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Teachings 4

[#’s 586-693] TEACHINGS PART 4

 

(586)    John 8-9  before I cover this, last night I was watching a preacher from a classic type ministry. Not the flamboyant ‘prosperity’ type with gold hanging off and all. I was a bit surprised [let down] to hear him teach the classic errors of the prosperity movement. He took the verse in Corinthians where it says ‘though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor’ and taught that Jesus died to make you rich financially [ a direct violation of 1st Timothy 6]. He went to Genesis and showed how Abraham was rich, then jumped to Galatians 3 and taught ‘we are Abrahams kids, therefore we get his blessings[stuff]’ a classic mistake in doctrine. I explained this in the book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ in the chapter ‘The Abrahamic Blessing’[you can read this book on this site!]. This stuff shouldn’t have been coming from this program, they are not the type that teach this stuff. You could tell from the look on the faces of the audience that they were feeling uncomfortable with what this guy was teaching! Now John 8-9. Jesus says ‘you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth that I heard from God’ often times when people are reproved, they don’t like it. It’s not that what the ‘reprover’ is saying is wrong, it’s just we don’t like being confronted with truth. We usually take it out on the messenger. Jesus says ‘before Abraham was, I AM’ this is the name of God in the Old Testament ‘the I AM’. Jesus is the ‘I AM’ in Johns gospel. I AM the door, I AM the resurrection, I AM the way and the truth and the life. I believe you find 7 different ‘I AM’s’ of Jesus in this gospel. Jesus now heals the man who was blind from birth. They ask him ‘who sinned, this man or his parents’? They had a mentality that always wanted to place blame on someone for sickness, sort of like some in the healing movements of today. Jesus said ‘neither’. He simply said ‘this happened to him so I would heal him and God would get glory’. He heals the man and the leaders are mad. ‘Who healed you’? A man called Jesus. They get the guys parents and say ‘you say he was blind, then how come he can see?’ They say ‘ask him’. They go back and ask again. The healed guy answers ‘how many times do you want to hear it, I told you already’. Though the man still doesn’t know Jesus is the Messiah, yet he starts to defend him, and even prophesy! ‘We know that if any man be a worshipper of God, and does his will, him God hears’ good stuff coming from an ‘unsaved’ guy! Jesus hears that they rejected him, he tells the guy ‘I am messiah’ and the guy believes. Jesus says ‘I come to give sight to those who are blind [admit they need help] and to take away sight from those who see’ [think they know it all]. We often can’t receive correction because of religious pride, we think we ‘see everything’ someone comes along and shakes the cart, our first response is ‘who does he think he is, doesn’t he know that we all know more than him’. Quite often whole groups of leaders have the same blind spot. This is what enforces the belief that they must be right! Jesus told them ‘you guys are blind, if you could just admit you didn’t know it all, then I could show you some good stuff, but because you think you already ‘see’ everything, then you are gonna miss out’. Pride is destructive, it keeps us in the dark spiritually. NOTE; Let me give an example. I remember reading an article on tithing from one of the best Christian historical review magazines in print. They do exhaustive historical research on many subjects. To the surprise of the readers, this well respected historical magazine, read by many theologians, showed that all the historical evidence points to the fact that the churches of the first century did not practice tithing! This seemed to go against the grain of what many of the theologians believed, who regularly read this magazine. But you could have easily come to this same understanding from simply reading the New Testament in context. I have basically taught you guys this for years, from scripture. Yet this ‘blind spot’ was an area where many intelligent ‘religious leaders’ were all wrong. They ‘corporately’ were wrong on this subject. It took a ‘jolt’ from true historical evidence before they could ‘see’ the obvious! It would be too humbling to have seen it from a ‘layman firefighter’ who has a web site. NOTE; Tithing as a practice for Christians developed at the same time as ‘the church building’ and the office of ‘Priest’ and eventually the altar [in the Catholic system] and the mass. The church got away from the family/community mindset and took on more of the ‘church building’ form. Tithing fit in easily into an idea of church that asked ‘how much should we put in the offering basket on Sunday’. The whole language and style of church called for the doctrine of tithing to be taught, sort of like a ‘tax’ on the people of God to support ‘the church’. Now, there are some good things that came out of the ‘dark ages’ of Christianity. The ‘desert fathers’, the Catholic mystics and other good spiritual disciplines. I don’t want to fall into the category of those who see the dark ages as a time of no good whatsoever. But we also need to see how the church during that time was very legalistic in the sense that the Mass and Altar and  ‘Priest’ presiding over the liturgy were all forms of Christian service that were absent from the churches in Scripture. The tithe was just one added aspect of this legalistic approach that seemed to make it all the way into the Protestant churches of today. All these churches are good Christians in my view, but we need to be open to change and reformation as the Spirit leads.

