1334) One of the most important finds of the 20th century was a little book called ‘the Didache’, it is either a first or 2nd century document that encapsulates a short instruction for new comers who wanted to be a part of the church. It is important because it gives us a glimpse of how the early Christians viewed the faith. For instance it puts much importance on caring for the poor and doing works of charity, it goes so far to speak about fasting for the purpose of saving up some extra money to feed the poor. It warns strenuously against greed, it calls people false prophets if they stick around town too long and ask for money. I mean it’s strong. It also shows us how disconnected we have become from what the early believers valued. Yesterday I had a good day with my homeless buddies; I ‘heard’ that Buck had died. Buck was a good friend who struggled with alcoholism, many of the guys drink, but Buck was what you would call a ‘falling down in the street’ drunk. But when he was sober he was a good guy. I guess he was around 60 or so. I remember one time he showed up at the homeless hangout and he was all beat up, black eyes and stuff. The story was he went thru an ‘initiation’ at the camp, 2 of the other guys ‘initiated’ him by beating the hell out of him and taking his wallet, Buck said it was a voluntary thing that he agreed to go thru for ‘protection’. I said that’s funny, we used to call that ceremony ‘getting mugged’. All in all Buck was an all right friend, with many struggles. He did attend the local street ‘church meetings’ and made attempts to go to some of the retreats they hold for the guys. I spent some time with Henry; he is a very knowledgeable brother who always asks great questions. I mean he knows the bible by heart, studies the original Greek and Hebrew meanings of the words, he is a real pro. He has been living in an old run down RV for a few months. The people let him stay in it and he does some work around the property. They have a beautiful horse and a bunch of fruit trees; I filled up a bag with lemons and had a good time fellowshipping with Henry. My friend John David has been clean for 6 months now and is living up in Austin, that was great to hear. John was addicted to Cocaine, I told you his story around 6 months ago [in the homeless section]. His other brother Andy went to Mexico, he’s the brother I lent one of my good study books to, O well. All in all the guys are doing as well as can be expected, it’s pretty cold right now, that’s why some of them come south for the winter. My good friend Dirk is back, I have known Dirk for 20 years, he lives in an old beat up van and survives on a disability check, he’s legally deaf. He is a good friend, he comes for the winters and heads back to Michigan in the summer, he really is homeless but tries to pass himself off [to the cops] as a retired tourist, it is funny. And old Roger has been in jail since last Christmas, he walked into HEB [grocery store] and saw Tommy Nichols [a cop who the locals hate] Roger has been arrested many times by Nichols and Roger was drunk and told him ‘I’ll kill all you cops’ they arrested him and charged him with making a terroristic threat, he’s still got some time to do. I want to encourage you guys; do you spend any time reaching out to the hurting? Maybe fast a day or 2 and send the money to the feed the children groups? I just renewed my own effort in sending money to the kids, I was reading Christianity today on line and the screen kept asking if I would send some money, I kept clicking it off and then realized I need to send some. So I started sending $22 a month, not much, but it helps. I just want to challenge all of us to become involved in some way, maybe you won’t make as many homeless friends as I have, that’s fine- but try and make at least one! Make an effort and see what the Lord will do, it will be well worth trying.

(1321) WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN! Today the president jets off to Copenhagen for the closing of the world summit on global warming. He originally was going to go at the start but the politicos figured if he went at the end he might be able to undo the last failed Copenhagen venture- getting turned down for the next Olympic Games at Chicago. But what has happened instead is the summit has been a disaster. Why? First you of course had the nuts in the streets destroying stuff, but more importantly you had some major disagreements between the nations attending. The poorer nations actually walked out at one point because they want the industrialized world to fund them at 100 billion dollars for their part in cutting greenhouse gases, the rich countries are pledging 10 billion. China and India, 2 of the greatest polluters on the planet [they make up a total of 80 % of all the pollutants] are not willing to sign a binding agreement which can be verified. Why? These countries are at the beginning of their own industrial revolutions, they still have many years of rapid growth ahead before their overall population benefits from their growth. India has many people still in the extreme poverty class and for all practical purposes you are asking them to trade much of the future of their country for a possible fraction of a degree of global warming over hundred a year period. I mean it’s really a cost/benefit scenario. Now, am I a global warming denier? No. the science seems pretty clear, the nations of the world have gone thru an industrial age and the effects of burning coal and other dirty energy have produced lots of green house gasses that get trapped in the atmosphere and cause the heat to stay in. Not too hard to understand. So what’s the problem, well we don’t really know for sure how much of an overall effect we can have over the long haul. For instance our planet has gone thru at least one ice age and we have only been keeping global heat records for a short time. We don’t know if the earth goes thru thousand year cycles of cooling and heating that we could have little effect on. For instance if we are on a warming trend, and say the planet is going to warm so many degrees over the next thousand years, well maybe our efforts at cooling it less than one degree in the overall scheme really doesn’t count for much. Then there is the real cost/benefits analysis- I’m not talking profits for industry, but real questions on whether or not the global community should sink trillions of dollars over many years into this project, which might not save too many lives; or sink the money into these 3rd world countries who have hundreds of thousands of kids dying because they simply don’t have the money to feed them or provide them with cheap vaccines. This same money today can save so many lives. A serious global warming believer has done the analysis and believes it simply is not feasible to spend the money on the global warming efforts. If we had the extra billions to spend, sure let’s do it. But if we are doing it at the expense of real time lives, then it’s simply foolish. Last night I watched a documentary on the logging business in the Amazon, how so many poorer areas have learned the trade of tree chopping and have lifted themselves out of poverty by cutting down the trees. Now lots of the Amazon has been destroyed and it is an environmental disaster to some degree. So they started this fund that pays the tree choppers more money to not cut the trees. As they interviewed this brother who seemed to be on the lower income scale of society, they showed you him with his used chain saw and his truck and all the ‘blessings’ he has reaped from his new found job; they asked him why he won’t stop chopping thee trees. He said they don’t want to get paid for doing nothing. Ouch! They rather cut the trees and feel industrious than take the free welfare money that the west wants to appease them with. What a lesson for the victim hood mentality of the west. The reporter drove down the road to an Indian tribal area that never cut the trees; they always respected the land and lived off of fishing and hunting. What did their chief say? That they are not getting money because they have always preserved the trees, therefore they will start chopping the trees so the west will pay them to stop. What’s going on here? We have many well meaning people on both sides of all these issues, overall we have to be realistic about this stuff. Poor countries are not going to sacrifice their people on the altar of global warming science when they are not sure their efforts will really pay off in the long run, many of them attended the summit because they were simply hoping the rich countries would give them money. Rich western nations can’t expect to impose these types of restrictions on developing nations, it’s just unrealistic. And last of all the president just told us the country will go bankrupt if we don’t pass the latest version of health reform; you know, the version with no public option, no Medicare buy in, no real control over what the insurance companies will charge us. This bill has now become a bad bill as far as I can tell, then what in the heck are we doing making the second trip to Copenhagen in the last few months? The president used to say he was not like the last administration, he could walk and chew gum at the same time- I’m beginning to wonder about that.

(1314) IN DEFENSE OF THE HOMELAND- As a young boy growing up in New Jersey I had the privilege of having many different ethnic friends, but at times I found it difficult to defend the homeland [Italy]. I mean the Brits could appeal to the heroism of a Churchill, the Russians could even have their Rommel, but I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Sure I could resort to ‘what about that El Duce’ but I was grasping at straws man! This week Italy has been in the headlines, they convicted an American exchange student [Amanda Knox] on murder and she got 23 years in prison. As I listened to the news media berate the Italian judicial system I realized that they weren’t upset about the high probability of the girls guilt, they were upset that the standards of the American system of justice were not applied. The case involved 4 students who were involved in some type of sex game and one of the girls did not want to do it. So one of the boys killed her. After the initial arrest Amanda Knox admitted to being there at the time, she told the prosecutor and police that she was there. But after a while she claimed it was a false confession and the Italian courts actually threw out her first confession on the grounds that she wasn’t properly represented at the time. The jury convicted her based on the high probability that she was there and she was seen as an accomplice. The person who murdered the girl confessed and it seems like a very sad case all around. But the American media portrayed it as an unjust conviction, even though common sense seemed to be part of the jury’s verdict. They did not claim she killed the girl, just that she was present. I remember a case a few years back where a neighbor was being tried for the kidnapping and murder of a little girl. During the trial at one point the defendant was in negotiations with the prosecutor about getting a lighter sentence if he showed them where the girl’s body was. These were private discussions that the jury was not aware of. Instead the body was found and the deal was off. The trial proceeded and the defense dragged the history of the parents into the case, they were swingers and the defense tried to say that one of the swingers could have done it. The problem with this type of justice is everyone behind the scenes knew for a fact that the man raped and murdered this little innocent girl, but according to our rules it would be ‘unjust’ to tell the jury. In Isaiah 63 the prophet says the Lord looked down and realized that no one was standing up for justice, so the Lord himself rode thru and set things in order. He used ‘the right hand of Moses’ and delivered the people. He put on Salvation and took care of some things. Over the years I have seen how it is so easy for the people of God to allow for wrong stuff to take place over long periods of time, things that everyone knows in their heart are wrong. But we become desensitized, we believe in the fair market and if religious TV networks continue to pump out blatantly false stuff, so what- it’s a free world. But yet Gods standards are different than ours, even if society as a whole has accepted lower standards, it’s still wrong to do/teach false stuff year after year after year without ever truly dealing with the stuff. The American church has infected the world with these materialistic teachings to the point where we have whole nations being sidetracked thru these networks and quite frankly the network leaders couldn’t ‘give a rip’. God got tired of the inability of his people to deal with stuff, the mindset that says ‘even though we all know he molested the girl’ yet our view of justice is it’s all right to legally allow for the defense to try and convince the jury that the parents friends did it, even though the judge and prosecutor and defense all know it’s a big game! God looked down and said ‘enough’ I am going to bring some things into alignment that have been crooked for too long. God is merciful, but when we refuse to honestly deal with stuff, he will step in.

(1306) DARKNESS SHALL COVER THE EARTH AND GROSS DARKNESS THE PEOPLE… BUT GODS GLORY SHALL BE UPON US AND THE GENTILES SHALL SEE THIS LIGHT/HOPE AND BE DRAWN TO US- Isaiah 60:1-3 Tonight the president will give a speech at West Point and tell the nation that we will be sending another 30 thousand troops to Afghanistan, pretty serious stuff. But the news media has been stuck on another story, the couple who crashed the White House party the other night. Oh how they have mused about the fact that even though they passed thru metal detectors, they still could have hurt the president. Some have espoused that they could have picked up a fork and gouged his eyes out- others said they could have spiked his drink with Anthrax; the theory I found the most amusing was they might have been trained in Martial Arts and could have had the purely human ability to kill or mame the leader of the free world. Sort of like if the woman with the red dress was a black belt that somehow this would have enabled her to decapitate the president with her bare hands! Like what Will Farrell did in the highly acclaimed movie ‘Glory Blades’ the plot was Farrell was banned from the Olympics but they found a glitch in the system- he could get in as this top ice skater if he registered under the couples rule. So he and his partner [Napoleon Dynamite] get on the team. One problem, the famous move that they need to perform has been tried in the past by their coach- as they show the clip of what happened in slow motion, the skater does this move where as he jumps in the air and flips he accidently decapitates his partner! So you can see the serious dilemma that the movie engages in. I just thought it too funny for the media to have spent so much time on this story. Isaiah said ‘gross darkness’ shall cover the people, they would be consumed with stuff that has absolutely no value [like watching Glory Blades] but that the people of God would be this worldwide community of people who had purpose and hope in the midst of a fallen world. Yes the world system will get worse, but the kingdom of God and its witness in the nations will grow brighter. As the world obsesses about whether or not the woman in the red dress might have been some secret mixed martial arts expert [Royce Gracy in drag?] we have true things of value to share, hope and light and peace; as the Christmas season is upon us let’s do our best to share it.

(1301) THEY CRASHED THE PARTY FOR HEAVENS SAKE! Last night on the news the big story was how some couple managed to crash the president’s party at the White House. They showed this reality couple posing with Biden for pictures and all, the good looking woman dressed in a flashy red dress, hugging Biden and all- to be honest Biden looked a little too happy about posing with the woman. As I am watching all the speculation on how they snuck in, and they keep showing all the shots of them with various officials [Rahm Emanuel] I wanted to give this poor team the benefit of the doubt, thinking ‘hey, they know what they are doing’ but then this image in my mind of the Keystone Cops kept creeping up. I don’t totally blame the president for these types of things, but can you imagine the outrage that would have been expressed if Bush and his team allowed such a stunt to happen? SNL just spoofed the president on his Asian tour, they did a skit that had Biden sitting in the Oval office and musing [or gaffing!] about stuff, they spoofed how Obama would sign any stack of papers that simply had the words ‘health care’ written on top. And most observers believe that China ‘managed’ the president in a way that no other foreign leader would have allowed, they managed to get their points across while making the president look weak. All in all it’s been a rough few weeks. Jesus said the kingdom was like a big wedding feast where all these people were invited, but someone snuck in without an invitation [the proper wedding garment] and they were confronted and tossed out! In our pluralistic society we don’t want to allow for the fact that some ‘get tossed out’ or that there is a requirement to gain entry, his name is Jesus. Hey, don’t get caught at the party without the proper credentials, it could get you [and Biden] in trouble.

(1300) HE KNEW WHAT A SHAPE-SHIFTER WAS! Isaiah 57- This chapter contains a strong rebuke against God’s people for their ‘working knowledge’ of idolatry; the people were well taught in patterns and ways that were empty. I was watching an episode of Scare Tactics and they did a scenario where they had some oriental kid in a trailer out in the boonies and they set up a fake meteor crash. Part of the skit had the pranksters asking the kid ‘do you know what a shape-shifter is’ and to their surprise the kid answers yes! He then explains that shape shifters are humans who have the ability to transform themselves into animals; the kid knew the definition to the fake word! That’s funny. God rebuked his people for knowing wrong things, in Revelation one of the churches are commended because they were not familiar with the ways of satan. Over the years I have found it troubling that many young believers were taught things that were flat out wrong, it was plain to see that the interpretation of the scriptures that they were taught were wrong, and yet many of them clung to an obvious mistake. The problem was the teachers were continuing to propoagte a wrong view, even though they were told time and time again that the view was wrong. I am not talking sincere differences of belief, but blatant false stuff. In some ways we have trained God’s people to know and understand and believe definitions of stuff that do not exist! They know what shape shifters are for heavens’ sake! In this chapter God rebukes the people and also offers mercy. He says he will raise people up who will remove these stumbling stones, who will clear the way for God’s people and lead them back into paths of peace. When God’s people return to a trust and dependence on him once again, they will feel less troubled when the economy tanks. But when the people of God trust in material riches, they too feel a loss when the things they trusted in begin to fail. Jesus said ‘you believe in God, believe also in me- peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid’.

(1291) I LOVE THAT COW! 2ND KINGS 23:28-37 Pharaoh, king of Egypt, sets up one of the sons of Josiah as a puppet king and gives him a new name. The people pay taxes to this new king and to Pharaoh, but their dominator does not totally dismantle their self rule. I have mentioned this before; that one of the primary ways one kingdom would take over another was to allow them the freedom to run things on their own, but let them pay tribute to their new ‘world order’. In the New Testament you see the kingdom of God grow this way, Jesus and the disciples were making followers of the king. But they did not see this as a means to make people totally co-dependent to the point where they did everything for them. In modern church planting scenarios we see ‘church planting’ as setting up places where people will meet. Providing a regular weekly preaching service. The ‘church/corporate entity’ will meet the needs of the people and the people in turn will ‘pay tithes to the storehouse’ we really have a very limited idea of church planting. It would be more effective if we led people to this new kingdom of God, but didn’t make them so dependent on a particular system, let them grow and govern themselves under the reality of them being servants of the king, this style allows people to experience God in a greater way. Okay, as I have been reading some of the parables of Jesus from the message bible, the one on the treasure hidden in a field spoke to me. The message bible says the kingdom is like a person accidently stumbling across a buried treasure in a field, when he realizes what he’s got he sells everything else and buys the field. At the risk of being crude this reminds me of a joke form the King of Queens, Arthur [Jerry Stiller] is dating Doug’s aunt [Doug- Kevin James] and Doug doesn’t like it. And obviously they are sleeping together and all. So Arthur falls in love with the aunt and informs Doug that he is going to propose marriage to her; Doug is furious. Arthur tells Doug ‘I know you’re wondering why I want to buy the cow if I’m getting the milk for free, well I love that cow, that’s why!’ Arthur was willing to give up everything for ‘the cow’. In essence he wanted to commit to the new found treasure, in a way this is what happens to people when they find the kingdom, you don’t have to set up systems to make people loyal to the kingdom [modern concepts on church membership that have all sorts of ways of trying to instill loyalty into people] when people realize the true value of the kingdom they are willing to give up everything in their pursuit. They will continue to function in society, you don’t have to go build places for these people to meet, let them meet wherever they were meeting before they were brought to the kingdom [homes, etc.] Just do your best to present the kingdom to them in its truest form, let them see the true riches that come with the kingdom. Don’t worry about gaining their loyalty, once they see the treasure they will sell all for it.

(1280) 2ND KINGS 20 Hezekiah gets sick and the prophet Isaiah tells him that he will die. Hezekiah seeks God and before Isaiah leaves the courtyard God tells him ‘turn back, he will get another 15 years’ God extends his life. But he asks for a sign from the Lord to know that he will live, God gives him the sign of ‘the sundial’ it will go back 10 degrees and not forward. Hezekiah allows the Babylonians to see all his treasures and God rebukes him for ‘casting his pearls before swine’ and pronounces judgment that will take place when his son comes to the throne. This chapter also mentions the project that Hezekiah built, an underground water source [tunnel] that ran from the spring Gihon and brought water secretly into Jerusalem. This was a smart engineering move on the part of the king, in bible times when one king attacked another he would cut off the water source from the city; this secret underground tunnel was undetectable. For many thousands of years this story has been in the bible, some mocked it ‘where is the source’? In 1880 archaeologists found the tunnel with inscriptions on it. Let’s do a few things; the story of the sun dial going back is like the story of Joshua and God keeping the sun from setting a whole day until Joshua routed the enemy. One of the major challenges to believing the bible literally [face value] was the entire discovery of how our solar system worked [Copernicus, Galileo] and fitting that in with the biblical accounts [sun setting and rising language]. So many of the biblical critics came to reject these stories based on the fact that in order to ‘make the sun go back/stop the sun from setting’ you would have to stop the earth from rotating, or turn the rotation backwards! And science tells us that this would have catastrophic effects on the earth and seas, the gravitational effects would be enormous. In essence natural science tells us this can’t happen. Are all miracles like this? The event of the worldwide flood had natural events that caused the earth to flood. In today’s world a few well placed meteors hitting the oceans could easily repeat the event, so some supernatural acts of God coincide with natural explanations. But some don’t. The God of Christian theology is both Transcendent and Immanent, that means he is ‘above us’ [higher class than humans] and yet omnipresent, he has his hands in everything! Transcendence does not mean he is simply geographically far away, but that he operates in another dimension, he is not limited to the time/space continuum like we are. Einstein blew away many preconceived ideas about time and space with his ingenious theories, he showed us that things don’t always work the way we think. A being who can operate outside of these dimensions can do things that would defy all natural explanations, this is what I believe happened with these types of miracles, we don’t always have to find a natural explanation to a supernatural event. God spared Hezekiah and he was a great king, he made some mistakes and suffered for it. Yesterday I lost my vehicle keys, I looked all day and interrogated my wife and kids [they have taken them before] and after many hours of seeking I came to the logical conclusion that they were gone for good. My wife told me ‘lets wait and see, who knows maybe they will show up’ Oh yea sure, I guess they will just fall out of the sky! I am a man of action and decision; the keys were to my truck and my 1966 classic mustang in the garage. So I did what any reasonable man would do- I removed the ignition from the mustang [yes this is bad] and cut the wires out so I could splice the new ignition in its place. The official way to replace it calls for the removal of the dashboard and that’s quite a job. I could have called the lock guy and they could make a key, but I was already having a few problems with the ignition so I figured just do the whole thing. I also got the number to the dodge dealer so I could call them and get another key made from the VIN number on the truck. At around 11:00 pm the keys were found in the spot where I accidently put them, in a few hours I will be heading to Pep Boys for the ignition, the car sits in the garage with the wires hanging out from under the dashboard. Hezekiah was a good man, he did good things; but he also acted presumptuously at times, he let the Babylonians see the stuff that was supposed to be secret. Sometimes we can have all the good intentions in the world, this still will not immunize us from stupid decisions.

(1276) 2ND KINGS 18- Hezekiah rules in Judah and is the first king to tear down the high places of idolatry that Jeroboam instituted and he destroyed the calf’s and rid the nation of other idols [the bronze snake image that Moses had made was being used as an idol]. When I first read this chapter I of course wanted to credit this king as being one of the best, after all the chapter tells us this. But don’t underestimate the importance of surrounding events that aided in Hezekiah’s purging the nation of its idols. The northern tribes are in captivity, this gave the king of Judah room to function. It’s probable that most of the kings of Judah would have preferred ridding the nation of these calves, because their existence was for the purpose of preventing the children of Israel from reuniting with Judah, but Hezekiah had the opportunity to finally do it. Also the king of Assyria will come up against Hezekiah and threaten him ‘what makes you think that your God can do any better than all the other gods of the nations that our king has defeated’. These messengers are treading on dangerous ground, they are having a public discourse right outside the wall of Jerusalem, they are speaking the language that all the people know [probably Aramaic] and the leaders of Jerusalem say ‘don’t talk to us in the common language, after all we don’t want all the citizens to know our problems’ and the Assyrian messengers say ‘no, we want the people to hear- so they can know that they will be [quote] drinking their own piss and eating their own dung’. These brothers must have been the political ancestors of Alan Grayson! [the Democratic congressman from Fla. who calls women whores and stuff like that]. So anyway the Assyrians leave the threat and Hezekiah and his men do some soul searching. We’ll read the results tomorrow. Okay, there was a conscious effort on the part of leadership to ‘hide the discussion from the public’ Hezekiah did not want to post these things on the internet for 72 hours- or put it on C-span like the president initially said he would do. Also, don’t underestimate the role that our moral decisions have to do with whether or not things turn out good. Hezekiah will get some help from God because he really did seek to do the right moral thing in ridding the nation of idols. Right now [like today] there are many efforts going on in the congress to include abortion in the current health care funding. This would be a major national change in policy for our country. In the past the president is on record as saying he wants abortion covered in national health care [he said this in 2007]. So there is a debate going on in the Democratic party over this, there are around 40 Democrat congressmen who are opposing this bill over this issue. I applaud these men. I still believe that our nation can overcome some major problems that are facing us, but we can’t overcome them if we disregard Gods word. I am not advocating a theocracy, but to extend the coverage of abortion to a degree that has never happened before would be a big mistake. I realize the president has misled us on this, the facts are out there. I think he did it out of fear of not getting something passed, which would be a major political defeat for his agenda. But to purposefully mislead people, no matter how well intentioned you feel the end result is, this is still unjust. The king of Judah has a dilemma, he will find some help in seeking God, I think this strategy can work for all of us.

(1272) THE O’RIELLY FACTOR- The other day as I drove past the auto store O’Reilly’s I had the sense that I would be going there soon. In the old days I used to do all my own work on the junker cars I purchased. I remember many days in Kingsville going to every auto store in town, I used to frequent a little rinky dink place called ‘GAF auto’. They had a real nice older Mexican brother named Red; he always helped find me just the right part in their disorganized store. So any way my daughter’s radiator on the Mustang had a few problems and I managed to take off the overflow reservoir and patch the leak. But then the electric fan motor [I hate them!] would not turn on. I actually replaced the fan motor a few years back and was not sure what the problem was. I told my wife ‘Look, I am not going to start replacing stuff [like the old days] until I hit the jackpot, this time you guys need to take it to the shop’. I am trying to get away from doing stuff like this nowadays. So she looks on line and says ‘it might be the resistor’ [type of fuse]. As I pull out these fuses you really can’t tell if their bad or not so I think one sounds bad as I shake it. I am also trying to check the connections themselves to see if I loosened one when fixing the reservoir. So any way I really can’t tell what’s wrong, I’m running the engine to see if the fan will turn on and messing with everything. I go into the garage to look if I have the repair book for this car [1998 mustang]. I have bought books over the years for the various vehicles we have owned but couldn’t find one for this car [I have one for my 66 mustang but not for a 98]. As I pull the books off of a top shelf a resistor falls down. It says ‘ford’ on it and it looks like the part I’m looking for. As I think back I must have replaced them when I originally changed the fan motor a few years ago and I guess I kept a good one. So I stick it in and sure enough it’s fixed. What are the odds that this loose part just happened to fall down off a shelf? Red would have been proud of me. I bought these original parts at O’Reilly’s auto a few years ago; I guess the lord was telling me I would be fixing a car with an O’Reilly part soon. In Isaiah God says ‘ask me about the future of my sons, concerning the work of my hands command me’ ‘these people I have formed for myself, they will show forth my praise’ ‘before stuff happens I show it to you, before it springs forth I reveal it’. God is telling us ‘look, I am the one who has brought you to the place where you are at today; I have guided your steps. I have the power to manipulate the environment to give you a favorable outcome- you have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit and that it will last’ God is on our side, even little things like allowing a part to fall off of a shelf in the nick of time, God does stuff like this. I want to encourage all of our leaders who read this blog, be sensitive to the little ‘impressions’ God gives you on the journey, they might not seem significant at the time, but God does speak to us in simple ways. Look for the confirmation on stuff, I was really ready to give up on the car but I knew the lord had impressed ‘auto shop’ on my mind just a few days earlier, I had no idea how the details would work out but knew that God had spoken in this seemingly minor way. God is the one who brought us here, he will help with the little [and big] stuff along the way.

(1271) 2ND KINGS 16- Ahaz the king of Judah is attacked by Israel and Syria; he takes the treasures from the temple and buys the help of the Assyrian king. The king in return attacks Syria’s capitol city of Damascus and Ahaz is off the hook. Now Ahaz goes to check out Damascus and the job that he paid to have done; as he is there he sees the pagan altar of the Syrians and likes it so much that he sends the design back to his ‘arch bishop’ [priest] and tells him to make one for them. He also takes the brass/bronze altar from Gods tabernacle and mixes it in with this pagan contraption. Okay, first we see that once you open the financial door it’s hard to shut it. What made the king think about buying the services of Assyria with the temple goods? Well they did this before and once it became a viable option it was easy to just go back to the same source. That’s why we need to be careful as a country as we establish ‘new sources’ of income for various projects; these sources tend to get raided when needed [S.S. trust fund!]. Also Ahaz desecrated the holy things by his willingness to mix pagan worship along with God’s true worship. He basically liked the artistic value of the pagan altar at Damascus and wanted one. Last night I watched the documentary of the Monte Python guys. Back in the 70’s they were popular where I grew up in Jersey and they hit the TV about the same time as SNL. I never really saw how ‘anti Christian’ these guys were. I know they spoofed the Holy Grail stuff and all, but as they were talking on the documentary you could tell that they were truly ‘enlightenment’ babies. British mockers of the faith. Now, right after the documentary they showed their film ‘Life of Brian’ which I never really saw before [just parts] and it was a total mockery of the faith. The actor who spoofed Christ died not long after, he got cancer and died young, in his 40’s [I’m not saying God killed him!]. They showed his funeral during the documentary and it was sad, in keeping with their style the comics cursed at the Eulogy, dropped the ‘f’ bomb and said ‘we now know that Graham is gone, he no longer exists, all we have is memories’. They did the best they could, but as you saw the kids in the audience and the faces of friends and family, this end of dissolving into nothingness seemed so hopeless. The kids were taught you live, do what you want in life without purpose or meaning, and then evaporate into the cosmos! No real hope at all. I appreciate art, I don’t really get too offended when Christians are spoofed and all, I think our skin is too thin at times. But the constant mocking of Christ and the faith at the ‘altar of art’ seems to parallel Ahaz and his willingness to allow the beauty of the pagan altar to become part of his worship. Much of the so called ‘religious art’ is simply a mockery of the faith. Crosses in urine, the Virgin Mary depicted with porno- stuff that simply is not art. I read an article a few years back, the picture showed a 70 year old Black janitor standing next to a bunch of trash; it was dog poop, an old coke can and a bunch of trash just sitting in some building, it was actually one of the art displays. The poor janitor saw it while he was cleaning the museum at night and like any good worker, he threw the ‘dung’ out. Oh was he excoriated for this senseless act of disrespect and his inability to appreciate true art! In the article he said ‘it just looked like trash to me’ amen brother.

(1269) 2ND KINGS 15- This chapter has lots of various kings, instead of covering them all let me just hit a few verses. One of the kings is being challenged by Assyria, so he ‘exacts money from the wealthy’ to pay the guy off. Another verse speaks of a king with a long 52 year rule who also had leprosy. Let’s start with the ‘taxing the wealthy’ brother. Right now [10-09] the congress is about to vote on health care reform [actually today is 10-22, they vote today] and to be sure there are challenges on both sides. I was talking to a north eastern ultra liberal the other day; this person defended the president and accused all those who were against him as being racists. I explained to the person that there were many White independent voters who sincerely voted for the president, many of whom do oppose him on actual policy disagreements; these voters who have been publicly accused of being racists will never vote Democrat again. The statements of President Carter, though taken out of context somewhat, were the worst thing that could happen to a political party. A few months ago Chris Matthews [MSNBC] interviewed a woman columnist who wrote a piece for the Times that was called ‘the southern strategy’ she explained how the real reason for McCain putting Palin on the ticket was to contrast the ‘sexual aggression of the Black man against the southern white woman’. Now, it was obvious to me that McCain chose Palin as a counterbalance to the historic nature of the Obama candidacy, they waited until Obama picked his running mate and when they saw he didn’t pick Clinton, McCain figured let’s put a conservative woman on our ticket who could help with the base [which McCain had trouble with] and also could appeal to a historic candidacy [the first woman V.P.]. So any way it was obvious that this was more than likely the reason. But for a national show to accuse the entire McCain candidacy as being racist in this way simply alienates many sincere White voters who will simply reject the entire Democratic ticket the next time around. Okay, if we pass health care and mandate every American to purchase it, it is wrong not to have the so called ‘public option’ [Medicare for everybody]. Why? Because you are thrusting the populace into buying from private industry, without any checks and balances on that industry. I know states do this with car liability, but nevertheless to do this on a federal level without offering some type of govt. plan would be a mistake. How to pay for it? Some say ‘exact money from the millionaires’ others want to tax the high end insurance policies that are out there [the Cadillac plans]. However this is done we need to avoid strapping the middle income worker with too high a price. Some estimates, from Democrats, say that an average 4 family household who brings in 60 k a year would have to pony up an extra 700 a month under the plan. That if this family presently cannot pay for the coverage, they would be fined. This takes into consideration the govt. offset. The average insurance plan costs around 13 thousand a year, the govt. would pay for around 7 thousand in the above example and this family would be mandated to pay the rest. So some of these plans are not good. My view is, let’s do the thing and have the public option with it. If you can’t have the public option than this would simply be a regressive tax on middle income families. When the president was asked this question by George Stephanopoulos he denied this being a tax, but George told him if you mandate a fine on these people and then require them to pay by law, then it is a tax. The whole point today is we need to realize that simply ‘taxing the rich’ does not solve the problem. We should make sure that companies and rich folk pay their fair share, but they are not some type of secret answer to all the problems. This week a boy asked the president ‘why do people hate you’? and Conan Obrien said the boy then looked at Biden and said ‘I know why people hate you’. Ouch! There is plenty of room in this debate to hear both sides, not demonize the opposing side, and try and work out a compromise that everyone can live with. We certainly don’t need to hate either side.

(1263) THEY MADE HIM WALK ON NON WALKING FEET! A few weeks ago I wrote an entry on Evolution [Ardi the monkey boy] at the time I had read a few articles on this so called missing link, but it wasn’t until last night that I caught the show on TV, it was a 2 hour special done by one of the science channels. Boy was it eye opening. First, when I wrote the entry a few weeks ago I saw enough from the few articles that I read that they tried their ‘darndest’ to make these silly bones walk! That is one of the most sought after fossils in the evolutionary community is a bi-pedal monkey/man. A link that began walking on 2 feet. The show was unbelievably biased, they showed you the development of the find over the past 15 years, many efforts at making computer graphic images and artists rendering and all types of advanced technology and many man hours to make these scattered bones do what the evidence shows they could not do; walk on 2 feet! I was surprised to see them admit that the actual fossils of the feet [a toe bone] were the feet of a mammal that were exactly like the feet of other mammals THAT DO NOT WALK ON 2 FEET. They explained how the bone structure from Ardi’s feet were the bones of animals that did not walk on 2 feet. That all living species today that have these types of feet do not walk upright. They also admitted that all fossils ever found with feet like this came from animals that did not walk on 2 feet. Then in an unbelievable turn of events, they said ‘therefore Ardi is such a special find, he/she is the first fossil ever found where the creature walked on feet that were not designed for walking!’ This stuff is too funny to be legitimate. Why is this absolutely snake oil science? These men realized that the biggest problem of presenting this find as some type of link between men and monkeys was the fact that the feet were non walking feet. They waited 15 or so years before coming up with this absolute fantasy; and they made a conscious decision to tell the unsuspecting public that this animal walked on 2 feet with feet that were designed to climb, not walk. It would be like me trying to prove monkeys can fly, and I spent a whole lifetime looking for a flying monkey. But these creationists insist monkeys didn’t fly. In my mad rush to prove my point, I find a monkey fossil that I think might make the headlines, I present it as ‘the flying monkey’ and I realize that my creationist critics are going to be watching very carefully for the proof I have that monkeys actually did fly. And during my argument I show all these computer images of flying monkeys, I hire an ‘artist’ to draw me a flying money. But when I show you the actual bones from the monkey, Walla- they show no wings. So I state ‘this fossil is so special, we never anticipated such a find, this fossil is the first creature that used its feet to fly’. This my friends is not true science, which is allowing the evidence to speak for itself; this is false/faulty science with an agenda, after all their hours of work and effort and personal prestige on the line, they actually took the evidence of a non walking animal and made him ‘walk on feet that can’t walk’ this is what Paul described in the book of Romans ‘they did not want to retain God in their knowledge, so God gave them over to a reprobate mind’ these fellas have minds that do not function properly.
[This is the original article I wrote on Ardi] (1252) ARDI THE MONKEY BOY! Okay, I was gonna do 2nd kings 8 but I just couldn’t resist. The other day I read an article from the N.Y. times that spoke about the most recent discovery of a missing link. The problem is this ‘missing link’ was discovered in 1992, 17 years ago. The article showed you the drawing of a wonderful looking ‘half man/ half human’ being. It went on to tell us the story of Ardi, he/she was found in an area of Africa not too far from the famous Lucy fossil. Ardi is a little over 4 million years old, Lucy is over 2 million. So Ardi fits in well with a transitional species that could tell the story of human evolution. O how the story went on, it explained how Ardi lived and often would come down from the trees and walk on 2 feet [bi-pedal, to find a link that walks on 2 feet is essential for the theory of evolution to be true]. The article really described well everything that the evolutionist would need to tell his story. The problem? Ardi is a collection of monkey bones that were scattered all over the place; these bones are so brittle that the process of cleaning them for examination actually destroyed the bones. All indications are that these highly questionable bones are simply brittle monkey bones, this is why it took 17 years before ‘the find’ hit the headlines. So why did Ardi make it into the papers now? Because fellow evolutionists put the pressure on the original archeologists to ‘come out with the truth’! So they made up a wonderful tale, with pictures and all, and Walla- Ardi the monkey boy lives! How can I be so sure that Ardi was not a bi-pedal half man/monkey? Because science tells us this, not religion. If Lucy comes along 2 million years after Ardi, then surely Lucy must have really mastered the art of walking on 2 feet. Evolutionists have actually spent many years trying to ‘make Lucy walk’. The more they found out, the less proof she walked. First, the original find did not have hands and feet with it, so they gave her human like hands and feet. But after they found many other species of the same kind, they found many hands and feet also, they were not human like at all, the feet were truly monkey feet and not the structure you would find from a ‘walking monkey’. Next, they examined the bone structure of Lucy over many years and there were some major problems with the hip area that needed to be different if Lucy was to walk. Finally they made a documentary on Lucy and explained away the problem with the hip, they said that it was possible that a dear stepped on the hip and crushed it. So they had a brother on the show explain that he had to ‘re-make’ the hip back into the original hip. They actually showed him grinding down the model, with chips flying in the air, to get the walking hip. I mean it was hilarious! Years ago we also found a bunch of human footprints close to where Lucy lived in Africa, these prints were touted by the evolutionists as proof of Lucy being a bi-pedal monkey/human. The prints were so human like, many wondered if they were human. The only difference between these prints and a normal human print was the arch of the foot, it was a little flatter than ours. But after careful examination these prints did fit the exact prints of tribes that lived their whole lives bare foot. In essence these were human prints! The prints also had the foot prints of little feet inside the adult feet. How did this happen? More than likely the kids were having fun and stepping in the prints of their parents. So after many years of trying to make Lucy walk on 2 feet, the evidence shows otherwise. So if Lucy didn’t walk on 2 feet, there isn’t a chance in Hades that Ardi did! A few years back I was watching a Seinfeld episode and George wanted a cool nickname, so during lunch he orders a T Bone steak, he figures the nick name will stick. But sure enough the next guy orders a T Bone as well, and they give him the nick name. George is furious! So he confronts his co worker in the hall and you can see George jumping up and down and arguing for the right to the name ‘T Bone’. His co worker gives in and says sure, the only problem is the boss and the other guys saw George thru the window when he was throwing his fit, and they said ‘look, George looks just like a monkey’ and before George could tell everyone that he obtained the rights to T Bone, they stuck the nick name ‘Coco the Monkey boy’ on him. I appreciate the N.Y. times, the picture of Ardi looked great! But I think they tried to stick us with a tale, they tried to gives us Ardi the Monkey boy, when in reality he was just a bunch of brittle monkey bones.

(1261) THE ALABASTER MAN- The other day my daughter was telling us a funny story, how she was looking for her pizza pan and asked her fiancé if he knew what happened to it, he admitted that he used it to cover a hole in the yard to keep the dogs from getting out. She was recounting the story to my wife and saying ‘just like dad used to do’. Boy did they get a laugh, I felt like rebuking them for not honoring their elder, but as I contemplated my best defense I realized that right now there sits one of my wife’s baking pans on top of the chimney on the roof, tied with bailing wire to keep the rain out; I figured I would just let it slide. I have been reading Isaiah along with the Kings study we are doing, Isaiah 40 thru the end has been one of the most prophetic portions of scripture for me in my own personal life. ‘I will make you like a new threshing instrument having teeth, you will thresh [cut apart] the mountains and beat them small; the wind shall carry them away’ ‘who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot and gave the nations before him; he will rule over kings’ ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’ I like all these verses, they have given me direction over the years. Here at my house I have a few things that I kept from my childhood, one of the mementos is a 1 inch figurine of an oriental wise man that is made out of Alabaster, I simply call it ‘the Alabaster man’. My dad bought it for me when I was around 10 years old; he used to take me over to the city [New York] and when we went to China Town one year he bought it for me. I have it in the yard next to a prayer area where I pray. I also have written various verses all over my yard, on the wooden fence and on my gazebo, it does look a little trashy but my wife learned to live with it. The verses ‘his fan is in his hand’ ‘before it happened I showed it to you’ are from Isaiah, one of the verses is right next to this man, as I was looking at the verse ‘before it happened I showed it to you’ I realized that this statue of the sage [wise man] has a fan in one hand and a staff in the other, these images have been significant to me, I have been praying with a staff in my hand for many years. I just never really noticed the little fan in the hand; I felt like the Lord was simply confirming these many various promises, I bought this statue in New York City when I was a boy, the wise man represents authority and these past few years we have been reaching into the New York City area in a greater way than ever before. In essence the Lord gave me a wise man from New York with a staff and fan in his hand, years before I would ever even contemplate anything along these lines. Isaiah said ‘before it happened I showed it to you, so when it would come to pass you would know that it was my work, not yours’.

(1252) ARDI THE MONKEY BOY! Okay, I was gonna do 2nd kings 8 but I just couldn’t resist. The other day I read an article from the N.Y. times that spoke about the most recent discovery of a missing link. The problem is this ‘missing link’ was discovered in 1992, 17 years ago. The article showed you the drawing of a wonderful looking ‘half man/ half human’ being. It went on to tell us the story of Ardi, he/she was found in an area of Africa not too far from the famous Lucy fossil. Ardi is a little over 4 million years old, Lucy is over 2 million. So Ardi fits in well with a transitional species that could tell the story of human evolution. O how the story went on, it explained how Ardi lived and often would come down from the trees and walk on 2 feet [bi-pedal, to find a link that walks on 2 feet is essential for the theory of evolution to be true]. The article really described well everything that the evolutionist would need to tell his story. The problem? Ardi is a collection of monkey bones that were scattered all over the place; these bones are so brittle that the process of cleaning them for examination actually destroyed the bones. All indications are that these highly questionable bones are simply brittle monkey bones, this is why it took 17 years before ‘the find’ hit the headlines. So why did Ardi make it into the papers now? Because fellow evolutionists put the pressure on the original archeologists to ‘come out with the truth’! So they made up a wonderful tale, with pictures and all, and Walla- Ardi the monkey boy lives! How can I be so sure that Ardi was not a bi-pedal half man/monkey? Because science tells us this, not religion. If Lucy comes along 2 million years after Ardi, then surely Lucy must have really mastered the art of walking on 2 feet. Evolutionists have actually spent many years trying to ‘make Lucy walk’. The more they found out, the less proof she walked. First, the original find did not have hands and feet with it, so they gave her human like hands and feet. But after they found many other species of the same kind, they found many hands and feet also, they were not human like at all, the feet were truly monkey feet and not the structure you would find from a ‘walking monkey’. Next, they examined the bone structure of Lucy over many years and there were some major problems with the hip area that needed to be different if Lucy was to walk. Finally they made a documentary on Lucy and explained away the problem with the hip, they said that it was possible that a dear stepped on the hip and crushed it. So they had a brother on the show explain that he had to ‘re-make’ the hip back into the original hip. They actually showed him grinding down the model, with chips flying in the air, to get the walking hip. I mean it was hilarious! Years ago we also found a bunch of human footprints close to where Lucy lived in Africa, these prints were touted by the evolutionists as proof of Lucy being a bi-pedal monkey/human. The prints were so human like, many wondered if they were human. The only difference between these prints and a normal human print was the arch of the foot, it was a little flatter than ours. But after careful examination these prints did fit the exact prints of tribes that lived their whole lives bare foot. In essence these were human prints! The prints also had the foot prints of little feet inside the adult feet. How did this happen? More than likely the kids were having fun and stepping in the prints of their parents. So after many years of trying to make Lucy walk on 2 feet, the evidence shows otherwise. So if Lucy didn’t walk on 2 feet, there isn’t a chance in Hades that Ardi did! A few years back I was watching a Seinfeld episode and George wanted a cool nickname, so during lunch he orders a T Bone steak, he figures the nick name will stick. But sure enough the next guy orders a T Bone as well, and they give him the nick name. George is furious! So he confronts his co worker in the hall and you can see George jumping up and down and arguing for the right to the name ‘T Bone’. His co worker gives in and says sure, the only problem is the boss and the other guys saw George thru the window when he was throwing his fit, and they said ‘look, George looks just like a monkey’ and before George could tell everyone that he obtained the rights to T Bone, they stuck the nick name ‘Coco the Monkey boy’ on him. I appreciate the N.Y. times, the picture of Ardi looked great! But I think they tried to stick us with a tale, they tried to gives us Ardi the Monkey boy, when in reality he was just a bunch of brittle monkey bones.

(1248) AX HEADS THAT FLOAT!- 2ND KINGS 6:1-7 The prophets tell Elisha that their current ‘dwelling place’ is too small, they request permission to go to the Jordan and build a new dwelling. Jordan in scripture represents more than just a river that John baptized people in. In the history of Israel Jordan has been a type of crossing over from a previous identity and becoming mature and responsible as Gods people. It was a cutting off from the old land and economy and things they trusted, and coming into a new kingdom, one ruled by God. This also played a role in Johns baptism, Israel knew what Jordan meant; John was telling them to leave their old world mindsets and step into a new kingdom. So the prophets go and build a new place by the Jordan. One of the brothers dropped an ax head into the water and panics ‘Oh no, I lost the ax head, it was borrowed’. Elisha brakes off a stick and throws it into the water and the head floats, King James say ‘it swam’. So the brother got the ax head back. How do we relate stories like this and make them applicable to our day? I know, let’s say you were working at a building site and dropped the power saw in the water, and… Well not really. The bible has lots of ‘unorthodox’ stuff in it. I mean Paul sent handkerchiefs to sick people and they were healed. Jesus turns water into wine. Ax heads float. Our Christian experience very much entails supernatural stuff. The other side of the coin is ‘the fake stuff’. Recently the author Dan Brown released another book on supernatural stuff, he wrote the previous best seller ‘The DaVinci code’. These books appeal to mans natural desire for supernatural stuff. The problem with Dan brown is he mixes all types of fairy tale stories in with some valid points. The average reader can’t really tell the difference. I have a book here in my study titled ‘the lost books of the bible’. I bought it years ago for a few dollars at half price books. It really is a treasure; I mean it does have great books from antiquity in it, to get it for a few dollars was a great deal. Now, some of the books were legitimate contenders to have possibly made it into the bible. The epistle of Barnabus, the Didache, possibly the Shepherd of Hermes. There were a few books that the early church debated about including in the canon. But you also had a plethora of obviously fake stuff. The Gnostic writings were well known as cheap imitations of the real thing. These writings are from the late 2nd, 3rd centuries. No legitimate argument was ever made about these writings; all Christians rejected them as being authoritative. But the Dan Brown stories have people thinking that these writings were at one time up for possible inclusion into the canon, that’s just not so. How do we tell the difference between stuff that’s historically reliable and stuff that isn’t? In the field of historiography [looking at ancient writings and weighing their legitimacy] you have scholars who have spent years doing this sort of thing. You look at the actual recording of the events, were they written down fairly closely to the event? Did the authors know the people they were writing about, were they eyewitnesses? How many manuscripts are left? Were they widely accepted? There are real ways to determine stuff like this, the bible stands head and shoulders above all other ancient writings. The Greek New Testament has over 5 thousand original manuscripts. The only other work that comes close is Homer’s Iliad, it has a little over 6oo. Most others have around 10-20. If you include the Latin versions [and other languages besides Greek] you have around 25 thousand copies. The evidence is overwhelming. Now this does not speak to the inspiration of scripture, but it shows us that the bible itself is a highly reliable document when measured by historical standards. What about the Gnostic wrings? They do not stand the test of time in this way. The point being Dan Brown might have piqued the interest of many novice readers of history, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just Christians should be able to give a defense of their faith and appeal to a broad range of actual proofs that defend their position. Hey, if you want interesting stories, come ‘back to the bible’ it has ax heads that can swim for heaven’s sake!

(1217) THE VOICE OF THE LORD IS UPON THE WATERS: THE GOD OF GLORY THUNDERETH: THE LORD IS UPON MANY WATERS Psalms 29:3 Last night I was watching the news, I was doing something at the time [reading?] but for whatever reason I was listening and not looking at the screen. I heard a reporter asking one of the ‘tea party’ protesters about his views. As I listened to him speak against the socializing of the country, his disgust over the free hand outs and all, I thought I recognized the voice. As I looked up, it was Larry! One of the first homeless buddies I met in Corpus. He went West quite a few years ago, haven’t heard from him in a while. Larry was really smart, he had a couple of old boats, an old ice cream truck and an old school bus scattered all over the Bluff [where I live]. One of the boats was a small 10 footer, he had it at some boat dock, the thing was probably worth around 20 dollars. Every day he went and pumped the water out, it was funny. I had this old Datsun 280 zx that I bought during an early mid life crisis; I blew the darn motor in it. I was gonna junk it. Larry saw that I had an extra junk car sitting in my yard, I bought it for the wheels for around 100 bucks. He said lets put the engine from the junker into the good car. Sure enough we did it in a couple of days; pushing the cars under my garage doorway, using a bumper jack and chain as a lift. Pulling engines out and dropping the good one in, I could have never accomplished it by myself, he was a talented brother. He looked a little like Ted Kaczynski [unibomber] scruffy hair and beard. He looked exactly the same on the news show, I think Larry worked about five days the whole time I knew him, yet he was protesting Obama’s socializing of the country and the free handouts, stuff like this is too funny to not write on. Okay I read more from Wrights book [surprised by hope] he brings out the biblical basis of the believer’s hope, which is the resurrection, not heaven. He is correct on this. He traces the roots of Western thinking all the way back to the ancient philosophers [Plato]and shows how the Greek belief in the ‘immortal soul’ did effect the thinking of Western Christianity and eventually made it’s way into the church thru the medieval influence of men like Dante [his inferno] and other beliefs on purgatory and so forth, Wright is an excellent scholar and historian. He does quote the verse I used when first defending against the concept of ‘soul sleep’, the famous verse from Paul ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ he rejects soul sleep and teaches the correct doctrine of a believer being in Gods presence at death. Wright, like myself, does not see the future hope of the believer as ‘going to heaven when you die’ but correctly teaches the hope of a resurrected body and a new heavens and earth. He also correctly shows how immortality of ‘the soul’ is really not a biblical doctrine. For as long as I can remember, I have always believed that immortality referred to the resurrected body of believers and not to the soul/spirit. I have heard/read many good men speak of it as pertaining to the soul, Wright correctly shows us the biblical view. When I first read his defense a while ago, I was a little confused when he used an argument from scripture that immortality belongs ‘only to God’ and his argument that the ‘immortal soul’ was a Greek doctrine not founded in scripture. The reason I was a little hesitant when I first heard him make this argument [reading on line a few years back] was because I heard the same exact argument made by the 7th day Adventist church in their defense of soul sleep [the view that the soul is unconscious at death until the resurrection] but Wright has clarified that he does not accept this view. He also rightfully shows us that in scripture the divisions of ‘soul/spirit/body’ are not as clear cut as many modern Protestants teach. Over the years I have often heard the famous verses on the soul ‘receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls’ ‘he that corrects a sinner from the error of his way saves a soul from death’ [James] and in Hebrews ‘the word of God dividing asunder soul and spirit’ there is a very popular teaching that relates the three ‘parts’ of man with the Triune nature of God [Father, Son and Spirit] and tries to say that when the New Testament speaks of ‘soul’ it is speaking of mans emotions/will, and that the spirit and body are two other things. This really is not biblical, the two verses I quoted from James are speaking of the whole man, not his emotions/will only. This is a wrong teaching that many have embraced because of a low level of education in the pulpit [to be frank about it]. Which gets me to my final point, to all my Pastor/leader readers, try and read/listen to university level scholarship as much as possible. Avoid leaving the radio-TV on and hearing hours and hours of teaching that is really not high quality, it will affect you in a bad way. I called a ministry a few weeks back to order a special offer from the scholar/theologian who is the teacher. The cd’s were lectures given in a university classroom from a real theologian [not the guys running around with honorary doctorates!] I did have the chance to do something I have been wanting to do for a while. The offer was whatever gift you want to give to the ministry [money] you can give and get the cd’s. The poor sister asks me ‘and how much will you be donating today for the cd’s’ I of course tell her ‘I will be donating one penny’ she is silent for a few seconds until I tell her I’m just kidding. The point is try and read/listen to scholarly stuff as much as possible ‘the Lords voice is upon many waters, it thunders’ when God speaks to you thru the collective voice of the church triumphant [in heaven- I mean read the works of the saints who have died!] and the church militant [on earth] then you are hearing his voice over the ‘many waters’ the various communions that make up the corporate people of God, Gods wisdom resides in her.

(1209) Okay, in the last post I was kinda hard on Deyoung. I said I wouldn’t write any more posts on it unless there were some real surprises in the last chapter of the book. Well, lo and behold, in the last chapter Deyoung gets saved and admits the error of his way! [Not] Well actually I want to end my critique in a nice way. I did go to ‘church’ yesterday and on my way out heard someone call my name. As I turned I saw it was a former church member of my original church that I planted in the 80’s. She was married to one of our main guys, was the daughter in law to one of the original drug addicts that we worked with [who died a while ago] and was the daughter of one of our faithful women preachers [ordained by Joel Osteen’s church when Joel’s father was pastoring] all in all we have quite a history together. We had a good talk; I asked her how long she’s been attending, around 4 months. She introduced me to her young family [she has a few young kids, the ones I knew from the early days are all older [20’s] but these she described as a new crop]. I was real glad to see her, glad to see she had her kids in church and all. I wanted to mention this because the last chapter of Deyoung’s book [why we love the church] was pastoral and came from a concerned heart. Deyoung is writing from the view of a pastor who has been reading all these emergent books, with titles like ‘velvet Elvis’ ‘blue like jazz’ ‘blue steel’ [oh wait, that’s a Ben Stiller character!] names that make me want to say ‘what the hell does this mean’ [sorry] when browsing thru the book store. Many of these types of books have espoused real heresy, denying central truths of the gospel and stuff like that. Deyoung, as a good pastor, also sees the danger of many believers thinking its fine to just drop out of church all together and simply meet at Starbucks. I understand his concerns and they are sincere. To be honest I have never read any of the emergent books with all the strange titles, my first emergent book will be Mclaren’s ‘everything must change’ that is here sitting on my shelf [just remembered, I read Tony Jones sacred way] the point being I have come to rethink the usual model of ‘local church’ thru years of personal experience, reading scripture, and reading the works of those who teach on the organic expressions of community/body life. I don’t come to the table having overdosed on a bunch of theologically questionable authors [which is the feel I get when reading Deyoung, he has researched and read all these books in a short period of time, and it’s natural to blast the whole bunch of them in one shot]. So I too was glad that a past friend of mine was ‘back in church’ and had all her kids in the cool looking youth groups [boardwalk stuff, Noah’s ark theme, cool things that mega churches do] so as an ‘ex-pastor’ I understand Deyoung’s concerns. There is always the danger of Christians just dropping out of community all together and leaving all expressions of meeting as believers and praying and sharing the common meal and continuing in the apostle’s doctrine; all important things that Christians should be doing. My main disagreement was the limited concept of the traditional Sunday meeting as being the actual ‘local church’. This theme is engrained into the minds of many well meaning believers/pastors and is quite unbiblical. So any way this really will be my last post on the issue, unless something really big happens [like say Deyoung flips out and makes the headlines by cursing out Obama at a town hall meeting, then yes I will write one more post!] I am not sure what we will do next, I’m finishing up Luke and going thru Psalms, kinda hitting some high spots. Tune in tomorrow and let’s see what happens.

(1204) There was this man stuck on a deserted island, he was there for 30 years. Finally one day he saw a ship pass by and he started a fire to signal it. When they came to his rescue they saw that he had made 3 huts. They asked him what they were for; the first one was his house, the second was his church. What about the third one? Oh, that’s the church I used to go to [you have to be a Pastor/ex-Pastor to get his one]. I am about 1/3rd thru with the book ‘why we love the church’ [Deyoung, Kluck]. While it’s too soon to review it, let me make a few comments. First, I really like these guys a lot, I read their first book [why we’re not emergent] and will stick with their journey for now. They write from an informed historical perspective. Unashamedly Calvinist [like myself] but yet cool enough to challenge the other cool guys [emergent cool]. I don’t know if they did a chapter on ‘ecclesiology’ [their view of local church] but it would be helpful if they did/do one. They do a great job defending the historic gospel, they defend the ‘church’ and all of the great things the old traditional ‘churches’ have done over the years. They rightfully take the emergent crowd to the woodshed on their willingness to reject certain historic claims of Christianity. But I think they do not really see the legitimate challenge to the church as community versus the people who ‘go to the church on Sunday’. I think their voices are important to hear, and everyone who is reading the organic church stuff should read these guys, but I am not sure they fully see the biblical idea/concept of church as community in the New Testament. In their noble efforts to refute those who have gone too far in other areas, they might be missing the truth of the Ecclesia as defined in scripture. Okay, enough said. Jesus is eating the Passover with the disciples, he tells them he will not eat/drink with them again until the Kingdom of God comes. Was he speaking of a future restoration of nationalistic Israel and his eating the restored Passover/Communion meal at that time? I don’t think so. After Jesus rose from the dead it was important for the ‘witnesses’ [disciples] to have seen testimony that Jesus rose bodily from the grave. He tells Thomas ‘thrust your hand into my side’ he eats with them on a few occasions. He was showing them he was really alive. John’s gospel is the only one [I think] that mentions the blood and water coming from Jesus side after being pierced on the Cross. In John’s letters he speaks of the blood and water as a testimony. John also says that they were testifying of the Son, who they saw and whose hands have handled. John was combating the soon to rise Gnostic/Docetist heresies that would doubt the physical resurrection of Christ. They would say he was ‘a phantom’ [spirit]. So, why did Jesus emphasize his eating with them ‘when the Kingdom came’ [after his death and resurrection]? I think he was giving them a sign/truth that he was physically coming back. They still did not fully grasp what he was going to do, there would be some who would doubt that he really died and rose [see 1st Corinthians 15]. He was telling them that he was really going to die and really come back from the dead. The whole Christian faith stands or falls on this single reality, Paul said ‘if Christ be not risen then we are of all men most miserable’. Jesus said ‘don’t worry guys, when I come back we will eat again’.

(1191) THANK GOD I’M NOT LIKE YOU! – Jesus said 2 men went up to the church house [temple] to pray; one was a tax collector [a despised class in the 1st century, they collected taxes for the Roman govt. from their own people [Jews] they were seen as sell outs] the other man was a Pharisee, those who were deemed more holy than everyone else. You know, the whole aura of the room would change when these guys showed up [the preacher/pastor is here, watch what you say type of a thing] the Pharisee prayed ‘I thank you God that I am not like other men, adulterers, liars and even like this low class neighbor of mine, this tax collector’ he saw his religious life as a means to self betterment. Something that made him a cut above the rest. He tithed, fasted and attended the temple meetings. Now the tax collector was struggling with guilt, the weight of all the years of being hated and despised, sure he pretended it was just part of the job, but it affected him. He even feels unwanted at the temple, I mean this Pharisee is using him in his sermon illustration for heavens sake! He does not even feel worthy enough to look into the eyes of other people, fearing he might see someone that he has had shady dealings with in his extortion type job. He simply says ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’ Jesus said this man went back home accepted in Gods eyes, the religious leader did not. This week [8-09] the congress went on break, they are back home in their districts and getting an earful, angry constituents chewing them out. The conservative media says these folks are mom and pop types, just innocent citizens expressing themselves. The liberal media say they are republican plants who are part of the K street lobbying conspiracy to thwart health care by the corrupt insurance profiteers! Probably a little truth to both views. The problem is our country has about 20-25 % who are uninsured [around 40-50 million people] the rest of the population has insurance, when the liberal media portrays the country as being willing to sacrifice their present system [whether it’s broken or not] and to have a possible increase in taxes, when the media says the 80 % of the insured really do want to do this for the 20 %, they are not being realistic. I want universal health care, I don’t have insurance right now and I need it! But the reality is most Americans are not willing to make more sacrifices for a group of uninsured people who for whatever reason have not been able to get insurance. Many seniors are worried that their Medicare will be affected, it surely will. Right now about half the country wants it, about half say leave the thing alone. Our society measures ‘winners’ by the success that they have attained, one of the scoreboards is how well you are doing compared to the next guy ‘I thank thee that I am insured, been responsible, done what I was supposed to do. I give tithes/taxes of all that I possess, fasted [been frugal] but look at this other 20 %, they are reaping what they sowed, sure they don’t have health care, but why couldn’t they have done the responsible thing and gotten it like me? Now you’re asking me to sacrifice for them’ the main reason why people are against it is not because the conservative lobbyists have tricked grandma to go to the town hall meeting and scream, the reason is people will only go so far to ‘help the other guy’ when you tell people that they should be willing to make all types of sacrifices for the betterment of the whole, this usually does not work. Some people are saying ‘hey, I don’t even have a job and you’re asking me to agree to support one of the biggest expenditures in U.S. history’. There are many reasons why people are disgruntled, as of today I think the president is not going to pass reform. Maybe some type of a private co-op thing, but not reform with a public option [like Medicare]. When society digresses to a point where one group is pitted against the other, ugly things happen. Both sides [liberal/conservative] have misrepresented stuff, have used racial/class distinctions to fight the other side, no group has clean hands in this stuff. The church/people of God should function with a higher morality, speak with a clear voice and not misrepresent issues or people. I believe that overall, we should have true health care reform. I realize there are many pros and cons to the debate, but as a principle, we should strive to provide care for all Americans whether or no they can afford it. This principle is noble, it doesn’t help when both sides brand the other as the real enemy, look at the issue, take a principled stand and let the chips fall where they may.

(1183) I HATE YOU! Felt like this was a prophetic word to all of my critics [KIDDING!] Jesus said unless we hated our families and lives we could not be a true disciple. Over the years I have seen the church go thru stages; one of the areas of popular teaching is the entire field of family life. Now to be sure the bible speaks about family life, husbands loving wives and bringing up their children in the fear of God. But I want to give you another side, while I don’t believe Jesus was speaking of ‘hate’ in a way that means anger, but I do believe the people of God have at times made ‘family things’ an idol. I remember years ago when first coming to Texas, I had a good friend who made the second trip back to Texas with me. He had a hard time [as I] in trying to make it as young kids in a strange new world [you know, cowboys and stuff shooting regularly in the streets- or Bush and his cronies running rough shod over the population as Cheney acts as an oil czar!] At one point my friend, who was now married and had kids, was having a hard time making it. We were both in our mid 20’s with families and kids. I had just started our church and he was an original member. My focus was on doing Gods work and branching out in outreach to as many people as possible. I was working at the Fire Dept. and doing my best to ‘run the church’. My friend told me one day he decided to leave Texas and take his family back to New Jersey, it was rough on him to be sure. At one point I could sense he was missing his natural family back home, he was raised by his Cuban grandmother [she used to make us some great Cuban food!] and he expressed a feeling of ‘wow, I can’t wait until I get back home and grandma can make us good food again’. While his love for his natural family back in Jersey was fine, yet he based his decision on past family affinities, as opposed to current situations. I felt he made a mistake in going back. Jesus challenged us to put his kingdom first, even ahead of well meaning family things, things that can be hindrances at times. When I first started helping street people and addicts, I had some people say ‘gee, why don’t you help your natural family and not worry about all these other people’ some thought I was rich and spending lots of money on these friends. Then when they found out I was simply doing it on a fire fighters salary [now a retirement check] they kind of had the feeling ‘gee, the guy doesn’t make that much, he shouldn’t be spending the little he has on these bums’. You know, you can’t win for losing! Jesus wants us to do what he says, sure he also wants us to be responsible people as well, good family lives and well adjusted kids. But as in any area of life, we need to keep the proper balance, there will be times when you will need to make a choice between what’s better for you and your family situation, or moving ahead by faith in the Kingdom. My buddy went back to eat some good Cuban food, but I fear he might have missed out on the real supper the Lord had for him in Texas.

(1182) I JUST GOT MARRIED AND AM NOT ALLOWED TO COME- Ouch! In Luke 14 Jesus gives the parable of the great supper; he says a man makes this great feast and sends out his servant to tell the intended guests ‘all things are ready NOW, it’s supper time’ [not breakfast time! Supper time is a time of completion, Galatians says the fullness of the times were already present in the 1st century]. So the servant goes and tells the people ‘come’. But the people make excuses, one says ‘I have bought some land and need to go see it’ [his lucrative real estate business was too important] another said ‘I have bought some ox and need to go try them out’ and the last guy said ‘I just got married, I can’t come’. It’s been said in the annals of famous repeated jokes from previous Pastors/Teachers that this was the only brother who had a legitimate excuse [sorry about this]. So the servant comes back to the man and says ‘I invited all the intended guests [1st century Israel] and they couldn’t come’ and the master gets mad and sends the servant back out to gather all the poor and lame and outcasts of society, and they come. But the original guests are left out. This parable, like all the others, must be seen in context. Obviously Jesus is speaking to the nation of Israel and telling them that as a nation their time has come, he is their Messiah and the supper is ready. In New Testament thought [as opposed to the multitude of various theologies that people espouse] the appearing of the Messiah in the first century was the defining moment in all of human history. The national rejection of Jesus by Israel did not postpone Gods intended Kingdom work. The other guests that came to the table were all the Gentile nations who benefited by the rejection of Israel [book of Romans]. The supper time indicates that Jesus initial presenting of himself to Israel was not a sort of evangelistic call to get saved [though that was a small part of it] but it was Gods plan for the ages being fulfilled, it was a passing away of a former age [law- Old Testament economy] and a bringing into existence of a new way, the Blood of Jesus and his New Covenant. This new way was presented as ‘a full course meal’ so to speak. It was there in its fullness and would be inaugurated by the Messiah, whether Israel wanted it or not. So when we read the epistles in the New Testament we read a story of God bringing in many Gentile nations, the non Jews are now considered citizens of God’s kingdom and fellow partakers of all the Divine blessings that were restricted to Israel under the first covenant [Ephesians]. When we read the New Testament it is important to read it thru the proper lens [this being one of the pairs of glasses!] when you do it this way it allows you to see the truth of many other things. It puts the proper perspective on things. We as Christians are not waiting for a Kingdom that has been postponed for 2 thousand years, but we are already partaking of the benefits of ‘the supper’. Sure, there will be a great future day when the King returns, that’s true. But we are already living in the Kingdom at this time. In essence we are the eternal generation that Jesus spoke about when he said ‘some of you will not die until all these things are fulfilled’. If you see this ‘some of you’ as the church age, the people of God from day 1 until now. Then truly some of our brothers and sisters have gone on to be with the Lord, but there are still some of us hanging out on the planet; but whether we are alive or not when Jesus returns, I know for sure that ‘this generation’ [the church] will not pass away until all these things are fulfilled [note- I am not saying this is the only way to read these verses, but I think there is much truth to some of the way I just taught it]

(1179) OFFICER CROWLEY VERSUS THE PROFESSOR- Okay, this week there was an incident that happened that has riled up the racial tensions in the country. In Cambridge Mass. a Black Professor was locked out of his house without his keys, a neighbor sees him trying to get into his house with a Black cab driver who drove him home. The neighbor calls the police thinking it’s a possible break in. The cop gets there and sees the Black guys in the house, he questions them. The Black owner [Gates] is mad, he is in his own home and a cop is there questioning him. Sure, I could see how I would be mad if this happened to me. Now, the White officer is simply doing his job, he was called to the scene by a concerned neighbor and he is being treated disrespectfully by the Professor, as was the Professor feeling disrespected too. So during the incident the Professor gets mad, it seems as if he was out of line in the way he spoke to the cop [can you really blame him?] but the cop is doing his job and is being labeled as a racist by the Professor. Now, Professor Gates is a Harvard Professor who teaches African /American studies, his whole life is dedicated to examining the class/culture realities of Black Americans. He is up on all the latest statistics on racial profiling, he has studied past incidents of Blacks being targeted by White cops, and he for the most part has spent more time than the average person looking at these things. Now the cop just happens to be the local officer who was chosen by the Black police commissioner to teach other cops how not to racially profile. Good enough so far. As things seem to get out of hand at the scene, the cop tells Gates to go outside and talk, obviously Gates knows he will be more susceptible to arrest if he leaves the house, so he musters up all the intellectual resources he can find, he draws upon his years of experience on how not to fall into the stereotypical Black mans response, and he says- quote ‘I’ll meet your mamma outside’. Probably not a good thing. So he gets arrested and the nation is up in arms, oh one more thing. As President Obama is giving a very lack luster speech on his effort to save his health insurance policy, he struggled thru a difficult time in trying to present his case. The last question of the night is ‘what do you think about the Professor Gates incident’ and he does his best to be measured, he says he wants to be careful because he doesn’t know all the facts, and then he ads ‘The police acted stupidly’ ah, just the thing we needed to tone down the tensions. The President is a personal friend of Gates and he knows he is an upstanding man, he of course assumes that something went wrong. Most of us would, but still he jumped the gun. And of course the conservative talk shows can’t get enough of reminding the world that Obama called the cops stupid. What happened here? Innocent people were drawn into a drama by innocent events and both sides are being demonized. It’s a shame that the cop does seem to be an outstanding cop when it comes to racial profiling. There are truly rogue cops in the world, who do treat minorities bad, this guy isn’t one of them. Gates has every right to be mad, of course he thinks the cop is a racist, he is in his home and being targeted. Does he know that a neighbor called about a possible break in? Not at first. Did race play any role in this, probably. We would be ignorant to think race played no role. Did the neighbor feel like there was a break in because there were 2 Black guys there? Possibly so, now that doesn’t mean the neighbor was racist, but I’m sure it played a role. But it seems wrong for Gates to have called the cop a racist, just as it was wrong for a Black man to be questioned in his own home as in if he was a criminal. It was not wrong for the cop [Crowley] to question him, but for Gates to feel like he was being treated like a stereotypical Black man by being treated like this in his home. We as Christians need to tone down the rhetoric, I have been strong on my disagreements on racial things [like affirmative action] and I have disagreed with the president on lots of stuff, but we need to be careful when choosing sides in these types of situations. Both Crowley and Gates have real legitimate complaints in defending their points of view. The national voices who are defending both sides also have real legitimate issues they are bringing up, but to only see one side of this issue would be a mistake. The President has since said he overreacted in his initial statement, the poor guy is trying his best at a very difficult time in the world, North Korea refers to Hillary Clinton [secretary of state] as a schoolgirl, or a pensioner shopping at the mall! I do find it ironic that Hillary was one of the vocal critics of Bush’s ‘Cowboy Diplomacy’ and used to criticize him for losing respect in international affairs. But Obama has since invited Gates and Crowley to the White House for a beer, I think we should try and see both sides to these types of issues and forgive those who we seem to disagree with.

(1175) Lets talk a little; here in my office I have a couple of tool boxes that are around 70 years old. They are machinist tools that belonged to my father’s dad. He died before I was born, but as a boy growing up I used to regularly go thru the interesting tools, micrometers and stuff. The reason they are in my office is funny, a few years ago I was in New Jersey visiting family. My mom would kid with me about stuff, and sure enough I found out that my sisters ‘boyfriend’ was gradually depleting the inventory of the tool boxes for drug purposes! My sister has had a long, sad history of drug addiction, and her friends too. I actually have made some headway in helping her present boyfriend of a few years, he is almost like one of the buddies I help here in Texas, the same type of friendship and all. So I would kid my mom ‘gee, I always looked forward to getting these tools as an inheritance someday, I thought at least I will get something. And now I find out that they have been making their way out the back door for the last year or so’. Now, my mom laughed and all, I know it sounds strange, but it was kinda funny. But she does ask me if I feel bad about it, I told her I would get over it. But I said if I’m on my way back to Texas on the plane, and we have some bad turbulence. And per chance the pilot informs us ‘folks, we regret to inform you that we have encountered mechanical problems. They are so serious that we believe we might suffer loss of life before the flight is over. If you have loved ones you need to call, go ahead and do it now. One more thing, we might have a slim chance of repairing the engine, but we don’t have the proper tools. Does anybody on board happen to have a micrometer’? I told her then I will be mad! One other thing, my mom asked my advice about borrowing money from a reverse mortgage, I told her if the charge and interest are in a reasonable range, then do it. I feel my parents at times have felt guilty over the years because I left Jersey when I was 18 years old, and they thought I would eventually move back. You know, it’s common for kids to launch out when their young, to face the brave new world. And after a few years wind up back home. But in my case I never went back. So there has always been a sense like ‘gee, we never really helped John, he’s had to fend for himself all these years’ and I felt my mom was asking me about the reverse mortgage sort of like getting permission to ‘sell’ part of any future inheritance. I of course have advised her to sell her house and do whatever she needed to do to get herself in a better situation. My parents are divorced and my mom lives in an expensive home that is taxed at a very high N.J. rate. So my advice has been to sell it years ago. But anyway I told my mom to do the reverse mortgage if the price was right. So she borrowed around 25 thousand from the equity at around 6 %, an okay deal. Then I find out that they charged her 25 thousand as a one time fee, along with the 6%! I told her ‘mom, that means they charged you 106%, not a good deal’. Oh well at least I still have a few micrometers. The point is my poor mom does not know financial stuff, I felt bad for her, not me. They basically ripped her off. In Luke 12 Jesus said some servants that knew their lords will and did not do it would suffer many stripes [punishment] and those that were ignorant and did wrong stuff would suffer few stripes. The fact that my poor mom was ignorant of the deal didn’t protect her from taking a loss. In the world of reformation, God changing things in the church, new ways of seeing and doing things, I have Pastor friends who really are like my mom, they are good people who have a basic grasp on stuff, but they are out of their league in other areas. Then there are those who do see and recognize the real problems that the church is facing, they see the limited paradigms that the people of God have functioned under for all these years. Jesus said both groups would give an account for their response to truth. Those who really knew what was wrong, and let it slip by will suffer much. But those that didn’t really know what was going on in the current church world, they served faithfully to the best of their ability in the limited mindset of church and ministry, they too will suffer, not as much as those who had more understanding, but yet they will suffer. I believe God wants all of us to serve him and do our best to live up to the things he requires of us. I also believe that too many of us [Pastors/Leaders] struggle for too long in places and ideas that are outmoded and calling for change. If we simply take the attitude ‘well, people have been doing it this way for years’ without truly educating ourselves as much as possible, then we too will suffer. Hey, don’t get stuck on the plane with out a micrometer, it good prove hazardous to your health! [get it? The right tool for the journey- hey it’s the best I can do]

(1170) yesterday I was reading the paper and saw an article on a local guy who attacked a cop with a meat cleaver, as I looked at the brothers face he looked familiar. It took me a few seconds to recognize it was Martin, a friend of mine. He stopped by a few months ago, just to say hi and all. I have had Martin over a few times, been to his apartment a few times. We fished together; he had lots of good questions. Martin is a good friend who I would get together with again if the chance arose. The picture and story in the paper would have you thinking he was an ax murderer, in reality the cop was off duty when he approached him. He is paranoid, and he probably thought they were going to jump him. Meat clever does sound bad, but it was probably a kitchen knife! We see people from different perspectives than God, people need the Lord. Well I know I said we were done with Luke 11 yesterday, but let’s get in one more. Jesus rebukes the lawyers for taking away ‘the key of knowledge’ and hindering others to find the truth. A few years back when Texas passed tort reform, I would be at the fire house and see the new commercials the lawyers came up with. Instead of advertising for accident victims, they ran commercials on other lawyers who were ambulance chasers. They were wanting the public to contact their law firm, so they could sue the other law firm who got to them first. Lawyers suing lawyers, now that’s what I call poetic justice! Here Jesus rebukes these ‘lawyers’ [religious leaders] because they did a specific thing, they rejected the gifts that God sent to them in the past. Jesus says ‘God sent you prophets and apostles and you rejected them’. In essence they wouldn’t hear the corporate wisdom/correction of God. I have heard this verse used in various ways over the years; some said this was speaking of the Christian church who reject these gifts today [apostle/prophet] some say it’s speaking of their own religious view of things. I think an overall understanding is God sends us messengers thru out the history of the church, we become acquainted with them thru their writings and the histories that tell about their stories. Often times the modern church is too quick to associate all past ‘churches’ as traditional, dead churches. This is a serious mistake in my view. When Jesus rebuked those who held to the traditions of men over God’s word, he was not saying that we should reject all tradition! He was primarily speaking of ‘the tradition of the elders’ a specific body of tradition that rose up around rabbinic Judaism, not tradition in general. Paul will instruct timothy to hold to the traditions that he was giving him [grounded in the word!] So Jesus rebuked the lawyers for their rejecting of the messengers of God, in essence they wanted to re invent the wheel all over again for each new generation, this in itself is a rejection of the communion of the saints that understands that we are all part of a 2 thousand year tradition of Christian believers. While wisdom allows us to discern between what traditions are good, and which are bad. Yet we don’t want to reject the entire body of Christian tradition that has come down to us from our forefathers. Jesus said he who receives those he sends, receive him. Jesus has been sending us prophets and wise men for centuries, are you hearing them?

(1158) Just finished an early morning prayer time [early means 3:30 -4:00 till around 5:30-6:00 am] I say this to let you know that doing regular prayer is still really important! We can get so hung up on the ministries [Christian business] that we are building that we neglect the real house of God [my house shall be called a house of prayer- remember?] Any way I got a letter the other day from a childhood buddy who is doing some serious prison time in Rahway N.J. I have had many, many good friends over the years who spent lots of time in prison, usually for robberies related to drug addiction. This friend has much more serious charges, he will not get out in a long time. He’s really going thru some serious depression, he is ‘trying’ church and all, but it’s not helping. It’s funny [not really] that this old buddy has kept in touch over all the years. This old friend knew me to be somewhat of a violent person, he ‘experienced’ my violence a few times. But after I converted to the Lord he still kept in touch, sort of like ‘wow, who would have thought John would get into religion’? You know, one of those types of things. But now, after 30 years I guess a real door is opening. I was copying some stuff for him off this blog [p.s. you preachers/churches that are copying our studies and books from this blog, great, keep doing it. But if you can, make me a bunch of copies and send them to me, I don’t have the capability to print mass stuff!] and the ‘darn’ printer messed up. I then went to delete the document, and lo and behold, I deleted the printer from the computer. You know, its stuff like this that makes it tuff to do the Christian thing. You wind up getting mad [at least I do] say a minor curse [you know, not the big one like the kid in the TV movie Christmas Story] and then you finish the project, asking the lord to forgive you, trying to download the printer hardware [who in their right mind saves the disk!] and trying to be spiritual while performing the whole task. Well anyway I got the stuff printed and will send it out soon. I have had a few letters from old friends in prison that I need to respond to. I already sent them some study materials, but need to do some more. I was reading Luke 7 earlier, Jesus heals the roman soldiers servant, raises a woman’s child from the dead. He’s doing one on one ministry while fulfilling the greatest ministry that any one could ever have. Jesus made time for people, while at the same time avoiding the ‘fame and recognition’ crowd. He just didn’t rub shoulders with the elite class! I had a good friend tell me ‘I don’t know who those people are’ when discussing some famous media persons [Benny Hinn, etc.] he was a homeless brother, who knew lots of stuff about the lord and Christianity, but told me ‘if these people you are naming are TV stars, I don’t know them’. I thought it strange how there are different groups of Christians who live their whole lives and never interact with the famous crowd [good thing in my view]. Jesus fame went out, don’t get me wrong. After he raises the kid in Luke 7, word got out. But you get the feeling that he really didn’t want the word to get out! It seemed to hinder his ministry, the whole town winds up at his door and he can’t hear the father’s voice like that. He finds time to pray all night, or to launch out in some boat. He had a mission to complete and becoming famous was not a secret desire of his, sort of like ‘I knew if I waited long enough my day would come’. His day came alright, but like the prophets said ‘why are people saying “we want the day of the Lord” they don’t realize what they are asking for’. Jesus day was great agony and suffering, yes a resurrection too, but first the Cross.

(1144) CAIN AND ABEL- After the fall of man, God kicks him out of the garden and he loses intimacy with God. Eventually Eve has kids and Cain kills Abel his brother. In Hebrews 11 and 1st John we read the story. Abel brought an animal offering, Cain brought from the fruit of the ground. Some say this was a comparison between Jesus [typified in Abel’s sacrificial animal] and the law [Cain’s work of his hands, the ground]. Maybe so? Hebrews says God accepted Abel’s offering because it was in faith and rejected Cain. Cain got jealous and killed his brother, the first recorded murder in the bible. Cain has a son named Enoch [which means teacher- rabbi] he builds a city and names it after his son [God is building us, the city of God- we are named after his son, the Body of Christ] and Enoch will eventually be caught up bodily into heaven [a type of the ascension]. The skeptics often ask ‘where did Cain get his wife’? The most likely answer would be from his extended family. There was no rule against marrying your kin back then, so this sounds reasonable to me. But wait! The skeptic says because we don’t know for sure where Cain got his wife, therefore atheism is true. They then will tell you where all people really came from. Around 15 billion years ago nothing existed [not even God] and from this point of nothing something exploded into existence [without an exploder!] eventually the earth showed up and it rained on the earth for millions of years. Somehow the rain on the rocks produced this soupy mixture [primordial soup] that all by itself produced the first living cell. After millions of more years man showed up. Yeah brother, that explanation sure puts to shame the Cain and his wife thing! The story of Cain warns us of the danger of jealousy, comparing ourselves with others. Putting pressure on people to make things happen so you look better. I recently read a story about a mega church [not in Corpus] and they went thru a few years of battles. They were building a new expensive building; the pastor put pressure on the people to give. Some of the people felt like they were always being challenged to give more money. Then word got out that the Pastor bought expensive gifts for his friends with church money, 3-4 thousand dollar suits and jewelry. He was flying all over the world at great expense, doing public speaking and stuff. It was a big mess, lawsuits entailed and relationships ruined. From what I read about it in the news paper stories that were on line, it seemed like there were mistakes on both sides, both the church leadership and those who wanted to expose it. The bigger problem is this basic style of church, the high powered world traveling leader, spending lots of money on seemingly okay things. The people being supporters of the gifts and persona of the charismatic personality [whether thru media or personal travel] this whole system is being rightfully challenged at the present time by a new generation of community minded believers who see that this high powered style of an individual leader is not the pattern of church found in the New Testament. Often time’s jealousy can be a factor on both sides of these issues, but we also need to understand that there are legitimate challenges against this whole expression of church. Most of all we want to avoid taking things into our own hands, trying to personally stop what we might perceive as wrong. Cain was jealous; he allowed his rage to lead him to the killing of his own brother. He might have gotten rid of the thing he felt was an obstacle, but he would live with the guilt for the rest of his life.

(1128) yesterday I got with a few homeless buddies, found out that Eddy got arrested and sent back to San Antonio, some sort of serial killer charge, KIDDING! A child support thing, it is funny, the guys have picked up my morbid sense of humor. One time I had Tim with me, a good friend who has been homeless for years. We picked up my daughter from school, they know my friends and all, sometimes as they were growing up they would drive by them with their high school friends and all, see them at the corners. They would be like ‘oh, those are my dad’s friends’. So when I had Tim in the truck as we were picking up my daughter, I tell her ‘this is my friend Tim, he has spent many years in prison [she looks at me like ‘are you kidding me dad, picking me up from school with these bums in the truck!’] Tim tells her ‘yes, I had some serial killer charges that I was dealing with at the time’ he was kidding too! But anyway Eddy got sent to San Antonio, and the cops have been harassing some of the guys. I also wanted to talk a little bit more on Nehemiah chapter 5, Nehemiah really gets on the nobles/elders, he tells them that they were putting too much of a burden on Gods people, some of them were going into debt to simply pay the required taxes to the leaders. Nehemiah rebukes them strongly! He says ‘all the time I was laboring among you as a governor, I turned down the normal pay governors get. I also paid out of my own pocket for the expenses of my team and staff, plus I did not purchase any real estate of my own, but totally dedicated myself to the cause’. The nobles were engaging in the building up of their own financial fortunes, understand this wasn’t forbidden in and of itself, but at the same time the average people were being told to do and give more, to the point where they were actually going in debt as the leaders were increasing in wealth, Nehemiah felt this was wrong. Like the apostle Paul, he would lay down the right to build wealth [purchasing his own land] while working and leading Gods flock. He simply felt it to be a wrong example for him to be gaining in wealth while the people were going into debt; he laid down his own right to prosper for the sake of the people. One of the things Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for was they were putting heavy burdens on the people, but they themselves were not willing to bear the same load. Often times in the world of ‘full time ministry’ we see good men get into scenarios where they unwittingly fall into this mindset, they fall into patterns of becoming wealthy, receiving large salaries at the expense of many low wage supporters, they often see this as a legitimate expression of ‘church/ministry’ while the scripture warns against leaders profiting from the people, while the people themselves are under a burden. I like Nehemiah’s example, he willingly gave up the right to grow his own portfolio while the average church goer was struggling, although he had a right to the governors salary, he saw it to be more noble to donate his time and skills at his own expense, freely he had received, freely he gave back.

(1128) Let me share a few testimonies; I type all this stuff from my laptop, I never work from a desk top. I have 2 laptops that I use, one as a backup if the other goes down [I realized a while back that it disturbs things too much to not type until it gets fixed!] One laptop misses letters as you type, I used to think it was my novice typing skills [I am bad! My daughter caught me doing the one finger thing while looking at the keys and couldn’t believe it] that was the problem, but I actually started looking at the screen while typing and realized certain letters don’t show up, you have to backspace and do it again. The other laptop has a mouse problem, it won’t always respond, this is frustrating for someone who cuts and pastes all over this blog! So when one computer gets me mad, I switch to the other one. Yesterday as I was battling with the mouse problem, out of frustration I said ‘Lord, give me a break! I can’t deal with this’ and it immediately started working, for the first time ever since I got it [it was a used computer when I bought it]. I also prayed about it these past few days while typing, sort of like seriously believing the Lord could fix it, you know you forget stuff like this at times. Then the other day I told you guys how I had an old buddy from prison write me, I had a package of teaching stuff I was going to send him. In the old days I would write the brothers in prison while at the fire house, you have time in to sit around and do this stuff. But it’s really been a while since I regularly wrote any prison buddies [I have written many hundreds of letters in the past, no exaggeration] but I had the letter and stuff in the truck and kept putting it off. Finally the day I sent it was the same day my daughter got hired for a job with the state. My two oldest daughters attend college and have had good jobs. My oldest [24] is now a teacher at the high school she graduated from. My second oldest was a veterinarian assistant, but was looking for something else. She applied for some counselor thing with the state, a job that you usually don’t get unless you have connections. Sure enough the day I sent the packet, she got it! The bible says if you help the poor, reach out to the hurting, spend your time and resources freely for others, that God will reward you. I felt like the Lord returned the favor. As I just read Nehemiah chapter 5, Nehemiah rebukes the leaders for charging interest from the people. The Jews were mortgaging their lands and homes and going into debt trying to accomplish Gods work. The leaders were profiting from the situation. Nehemiah rebuked them, he even sounds like Paul when he says ‘all the time I was with you as governor [type of an apostle] I never took a salary, I provided for myself and my staff’ Paul says the exact same thing to the elders in Acts chapter 20. I think we as leaders need to re think some things. I was thinking the other day how that I have no Christian relationships with anybody in which I ever ask, or receive any financial reward. No offering thing, never speak in ‘a church’ and take an offering. I simply have the freedom to by pass the whole mess. One time the homeless brothers told me ‘brother, if you need your yard cut, or any work done at your house, let us know’ I could tell that they talked about it amongst themselves, sort of like ‘hey, the brother spends a lot on us, lets help him’. I turned down the offer anyway, they are used to local contractors hiring them at slave wages, I wanted them to know I wasn’t trying to get something from them. Although I have kidded about it at times, one time one of them finally got accepted for social security, they were gonna get a big check. I told them ‘you know I sense the Lord telling me that I am supposed to start hanging out with you a little more’! In the long run God will reward you if you really do stuff for free. Leaders, do you have regular friendships with people whom you never bring up money or offerings with? Are the people who know you most always being challenged in a financial way? Always needing to give more? Nehemiah rebuked the nobles because the ‘laity’ were being consumed with having to pay their own bills, plus support the nobles financially, and pay for the structures! Nehemiah said he wouldn’t charge the people, that God would reward him instead, I think he did.

(1121) ‘Dinosaurs with wings and Darwin’s winged rats’ Let’s do a short thing here; recently I have seen a few silly things and thought I should expound. First, the common argument on the road of evolution is that dinosaurs turned into birds [or as G.K. Chesterton expounded, evolutionists would have you believe that running rats turned into flying ones!]. I know that the average consumer of public school evolution does not fully realize the total lunacy of many of evolutions claims. What would be the most obvious problem with dinosaurs turning into flying reptiles/birds? If you had a very slow period where many thousands of species SLOWLY evolved wings where their front legs used to be, this species would be the first to die off! For Darwin’s theory to work, only the fittest survive! So according to Darwin’s own theory, the so called ‘in between’ species would have never been able to have made it! This is the exact observation that G.K. Chesterton used [famous Catholic writer] about the rats, he said it was quite obvious to any rationally thinking person, that if the walking rats slowly developed wings and turned into the flying ones, how in the world would the sad little rats have survived during the many thousands of years where they couldn’t walk or fly? You say ‘Now John, surely there must be a reasonable explanation to this dilemma, true thinking evolutionists aren’t that dumb’ the majority of evolutionists believe that all things came from no thing, a scientific impossibility. If they could swallow that, then surely they could swallow anything.