 

(587)    Didn’t plan on writing today, but was praying for you guys and felt something strange. I kinda pray for all of you corporately as a group, I use the image of a field or vineyard. That God would bless you guys, pour out his Spirit on you as a field/garden of people. As I was in this ‘mode’ I prayed that the Lord would ‘flood this vineyard with the Blood of Jesus’ I then felt like the Lord leading me to sing a verse from the old song ‘there is a fountain filled with Blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains’ as I sang this verse there was a powerful baptism of the Spirit that came over me, sort of like when you ‘get the chills’ and the hair on your arms stands up! I think the Lord was cleansing a lot of us at that moment in a corporate way, it was weird!

 

(588)    John 10- I forgot to mention in John 9 when they asked Jesus who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus said ‘no one’. Later in the chapter after the Pharisees get done with the guy, they say ‘you were altogether born in sin [after all you were BORN blind!] who do you think you are, trying to tell us what to do!’ that secret mentality of condemnation came out. Religion does this to people. It treats them like ‘yes, God is merciful and we are all sinners’ but in the heat of the argument the mentality of ‘we are really better than you’ exists. Now in this chapter Jesus says ‘I am the door’ and also ‘I am the shepherd who comes thru the door’ how can he be both? Jesus was the one who would fulfill all the required prophetic aspects spoken of in scripture. There were tons of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus met to the tee. These requirements were like a door, as the Jews were waiting for their Messiah they were looking for someone who met this criteria, Jesus met them! He also IS the door, from this time onward all other future leadership in the church would have to come ‘thru’ him and exemplify the servant attitude that he had. Jesus says ‘the hireling flees when the wolf comes’ the hireling is a mentality that looks at church leadership as a hired position. People vote on their pastor, if he does a good job he stays, if not he leaves and they screen for another hired position. Many good men have been down this road. Often when the ‘wolf comes’ he actually says to the leader ‘you cant stay in this town any longer, look at all the mistakes you made’ the accuser gets the hireling to flee, sometimes without the pastor realizing what’s going on. Jesus wants us to ‘come thru the door’ into the sheepfold. The ‘prescribed way’ of servant hood and giving your life for the sheep. I want to encourage all the pastors who read this site, don’t see your job as completing some vision, or rallying people to a cause. Though these things are included in pastoring, the main job for all of us is to give our lives unselfishly for others. It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘the hireling’ but God wants us to view our callings thru a servant hood mentality. The good shepherd gives his life [goals, dreams, etc…] up for the sheep. The Pharisees say ‘he is a mad man, he has a devil, why do you even listen to him?’ The leaders decided to bypass Jesus, they thought ‘we will just ignore him and he will go away’ the only problem was the average ‘congregant’ was listening! Often times in prophetic ministry you will find the bulk of leadership by passing the prophetic word [that which God is saying at the season] it is only later, after the ‘people’ hear it, that leaders will give it a second look. Leaders, don’t fall into this category, if you get in on what God is saying from the start, then you can partake of the good stuff along with the people!  Jesus in these last few chapters said he is Gods Son and the Jews understood it to mean his claim of equality with God. They understood right! I mention this because some feel that Jesus didn’t claim deity, he most certainly did. Even 1st century historians noted this in their writings, that the believers worshipped ‘a God named Jesus’. The deity question is vital, if you miss this one, you’ve missed it all! NOTE; Let me make a note here. It would be very easy for me to develop a teaching from this chapter that says ‘because of all you have seen about the idea of modern church, and the unbiblical roles of the hired clergy. That therefore all ‘pastors’ are hirelings’. Some have actually taught this. There are a few reasons why I don’t fall into this camp. First, when God initiates reformation ‘a reforming of the practices of modern church’ he does it with the sheep in mind. Jesus told the disciples ‘I have many things to say to you, but you are unable to hear it’ he could have blown them away with doctrine, but the goal was their development. If all doctrine, even true doctrine, does not build you up in some way, then it is not accomplishing the purpose that God intends. So in all the stuff I have taught you guys, the goal is for all of us [Pastors and people] to grow and change in Gods timing. To use my influence in a way that would split churches, or have the people viewing their pastors as ‘hirelings’ would be unprofitable. Eventually we all, as a Body, will change and reform as God directs. But to use this chapter to tear down all current forms of leadership presently functioning in the church would be irresponsible. With knowledge comes responsibility. God will give us knowledge and wisdom for the purpose of edification, not destruction.