(1113) just read the parable of the vineyard owner who goes out and hires workers at different times of the day. The ones he hires early in the day agree to a ‘penny’ a day. Thru out the day he brings more workers in and agrees to pay them the same. When time comes to pay them, he calls the workers who only worked a few hours and pays them the Penney. Now the guys who worked all day are thinking ‘Geez, he probably will pay us more than the original agreement, surely he wouldn’t pay these guys the same as us, we worked all day for heavens sake!’ But when it was their turn he paid them the same. Now, these guys got mad, why? Simply out of their own view of ‘fairness’ they were mad that the land owner made these other ‘less worthy’ workers equal to them. The guys who worked all day were not cheated, they got what the boss told them they would get, they were simply mad that the boss treated the less worthy guys the same. This story speaks to the mindset of the first century Jew with regards to their offence at Jesus acceptance of the Gentile nations. What offended the Jew was they felt like Jesus should not have been so willing and accepting of those who came in ‘at the last hour’ so to speak. The Jews went thru hell for many years, suffered as Gods people, stuck up for Gods name and honor. They were waiting for the day that God was going to teach these pagan nations a thing or two! Instead God treats them as equal partners! This offence would cause them to reject their Messiah, Paul speaks about this in Romans. God will work thru the jealousy that the Jews are feeling over his receiving of the Gentiles and this will eventually bring the Jews in, God ways are higher than ours. When I first read the story earlier I felt like it spoke to my situation as well. After I moved to Corpus from Kingsville, I had some of our old buddies feel bad ‘hey, John is now spending all his time with these homeless bums!’ They wouldn’t say it like that, but they did say things like ‘don’t forget about us!’ One of my buddies from Kingsville was the son of one of the heroin addicts that was part of the first-generation of guys I worked with [not the same family I mentioned the other day, we had a few families of addicts/convicts that made up the core ‘membership’ of our church] But it was funny, I would go and pick up the son [he was only a couple of years younger than me, I was in about the same age group as the sons, though the fathers were my friends] and the aunt would tell me ‘Emits in the back room brother John, go get him for church’ the whole family would come to our meetings. I would knock on the door and tell Emit ‘brother Emit lets go. I hope you guys are not in their smoking pot!’ [I was just kidding, or prophesying?] Years later Emit would tell me he was in their with his buddies getting high, and they would be in shock ‘who the hell is banging on the door!’ and ditch the pot! I would loved to have seen their faces! Emits dad would raid my fridge when he came to our garage meetings. We rented a building at first [an old hospital- just a conference room area] but eventually moved the meetings to my garage, I fixed it up nice, it looked good. As soon as Emit senior would arrive, he’d go into the house and raid the fridge! I eventually would hide the good stuff before church. These are the brothers that have expressed to me the feelings of ‘hey, we were with you from the beginning, these Corpus guys came in at the end, why are you making them equal to us’? Because they never raided my fridge! KIDDING! People go thru various stages in life, in the past I have struggled with letting go of some of the old ministry patterns, still wanting to travel to the old towns and help. I had to recognize that certain things were meant for only a season, they will hopefully bear fruit for a long time, but my active involvement was only for a season. They said to the vineyard owner ‘you are making these others equal with us’ and it offended them, but Jesus wasn’t dismissing his first group [Jews] he was simply helping others get in on it while there was still time left.

(1109) Last night my wife plugged in the vacuum and we lost power to part of the house! I have had this problem before, it was a loose outlet. So I started pulling out the outlets that were not working and began tightening the loose connections, of course I’m the type that over reacts so it’s getting late and I moving furniture, outlets hanging out all over the place [with the power on] and my wife is saying ‘are you sure your not going to electrocute yourself?’ ‘What, what do you think I am, some novice’! [To be honest I am the type that would electrocute myself]. So anyway I think I found the outlet that’s bad [they run in series, so if one goes out you loose the rest down the line] and hopefully will get to it soon [it’s 4:30am, too early to be waking everybody up- you know ‘where’s the screwdriver! Quick, go turn this breaker on and off!’ Somewhat of taskmaster!] It actually reminds me of a funny story, one year at the fire dept. me and one of the guys to the fire truck to some pre school church thing; you know, shoot some water, do a little safety class. So as we are doing our thing, I see out of the corner of my eye that one of the kids is grabbing on to what he thinks is a power line. It’s simply a cable going to the power line, but it’s still a bad thing to do! I hear the kid telling his buddy ‘see, it wont shock you to DEATH’! Geez, I’m like ‘hey, cut that out’! I could just see the story in the paper ‘Fire dept. electrocutes two church pre schoolers while giving a safety class’ that would have been an early retirement for sure. Okay, I was reading Matthew 16 and the famous confession of Peter; Jesus asks ‘who do men say that I am’ and Peter responds ‘thou art the Christ, the Son of God’ Jesus says ‘blessed are you Peter, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. And upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’. Our Catholic friends focus on Peter, they see Jesus giving special authority to Peter [by the way, he does!] and have developed the Papacy from this. Our Protestant brothers see little about Peter, they say Jesus was saying ‘you Peter, your just a pebble [a play on the Greek wording] and I Jesus, am the rock’ true enough. Our Word of Faith friends have said Jesus was speaking about ‘revelation knowledge’ [a type of prophetic thing] that Jesus was saying he would establish his church on the gift of being able to receive spiritual knowledge directly from God. To be honest about it, I think there is some truth to each one of these views. I primarily think Jesus was saying ‘Peter, this confession of me as Gods Son is the foundation of the spiritual temple that my father is building’ Peter referred to us a ‘living stones’ in his letter. We are called a spiritual temple that God is building out of spiritual stones, so we qualify as building stones in this temple, as ‘stones’ we are ‘chips off of the rock’ so to speak, so we are the corporate expression of Jesus in the earth ‘the Body of Christ’ and therefore Jesus is the rock, and as he ‘grows thru us’ we show forth his glory to the nations. But I also sensed the lord telling me ‘John, the things you build out of a response of hearing and ‘seeing’ me are the things that will last, the gates of hell will not prevail against these things’ [communities, reached people groups]. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would ‘take of mine and show it unto you’ God reveals his Son to us, Jesus told Peter that’s how he knew who Jesus was, when we live out our lives as a response of the revelation of God to us thru Christ, then these are the things that will last, the eternal riches if you will. When we live our lives based on our own priorities and desires, these are the things that fade away. I want Jesus to see me as one who is blessed because the father has revealed his Son to me, someone who is living and teaching and acting out of divine revelation, not out of human desires.

(1108) got up early today, did one of those 2-5am prayer things, happens every now and then. Here in my office I can see my old sea bag from the Navy, I still have it! I remember getting it around 30 years ago in Great Lakes IL. My boot camp city, I actually live right next to the base in Corpus Christi, the spot where they kicked me out 20 something years ago! Though I was stationed in Kingsville, I attended my ‘captains mast’ [court thing] in Corpus. It reminds me of a funny story, one of the guys went to his hearing and the judge says ‘salute’ so he puts his hand up and salutes, then the judge says ‘to’ which means put your hand down. Instead, he saluted with the second hand! [two- get it?] and we are the guys protecting you! Okay, I was thinking of sharing the verse where Jesus says ‘every scribe taught about the kingdom brings forth both new and old things from his treasure [teaching]’. Over the years I have noticed the different dynamics at work amongst various strains of Christianity. The danger with the strong independent churches is you can go thru stages where you are never taught ‘things new and old’. I used to read the prophetic type sites [Elijah list] but haven’t been there in quite a while. There is a tendency for various groups to overdose on one particular slant and to never ‘bring forth the old’ [sound, stable teaching on the scripture and foundational truths of Christianity]. You can spend years feeding at the trough of well meaning ‘prophets’ but the message never seems to move on, how many thousand of words about ‘rebuke the spirit of poverty’ ‘this is the year of increase’ ‘now is a season of suddenlies’ I mean all well meaning people, but the poor saints are overdosing on stuff that might be simple repetition of what people feel like saying! We need both new and old [sound doctrine]. The same can be said of the prosperity groups, or any other Christian group that has no real connection to historic Christianity. A good Pastor may get a hold of the truth of prosperity, then you might spend a few years simply talking about finances, every thing will be seen thru that lens. New Christians entering that environment may never learn the reality of justification by faith, or other foundational truths [things old!] that are vital for a strong walk with the Lord. So anyway I felt the Lord simply wanted to challenge us to bring forth both new and old. It’s okay if people focus on different areas for a short season, but avoid spending all your time and energy in one doctrinal ‘room’ we all need both new and old stuff to stay healthy.

(1104) was watching one of those ‘prophecy conference’ things last night, you know, the brothers with the charts on the wall and all. Kind of funny, as they were being introduced the moderator shared their backgrounds ‘he belongs to the pre-trib study group for advanced stuff’ and then mentions the books and all the brothers wrote. ‘In the 1990’s he wrote the best seller THE END IS NOW UPON US, THERE IS NO TIME LEFT!’ [something to that effect] it does seems strange that it is now 2009 and he’s still around to talk about it! Don’t get me wrong, these are all fine believers, it’s just we need to take a second look at the persona/image that we are projecting out to society at large. As I have been reading the gospels I like the mindset of Jesus ‘the Kingdom of God is now here/coming’ to be sure the historic church has had battles over these concepts, and I don’t want to re-do it all here, you can read more on it under my end times section. But I want to look at the scope of Jesus teaching/outreach ‘ministry’. Even though he limits himself physically to a small region of the world, he had no desire to travel the globe, but yet he sees his purpose thru a much broader paradigm ‘the kingdom of God is here!’ How could such a limited charitable ministry make such bold claims? He was giving himself for ‘the least of these’ and the Father would recompense him for it ‘the gentiles shall come to your light, kings and nations shall be influenced by you’ declared the prophets. Now, in the current day we often see ‘ministry’ as going to a town/area and establishing some type of meeting environment where people will attend every week and hear preaching. While this is okay to a degree, it is fundamentally disconnected from the kingdom mindset of Jesus. He believed that he was starting a word-wide movement that would shake the foundations of all mankind! Quite a bold mission statement from such a seemingly insignificant life ‘Come on Jesus, you have never even studied in the upper-class schools of the day’ but that didn’t stop him. These followers of his are not the primary focus of his calling; understand that in today’s ‘church mindset’ everything is focused on getting so many people to attend/join/partner up [money!] we measure our self worth by these things. Jesus told us ‘cast the seed on the ground; sure some will be eaten by birds, others will spring up quickly and have no root. But some will take root, these will change the world!’ He didn’t spend a whole lotta time trying to convince the unproductive seed/plants to ‘re-dedicate’ give it one more shot ‘please attend my meetings’ type of a thing, he had no time for that sort of silly stuff, he was changing the world for heavens sake! I want to challenge you today, God does have a great purpose and destiny for you, you do not exist simply for the purpose of helping people ‘get saved’ while the rest of the planet goes to hell in a hand basket! Jesus started a world wide revolutionary movement that has competed with all the major world philosophies of the last 2 thousand years, the church has been the greatest influence in society for good, more than any other single institution [despite what Christopher Hitchens says!] we are truly the people of God. See yourself as a citizen of this movement, as Christians we are members of the city that is set on a hill; our purpose isn’t just to ‘be the city’ but it is to shine to all of those that see us on the hill and affect the planet for good. It’s time to tear down the silly prophecy charts and get to business, don’t you think?

(1103) A few posts back I discussed John the Baptist, just read Matthew 11 and this is the chapter where Jesus says much about John. Now John was in jail and he sends the messengers to Jesus asking if he is the Messiah or not. I explained this a few days back and won’t do it again here. But Jesus begins telling the people that John was the one the prophet Malachi spoke of ‘God will send the messenger Elijah before the Messiah; he will prepare things for me’ John was also called ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness’. Jesus says to the people ‘what did you go to see? When you went to hear John in the desert, were you finding a reed shaken with the wind [a wishy washy pleaser of men] or did you expect someone in a three piece suit?’ John basically ran rough shod over the entire image of sophistication and affluence, yes he was rough and looked a little scraggly [leather loin cloth and eating locusts!] didn’t dress the part, that’s for sure! Then Jesus gave a description of the day, he said they were like kids in the market place saying ‘we sang for you and you didn’t dance, we mourned for you and you didn’t cry’ he was telling them that they expected performance, they wanted to illicit a response from those who were supposed to be teachers of the law. He said they were never satisfied, they complained that John didn’t eat regularly and must be demon possessed. Then they accused Jesus of eating too much! Ah, there was just no pleasing this bunch. Reminds me of the political world of our day. A few things; these last few weeks I have tried to share the story of Jesus and his disciples. The feelings they were experiencing and the things they had to deal with. In the case of John the Baptist Jesus said he was the specific person spoken about in the Old Testament, as we identify and see ourselves in these stories, we should NEVER begin viewing ourselves as the actual persons spoken about in the stories! For instance, many have read revelation chapter 11 and began seeing themselves as the actual witnesses spoken about, the ‘two witnesses’ thing. Many have become cult leaders by doing this! From my part of the world David Koresh did this in Waco. But the Muenster prophets did this 500 year ago during the Reformation, so the tendency to begin seeing yourself as actual biblical characters ought to be rejected! But you say ‘well brother, how do you know I’m not one of the two witnesses spoken about in revelation’. The reason I know is because I’m the other one and your not one of them! ONLY A JOKE!! Take my word for it, none of us are the two witnesses in Revelation 11. Just needed to make sure everyone stays on track here. Now back to John [the Baptist!] he challenged the people to ‘repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ in the message bible it says ‘change the way you think and act, because Gods kingdom is here now’. Yes, this does include turning away from sin, but it also means we need to look at things from a different view. Much of what I have written on the nature of the church would fit in here. As people see the church for what she really is [community of people] they will act differently, their priorities will change. I took a few homeless brothers to a park/lake area in my town and we had a good fellowship. These guys are smart! One was a realtor in San Antonio for many years, the other is like a scholar of sorts. I mean I mentioned the philosopher Immanuel Kant and my friend read and was aware of his system of belief! As we talked we shared a little about the wrong priorities of much of modern day church. My one friend [the realtor] said if the church was really doing it’s job in reaching out to the poor and oppressed, then there would be no need for the mission out post that we meet at. He understood how so much of modern church spends millions on facilities and salaries and stuff, yet the lost world is really not being touched in a real way. The overall discussion was good, these guys knew their stuff. The lake area we were at is off the beaten path, hidden inside some nice subdivision. We were surrounded by nice expensive homes, I’m sure many sincere believers were in them at the time, others at work trying to make a future for themselves. The collective offerings given by all the residents on any given Sunday is probably in the thousands, yet right outside their windows were a few homeless Christian brothers. If I weren’t with them they probably would have had the cops come and harass them. John was preaching in the wilderness telling the people ‘change the way you think and act, God’s kingdom is here right now’ I think John knew what he was talking about.

(1093) woke up too early today, around 1 a.m. The first sound I heard was Dick Van Dyke singing ‘put on a happy face’ from some classic movie on the AMC channel. I never really listened to the words before, but he sings ‘don’t use the word tragic/tragedy in your vocabulary’ I must admit I have been using those words a bit too much. It sounded like a Joel Osteen sermon in stereo for heavens sake! I guess the Lord knew I wouldn’t have received it from a prosperity preacher. But how could I brush off Van Dyke? I know ‘who does Van Dyke think he is! Mr. big shot, big screen actor who stooped so low that he made the Dick Van Dyke show, no REAL actor would do a TV series’ yea, that makes me feel better. I was at the homeless hangout the other day [will be there today as well] now there are also a bunch of gang kids who hang out there, in Corpus we have somewhat of a gang problem, kids shooting every week and all, deaths every so often. I was walking with one of the homeless brothers passed a few of them, I mean you can tell by the way they look, I could never wear my pants half way down my backside! What the heck kind of cool look is that, I think it makes you look like an idiot! Well anyway one of them said something as we walked passed, I of course had to stop and give them one of those ‘are you talking to me’ type looks, to be honest I think the kid got a little scared, just being honest. Okay, I never listen to myself on the radio [maybe 5 times total in 13 years] and the other day I put the station on, seeing who’s new in the area and all. Sure enough I hear this brother, can’t really recognize the voice, but he sounds pretty good. It took me a minute to realize it was me! I quickly turned it off. Remember the Jeff Foxworthy thing? You might be going thru some stuff if you hear yourself on the radio and don’t know it’s you. Thought it fit in good here. My wife got an email from an old friend, she lives in Germany with her ‘new’ husband. We were friends with the lady years ago, I was friends with her first husband. She was the secretary at a Baptist church and yes, she ran off with the Pastor! She divorced my friend and married the Pastor. He left his family and they have been together for around 10 years now. I know people are human, they fall into stuff [I really know!] But I can’t see how the ex pastor can try and get things right and stay in the marriage, over the years I have had ups and owns, yes even times where me and my wife were separated but after getting things right, any side relationships had to go! I mean even stuff like ‘maybe God is in this’ being said by the other person [talking years ago by the way!] wouldn’t even register in my mind! I don’t know how pastors/ex pastors can continue in these types of relationships, God forgives, but the relationships just can’t go on like that. And I am not judging, been there done that, just when things are over you have to do your best to make things right. Just read ‘blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God. Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy’ I have learned in my life that there are times where I can ‘see’ God. Days when I know if I stay on course I will hear him, I am the type that if I backslid into drugs and bought a bunch of stuff, that I would not be able to keep the stuff overnight, I would have to throw it out. Or if I woke up and thought ‘later on I will mess up, but for now let me do the prayer/teaching thing’ I wouldn’t be able to do it. Now, if later on wound up being bad, that’s another story, but to actually premeditate the thing doesn’t happen with me, I know I ‘cant see God’ when not truly desiring a pure heart! Now, I have had Christian friends who could do stuff like that, i.e.; staying in the new marriage after leaving your former family, I know I could never do this. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are divorced people who move on with their lives and God forgives them, but the above situation is much worse than that. God says ‘if you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you’ to live with the conscious, ongoing acceptance of sin in your life will cut you off from the presence of God! Blessed are the pure [not perfect!] in heart, for these are the ones who get to see God.

(1091) it’s funny [or sad?] the other day I told you how when I read Micah chapter 6, the first verse spoke to me. Then recently I have been going thru some things, and this morning the first verse in chapter 7 is ‘WOE UNTO ME’ old brother Micah was definitely a prophet! Lets do one of those Jeff Foxworthy things, you know ‘you might be a redneck if your front yard looks like a salvage yard’ type stuff. I get amused when brothers/Pastors tell me about their sufferings, you might ask them ‘okay brother, tell me what’s going on?’ and they might say ‘well, my parishioners are gossiping about me’ oh please, this stuff doesn’t even register on the meter! Here’s a good way to define it ‘you might be going thru some stuff if people say to you ‘cheer up things cant be that bad’ and after they get a glimpse of the things, they say ‘you know brother, things cant get much worse’! Hey, we all need a sense of humor. Or say if your history was one of eating chocolate cakes, and you say ‘I fell off the wagon, I ate too many sweets this month’ of course that would be bad, but the difficulty will be measured by what type of wagon you fell off of! So Peter tells us to rejoice thru suffering, he also tells us that we shouldn’t suffer as evildoers. That is if your in prison for murder, sure your gonna suffer, but what the heck do you expect! But Peter also suffered for past sins, things that he did wrong. One of the gospels says right after the Rooster crowed, Jesus looked at him and he went out and ‘wept bitterly’. You see, Peter had a destiny to fulfill. Jesus knew that he had to taste some difficulty in preparation for it. Time was running out, Jesus has been training these guys for three years, he has given them all the great teachings about the kingdom, tried to instill in them a new mindset, showing them that this new movement of his church/kingdom would be lead by people who are like sheep going to the slaughter. These leaders would taste much death in their lives; as a matter of fact these death experiences would be totally necessary for the purposes of God to be fulfilled. But its been three years now and Peter is still struggling with pride, trying to create this macho image of himself, in on this great revolutionary movement ‘hey, look at me, the Messiah has come and I am one of the inner circle’. But he saw Jesus lean on John the disciple’s breast at the supper ‘the special disciple who Jesus loved’. Jesus would confide in him that Judas was the betrayer ‘what about me Jesus’ thinks Peter ‘why not let me in on some of the secrets too’? still struggling with self worth. He will see some things, but first he has to face his Cross, his day of failure, the thing that will torture him for the rest of his life ‘How could I have been so stupid! I denied the Lord! My whole purpose for existing, the reason I am here; I have committed acts of betrayal against Jesus and myself!’ Now hang on Peter, this is part of the preparation, be careful to not get too consumed by this failure, it has a purpose ‘what purpose, what good can come out of this whole sordid affair’? Now, there is something else going on down the road, Judas starts feeling guilty too, he is appearing before the religious leaders, he tells them ‘I have betrayed an innocent man, I have stooped very low in my life. Not only do others see me as a failure, the one of whom Jesus said ‘it would have been better if this man were never born’ [the man who cant escape his own guilt!] but I too see myself as one of little worth’ he tells the leaders ‘here’s the damn money, 30 pieces of silver, please take it back’. They don’t want it either! ‘No, please take it, I’m trying to penalize myself in some way for what I’ve done, you don’t understand, I need you guys to take it, to in some sense absolve me of my guilt’ it was too late, he set the course and could not change the outcome, he tried, but the eternal laws of guilt and reaping were bearing down on him ‘too much to bear! I can’t stand this damn guilt anymore’ he does the tragic deed; he ends it all on some tree. As he hangs himself his ‘bowels’ gush out, his insides were killing him and it just seems fitting that he detached himself from them in his death. He chose wrong, make no mistake about it, this act is never acceptable! Well Peter will go on to be one of the greatest leaders in Gods church, I’m sure he remembered the words of Jesus when he said ‘don’t forget Peter, the least will be the greatest’ Peter will ascend the heights of church leadership; he will be used of God in a great way. History tells us when Nero killed him that he requested to be crucified up side down, he did not feel worthy enough to die like his Lord. Old brother Peter, I guess he never really overcame the guilt of that day. That one damn offense that haunted him thru out his life, this terrible thing allowed him to taste death in such a way that would qualify him for great things. But why couldn’t there have been some other way? who knows, Peter will write to the believers ‘it’s good if a man suffers justly, if he lives with difficulty as an innocent victim’ but he also said ‘let none of you suffer for your own faults and actions. Don’t put yourselves in situations where you will have to live with the penalty of your own guilt, it can be tormenting!’ Peter knew what he was talking about.

(1089) it’s a Monday morning right now, last night I had one of those nights where you can’t sleep. I was up until around 2 am, I thought ‘well, maybe I won’t pray the normal Monday intercessory prayer thing’. On Mondays I make it a point to do a consistent prayer time for family, friends, and nations, lost people groups, the persecuted church and many other things. I do this at least three times a week. Usually from around 3:30 -5:15 am. Every morning I spend time with the Lord, if it’s not intercessory prayer, it’s an hour or 2 of praise and meditation. I have often thought there might me something wrong with me, I mean I am still praying for friends from high school, the kids of some of my buddies who have died years ago. And to be regularly praying for nations, lost people groups, the persecuted church; to be doing this, even in the midst of personal turmoil, is simply not normal. I know you will think I’m kidding, but I do have somewhat of a compulsive nature, I think I have inklings of O.C.D. [obsessive compulsive disorder] to be honest about it. You know what also doesn’t help? After finally falling asleep at around 2 or so, I thought ‘well maybe I will miss a day, what harm could it do; after all the Lord is full of mercy, he’s no slave driver!’ Then the first verse I read in Micah was ‘arise, contend thou before the mountains, let the hills hear thy voice!’ [6:2] Gee, thanks a lot. Part of my prayer time actually quotes ‘listen oh mountains and you from afar, the Lord has called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name! I will not fail or be discouraged until I have set justice in the earth, I will call a nation that I do not know, and nations that do not know me will come running to me’ [various collection of verses] I quote this, along with many other verses that I have added to memory over the years. Sounds kind of noble and dramatic, doesn’t it? Hey, I would have settled for ‘now I lay me down to sleep’ but the Lord had other plans.

(1087) People like stories, there is actually an age old [few centuries] debate on whether or not the historic church got their theology messed up because of missing ‘the story’. In the 18, 1900’s liberal strains of Christian teaching showed how the Hebrew culture was one of narrative, stories. And that as the Gentile church grew and lost part of her Jewish heritage, that they messed up by taking ‘the story’ about God and his people and turned it into systematic theology. That basically the church allowed herself to be influenced by philosophy and intellectualism and they produced creeds and councils and stuff, but lost the romantic nature of Christ and his bride [the church!]. The early church father, Tertullian, said ‘what does Jerusalem have to do with Athens’? Meaning what does philosophy have to do with Christianity. So either way some think we have lost the story. I was watching King of Queens the other day, it’s the episode where Doug [Kevin James] is supposed o attend this overeaters class. So as he goes to the building where all these 12 step programs are being held, he sees that in his room the snacks are all fruits and carrots and stuff, but he catches a glimpse of a room across the hall and he sees these luscious donuts! So he wanders into the room and begins stacking up for the trip, and as he is about to leave the room the main counselor sees him and introduces himself and all. Doug tries to explain that he’s really not supposed to be in this class [it’s a program for men being beat up by their wives] but the counselor thinks he’s in denial. Sort of like ‘does your wife make you feel unworthy, is that why you eat too much?’ so as he thinks about it for a few minutes, the next shot is him walking back and forth during the meetings, eating the doughnuts and blaming all his problems on his wife ‘she calls me fatty’ and stuff like that. So what was supposed to help him [the 12 step program across the hall] turned out enabling him to eat! So as the weeks pass Carrie [his wife] is so happy about his enthusiastic attitude when that day of the week rolls around, he seems to be enjoying this program more than she thought he would, she gets a little suspicious as he is standing in the doorway getting ready to leave, as she looks at him she notices something; a real tangible difference in him since he’s been attending. She asks ‘Doug, are you getting fatter?’ Of course he’s put on a few pounds as he’s been consuming all the doughnuts. He tries to wiggle out of it, he responds ‘that’s the motto, you will get fatter before you get skinnier’ and he bolts out the door. Well now she has to see what’s been really going on with him, she goes to the building and finds the overeaters class, she asks one of the guys ‘is Doug here?’ and he tells her there is no Doug in this class. So as he is piling up his snack plate with carrots and stuff, she says ‘isn’t this the overeaters class’ and the poor guy gets offended and says ‘no, this is Jenny Craig’ and tells her ‘why do you have to hurt’. So she realizes something’s going on, sure enough she spots her husband at the doughnut bar with the guys who are getting beat up by their wives. The poor guys are dejected, living their lives with the stigma of, well getting beat up by their wives! So she confronts Doug, they get into it. The counselor and all the guys in the class who have been hearing all the stories of how terrible she is, come to his defense. Things get out of hand, she spills the beans on how he always was overweight, it’s not her fault; he leaves and as she is leaving the room she stops at the door for a moment; looks back at the room of dejected men, they look like they have lost all sense of self respect, such timid creatures, and she kind of makes a quick move at them, you know like if you were gonna hit someone, and they all flinch at the same time. She walks away smiling. Well, quite a long story/narrative. What did we learn? That if you are going to an over eaters class, don’t eat the doughnuts for heavens sake! Well, not really. We learned that stories are interesting, they catch peoples attention, and you want to hear ‘the rest of the story’ so to speak. Our lives are stories for people to read, God wants us to be open books as much as possible. This can be a very difficult thing, I mean really, do you want me to know about your personal history? The things you have struggled with in life. God wants us to be more than ‘doctrinal dispensers of truth’ [systematic theologians] now don’t get me wrong, that’s a part of it, but it has to proceed from the story of our lives. Twelve step programs help people because the basic concept is based on Christian principles. One of my main teachings is on what the church is, part of it includes a community of people who are open and honest with each other, who share their struggles with each other, so that’s the basis of the programs. As Christians I think we need to let people into our story, they need to not only hear proofs for Gods existence, or the quoting of bible verses. We need to let people into our stories, live openly and vulnerably before the world. Naked on a Cross, if that’s what it takes.

(1081) Was thinking earlier what we should talk about today, I have been jumping around thru some of the prophetic books [Revelation, Zechariah, etc.] but then I remembered I got a letter yesterday from my buddy in the New Jersey jail [I have some in the city jail, some in the state prison system of Jersey]. So I thought I should read the letter and mention it. Sure enough they didn’t take the check, I sent him a 25.00 dollar check and they sent it back; it needs to be a money order. The guys need money to get stuff from the commissary and stuff, I have done this plenty of times [by ‘done this’ I mean sent the money!] I realize now that the Lord is going to have me do a little more writing than I expected. Nothing wrong with it, for some reason I didn’t expect my buddy to write back and want to keep in touch. That’s fine. He also told me he was reading the stuff I copied from my blog; he says ‘it’s strange I can hear your voice when I read your stuff’. Just a few weeks back I was ‘thinking’ about the dynamic of hearing someone’s voice when you read their books, I mean it was a conscious thought that I couldn’t shake. Now I realize it was one of those prophetic moments, basically the Lord was telling me ‘people will hear your voice when they read your stuff’. My buddy handed out a few of the ministry cards I sent, he told me some of the other brothers might write. It’s strange, I felt the Lord was telling me a few years ago that he was going to expand my territory and I would once again have contact with New Jersey, and at the same time some of the Texas contacts would wane [the prison stuff- I still have a bunch of cities we speak into]. So it seems like some of this is coming to pass. To be honest with you guys, I have had some tough times these past few weeks. I can’t be ‘too real’ on a public blog like this! But take my word for it, I have struggled somewhat. You know what’s funny [or sad?] I have preacher ‘acquaintances’ who preach great, they always have an excellent public persona. Some think I am too ‘worldly’ [possibly so!] but they mean my open sharing and stuff on the blog. Sort of like we should always be in a preaching mode and ‘God’ forbid we should ever be real. I know some of these men personally, some of them have had more ‘private’ problems than you could ever imagine. Now, I am not judging them, but if all we ever see/know about people are their platform image, then we are seeing an unrealistic picture of the Christian life. Our preaching [American Christianity] is consumed with self-help techniques and psycho babble. We present an unreal picture to the world. Then I hear preachers say that this real life style, being open and not perfect, is wrong. I think the American church needs an overhaul in general. I got an email from the news paper that messed up my bill last month, this paper [Jersey Journal] is the only one I put my name in with the ad, the purpose is for any old friends to see it and maybe read the site. In the other papers I just run the blog ad. But the Journal always treats me right, the poor brother who handles my account always profusely apologizes when something goes wrong ‘please forgive us for the mistake’ and stuff like that. So this time I just couldn’t resist it, I emailed him back ‘NO, I CAN NOT FORGIVE YOU GUYS THIS TIME!’ of course I was kidding, but I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when he read it. So anyway, today we learned that we are all in the same boat, we all struggle with things in life, but during this life we are also called upon by God to give ourselves away for others. To transcend our own weaknesses and give of our time and money for the benefit of others. People who live in the real world need others who live in the real world to reach out and help. One of my favorite movies is Donnie Brascoe [yes, I watch the mafia stuff]. It’s the true story of an undercover F.B.I. agent who infiltrates the mob, he made it further in than any other agent in history. The danger was he identified so much with the brothers, that he had a difficult time differentiating between which world he was in. There is always a danger when living in the real world, we are to be in the world, not of it. But for mere mortals this can be difficult, surely Jesus would never identify too much with such sinful creatures! Oh wait, there is this little doctrine that just popped into my head, I think they call it THE INCARNATION.

(1079) let’s see, I was gonna talk about the movie ‘there’s something about Mary’ they have been playing it on cable. It is funny! But a little too racy. Then I thought about doing one on ‘the Ort cloud’ a so called spot in space where comets are waiting on the runway to launch into our solar system, after all comets lose mass in their orbits. If you measured the amount of mass being lost with the old age of the earth/solar system, they wouldn’t be around any more! So the Ort cloud is ‘an idea’ that fits in with the old age theory [I lean towards the old age theory myself]. And last of all I was going to delve into the authorship of the New Testament, I spoke about this a few posts back and thought we should do a little more. Right after I started reading the bible I came across an interesting fact, I noticed how the letter of Jude was almost identical with a chapter in 2nd Peter. It was more than just common themes; it seemed to be a duplication. I remember mentioning this to my Pastor [a good man who had graduated from a fundamentalist bible college] he was not aware of this. I told him I had no problem with it, that it was certainly possible for the Holy Spirit to inspire two separate writers to say the same thing, and I left it at that. Are there any other solutions to this type of thing? Well, it is also possible that Peter [or Jude] read the other brothers letter and used a portion of it. Peter states in his writings that he was reading Paul’s stuff. The New Testament leadership knew each other fairly well, ALL the early Christian leaders lived in the same region of the world and had contact. There is one more explanation that scholars give; in the first century it was common for a writer [scribe-personal secretary of an author] to write/compile the teachings of a few various leaders [with permission!] and to attribute the whole letter to the main contributor. The book of Proverbs is attributed to Solomon, yet there are a few other authors mentioned in the book [king Lemuel, Agar] same with Psalms. So it is possible that a compiler [scribe] put together a letter with parts of Jude in it, but the entire letter would be attributed to the main contributor, Peter. The point being that there are solutions to difficulties like this, Christians should be familiar and trained in stuff like this. My original pastor, though a good man, was not familiar with stuff like this because the strong fundamentalist background simply ignores these types of scholarly questions. All in all I believe 2nd Peter [and Jude] are inspired books canonized by the church for our benefit, but the first century writers did not write [or compile] in a vacuum, they did use scribes [Paul did as well] and sometimes this sort of compiling did go on, not in deception, but as an accepted practice of first century writing. I would have no problem with accepting a book as inspired, even if it was possibly a compilation of more than one author.

(1074) Yesterday I met Edward; he is a homeless brother from San Antonio. He located to Corpus a few months ago. As I was helping him out during the day I realized he had a situation with another brother who owns a ‘church building’. The building is not being used so they worked out a deal with my friend, he would live in it and kinda be a caretaker while they are trying to sell it. Well after being with the brother most of the day I ‘discerned’ how he is in great strife with the owners. They have told him to leave and all, he is telling me about his ‘legal rights’ to stay [you do run into brothers like this. I have had buddies tell me stuff like this before ‘squatter’s rights’ and stuff. When one of my friends refused to get his motorcycle motor out of my garage, he started using the squatters rights ‘provision’ he saw how quickly I began dragging it out to the curb! He got it out.] So this is kind of a funny thing that the guys do at times. But it did get me to thinking about how often we mix ‘business’ with ‘church’ [charity]. I have a policy, whenever someone asks to borrow money, I NEVER do it, but I will GIVE them some, with the explicit directions to ‘not pay me back’. A few posts back I mentioned how I used to do the real estate thing; buying a cheap rental [some were not cheap] and renting it out until I could sell it. It’s not wrong for believers to do stuff like this, but Jesus also taught us that the pursuit of wealth can affect you in a bad way. At the time I was reading and learning about all types of money investments, consuming my thoughts and energies with this stuff. Then my bible reading/teaching would inevitably become ‘affected’ with this paradigm. I would just naturally gravitate towards the money portions of scripture, when coming across the classic ‘you cannot serve God and money’ verses; I would unconsciously stick it in the category of ‘church tradition’ even though Jesus was the one who said it! So its a popular trend for believers to get into the whole ‘God has called me into the ministry of teaching believers how to become financially independent, so lets spend our time building wealth for my business and at the same time helping other believers build wealth’ sounds noble, but it usually winds up focusing on the money stuff most of the time. It gets your focus on the wrong thing. So anyway I think we need to refocus our thoughts on the New Testament priorities, sure you can be a responsible business investor, nothing wrong with it. But don’t go down the road of ‘my ministry is to bring in the wealth’ you wont be the first [or last] person that has ‘felt this calling’.

(1060] THE MARK OF THE BEAST! Let’s talk a little today. This past week I had a few people ask me about their church. They said they liked the church, but they thought there was too much emphasis on money and practical matters. They said they realized the need for Christians to ‘be practical’ but they felt like they really weren’t growing spiritually. First, I told them that I felt they were doing good by attending/helping the church out. I did not want to give them the impression that it was okay to just drop out. I also told them to read our site, that many of the questions they had were dealt with on the site. Then yesterday I had a believer asking me all types of stuff on the book of Revelation and the mark of the beast and the whole computer chip in your head thing. Okay, I must admit I made a joke about the mark of the beast, something like ‘it really isn’t talking about an actual number that will be implanted in someone’s skin’ [I do really believe this by the way] I said ‘for instance, it’s no secret that the Pastor was born with a birthmark of three 6’s on his head, no big deal’ [I know, this is bad]. But I did try and put some stuff in context, the head represents the thoughts of man, the hand represents his actions. The world thinks they need to cheat and steal to get ahead [worldly thinking and acting- hand and head] and those who are part of Christ’s new kingdom [as opposed to Rome-Babylon] think and act in a different manner. There did come a time under the Roman empire that if you didn’t bow the knee to the cult of emperor worship [confess Caesar as Lord] you would be persecuted or killed for your faith, in essence ‘no man could buy or sell [function in society] unless he received the mark of the beast and the number’. So anyway I advised this person to read our site. I have known them for some time, but I don’t think they read the site. They finally ask me ‘who is Corpus Christi outreach, who makes up the organization’. I told them that it’s just me, but I stuck the name on it years ago. Now, don’t get me wrong, my goal is to initiate a movement of sorts. I do pray and work towards that end. I believe it’s possible for us to have a worldwide impact, equal to any other movement [Jehovah witnesses or Mormons]. I do believe we can do this, but at the same time staying within the confines of historic Christianity, which these other movements do not do. All in all it’s been an interesting few days, I want to encourage you guys who read and follow the site, use our stuff freely. Make copies of our books and studies, send and publish our blog anywhere you wish. All of this stuff is free and available for anyone to use as they wish [except for making money!] also, keep in mind the example I gave above, don’t discourage people from being involved ‘in church’ if people eventually move on to more mature understandings and practices of church life [leaving the institutional system if you will] that’s fine, but don’t fall into the trap of ‘nudging them along’. All in all we are in this thing together, I appreciate the Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and all other expressions of Christianity that the Lord has allowed us to minister to. Strive for unity of the Sprit in the bond of peace, let your thoughts and actions be in harmony with Christ. Don’t worry about computer chips in the head, but have the mind of Christ instead.

(1038)‘The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding…for time and chance happens to them all. For man also knows not his time, as fish are taken in a net and birds caught in a snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it comes suddenly upon them’ Ecclesiastes 9:11-12. I was watching ‘King of Queens’ the other day, Arthur [Jerry Stiller] asks the waitress how much his coffee and donut will be, as he takes out his checkbook she says ‘never mind, it’s not worth getting a bad check for a few dollars’. Arthur is insulted! “How dare you” he then explains that his money was being transferred at the time in his ‘offshore accounts’. This reminded me of the time I had a renter who liked to bounce checks. He was an older brother who made more than me [as a firefighter] but couldn’t write a good check! So after a few months I wrote him a notice of eviction. He responded by telling me it wasn’t his fault the checks bounced, his money was in ‘off shore accounts’ [oh please!] It was funny, at the end of his response letter he says ‘sincerely, your brother in Christ’. This was the first time I had any inkling that he was a brother! So time and chance affect all of us, we can’t always control the ‘roll of the dice’. A few years back a bunch of guys lost money in their firefighter retirement funds, the guys at the station were all convinced by the stock guys to invest money in the stocks. Well, I looked at the papers and realized you could make a guaranteed 4%, tax free, from one investment. I was the only one who took this option. If you balance the risk of possibly making 5 % in the market [possible!] along with the risk of loosing it all, then why not do the fixed 4 % tax free? It comes to around 6 % with no risk of loss. It’s just common sense. Sure enough one of my buddies took my advice and did the same. Then the guys took a real hit, the stocks crashed and sure enough ‘time and chance happened to them’. As they were all mulling over their losses, my friend who took my advice was asked ‘how much did you loose’ he said ‘nothing’. He told them he took Johns advice. Now, even though we have little control over the global economy, we can make wise choices and prepare ahead of time. I have no idea why any sane person would stay in the market right now [2-09]. But people take bad advice, like ‘dollar cost averaging’ and say ‘well, if I just keep buying into a sinking ship, it will all average out some day’. I know of no other business where you are told ‘keep buying the bad product, someday it will average out’. While no one can time the market, you should be able to see storms coming. If you think the signs are saying ‘bad storm ahead’ then what in the heck are you doing on the ship! Solomon said there are events that we can’t control, many times we get ‘caught in nets suddenly’ things happen that are out of our control. These events happen to the wise, intelligent and fool alike. When stuff like this happens to you, don’t live in regret, but learn some lessons. Stop listening to the people whose living depends on you staying in a certain investment [like stocks!] I can’t tell you how many times I have heard these investors say ‘sure, you can invest in a C.D., but who can live on less than one percent interest’. While all the while you can be getting around 4 %, guaranteed! You see, people have listened to bad [biased] advice and have come up short. Well, the purpose of this entry is not to be ‘anti stocks’ but to show you we all need to re-evaluate at times. Many times ‘the same event happens to all’ because the wise are making the same bad decisions as the fool. Think ‘outside of the box’ hey, everyone in the box just might be wrong.

(1036)FIRE DEPT. STUFF- ‘Flight inseminators and don’t ask a question if you don’t know the answer’! Let’s do one for the comedy section, I get too riled up when talking politics. Over the years at the Fire Dept. certain quotes made it into the hall of fame. You know, we all say stupid stuff at times [in many things we offend all- James] but every now and then you hit a real winner. The Fire Dept. I worked at was in a naval base city [Kingsville]. One year we hosted the city manager and a few local politicos, as our chief was speaking about the local economy and stuff, he spoke of the value of the ‘Flight inseminators’, as you could imagine a hush came over the room as we realized this one would go down on the hit parade [the proper word was simulator!] We had a new class of recruits come in one year, we gave them the introduction and all. One of the guys asked a question, the chief responded ‘don’t ask a question if you don’t know the answer’. That was a quiet year. This one is kinda serious, but I’ll put it in for my firefighter buddies who still follow the site. Like I said before I have all these news papers from New Jersey sitting around my office. I run our blog ad’s in them so they send me the paper. I enjoy reading the stories from my old turf. Sure enough one headline caught my interest, it said ‘local firefighter gets 10 years for punching his captain in the face’. As I read the story the guys were at some fire and the captain ordered the firefighter in the building, the guy wouldn’t go, so the captain supposedly called him a coward, the rest is history. In the article it said ‘as we investigated this story, we also found out that the firefighter has been reprimanded before for violence, he assaulted one of his coworkers at the station with a frying pan’.

(1034)Ecclesiastes 8:4 WHERE THE WORD OF A KING IS, THERE IS POWER. AND WHO MAY SAY UNTO HIM ‘WHAT DOEST THOU’- The other day I took my daughters out to eat Chinese food. My daughter’s friend came along, she is studying to get her degree in geology. So I thought it would be a good chance to talk a little on Evolution. Though she is a Christian, she had no idea about the science against Evolution. We got into Eugenics [Darwin’s relative came up with this ‘science’ it was what Hitler used to justify the holocaust and the murder of handicapped people. It justified [in Hitler’s mind] the destruction of the weaker races in society. Though Darwin did not call for forced ‘natural selection’ yet this theory led to Hitler’s justification of it] I was surprised that she knew nothing about it. Especially the fossil evidence against Evolution, she is studying Geology for heavens sake! Some how we started talking about the various things you can read in the fortune cookies. My kids came up with stuff they have read and all. Of course I had to add my two cents, I said ‘I had a note that said ‘Chinese rule and Whites drool’. My daughter’s friend said ‘are you kidding me’! Of course I was. Now, when the word of a king goes forth [when God is speaking truth about any thing at any season- Evolution and its false claims, Church structure, Reformation] then our only option is to learn and make adjustments as time goes by. We all have a tendency to stick with the popular opinion, until it gets overturned. Wisdom allows you to spot the trend and get in on it at the beginning, to see that God is speaking about a subject and be willing to go with it as God leads. I am absolutely convinced that science will reject evolutionary theory in a few years. Like I said before, they will do it in an ‘unrepentant way’ but it will be done. Certain things going on in the ‘church world’ right now are going to be ‘the norm’ in a few generations. I believe the church is going to re-think our whole world view concerning ‘church’. Now, we will not abandon the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ [the body of Christian truth that all Christians hold in common] but there is going to be a revolution in our basic understanding of ‘church’. When God decides to ‘speak into the community at large’ we really have no option. We just need to listen and make adjustments in his time. The key is knowing when it’s God who is speaking! I do not advocate jumping into every new fad and new Christian movement that goes on in Christian circles. But I recognize there are key times when God is speaking with a loud voice to the church in the world, when God is speaking there is power. Don’t say unto him ‘what doest thou’ [or who gave you the right to speak].

(1033)‘DON’T SAY “WHY IS IT THAT THINGS WERE BETTER IN THE PAST THAN NOW” [GOOD OLD DAYS] FOR YOU ARE NOT ASKING A WISE QUESTION WHEN YOU DO THIS’ Ecclesiastes 7:10 [my paraphrase] Is God telling us never to examine our selves? Or our nation? No. But this question speaks of the journey of life. Lets see if I can come up with an original way to state this, I know! How bout we say ‘life is like a box of cherries’ [Okay, I pulled a Biden]. Let’s just say life is like a train/plane trip. Part of the trip entails some turbulence, there are spots along the way where the scenery is great, but also spots where it doesn’t look so good. Many years ago me and the family took the train from San Antonio to New Jersey, the kids were young and it was too long. But I love trains. Anyway when the train finally made it to my home state, my young daughter innocently says ‘why does everything look dirty’ [Ouch!] Trips have ‘built in’ obstacles, times where things don’t go as smooth as before. Why is it not wise to ask ‘why are things not as good during this phase’? It’s because the goal isn’t to continually have a great ride! The goal is to complete the course and finish the race put before you. I know American Christianity has for the most part rejected this, but it is without a doubt biblical. The apostle Paul ended his life in a rented room in Rome, Nero finally took his head off [Peters too]. Now, I am not saying we should all lose our heads, but we need to realize that God has a purpose for the bad spots in the tracks. This chapter speaks of the riches that we get in ‘the house of mourning’ the great things we obtain when the ride is rough. Are you asking the Lord ‘why is this happening to me, why was it better in days gone by’ try and retool your questions to ‘what do you want to teach me during this time? What kind of character development do you have for me during this phase of my life?’ these are the questions that should be asked. The American church spends way too much time trying to ‘beautify the journey’ learning tricks and confessions to make things ‘go away’, God says some of these things are here for a purpose.

(1026)YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL! I was watching King of Queens [TV show] the other day, and Arthur [Jerry Stiller] who is Doug’s [Kevin James] father in law tells Doug ‘I don’t want to die’ as the plane their on gets shaky. Doug tells Arthur ‘don’t worry, it’s not that bad’ and Arthur replies ‘you don’t understand, I don’t want to die, EVER!’ hey, we all gonna die! Then Arthur asks Doug ‘do you think I will be going up or down when I die’ and Doug reassures him that even though he’s been a real pain, he thinks he will go up. Arthur says ‘Good, cause thru out my life I have had a number of people look me straight in the face and tell me “Spooner, you’re going straight to hell someday”. So much for comedy/theology. Solomon tells us there is a time/season for everything; a time to cast away and a time to gather, a time to be born and a time to die. God has ordained that certain things happen at certain seasons. One of the pitfalls of modern ministry is we often seek God with ambition and determination. We come up with goals and plans [often good] and then we get in situations where we feel if people would just support us [with money] or ‘pastor so and so’ would just recognize my gift, then the plan would work! Most times these types of plans are simply results of well intended ambitious people. But God does things in seasons, when he ‘opens a door’ no man can shut it. When he ‘closes a door’ no man can open it. I like Sarah Palin [former republican vice presidential nominee] I don’t hold to many of her Christian beliefs [basically Assembly of God, end times stuff] but she seems to be a good lady who the media treated badly. I told one person who was all up in arms about her daughter’s pregnancy, the person told me how the sex lives of her kids were ‘fair game’. I asked the person if they knew about the sex lives of Joe Biden’s kids. If they think his boys ever ‘slept with someone out of wedlock’. I asked if they even thought a question like this was relevant. They then realized that they were using a measuring rod for one political party, but would not use it on their preferred party. Nevertheless I heard Palin say ‘hey, if God opens a door I will run thru it. Or even if I see a little crack in the door, I will plunge right thru’. I sensed a kind of ambition in this statement that many believers have. I think it’s better to be less ambitious, and more sensitive to the seasons. Yes, seasons and ‘open doors’ are alike, but God works with us in process. He shows us stuff to mold us, shape us. After we ‘are shaped’ then we fit into the next part of the puzzle. We too often are looking for plans and schemes to follow; God is walking with us on a journey. I am sure all the people who told Spooner to ‘go to hell’ were sincere, but you cant live your life by what other people think about you!

(1017)MONKEY BONES AND SPACE SHIPS- I read an interesting piece on the exhibit of Lucy in Seattle. The article showed how the famous bones, discovered in the 1970’s, were not getting the attention they felt it deserved. The display itself was considered less than what it had been advertised, many said they were surprised at the small amount of scattered bones that comprised the main exhibit. It almost seemed to look like a scattered display of monkey bones! [watch out] But alas, as you progressed to the part of the ‘show’ that had the man made models of what Lucy might have looked like with flesh and structure and all, sure enough she looked great! Exactly like a missing link. The article also mentioned how the scientist, who was an expert in bone structure, that when he was first contacted to ‘create’ the model for the exhibit, that he was quite surprised at the bones too. He said he had a very difficult time in structuring a bi-pedal model [walks on two feet] from the scant bone evidence. What made it difficult was the bones all seemed to indicate that the creature was exactly like a regular ape! [He didn’t realize that he was letting the cat out of the bag] But nevertheless he fulfilled his obligation and did his darndest to make a statue like being, contrary to what the bones really showed, and it looked great. Those who doubted the actual evidence at the exhibit were convinced by the good looking model. Now to the space ships. What if I told you we discovered a small scattered section of a U.F.O.? I created a special exhibit and explained to you all my theories on how this craft ‘evolved’ from other craft and eventually became the modern plane. I went thru all sorts of efforts to back up my claim. Then we discover that Joe’s mechanic shop out in the New Mexico dessert actually has a working fleet of these craft! He has been flying them on routine missions for years [thus all the sightings] he uses the fleet for all sorts of projects; delivering the local produce to parts unknown, he holds special stunt shows and all for the regulars. We have hit the jackpot when it comes to finding out the truth about the U.FO. Mystery. We certainly don’t need the old exhibit of scattered parts that was promoted in days gone by. In essence this is what we have when it comes to examining the evidence of whether or not monkeys turned into people. We have the capability thru advanced DNA testing to show us the very unique makeup of living things. This advanced knowledge shows us one conclusive fact; living things stay in their categories! They have such unique genetic coding that it is impossible for one group to jump and become another group. We really don’t need to look at all the scattered ‘bone’ evidence to determine whether or not monkeys turn into people. We have the actual ‘craft’ to examine! The bible says that God created things ‘after their kind’ they would reproduce and multiply within their specific genetic group. For many thousands of years the bible plainly stated that these species do not slowly [or quickly] jump into anther group. Darwin said they did, after 150 years of research, science has advanced to a point where we can clearly examine ‘the working fleet’. We don’t need a bunch of dead bones to figure this thing out. I just wish the evolutionists would get on the bandwagon and come take a look at Joe’s fleet.

(1008)CORINTHIANS 14:34-40 ‘Let your women keep silent in the gathering, for it is not permitted for them to speak. If they have any questions let them ask their husbands at home’. As a practical matter, when me and my wife attend church, I bring one of those little note pads with me. You never know when your wife has a question! [This is a Joke! But now you can see why I don’t take offerings]. What is Paul saying here? In chapter 11, verse 5, he also told the women not to ‘prophesy’ with uncovered heads. Some think Paul is forbidding women to operate in the speaking gifts, specifically tongues. Here he seems to be addressing a specific issue at Corinth. He says ‘if they have questions let them ask their husbands’. It’s possible that the wives were interrupting the meetings, or taking an authoritative role that was beyond their calling. I already discussed how Corinth had a form of idolatry that incorporated ‘temple prostitution’. Paul did not want the churches to go the way of the culture at Corinth! Paul is not forbidding women in general to never ‘talk in church’. He closes this chapter with the admonition to do all things decently and in order. Paul has a special relationship with these believers. He spent quite a long time in their city [18 months] he launched another very effective ministry while at Corinth. Do you know what that was? He began his ‘writing ministry’ while at Corinth. He wrote his first 2 letters to the Thessalonians from the city. Paul was very hard on this church, but he did not yet challenge their basic identity as believers because of all their misgivings, he still treated them as Gods holy people. In the next chapter he will question whether or not ‘they are in the faith’. He will challenge them on their unbelief in the resurrection of Christ.

(1006)CORINTHIANS 14:1-20 Lets deal a little with ‘Tongues’. I have written before on the various ways believers view this gift. Much has been taught over the years that can be seen as extreme from both camps [the Pentecostals and the non charismatics]. Is Paul speaking about the same gift as seen in Acts 2? If not, then does that mean the only legitimate ‘tongues’ are the Acts 2 expression? If a distinction is made, then Paul obviously put his stamp of approval on the second type of tongues by actually writing about it here! Ecstatic utterance was not exclusive to the early church. Paul earlier taught that the pagans engaged in this type of speech when worshipping false idols. This does not mean that true spiritual worship has no ecstatic type elements to it. The gifts themselves are seen as divinely inspired speech [the speaking ones]. Isaiah 8:1 says ‘TAKE A LARGE SCROLL AND WRITE ON IT WITH THE PEN OF A MAN’. God was telling Isaiah that he would use his actual writings as inspired instruments from him. Scripture also speaks of ‘the tongue of a ready writer’ we are called ‘living letters’ by Paul himself. Paul doesn’t challenge the legitimacy of this type of gift, but he does stress the importance of approaching all the gifts from a standpoint of unselfishness. If when the believers are gathered, they are all functioning in self edifying gifts, then they are making the same mistake that Paul rebuked earlier with the Lords table. The purpose of the gathering and gifts are for the building up of others and not for self gain. So Paul warns them of the selfish use of the gifts. He says it’s better to use Prophecy or Teaching because others can learn and grow. Some Pentecostal groups make a distinction between the prayer time and the ministry time. They practice tongues during corporate prayer and then treat ‘a tongue uttered’ during the service as something that needs interpretation. I see some merit to his, but it should be noted that here Paul does say ‘when you bless with the Spirit’ [prayer over a meal or something like it] that your prayer is fine, but still the other person doesn’t benefit. So Paul actually includes both ‘prayer tongues’ and ‘a word in tongues’ as needing to be tamped down during the public gathering. Of course we will see the teaching on private tongues as being fine, the point I am making is Paul includes ‘prayer tongues’ along with the other type. The main thrust of Paul’s teaching on Tongues is that the gift itself is legitimate [definitions of the gift vary!] but that all the gifts of the Spirit should be used unselfishly. ‘Well brother, Paul himself says it’s fine to pray in tongues to build yourself up! Got you now!’ well actually you don’t! ‘Building ones self up’ in a private setting can be considered beneficial to the overall corporate group. I just prayed/mediated for around an hour before writing, this was personal ‘self building’ for the purpose of corporate teaching. No matter where you personally come down on the various gifts of the Spirit, it is important to do all things with the benefit of others in mind. I hate to stick this example in here, but heck I just came up with it! Last night I was watching the news. I channel surf from CNN, MSNBC, FOX and even hit the PBS station every now and again [plus the big 3 networks]. Its still the first week of President Obama’s presidency and I couldn’t help but notice the unbelievable amount of ‘slobbering’ [yes, I borrowed it from Bernie Goldberg] that was taking place. I actually clicked the channel from Hannity to CNN. Hannity just finished talking about the embarrassing amount of gushing that the media were doing over Obama. As I clicked to Anderson Cooper, they were showing clips from the first media interview that Obama has given since being in office. It was a very good interview to an Arab language station. As Cooper was asking the reporters on their first thoughts of the interview, one actually said ‘it is so unbelievably outstanding that I am actually ‘giddy’. Now, I don’t subscribe to the Hannity/Limbaugh stuff 100%, but this really was too much. The media are putting such a high expectation on the poor man that no human being could possibly fulfill their image of the man. It was also reported that George [Stephanopoulos-?] actually cried during the inauguration. Of course Chris Matthews will go down in history for describing a ‘feeling going up his leg’ during coverage of an Obama speech. What’s wrong with this picture? I understand that the average white man feels self affirmed when he engages in public displays of support for Black advancement. I too like our President and do pray regularly for him. Not too long ago I met a black homeless friend, he actually has a little apartment but he was at the free mission so I sometimes refer to all these brothers as homeless. He was under the impression that I ran some type of ministry that took in money [I never take any offerings, for radio or anything else] so as I offered to by him some groceries and stuff, he kinda went a little overboard. I really didn’t have any ‘extra money’ but I bought it any way. I didn’t get mad or feel bad about it. I still see the brother every now and then and am still willing to help him. Now, is it better to show your love for the black man by publicly crying and gushing and describing sexual type feelings when listening to the new president speak, or to actually go out and find some black person in need and meet the need? I don’t want to get into the whole political scene at all, sometimes it gets me mad. I have actually ‘cussed’ [yes, I admit it] at the screen at times. [Little curse words, not the big ones!] The point being we all need to heed the admonition in scripture to show our love by our deeds and actions. To simply put on a public display for the world means very little.

(992)JAMES 1: 2-4 ‘Count it all joy when you fall into various temptations [trials] knowing that the testing of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work [completeness, the end of ‘a thing’] that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing’. When I first started this blog, I was surprised that brothers from Africa quickly found out about us. I kinda thought that all the invites from the continent were part of the scams that go on incessantly on line. I can’t tell you how many ‘Dear brother, I am a Christian millionaire trying to free up my millions in the U.S.’ or something like that type pleas that I get. It usually gives them away when they spell something like ‘Godd blees yeo’. Yes, I admit I have responded at times by saying ‘I hate to inform you but I am an undercover F.B.I. agent, we have traced your computer to its location. YOU WILL BE EXTRADITED TO THE U.S. SOON!’ I quickly ask the Lord to forgive me after I send it off. But the African contacts were legit. The reason I am even mentioning this is because I feel the Lord has a purpose for messages like ours to go out to the nations. Not ‘my message’ per se, but the basic return to a Christ oriented gospel. Africa has gone thru a few decades of becoming ‘Christianized’ by the American gospel. The most prevalent strain of American Protestantism on the continent is the prosperity message. I don’t know if you knew this or not, but it is common to find African churches that are saturated with the prosperity gospel. Now, after all I have written and taught over the years on the abuses of this type of message, yet I do not see this development as totally ‘from the devil’. I believe it to be possible for the Lord to have used the basic message of self reliance, believing God to improve your economy, a basic message of ‘you can do it’ as a foundation for future growth. That is many Africans needed to be told ‘God does have a future and a hope for you and your continent, start believing and trusting God to turn things around’. But after the ‘elementary teachings’ of this type of message are laid, then the ‘more mature’ message of Christ’s calling needs to come in and build upon the basic self help gospel. So, James says ‘count it a blessing when you go thru stuff, God is working things in you, he is bringing you to a point of completeness in your life. Don’t look at all the trials as things from the enemy that must be rebuked, God allows trials for your personal growth and development’. There is a Christian message that teaches us that the Lord brings us to maturity thru difficult things. The basic message of ‘self help’ has an ethos that says ‘Confess, rebuke and apply all the bibles procedures and you will grow’. Much of this message has you rebuking the God ordained tests! Yes, we don’t like the tests. When the big test day comes along [or all the little ones] it can be nerve racking. So modern psychology says ‘lets avoid the pressure that tests put on people. Lets just tell little Tommy ‘you spelled the word the way you felt it should be spelled’ [Ouch!] I want to encourage you today, God has brought you thru some things for your own growth and benefit. You might look back ten years from now and think ‘Thank God I went thru those tough times, they allowed me to avoid going thru years of teaching and believing a limited gospel’. To all my preacher friends who read this site, God wants to ground you guys in some basic Christian truth, things that are foundational to our call in the kingdom. It is all too common for successful ministries to be built on self help principles. After many years go by this self help message can become too self centered, the people need to be taught ‘count it all joy’ once again.

(988)NO, I AM NOT CRYING! AND YES, THEY WILL SHOOT YOU! Many years ago me and my wife took a road trip to New Jersey from Texas. I have driven it many times since. One of the problems with a trip like this is it’s easy to make it all the way to Jersey, but once you get close to the area where I grew up [the New York city area] the exits and roads are a mess! I think the Newark airport has been under road construction since I was born! So as we were nearing the area to exit for the final 10 miles of the 1800 mile trip, I get off at a Newark exit and wind up on some bad streets. Now, as a boy I would have enjoyed the threat. But being married and stuff, I knew it wasn’t too good to be driving the Newark streets at night. But I tried to find the turn around to get back to the right spot. As I am driving I have the vents open and pointed at my face. The cold air keeps me awake during the long drives. My wife sees I am a little ‘p-o’ed’ about the whole thing. She notices my eyes are tearing [from the cold air!] and asks ‘are you crying’. Now, most men are too proud to stop and ask for directions, how do you think we respond to stuff like this? Heck, I used to pride myself as being a tough guy! So I tell her ‘are you kidding me, I have the darn vents open’ [something to that effect]. Then she says ‘why don’t you stop and ask for directions’? Now, I am a few miles from home, I don’t want to ask now for heavens sake! So I tell her ‘if you roll down your window here they’ll shoot you’ [or slit your throat?] Sure enough she made sure the windows were up tight.

(976)THE NEW ATHIESTS LOSE AGAIN! I watched a good debate last night between an atheist [Christopher Hitchens] and a believer. I like Hitchens, but the shallowness of his arguments were very revealing. Richard Dawkins [one of the so called ‘new atheists’] has said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Oh really? During the debate Hitchens challenged the ‘morality’ of the Christian church. He rightfully exposed the hypocrisy of Christian leaders who abused children and the many other sins of the church. He says ‘how dare these immoral Christians challenge my morality. I am more moral than many of them’. Now, where does Hitchens come up with his standard of ‘morality’? The very fact that morality exists as some existential character measurement is simply making one of the classical arguments for God. One of the proofs for God is that man has this moral conscience that tells him what is right or wrong. This moral code that is implanted in the conscience of humankind is one of the historic arguments for Gods existence. Poor Hitchens made a big boo boo. Second, the whole argument of Hitchens [and most every other atheist] is one of naturalism, materialism. That is they claim that the believer argues his point from the mindset of ‘faith’ while the atheist argues his point of view from the hard facts [Dawkins so called intellectually fulfilling position]. The main problem with this view is when the atheist is asked to explain the most fundamental question of science ‘where did all things come from’ his response is one of the most un-intellectual arguments that can ever be made. When Hitchens was posed the question, he simply said ‘all things came from nothing, and I have no intellectual curiosity or need to say any more’ [and they call this being intellectually fulfilled? Gee, maybe my daughters play station game would fulfill them!] What’s the problem with this response? The problem is the Christian answers the question with the only scientifically feasible answer that can ever be given. He says ‘there was a preexistent actor who entered into the physical realm and caused the effect of what we now know as creation’. The Christians response is in keeping with all the known laws of physics and reason. If science teaches us anything, it teaches the impossibility of something coming into existence from nothing. This is thee most attested to scientific fact in all of human history. When we study ‘nothing’ and put it under the microscope, we never, ever get ‘something’. Now when we study ‘something’ [any material thing that can ever be studied] there is one scientific fact that can be applied to all the ‘something’s’. That fact is that some other thing caused, or preceded the ‘something’. That is it is scientifically impossible to get an entire creation and universe and all things that exist out of nothing! But this argument is the most prevalent argument used today by the intellectually fulfilled atheists! Now, many brilliant men realize the stupidity of this position. Some of the intellectually fulfilled atheists have proposed the possibility of other extra terrestrial beings who might have ‘deposited’ some type of ‘space dung’ [I am not kidding!] when their craft flew thru our solar system, and that this ‘dung’ might have spawned life on our planet [who ever thought they could lower their family tree from a monkey?]. The very fact that many scientists are actually espousing the possibility that there might be other civilizations that spawned life on earth shows you the dilemma of proving, from a materialistic perspective, that all things came from ‘no thing’. To put it bluntly, these scientists [some of whom are atheists] realize that the argument Hitchens and all the other ‘fulfilled’ thinkers are making, are sheer nonsense and stupidity! How can any thinking person espouse the belief that all things came from nothing? I don’t want to go on with this, but I simply wanted to show you that in the debate I watched last night, the atheist espoused arguments that were nonsensical. It is all too common today for the rejecter of God to give the impression that Christians are idiots, while they are intellectual. This just simply isn’t being ‘intellectually honest’ [or fulfilling].

(973)1ST CORINTHIANS 10:5-13 Paul warns the Corinthians not to fall for the same temptations that Israel committed in the wilderness. ‘Don’t sin sexually, don’t complain about stuff [ouch!] don’t be idolaters [lovers of your cash flow!]’ basic sins that effect us all. He also says something interesting ‘you are now those upon whom the end of the world [age] has come’. Not the ‘end of existence’ but the time period where Gods fullness has come [Galatians 4]. I find this interesting. The first century Apostles saw the breaking in of the Kingdom of God, thru Christ, as the event and ‘moment’ that all human history hinged upon. There was a real sense of ‘this is the special kairos season that all men have been waiting for’. The New Testament teaches that even the angels were waiting to see this day. One of the errors of dispensationalism was the idea that the important, main event was still some future happening [the second coming]. While it is true that this event will happen, and it will be glorious. Yet there was a sense in scripture that said the time of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection was the act of reconciliation that turned the destiny of man. Paul in essence was saying to the Corinthians ‘you don’t understand the full import of all that the Father has called you to. You are part of the most important movement in human history, all humanity has been waiting for this season, the ‘ends of the ages’ have come to this point. Don’t blow it for heavens sake’! Got it? Let’s grasp the fact that we too are part of this ‘time period’ [the new covenant kingdom age] and realize that our forefathers are watching from the stands [Hebrews]. Let’s not blow it [I was going to say ‘like the Cowboys’ but this gets too many locals mad].

(971) THE PLAYPIPE AND THE ‘RED LINE’- Well it’s been a while since I gave an example from the fire Dept. I was thinking of this the other day and still get a laugh out of them. On our rookie tests at the fire dept. the captains and chief would make up questions to test the guys. One question would ask ‘how many parts are there to a playpipe’ [a type of nozzle for the fire hose]. The answer would say something like ‘5’. One of the expected ‘parts’ was ‘the playpipe itself’. Well that’s like asking ‘how many parts to a car’ and the answer being ‘the wheels, motor, windshield, and the car itself’. The ‘car itself’ cant be a part of ‘the car’. What you could say is ‘the body/chassis’. So the poor rookies who would get the question wrong were actually right. The funny part was trying to explain this to the captain. In his mind he couldn’t see what he was trying to say was ‘the shaft’ [the actual pipe part of the nozzle]. The other funny thing was on one of the fire trucks we had what was called a ‘booster line’ [or red line]. Most of the modern trucks had red hose for this line. So it was common to call it ‘the red line’. The problem was one of the old trucks had a black hose for the ‘booster line’. So the question would ask ‘what color is the red line on unit 104’. So the poor rookie, who wasn’t really around long enough to memorize all the hose colors, what put ‘red’. You simply would think this was a gimme question, a trick question. It would be like asking ‘what color is the red truck’. The problem was the poor rookies would answer ‘red’ and to their dismay they would get it wrong. The ‘red line is black’! Once again, trying to explain this to the test makers was like trying to convert the Pope to Protestantism! The captain would insist ‘the red line is black’! Not realizing what they should of said was ‘what color is the booster line’.

(954)NOW IT’S A PARALLEL/BUBBLE UNIVERSE! I watched the first TV special I ever saw on the multi-verse theory. I think it’s the first one of its kind by the history channel. It was very eye opening. It seems as if its defenders have been told ‘your initial argument is nonsensical’ and they have made some adjustments. As you read down thru the Evolution section you will see that one of the arguments against a multi-verse is that it is a ‘non physical’ argument. It is metaphysical. This meaning that you could never truly prove the existence of another universe thru the science of Physics. Why? Because the original definition of ‘the universe’ was every thing that exists in the time/space continuum. If by definition, all that can be seen or detected is ‘part of our universe’ then how in the world can you detect something outside of it? [they have some ideas on this, but its pure speculation as of right now] Once you detect it, it, by definition is in our universe! Well the brothers now realize that they fell into this obvious contradiction, so they seem to be moving the goal posts a little. In the special I just saw, they now seem to be saying that our universe is simply one ‘bubble of universes’ that’s floating around in space [before, space and the universe were synonymous!] so they seem to be simply shrinking down the definition of universe and making it mean ‘our closed existing time space continuum, which is simply one of many’ Ahh, you guys are cheating with his one! But hey, how many viewers realized this? That’s the problem with these theories, they come up with them for the purpose of having another explanation for existence, but they then get into more trouble trying to keep their theory alive. Remember, the reason this theory started in the first place was to come up with some type of explanation, apart from God, to explain the fine tuning of the Cosmos [read my sections on fine tuning under Evolution]. The unbelievable fine measurements that have been found to be exactly right to support life have no other real explanation apart from a creator. The multi-verse theory simply says ‘well, if you have millions and billions of unseen universes [pure speculation!] then the odds on one of them getting it right just went up’. So this theory was originally floated for this reason. Now, even if this theory were ever proved [according to the new definition of the universe!] it would simply mean that instead of trying to figure out how ‘our universe got here’ [the original question] now we have to figure out how they all got here! It really proves nothing. But I thought it interesting to see how these giants of Academia now realize that they were violating the basic laws of logic by espousing the theory in its original form! [In essence, all these so called floating, bubble like universes would have originally fallen under the heading of ‘the universe’. You wouldn’t have seen them as a bunch of separate universes. But they had to change the definition in order to keep their argument in the boundaries of logic and common sense]. They also borrowed from Einstein’s theory on worm holes. But Einstein surmised that worm holes might be these tunnels in space/time that one could travel thru and exit at another dimension, a different location of the universe. He did not use this idea as traveling from one ‘bubble universe’ into another, like the proponents of the multi-verse were doing. The show then got too silly to even give it a speck of serious thought. They then theorized that there are possible duplicates of us, and duplicates of other sports teams and presidents and all types of stuff. They thought it possible for the Giants to have won the super bowl in one universe, though losing it in ours [and you call this science!] they even said that this theory has moral implications. How did they come up with this? One of them explained that you could be ‘good’ in one universe, but if you realize that this holy altar image of yourself is doing good somewhere else, then this might effect your choice of being righteous in ‘this universe’ WOW! As we continue our study thru the book of Corinthians, keep in mind Paul’s teaching on the foolishness of men’s wisdom, I think we just saw a good example of it. There is this stature that we give in our modern day to any ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’ that comes down the pike with any nonsensical idea. We see them as a special class, the Academics can’t be wrong! After all it sounds intellectual. A few centuries before Christ you had the great philosopher ‘Philo- Betto’ [O wait, that was Clint Eastwood’s character in ‘every which way but lose!’] I mean Plato. Truly Plato and Aristotle and Socrates have had tremendous influence on Western thought. You would be hard pressed to find other later philosophers who have had the same influence [maybe Immanuel Kant]. Plato built this great school of learning in ancient Greece. He bought the land from a man by the name of ‘Academe’. Eventually we would call this pursuit of knowledge ‘the Academic world’ or Academia. Hey, don’t be intimidated by these guys.

(952)1ST CORINTHIANS 5:1-7 Okay, now we get into some tough stuff. Paul tells them that he has heard about a situation where one of the brothers is sleeping with his step-mom [fathers wife, though probably not his mother]. And the rebuke is they are not repenting over it, but instead are kind of proud of the whole thing! Paul says to ‘deliver him to satan for the destruction of the flesh so the spirit may be saved’. Now I already showed you the way I view this verse. I tried to follow the other times where Paul speaks this way in this letter and when using this type of language I see him speaking of physical death [chapter 11- sleep-death as judgment to a believer who sins]. I often ‘day dream’ how bout you? I’m not sure if it’s the lord at times trying to tell me stuff. One of my noble fantasies is I can picture myself as the sole Christian preacher who has survived some nuclear holocaust and I am responsible to train the survivors. In this scenario [I am kinda ad libbing here, I don’t day dream this much!] I have both Catholic and Protestant believers. Although I am tempted to raise this new generation of people as Protestants, I instead teach the Catholics true Catholic doctrine [though I don’t fully agree with it all] and I teach the Protestants their stuff. Now, I think this little day dream in some way speaks to what I need to do at times on this blog. I need to honestly tell both sides! In this verse ‘commit to satan for the destruction of the flesh’ some do see it a little differently. You can read ‘flesh’ as meaning ‘fleshly nature’. Paul does use the word this way at times. You can’t really make the distinction by going to the Greek. Instead you have to simply look at the context. So this view would be saying ‘deliver this believer to the enemy, don’t allow him to remain ‘in the camp’ and continue to receive the benefits of the believing community. As you ostracize him he will feel the effect of not being with you, he will come to his senses and leave his sin’ [which in this scenario is ‘his fleshly nature’] so the ‘destruction of the flesh’ in this interpretation would fit in well with Arminians. Now, do I believe it this way? No, but I sure feel noble, sort of like the Protestant preacher in my ‘day dream’. [p.s. if you tell anybody about this day dream, I will deny it!]

(940)2ND SAMUEL 23- David recounts his life and the mighty men who were with him thru the ups and downs. He says ‘God raised me up on high, the anointed of God. He spake his words thru me’ Jesus was raised up ‘on high’ he was/is Gods anointed one [Messiah] and he spoke only the words that the Father gave him. Now David has some valiant men to mention. Some fought the enemy against all odds. One was in a lentil field and the rest of the people fled. This brother stood his ground and won! This characteristic is important for leaders; there are times where you must stand, even if the rest of your people are afraid! If you start running, then forget it, there isn’t a ‘snowball’s chance in Hades’ that the job will get finished. Also David was in the cave Adullam, and he longed for the water at Bethlehem. His 3 mighty men heard him and they secretly snuck out and broke thru the Philistines front line and got the water for David! A valiant deed. Then they bring it to David and he pours it on the ground! He says ‘God forbid that I should drink the water that you risked your lives for’. I don’t know about you guys, but if I were one of the mighty men, my next valiant act would be ‘watch me make the king drink water off the ground’. One of the brothers killed a lion in the snow. I grew up in New Jersey, when it’s freezing out its hard to carry out tasks. You really don’t want to fight battles and ‘slay lions’ in difficult environments. The mighty men were able to function well, even in harsh conditions. The rest of the chapter is simply the naming of all the others. A few things; God raises up leaders and ‘kings’ at various times in history [Luther, Calvin, Graham, etc.] these men make their mark on history with the help of many other valiant men. In David’s case one of the men saved him from sure death in an earlier fight with the giant’s sons. The point is we are not in this thing to make a name for ourselves or to think ‘I could do a better job than David’ [Absalom] and go and start our own ‘kingdom’. God places key people in key places at certain points in time. It is vital for all the ‘actors’ [those who act/function!] to be courageous, take risks as God ordains, and fulfill the mission to the best of your ability. There are times where leaders WILL HAVE TO LEAD! That means you sought God, you heard what he said, and you followed thru on it. Many sincere men try all sorts of ‘new ideas’ in an attempt to get something off the ground. A year goes by and they have a new idea their working on. What happened? Ultimately you have to lead. You have to follow thru on the directives that God gave you. The problem isn’t with the plan [most of the times] but it’s with the faithfulness to follow thru with the mission. David’s men had the character to stick things out when others fled. Sure, those who flee will be back to check things out every now and then. Don’t despise them, but you know who can be trusted with the next mission. These are the noble warriors who acted valiantly in the face of great odds. These are the ‘go to men’ if you will.

(930)2nd SAMUEL 14- David is broken over the estrangement of his son. Joab realizes that the kingdom can’t function to its full potential under this strain. But he knows he can’t confront David himself. Why? Maybe it’s because of the nature of leaders. It’s a very rare thing for one leader to confront another leader over an issue. The natural response is to look for ways to justify ourselves. So instead Joab finds a ‘wise woman’ and gets her to put on this act for the king. She tells him this sob story about one of her sons killing the other one. She is a widow and is left with only one son, but all the other relatives want justice! They can’t forgive the only heir. Well David falls for this scenario again! He did this with Nathan and Bathsheba. So he tells the woman ‘God forbid that someone takes vengeance on the only son. Over my dead body…. on and on’. Now the woman says ‘can I say one last thing’? Knowing David’s history of getting trumped at the end of these things, I would have said ‘no maam, you’ve said enough already’. But David says ‘go ahead’. She tells him ‘you’re the man!’ [Ouch! I wonder if this woman was the wife of Nathan?:-)] So David realizes he’s been duped again. The woman says ‘O, you are so wise and smart and….’ Gee, for someone who is so swift, he sure falls for these stories a lot. David sends Joab to get Absalom and Absalom returns to Jerusalem but the king avoids him for 2 years. Finally he sees his son. All is not well, Absalom resents the fact that his father called him home but never really made things right. Joab is glad that David gave it a shot. And the nameless wise woman gives us a quote worth remembering ‘For we must needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means [the Cross], that his banished [humanity] be not expelled from him [reconciliation]’. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

(899)SAMUEL 16- Samuel is coming from the recent ‘hacking incident’ of king Agag, and the Lord tells him to go to Bethlehem and anoint a new king. Samuel is afraid ‘what if Saul hears about it? He will kill me’. Notice, Samuel feels intimidated and fearful. When he gets to Bethlehem the scripture says the Elders were all in a panic, they said ‘are you come in peace’? Hey, they just heard about the hacking incident, word spreads fast when a prophet straps it on with some pagan! They must have been thinking Samuel was on a warpath. He tells them he is come in peace and wants to sacrifice with them and worship. As a little aside, when you have prophetic ministers in a city, it’s only natural that Elders [pastors] are going to feel intimidated. Why? Are prophets better men? No, but the prophetic operates under a different type of anointing. Don’t forget you already saw Samuel gain a reputation among the people because of his strong prophetic gift. Sometimes pastors can feel intimidated ‘geez, that guy hit the nail on the head. I hope he doesn’t call me out by name too!’ Samuel doesn’t ‘call them out’ but says ‘hey Elders, where all in this together. Let’s worship God’. Samuel finds David and anoints him. Saul is battling with all sorts of personal issues [evil spirit]. Even his close associates can pick up on it. The servants recommend for Saul to get a worshipper who can play music and minister to Saul. They tell him ‘yeah, there is this guy named David. He’s real good at playing music. Plus he is a valiant and mighty warrior’. We often see David as a ‘mamby pamby mamma’s boy’ at this stage of his life. But scripture says he already built up a reputation as a fighter. David takes the job and becomes a musician for Saul. A few thoughts. In this chapter we see Gods Spirit [anointing] leaving Saul and going with David. David himself in Psalms pleas with the Lord ‘take not thy Holy Spirit from me’ after his sin with Bathsheba. Let me encourage some of my Pastor friends. It’s easy to read stuff like this, or for some ‘prophet’ to pronounce stuff like this to a pastor. I really don’t see applying this scenario to modern day ministers. God’s Spirit in the Old Testament was operating differently than today. Only one king at a time could have the ‘kingly anointing’. When the Spirit left Saul for David it was because God was only anointing one person for the job. Today, while it’s possible for a pastor/minister to mess up and ruin his ministry, I still wouldn’t apply stuff like this in too much of a personal way. Sort of like ‘The Lord must have left me and now he’s chosen so and so on the other side of town’. The Lord ‘doesn’t leave you’ in this way under the New Covenant. Paul said the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, in context he is speaking of natural Israel, but you can also apply it to believer’s gifts today. How much God uses you does depend on your willingness and obedience to his call, but don’t think he left ‘your church’ and went to the other one down the street! [he hasn’t written ‘Michelob’ on your door! See entry 887]

(898)SAMUEL 15- Samuel instructs Saul to go and wipe out the Amalekites. He goes and conquers the city but saves the sheep and oxen and other valuables. Samuel confronts Saul and says ‘you disobeyed the Lord by not totally destroying everything’. Saul says ‘Well, we saved the good stuff so we could sacrifice it to the lord’. Samuel tells him ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’. God wanted obedience more than religious worship. The writer of Hebrews quotes David in the Psalms ‘sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a Body hast thou prepared me’. Jesus obedience to the father by dying on a Cross trumped the sacrificial system of the law. Saul messed up the picture! Samuel calls for king Agag, the Amalekite king who Saul captured. Agag thinks ‘great, they aren’t going to harm me now. After all the Pastor wants me’! Well surprise, Samuel takes out his sword and hacks old Agag in pieces! Saul must of thought ‘Gee, I really messed up this time. I never even knew the Pastor carried a blade’. A few things. Over the next century or so [if the Lord tarries] I believe the church is going to go thru a type of modern reformation. Today we see many well meaning believers ‘sacrificing’ their time and money and lives into a system of church that is fundamentally disconnected from the picture and nature of church as described in the New Testament. Now, I am not calling for an iconoclastic tearing down of all church buildings! But if the American church stopped all new building programs [finish the ones that are in transit, but no more!] and if we all began actually, daily giving of our time and resources to helping the poor and reaching out to the lost. We would need a hundred years at least in order to bring the balance back to the New Testament [where over 90 % of all giving was charitable]. Jesus and the disciples practiced a lifestyle where all were responsible to lay their lives down for the gospel. There are actual commands in scripture that say ‘you who are not working, get a job so you can have something to give away to those who are in need’. These are real commands that should be ‘obeyed’. But what we have taught Gods people is if they work real hard and sacrifice [as compared to obeying !] then they can put lots of money in towards the next project or building or whatever. Now some of the resources being gathered in this way are used for good things, but the underlying problem is we have given the average saint the impression that this way of sacrificing is more important than actually obeying. I cant tell you the number of believers who simply do not see it as their personal responsibility to ‘give to him that asks of you’ ‘how does Gods love dwell in you if you see a brother in need and don’t help’ ‘if you do it to the least of these my brethren you do it to me’. But there is not a single command in all of the New Testament to bring a tithe for the purpose of building a church facility. Now, it’s okay to build them to a degree, but are we teaching people that this type of sacrificial giving [towards the machinery of modern ministry] releases them from the primary command to obey? The church will go thru a rethinking of what church means, as we travel along this road we need to obey more than to sacrifice.

(887)SAMUEL 4 CONTINUED- Okay, let’s finish it up. In this chapter we see an important historical event, the capture of the Ark of the Covenant [the box that held the 10 commandments, not Noah’s Ark!] The children of Israel fight with the Philistines and take a loss of 4 thousand men. They go back to camp and regroup. They decide to take the Ark of God and involve it with human warfare. A big mistake! This speaks of the sad history of the crusades and other mistaken ideas of ‘holy war’. God does not involve himself in mans efforts of domination thru power. So the Philistines hear that the Ark is in the battle and they fear. ‘Oh my God, this is the God of Israel who defeated the Egyptians’. They knew the history of Israel and how the God of Israel was great. The battle rages and Israel takes a greater loss of 30 thousand men. Plus the Ark is captured and the two sons of Eli are killed. The runner runs back to Shiloh [the headquarters of the Ark, where the tabernacle of Moses still stood] and brings the terrible news to Eli [the high priest]. Eli hears about the Arks capture and falls back and breaks his neck and dies. One of the daughters in law to Eli goes into labor and delivers a boy. She names him Ichabod, which means God’s glory has departed. She did this because the Ark was taken. The Ark represented Gods glory and presence among the people. It seems as if Israel began to treat it in an idolatrous way. Sort of like what happened with the brass serpent that Moses made in the wilderness. God has to step and rebuke his people when they mistake the true worship of God with religious objects. The history of the Christian church has been divided over this for centuries. You can have religious art, it should not become a thing of worship. The iconoclast controversy of the Catholic and Orthodox churches have gone to extremes on both sides. At times believers would go into the ‘churches’ and destroy all the religious art they found. Others would hold to a view of icons [religious paintings] and statues that would seem to cross the line in areas of worship. I remember hearing a story about a prophet who stood up in a church meeting and said ‘thus saith the Lord, I have judged this church and people. My glory is no longer here. I have written ‘Michelob’ on your door posts’. Well, after he sat down he realized he mistook the word ‘Michelob [beer]’ for ‘Ichabod’. He then stood up again and said ‘Thus saith the Lord, I meant to say Ichabod’.

(878)RUTH 1- During the time of the judges there was a famine in the land. A Jewish couple, Naomi and Elimelech, leave their home land and travel to Moab. They take their two boys. During their time in Moab the boys marry. The girl’s names are interesting. One has the same name as a famous TV talk show host, Oprha! [actually it’s Orpah] the other is Ruth. Elimelech dies and eventually the two boys die as well. You have to stop and think of this tragedy for a moment. Is it possible that relocating to Moab was rebellion against the Lord? They did leave the promised land because things got tough. How often do we relocate under these types of circumstances? Naomi is left with her two daughters in law and she decides to return to the homeland. The girls want to go with her, but Naomi tells them ‘why go with me? I am too old to give you any more husbands. Stay in your own land and culture’. Orpah stays and becomes a very popular woman talk show host [okay, that’s it. I won’t do this again] and Ruth says ‘I will return with you and your family and culture AND GOD will be mine’. She chooses the true God of Israel over the pagan gods of Moab. Now, Naomi has suffered tragedy, she refers to herself as bitter. By all outward appearances she has failed in life. But wait, one of the most coveted things to happen for a woman of Israel was to have a part in the role of the Messiah. Ever since the promise in Genesis ‘the woman’s seed shall bruise the serpents head’ [the earliest evangel in scripture] all women from Israel wanted to be the mother of ‘that seed’ [Messiah]. If you weren’t the mother, the next best thing was to play a role in the lineage. Naomi will be the matchmaker of a couple that the lineage of messiah will be traced thru. God often used barren women, women who were deemed ‘cursed’ to play a major role in his purposes. I do realize that in the natural it did not look good for poor Naomi. I am sure all her friends gave her the standard ‘Oh dear, we are so glad to see you’ but later on must have thought ‘what on earth happened to that family? She left with big dreams and came back a widow!’ Are you feeling barren right now? Do you feel humiliated because the vision and purpose you told everyone about has not come to pass? Now is the time to find your purpose and destiny in God. You might just be in line to fulfill a greater, less obvious destiny. It might not look so glorious now, but maybe one day when the history books are written, your role will outlive the naysayers of the present hour.

(869) [moved to the top]

(858) [I stuck this one here because it seems to fit in with ‘comedy’!] EVOLUTION- I just read another one of those articles in the news paper. How Florida just mandated the teaching of Evolution in their public schools [I figured it already was mandated?]. They of course described the theory as the ‘central organizing principle of life science’ BULL! Now, I have heard scientists say ‘what in the heck do you mean by this’ [the so called idea that evolution is this amazing ‘organizing principle’]? The truth is evolution has fallen so badly in recent years that many scientists are scrambling for alternative theories. The ones that disbelieve in creation or intelligent design are even looking for a way out of evolution! The old theory has no more legs to stand on. Let me try and show you the desperation of some. Stephen Hawking has espoused various theories on the universe. One of the theories [which is difficult to describe without diagrams] basically looks like a ‘funnel’ or ‘cone’. The present accepted scientific theory of Big Bang Cosmology would look like a cone, with a minute starting point that grows wider as you pan to the top. This accepted theory shows a ‘point of singularity’. This is basically the point on the diagram that says ‘all things started here’. Now, even though this is accepted science, the ‘contrarians’ are desperately trying to come up with other alternatives. Why? Because if the ‘big bang’ is true, then God is a necessary being! So how does the brilliant Hawking get around this? He comes up with a theory [besides the ‘multi-verse’ one!] That says ‘my cone/funnel has a round indistinguishable knob for a point’. Sort of like a dunce cap with a ball at the end [Prophetic? Just kidding]. Hawking espouses that there is no discernable ‘edge’ or starting point. He feels that this concept can explain away the ‘point of singularity’. Why is this absolutely ridiculous? It would be like me trying to prove to you that this roll of duct tape that I hold in my hand ‘had no beginning’. And if I was able to ‘hide’ the starting point of the tape, where you couldn’t peel a piece off, that this would prove ‘walla, the tape has no starting point’ [that is it was never made]. Absolute lunacy! You say ‘well, John, who are you to question the intellect of such an austere man as Hawking’? Many other Physicists have said the exact same thing. It’s simple logic that tells you this. Just because you can hide the beginning point of a thing, this does not mean the thing had no beginning! I just get riled up when I read these news paper articles and they espouse some of the most ridiculous stuff. Maybe their world really does look like a ‘dunce cap with a knob on the end’. God created the one I live in.