 

(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 losing [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!’

 

(591)    John 11- Lazarus is sick and Mary and Martha send for Jesus. They were all friends and supporters of Jesus ministry, surely they will get special treatment, they know for sure he will be healed! Jesus waits a few days and lets Lazarus die. When he finally shows up, Martha comes to ask him ‘why weren’t you here! He would have not died if you were here!’ Jesus also earlier said ‘I am glad I was not there’ not ‘I am glad I didn’t heal him’ it’s like Jesus knew if he were there he would have had no choice but to have healed him, his compassion would have taken over. Martha and Mary knew it too. These are Jewish friends that are all sympathetic to his cause, they were known to have been friends with Jesus, they already carried a cross for him. For him to have let this group down was hard. He knew God had a better plan, but it still was hard. Martha tells Mary ‘come quickly, Jesus wants you’ Mary gets up and runs to Jesus. I don’t read where Jesus asked for Mary, I think Martha might have just said this to encourage Mary. Often times the closest followers of Jesus need to be encouraged. They have been with the Lord for years, they have given so much to the cause. They see how God is doing so much for others and yet all things don’t seem to be working out for them. They feel like Mary ‘what’s the use, I was following him years before these others, and yet he doesn’t even have time to come and heal my brother, he’s out all over the place healing everyone else, his so called ‘great ministry for God’ and yet I really needed him’ Mary needed to be encouraged, Martha encouraged her! Jesus does raise Lazarus and God is glorified. Word gets back to the religious leaders and they are afraid if they don’t do something they will lose their influence and power among the people. It was a power issue. Often times leadership will resist the ‘Body of Jesus’ coming into full functioning maturity, they are afraid that if the Body of Jesus becomes too influential, they might lose their place. John the Baptist taught us earlier that this was to be, the Pharisees had other plans. As they hold a council, Caiaphas the high priest says ‘leave him alone, Rome will come and kill him and it will be better. That way they can vent on him instead of all of the Jewish nation’ he prophesies the truth of Christ’s substitutionary death, and doesn’t even realize what he’s saying! Often times you will get a word from the Lord from people that don’t even realize they are prophesying! NOTE; I forgot something. When Jesus and his disciples are going to raise Lazarus, they will be entering an area where the Jewish leaders ‘have a contract on him’ they are looking to get him! Jesus reassures the guys they will be safe if they walk in ‘the light’ of Gods will. Thomas says ‘Oh great, lets all go and die with him’. Gee thanks for the support brother! Jesus never kicks Thomas off of the ministry ‘team’ he lets him stay on. You often hear ‘if you are the smartest person in your group get a new group’ or ‘evil communications corrupt good manners’ [scripture does say this]. But we sometimes teach it in a way that says ‘Don’t ever listen to the naysayers, eliminate them from your group. They will destroy your team spirit’ while there is some truth to this, remember Jesus was the smartest person in the group, his critics actually accused him of having ‘a bad group’ [this man eateth with sinners] so keep a balance in this. We are here to help the sick, not the well. If you don’t have some ‘bad apples’ in your sphere of influence than how are you gonna help them?

 

(592)    This year I gave a prophetic word about a prosperity ministry ‘no mountain shall be able to stand against what God is doing, not even Eagle mountain’ it’s somewhere on this site [do a word search]. Just recently [11-07] the senate finance committee, for the first time ever, broke past precedent and began investigating 6 large prosperity ministries, one of them is the Eagle mountain ministry I spoke of in the prophecy. Over the years I have seen obvious blatant abuse in the area of Bible teaching from this ministry. I did like them as a young believer, but after a while I saw how the brother simply did not truly understand scripture, in many areas. It wasn’t just a mistake here or there, that any one can make, but a ‘current’ of ‘mistakes’ that ran all thru out their teaching. The struggle to finally speak out on these teachers was overcome when I realized how many young believers they were affecting [not to mention Pastors!] They taught that Jesus was very wealthy, that he died to make us very wealthy, that all the warnings that Jesus gave against money were really teachings about getting money. When Jesus says ‘the deceitfulness of riches choke the word’ he taught ‘the deceitfulness of riches is that old tradition that says ‘you cant have lots of money’. Paul to Timothy ‘those that desire to be rich fall into a snare’ they say this is talking about those who don’t already know and believe the prosperity message, because those who believe it are already rich. Paul in Galatians ‘we are the children of Abraham, so the blessing of Abraham comes on us. We receive the promise of the Spirit by faith’ which really means being justified and receiving the Spirit, the blessing that comes ‘thru faith’ [like Abraham had] as opposed to law. These guys teach the ‘blessing of Abraham’ are his stuff. I could go on for days with this. The point is after seeing this non stop attack on the basic truth of scripture, to the point where Jesus actual warnings against money were translated to say the exact opposite, I finally realized there is something more going on here than just a few bad mistakes. It falls into the category of real heresy. So any way, let’s pray God will restore all of these brothers, but I wanted to update you on the prophecy we gave this year. ‘I have raised up one from the north, from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name. He shall come upon princes as mortar, and the coastlands shall wait for his law’. NOTE; Let me give a little example. Many of these brothers are not obvious ‘crooks’, like the guys who have been caught blatantly robbing churches, or putting microphones in their ears during healing crusades. Many of these men are honest in their dealings. When scripture speaks of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ we often think ‘outright hucksters’ this is not always the case. Jesus said ‘beware of the deceitfulness of riches’ Jesus taught there is a real deception involved with some of these distorted money doctrines. Over the years I have read books from these brothers [not about them!] and have come to see how they fall into this trap. After you justify a particular doctrine, you begin actually believing it to the point where you see your group as having ‘revelation knowledge’ that the mainline churches don’t have. As time goes by any reproof that is given, even reproof that is backed up from scripture, is seen as ‘that old tradition, they don’t see what we see’ [spiritual pride]. Over time the obvious faults in their doctrine are so obvious, that those who are in this camp think ‘surely we cant be this wrong’ like when someone quotes ‘for the love of money is the root of all evil’ they are trained to say ‘see brother, this doesn’t say money, but the love of it’ and this simple explanation justifies the error in their mind. Not realizing that when you ‘love something’ you are consumed with that thing. They can’t see that the love of money, that they teach, is shown by the fact that they have distorted scriptures for years to justify wealth seeking, to the point where they actually changed the image of Jesus and have taken the words from his mouth and turned them around. They truly have fallen down the path of the love of money, but can’t see it! John the Baptist said to leadership ‘It is unlawful for thee to have thy brothers wife’ for a long time these teachers ‘have had the wife’ that is they ‘cohabitated’ with the Bride, who really belongs to Jesus [Jesus called us his brother’s] it is unlawful for them to have had such influence with ‘their brothers wife’ it is time to let her go.