(817)ARE CHURCH BUILDINGS, PAID LEADERS AND PUBLIC SCRIPTURE READING PAGAN PRACTICES? There are a few reasons why I avoid ‘going too deep’ on this site. The obvious one being I can’t do it very well! Plus it has its ups and downs. I turned 46 the other day. I like taking the kids to the beach and all, growing up in Jersey it was cool to ‘show off’ and ‘go deep’. I have this inner temptation to ‘go deep’ in the Gulf. But there is also a restraining factor; It works like this- I can risk looking cool at the age of 46 and swim out real far, it might be over my head, but heck the kids will think ‘wow, he is really deep’! Then this nagging fear pops up in my mind. I see my self being pulled to shore by some 18 year old lifeguard. I am strung out on the beach with a group of spring breakers hovering over me with Budweiser cans. The local news channel has their cameras in my face as the lifeguard explains how they ‘brought me back with C.P.R.’ and the college kids are saying ‘are you all right old man’? As you can see ‘going deep’ has its risks! Now, what does the bible teach about ‘church [sacred] buildings’ ‘paid clergy [leaders]’ ‘the public reading of scripture’ ‘meeting on Sunday’ and all the other practices associated with ‘the institutional church’? Well actually these things are not as ‘Pagan’ as you might think! In fact the public reading of scripture is commanded in scripture. The ‘paying money’ to Elders is taught. Christians meeting in ‘sacred buildings’ actually did happen to a degree in scripture! Both the Temple and the Synagogue continued to be places where early Jewish [and some Gentile- ‘God- fearers’] believers ‘met’. The point is these actual practices are not necessarily ‘Pagan in origin’. Am I defending the later development of ‘the church being the church building’ along with the clergy system and all that it entails? No. I believe Christians have been confused on what the ‘church is’ and how we as the people of God should function in society. But I also believe that a strong case could be made that the present ‘ideas’ about church that are unbiblical could be traced to ‘Judaism’ instead of ‘Paganism’. The development of the church [sacred] building along with the Altar and officiating Priest can be seen as Legalistic [law mentality] as opposed to Pagan. Now I see both of these developments as bad, but the basic idea of believers having recognized leaders [Elders] who are supported financially [free will –no tithe or ‘salary’] is in scripture. The fact that Paul rented a building in the book of Acts [hall of Tyrannus- Acts 19:9] to teach in a public forum is not pagan! The whole point being we as the Ecclesia are the actual dwelling place of God. As we learn and grow as believers we have tremendous freedom to have public places dedicated to God, scenarios where leaders speak to us in a public forum. Actual ways of supporting leaders who are dedicating their time to teaching and preaching. These things are permitted and at times commanded in scripture! Where we need to re examine our beliefs is when we see the ‘church building’ and the ‘Sunday message’ and all of the things associated with ‘Sunday church’ as actually being ‘the local church’. It is the limited mindset that hinders us. Now, to simply replace the ‘Sunday church building mindset’ with ‘the house church mindset’ doesn’t necessarily fix the problem. Some teach the idea that the ‘natural habitat’ of the believer is the ‘open meeting’. That when you remove the believer from the open meeting format, that in essence you have taken him out of his natural setting and therefore he cant develop right. If you read the teachings of Jesus on how the believer is to ‘act’ and function in society. If you follow the ministry of Jesus and imitate as much as possible his life and precepts. If you do the things Jesus said to do, then you are ‘living in the designed natural habitat’ of the believer! The idea that the ‘open house meeting’ versus the ‘Sunday public meeting’ is the answer for the modern believer is very limited. The problem with most for us is not how or where we are meeting, it is our natural instinct to not want to carry our cross. To live an unselfish life. To give ourselves away for a higher purpose. The main body of the New Testament has very little to say about ‘how to meet’. Sure we have a few well-known scriptures that we are all familiar with ‘forsake not the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some’ [Hebrews]. In context this is speaking of the ‘open meeting’ idea. It speaks of exhorting one another. More like Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians. But the point I want to make [without the risk of getting pulled to shore!] is that the answer to the present day dilemma of ‘non functioning’ believers is not going to be found in changing the way we meet. Our natural habitat is not sitting in someone’s living room! It is going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. It is being an example of living a sacrificial life as much as possible. Trying to follow the admonition of James on pure religion ‘to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and keeping yourself unspotted from the world’ [not how you meet!]. In a nutshell the problem is most of us are falling short in actually living the life! So I don’t want to contradict all the writings that I have done on this site about the need to change our mindset on ‘what is Local church’. But I feel some have tried to replace the way believers meet, thinking that this in itself is the main problem with modern Christianity. I see it a little differently.

(804)A BUNCH OF PEARL HUNTERS! As long as I can remember I have been a ‘pearl hunter’. You too! I don’t mean literal pearls, but things that we fixate on. I would venture to say that all you male readers [most all] have been on the B.B. gun hunt at one time. I still remember seeing my buddies at grade school with the cherished pearl! [actually the pearl handles were nice] I eventually persuaded my dad to convince my mom that I would not shoot my eye out. It was not too longer after that I possessed the precious object. [To me it was like getting that special thing, even though hundreds of thousands of other boys were presently shooting birds, windows and all sorts of things on a daily global scale]. Then came the go-cart. I learned from this experience that if you can’t get your own hands on the coveted material object, that the next best thing is to become friends with the kid who has it! I made lots of new friends. I must have bought and sold 8-10 dirt bikes before the age of 16. I loved them. I also noticed something with these toys, the moment you fixate on a ‘new toy’ you lose interest in the old one. There seems to be a thing in man that says ‘I must acquire that special object that is so coveted, that it deserves to be on a pedestal by itself’. How dare that go–cart take up all that room in the garage, I need that space for the dirt bike! Jesus said ‘The Kingdom is like a merchant man seeking goodly pearls, when he finds one of great price, he sells everything [get that go cart out!] so he can purchase that one pearl’. There is just something that takes place when you stumble across the kingdom. It offers eternal life for free to everyone who believes. As you journey along the road you learn that the actual choice that you thought you made to ‘purchase the pearl’ was really pre ordained of God! In essence it is so secure that you didn’t even have the option of not purchasing it! How do you know when you have found it? Easy, you see all the other ‘toys’ as being not worthy to compete with it. You sell out because of its significance. I thank God that as men [40-60 years old] we grow out of that childish stage of wanting silly toys. Or do we? A few years back I was shopping at our local flea market [it’s named ‘the trade center’] and as I hit all the ‘men’ booths, Knives, Guns, Etc. [toy guns] I saw the booth that had the blow guns and crossbows. I of course had to stop there. You never know, maybe there was some responsible purchase to be made? They did have every imaginable blow gun to fit any future scenario. As I am asking the lady ‘how strong is this one’ [a small hand held crossbow] she says ‘well, my husband shoots the arrows thru a steel shed in our yard’. The lady had to be nearing 65 years old!

(802)U.F.O.’S AND THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT! Hey, I needed to get your attention! A few years back I took a few weeks off from the Fire Dept and drove to New Jersey [or Florida?]. I didn’t keep up with the news and all, but I would catch glimpses every so often. The movie ‘Blair Witch Project’ had come out during my trip. I heard that it was supposed to have been a real documentary film that some kids found, but I wasn’t sure of the whole story. When I got back to work some of the guys were discussing it and I naively said ‘I heard that it was real’ [note to self, don’t blurt stuff like this out]. Sure enough I experienced the portion of scripture that says ‘he was despised more than any man’. I wasn’t alone in this mockery, one of my other buddies at the station said ‘yeah, I heard that too!’ For full disclosure I am going to have to share his first name. It was Sammy! [Sorry Sam, but I need to use your first name for a reason]. So after a few weeks of ridicule we repented of our false belief and accepted the fact that the movie was fake. Then the guys rented ‘The Jersey devil’ and sure enough the talk was ‘this one is real’. As a joke I told Sam ‘Yeah, this is the one we meant. This one is real! Right Sam?’ he wanted nothing to do with it. I remembered a funny story while writing this. The reason I had to use Sam’s name was he had an Anglo sounding first and last name. He was light complexioned and would easily pass for a white guy. One day it slips out and Sam says at some class he told the instructor he was Mexican. Me and my other buddy [a Mexican] said ‘what do you mean you’re Mexican’? And he fessed up, although he looked white and had a white last name, he was 100% Mexican. He admitted that when he was in school some of his friends didn’t know he was Mexican until years later. So I tell Sammy ‘you know I also had that problem growing up’ [he looks at me real seriously! He was still fairly new to the fire Dept. at this point] I said ‘many of my buddies didn’t realize I was black’ [P.S. I am Italian, could pass for Mexican, darker skin than most whites. But it would be a stretch to pass for Black!] Now to the U.F.O.’S. Do I believe in them? No. Do I believe people have seen things in the sky that are unexplainable? Yes. You have had reputable people see things that were unidentified. So I believe in the fact that there are unidentifiable things people have seen. I also do not totally discount the possibility of increased angelic activity as the Second Coming of Christ nears. Now, over these last five years I had a ‘sign’ that kept reoccurring. I would often notice the digital clock time of ‘8:44’. It was so noticeable that I have even written before on this blog about it. Thinking of verses that are ‘8:44’ and stuff like that. It never dawned on me that it might actually be a sign about the time ‘8:44’. So a few nights ago I am watching Larry King on CNN. He was doing a show on the most witnessed UFO event since the famous ‘Phoenix Lights’ where many witnesses saw lights in the sky. Now the one Larry king is showing is the event in Texas. I think the date was 1-2008. As I am watching they have real clear video of these multicolor lights. It simply looks like a glorious light show. There were parts of the video where I thought ‘there is no reason why this couldn’t be an angel’. Sure enough the UFO guys got the government to release the radar from that night. It showed lots of points where something was in the air. Things that were unidentifiable. Now the interesting part was, the radar showed all these things flying towards Crawford Texas where President Bush lives. The many witnesses, along with the actual video, do seem to show real activity. The most prayed for person in the world today is very likely to be the President. God does send angels in scripture to help people who are praying. Is it possible that a bunch of angels were sent on assignment that night? Wouldn’t the Lord give some kind of sign or warning if he were to send an angel? The thing that really caught my attention was as I am watching the repeat of the video during the program; it has the time the video was taken- at exactly 8:44 P.M.

(792)CHICKEN BREATH- Strange place to write one for the comedy section! I just remembered a funny incident at the Fire House. When a call would come in for an ambulance run, it would come over a loudspeaker. This gave the guys time to prepare and get ready for the accident. Sometimes you could hear the caller a little differently than the guy who picked up the phone. You could also hear the firefighter talking and asking questions ‘what’s your address, give me your phone #’ and stuff like that. One time the firefighter asked the husband [who was calling for an ambulance for his wife] ‘Sir, what’s wrong with your wife’ and the poor guy says something that sounds like ‘chicken breath’ to the firefighter on the phone. He asks again ‘what!’ sure enough he hears ‘chicken breath’. So he goes thru this for a few seconds and asks the guy ‘what do you mean she has chicken breath’ and finally the guys in the station who are hearing this yell at him ‘he is saying ‘she can’t breathe’ you idiot’! [Chicken breath- shicken breath- she can’t breathe. I guess?]

(793)HELP! One more from the Fire Dept. Over the years when new guys would get hired, they would ride the Fire Trucks and Ambulance to get a feel for the job. When they are rookies we don’t let them do any major stuff. Maybe get a stretcher or call the station for backup, simple stuff. So one day they go on an Ambulance run and take one of these rookies. Sure enough it’s a code [heart attack] and they use the rookie to get the equipment and stuff from the ambulance. They have him running back and forth doing errands. Of course he is fairly new at this. The guys tell him ‘go call for help’ [we need backup]. So he runs to the Ambulance and gets on the radio. The guys at the station are eating dinner or watching T.V.? As they are sitting there, they are getting a kick out of hearing some guy over the speaker say ‘HELP, HELP, HELP’ They are thinking it’s some inexperienced sheriffs deputy or something. As they listen for a few more ‘HELP’S’ they realize it’s one of us! Hey, they did tell the rookie ‘call for help’. [He should have said ‘unit 162 to Central, we need backup’].

(788)I just remembered a story for the ‘comedy section’. Years ago at the fire department we had a few guys who would come in to work and the first thing they would do is read the run reports from the previous day. They would get a kick out of the misspelled words and stuff. Though all of our guys were smart guys, some of the brothers couldn’t spell well. One time one of my buddies got a hold of a report [or maybe some type of test the volunteers took?] One of the answers to a question was ‘he died from loss of blood’. The poor volunteer wrote ‘it means hims bleeds to dead’ [sic].

(728) SNEAKING A JELLY DONUT- I have been updating the ‘comedy section’ and remembered something. Years ago at the fire house I had a buddy who was trying to lose a few pounds. Firefighters do have a tendency to put on weight if they don’t workout or limit their food intake. I eventually started eating once a day and have kept the habit up now for many years. So this friend stops by the bakery and picks up a dozen jelly donuts [we call them ‘sweet bread’ in south Texas. Which is also a name for a certain organ meat that people cook. It is good, I have eaten it plenty of times. I would kid my Mexican buddies and say ‘you think you guys could come up with anything more confusing than calling a meat product and a jelly donut by the same name!] So my buddy brings back the donuts to our little sub station where we are the only 2 guys working. I had a habit of sitting out in the truck stalls during lunch and reading for around an hour. I did this for 25 years. Sometimes I would sit by the ambulance or behind the fire truck. I would open the rear door and have a nice view of the yard. Well as we got back to the station my buddy would keep offering me a donut. He knew I didn’t eat during the day but was worried he would finish the whole dozen off by himself. I told him not to get the dozen but he didn’t listen! So as the morning rolls on he eats one, than another. Well in a few hours he must have eaten 6 by himself! I would kid him and say ‘brother, for someone whose trying to lose a few pounds, you sure have a strange way of doing it’. He fessed up that he knew he was blowing it. He swore ‘that’s it, no more’ after he downed number 7. So as I go into the stalls to read, about 30 minutes go by and I hear the creaking of the dorm door open into the truck stalls. I am quiet and reading. This day I am sitting behind the fire truck reading. I hear someone sneaking around the truck, trying to be quiet. He squeezes his ‘belly’ between the wall and the truck sliding his way right to where I am sitting. He thinks I am sitting by the ambulance. As he slips into the spot where I am quietly sitting, I just wait for his face to pop thru so I can ask ‘what in the heck are you doing’. As his head appears he has the 8th jelly donut jammed in his mouth and the jelly ready to explode all over. He realizes he has been caught and says ‘I thought you were sitting by the ambulance’.

(616) A few months ago my wife bought a bottle of ‘Pina Colloda’. An alcoholic drink to all you really holy Christians! It was a one time deal for a birthday or something? I told her to save the bottle so I could use it for my water. I fill up bottles of water and keep them in the fridge. I also fill up a gallon jug, but the kids empty it and leave it in the fridge empty. When I go for the drink it’s empty! So I devised a scheme where I fill up bottles, preferably glass ones, and keep them in the fridge. The kids know ‘they are dad’s water bottles, don’t use them’. So this addiction of mine [drinking water!] has lead to some funny incidents. Once I took the bottle in the truck and picked up one of the homeless brothers. He sees me sucking on this Pina Colloda thing and asks ‘hey brother, is that straight Vodka you’re drinking’? Of course I couldn’t help it, I told him ‘Yea, the bible doesn’t say drinking is wrong, just that you shouldn’t get drunk!’ he’s like ‘praise God, finally found a preacher who sees the truth on this stuff’. Of course I burst his bubble and told him its water. Then yesterday I went with some family relatives who are down from New York looking for a house. Around 3 o’clock I am getting anxious to get home and start cooking. Hey I get up at 3 AM, by 8 AM I have done a lot of work. At three o’clock I am ready to call it a day. But the realtor just got started at noon! So they can see I’m like ‘just drop me off, I need to get back and do some stuff’. Well when I got home I was desperate for some water. My brother in law sees me go to the fridge and devour that water bottle like a raving drunk. He’s like ‘what’s that your drinking’ it took a good few minutes to convince him that it’s really water! Hey I looked like a drunk who was desperate to get home! I think I need to change the water bottles to something a little less dramatic. NOTE; to be honest, this homeless friend is not a drinker. But I have many others who are. And they have expressed the above sentiment many times!

(595) I am a little hesitant to do this, but what the heck! Let’s do another book review. The last one I did, I put on another site [moving on] and the kids ‘cussed’ me out real good! I did not expect the negative response. Some was good criticism, but others were really offended over it. They are ‘ex cult’ members and did not like Christians posting stuff on their site at all. Well I finished the Dahmer book ‘Dark Journey Deep Grace’. It tells of Dahmers conversion in prison. I liked it a lot. The Minister who worked with Jeff was Church of Christ, so some might have some theological differences over Baptism, but it is very real. No doubt that Jeff was a Christian. Found it interesting that Jeff was concerned about a lot of the legalistic problems facing the Church of Christ. He had questions on music in worship, how to take the Lords supper and certain technical issues that the Minister was surprised that Jeff was even concerned about. The minister was a man of grace and tried to focus Jeff on grace. Jeff also said how after his father sent him some materials on Evolution being fake, that this was a ‘hinge’ point in his conversion. He states how he actually used evolution as a way to appease his conscience when committing his horrible crimes. He would think ‘if we are all just random acts of slime, we then have no one to answer to’. After his dad sent him the stuff, Jeff began thinking about answering to a higher court! The story is a good read. Jeff is killed in prison to the dismay of the minister who was developing a good friendship with him. I get the sense that Jeff was a real brother in the Lord. He of course committed terrible crimes, but God forgave him. I also used the name Jeff while writing this entry because one of the point’s of the book was how many people, even believers, were not willing to accept his conversion. No one wanted to speak of him as ‘Jeff’ but only ‘Dahmer’. To personalize it was too much for some. I don’t want to underestimate Jeff’s crimes, nor the great mercy of God and the power of Jesus blood!

(240) Now to the funny stories ‘THE CRACK PIPE AND THE LAPTOP’ I have my office set up like those basements in the 70’s where teens would hang out and get high. A bunch of ‘Doors’ and Beatles posters. Lava lamps [in the living room] a throwback to the 70’s [sort of like the afro looking guy with the leisure suit in ‘that 70’s show’ I crack up just seeing him]. One day I saw one of those corncob pipes they used to sell in the candy stores up north, I thought ‘I need to get one for the study’. Sure enough I am driving my daughter home and I see this head shop [place where you buy bongs and stuff to get high] I thought I will stop real quick and make this Christian purchase. I go in and innocently ask this high school kid working the counter if they had this pipe. He’s sitting there studying for school, trying to make a buck by servicing all the local crack heads needs. He looks at me with disgust and points to the jar filled with pipes on the counter. In ignorant joy I am happy to have located this addition to my office. I do have long hair, look raggedy and am sometimes mistaken for a homeless guy. As I make the purchase I tell the kid ‘I am not going to smoke crack or anything, I just want it for my room’ to which he simply gives me the look ‘yea right’. I went to buy a laptop a while back. While looking at the different ones the young salesmen [another kid looking like he’s working his way thru school] is helping me choose one. I finally get one and am asking him if it’s ready to go online and all. He asks me what kind of Internet connection I use. I reply ‘wal mart’, which was true. We used a service for 10 bucks a month that came from wal mart. The kid asks again in dismay thinking ‘surely this guy doesn’t use wal mart’ I re assured him that it was true, wal mart does carry this. He kind of had a look on his face like ‘wait till I tell my buddies this one’. After the purchase this innocent kid goes thru the whole sales pitch to sell me a case and all the other accessories and stuff, he wants commission! I then simply tell him ‘kid, your looking at someone who uses wal mart dial up, what are your chances your gonna sell me all this others stuff’ to which he replied ‘yea, your right’ with a look of resignation on his face.

(654) STUFF FROM PROVERBS 22:16 ‘he that oppresses the poor and gives to the rich shall come to want’. There are many believers who struggle financially. Many of them are sincere believers who don’t understand why they are struggling. I want to encourage you to read proverbs and look for all the verses on giving to the poor. It is too common for sincere believers to tithe to church on Sunday and not realize that they are overlooking the main body of scripture that speaks of God blessing those who meet the needs of others! Also I have heard it taught that if you give to the wealthy you will be blessed [I heard this actually taught by a prosperity preacher. He used the book of Job and said ‘the world thinks giving to the poor is merciful, God says giving to the rich will give you a blessing’!] I figured I would throw this verse in so you can have your mind renewed to Gods Word! Also I just retired as a firefighter. I knew the first month of transition would be financially difficult. You have to wait for your first check and all. I also felt the lord telling me ‘John, you have been slacking on giving to the poor’. The budget for my News Paper ads and radio come from my pocket, so I have been slacking on the ‘giving to the poor part’. So I took out some money [in single dollar bills] and when the guys would ask for a dollar or two I would give it. Not much, 20 dollars or so every week. Really simple. Sure enough I have been getting extra ‘income checks’ that I was not aware of. A few thousand over a few weeks. I felt the Lord said ‘give to the poor’. 26:27 ‘whoever digs a pit shall fall therein, rolls a stone it will come back on him’ many years ago at the firehouse we had an older captain [Kriegel- to all my buddies who read this site!]. He was a good guy, used to give me these Christian papers he would get from his church. The guys liked playing pranks on him. One day they knew he was going to Mexico the next day, about a 2 hour drive. So that night they put a sign on the front of his truck that said ‘HONK, I AM A GAY MAN’ [Something to that affect]. Sure enough he couldn’t figure out why all the Mexicans kept beeping their horns! One time he stuck this mouse trap in his kitchen locker. We all had these lockers for each shift and eventually stuff kept finding its way into the other shifts lockers! So we all put locks on them. Well during dinner if you were short on ketchup or something it was just easier sticking your hand thru the bottom of the cabinet than walking to HEB. The technical term in the Greek for this act is called ‘stealing’. So Kriegel stuck a mouse trap in his locker! One morning the guys are just getting on shift and they hear Kriegel screaming. He forgot his keys at home and stuck his hand in his own locker. ‘Who so rolls a stone, it will come back on him’! [I wonder how he knew sticking your hand thru the bottom would work?]

(665) THE STUPIDITY OF THE NEWS MEDIA! I can’t help it! Today is the 2008 Democratic primary vote in South Carolina. By all accounts Barrak Obama will win. The only problem is he will probably get 60% of the black vote [great for me, I think he should get all the black vote!]. But only 10 % of the white vote. Why? Because the racist plays of the DEMOCRATS over the last few weeks, that’s why! All the wonderful surrogates and friends of the Clintons [I am tired of the same old dynasty of Bush/Clinton. Do we really need 4[or 8] more years of these same 2 families, please!] He made innuendos about black stereotypes and steered the campaign towards race. I know they will deny it, but when the Republicans deny being racist, the Clintons and all the other liberals [Kennedy] don’t care. They still brand you as playing the race card. So in my view the fact that the Clintons injected certain statements into the media, like ‘cocaine’ should be taken as a political move to turn Obama into the ‘Black candidate’. They know if Obama gets 90% of the Black vote today, they will win. Because the pushback by the White vote [thanks Bill] will see this and vote ‘Hillary’. Now, did Bill Clinton know this? You bet he did! Are you tired yet of seeing him on TV in a mad rage every time the reporter asks the guy a question? I am. Bill says ‘the media is giving Obama a free ride’. What about when his wife had a subpoena to turn over the law records for Whitewater? She denied she had them, and one day out of the blue they showed up on her dinner table at the white House. The maid found them. What did the liberal media say about this? Nothing. They thought ‘we are the media, she didn’t break the law by putting them there. No one can prove she is lying, or for that matter Bill.’ So Bill thinks the media are too easy on Obama! Then yesterday the New York Times [which I read] endorsed Hillary. Their reasoning? They stated ‘we know our paper is adamantly against the war. We see the war as the biggest injustice of our time! Yet we know Hillary voted for the biggest injustice of our time [according to them] and Obama didn’t. But we endorse Hillary because she seems to have a better plan to undo this injustice.’ What a crock! I guess the times would say ‘we know Hitler killed 6 million Jews. And Churchill tried to stop it. But we will endorse Hitler because he seems to have a better handle on managing the war than Churchill’. The Times are part of the elite North eastern mindset that says ‘we are very open minded. Not like those racists in the South’ but yet they play into the elitist liberal racism that says ‘if we think Obama cant win [racist in itself] then lets do what we have to do in order to get Hillary nominated’. So you hear stuff from former Senator Bob Kerry ‘Barrak Hussein Obama did Cocaine as a youth’. Now, are we idiots? You think he doesn’t know what he’s doing? I am sure him and the surrogates of the Clintons thought ‘well, we know this is being somewhat racist, but heck. It’s for the benefit of the party and we know if Barrak wins the nomination he will lose the general [because in their twisted minds they are saying behind closed doors that a Black can’t win. This ‘secret’ judgment from them is actually racist!]. So they think ‘let’s do what we have to do to stop the Black man at all costs. After all were doing this for their [Black people] own good!’ You see, racism exists even in the minds of those who are always accusing the other side of being racist. Plus if Hillary gets the job, I will have to change my view of the rapture. Because 3.5 years into her rule we get raptured out! [You guys need to lighten up!]

(669) PROVERBS- A few days ago I woke up and taught Revelation 11. One of the principle ideas of the chapter is ‘after the enemy makes war against you, AND overcomes you. The Spirit of life from God will fill you and you will stand up on your feet’. Whenever I teach a theme like this, it’s like asking for patience! Be assured stuff ‘hits the fan’ [dung- lets stay biblical!] So I just woke up and felt I heard the Lord say ‘If your strength fails in the day of adversity, your strength is small’ [Proverbs]. I then heard on the Christian music station a short testimony from a famous Christian counselor [Steve Arterburn]. He said when growing up his mom had a Christian background that taught temptation and failure will not affect you if you have faith. That true faith will basically safeguard you from bad stuff. I got the sense that he was talking about the Word of faith, Prosperity movement. He then said ‘but then when dad committed suicide’ it made her question her beliefs. And then he said ‘and when my brother died of aids’. I at this point said to myself ‘geez! I hope he doesn’t say ‘and then when the space satellite crashed into the house!’ I don’t want to make light of it, but it was getting weird! The point was he was showing that his mom allowed herself to view faith from an unbiblical standpoint. A few entries back I mentioned how the world news just did an expose on Kenneth Copeland. They quoted Jesus words ‘lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth’ and then showed all the expensive Planes that Brother Copeland has purchased with ministry money. A collection of very expensive Planes that fit more into the category of a collector/investor than a ministry thing. Brother Copeland is an experienced pilot and has a love for flying. I could see how he, thru his own belief system, could justify spending millions on stuff like this. Though Brother Copeland is not extravagant in other areas, it seems like the millions spent on a collection of ‘ministry planes’ from non profit giving is very questionable. The reason ‘churches’ get tax exempt status is for charitable outreach. The idea of meeting the needs of society. To use millions of tax free dollars like this is not right. Now, the verse we begun with. Adversity will come to every believer at one time or another. Jesus told Peter ‘satan hath desired to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy FAITH FAIL NOT. And when you are converted, strengthen thy brethren’. I was thinking the other day how King David could have been so much more successful if it weren’t for the ‘Bathsheba thing’. Or Abraham, what a man of faith! O, except for when he faked that his wife was his sister and she slept with the king. ‘But brother, that’s just one incident’. Your right forgive me! Shall we discuss Hagar? Or Peters denials, hey if the bible is fake, why in the world would these guys be writing such bad stuff on themselves! If you are making it up as you go you can make yourself at least look good! If you think about it God used all these guys despite/because of their humanity. I am not making an excuse for sin! But Jesus actually says that Peters denials and human failure would co exist with ‘his faith failing not’. Faith, in the mind of him WHO GIVES IT, wasn’t some way to by pass failure or discouragement. It was the thing that got you up the next day, after the Bathsheba’s, or the denials. It made you ‘get up seven times’ [Proverbs- a just man will fall 7 times and get up again, a wicked man falls once and stays down for the count. 7 is the number of perfection. Its like God says ‘I will allow you to taste a perfect amount of failure in your life. Just enough to purge you. But be assured ‘after you are converted, after you get back up, you will have this divine ability to strengthen your brethren!’] Do we use our faith to create around us perfect environments? Should we see it as some means to ‘build a fleet of Planes’ [or any other monetary thing]? Faith is being able to keep your eyes on the King. Beholding Jesus in the midst of all the stuff you go thru. Failing in the day of adversity means not being able to see tomorrow. It means you not only ‘denied him 3 times’ but you feel all hope is lost. You want to leave town and start all over. Don’t feel bad if this is you. God is simply showing you that ‘your strength is small’. Hey, when you are weak he is strong. God is just setting you up for some good days ahead!

(680) SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of being judged’ Jesus will show us that one of the major causes of ‘being in a state of condemnation’ is anger and un forgiveness. He will say ‘if you bring your gift to the altar and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave the gift and be reconciled with your brother first’. It’s easy to have ‘aught against your brother’. I took my computer to my ‘computer guy’ the other day. He’s a good friend and wiz at computers. When you master something, it’s hard to be patient with others who have not ‘mastered it’. So as my friend is helping me he will say ‘OK, Press this or do this function’ and as I try it, it doesn’t work. He gets flustered and says ‘you know what we call that’? I say ‘no’. He says ‘Picnic’ which is short for ‘problem in chair, not in computer’. So he does the ‘control, alt, delete’ thing and sure enough it didn’t work for him either! Then he realizes he needed to type something in. I do kid with him. I tell him ‘Gary, I have advanced a lot in the last year with computers’ as he is directing me to ‘uninstall’ a program. I tell him ‘I know how to get to the spot to uninstall stuff’ [I really do!]. So I tell him I have one problem, as I do this and that [going thru all the functions to get to the spot] I come to a screen that says ‘install’ or ‘remove’ programs. I tell him ‘I have been hitting the ‘install’ icon, and for some reason it doesn’t remove the program? The only way I could describe the look on his face is ‘disdain, loathsome, utter contempt’. He did know I was kidding! One of the underlying themes thru out the whole Sermon on the Mount is how to relate to others. Don’t fight back, don’t get even, don’t remember faults. This is what makes the Christian life so hard. In and of ourselves these principles go against out nature. Jesus said earlier ‘you must be MORE RIGHTEOUS’ than the so called righteous religious leaders! The only way we can carry out these mandates is thru the Cross and Spirit. Identifying with Jesus in both his death and resurrection and allowing the Spirit of God to do it thru us. There is no way to get around it, we must forgive and not be ‘angry against our brother without cause’. You say ‘well, I have a reason to be angry’. Paul will later teach we are to forgive all, just as Christ forgave us. If you are a believer, you have been given free forgiveness that you don’t deserve. Because of this Jesus requires us to forgive others. We have no cause to be angry with our brother!

(684) SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘When you pray…When you do good deeds….When you fast….be not like the hypocrites’! WOW! Jesus said hypocrites pray, fast and do good deeds! Who’d a thunk it? I took some guys to the grocery store yesterday. Should I tell this story? Jesus said ‘don’t sound the trumpet before you when you do something good’. Let me tell it and try to defend myself. I took a new brother and he asked if I would by him some stuff. I was more than glad. The other brothers know I pay for this stuff out of pocket. The new guys think I run some type of ministry that brings in cash! So sometimes they get a little carried away like some church is paying for it. I don’t mind, I buy the stuff any way. The older brothers get mad that some new guy might take advantage. I told these older brothers ‘go ahead, get what you need’. They wanted a few things [avocadoes, razors for shaving, etc.] They saw the price and said ‘no, that’s too much’. I told them don’t worry about it. They felt guilty cause the new guy did pick up lots of stuff. My buddy says ‘some people are selfish, they only care about what they can get from people’. I tell him ‘I know. The Lord has given me this gift of spotting selfishness in others. I can discern others faults. Along with this gift he has also revealed to me that I possess a strong gift of personal humility!’ [They know me enough by now to tell when I am setting them up like this! I am kidding of course!] Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for doing things just for the glory of men. Paul would use examples of what God was doing thru him to edify others. Jesus in the previous chapter said ‘let you light shine so men would see your good works’ [not ministry performance!]. The whole point is, if God is using you as an example to teach others, it’s alright to write about, or teach others by example. But if the primary motivation behind the ‘praying, fasting, good deeds’ is so people can pat you on the back, well then you already got your reward. The reward of self glory and creating an image in the sight of others. Note also that Jesus said ‘when you do these things’ it really isn’t an option! You don’t leave the ‘alms deeds’ to the ‘charity mission that the ‘church’ runs’. You personally do it yourself! Jesus also leaves out something. He doesn’t say ‘when you attend Sabbath services’. He kinda thinks this one isn’t as important as the others! Wow. We find a verse here and there ‘forsake not the assembling of ourselves together’ [Hebrews] and we exalt it in the minds of believers to the point where the actual things that Jesus taught as priority take second place! We need to re prioritize our lives around the teachings of Jesus! Become ‘Red Letter’ Christians once again!

(429) I will do one of no spiritual value. I had a homeless friend who visited me one day. I had the news on. They were talking about some type of government entitlement program. My friend asked what they were talking about. I told him they are thinking of giving a free check to everyone who is homeless. They will simply get a free check every month. No food stamps or stuff. He told me that this was great, he has been waiting for something like this for years [I knew this, he used to tell me this. That’s why I came up with the story]. I then told him I was kidding. Well they then started talking about the death penalty, he asks ‘what are they discussing now?’ [You think he would have learned not to ask me this]. I then proceeded to tell him That Texas is trying to extend the death penalty to include all those who are ‘unemployed’ for more than a year. That the state is going to keep records, and if it shows you haven’t been working for a year or more you get put on a ‘death row list’. Well you could see the look of worry on his face. I told him I was just kidding again. This poor brother went from getting a free check for the rest of his life, to thinking the state was going to execute him if he didn’t find a job! I thought it was funny at the time.

(465) A few years ago I had a knock on the door. I was sleeping on the couch in the middle of the day and got up to get the door. Sure enough it was some Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons [I forget]. I usually do have good talks with them. I also have been rude at times. One time I told a salesman that whatever he was selling was against my religion, and he left. This day I answered the door and saw the surprised look on the face of the brothers. I just knew I must have looked like Moses coming down from the mount when his face was shining. Or maybe it was the strong prophetic anointing on me? Well after a few minutes they left, seemingly without a fight. As I walked back to my living room I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror. My 2 little girls had put beautiful bows in my hair as I was sleeping. Gosh darnet, I thought it was the anointing!

(466) A few years back I visited my mom in Jersey. She has a good Christian friend [Catholic] that she has told about me over the years. You never know what people think ‘my sons a preacher in Texas’. People think ‘cult/Waco’ and all sorts of stuff. I finally met this nice lady [Joan] and we did have some good fellowship. She had some questions and there were even some prophetic things that happened. I answered a few questions before she asked them. She would say ‘how did you know I was going to ask that?’ I like it when people are not familiar with prophetic things and just respond in childlike faith! Well I do kid a lot. She finally is feeling comfortable with me and asks something about Oprah Winfrey. She then says ‘you do like Oprah don’t you’ and I said ‘we teach that Oprah is the anti christ’ she simply looks at me and says something like ‘o you do’. I of course told her that I was kidding. Thought it funny that she was willing to go along with my doctrine for a few seconds!

(516) One of my buddies at the firehouse is a Christian. He sees the ministry stuff I do and all. So one time he makes an honest effort to do something out of charity. He tells me how this lady called the firehouse and asked if any guys wanted some fire wood, all they had to do is come and trim all her trees. To be honest, the cost of trimming these Mesquites would have been more than the value of the wood, but my buddy wanted to do a good deed. He goes over and trims a bunch of trees, he uses his chain saw. As he goes to get more limbs and stuff to bring them back to the truck, he sees his chainsaw is gone! Sure enough someone stole it. He says ‘see, John. I am trying to help the Lord out and the Devil goes and steals my chainsaw’. I told him ‘the way the enemy works, I am surprised when you went back to get the limbs, the lady didn’t say ‘sonny, I hope you don’t think you’re getting that wood for free!’

(517) A few weeks ago I dropped off the tapes for my radio program. The station is right across the street from our mental health clinic. A lot of ‘homeless/mentally challenged’ people always walking around. The secretary from the radio station has told me they lock the doors because they are always getting these guys walking in and stuff. They basically are ‘hiding out’ in their building. So being I think I am the only ‘preacher’ who actually hand delivers the tapes, there is no mail box or anything to put them in. So I have found myself knocking at the door, sometimes for around 10 minutes or so before anyone opens the door. I have told you guys I kinda have long hair, look at little ‘rough’ myself, definitely not what you would think a ‘preacher’ would look like. So the last time I waited for the secretary to get the door, she always looks a little apologetic when they let me in after standing their a few minutes. I finally realized that they must see me thru the tinted glass doors and think I am one of the ‘mentally challenged’ people always walking around. So as I ‘prophetically saw this’ [kidding] I told her as she opened the door ‘Now I realize why you make me wait, you guys think I am one of the ‘strays’, to be honest her face turned a little red. I said ‘I am going to put this on my blog’ she said ‘I never admitted to this!’ I know she didn’t, but to be faithful I thought I would put this entry in like I said. NOTE: If she ever reads this I know she will say ‘I can’t believe he really put this on the blog!’

(534) I just remembered a funny story about the friend in prison. Years ago on one of my visits back to Jersey I ran into this friend. I always liked his family. He told his dad ‘Johns in town’ and the dad said ‘bring him by, I want to say hi’. Sure enough the day I am going to see him, my friend takes me down to these docks by the Hudson River. It’s close to Jersey City. We go under some bridge and wind up in some real ‘on the waterfront’ type hideout. My friend brings me to his dads ‘shop’ and he pulls open this raggedy garage door. These guys are ‘working’ on some cars in the dark. They are surprised by us opening the door. The dads ‘worker’ was cutting some car in the back and looks up with this look of ‘I hope I’m not busted’ like from the TV show ‘cops’. The dad then realizes it’s us and is real happy to see me. He was a great guy. My friend introduces me to the other guy in the corner ‘skeeter’ or something? It was hilarious.

(541) Sometimes we overlook the obvious. In our local news paper they have been doing a story on one of the staff that follows her efforts to lose weight. She is overweight and every week they tell you how good or bad she has been doing ‘this week I feel bad, I ate too much’ and stuff like that. I read a commentary from the section of the paper where they print the public’s letters and comments. Some lady wrote in and said ‘can’t you show us an uplifting story on people who have lost weight’? She went on to describe how this story is depressing, the poor girl is never overcoming anything, always falling off the diet. She then said she even caught her at one of our restaurants with a ‘rather healthy portion of unhealthy food’ [ouch!]. Well I just read her story yesterday. She shared how when she was getting up to walk in the mornings, you are supposed to eat before you walk, so she would. Also you should eat when you get done, she did! Then she found out you shouldn’t eat right before walking, and she walks early, so should you get up at 4:00 a.m. and eat and go back to sleep and wake up at 6:00 a.m. and then walk and come home and catch your ‘after workout meal’ and maybe catch a few more zee’s before starting your day? Obviously the problem is TOO MUCH FOOD! Now, I don’t want to be mean. I have the habit of not eating at all until around 3 or 4 pm. I then will have a light snack around 7 or so. I only eat once a day. I am not bragging, and I have had people tell me this is unhealthy, maybe it is. The point I am making is if you’re ‘routine’ to lose weight has you possibly waking up at 4 a.m. to eat, you have a wrong routine! Don’t overlook the obvious. Christians are notorious for this. I was talking to one of my homeless friends who struggles with mental issues. He is very smart and suffers from a form of Autism. He also has battles in the mind. I recommended him to read a chapter of Proverbs a day. I also have seen Christians who can’t understand why nothing good is happening in their lives. I ask them ‘are you praying, do you read Gods word’? the basics, often they answer ‘no’. Don’t fall into the category of our poor ‘dieting lady’ do what’s obvious. If you are having trouble loosing weight, well for heavens sake don’t wake up early and eat 2 meals before you start the day, you are obviously stumbling over a food issue if you are doing this!

(576) I have a homeless friend who doesn’t like Bush [or the mayor of our city]. He is a believer and is upset that Bush has said that Allah and God are the same, they certainly are not! Every now and then when he is upset about the president, or tells me something that leads to political talk, I will kid him and say ‘well, you know what Bush says ‘Allah and God are the same’ and he will go on for at least an hour after this! He also has something against our Mayor, maybe it’s an authority thing? But he has been harassed over the years by the cops, he doesn’t drink and is a strong believer, but he is homeless. So every so often the cops harass him, he blames it on the Mayor. Sure enough I tell him ‘you mean Henry Garret’ that is the Mayors name. Well my friend didn’t know his full name, my friends name is also Henry, he wasn’t to pleased with this development. Then one day we were just fellowshipping, and I was reading the paper. The Mayor is on the front page with a broad smile, just rejoicing and full of life. I tell my friend ‘hey, your buddies picture is on the front page’ I show it to him and he must have went on for 2 hours about him, I don’t say anything about the Mayor anymore.

(577) Now that I’m telling stories, let me throw this one in. A friend was driving with another friend one day and they make an illegal turn, sure enough the cops are right behind them and turn on the lights. My friend says ‘act like your having a seizure or something, and I’ll pretend I am taking you to the hospital’. Well the cop walks up and asks why they made the illegal turn. Sure enough my friend goes into the explanation as the other person is faking the seizure or something [?] The cop then says ‘I think you are faking it’ and they get a ticket [I think they got the ticket?] Well as my friend is telling me this whole story you can see how mad they were ‘who does this guy think he is, accusing us of lying to get out of a ticket. I should make a formal complaint, how dare they question my integrity’ they went on about how unjust this cop was. I said ‘so you are basically mad that you got caught’ they admitted it!

(582) We have a blind dog, she is old and sweet. Some people were going to put her to sleep and we took her. My daughter gave her a haircut the other day and it looks terrible! All chopped up. I tell her ‘look on the bright side of it, at least she’s blind’.

(589) Yesterday I got with some homeless friends. I met Andy a few months back, I have seen him drunk on a few occasions. It surprised me one day when I was giving him a ride to a friend of his house where he was crashing at the time, he asked if I had a big letter King James bible to lend him. This day he was on fire for the Lord. He told me his story about feeling the Lords call on his life, he went thru tons of scriptures and all. I knew he wasn’t faking it. Well I had this expensive large print King James bible in the truck, I gave it to him. I bought it a few months back for 30 dollars, it was worth around 100. They were old bibles that had notes in them from the late 1800’s. Real good study bibles, just outdated. I got it at half price books, it was a collector thing for me. Man he would see me every so often and tell me ‘I am reading the crap [he used the SH-T word!] out of that bible’. I knew he was! Then one day he told me how some college kids ripped him off, that happens to these homeless guys, and he lost the bible. I was kinda mad, I actually valued it. I have a bad habit of giving my books away. I gave away my Greek Lexicon [you use it to study bible words in the original language] and a bible dictionary. Then sure enough I needed them a few weeks later. I have to stop doing this! [I actually got the dictionary back, but let the guy keep the other stuff]. Well yesterday I saw Andy at the homeless mission, he was sober and doing well. He will bring up the Lord to others while I am around, not to brag, I have noticed some of the guys start thinking about the Lord when I am around, even though I usually am just hanging out. They will mention him to others, sure enough Andy witnessed to some new kid [20’s] who was hanging out complaining about his life. Andy told him about the Lord in a straight up way. The kid walked away. Andy says ‘you never know, a few years from now the seeds that I just planted might bring fruit, like Paul says in Corinthians’. I agreed. Another guy, Huey, asked if I could give him a ride back to the hotel where he was staying, he had some clothes and stuff that the mission gave him. I said sure. I gave him some gas a few weeks back, but his truck is broken right now[I actually put the gas in at the station, he would have used the cash for beer]. As far as I know I never witnessed to him before, but he knew I was a believer. He was bringing up the Lord and stuff, talking about the reality of God. As we were leaving the mission, he sees Andy walking and says ‘brother, you need a ride too?’ sure enough we pick up Andy. As I drop them off they are calling each other brother, I do this a lot myself. I then find out they really are brothers! Kinda sad that they are both living this tuff life, they must have had some upbringing from a home that taught them something about God [probably a Mom or Grandma] but for them to both be homeless means they have had problems also. I found it strange how they still cared for each other and all, there are guys who are family on the streets and you would never know it. One day Andy gave me this prophecy that was right on. He didn’t know it, but it was for me. He actually was telling me how he preached to this guy years ago, and as he was telling me the story and recounting what he said, it fit me perfect! This is how I can tell he is not faking ‘the Jesus thing’. After all he was reading the ‘sh-t out if his bible’! [I don’t add this to be funny, I think it shows you the real situations that people are in and this brings us out of our religious shells. God interacts with people all the time, we seem to be un aware of this. Jesus said the harvest is ready but their aren’t enough workers. Find time to give yourself away, it will be worth it].