 

(593)    John 12- Jesus goes to Bethany, the town where he raised Lazarus. At the house Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas gets mad! ‘We could have sold it and used the money for the poor!’ Judas was the treasurer, he had ‘the bag’. He didn’t care about the poor, but was stealing from the treasury. Some teach that the treasury had millions of dollars in it, if this were so then why would Judas be worried about some perfume worth around $132.00 dollars? You guys teaching this ‘rich Jesus’ stuff need to read your bibles! In the town of Bethany Lazarus is the talk of the town ‘hey, did you see the guy Jesus raised from the dead’? The Pharisees were devising a way to kill Lazarus too! It’s a funny thing, these leaders were sticklers for the law, real legalistic. The number one law out of their 10 commandments was ‘thou shalt not kill’ yet they seemed to be thinking of killing an awful lot! Religion does this to people, it causes you to overlook the obvious while worrying about the details. Jesus called this ‘straining at gnats while swallowing whole Camels’. You see this later on at the Crucifixion, they are all concerned over what day they kill Jesus ‘God forbid we break our rules of purity WHILE KILLING THE SON OF GOD!’ Pathetic bunch of losers. The Greeks come to Jesus disciples and say ‘we want to see Jesus’. They go and tell Jesus ‘these Greeks want to meet you’ Jesus responds in a strange way ‘unless a grain of wheat dies it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth fruit… If any man serves me, where I am they will be’. In essence Jesus says ‘I am not here to present myself to people on some platform, I am here to do the will of my father. If they want to see me they must lay their lives down and die to self and carry the cross also, where I am they can be’. His answer was a call to self sacrifice and denial of self. Today we have an atmosphere of performance ‘lets go watch the great Prophet’. Going to conferences and stuff. Jesus said prophetic gifts function thru sacrifice, if you are laying your life down for the gospel you will interact with all of Gods gifted 5 fold ministers, but they were not designed to be seen on a stage. ‘While you have the light, walk in it. The darkness comes, and no one can function then’ Jesus was showing us to ‘strike when the irons hot’ act when God opens the door. I have found when I ‘go for it’ during seasons of God showing me stuff, then whatever is instituted at the time [some function of ministry] becomes really effective. Then there are times where I don’t go for it when the Lord opens the door, I miss the ‘open window’ and then later try to get something going, it never works! Like the children of Israel not entering the Promised Land on the first try, the next day they thought ‘what the hell, lets do it today’ it didn’t work! Walk while ye have the light [God showing you the next step] because when it gets dark [you missed the window] no one can work.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 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!

 

  • DREAM/VISION I dreamt I was in an arcade type game room. I should say ‘half dreamt’. I was awake, but laying in bed. I had the Christian music station on the TV and saw a black man [in the vision] singing the song that was on the TV. I forget the song, but it spoke of this being a time of destiny. He was speaking/singing it to me. I then saw a chandelier light, it was crystal and bright. At this time I was wide awake with my eyes closed. It looked just like a vivid dream, seeing colors and all, but I was awake with my eyes closed. From the light there came down beautiful jewels/crystals that were pouring down like rain. I felt this spoke of a season of ‘releasing precious pearls’ of wisdom to a large group of people. The arcade spoke of a fun type atmosphere. I simply felt the Lord saying ‘release nuggets of wisdom freely, enjoy the time’. I hope you guys are receiving and giving freely, don’t cast your ‘pearls’ before swine, but cast them!