(590) As a boy growing up I learned how fire fighters can use their badge. My dad was a captain [retired after 25 years] and would keep his badge in his wallet. He would take me over to the city [New York] to go to the museums, he would flash that badge and we would get in free! He would get pulled over one time by a cop for making an illegal turn, sure enough the badge comes out and no ticket! Wow, I liked this. Well when I became a fire fighter you know where that badge went. Right in the wallet. The other guys at the station never caught on to this until years after I was doing it, bunch of rookies! Of course they found out it helps with the cover charge to clubs and all. One day I was going to our post office [Kingsville] and the way the mail boxes are set up is you have to drive around the block to get in the one way street to drop off the mail [if you didn’t want to park and walk it over]. So lots of times people would cheat and just drive in to the one way a few feet and drop off the mail, I am sure I probably did this myself at times. The mail box was so close to the corner it was easy to do. But if there are other cars coming it wont work. So one day I am driving the right way and was going to drop the mail, sure enough some other guy drives in the one way and sort of blocks me, he wants to turn and all, but he doesn’t realize I am also going for the mail box, so he does stuff that I usually do [like when someone tailgates me, watch out. I have been known to slow down to 5 miles an hour in a 55 mile zone. I am not kidding! As they finally pass you can see them cussing and flipping the finger and I just laugh it off, making sure they can see how happy I am] so this guy sees I am getting ready to go to the box and he pulls right next to me in a way where he knows he is winning at this game and I am loosing [I don’t like to lose!] So as he does his ‘block’, he pulls up right like he is going to pass me and get to the spot. I roll down my window and tell him ‘stop’. He does, I then pull out the wallet, flash the badge and yell ‘this is a one way man!’ sure enough he backs all the way out apologizing the whole way. You say ‘brother, you lied’. No I didn’t, I never said I was a cop! One time I was driving to the store and some kids are beating up another kid at a bus stop, I pull up and flash the badge and tell them to stop, it worked. One of the guys at the station said ‘you are gonna get shot by a gang kid or something’ I never thought of that. Well I would tease my wife about this over the years. She hates the badge action and all. Sure enough we are in New York City one year for Christmas. We went to Rockefeller center and all. As me and my Dad and Mom are on the bus, the bus was empty except for my wife and my parents. So we are talking to this real nice black bus driver. My dad already had a few beers and was feeling good. Somehow the driver says how when they were kids they used to race on the street and if a cop pulled over and flashed his badge [undercover] they knew the show was over. I don’t remember how it came up, but the driver says something like ‘you know, when you see those badges it puts the fear of God in you’. My dad says ‘yeah, you wanna see 2 of them’ [like father like son] I just glance at my wife and you could see she was ready to go home! NOTE : There are a few Kingsville firefighters who live In Corpus Christi and drive the 40 mile drive to work. Over the years I learned it’s easier for me to drive at 60 MPH and enjoy the ride. I get up real early anyway, why rush and drive 75. In Texas they use the shoulder to let others pass. It took me a few years to figure this out, up north you don’t do this [ in Texas we don’t pass on the shoulder, we pull over and let the other guy by]. So I have a friend at work who would always pass me up at 75 while I am doing 60. He didn’t mind, but would complain that I was one of the ‘slow pokes’ that at times can be a nuisance. Like when there are fifty cars in a line and you cant pass them up. One day my car breaks down at work and in the morning my friend gives me a ride back to Corpus. We pull up to some lady doing around 50, he says ‘that must be your mother’ I tell him ‘no, but this lady is always riding my bumper!’

(594) Got with 2 homeless buddies yesterday, Steve and Martin [Steve Martin!] met them a few weeks back. They camp about a half mile from my house, right off the bay front. My fishing spot! I told them for a bunch of homeless guys they have it made. Living on the water front. I didn’t realize that Martin is Muslim. He knew I was a Christian and never mentioned it. But Yesterday he brought it up. He didn’t immediately come out and say it, but he was saying ‘I like Jesus as a Prophet, but you shouldn’t worship him’ after a while I caught on. I was honest with him and told him I believe Muhammad made some good points [like being against idols] but that he missed it on Jesus as the Son of God. I did quote some stuff from John’s gospel and gave a lot of scripture on Jesus as being more than a prophet. He did listen to me. I also shared how many Muslims have reported having dreams about Jesus appearing to them and getting converted. This has happened a lot over the last few years. He told me he had a dream he can’t forget, he dreamt of a new book that was to come out. It was Gold and looked like a new ‘book from God’. I interpreted his dream to mean God was going to reveal Jesus [the divine Logos- Gold speaks of divinity, Jesus is the ‘book/word’ of God] to him. He couldn’t really see what I was saying. I tried to explain the concept, he didn’t grasp it [yet!] On my way to drop them off at the fishing spot, I decided I would do some crabbing also. We went to my house to get some traps and I showed the guys my classic mustang. It’s a 1966 with a 281 engine. Real nice car. Martin loved it. I told him I too had a dream, I dreamt I was to give the car away to a Muslim, but he had to convert to Christianity. He looked at me for a second thinking I was serious, I told him I was just kidding. But I did laugh a little, I said ‘you liked like you were ready to say ‘Muhammad, it’s been fun while it lasted’. He laughed too! I caught about a dozen crabs, Martin got a drum and red fish. I also gave them a few of my books, they both are avid readers.

(603) Let’s delve into some stuff. In the discussion with my Orthodox friends, there are real differences. But in order to dialogue, Evangelicals need to see beyond their own mindset. While many Evangelicals today would reject ‘Sacerdotalism’ [sacramental salvation, a view of Sotereiology that incorporates the sacraments into salvation] many are also unaware that this belief existed in the minds of the great reformers. Especially Luther’s view on the Eucharist, as well as infant baptism and the remission of original sin! I found it funny how the Baptists, in an effort to be strong on Justification by faith, would kind of find ways to explain away the verses that seem to teach that water baptism has some role in salvation. Acts2:38 ‘repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins’ [I think it’s there, I am too busy to even check it out!] The Baptists would do cartwheels trying to get around this. I have a way to explain it, if I have time I will! The point is there wasn’t a totally honest approach to some of these verses. Peter again will say ‘the like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a pure heart towards God’ [somewhere in Peter. I like the way the writer of Hebrews does this ‘somewhere it is said’. He also didn’t look up the verses!] The Baptists would also explain these texts in ways that seemed to get around the text. ‘Well, we know water cant wash away sins’ Peter knew it too! He actually states it in this verse. This fact doesn’t answer the seeming ‘sacerdotal’ meaning of the verse. I even found it funny that the Baptists would quote Paul during water baptisms ‘buried with him in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life’ and not even see that applying this ‘baptism’ verse to water baptism is in itself sacerdotal! I believe the baptism spoken of by Paul in Romans is primarily the baptism of the Spirit placing us into the Body of Christ. Paul’s primary revelation was deeper than Peters. Peter will even say in his epistle that some things from Paul were hard to understand. There seemed to be a growing reality amongst the apostolic leadership of the first century that Paul was ‘seeing’ at a higher level. Some have developed this a little too much. Marcion would eventually develop a cannon based solely on Paul’s writings. The Protestant church has leaned heavily on Paul, while the Catholics on Peter. I see a prophetic significance to this. Now, I believe most of the baptism verses from Peter are dealing with water baptism, most of Paul’s with Spirit. I do not explain away, or spiritualize the water verses and say ‘it’s talking Spirit’. The main verse from Peter [acts 2:38] can be said to be speaking of an aspect of ‘salvation’ that deals more with ‘remission’ than ‘forgiveness’. The Greek word can mean both, but it is a little more than just basic forgiveness. My King James, which I quoted, says ‘remission’, newer ‘models’ say ‘forgiveness’. Don’t mean to split hairs, but there’s a reason for my madness! I feel it is perfectly in keeping with Paul’s theology to see Peter as saying ‘all who have just heard this gospel, if you get baptized, you will ‘sin less’. In essence ‘sins [actually doing them] will be removed. You will live better’. Now, I don’t want to be guilty of ‘explaining it away’ either. I believe it’s possible for Peter to be looking at a different timeline, a more surface understanding of ‘remission’ than Paul. Paul seems to see things from a longer trajectory both past and future. Paul is seeing the work of the Spirit baptizing before the actual ‘work of the water’ baptizing. How can Peter say ‘those who get baptized in water will have sins remitted’? Well he is seeing things a little later on the timeline. Possibly a few seconds later, but later. Peter didn’t know all the ramifications of legal justification like Paul. He did know that Jesus told him to go and baptize. He knew that those who believed and got baptized would ‘sin less’ [remission]. No need to twist all of Peter’s baptism verses into Paul’s way of seeing it. Paul was focused more on deeper stuff in salvation. Another difficulty with believers seeing this is a limited view of soteriology [doctrine of salvation]. Salvation in the New Testament is a much more fluid concept than we grasp today. Evangelicals have a tendency to see it solely on terms of the initial act of conversion, while the New Testament is much broader. The Catholic Church sees the communal aspect of Gods grace being present in society to ‘infuse’ grace, thru the sacraments, into society at large, and thru this making salvation a reality to all people. They see the church herself as a divine sacrament in the earth. Now, I don’t think Protestant’s are as far away from Catholic/Orthodox Christians if we can see some of this stuff. For a Baptist minister to tell a new convert ‘you are now justified, but you need to be baptized so you don’t ‘backslide’ [sin less] and for Peter to say ‘get baptized so you can get sins remitted [sin less]’ might not be as much of an obstacle as we have made it! NOTE; Some of the explanations of Acts 2:38 [wow, as much as I am quoting this, you would think I would go make sure I am quoting it right!] said Peter was saying ‘be baptized for [because of] the remission of sins’ that Peter was saying ‘because you have just accepted the Lord [at some hidden altar call!] now get baptized’. Or later in Acts ‘rise up and be baptized, washing away your sins’ speaking of Paul’s conversion. I think the best way to see it is like the way I just showed you. It seems obvious that early Christians saw a connection with water baptism and ‘washing away, remitting of sins’ but many believers try to interpret everything from the current context and damage scripture while doing it. These verses can all actually be saying ‘wash away, remit sin’ without referring to the act of legal justification that is the foundation of Paul’s teaching. Paul says ‘I thank God I baptized only a few of you guys [Corinthians] Christ sent me not to baptize, but preach the gospel.’ Paul has a deeper thing going on. Some dispensationalists try to ‘explain away’ the Peter verse by saying ‘Jews need it, Gentiles don’t’ and then go into the dispensation of works and explain that the ‘work’ of water baptism saves under the law dispensation that was existing for Israel and will ‘pick up again’ at the beginning of the tribulation. I see this also as silly. The first century church [and Judaism] connected ‘ceremonial/sacred’ cleansing in some way with their faith. In the gospel it says some disciples had a question over cleansing, speaking of baptism. John the Baptist ‘baptized for the remission of sins’ now, I can show you the whole thing on ‘Johns baptism’ versus ‘Christian baptism’ but that would be doing too much! Later on in church history you will see how many restorationist movements [church of Christ, Christian church] also saw water baptism as a restoration of truth and incorporated it into their understanding of salvation. The Baptist brothers would at times view them as a cult over this! Besides the Pentecostals down the road who were going to hell because they spoke in tongues [or didn’t believe in eternal security!]. I believe all of these brothers are Christians, hey they believe in Christ! I guess that would make me a liberal ecumenical heretic that believes in the one world church? [I felt like saying ‘if that’s true than I will at least be with all these brothers in hell’! But Christians get too uptight when you kid like this]. I believe the answer is in coming to the table with grace and humility. Don’t look for reasons to exclude people, but to include them. God’s revelation of himself tends to lean towards inclusion, not exclusion! Peter learned this lesson in Acts 10. NOTE; just to make sure you understand me, I believe a person is born again at the moment of belief. Prior to anything else. Even the ‘sinner’s prayer’. If I had the time I would show you how Romans 10 is not saying a person is saved [justified] when he asks Jesus into his heart. To see the word ‘saved’ as justification by faith would contradict the verse. The verse says ‘with the heart man believes unto righteousness [justification by faith] and with the mouth confesses unto salvation’ once again Paul’s point is if scripture says ‘whoever calls on the lord will be saved’ shows God is not partial. He ‘saves/delivers’ all who call, not just some. But in this argument he says ‘how can they call [pray] unless they already believe’? He just said all who believed were already ‘saved’ in the justification ‘sense’. So once again the fluid concept of Salvation is not seen because every time we see ‘saved’ we think of the initial act! So any way I guess I just explained it. So to me, the moment you believe you are born of God. God himself divinely deposits the ‘gift of faith’ into you, you don’t ‘choose to get saved’. He births you into his family and you are raised from the dead spiritually at that instant. Baptism in water is the outward sign, that also ‘remits’ sin in the same way you would tell any convert ‘obey God and you will grow in sanctification’. I know it’s a little stronger than this, but hey, that’s the best I can do. NOTE; by the way, seeing the word ‘saved’ in this more fluid context helps with all the other difficult passages. James ‘see how a man is saved by his works and not faith only’. I wont explain it now, I will try and just ‘cut and paste’ that entry [the one where I explained this] along with this entry, and put them under the section ‘REFORMED STUFF’ on this blog!

(717) GENESIS 30- I forgot to mention that in the last chapter Leah gives Jacob 4 sons. Now Rachel is barren. Notice how all these mothers of the faith are barren. What’s up with this? Sarah, Rebecca and now Rachel. Paul will quote Isaiah in the book of Galatians ‘more are the children of the desolate, than of the married wife’. Paul quotes this in context of saying ‘the spiritual Israel [church] will actually have more ‘children’ than the natural Israel’. He quotes it in a way to teach the reality of God bringing forth the promises thru the promised seed as opposed to the natural law. I hope you’re following me. It is consistent with everything I showed you when we covered Isaac as the promised seed. Now here we see a theme of the promised mothers as barren. And then God miraculously giving the mothers birth [remember Sarah was past the time of having kids?] So God is doing the same here, Rachel feels hopeless as each year passes and she is barren. Especially because Leah has given Jacob kids! So in this chapter the race is on! It’s actually quite funny. Rachel says ‘Jacob, sleep with my maid’ [A Hagar type thing] and sure enough Rachel starts the competition. Leah is also popping out more kids and is trying to keep up. Then Leah stops getting pregnant and enlists her maid. Sure enough the race continues. Then Leah starts getting pregnant again and names the kid ‘Gad’ which means ‘a troop is coming’ OUCH! Old brother Jacob must have been thinking ‘am I personally going to fulfill grandpa’s dream of populating the earth?’ Then Rachel gets pregnant for the first time. She has Joseph, thru him we will see the prophetic lineage carry on. He will have future dreams and fulfill great destiny. His role will be crucial to the survival of his whole family. Now Jacob tells Laban he wants to move away. Laban wants to work out a deal to keep him as his main worker. Jacob is an excellent employee! So Jacob does a famous scheme. This chapter is one of those stories that people use to try and discredit scripture. The reason is Jacob will take all the sheep with spots and stripes and remove them from the herd. He than tells Laban ‘now, I have removed the spotted sheep. All that is left are plain ones. From now on all the new sheep will be divided like this; those born with spots/stripes are mine. Those born plain are yours’. And scripture says Jacob peeled stripes in Poplar tree branches and placed them at the watering trough. When the sheep conceived while looking at the striped branches they had striped kids! Some have had a hard time trying to explain this story. Does science teach stuff like this? Not really. Some have come up with various excuses. Let me give you my explanation. In this whole story it does say ‘when the sheep mated in front of the branches they gave birth to striped sheep’ and when the weaker sheep were there mating without the branches that they gave birth to plain ones. The scripture doesn’t actually say it was because of the branches! Its obvious Jacob thought it was because of the branches, but if you read it carefully the guy might have been fooling himself! It’s sort of like these mafia guys from New Jersey. Lots of them ran construction crews or Pizza Parlors. They actually made great Pizza! They could have made it legitimately if they wanted. But they wanted their hands in the cookie jar. It’s possible that God was simply giving Jacob favor when the stronger sheep bred! God has been known to favor his kids. But old scheming Jacob needed some angle, like the mafia guys. He very well might have thought ‘look, my scheme is working’ scripture does say ‘when the stronger sheep mated in front of the sticks, they gave birth to spotted babies’. But the lord might have been making those babies spotted regardless of the sticks! It just said the sticks were there! So without being too dogmatic on this, lets say Jacob was the type of ‘supplanter’ [this is what his name means] that was always looking for an angle. He never could fully trust God to simply meet his needs without his own devising. Jacob struggled with ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding’ he was a lot like us.

(110) Let me tell a few jokes for levity. A few years ago I took my truck to Wal Mart for an oil change. I ran into a bunch of homeless friends who hang out in the front of the store. I was in the strange situation of having no money on me while wanting to buy a soda from a 25-cent machine. I naively asked my friends for some change [forgetting they are almost always dead broke!]. Sure enough a few of the guys were more than willing to give me their change. No questions asked. Just friends helping friends. But one of the guys got quiet when I asked for the change. His buddies could tell that he had some change but didn’t want to cough it up. They said this to him in no uncertain terms! Well after I got the change I then reached into my pocket to grab my check book [I had the checkbook on me, but no cash] and then proceeded to lie! I pulled out the checkbook and said ‘Now I am going to tell you guys who I really am’. They all looked a little shocked. I think they thought I was a Narc [undercover cop] and I was going to bust them! I told them ‘did you ever hear of the millionaire Percy Ross’ they didn’t! But anyway I told them this is the guy who anonymously gives away millions of dollars to unsuspecting people. I told them ‘I am him!’ I then went on to explain that I move to different parts of the country on a rotating basis [I wish!] and befriend homeless people. I try to teach them love and generosity for a few years [These guys all knew me for a few years by now, and I have taken them all out to eat lots of times]. I then said ‘and after trying to teach them the lesson of generosity, I simply ask them for some change. And whoever gives me the change proves that he learned the lesson and can be trusted with more. I then make him a homeless millionaire’. Well you can see the look of shock on their faces, they went from thinking they were going to get busted, to one of them becoming rich! Well the brother who had the change but wasn’t willing to give it up couldn’t wait to give me his change now. I then acted like I was writing out the check for the million and confessed I made it all up. Well at least they got some exercise by increasing their heartbeats to over 200 for a few minutes!

(124) WARNING: This entry has absolutely no spiritual value! But I thought I would tell the story anyway. A few years back I was visiting a friend of mine who is a wiz a computers. He had a couple of 2 by 10’s [boards] on his front steps leading down to the sidewalk. I guess he had recently moved some furniture? Well my youngest daughter and his youngest boy [around 10 years old] were riding scooters in the front. My friend, who is kind of large, had the great idea of telling them to ride the scooters down this ramp. They were hesitant, and so was I. He then proceeded to ‘show’ them how to do it! He took his sons scooter and mounted the runway. As he began going down the ramp, the front tire got stuck between the 2 boards, he went flying! I mean his hands were by his side and he landed face first on the concrete. At first I thought I might have to begin C.P.R., but it would have been difficult to perform while uncontrollably laughing! My friend was O.K., but I couldn’t stop laughing for weeks. I am laughing right now as I write this. It looked like something Jeff Fox worthy would say about rednecks or something. My friend looked a little like the red neck character from King of the Hill.

(718) GENESIS 31- As Jacobs flocks increase and he becomes highly successful, Labans family gets jealous. Scripture says Labans countenance changed. He began listening to what the critics were saying ‘look, this guy is getting all the credit/blessings that are rightfully yours, it’s coming at your expense’. Notice, Laban probably would have been content that his son in law was prospering. He even says this later in the chapter. ‘I am happy for you son, your wives and kids are part of me’. But the incessant jealousy that he was hearing day in and day out wore him down. Be careful that you aren’t upset about stuff that you shouldn’t be upset about! Jesus gave the parable of the workers who got their agreed wages, but then felt wronged because the master gave the same amount to others who didn’t work as long. Jesus says ‘is your eye evil because I have been extra merciful to others who you deemed less worthy’? Of course this theme fits in perfectly with the Jewish context of the gospels. The Jews would be incensed that Messiah offered the same forgiveness to those who they deemed less worthy, the gentiles. So here Laban has heard it long enough, his ‘countenance changed’. Jacob sees the writing on the wall and what do you know, just in time he says ‘I had a dream and God told me to leave’. Now, I will take the brother at his word. But he has already shown a history of saying ‘God told me, or helped me do such and such’ when covering up deception! [He told pops ‘I got the venison quickly because God helped me’, the brother was lying thru his teeth!] In the dream the lord tells Jacob ‘I am the God of Bethel, it’s time to journey again. Go back to Canaan’. Why would God remind him of this milestone of Bethel? Bethel was the place where Jacob earlier learned to commit all to God. He came to Labans land with nothing, God blessed him tremendously. It’s easy to begin trusting in the success and systems around you. You see your job and career as your source of security. God is reminding Jacob that he is still the God of Abraham and Isaac. Jacob is just a fulfillment of Gods previous decree to his forefathers! When God says it’s time to journey you journey! As Jacob gets his wives and family they sneak away. Laban comes chasing him down and is mad ‘now what, you left secretly at night! I didn’t even have a chance to kiss the kids’ he must have been battling with the gossip that he’s been hearing from his men. They did say ‘watch out for this guy, we don’t trust him’. Jacob makes his defense, even though he himself is not totally innocent. ‘How dare you question my integrity! I have done this and that…and on and on’ he makes laban feel guilty. Now Laban isn’t the brightest light bulb in the chandelier. He tells Jacob ‘someone stole my images [idols!]’ and Jacob says ‘search for them, whoever has them will be guilty’. Jacob does not know that Rachel has them in her tent. Poor Laban goes rummaging thru everything and comes to Rachel’s tent. Rachel says ‘forgive me father for not standing up, but the time of women is upon me. So I can’t get up and let you search the couch I am sitting on. You don’t have a problem with that, do you’? Old brother Laban obviously wasn’t a C.S.I. watcher! So at the end of this chapter they mend relations. Jacob leaves the land where he has been blessed, and now has to deal with some past demons. He will face Esau, the last person that wanted to kill him!

(135) Just woke up and had the thought of ‘when the spotlight hits you’. What I remembered was hearing preachers over the years speak about ‘getting in the spotlight’. All well-meaning men who are being affected by the system. In the 2 scenarios that came to mind the brothers shared how in due time you too can be ‘famous’ but you have to be faithful and wait your turn. I also just read an article in the paper about a pastor who has taken his ‘deacon board’ to the state supreme court on a number of occasions in order to ‘keep his church’ [they are trying to fire him, also when I just went thru and did the spell check the option it gave me for ‘save his church’ was ‘circus’ I was tempted to leave it but that would have been a little harsh!] These ways of seeing ‘church’ and ‘ministry’ deeply affect the way we function as Gods people. First, there is a ‘secret’ element in Jesus teachings that speak to leaders in the church as not seeking or becoming ‘famous’. Also by ‘secret’ I mean it’s plainly taught but we don’t seem to ‘see it’ in the way we function. God will bring you to a place where you recognize and develop the character to avoid the ‘idol worship’ mentality that hinders the work of the Spirit. Ministry and ‘church’ are not businesses that we own and operate. They are free gifts that God deposits in his people for the benefit of the whole community. The ‘excitement’ of the New Testament churches wasn’t ‘look at this ministry that God has called us to’ or Paul recruiting people to ‘My Vision’. The excitement was this great reality of Jesus being the Messiah. ‘THE PROMISED ONE IS HERE’. Their time and focus was on the actual person of Christ, not the things that Christ was doing with them! This is why Paul teaches in Corinthians that the gifts are simply tools given by Gods grace, he shows a mentality of ‘why glory in the tools/gifts being they are all freely given?’ if we are simply vessels that God is flowing thru, then why exalt the vessel? The greatest in the Kingdom must seek to be a servant. All of these characteristics are what should mark ministry and leadership today. There are many good men who see and embrace these things. But we sometimes give the wrong impression to young believers. We kind of tell them ‘your day of fame is coming, but for now just glory in what Gods doing with me’. This is not right.

(139) A couple of things today. Last night on the discovery channel they aired a special on the ‘lost tomb of Jesus’. Another ‘Davinci code’ criticism of Jesus and the Church. I find it interesting that after 2 thousand years people are still gossiping about Jesus. I wonder if he’s thinking at the right hand of God ‘father you said I would be criticized, but I never thought it would last this long’. I do find the stupidity of the critics entertaining at times. First, if you spend whole lifetimes denying the existence of someone, the last thing you would do is ‘discover his tomb’ [supposedly with his bones in it!]. Second, why spend so much money and effort explaining away something that is supposedly fake. I don’t see any TV specials on denying the existence of ‘Santa Clause’. Me thinks the critics doth protest too much!
Now a word to ‘our critics’. First I want you guys to know I pray for you every day ‘Lord, let judgment come swift and fast!’ [Just kidding!] But honestly sometimes criticism can be good. I have had people tell me that my sharing of the stories of helping people is violating the principle of Jesus to ‘let not your right hand know what your left is doing’. That is don’t boast about your good deeds or else you lose your reward in heaven. This is a good point that I should not dismiss out of hand. Jesus ‘modeled’ things by example, as well as actual teaching. Many years ago I had a prophetic word given to us that said ‘thru my example many would see and understand the works of Jesus’. The whole word spoke on our ‘style’ of ministry as being unique and ‘showing’ thru example the works of Jesus. When I first started sharing stories and stuff I saw it more as the Lord telling me to do it in this way. Jesus told the story of the ‘good Samaritan’; he was speaking of himself in this parable. The main thing Jesus was dealing with when telling the people ‘don’t do things just to be seen’ was the mindset that existed in the religious community of his day. They lived for the public recognition of society around them. Their prayers and fasting were done solely for them to be seen as pious and holy. They had absolutely no intent on actually doing service to God or helping their fellow man. It was in this environment that Jesus said these things. You do find Paul having to ‘boast’ of his accomplishments in order to teach the Corinthians stuff. Well any way I thought I would clear this up. And to all my critics, take comfort in the fact that I am going to pray right now, and you are going to be in my prayers! [Still kidding a little].

(719) GENESIS 32- Jacob makes the trek back home. He’s burned this bridge in the past, but now he has to go back thru the wreckage! He fears Esau, he thinks ‘does he still hold my trickery against me’? He sends some messengers to talk to Esau. They come back ‘what did he say’? Nothing, he’s just coming with about 400 men. O that’s all. He prays ‘God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and me!’ [Jacob- I fudged, he doesn’t say his own name] he says ‘you told me to go back to Canaan, I am just doing what you said. I trust you to save me and the kids. What in the world will happen if they all get wiped out? You promised…on and on’ Jacob is like me, an over reactor! You will see this thru out his life. He later will think all is lost when Joseph keeps one of the brothers in Egypt before he reveals his identity. He thought all was lost when his boys had those brothers circumcised that raped their sister. They tricked the pagans into circumcising themselves and when they were ‘sore’ the 2 brothers went in and slew the city! Jacob responds ‘what have you done! They will surely wipe us all out’ but instead it put the fear of God in the surrounding enemies. They all thought ‘what in the heck is up with this family. One of the guys from our area had ‘relations’ with the girl, and they go and trick them into mutilating themselves, then the next day they come and finish you off!’ It actually worked out pretty well. So here Jacob trusts the Lord and will commit it all to him, right? Not! Jacob says ‘Quick, split the women and children into 2 camps. Get some bribery packages together. Send a bunch of guys out to Esau and give him the bribes. If he doesn’t bite, and one camp gets wiped out, then the other group will go free’. Gee, I guess he thought the Lord didn’t hear him? Well Jacob finally meets up with Esau and all goes well. O, I forgot, Jacob has the meeting with the Lord. This is the chapter where he wrestled all night with the lord and receives the famous ‘Jacobs limp’. God changes his name to Israel, he will have influence with God and men and will prevail. Despite all his conniving and deal making, yet God sees him as a prince. A man who will influence nations and peoples. He has power with God himself! I guess that leaves room for the rest of us.

(167) Just got back [last night] from spending a few days at my daughters ranch. I took my youngest girl and we helped my daughter [Becky] do some stuff. These last few weeks I have made it a point to pick up area news papers and call to see if they will run our blog. When I call I let them know we are not for profit [I mean really not for profit!] and I do explain that we have no building but simply meet as a brotherhood of people. This can be hard to articulate but most people accept us as a ministry. I say most! I called some paper in the Orange Grove area, the lady sounded a little ‘country’ and was a little rude. As I began to explain our desire to put our blog site in their paper I asked if she knew what a blog was [some people who are not familiar with the word don’t know what I am saying when I ask this and I will spell out the word B L O G] well she simply said ‘I am not stupid sir, I know how to spell. If I were stupid do you think I would be running a newspaper’. To be honest at this point it surprised me that she was running one! Its hard enough to explain the concept of ‘church’ as a community versus a building to most believers, I knew I had my work cut out for me with this person. At one point she asked if we had a ‘church’ building or not. I plainly told her we didn’t. I wasn’t hiding this fact, but she simply was unable to grasp this concept. She finally let it be known that if ‘you’re a church with a building who meets on Sunday’ you can run an ad for free, even if the Pastors salary is a million dollars, you run it free because ‘you’re a church’. But if your a community of people who are in society doing the works of Jesus for free you cant run an ad for free because you don’t have a ‘church building’. This lady finally hung up on me. She kept stating she was not stupid and I took her at her word and tried to explain the Greek word ‘Ecclesia’ as ‘the Church’ and tried to give her a crash course in ecclesiology! I knew she didn’t understand a word I was saying, but frankly I was a little tired of hearing her. Well I never placed the ad, I could have paid for one, but this is a little ‘red neck’ newspaper and I really think I would have been doing them a favor to put our ad in their paper.

(171) For the purpose of full disclosure let me mention something. All 4 of my daughters have trust funds set up for them. While I am not rich, my kids are set up fairly well. The reason I share this is the other day when I was up early praying at my daughters ranch I felt the Lord saying he was going to expand us ‘thru our seed’ [spiritual children]. While walking around the ranch I saw hundreds of wildflowers and mesquite trees. I have a few in my yard, but these were a lot! I also realized how my daughter [19 yrs old] owns a $125,000 dollar ranch free and clear. She bid $31,000 for it and used part of her trust fund money [it was a HUD repo and no bank would finance a ‘modular home’ on a ranch, though the original owner paid $85,000 just for the house!] The nice mustang she drives is also free and clear [I bought it for $4,000 a few years ago]. I am not bringing this up for no reason. For many years people [friends/family] would tell me ‘instead of helping bums and addicts, you could work a second job [besides being a firefighter] so your kids can have more’. I have found out if you take care of Gods people [kids] he will take care of yours. To be honest, how many 19yr olds own a $125,000 ranch free and clear? See, I know God does bless people financially; I just feel the church today has blurred the lines of Christianity with gain. We as believers have a mandate to not measure ‘Godliness by gain’. Well I believe scripture says ‘first the natural, then the spiritual’ I am looking forward to hearing from you guys on how God is increasing your spiritual borders! NOTE: This is also another benefit of not taking a salary, can you imagine what people would be saying ‘that preacher went and bought his daughter a ranch, and she drives a mustang too!’ [I own a 66 mustang, it’s got a 289 in it for all you car guys] NOTE: I had an old friend in Kingsville, one of our original group, who use to kid me and say ‘for someone who doesn’t believe in the prosperity message, you do pretty good!’ I would answer back ‘I don’t believe it works for you guys, only for me’ of course I was kidding! NOTE: Let me show you guys something. I don’t ‘think money thoughts’ all the time. I don’t ‘confess money scriptures’ all day. I basically don’t believe in the main tenets of the prosperity gospel, but yet I have prospered! Why? I believe if you give your life away for others, practice giving and being generous, be EMPLOYED for most of your life, simply be a responsible person and even invest wisely. These are the things that ‘produce’ prosperity, not some tricks and gimmicks. I know God blesses his people; its just money shouldn’t be the focus! NOTE: I do find it strange that there are many Christians who are ALWAYS talking, thinking and focusing on material wealth. If I were to tell them ‘you have spent 35 years speaking, thinking and developing your entire Christian experience around money. Many of your teachers teach that Jesus was a millionaire; you have actually changed the image of God into one of your own desires. Many of the sermons you have heard thru out your life have been about money. Don’t you think it strange that someone like myself, who outright rejects and preaches against the movement is blessed’ Many of them would respond by saying ‘well, at least I died with a good confession’ No you didn’t, you died spending your whole life focusing on the things that Jesus said were not the true riches! Thanks to your preachers you spent a lifetime doing what Jesus said not to do! He said seek FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ALL THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU you my friend were seeking THE THINGS!

(209) Just had a dream a little while ago. I was strapped into this parachute harness and was going to ‘catapult’ up into the sky for a free fall. I did it once and it felt great [in the dream!] I was going to go for a second time and I knew I wasn’t strapped in right. Instead of ‘re strapping’ I was just going to ‘go for it’. I finally decided to abort. I gave someone else the chance. Over the years I have had various friends and people tell me ‘jokingly/seriously’ ‘you are going to get yourself killed’. I remember a friend at work [officer] said this to me. I said ‘we all have to die’ he told me ‘ but it doesn’t have to happen so soon!’ I had a friend I met at the homeless hangout, I felt a little ‘uncomfortable’ about him. He was new to the area, had a pretty good knowledge of the bible, and would ‘share’ things with me that were prophetic. I have had a few occasions in my life where I wondered if I was encountering angels [or someone else!]. He would often tell me that some of us [me!] were trying too hard to do it all and we needed to not be such ‘workaholics’. It was fairly easy for me to dismiss this criticism, even though I knew in my heart he was right. I simply justified myself [wrongfully] by realizing that this criticism was coming from someone with a less than spotless employment history! But I have had others tell me this [preach it] and basically say the same thing. I know to some degree this is a flaw. It actually is a weakness that comes from pride and insecurity. ‘Hey look at me, I am relentless, cant you tell?’ While up this morning I heard the Lord say ‘A LIVING DOG IS BETTER THAN A DEAD LION’ [somewhere in the bible?] Recently the imagery of a ‘lion’ as well as the name ‘Judah’ has been popping up again. I felt the Lord saying our ‘prophetic voice’ was going much further and stronger than before. I WILL BEND JUDAH LIKE A BOW the bow ‘imagery’ has been in my mind recently, this verse says ‘JUDAH’ is the bow! I felt like the Lord was saying he is giving some of us strong prophetic mantles to accomplish great strides in the Kingdom, with this authority comes a fearlessness that can be deadly. We must embrace the ‘fearlessness’ but not work ourselves to death. Judah is a great warrior, Jesus is the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH but if we die unnecessarily we wont accomplish all that God has for us. A LIVING DOG IS BETTER THAN A DEAD LION [even one from the tribe of Judah!] NOTE: Just re reading it for errors and felt like the ‘going up in the parachute’ fit in pretty well with John in the book of Revelation ‘COME UP HERE, AND I WILL SHOW YOU THINGS TO COME’

(696) THOUGHTS FROM GENESIS- Been reading Genesis 12-22. I felt like the Lord wanted me to overview some stuff. Paul will quote the account in Gen: 15 [and 12] a lot. ‘The just shall live by faith’ is oft mentioned in the New Testament. He uses Abraham as an argument for Justification by Faith. Both Romans and Galatians are masterpieces at this. In my first book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote a chapter titled ‘the Abrahamic Blessing’. I tried to undue a false teaching that arose out of the prosperity movement that taught the ‘Abrahamic Blessing’ was believers being promised material stuff. If you read the chapter [Galatians 3] you will see the Abrahamic blessing to mean Gods promise to Abraham that he would bless the whole world thru his child [seed]. Paul uses this to combat the Judiazers who were teaching you get saved by the law. Paul in essence says ‘God promised Abraham that he would bless [in context, to ‘Justify’ and give the Spirit to those who have faith] the world thru his child [Jesus] long before he gave the law to Moses’. And being God can’t lie, the first promise [to Abraham] is stronger than the second promise to Moses [Law]. Good stuff! But a false teaching twists the ‘promise’ and says ‘see, Paul says we are Abraham’s kids [true] and therefore we get his blessings’ [stuff] false! There are many reasons why it is false, but if your Pastor simply reads scripture in context, he will lead you right. I have grown ‘weary’ over the years in trying to correct this stuff. I have come to the conclusion that many well meaning Pastors/Teachers should have never had the large area of influence [media] due to the ‘basic’ level of thought they were functioning at. I want to be kind, but many of these doctrines are propagated because the mass of teaching going out is by brothers who simply can’t grasp scripture in context. Now, they are not all bad! But if your Pastor can’t see that the same writer of Galatians would also write 1st Timothy 6, and say ‘false teachers will rise in the last days, teaching gain is godliness. Turn away from them’ the fact that Paul connects false prophets to those who connect money with ‘godliness’ shows you that Paul is not teaching the Galatians that they were going to get rich because they had faith! Simple stuff, but the average teacher that can’t see or discern this should not be teaching on TV![or radio]. Because they wind up propagating stuff that is false. That’s why James says ‘don’t all try to be teachers, you will be held to a higher standard’. There seems to be a mindset in Christian ministry that says ‘The goal of our ‘church’ is to raise as much money as possible, expand our influence as far as possible, and have our Pastors message go to the ends of the earth’. This causes there to be a basic violation of ‘not many of you should be teachers’. Or a rush to get your words out! Now, God does ordain certain voices at certain times to have great influence. And it is fine for all ministers to try and get the gospel out as much a possible. But when I hear these national voices teach the most obvious mistakes, I think ‘surely these guys are not supposed to be teaching on this level’! So in Abraham’s story, the Lord tells him ‘I am going to bless the whole planet thru your seed’. God is giving us glimpses of Jesus Christ and his purpose to bring blessing to the whole world thru him. Have you been ‘blessed’ [born again] thru Abrahams seed?

(697) GENESIS 12: 1-3 ‘The Lord said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land THAT I WILL SHOW THEE. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great; [God will do it, not him!] and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless THEM that bless thee, and curse HIM that curseth thee: and IN THEE SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED’. The blessing is contingent upon Abraham going on a pilgrimage, for his entire life! Jesus said a prophet has no honor in his home town and among his own family. Over the years I have seen many gifted men along the way. Many still live WITH THEIR PARENTS. Or have a family situation where their wife IS THE PARENT. They have never ‘launched out’ and become responsible adults. There came a time in Abrahams life where the Lord said ‘you must leave your familiar surroundings, in order to become a great nation of people, you must leave the comfortable nation [environment] that you are trusting’. Some times all it takes is a willingness to get up and begin the journey. It’s scary at first, but no adventure is 100 % safe! Notice the Lord also informs him that he WILL FACE OPPOSITION! Those [plural] who are for him will be there. And HIM [singular] that is against thee shall also be there. God promises there are more on your side than on the critic’s side! Hey, they might only be invisible angels [Elijah, Elisha] but God says the numbers are on your side. The enemy often uses this ploy against you. ‘Hey, everyone thinks you are a failure, what are you still doing trying to finish Gods work!’ These were the accusations that Nehemiah would hear. That everyone is talking about what a mess the whole thing is. ‘Who does he think he is anyway’? Who cares what they think! We will ALL be dead and gone in a few years, the voices of opposition will be gone. The only thing that will matter then is what you did with a sincere and noble heart. At least you will have some rewards coming, the critics will only ‘have words’.

(698) GENESIS 12- Abraham goes into the Promised Land. God begins appearing to him, and Abraham builds an altar and calls on the Lord. A key principle to ‘possessing your land’ is responding right! Each time you move forward in the journey it is imperative that you ‘hear God’. He must ‘appear to you’ in some way [thru scripture, prophetic direction, etc] and your response should be prayer. This sequence of events will take place more than one time with Abraham and his kids. Though they are strangers in the land, each time God appears to them they set up ‘outposts’ [altars] for the Kingdom. Altars are places of prayer and sacrifice. They are ‘contact points’ between heaven and earth. Abrahams grandson, Jacob, will ‘set up one’ at Bethel [house of God] and have a dream of angels ascending and descending on a Ladder. Which of course is a type of the Cross. Abraham goes into Egypt and commits a familiar sin that he will pass on to his kids. The famous ‘this is my sister, not my wife’ deal. Pharaoh takes her and God curses Pharaoh and Pharaoh rebukes Abraham for lying out of fear. Isaac will do the same later on. Notice in this chapter the Lord told Abraham to ‘leave his family and go into a new place’ did he fully obey? Not really. He takes Lot [nephew] with him. Of course he was to take his wife, but I am not sure if he fudged on the Lot thing. You will notice later that as soon as he separates from Lot that the Lord begins reaffirming the promise to him. I kinda get the feeling that things were put on hold until he fully obeyed. One of the things we will see in Abraham’s life, was though he was a great man of faith. Yet he struggled like everyone else. He still clung to stuff out of fear. We end this chapter with Abraham going up out of Egypt, a short excursion and lesson in disobedience. Some of these early failures will plague his future dynasty!

(699) GENESIS 13- Abraham leaves Egypt and the scripture says HE WAS VERY RICH! One of the things we want to do as we review these chapters is to rightly divide the word of God. The church went thru an ‘immature’ level of thinking and teaching. She [the church!] saw all these truths on God blessing Abraham. The many true verses on ‘the blessing of the Lord, it makes rich and he adds no sorrow to it’ ‘the Lord gives you power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant in the earth’ and all the other truths on God meeting the needs of his kids and blessing them. But the teachers went overboard and taught a doctrine of a rich Jesus who died to make you rich. They would become the false prophets that Paul would warn Timothy about in 1st Timothy 6. So here we want to see and understand that the Lord blessed Abraham and did make him rich. We also want to balance this with all the teachings of Jesus on ‘beware of covetousness, for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesses’ ‘you can not serve God and money’ ‘the love of money is the root of all evil, while some have gone after it they have left the faith’ [Paul]. All of these scriptures are true, not just the ones we like the most! In this chapter Abraham separates from Lot and the lord reaffirms his promise to him. It seems like God was waiting on Abraham to ‘fully leave his family’ like the earlier verse said ‘get thee out of thy country AND FROM THY KINDRED’ here he finally left ‘the kindred’ and God said ‘now lets keep going’! Sometimes the only thing holding us back is full obedience. You don’t need to re do everything! Just bring some stuff back into alignment. Also after the Egypt ‘side trail’ Abraham renews his ‘first love’ and reconnects with God at bethel, but then moves to another spot and builds another altar. This chapter says ‘he went on his journeys’. God didn’t want Abraham to go stagnant, enjoy the area around the first altar and never advance. The purpose for Abraham was to be a father of MANY NATIONS. You can’t do that if your comfortable just settling down on the street corner and ‘pastoring your little flock’ [ouch!]. God wants us to ‘go on journeys’. I am not saying there are not times where ‘Pastoring the flock’ is OK. But the modern church goes to extremes. She either wants to build huge 20 thousand seat auditoriums [which tends to lead to a spectator mentality] or preach to 30 people at a time! God’s purpose is to impact all of society with the gospel. Jesus gospel was bigger than the one we embrace today. Hey, if you really enjoyed God’s presence at ‘Bethel’ just wait until you get to the next altar! Don’t forget Bethel [your first love] but you have a nation [nations!] to inherit!

(700) GENESIS 14- Abraham goes after the kings who took Lot captive. He takes his 318 trained men and gets Lot and the rest of the spoils from the invading armies. When Abraham brings the stuff back to the King of Sodom, the king tells Abraham ‘take all the goods as well’. Abraham refuses and takes only his expenses. You also find Abraham later on paying for the burial site for Sarah and his family. Even though the people wanted to give it as a ‘tax free gift’! It is important to see that although Abraham was rich, he often refused free handouts! The problem with the church today is you have too many Preachers who see the truths on Abraham being rich and they mix it with a message that says ‘sow seed into my ministry, don’t disobey God!’ it is taught in a way that violates the whole character of Abraham. If you want the lord to bless you, reexamine the way your are expecting it. Abraham would not take free stuff! The church needs to teach prosperity in balance with all the other principles of diligence and giving to God and being smart investors and AVOIDING FREE GIFTS! This mode of operation will be found in the life of Abraham more than once!