 

 

  • Just outside praying, nice and cold! A few days after Thanksgiving and its nice. Had a thought. We have a tendency to excel in the paradigm that we are given. We have so many talented young men [Pastors] who we graduate from college and put them ‘into the ministry’. They often excel beyond their ‘fore fathers’ in advancing the ministry. Usually they do it in the current ‘framework’ of building centered church. The idea that ‘to excel’ means better ways to do ‘Sunday church’. More innovation, new technology, a ‘jet set’ ideology that goes further and faster than the ‘old time’ guys. All of this is okay to a degree. I think it would be better if we instill the idea of ‘church’ into the next group of leaders as being various communities of people whom you will implant the gospel into and the people themselves become ‘church’. A highly mobile community of people on the move for God. You can have ‘on line campuses’ [which, by the way, I feel are really on the cutting edge of ‘new paradigm’. We often speak in terms of ‘new paradigm/ new wine’ but are really just speaking of doing church in different ways in the same old auditorium mindset!] free flowing ‘open air’ [parks] groups. Meeting in clubs [bars!] on a weekday. Making ‘church’ available in all new types of ways. We can still have the old cathedrals, our eastern orthodox friends, and yes, even a good Old Catholic church! Hey, I like getting in on a Mass every now and then. You would be surprised how ‘prophetic’ the traditional scripture reading can be! My point is we need to ‘re think’ our approach on ‘how to do church’ in this next century [millennia!] Jesus spoke of ‘new wineskins’, as believers we need to ‘divorce’ ourselves from the marriage relationship that we have with ‘going to church on Sunday’. It’s time to expand the paradigm! NOTE; Let me say this. Recently I have had some good conversation [interaction] with a very popular orthodox writer. Most theologians would know his name. I realize that when they first come to our site, we LOOK STRANGE! Many of these guys are very uncomfortable with ‘dreams, visions,…’ and stuff like that. At the risk of offending all my charismatic friends, I confess that out of all the ‘theological communities’ out there, I like Reformed theology the most. I consider myself ‘non denominational’ for the most part, but have found reformed theology the ‘most likeable’ if you will. NOTE; in the ‘Emergent conversation’ I think the danger is in ‘the conversation’. We have a tendency to ‘talk things to death’. I too am guilty of this. The hardest thing for believers is to transition into ‘the doing’ aspect. There is a ton of good teaching out there right now on the church transitioning into this new paradigm, but I feel there really aren’t enough ‘doers’. Jesus said ‘look on the fields, they are ready to harvest. But there aren’t enough doers’. I don’t want to sound self righteous, I too am guilty! I just thought I would throw this in.

 

  • I am going a little ‘theological’ today! In the ‘Emergent conversation’, as well as just ‘the conversation’ there are questions about the Kingdom versus the ‘Church’. When Jesus sent the disciples out he told them to cast out devils [demons] heal the sick and proclaim ‘the Kingdom of God has been here’. I see the Kingdom being expressed and manifested wherever Christ’s ambassadors are journeying at the time. In these areas where the gospel would spread certain groups of people would ‘submit’ to the message of the King. The outward sign of this submission was baptism. Those in the surrounding areas knew who these subjects of the Kingdom were, they were ‘branded’ if you will, with the ‘mark of the Kingdom’. Now, these cities [Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia { a group of cities}] would become ‘out posts’ of the Kingdom on earth. The ‘church’ [Ecclesia] in these areas were actual territories of people in whom the King would dwell and have expression thru. From these ‘local churches’ [groups of believers residing locally! Get the idea of a 501 c 3 organization out of your head!] Others would eventually go out and establish ‘new outposts’ thru the proclaiming of this good news [of the Kings reign!]. This organic thing we call ‘Ecclesia’ was the natural outgrowth of the Kingdom in the earth. The scholar N.T. Wright says the Kingdom message was really a proclamation of the Kings reign thru the lips of the Apostles. In essence they weren’t just preaching ‘get saved and join a ‘local church’ but were saying ‘the Kingdom has been inaugurated, submit to the King while you still have time!’ I like this! So today you have ‘regions/groups’ of people on planet earth who are ‘citizens’ of this heavenly Kingdom. The fact that the Spirit of God has taken up residence permanently in these groups of believers shows the ‘long term’ thinking of the Father when he started this thing! There most certainly will be a future aspect of this Kings great entry back into the planet, at that time all will see the outward reality of the fact that the King has been alive and well for a few thousand years [or more, depending on when he returns]. But make no mistake about it, the Kingdom of God has been invading this planet ever since the King took his seat of authority and vested the church with this authority by the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost. Be assured that ‘the Kingdom of God has come among you’.

 

  • Let me talk some on why I align myself with reformed thinking. After I first ‘got saved’ I became a student of scripture. Within a short time I read the New Testament. I simply saw the passages dealing with Predestination as meaning ‘Predestination’ in the classical sense [Augustine, Luther, Calvin, etc…] .I was then taught that this belief was heresy! So I rejected it. The Baptist Pastor who said that this was ‘hyper Calvinism’ meant well. I would eventually see that believing in Predestination was not heresy. Many of the churches greatest theologians have believed in it. Many groups of Christians have embraced it thru out the ages. I most certainly am one! Now, I am very familiar with the arguments for and against this doctrine. Paul knew about the arguments against it. He actually takes the ‘Augustinian’ view in his defense of this doctrine in Romans [I know Augustine got it from Paul!] the simple fact that Paul, in his defense of this teaching, would actually not defend it from an Arminian view, but from a Calvinistic one, show’s you that he believed it! This really doesn’t take a genius to see [though it takes some basic level of thinking!] So any way I thought I would throw this out there being I have already come out of the closet as being Reformed. To be honest the passages that led me to this belief, before I was even aware of any historical anything, were the verses in Ephesians from my old King James bible. They make it very clear that Predestination not only speaks of being Predestined to conformity into Christ’s image [which Arminians bring out] but that Predestination most definitely speaks of a chosen group of people [the elect] as being predestined before birth unto the adoption of Sons. I always found it strange why Arminians, who are most certainly good brothers, would use the argument that Predestination refers only to those who accept Jesus and are ‘predestined’ to become like him. It takes only a surface, one time reading to see that Predestination speaks of this as well as what I just showed you. Many modern defenses of Arminianism [or semi Pelagianism- wow I really let the cat out of the bag now!] seem to overlook this simple fact. I can’t explain all the ramifications of this, neither could Paul! And the fact that he even said he couldn’t, proves it to be a biblical doctrine! [I blame any recent correspondence with Scot McKnight for this entry!]

 

  • I do not feel like writing today. I want to be very honest with you guys. To have a history like I have had, struggling with things thru out my life. It might sound like a good testimony, but make no mistake about it, to have made bad decisions thru out my life has played a toll on me. Don’t think you can dabble in rebellion with out it affecting you! Now, why am I here right now? This last week I took a break from getting with my homeless friends, it was thanksgiving week and I spent time updating this blog. I wound up interacting with a very famous Orthodox scholar. I ‘accidentally’ went to his sight ‘Jesus Creed blog’ [great site, go check it out!] and meant to give my blog to him, I sent it on a comment section and realized it posted to all his readers. I didn’t mean to do this! After an hour or so they took it off the blog. I don’t blame them! We are a little radical for a bunch of orthodox brothers! But I guess the Lord wanted it. Let’s talk a little about the communion of the saints. I feel that protestant/independent Christians make a grave mistake when they view the older church traditions as ‘those deceived traditionalists’. Our brothers and sisters who are either Orthodox or Catholic are truly believers. They have come to the table with things to contribute. We often view them in a wrong light. It is common to hear ‘they practice infant baptism’ or ‘iconography’ [inclusion of art in worship] and to think ‘wow, what a bunch of idol worshippers’. Not realizing that they have come to these beliefs with much thought. Now do I agree? No. But I see how they have come to this belief. Infant baptism [pedo baptism] for the most part was seen as the New Covenant sign of dedicating children to Christ. Sort of like the rite of circumcision in the Old covenant. Those who were circumcised as infants were certainly not aware of what was going on, but God initiated it as a rite to introduce infants into his covenant. So certain new covenant believers saw infant baptism in this same way. Does the New Testament teach this? Probably not, but the Jailer in acts 16 got baptized ‘with his whole house’. Were there younger family members in this? Possibly. Did they all know the doctrines of Christian faith before their baptism? I doubt it. So the possibility of younger family members being baptized can be argued from scripture. Do I believe in infant baptism? No. But I can see how other Christians can believe it. So we shouldn’t just assume that our Orthodox/Catholic brothers are all deceived! It works like this with a lot of stuff. The historic church is really the ‘Father’ [or mother] to a lot of us today. Where did we get our bible from? Whether you like it or not, the Canon developed out of the ancient church. The reformed brothers say ‘we have a fallible collection of infallible books’ the Catholics say ‘we have an infallible collection of infallible books’ hate to say it, but the Catholics are right! Do I believe in the Apocrypha? No. But the truth is God most certainly used the historic church to give us the bible. Protestants who say ‘the bible was simply in existence and the church recognized it’ don’t understand history! God most definitely used the church, thru divine guidance, to give us his word. You can’t get around it. To think that ‘a bible’ was circulating in the first few centuries, like we have today, is simply historically inaccurate. God used his people to get the Canon together and deliver it to the rest of the church, no bones about it! The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, Paul did say this in the New Testament. So today, we have a beautiful people of God, made up of all types [denominations] of believers. We should strive for the unity of the church as Jesus taught us in John 17. We should avoid the mindset that simply looks at all of our brothers and sisters as being lost or deceived. Do we have differences? Yes. Are there important differences that have meaning. Yes. The Protestant reformation didn’t happen in a vacuum, God had real truth that he wanted to bring forth at that time. He brought it forth. As the church progresses in to this next millennia we need to honestly evaluate where we are at, and also see where our brothers and sisters stand. I am not one of those who think returning to orthodoxy [Frankie Schaffer] or Catholicism [Newman – or more recently Frances Beckwith] is a viable alternative, but we need to at least see them as viable Christian communions. Let’s not approach it like George from the Seinfeld episode. He was going to convert to Greek Orthodoxy so he could date some girl. So he goes down to the Greek Orthodox Church and meets with these 2 Priests. As they are testing him for his conversion, they ask him ‘why do you want to be Orthodox’? He answers ‘I like the hats’ to the dismay of these 2 Fathers who are wearing these pontifical looking hats! NOTE; The justification for the use of Art in worship comes from the fact that God himself allowed the use of actual images in worship right after he gave the restrictions on graven images in the 10 commandments. He gave Moses instruction on making images of Angels that would be over the Mercy seat in the Holiest place in the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was the central piece of furniture for worship in the Old Testament story. Also God will instruct Moses to make a Brass serpent and put it on a pole and have the people ‘look at it as an image of Christ’! Jesus of course uses this story In John 3 with Nicodemus. So in both of these cases images were used with Gods permission [Explicit permission!]

 

  • These last few years reformed theology has made a strong resurgence back into the Church. A few years back, the President of the Southern Baptist convention, Al Mohler, was a noted Calvinist. Mike Piper, a very popular Baptist preacher is also having great influence with many up and coming Evangelicals. I feel some of this is due to the fact that younger believers are really hungry for good theology. They are getting tired of all the motivational stuff. Also, like in my own case, if you see these things in scripture you tend to be drawn towards those who see it like you. It is all too common in the American Church