(701) GENESIS 15- Abraham has been living for a bunch of years since God told him ‘you will have lots of kids, great nations and peoples’ yet he hasn’t had any children yet! You begin to see the natural mind working. Abraham suggests that one of his servants might become the promised ‘seed’. It was not uncommon for a father with no natural children to give the inheritance to a servant. Scripture says a wise servant will rule over a foolish son. Remember the movie ‘Gladiator’? The King/father chooses the Roman gladiator [Crowe] over the son. So Abraham is thinking maybe this is Gods plan. He will do this later with Ishmael as well. A son born from him, but not from Sarah. The Lord will have to keep reaffirming the original vision, so Abraham will have to trust. Also scripture says ‘the word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision’. Let’s do a quick study. The New Testament teaches faith comes by hearing and ‘hearing by the Word of the Lord’. In the book of Acts the phrase ‘they preached the Word’ appears. Paul says ‘all scripture is given by inspiration of God’. What exactly is ‘the word of the Lord’? While you certainly can apply it to our bible, yet Paul will use this phrase before the New Testament was complete. The preaching in Acts was ‘the word’ yet they had no bibles like we have today. What is the ‘all scripture’ Paul is speaking of? It is specifically the promised ‘word’ that was fulfilled thru Messiah as the completion of the revelation of God to man. This certainly included the Old Testament, but it was more specific. The preaching in Acts was focused on Jesus being the fulfillment of the promise that all Israel was waiting for. So ‘the word of the Lord’ is not simply some general belief in scripture [though it is good to have this belief!] but it is belief in the promise and revealed will of God to you thru out your life. It is the thing you have been waiting for, as revealed by God to you. If you will, it is the actual vision of God for your life. When you believe and see the purpose of God for you, you will have momentum and a dynamic that can not be achieved thru other means. When God calls you and reveals his will to you, you must reattach to this purpose thru out your life. Even in Abraham’s doubts, he is still trying to figure out how to complete the mission! The whole ‘let my servant be the son’ or later on ‘let Ishmael live before thee’ are doubts that are arising out of his determination to see ‘the word of the lord’ [Gods original promise to him] fulfilled! So I want to encourage you to do a little housecleaning. Have things moved so fast [or slow!] in your life that you have lost the original purpose? Are you spending your time doing things that are not primarily connected to your destiny in God? Re attach to the original purpose. In verse 6 Abraham believes God again and it is accounted unto him for righteousness. God is still wanting you to believe him to bring it to pass!

(702) GENESIS 16- Abraham is around 85 years old. He’s been waiting around 10 years for God to fulfill the promise and give him a child. In the last chapter he suggested for the Lord to count his servant from his household as the heir. Now Sarah says ‘take my maid Hagar and have a son with her’. Of course the sons name is Ishmael. For all you preachers who read this site, well you know the story. But for all my buddies let me explain. Ishmael is usually looked upon as ‘the flesh’. That is Abraham went out in his own strength and tries to make Gods promise happen. True. But Paul will use this story in Galatians 4 and teach the difference between law and grace. Though Ishmael is the father of the Arab nations [Muslim people for the most part]. Yet Paul does not compare Ishmael to ‘natural Arab descent’. He compares Ishmael to JEWISH PEOPLE WHO ARE LAW KEEPERS AND WHO PERSECUTE TRUE BELIEVERS! Now, I don’t want to go anti Semitic. I want you to see this very important distinction. Today we should see this whole story thru the eyes of law versus grace. Not thru the eyes of Jew versus Muslim! When you preach it the ethnic way [Jew versus Muslim] you do harm to the purpose of God. Paul will use the illustration to show how all those who are under grace are free and don’t have to be under a legalistic mindset. He will compare Ishmael to those who are NATURAL JERUSALEM [not Arab people!] and say ‘you must be free from trying to please God thru the law, and come to the Cross!’ [Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, etc.] Preaching it like this is consistent with the New Testament. Preaching it like the American Fundamentalists causes strife in the world! So read this chapter along with Galatians 3 and 4. Think about what I just told you as you read, and see if it falls down on the side of grace versus ethnic division. God loves all people. He is calling all nations to himself thru Christ. Let’s keep this in mind as we ‘preach the bible’. Many times we do damage to the purpose of God because we think ‘preach the bible’ means spewing out hatred to Muslim people. Here we have shown you that this is not the will of God!

(703) GENESIS 17- Once again God appears to Abraham to reassure him of the original promise. What did God promise him again? He will be the father of many nations [Paul will refer this to Abraham being the father, spiritually, of all believers. Not just natural Israel!] God told him he would be a blessing to the whole world thru his offspring [Both Jesus individually, all men being justified and receiving the Spirit by faith. And also thru the ‘corporate Christ’. The whole body of Christ, including Jew and gentile believers] and Abraham would ‘inherit all this land thru his offspring’. If you go back and look at the actual borders that God spoke of, it is much more than what you see on a map of Israel today! We are going to deal with the mistaken idea of the Protestant American Evangelist and his preaching on so called ‘replacement theology’. Now The Lord will reaffirm this basic promise and tell Abraham ‘walk before me and be perfect’. I get the sense that the Lord was waiting until Abraham’s faith was ‘perfect’ enough to fulfill the promise [read my commentary on Hebrews 11 on this site!] It’s like the Lord was saying ‘walk right son, I am waiting to give you all the stuff I spoke of!’ Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 90. God says ‘Sarah will be the mother of many nations’. It seems like Abraham all ready gave up on his future son Isaac and had all his hopes on Ishmael. Abraham will say this in response to the promised Isaac. ‘O that Ishmael would live before thee’ in essence ‘just do the promise thru Ishmael, I’m all right with it’. God says no, he will do it thru the promised child! Now, let’s get into it. Read Galatians 3-4 and Romans 3-4. Paul will take all these promises and say ‘the promise that God made to Abraham that he would inherit the world was not to Abraham or his kids thru the law, but by faith. So at the end [fulfillment] the promise might apply to all the kids, not just to natural Jews who are living by the law’. Paul absolutely is a REPLACEMENT THEOLOGIAN! He is really not guilty of what this so called accusation means. Some preachers will say those who ‘spiritualize’ the promise of God to Israel and apply them to the church are ‘replacement theologians’. But the fact is Paul is doing this! Read Romans 4: 13-14. Paul interprets these passages to refer to the church. Both Jew and non Jew who believe. ‘Why brother, how can the church fulfill the promise of God to Abraham that his seed [kids] would inherit the holy land’? Easy, the New Testament clearly states that we are joint heirs with Christ. We basically own the planet. There are believers right now in every part of the Holy land and all Palestine and Iraq and Egypt and as a matter of fact all over the world! Did you notice Paul will expand the ‘land promise’ from the holy land to the world! Jesus is actually seated at Gods right hand in heaven ruling from a universal throne [which includes Israel!] and is expanding his actual earthly presence thru the church. The fact that right now Abraham has spiritual children inhabiting the whole planet, including Israel. Shows that the promise to Abraham is being fulfilled thru ALL THE SEED, not just those who are ‘of the law’ [natural Israel]. Well in a nutshell, Paul was a ‘replacement theologian’ but I prefer to see it more as a ‘full world theologian’ a type of interpretation that sees all of Gods kids possessing all of Gods world thru the ‘promise of the Spirit’. NOTE; It is vital for believers to see this truth. It will keep us from getting involved in ‘holy wars’ between Israel and Palestine and advocating actual murder as a fulfillment of Gods word!

(704) GENESIS 18- The Lord appears to Abraham and tells him he is going to destroy Sodom. Abraham has family living there [Lot] and pleads with the Lord not to judge the place. Abraham says ‘what if 50 righteous people are there, will you destroy them with the rest’? The Lord says ‘No’. Abraham goes all the way to ‘what about 10 people’ and the Lord assures Abraham he will not destroy the place if there are 10 righteous people there. Well, you know the story. Lot and his family will leave and God will judge the place. Peter will use the example of Lot and say ‘the Lord knows how to deliver [save] the righteous’. He ‘delivered’ just Lot. Also the Lord ‘saved’ Noah who was a preacher of righteousness. David in Psalms says ‘The righteous cry [call upon] and the Lord hears and saves them’. The theme of God ‘saving the righteous’ is different than God ‘saving sinners’. This is actually what Paul is referring to in Romans 10 ‘with the heart mans believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’. In essence ‘you are saved’ when you believe. And the process of ‘ongoing promised salvation and deliverance will come to all who call’. Hey, once you believe [are made just] you can’t help but call! For the Spirit of God is sent forth into your heart and you will cry ‘Abba, father’. I don’t want to get technical here. If you asked Jesus into your heart and are truly serving God, great! But in context there is a ‘salvation of the righteous’ as well as a ‘salvation of the sinner’. They are intricately connected, but you see the doctrine here. God will save the just over and over again as they call upon his name. The righteous cry and the Lord hears their prayer and delivers them.

(705) GENESIS 19- The Lord tells Lot to leave Sodom quickly. Lot has to be forcibly removed by the angels! The men of Sodom wanted to have ‘relations’ with the angels! Lot offers his daughters instead and the men pass on the offer. God initially tells Lot to flee to the mountain [the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into and are safe- once again we will see the doctrine of the righteous being saved by the Lord]. Lot offers the angels a compromise. He says ‘let me go to this nearby city instead’ the angels say ‘fine’. The next day lot wakes up and sees the total destruction of Sodom and realizes this was the last city he lived in that the Lord wasn’t to happy with. He must have turned around and thought ‘geez, the lord also wasn’t to happy with me going to this other city [Zoar] either, he wanted me to go to the mountain’ and he tells his kids ‘you know what, that mountain retreat sounds like a good idea after all’! The scripture says he feared to stay in Zoar! If you read 2nd Peter 2 and Jude you will see Lot mentioned. The writers will once again say the Lord knows how to save the righteous. These chapters speak of both the deliverance of Noah and the story of Lot. Many times rapture theorists will see the truth of God saving his people from wrath and mistakenly apply it to a geographical deliverance. Both lot and Noah are examples of believers who were ‘removed from wicked places and preserved from God’s wrath’. It was a geographical salvation if you will. In the New Testament the wrath of God is seen in a more universal dimension. In John 3 the scripture says ‘the wrath of God continually abides on the unbeliever’. Paul will say ‘Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come’. Past tense! The New Testament doctrine of promised deliverance from ‘the wrath to come’ is not contingent upon a geographical location. It is based on ‘being in Christ’ [the city of God, the bride the lambs wife! Revelation] and coming ‘out of Babylon’. The world [not the earth!] and its false systems of pride and sin. So in context you can apply these geographical deliverances to the child of God being spared from future wrath. But you shouldn’t develop a doctrine that says ‘Jesus comes back 2 more times, one to take away believers for 7 years and another to reveal himself’. Jesus will come back, but if you haven’t already been ‘delivered from Babylon’ by the time he comes, then be assured ‘the wrath of God abideth on you’.

(706) GENESIS 20- Abraham does it again! He travels to Gerar and tells the king ‘Sarah is my sister, not my wife’. This time the king takes her but before he sleeps with her God appears to him in a dream and tells him not to do it. In this chapter we see dreams, prophets and healing mentioned. All before Pentecost! In the following days we will cover Joseph and his dreams. I want you to see the reality of God communicating and interjecting himself into the human story as he wills. The fact that all thru out scripture AND CHURCH HISTORY we see an ongoing work of God in supernatural things shows us that God is still sovereign and can do all the things he has ever done. One of the big divisions in Christianity today has to do with the Charismatic movement and the more Orthodox/Reformed brothers. While I realize the Reformed brothers do accept the supernatural workings of God, some of them hold to cessationist views of the gifts of the Spirit. The Charismatics will accept the gifts, but often fall short in the simple teaching of scripture. I have been frustrated over the years in trying to tell Charismatic brothers that you can’t teach that Jesus was a very wealthy person who taught a money message. No matter how much proof from scripture or history you give them, they dismiss it as ‘that old tradition’. I can see why the more Reformed guys just avoid the whole deal. But to be honest to scripture we need to see and have a basic belief in a supernatural God who can communicate thru dreams and can use Prophets and does heal miraculously! Now after God appears to Abimilech and tells him ‘don’t do it, she is the mans wife’. The king is also told ‘restore her back to the man and he will pray for you and I will heal you, he is a Prophet’. So Abraham makes it right. Now, the king also gives restitution to Abraham. Lots of stuff. Does this contradict what I taught earlier about Abraham? We showed how he didn’t take free handouts. In this case this is really not a free handout, it is the biblical doctrine of restitution. Jesus taught this in the New Testament. When someone is wronged by you, do what you can to make up for it. So we leave this chapter with Abraham once again coming out on top, even though he messed up! This shows you that it is only by the mercy and favor of God that you are where you are today. You might think ‘you know, I really am a pretty talented guy. If I weren’t with the lord I probably would have succeeded in some other endeavor’ NOT! It is his grace alone that has exalted you to success. If it weren’t for the Lord you would be a big mess!

(707) GENESIS 21- God gives Abraham a child thru Sarah in their old age. Sarah was ‘beyond the time to have kids’ and it was truly a miracle. The child grows and Abraham’s son from Hagar, Ishmael, mocks Isaac. The scripture says ‘cast out the bondwoman’s son, he shall not be heir with Isaac’. This thing grieves Abraham but God says ‘listen to Sarah’ and he sends Ishmael and Hagar out. Once again in Galatians 4 Paul says ‘these things are an allegory’ [wow, talk about presumptuously spiritualizing the word! Many preachers believe doing this is wrong. They seem to not see the heavy amount of ‘spiritualizing’ that Paul does!] Paul says these are examples of how the legalistic Jews would persecute those born of the Spirit. Paul clearly says ‘just like Ishmael made fun of Isaac, so today [the New covenant] those who are born of the Spirit are being persecuted by those born ‘after the flesh’. There simply is no other way to see this. Paul flatly applies this story to law versus grace. Not Jew versus Arab [Muslim]. Paul will even call ‘natural Jerusalem’ Ishmael, who is under bondage with her children. And call those who are born of the Spirit children of ‘the heavenly Jerusalem’ who are born from God. For a first century Jewish former Pharisee to absolutely reject any glorifying of natural Israel, and to call her ‘in bondage with her children’ shows you the strong disconnect that the modern fundamental evangelist makes with scripture when he applies such honor to natural Jerusalem! In a previous chapter Abraham circumcises his son [Ishmael] and himself the same day. Paul will also teach that this shows Abraham to be the father of ‘many nations’. The fact that Abraham was declared righteous before he was circumcised shows you that Abraham is not only ‘the father of Jewish heritage’ but of ‘all who believe, even those who are not circumcised’. This might not mean as much to you today, but in 1st century Rome the Jews considered the uncircumcised as ‘dogs’. For Paul to say Abraham is the father of all who believe, even the uncircumcised, was a major break with ethnic tradition! Sort of like what I just showed you about the ‘natural’ versus ‘spiritual’ Jerusalem. It challenges the strong ethnic ties that believers hold to when they do not rightly interpret scripture. Paul was hated for this type of theology! So we see the Lord finally fulfill his promise to Abraham. The child has arrived! Boy is he gonna be surprised when God says ‘now, go and offer him as a sacrifice’!

(708) GENESIS 22- The big test day! It comes to all of us. A time in your life where you choose to obey or keep playing around the danger zone of disobedience. God tells Abraham ‘you see that boy Isaac, the one you have been doubting me about thru out this journey. You thought I would fulfill the promise thru your servant at first. Then for sure you had your hopes on Ishmael. Boy don’t you remember what we went thru in order to get you to the place of promise’? I could hear Abraham saying ‘I know Lord, forgive me for being so stubborn. I had a hard time believing Sarah could really have a son. She was ‘beyond the time of child bearing’ and I doubted it would happen. But now that it did happen, well I can see Isaac truly being the father of nations, just like you said’. God ‘yeah, it’s been a wild ride son. Oh yeah, one more thing. Take the child and offer him up on an altar!’ WHAT! I am sure Abraham thought the major days of testing were over. The miracle boy has arrived. Things are going well for Ishmael, he’s on his own and enjoying some bow hunting [he became an archer!]. And Abraham wants to settle down and enjoy the rest of his life. But the Lord says ‘let’s go for another round’. In Hebrews 11 the Word says Abraham at this point simply learned how to trust. He knew in his own mind that the only way to get any where was to obey. He tried all the other angles before and they just delayed the promise. He also knows that this child is the one that the promise will be fulfilled thru. Hebrews says Abraham just figured ‘what the heck. I got the boy by way of a miracle. He was as good as dead when he was born. He came from a ‘dead womb’. If God wants me to kill him, I guess he will just raise him up again!’ Abrahams mind was trained at this point in his life to fall down on the side of ‘I will do what God says, and he will do whatever needs to be done to bring the future to pass’. [Read my commentary on Hebrews 11 on this blog!] Often times this Isaac story is taught in a way that says ‘God will ask you to give up on the promise. You must ‘lay Isaac down on the altar’. While there is some truth to this idea, it really doesn’t grasp the full picture. I just showed you how in Abraham’s mind he didn’t think he was ‘giving up on the vision/destiny’ he just learned to allow God to do it the way he said. It is really not a test of giving up the vision, it is a test of how do you think it will come to pass! Have you learned to not try and organize and strategize and be ‘motivated’ enough to make it happen? We usually create idols out of the process, the way we think it should be done and God doesn’t say ‘lose the vision/purpose’ he says ‘quit trying to do it in ways that are heavily dependant on your own strength’. Abraham wasn’t giving up on the vision, he was giving up on his own wisdom!

(709) GENESIS 23- Sarah is old and dies. Abraham mourns for the loss of the ‘mother of many nations’. She was just as much a recipient of the promise as he was. Abraham offers to BUY a burial spot for Sarah and his family. He tells the people ‘sell me a place to bury my dead’. The sons of Heth say ‘you are a great and influential person. Take any spot you want for free’. Once again Abraham refuses a free gift. He did this earlier with the king of Sodom. Why is this important to see? While in today’s economy we allow for ‘churches’ to be tax free. Yet we need to be very careful about looking like we are freeloaders. I have heard unbelievers in the past say ‘these prosperity preachers are claiming God has prospered them. But they are getting tax free stuff’. While I believe it’s o.k. to use the benefits the government provides for advancing the gospel, we need to be aware of the impression this gives to the unbelieving world. Especially when we use the tax free status and at the same time amass wealth! So here we see Abraham purchase the land for the full price. He buys a field from Ephron and counts the silver in public [open books!] and lets everyone see up front that there are no secret financial dealings. I think Abraham would be a member of the financial accountability groups that oversee the ministries finances!

(710) GENESIS 24- Abraham sends his servant back to his homeland to get a wife for Isaac. The servant asks ‘what if the women doesn’t want to come back to the Promised Land, should I bring Isaac back to your original homeland’? Abraham is adamant ‘under no circumstances is my son to leave this journey and go back!’ the writer of Hebrews says ‘if they were mindful of the land they came from, they might have had opportunity to have returned’. The whole point is the idea of leaving the ‘homeland’ was a type of Israel [and you!] leaving the old ways and traditions that we are familiar with and to launch out into new things. Paul will often use this language in exhorting natural Israel to leave the old law and come into the New Covenant. We need to make sure that we don’t go back! [note: I am not saying all tradition is wrong, but sometimes we are so joined to past ancestry that this hinders the things God has planned for us]. The servant goes and finds a well and says ‘Lord, give me a sign. Let the woman who I ask to give me a drink. Let her also offer to water the camels and I will know she’s the one’. Is it wrong to ask for signs? Sometimes. But God wants us to succeed so much that he will show you beyond a shadow of a doubt what he wants! Sure enough Rebecca comes to the well and she fulfils the sign. They go back to Abrahams relatives [Labans house] and the servant tells the whole story. Rebecca goes back to the promised land with the servant and Isaac marries her. This story is often taught in Sunday school as Abraham being a type of God who sends his servant [Spirit] to get a bride [the Church] for his son [Jesus]. I think it fits. God also sends his Spirit to draw you away from the place of security into a new land. He knows that unless we leave familiar co dependant environments, we will never mature into the full functioning person that he intends for us. Often times the missing ingredient is ‘get up and get out’. We fail to launch!

(711) GENESIS 25- Isaac and Rebecca are married for around 20 years and still have no children. Isaac prays for kids and Rebecca is pregnant with twins! The first one out is Esau and then comes Jacob. Scripture says ‘the older will serve the younger’. Paul will quote this in Romans 9 to explain Predestination. The doctrine of God saving you based on total grace. He chose you before you were born! Now, I have said before that Christians have fought wars over this stuff. After all the studying I have done over the years, I fall down on the side of Calvinism [or Augustine or Paul!]. The critics of this doctrine have good reasons to be critical, there are some difficult questions that come with this teaching. For the most part you see Paul defending it in Romans 9 by using this story. He says God chose Jacob before the boys were even born, they had done nothing to earn Gods choosing. Now those who reject Predestination will say ‘God saw ahead of time the future decisions that the boys were to make’. Fine. But Paul still defends the doctrine from the point of view that ‘before the boys did right or wrong God chose Jacob’. Paul then says ‘you will then say to me, how can God find fault? People are just doing what they were predestined to do’. If God was just choosing Jacob based on his foreknowledge of their future choices, then Paul would have said ‘easy, God is being fair because he based this decision on his future knowledge of what the boys would do’. But Paul doesn’t say this. He answers the critics of predestination by saying ‘who are you to question God? Can the thing that God created question the creator’? Paul will go on in the rest of the chapter and defend classic Calvinism using this defense. I believe there are some real answers to be found thru out Romans that might be a little too ‘heavy’ for us to get into. Most believers who have argued over these 2 Christian views [Calvinism versus Arminianism] have argued over the seeming unfairness of the doctrine. There are things that we don’t fully understand or grasp as humans. When we try to ‘adjust’ scripture to make it fit our rational minds we err. I believe we should rejoice over the mercy of God, teach all people that Jesus loves them and Christ died for them. And thank God that you and I are in this thing because of Gods sovereign choice, it had nothing to do with what we did [or would do!] We also see Esau sell his birthright to Jacob. Paul uses this in Hebrews 12 to warn Jewish people not to despise the privileged position of ‘being first’. The gospel came first to the Jews. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah! The fact that they rejected Jesus has caused there to be a ‘despising’ of that which was originally theirs! Many Jewish people have fallen into the error of Esau. They have rejected something that was designed for their benefit. And while others have benefited from this rejection, they actually despise hearing about their rightful place in Messiah! Many Jewish families see it as heresy for a family member to convert to Christianity. Esau sold what was really his, and he hated Jacob because of it.

(712) GENESIS 26- There is a famine in the land and the Lord warns Isaac not to go down into Egypt. Isaac stays and dwells in Gerar and the surrounding area. He pulls the ‘this is my sister, not my wife’ thing. The king finds out she is Isaacs wife and rebukes him for lying. Isaac is really blessed in the land. Scripture says ‘he sowed and reaped a 100 fold’. Now, let’s do a little stuff. The modern church went thru a whole phase where believers were confessing and believing and doing everything [but working!] in order to get ‘the 100 fold return’. We have previously showed you how when Jesus spoke of ‘the 100 fold return’ in the parable of the sower, he in no way was speaking of money! [Read the chapter ‘twisting the parable of the sower’ the book is ‘HOUSE OF PRAYER OR DEN OF THIEVES’ on this site]. But because the Old Testament is the ‘shadow’ of things to come, and not the true riches. That’s why in this story it is speaking of natural stuff. Now the church went thru this stage of believers doing all they could to ‘reap the financial harvest’. We taught believers to think on money, confess it. Basically consume your thoughts with ‘money thoughts’ [all in violation of Jesus teaching on ‘the gentiles are always thinking about this stuff, let it not be like this with you’!] So we had a whole group of young believers violating the mandate in scripture to work and be diligent. And they often times were doing it by believing a distorted doctrine on the 100 fold return. Well Isaac reaped because HE SOWED. He planted that darn farmland! [To be nice about it]. So today we should teach the believer the responsibility of working and living diligently and being responsible. And we need to teach that the way you reap the 100 fold return is by actually planting that field! Isaac also will re open the wells that his father had dug. They were stopped up out of jealousy by the philistines. Sometimes people ‘who are not doing the work themselves’ [sowing] have a lot of free time. What do they do with this free time? Figuring out ways to stop up other peoples wells! Paul called them busy bodies in the New Testament. These brothers just make more work for those who are in the harvest field! Isaac opens up the wells and honors his fathers heritage. The church goes thru these stages every so often. A re opening of the church fathers. Studying Patristics again [1st 7 centuries of church history]. I think it’s a good thing to honor our spiritual heritage. These wells go deep and have been feeding people for centuries!

(713) GENESIS 27- Isaac is old and ready to die. He calls Esau and tells him to go get some deer and prepare him a good meal. Isaac is going to give the blessing of the firstborn to Esau. Rebecca hears the plan and when Esau goes hunting, she tells Jacob [her momma’s boy!] ‘Quick, go get some cabrito and let’s make some carne’! They dress Jacob in Esau’s hairy clothes and he goes to dad. Dad is a little suspicious but Jacob is a great liar. When Isaac says ‘son, how did you hunt and prepare the food so fast’? Jacob not only lies, but he even invokes the Lord! ‘God was with me and he helped me prosper’ OUCH! This boy likes to fib! The plan works and Isaac blesses Jacob instead of Esau. Notice the blessing, it is the actual blessing that Jacobs’s son Joseph will dream in the future. Isaac says your brothers will come to you and bow down and serve you, I have made you preeminent among them. Years later Joseph will tell these dreams to his father Jacob and Jacob will act surprised. ‘Are we all going to bow down to you, where in the world did you ever get such an idea’? I think Jacob knew where it came from, but he was playing the stoop! Esau comes in with the venison and finds out it’s too late, Isaac already gave the blessing of the firstborn to Jacob. But Isaac musters up a cheap blessing and gives it to him. Esau plots to kill his brother. Rebecca hears and says to Isaac ‘lets send Jacob away to Labans house. God forbid that he takes a wife from this place’! She wants her boy gone to protect him from his brother. Notice this whole story. God is using this family to fulfill his purpose in the earth. These are all the great heroes of the faith for heavens sake! You would be hard pressed to find a more dysfunctional family today. We have a tendency to present leaders and ‘movers and shakers’ as stage performers. They are seen at their best. The average saint feels he cant live up to the high powered models we present to them. That’s why when a book is written from the honest standpoint of failure and struggle, it is popular. The people of God want to know that they are not alone in their struggles and sins. They want to see that many of the ‘great Christians’ struggled like them. I think this story does a good job at accomplishing this purpose. Also in the last chapter I forgot to mention something. One of the wells that Isaac digs is named ‘Rehoboth’. Which means ‘the Lord has made room for us and we will be fruitful in the land’. I have already incorporated this into my prayer time. These chapters carry many tremendous promises of God giving you the influence of a true revolutionary. God telling Abraham ‘all the land you see you will inherit’ reaffirming these promises to his seed. ‘I will multiply you exceedingly, I will make nations out of you and kings will come from you’ ‘your children will inherit this land. They will prosper in all their ways’ all these themes can be found thru out these chapters. Remember Paul teaches these promises are being fulfilled thru the people of God. Claim these promises over you and your children. Claim them over both natural and spiritual offspring. God wants to bless you with the blessing of Rehoboth ‘he will make room for you in this land and make you fruitful’!

(714) GENESIS 28- JACOBS LADDER; Isaac sends Jacob off to Labans house. Esau sees that his father never dealt with Jacobs’s schemes and goes and TAKES A WIFE FROM ISHMAELS DAUGHTERS! A huge no no! Isaacs’s family knows this story like a family taboo. How many times has Esau heard how uncle Ishmael used to mock Isaac. And how ‘Father Abraham’ had to send Ishmael away. This story must have stuck like a thorn in the side of Ishmael and his family. Well, after all these years of family strife and division, old Esau goes and says ‘uncle Ishmael, can I have your daughters hand in marriage’? I am sure Ishmael thought ‘why what have we here, the precious heritage of beloved Isaac wants to associate himself with us. Sure I’ll help you old nephew’. Ishmael was more than glad to oblige. Isaac never really dealt with the inner strife in his family. King David and others would fall into this category as well. Esau did what he did out of spite, and it affected many others. Now on Jacobs journey he stops and sets up a bunch of stones [living stones- Peters epistle calls believers living stones] and makes a pillow for his head [a place to rest his head. Jesus is the ‘head’ of the church [authority!] and he ‘rests’ [abides] in the people of God thru his Spirit. We are the habitation of God!] As the sun sets [it got dark on Golgotha- the place where the sun went down] he falls asleep [Jesus ‘slept’ 3 days and nights in the grave]. During his sleep God appears to him and assures him that because of the journey he will become the heir and father of nations and peoples [Jesus is the actual seed of Abraham that would inherit all kindred’s and nations. He was faithful to go on a journey to earth, the incarnation. And the father made him heir of all things while he ‘slept’] Jacob wakes up [resurrection] and says ‘this is the house of God’ [Jesus made us the house of God thru his death and resurrection] and puts the stones together into a pillar. It actually calls the stones [corporate] ‘the stone’ [singular] at this point. We were all individual stones before Christ. But in him we have become one ‘stone’. The church, the Body of Christ. The pillar is made from the stones [Peter said we are the living stones who being formed together are an habitation for God- Paul said the church was the ‘pillar’ and ground of the truth] and Jacob pours oil on the pillar of stones [Jesus poured out his Spirit on all the living stones on the day of Pentecost, anointing us as his New testament pillar of stones]. Oh, by the way, the ladder that Jacob saw in his dream was a door of access from heaven to earth and earth to heaven, this is a wonderful type of the Cross. Bravo to the great victory of the Son of God!

(715) PARABLE FROM A WATCH- Recently there has been much public debate on the origins of life. Two famous atheists, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have written books on the subject. These books have been debunked fairly well by others in the scientific community as well as believers. Ben Stein, the comedian who used to be on T.V. and other various projects has made a movie called ‘expelled’. I haven’t seen it yet but it shows the very real discrimination that is played out against professors who even think to mention the theory of intelligent design. These professors are often silenced, not on the grounds of science, but because of the stigma that comes with being a contrarian when it comes to evolution. Now the parable; Say if 2 people were walking along the highway and stumbled across a watch. They have never seen one before. The materials of the watch are foreign to them. What is this strange thing? One of them espouses the idea that many billions of years ago nothing existed. You had no matter, no life giving entity. You believe that as billions of years went buy, out of nothing came something [a scientific impossibility!] but for the sake of argument, we agree. Now this ‘material’ that came into existence from nothing still had to be formed and designed into this complex watch that we have found. The materialist espouses another billion or so years go by and you had this explosion. Where did the explosion come from? Well lets stick with the same theory of where the materials came from. It just happened! No explanation at all. No scientific fore thought, everything just went ‘boom, boom’. At this point I begin wondering if my materialistic friend is off his rocker! But from this unexplained explosion we have billions of more years [he seems to think the simple concept of billions of years can itself create matter and cause action and create design. This idea is absolutely contrary to all true science. All true science, observable facts, show us that from points of disorder you do not get design! Say an explosion of some other thing, you do not derive order and complexity from the simple act of an explosion. An explosion can never in a billion years produce a watch. It would be like using the common example of an infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of keyboards for an infinite number of years and producing the complete works of Shakespeare!] Now from this viewpoint the materialist says ‘this is how the watch got here, I am a man of knowledge and science’ now as the innocent bystander, I would say ‘you my friend are a complete and total idiot’ [I like using parables, you can have the characters say things that you personally would never say as a believer!]. The bystander says ‘as far as we can tell from all other observable data that we have around us, there has never once been a time where a complex machine like a watch could have simply appeared from nowhere and nothing. You had to have had some initiator [designer] somewhere along the way to have crafted the thing. This designer, be it aliens or whatever, had to have had the ability to also have created the elements of the watch. By sheer logic, this designer himself had to have been around forever or else you would come up with the same problem of ‘something/someone coming from nothing’. The bystander deducts that although he can not explain scientifically all the ins and outs of this designer, yet he without a doubt is much more ‘scientific’ than the materialists idea that all things came from no thing! So today, we have the ‘average Joe’ who simply believes that the materialistic scientist must have the real answers. The average Joe thinks ‘surely I haven’t been believing in a total absurdity my whole life!’ He takes ‘by faith’ the materialists explanation. Most average Joes have heard the argument ‘well, the schools teach science, not religion. Therefore we must believe this absurdity’. It is a proven fact that complex things, be they watches or humans or solar systems, must have come from a designer. How is it proven? It is proven in the sense that all observable complex things have never been shown to have appeared from nothing. Science has never once witnessed the arrival of a new species from nothing. Science simply shows us the factual data that all things that we can now observe coming into existence [births of animals, humans, etc] come into existence by the actions of other things that already exist. The belief the bystander has espoused! So in reality what the average Joe thinks is true science, that all things came from nothing, is not true science at all. As a matter of fact, that which he thought was ‘silly religion’ actually has been closer to the facts all along!

(716) GENESIS 29- Jacob goes on his journey after the Bethel experience and shows up at a well in Laban’s land. As he is talking to the brothers who are sitting there at the well he scopes out the situation. He finds out that Rachel, the daughter of Laban, will be coming to water her dads sheep. Great, he is having some success in hooking up with a possible wife. As he is talking to the shepherds he asks ‘why don’t you guys water the sheep, there thirsty and it’s as good a time as any’? Jacob is pro active. His family history is digging up wells. For heavens sake water the ‘darn’ sheep already! The guys answer ‘O heaven forbid it! Our tradition is to wait for all the other brothers who are also bringing sheep. Then someone else rolls the stone away from the wells mouth [the ordained clergy ?] and then, and only then, do we water’. Well Jacobs a newcomer and he can’t figure out what’s wrong with these Yankees from the east. He just keeps his mouth shut. Sure enough Rachel shows up, and what do you know, he goes and rolls the stone away. That unordained rebel! Doesn’t he realize that he is violating the traditions of our fathers? The water in the well is precious, who does he think he is freely watering as if the water was ‘growing on trees’. Well it is! Or better, the ground is full of it. Jesus said ‘feed my sheep, the water that I give freely is available to everyone. This water will become a river in my people. For heavens sake the stone has been removed from my grave [well] for 2 thousand years, why don’t you water the sheep’? We are like the brothers waiting for the official ‘stone roller’ to tell us when it’s OK to water. Jacob was a go getter, if these other guys feel they don’t have the authority to roll away the stone and freely give access to the river of life, then that’s their problem. But ole Jacob is gonna provide that water whether they like it or not! Jacob goes to laban’s house and they share the whole story. Laban says ‘just because you are my relative, doesn’t mean you are going to work for free. Tell me your price’. Well, I kinda like Rachel. We did smooch at the well. Sure enough Laban says work for me for 7 years and she’s yours. They sort of had a long time payment plan for stuff like this. Jacob works the full 7 years and scripture says it seemed like a few days to him. The 7 years are up, Laban says ‘your bride is waiting in the tent’. It’s late and dark, Jacob makes love to his wife, and sure enough in the morning its Leah and not Rachel! Jacob is incensed. Laban says ‘Oh, didn’t I tell you we have this custom that the older sister gets married first? But being I am such an honest broker. Just work another 7 years for Rachel’. We often see Jacob as a schemer. After all the whole reason he is at laban’s house is because of his past schemes. But in this instance, laban was the slippery character. This will be the beginning of many years of deceit. Jacob will go ahead and trick laban out of the good flocks. Eventually Jacob will leave under less than perfect circumstances and his wife, Rachel, will learn the supplanting ways of Jacob. We will read how Rachel steals laban’s idols and lies about them. But we leave this chapter with some deep-seated mistrust in Jacobs’s dealings with uncle Laban.

(717) GENESIS 30- I forgot to mention that in the last chapter Leah gives Jacob 4 sons. Now Rachel is barren. Notice how all these mothers of the faith are barren. What’s up with this? Sarah, Rebecca and now Rachel. Paul will quote Isaiah in the book of Galatians ‘more are the children of the desolate, than of the married wife’. Paul quotes this in context of saying ‘the spiritual Israel [church] will actually have more ‘children’ than the natural Israel’. He quotes it in a way to teach the reality of God bringing forth the promises thru the promised seed as opposed to the natural law. I hope you’re following me. It is consistent with everything I showed you when we covered Isaac as the promised seed. Now here we see a theme of the promised mothers as barren. And then God miraculously giving the mothers birth [remember Sarah was past the time of having kids?] So God is doing the same here, Rachel feels hopeless as each year passes and she is barren. Especially because Leah has given Jacob kids! So in this chapter the race is on! It’s actually quite funny. Rachel says ‘Jacob, sleep with my maid’ [A Hagar type thing] and sure enough Rachel starts the competition. Leah is also popping out more kids and is trying to keep up. Then Leah stops getting pregnant and enlists her maid. Sure enough the race continues. Then Leah starts getting pregnant again and names the kid ‘Gad’ which means ‘a troop is coming’ OUCH! Old brother Jacob must have been thinking ‘am I personally going to fulfill grandpa’s dream of populating the earth?’ Then Rachel gets pregnant for the first time. She has Joseph, thru him we will see the prophetic lineage carry on. He will have future dreams and fulfill great destiny. His role will be crucial to the survival of his whole family. Now Jacob tells Laban he wants to move away. Laban wants to work out a deal to keep him as his main worker. Jacob is an excellent employee! So Jacob does a famous scheme. This chapter is one of those stories that people use to try and discredit scripture. The reason is Jacob will take all the sheep with spots and stripes and remove them from the herd. He than tells Laban ‘now, I have removed the spotted sheep. All that is left are plain ones. From now on all the new sheep will be divided like this; those born with spots/stripes are mine. Those born plain are yours’. And scripture says Jacob peeled stripes in Poplar tree branches and placed them at the watering trough. When the sheep conceived while looking at the striped branches they had striped kids! Some have had a hard time trying to explain this story. Does science teach stuff like this? Not really. Some have come up with various excuses. Let me give you my explanation. In this whole story it does say ‘when the sheep mated in front of the branches they gave birth to striped sheep’ and when the weaker sheep were there mating without the branches that they gave birth to plain ones. The scripture doesn’t actually say it was because of the branches! Its obvious Jacob thought it was because of the branches, but if you read it carefully the guy might have been fooling himself! It’s sort of like these mafia guys from New Jersey. Lots of them ran construction crews or Pizza Parlors. They actually made great Pizza! They could have made it legitimately if they wanted. But they wanted their hands in the cookie jar. It’s possible that God was simply giving Jacob favor when the stronger sheep bred! God has been known to favor his kids. But old scheming Jacob needed some angle, like the mafia guys. He very well might have thought ‘look, my scheme is working’ scripture does say ‘when the stronger sheep mated in front of the sticks, they gave birth to spotted babies’. But the lord might have been making those babies spotted regardless of the sticks! It just said the sticks were there! So without being too dogmatic on this, lets say Jacob was the type of ‘supplanter’ [this is what his name means] that was always looking for an angle. He never could fully trust God to simply meet his needs without his own devising. Jacob struggled with ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding’ he was a lot like us.

(718) GENESIS 31- As Jacobs flocks increase and he becomes highly successful, Labans family gets jealous. Scripture says Labans countenance changed. He began listening to what the critics were saying ‘look, this guy is getting all the credit/blessings that are rightfully yours, it’s coming at your expense’. Notice, Laban probably would have been content that his son in law was prospering. He even says this later in the chapter. ‘I am happy for you son, your wives and kids are part of me’. But the incessant jealousy that he was hearing day in and day out wore him down. Be careful that you aren’t upset about stuff that you shouldn’t be upset about! Jesus gave the parable of the workers who got their agreed wages, but then felt wronged because the master gave the same amount to others who didn’t work as long. Jesus says ‘is your eye evil because I have been extra merciful to others who you deemed less worthy’? Of course this theme fits in perfectly with the Jewish context of the gospels. The Jews would be incensed that Messiah offered the same forgiveness to those who they deemed less worthy, the gentiles. So here Laban has heard it long enough, his ‘countenance changed’. Jacob sees the writing on the wall and what do you know, just in time he says ‘I had a dream and God told me to leave’. Now, I will take the brother at his word. But he has already shown a history of saying ‘God told me, or helped me do such and such’ when covering up deception! [He told pops ‘I got the venison quickly because God helped me’, the brother was lying thru his teeth!] In the dream the lord tells Jacob ‘I am the God of Bethel, it’s time to journey again. Go back to Canaan’. Why would God remind him of this milestone of Bethel? Bethel was the place where Jacob earlier learned to commit all to God. He came to Labans land with nothing, God blessed him tremendously. It’s easy to begin trusting in the success and systems around you. You see your job and career as your source of security. God is reminding Jacob that he is still the God of Abraham and Isaac. Jacob is just a fulfillment of Gods previous decree to his forefathers! When God says it’s time to journey you journey! As Jacob gets his wives and family they sneak away. Laban comes chasing him down and is mad ‘now what, you left secretly at night! I didn’t even have a chance to kiss the kids’ he must have been battling with the gossip that he’s been hearing from his men. They did say ‘watch out for this guy, we don’t trust him’. Jacob makes his defense, even though he himself is not totally innocent. ‘How dare you question my integrity! I have done this and that…and on and on’ he makes laban feel guilty. Now Laban isn’t the brightest light bulb in the chandelier. He tells Jacob ‘someone stole my images [idols!]’ and Jacob says ‘search for them, whoever has them will be guilty’. Jacob does not know that Rachel has them in her tent. Poor Laban goes rummaging thru everything and comes to Rachel’s tent. Rachel says ‘forgive me father for not standing up, but the time of women is upon me. So I can’t get up and let you search the couch I am sitting on. You don’t have a problem with that, do you’? Old brother Laban obviously wasn’t a C.S.I. watcher! So at the end of this chapter they mend relations. Jacob leaves the land where he has been blessed, and now has to deal with some past demons. He will face Esau, the last person that wanted to kill him!

(719) GENESIS 32- Jacob makes the trek back home. He’s burned this bridge in the past, but now he has to go back thru the wreckage! He fears Esau, he thinks ‘does he still hold my trickery against me’? He sends some messengers to talk to Esau. They come back ‘what did he say’? Nothing, he’s just coming with about 400 men. O that’s all. He prays ‘God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and me!’ [Jacob- I fudged, he doesn’t say his own name] he says ‘you told me to go back to Canaan, I am just doing what you said. I trust you to save me and the kids. What in the world will happen if they all get wiped out? You promised…on and on’ Jacob is like me, an over reactor! You will see this thru out his life. He later will think all is lost when Joseph keeps one of the brothers in Egypt before he reveals his identity. He thought all was lost when his boys had those brothers circumcised that raped their sister. They tricked the pagans into circumcising themselves and when they were ‘sore’ the 2 brothers went in and slew the city! Jacob responds ‘what have you done! They will surely wipe us all out’ but instead it put the fear of God in the surrounding enemies. They all thought ‘what in the heck is up with this family. One of the guys from our area had ‘relations’ with the girl, and they go and trick them into mutilating themselves, then the next day they come and finish you off!’ It actually worked out pretty well. So here Jacob trusts the Lord and will commit it all to him, right? Not! Jacob says ‘Quick, split the women and children into 2 camps. Get some bribery packages together. Send a bunch of guys out to Esau and give him the bribes. If he doesn’t bite, and one camp gets wiped out, then the other group will go free’. Gee, I guess he thought the Lord didn’t hear him? Well Jacob finally meets up with Esau and all goes well. O, I forgot, Jacob has the meeting with the Lord. This is the chapter where he wrestled all night with the lord and receives the famous ‘Jacobs limp’. God changes his name to Israel, he will have influence with God and men and will prevail. Despite all his conniving and deal making, yet God sees him as a prince. A man who will influence nations and peoples. He has power with God himself! I guess that leaves room for the rest of us.

(720) GENESIS 33- Jacob finally confronts an old problem. He faces Esau. He has robbed him in the past, not just from his birthright, but from his dignity! Does Esau remember? I am sure. Will we find one of these new gospels some day [the fake ones!]? Will it be called ‘Esau’s revenge’ and tell a different story? Well the biblical one says Esau hugged Jacob and was overjoyed to reunite with his long lost brother. Esau learned the power of forgiveness. Jacob might have been carrying the baggage of his wrongdoing for many years. Esau dropped it long ago. So they have this great reunion, they settle old grudges. Esau says ‘come on brother, lets go back together’. I get the feeling that even though Jacob is back home, he really wants to maintain his own level of independence. He tells Esau ‘O, that’s all right. You go back. We will catch up later’. Esau offers to leave some of his men, Jacob refuses. I get the sense that Jacob is like one of the hometown boys who has been gone for years. Even though his family and friends have also grown and become responsible adults, yet he is different. It was Jacobs willing independence to leave his natural father and journey with God that has been key to his success. He really has found God as his Father. Now Esau was a good man, but over the years as times were rough, he had his family right there to help. Jacob had only God. Jacob didn’t want to sacrifice this precious gift. He’s back home, but he realizes his true home is Bethel! [The house of God].

(721) GENESIS 34- Jacob and the boys start settling down. Before too long one of the local men rapes the sister Dinah! Jacob hears and holds his peace. The boys come home and are livid. How dare these people disrespect us! You get the sense that Jacob is willing to let it slide. He is operating out of fear, self preservation. True courage demands a willingness to take the kingdom by violence! John the Baptist wasn’t weighing his options when he railed against the king’s sin. It cost him his life, but he knew he couldn’t let the injustice stand. So Jacobs’s sons are true warriors at heart. These are the 12 boys who are the beginnings of the heritage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These kids were like messing with the sons of Katie Elder [some old John Wayne western. To be honest I don’t think I ever watched it, but it sounded good to mention it] these boys have prophetic destiny written all over them. So here is the plan, they hear about Dinah’s rape. The father of the boy who raped her is the prince of the land. He comes and works out a deal with Israel. He says ‘my son loves the girl, lets be trading partners. We can all live together in harmony’. Jacob seems to think this is a good idea. The Boys have other ideas! They tell the father ‘sure, but we have this custom. We don’t deal with uncircumcised people. So go and circumcise all the men in your town and the deal is on’. Now, this is no small request! The father/ prince goes back to town. He gets together a city meeting. All the towns men are thinking ‘what’s it gonna be now? Another rate hike in our utility bill’. The meeting is held and he tells them the deal. ‘Oh, is that all. Just get circumcised. Doesn’t sound that bad. What does it mean I wonder? Sprinkle a little water on our heads. Some Episcopalian Baptism rite or something?’ Boy were they surprised. I can just see the look on their families faces when they got home to tell momma what the prince wants them to do. The wives must have thought ‘you gotta be kidding me, I want to move out of this county’ [and you thought Nueces county was rough!]. Poor Tommy hears the news from his dad and thinks ‘what in the heck kind of Waco cult are these people, they want me to cut what?’ So the deal is on, they go thru with it and 3 days later 2 of Jacobs sons [Simeon and Levi] get their swords and show up in the middle of the town and say ‘lets get it on’. They slew all the men. They spoiled the town and even took the women and children captive. And you think I’m an over reactor. Jacob is incensed ‘what have you boys done? You will bring the wrath of the whole area down on us. They will wipe us out’. He really was willing to do the fake deal and let his own daughter’s rape go unpunished. He believed the boys offer as much as the town’s people. The boys never intended to let their sister’s rape slide by, Jacob did. This shows you what fear can do, it clouds your thinking. Scripture says the fear of man brings a snare. Fear not the reproach of men. Jesus said don’t fear those who can kill the body only [men] but fear him who can destroy both body and soul [God! Some bad translators have said Jesus was speaking of satan, he was referencing God]. In the next chapter we will see God tell Jacob to go back to Bethel, and as they leave, the surrounding people didn’t lay a hand on them. They feared Jacobs’s boys more than Jacob feared the people of the land.

(216) Was talking to some homeless friends the other day and was asking them if they saw Tim recently. Tim [carpenter Tim] was one of the first friends I met years ago. Tim worked regularly, refused govt. help and would avoid eating the free meals at the mission. He felt it was irresponsible to take stuff for free. Tim often invited me to his camp for coffee and fellowship. He had this ‘mangy’ dog that he really loved. She must have had at least 7 litters of puppies since the time I knew her. I would find Tim treating the dogs for fleas in a 5-gallon bucket. He was preparing them for free give away in front of H.E.B. he spent money on these animals and took good care of them. Tim was very responsible, he would get up before sun up and walk to the park to fill up a bucket with fresh water for the camp. He would try to finish his chores early so he wouldn’t be seen as some bum walking around in the middle of the day with no direction. He would often go to whataburger early in the morning to drink coffee. The retired guys would see him and give him the job section of the paper. Sort of like saying ‘get a job you bum’. They didn’t realize that Tim regularly worked. It’s just that he was homeless. He liked responding by saying ‘I am working on my career right now, my singing and dancing career!’ He figured he’d get them mad by saying this. One time Tim’s parents from out of state were coming to Corpus to see Tim. He told them they would find him in the ‘Bluff’ [where I live also]. It was funny; when they got into town they came to the bluff and were asking some homeless people if they knew where Tim was. The homeless brother didn’t know they were looking for carpenter Tim, so they said ‘sure we know your son, he goes by the name of drunk Tim’ [another Tim]. Old Tim thought this was funny. Tim had a good sense of humor. I took him and a few guys to ‘Golden Corral buffet’ for dinner. We were reading the paper while eating. Tim was telling me the story of how modern technology was a threat to the modern workforce. These new breed of ‘robots’ could put the people out of work. He joked that pretty soon they will take the place of homeless guys in the bluff. I responded ‘don’t worry brother, it wont be long before you see them holding up signs in front of H.E.B. saying ‘batteries low, need money for a charge’. He started cracking up. When Tim’s dog died he took it real hard. He literally cried for a few days. I haven’t seen Tim in a few years. Hopefully I will see him again some day and let him read this blog, he will get a kick out of it. NOTE: I remember one day down at the rescue mission they announced free haircuts for the guys on Monday [?] Tim told me they said ‘Monday someone will be giving free haircuts to the bums’. He got a kick out of it. When I retired from the fire dept. my parents were asking ‘what will you do now, you are still young’? I would try and explain to them that the ministry takes up lots of time. I would tell my dad I will be working with the guys and all. My mom tells me that one day my dad reassures her by saying ‘don’t worry, John is going to stay busy. He will be working with the derelicts’. I shared with Tim how one night I was watching the Colbert Report on the comedy channel. They did a skit on sending one of their fake reporters to some red neck shooting range. Of course the shooting range guy doesn’t realize it’s a joke. The undercover reporter asks about what type of stuff he can get to hunt and all [it was more like a hunting, shooting type thing] and the range guys tells him what you can shoot. The reporter says ‘you know what I am here for. What’s it gonna take for me to hunt down a homeless guy’? Now I know this is pretty bad. He kinda coaxes the poor redneck to go along for a few minutes. I told Tim and he cracked up.

(246) I remember many years ago I was in a large church service; the Pastor is a friend of mine. At the end of the service he asked me and some elders of the church to come up and pray for peoples needs. I was about 30 years old at the time. Some people mistake me for being young. I still have people that think I am around 30 years old. I am now 44! Maybe the long hair and eating once a day keeps you young? Well any way the guy I was going to pray for was around 50. He was a smart ‘alec’ [cant curse!] I guess he thought it was beneath him to have some ‘rookie kid’ pray for him. So when I asked what he would like to pray for, he said ‘I want you to pray that I will have a million dollars and become 6 feet tall’. I felt like ‘slaying him in the spirit’ right there! Well I began praying ‘father, bless this man and let him know that he is valuable in your eyes, worth more than a million dollars. Teach him that he has great stature in your Kingdom, that which cannot be measured in physical height’. I went on for a few minutes. I did feel the anointing. When I was done he looked shaken and pale. I guess the Lord shook him up for me!

(722) GENESIS 35- As Jacob fears what will happen to him after his boys killed Hamor and ransacked his city, God tells him ‘calm down, return to Bethel. We need to get some things settled once and for all’. Bethel is the original spot where Jacob made God his Lord. He vowed earlier in his life that if God would be his provider then he would commit his life to him. God wants Jacob to settle down [spiritually!] renew his entire purpose and get his priorities right. As Jacob and the boys leave the area scripture says ‘no one dared touch them, the terror of the Lord was upon all the surrounding people’. I could just see one of the raiding tribes saying ‘hey, look at this group. They have lots of wealth and stuff. How come no one is raiding them? Lets get them!’ and one of the other tribal families says ‘That’s the family who tricked the entire city into mutilating themselves’ Oh yeah, I never heard the story. Tell me more. Where did they cut themselves? He tells them where ‘WHAT IN THE HECK!’ He continues ‘and then 3 days later 2 of the boys with swords show up in the city and announce ‘everybody up. The cuttings not over yet!’ and they killed all the men. Took the women and children and spoiled the place. The raiding group thinks ‘you know what guys, lets pass on this family’. The terror of God was upon them for good reason! At Bethel the Lord reminds Jacob of his calling ‘you are Israel, not Jacob. Don’t forget this, you are a prince and have power with God and men’! It was hard for Jacob to act like a prince. After the Lord instructs him and reminds him of the original destiny, Jacob once again builds a ‘pillar of stone’ and anoints it with oil. I sort of see a prophetic thing here. The first pillar did represent the church, the people of God. I think this ‘second pillar’ can also speak of Gods future purpose to bring ‘another flock’ [Gospel of John] into the fold. In essence this is a type of the church also. The ‘second pillar’ to go with the ‘second covenant’. God is showing Israel his intent to gather together a future community and to ‘re anoint’ [Israel were the first people to have the Spirit. Read Hebrews and Romans] this new people at Pentecost. Also in this chapter we see the birth of Benjamin and the death of Rachel, Jacobs ‘favorite’ wife. It then says ‘Rueben slept with his father’s concubine’ and in the very next verse ‘Rueben was the firstborn from Leah’. I see something here. Why did Rueben purposefully disgrace his dad? It came right after Rachel’s death. Ruben was conceived in a situation where his father was tricked into it. You remember the story of Leah. Now how many times over the years did Rueben witness the favoritism that his father showed towards Rachel’s son Joseph? How long was Rueben waiting for things to turn around? Maybe when Joseph gets older dad will pay more attention to me as the firstborn? Maybe this favoritism is a stage that dad is going thru? Well he hears of the death of Rachel, and also of another new born son! Oh my, will Jacob spend another 25 years pampering this other boy from his favorite wife? Ruben saw the writing on the wall. It was time to let dad know how he felt about this whole situation. He did.

(284) I remember being at work one day and a friend of mine was on the phone with his bank. I could hear him arguing about the fact that they messed up his account balance. He was supposed to have around $20.00 dollars, instead it was showing his normal balance of $1.oo. After he hung up I told him I also had problems with this bank before. I threatened to take my money and do business with another bank. I told him I would have advised you to make the same threat, but I don’t know if it would have much clout, considering the average balance you run in your account! Yesterday they fired the radio guy [Don Imus] that I mentioned the other day. One of the reasons is Al Sharpton and others convinced the sponsors to pull the ads from the show. I said earlier [before others were saying it!] that I thought he should be fired because of his racist remarks. Well now you have both sides [black and white] arguing over race. I do believe Sharpton is a major hypocrite as trying to be the voice in this. He, till this day, oppresses innocent people publicly over the Tawanna Brawley case. Not only did a grand jury clear these white men who he accused of raping a black girl, but the jury said it was all made up. There’s a big difference between being found not guilty, and a jury saying the charges are proved to be false. Not only does Sharpton not apologize for ruining these white guys lives who he racially accused, he still says he believes one of the guys is guilty. This isn’t an O.J. Simpson ‘not guilty’ verdict. This is a real obvious lynching of this white guy. Jesse Jackson refused to get involved in this case at the beginning because all the local ‘in the know’ leaders, even the black ones, knew this was a fake charge made by a scared girl who spent the night out with a boyfriend and made the story up. I really don’t blame the girl; I blame Sharpton for building a civil rights persona at the expense of falsely accusing a white guy. He is obviously a racist. Now, to admit that there are racists on both sides allows there to be reconciliation. To deny it perpetuates the problem. The money story about my friend shows how if you can effect an organization, because you have the money to do it, then they will listen. If you don’t, then they will not [most times]. These organizations [C.B.S. and N.B.C.] who only fired someone because of the money are certainly not moral authorities, don’t fool yourself.

(287) I had a friend who was investing in some real estate. He kind of ‘asked’ for advice. Didn’t want to be obvious about it, but he knew I had done this in the past and wanted input. I gave him some, he didn’t listen and I think he is suffering for it, oh well! During the conversation he was telling me about the houses he will keep, and the ones he will flip in about 15 years. The others he will pay on for the full 30-year mortgage and pay them off. He was around 50 years old at the time of this discussion. I told him that one of the other mistakes people make when investing is to not count their own mortality into the scenario. You very well might be dead in 30 years! I am even bold with financial advice! I wasn’t really rude, but you could tell that my friend who was all consumed with having a few million for retirement, strategizing on more money, taking courses and studying on investment schemes. He wasn’t calculating in his own mortality. He doesn’t have kids. All you need is enough money to last for a few years, sorry if you don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. Financial advisors will tell you that people often make this mistake. They calculate in the million dollars they need at age 70. They look at how much interest they need to generate off the account, and they do not calculate the eventual need to withdraw the principal over a measured period of time in a responsible manner. Why? Because there is a natural tendency in man to avoid the fact that you will die! Be smart in investing and build a nest egg, that’s all right. Just don’t be buying houses at 50 and think you might flip it in 30 years. You might not be around to ‘do the flipping’! NOTE: as you see I live in a world of extremes, one day my friends are thinking like this, the next day I am working with the guy who runs the $1.oo balance in his account! [He does run more I am sure, I just caught him at a bad time]

(297) I have a captain friend at the firehouse who is a liberal Democrat. One day we were talking and the secretary pages the Captain to pick up the phone. I forget how she said it, but it was in a way that we knew it was Dick Cheney’s office calling to set up our ambulance service to provide for a local hunting trip that Cheney makes every year. He kinda said ‘damn, what’s Cheney want now!’ I thought it was funny. This Captain was rooting for Kerry to win the election against Bush a few years back. There were a bunch of guys hanging out and he was challenging the ‘non Kerry’ guys. I stuck my hand out and bet him $50 bucks that Bush would win. He went for it. Sure enough I won the 50 and he paid up. He was mad that Kerry lost, and he was taking it out verbally on the union guys who voted for Bush. He said ‘I cant understand how you labor guys could vote for a Republican, there out for the rich, what money has Bush ever gotten you?’ I answered ‘Well, he just made me 50 bucks’ this didn’t improve my Captains mood too much! NOTE: I am not a Republican or Democrat. I initially was against the Iraq war. I voiced my fear that we were trying to do too much and we were going to spread ourselves too thin. I said this from the start. Just thought I would mention this. Also many people don’t realize that Saddam was ‘friendly’ to Christians. Being he was a ‘secular’ Muslim, and not a radical one like Iran’s Ayatollahs, Christian evangelism and other aspects of Christianity had more of an open door than in Iran. I am not defending Saddam, he was a tyrant! Just thought you should know this.

(298) Let me overview some history from the Fundamental Independent Baptist Church and its beliefs. I used to attend a good one that did preach the gospel. I do want to share in love some examples from this peculiar type of Christianity. The church I attended had a sign that said FUNDAMENTAL, INDEPENDENT, PREMELLINIAL, PRETRIBULATIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH This ‘sign’ was in itself a sign of the danger that Christians fall into when they isolate themselves from the rest of the Body of Christ. While I understand this view and style of belief, I also see a type of theology [eschatology] that can develop when you truncate yourself from the mainstream churches. There are so many things that you can put on a ‘church sign’ why clutter it up with certain end time views [which in my view are actually incorrect!] You can put THE BLOOD OF JESUS WASHES AWAY SIN or John 3:16 or some other way to define your belief system, but this type of Church sees itself as THE ONLY truly Christian church today. Some are not this extreme, but even those have a ‘cultic’ spirit that sees everyone else as ‘straying from the faith’ while they are the true carriers of the faith. I was with a friend at work who is a Christian. I recently recommended the church I attend in Corpus [a great mega church] to him. They have a ‘branch’ church in Kingsville where I work. One day while I was reading the bible during lunch a city inspector came by to take care of business. He noticed I was reading the bible and started talking. I found out that he is a good Christian who attends a fundamental Baptist Church. I gave him some of the books I wrote and told him I am a little ‘radical’ but hoped he would get blessed [to be honest for a Fundamental Baptist to read this entire site would probably give him a heart attack]. It was good fellowship. He shared with me and the other fire fighter how him and his wife travel about 4 towns over [50 miles] to attend a Fundamental Baptist Church. It’s probably a small Church with around 50 people [OK] my friend later thought it strange for someone to do that. After all there are so many good Christian churches right here! I explained to him a little of the legalism that causes this. To see your ‘peculiar style’ of belief as the only ones you can truly worship with. Many Christians suffer from this. Some are more extreme than others. By the way my fire fighter friend did start attending the church I recommended, and he loves it. One day at work we were watching the history channel and they were doing a thing on the Mormon Church, my friend said ‘wow, I would never be a Mormon’ I looked at him with a real serious face and said ‘what do you mean’ he said ‘look at all the stuff they believe, I could never believe that’ I said ‘[my friends name] we are MORMONS! Bay Area Fellowship is Mormon!’ He was shocked, then I told him I was just kidding! I thought it was funny at the time.

(311) I am up early at work. I thought of a few funny things. One morning as I was praying early, one of the other guys woke up later and confessed that he was dreaming of God and stuff. He didn’t describe everything but I got the sense that he was having prophetic dreams. He was quite shocked. Another friend told me he was dreaming that he had gotten stuck in the bathroom and was banging on the wall for me to come help, but I just ignored him. I told him ‘this, my friend, is one of those prophetic dreams that speaks much truth!’ thought it was funny. NOTE: Even though this was funny, it actually is prophetic! This speaks of my friend feeling ‘bound/captive’ and calling out to me for help. I rarely witness or preach to the guys at work. Every now and than I can tell that someone wants to spark up a conversation or is really searching. I have prophesied specific stuff to a few and they have said it was right on, but I kinda take the position that ‘you do what you gotta do, and I’ll do what I gotta do’. I realize that people know that I have been known to be on the verge of ‘fighting’ and stuff, I don’t hide it. There have been times over 25 years as a firefighter that I have been close to ‘getting into it’ with a few guys. So I don’t try to come off as some ‘holy preacher’ or anything. But some times people are really searching for answers, and they see this psycho up praying all night. Maybe this affects them? I don’t know, really I don’t care.

(724) GENESIS 38- Judah goes ‘down from his brothers’ [isolates himself] and sleeps with some women. He does have a history of ‘going in unto harlots’. This chapter will get graphic, just warning our younger readers! He seems to have a pattern with this. Now, one of the sons, Er, will marry a girl named Tamar. The son is wicked in the sight of the Lord and the scripture says ‘the Lord slew him’. Judah tells the other son, born from his playboy lifestyle ‘Go and have kids with your brother’s wife, and raise up children for your brothers name’. This was a custom of the time. If a brother died before his wife had children, then the other brother was supposed to do this. Now it wasn’t being Mormon! [The old time ones]. They wanted to make sure the lineage of the tribe from whom the son died continued to carry on a legacy. It was for the procreation of the children of Israel. Now Judah’s second boy, Onan, does not want to raise up seed to his brother. I see in him a sickness that plagues the Body of Christ today. Because of the way we have come to view local church as the separate 501 c3 organization, this tends to build a mindset into the clergy that says ‘are you with us [the so called ‘local church’] or with the other team down the block?’ There is a strange concept that says ‘I will spend my time, resources and energies raising up seed to my name [my 501 c 3] but I can not give of my gifts and life to build into people who I do not derive some loyalty or benefit from’ [raising up seed to your brother]. Now Onan does something; here’s the warning about graphic language! He ‘goes in unto his brother’s wife and spills it on the ground’. I don’t think I should explain this. Years ago one of the Captains at the fire dept. would say ‘well, the bible says it’s better to spill it in a prostitute, than on the ground’. And he would look at me to confirm his translation. He really thought it was in the bible! I would ‘instruct him in a way more perfectly’. I also had a friend who said ‘well, the bible says “woman, if thy husband hitteth thee [notice how he used ‘hitteth’ as opposed to ‘hit’] divorce him, for he is lower than a rattler’. I would inform him I was pretty sure this wasn’t in the bible. He was adamant! I would tell him ‘besides it being contrary to scripture, I don’t think the Lord would say ‘rattler’ he would use ‘rattlesnake’. So Onan ‘spills it on the ground’ and guess what? The Lord kills him too! Now poor Tamar is real innocent in the deaths of the 2 boys. But Judah begins to wonder. Like the show I saw on some court channel. The woman accidentally shot her husband in the head. The defense had a hard time convincing the jury, being this was the second husband that she ‘accidentally shot in the head’! So Judah tells Tamar ‘go home to your dad, when my young son is old enough I will let him marry you’ sure! He of course tells his young son ‘stay away, you don’t want to die like your brothers’ [I added this part, but it sounds likely]. So one day when Judah is on a business trip, he looks around for the town prostitute. Tamar hears Judah is in town and puts a veil on her face and goes and stands on the corner. Judah doesn’t know it’s his daughter in law and sleeps with her. Judah agrees to pay for her services with a goat. Tamar takes his ring and staff and bracelet as a down payment. A few days later Judah sends his servant with the goat and he can’t find her. He asks the men of the town ‘where’s the harlot who was working the corner’? The men say ‘who’? They tell the servant they never had a harlot working the streets. Judah hears Tamar is pregnant and says ‘she played the harlot and should be stoned’! [He was a member of the Moral Majority]. Tamar sends the staff and ring to Judah and says ‘this is the man who got me pregnant’ and Judah admits his sin. I find it interesting that Judah will be given one of the best blessings from Jacob as Jacob is on his deathbed. Jacob will say ‘The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet. His hand shall be on the neck of his enemies, unto him shall the gathering of the people be. As a young lion he shall crouch down and go up from the prey’. We will read this later on in this study. These are Messianic prophecies. Jesus is called ‘the lion of the tribe of Judah’. God uses people who have done wrong. People who when confronted don’t try and cover it up. People who have made mistakes and are willing to admit them. This leaves room for the rest of us.

(725) GENESIS 39- Joseph goes into Egypt and is bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. The guy puts Joseph in charge of his entire household. Joseph truly excels in everything he does. The scripture says he prospered in everything he put his hand to! Just keep this truth balanced with all the undeserved suffering and afflictions he experienced. Now Joseph is so good at everything he does, that even Potiphars wife wants to ‘try him out’. She bugs him day after day to sleep with her! Joseph refuses. She gets him alone in the house, grabs his clothes and says ‘sleep with me’. He flees the house naked as she ripped his clothes from him. She then tells her husband ‘this Hebrew mocks you, he tried to rape me’. She lied and the husband puts him in prison. Notice something here, the wife’s accusation included racial stuff. Sort of like the racist movies from the 50s-60s. They played to mans inherent racism and would show the black man as wanting the white woman. These accusations were playing to the heart of racism. Some churches today still teach separation of the races, Christians look askance at mixed marriages. My position is in Jesus Christ these divisions do not exist and we should accept all races without prejudice. Now Joseph goes to prison and he excels again. The jailer makes him trustee of the whole place! You can’t stop this guy. In the next chapter we will see how it was part of Gods plan for this to happen to him. He did not go around rebuking the devil or claiming verses to get out of unjust persecution. He responded like Peter taught in his letter to the Christians ‘if any man suffers as a believer, let him praise God’. Peter makes a distinction between suffering persecution for wrongdoing and suffering as a believer. Peter experienced both. Even though he suffered shame by denying Jesus, God still turned it around and used it for his glory. Joseph understood the simple reality of a just man suffering unjustly. Now I want to emphasize the fact that Joseph was just! Peter also teaches us that we are partakers of the divine nature. John the apostle writes in his 1st epistle ‘whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin [habitually]’ ‘I write these things unto you that ye sin not, but if any man sins we have an advocate with the father’. Though I have shown you the many failings of the great heroes of the faith, I also want to show you the great walk that some of them had. You don’t have to have had a testimony of being a drug addict or ex con or some other terrible past in order to glorify God. It’s like my first Pastor used to say, his favorite song was ‘years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified’. But his testimony was getting saved at a young age. I would kid one of my buddies and say ‘Brother Skinners favorite song is about the years he spent in vanity and pride. I guess he meant all the times he acted out in recess!’ I know this is wrong, but it was too funny to leave out. So Joseph shows us the ideal can be achieved thru the wonderful grace of God. But if any man sin, you still have the advocate.

(419) Let’s do one of no spiritual value. I got up the other morning and began my routine. I started with my first cup of coffee, I do drink 3 cups or so every morning. I also have a habit of loosing the cup I am working on and going to start a second. You think you would need to be a little more organized to run the ministry, but I do stuff like this all the time. I was eating on the couch last night, watching TV and lost my fork! Well as I finished my first cup I started on another cup [a new cup, not just a second drink!] I then went into the living room to put the radio on the Christian channel as I get ready to go outside and pray [which I am going to do in a minute]. I then go back to the kitchen and forget where I put cup number 2. I then see a cup on the stove and realize this must be it. But it’s empty. Oh well let me get a clean one anyway. So I grab another cup from the cabinet and fill it up and put it in the microwave for a quick nuking. As it’s being warmed I think to myself, wasn’t I just doing this with another cup a minute a go [not the one on the stove]. Sure enough I look on the kitchen table and there it is! Cup number 4 is full and waiting to get nuked. O well at least it will be ready when I finish cup 3, that is if I remember where I put it.

(488) I was praying and writing this morning. I have been taking a month off from ministry stuff, like getting with my friends, because I felt the Lord wanted me to. Not because I have been sick, to the contrary I feel much better when I get out and interact with the brothers. But I just felt the Lord wanted me to take a break. Well one of my buddies rang the bell [a very rare thing] and it was the first real ministry day in over a month. We ran into one of my old friends in town whose is wheel chair bound. I would have taken him to eat with us, but he can’t get out of his chair anymore. It’s a motorized one that ways around 300 pounds, I have tried to put it in my truck before, you cant! He asked if I could help him with 10 dollars, I gave him a twenty. He does not drink, he will use it for stuff he needs. I took the other friend to eat. I felt the Lord wanted me to give him a few dollars too. I gave him a ten and he was really grateful, he said he was going to ask if I could lend him 5 dollars. This friend also will not use it for drugs or drinking. I know both of these guys well, around 15 years. They are real old friends. I later got home [right now!] and thought it interesting. I ‘unknowingly’ gave them 30 dollars. Twice the amount of what they wanted, or asked for. I am actually believing the Lord to work out my retirement where I will bring in around 3 thousand a month. I need a few more things to work out, but I didn’t even realize that I ‘unconsciously’ gave a ‘hundredth’ of that amount. Jesus says some will get 30, 60 and a hundred fold. I have ‘unknowingly’ given the amount that I need to see a ‘hundredfold’ return on. I also spend right at $300.oo a month for radio and news paper ads. I have been ‘tithing’ [though I don’t believe we are under it!] unconsciously on a 3 thousand dollar income. I find it funny that I have been doing all this voluntarily for many years, not even looking for a return, yet God seems to ‘return’ what you need when you don’t do it for money. Jesus said some will say at the judgment ‘Lord, when did we feed you and visit you and clothe you’ the righteous were ‘unknowingly’ doing the things that God wanted. They weren’t doing these things with the return in mind. I thank the Lord that he led me to give away the money, I think he was setting me up for the return! NOTE: My friend reminded me how a few years back we were driving to the other side of town with a bunch of homeless guys, we passed up a guy on the corner with a sign begging for money. One of the homeless guys roles down his window and yells ‘get a job you bum’. These are the same guys who hold signs on my side of town!
NOTE; I just went back and read the last 3 entries. I write these things off the top of my head with no order or thought. # 486 speaks of Jesus ministry to ‘lepers’ [outcasts] and little children. #s 487 and 488 speak of me reaching out to outcasts and little children. Prophetic things are so ‘cool’.

(729) GENESIS 41- Joseph is sitting in prison for 2 full years after he was promised by the ‘cup holder’ to advocate for his cause once he was released! The cup holder forgot to mention it! I think one of the most unjust things that has happened in society has been these brothers who have been falsely accused of some terrible crime and spent years in prison and then later were found to be innocent. I think this is why we need to really rethink the death penalty. Now Pharaoh has these dreams and he calls all of his wise men in and no one can interpret the dream. At this point the cup holder realizes his wrong. He tells Pharaoh that when he was in prison a guy interpreted his dream. Sure enough, after years in jail and having been persecuted by his brothers and sold into slavery, at the age of 30 he finally begins inheriting some stuff. Joseph was 17 when the problems started, he is now 30. 13 years of suffering and obscurity. Now, scripture says ‘see a man skilled in his work, he will stand before kings. He will not serve obscure men’ [Proverbs? It’s a newer version of the bible]. God was ordering things in Joseph’s life to ‘bring him before kings’ men of influence. He was ‘accidentally’ sold to an officer of pharaoh. He then gets thrown in jail and runs into the ‘chief butler and chief baker’ and now he gets a shot at pharaoh! It was the hand of God positioning him to be in a place of influence. Joseph will interpret pharaohs dreams to mean 7 years of famine will follow 7 years of plenty [read the chapter, I didn’t include the dreams in this entry]. Pharaoh says ‘great, what should we do about it?’ Joseph says ‘how about you find the wisest, smartest most impressive man in your country [gee, I wonder who this could be?] and put him in charge and have him collect a fifth of all the lands produce during the time of plenty and then he can distribute the food during the harvest’. Pharaoh says ‘sounds like a great idea! And who is wiser than you Joseph, you’re the man’. Joseph basically pulled a Dick Cheney [for those reading this in a hundred years, Cheney is the current vice president of George Bush] Bush hired Cheney to find the most qualified vice president he could recruit. Sure enough Cheney says ‘it’s me!’ So Joseph carries out the plan, Pharaoh puts him in charge of the whole country. Pharaoh says ‘only in my official title am I higher than you’. Joseph is truly running everything! He didn’t despise his day of ‘small things’. He ran Potiphars house, then the prison and now the country! Joseph is a type of Christ here. Pharaoh says ‘I give all authority to you, the nation will stand or fall on your word’. Jesus told the people in John’s gospel ‘My words will judge you in that day’. Joseph truly is a man of power and authority. He has 2 kids in this chapter. Manasseh and Ephraim. Their names mean ‘God has caused me to forget all my previous trials’ and ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction’. Isaiah says ‘remember not the former things, nether consider the things of old, behold I do a new thing. Shall ye know it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Before these things happen I declare them unto you, so when they come to pass you will know I ordained it’. Also Joseph tells Pharaoh ‘God has revealed to you what he is going to do’ by giving him the dreams. Joseph understood that it was Gods purpose to reveal his plan ahead of time to Pharaoh. The coming to pass of these dreams on a national scale was proof positive of the ‘God of Joseph’ being the true God! I remember hearing a testimony of a Muslim tribe who all converted to Jesus in a single day. One morning one of the men woke up and shared a dream he had. He explained how he saw Jesus in the dream. As word spread they soon realized that every single person in the tribe all had the same dream the previous night! When God reveals himself on a wide scale like this it leads to whole nations [groups of people] converting. As Joseph stores up the food for 7 years he strategically puts the food in store house cities thru out the land. This is a type of Jesus future revolutionary movement. In Matthew 13 Jesus speaks of the kingdom as seeds. Both the people and the word are described as seed in this chapter. When Jesus sent out the disciples they were distributing seed [the message] as well as being ‘seed’ [Jesus says the good seed were the children of the kingdom planted and growing in the world]. In essence Jesus was placing garners [communities of people] filled with seed all over the region. Paul himself will target the influential cities of his day with the gospel. He knew if he could spread the fire to strategic places it would take root. So Joseph has all this ‘grain in the barn’ just waiting to bust loose during the famine. And sure enough the famine comes and everyone turns to ‘the garners of wheat in the storehouse cities’ for their sustenance. I believe the people of God, Gods ‘fine wheat’ are truly the ones with the answer to society’s ills. Jesus has planted us ‘in the world’ [not in the church building!] so when the times of famine come, people can run to us for the ‘bread of life’.

(775) JUDGES 7- God calls Gideon to the battle. He rounds up the troops and is ready to storm the enemy. One thing, God says ‘you have too many resources’. What? I thought you were the God of abundance, don’t you want to multiply everything? Well he is the God of abundance, but that doesn’t always mean ‘more is better’. So God instructs Gideon to simply say ‘we have too many people, so whoever is afraid can go home’. 22 thousand walk out. Ouch! I think Gideon would have snuck out with the crowd too if he wasn’t the Pastor. So they have 10 thousand left. Gideon brings them to the water and God shrinks the group down to 300. So Gideon is supposed to defeat the Midianites and Amalekites and some others with 300 men. He feels ill. The Lord tells him to sneak into the enemy camp at night and listen to what they are saying. He sneaks in and hears one of the guys telling a dream how he saw a Barley loaf [a type of the Body of Christ- we are ‘one bread’ who partake of the bread of life] roll into the camp and flatten a tent. The other guy says ‘this is the sword of Gideon, God has delivered us into his hands’. Gideon hears this prophetic word [from the enemy! I guess Gideon didn’t have any prophets on his team?] and stirs the troops up and says ‘here’s the plan’. He lays out a strategy of splitting up into 3 groups of 100 each, and having them hold a lamp in a pot in one hand and a trumpet in the other hand. They go down into the enemy camp and surround the camp. Gideon’s group breaks the pots and blows the trumpets, the others follow. They all shout ‘the sword of the Lord and of Gideon’. This causes fear in the enemy camp. They panic and start turning on each other in order to escape. They pulled a ‘George’ from Seinfeld! George is at this kid’s birthday party and someone burns some food on the stove. They think it’s a fire and George panics and knocks the kids over in his attempt to save himself. He even pushes an old grandma out of the way in the process! So the Midianites pull a George and flee at the expense of their own people. Gideon calls the other tribes to join in on the route and they defeat the enemy. Notice that God didn’t use the 300 hundred to do all the work, they simply were the brave ones who were willing to risk everything for the cause. Ultimately the rest of the nation had to get on board with the program. There are times in church history where God will raise up radical groups who are pursuing hard after God. Initially they will be the igniters of the fire. But for the full purpose of God to prevail others will have to join in. This dynamic has a tendency to cause jealousy in the church. We will see this in the next chapter. Note- The lamps [oil-Spirit] in the clay pots [we are called earthen vessels in Corinthians] represent the Body of Christ. It was in the breaking [repentance, brokenness] of the vessels that allowed the light to shine forth. God used an army of broken light bearers who trumpeted his word to take the enemy. The same idea of the ‘fiery tongues’ on the early church. The fire from their mouths [the preaching of the gospel- Revelation says ‘fire proceeds out of their mouths and devours the enemy’] went forth like a trumpet and took over the entire roman world!

(368)Just had a dream. I was at some type of flea market. Lots of salesman trying to get you to their stand. A doctor was running one of the stands. As people were walking around and engaging in ‘market type’ activities, I saw someone from the past. I don’t really recognize this person, I just no he looks familiar. His mom brought him to the Doctors stand. He was supposed to ‘work’ for the doctor. I got the sense that the mom was trying to get her son a job. He is getting older and kinda lives in fear. As I was looking at the trinkets and stuff the doctor was selling, I saw the mom make excuses for the son to not work. ‘Doctor he says his foot hurts, I can’t risk him getting an infection’ [he cant work hurt!] At the same time the mom is berating the son. ‘Your foot will sure be OK later to go visit your friends’. She was both rebuking him and enabling him at the same time. The doctor is a doctor. He looks briefly at the foot and kinda sees there is nothing wrong with it. The ‘enabling’ worked and the kid got out of ‘the doctors harvest field’. As I was going thru the doctor’s stuff to see if I wanted to buy something, another ‘stand owner’ was interrupting. Trying to get me to go to his stand. I finally refused and kept shopping. I found a little bag of jewelry. In the bag I spotted a little trumpet. I knew this was what I had come for. I bought the trumpet and walked away. I had previously injured my foot, and was walking with a bad limp. The act of walking with the limp was in and of itself an indictment on the other son who got out of the market with his excuse. I simply felt like the Lord was saying there are many things trying to prevent you from ‘finding your trumpet’ [voice and purpose in life]. We often eliminate ourselves by creating false disqualifiers ‘how can I work while hurting, it wouldn’t be right’. You will never find the perfect atmosphere to labor in! There will be other ‘tradesmen’ who will try to ‘sell you their wares’ in order to distract you from the trumpet/purpose of God. Don’t get side tracked! Eventually you will find that ‘item of value’ from the great Physicians stand. You might have to walk into the ‘market’ with a limp [Jacob/Paul] but that’s all right. All you need to do is get in the right place and blow that trumpet [I just went back to edit this site. I read a dream I had earlier. I dreamt of me having a thorn bush branch sticking in my leg. I had totally forgotten about this. It’s like the prophecies and dreams are a separate world of reality unto themselves. Sort of like a series of events that fit in, whether I remember them or not!] NOTE; To those of you waiting for the right environment before you will work in Gods field, even as I type this the last thing I feel like doing in my life right now is THIS! God wants to bring us to a place where we function thru difficulty. I do not want ‘hurt’ people to ‘hurt’ other people. I am showing you that the purpose of God is not always the exciting vision or dream of ‘ministry’ that you have in mind. Often it is the faithfulness to finish the task in the midst of personal turmoil. I think we used to call this ‘the Cross’. NOTE; Paul said ‘I desire to DEPART and be with Christ which is far better’. Moses and Elijah and Jonah all expressed feelings of ‘now go ahead Lord, take my life I am ready to depart’. These were real feelings of wanting to leave. I am not saying suicidal feelings are from God. It’s just important to understand true ministry is not necessarily your long-term existence on this planet. It is a mindset that struggles with wanting to ‘wrap this thing up’ while at the same time realizing you need to finish the course. Most of us don’t realize the reality of this. You [and I!] don’t decide when ‘to wrap it up’ God does. Sometimes you really feel like its time to depart, and it can be a struggle to realize your only half way thru the tunnel! NOTE; Me and a friend at work get a kick out of a story of one of these fakers who pretend they are hurt to scam the Social Security system. The guy pretended he got hurt some how [no one we know, this was on TV] The ‘injury’ caused him to act like a big baby [prophetic!] he would go around for years talking baby talk and acting just like a 30 year old baby. They finally busted him on tape. The cop car is driving him to the police station and he is in the back of this car pretending he is a baby again. He is being taped. The wife finally says to him ‘O shut up you big baby, the gig is up!’ You kinda got the feeling that the wife was tired of his whining and was glad he finally got busted.

(405)Been studying an apostolic movement. I am familiar with this church. They have a few of them in our area. A lot of stuff on line says they are a cult. They really are not one in doctrine. The leader of the movement has a legalistic background from an old time Pentecostal church [four square] and it seems to me that the movement, though Christian, has embraced a lot of the mistakes from the ‘Shepherding/Discipling’ movement. I am not studying what the so called ‘cult researchers’ are saying about them. I am reading from their actual story on line. It really is a great story. One of the limitations of these movements are the limited way they see ‘church’. For the most part these groups see church as sending someone to a city, either renting, buying or building a building [too many of us still cant get past this building centric mindset- none of the disciples or New Testament Apostles EVER did this!] They then set up ‘a Pastor’ to ‘run’ this ‘New Testament Church’. And then the strong authoritarian types will basically teach a strong doctrine of submission to this ‘New Testament order’ and anyone who questions this very limited/unbiblical view of ‘Local Church’ is ‘out of order’ and seen to be ‘departing from the faith’. We need to get back to the biblical model of Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus sent them out ‘2 by 2’ to go and bring this message [the gospel] to the cities and towns where they were sent. Later you see Paul doing this same thing. The ‘planting of churches’ was the actual speaking the gospel to people groups. Those who would believe and get baptized became ‘the church’. These believers were encouraged to get together, have fellowship meals [the original pattern of the ‘Lords Supper’] and to basically be ‘Gods Ecclesia’ in their town. They were seen to be Gods ‘dwelling place’. There was no ‘church’ that they were going to on ‘Sunday’. Paul told the Corinthians that when they got together on the 1st day of the week they were to take up an offering. We take stuff like this and turn it into a commandment. We teach Sunday as some type of New Testament Sabbath [it is not!] and we say ‘go to church on Sunday, obey your Pastor [singular] and put in a tithe’. This is permitted to a degree, but in no way is this some type of mandated New Testament order. That’s why those Pastors who lean towards grace and liberality are seeing growth. They are operating in this system while not teaching that this system ‘is church’ to the same legalistic degree as the other guys. Now when you take this limited way of seeing church, and you put it into the hands of strong authoritarian types. Then you have the ingredients of a ‘cult like’ culture within the group. You find well-meaning Pastors telling Christians ‘how dare you challenge my biblical authority, you are under me’ well this is an abuse of the grace of God. These well meaning guys have taken a pattern of ‘church’ that is common for our day, and have turned it into THE MEASURE of a person’s faith. Any question from the parishioners is seen as rebelling against ‘Gods Man’. Well just remember Paul was not teaching this strong Sunday church, tithing to the church, obey your Pastor mindset. Paul actually teaches [Romans] that the weaker Christians [in faith] will observe certain days and foods and stuff as clean or unclean. He then teaches those who are stronger [more mature] in the faith don’t do this. So for believers to meet on Sunday and to give offerings and to share in Gods grace is a good thing. But to teach that a limited system where you are under ‘a Pastor’ for the rest of your life can become ‘cult like’ in its expression, especially if you have a legalistic background to begin with. [The movement I am studying is known as ‘the door’ or the ‘Potters House’, not to be confused with T.D. Jakes]. NOTE: A few things that I want you to see about the biblical mindset of every believer having the potential to go and evangelize the world. When a believer goes forth with the gospel and brings the good news of Gods forgiveness and acceptance thru Christ. Others want this. To simply see ‘church planting’ as a natural outgrowth of evangelism allows for there to be a rapid increase of the gospel thru out a region. Everybody can ‘pass it on’ to everyone else. You are not viewing ‘church planting’ as going somewhere to start an organization that will need lots of money to function; you are simply preaching the gospel. Those who believe get together, there will be elders [more mature ones] that will have special ability to ground these new believers. But for the most part the only ‘finances’ needed to do this is enough money to get you to the place of ‘sending’. You then teach these new believers to share of their resources with the less fortunate. This is actually the biblical model of church planting. This is why Paul could evangelize large territories in his day. The modern idea sees the need to raise tons of money to support ‘other pros’ who are doing it for a living [missionaries]. They see church planting/evangelism as the ‘job’ of those in ‘full time ministry’. The average believer is told ‘your primary responsibility is to work in the secular world and bring in the finances for the ‘church’ [Christian business] to have enough money to pay the pros’. We have effectively ‘de clawed’ the average believer from the divine mandate to go and preach the gospel to all nations. That’s why when the well intentioned Pastors get mad at me for preaching against tithing, they really can not see how the ‘law of the tithe’ has actually put people back under bondage. The average believer is under the bondage of seeing himself as the ‘resource pool’ that brings the money in for others to do the ‘ministry’. This is actually a form of legalism that puts believers under bondage. Every so often you get a radical believer who breaks the mold of simply being a ‘funder’ and then he goes off and enters ‘full time ministry’. He is then taught all the above and the cycle repeats! The Pastor feels like he is doing right because he now is so fulfilled [it cant be wrong if it feels so right]. But he doesn’t realize the fulfillment he is experiencing is to a large degree the sense of well being that God intended for all the saints to experience as they express themselves and give themselves away for the gospel. In essence the Pastor had the courage to break the mold and step into the journey, but where we have failed is to then take that person and make him into a propagator of the current system. God wants a change in the current system. God wants all his kids to see that we all have this freedom to run the race and be active. It is not limited to the ‘full time clergy’! NOTE: When the well meaning Pastor in the current system looks at the statistics ‘only so many percent of all Christians tithe, therefore we are not reaching the world’ he is seeing ‘reaching the world’ from his limited paradigm. This type of Pastor truly believes it is the lack of tithing that is hindering the gospel. It is not the lack of tithing that is doing this, it is the above system that is limiting the gospel! NOTE; The other day I was trying to open some bag of lunchmeat or something. I remember how hard it was to get the bag open. So of course I thanked the Lord for this obstacle and praised him as I looked for a pair of scissors [I am lying]. I did think to myself ‘what a wonderful product. I am sure it will taste good. I am sure the producers went out of their way to produce the product. Much thought went into the marketing of it. They only forgot a very small thing, they made it next to impossible to actually access the thing!’ This is what we do in modern church. The most valuable asset are the People of God. They can do unbelievable things in the area of reaching the world. We have made it next to impossible to ‘get the product out of the package’.


About ccoutreach87

my sites- www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- facebook.com/john.chiarello.5


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Flickr Photos

%d bloggers like this: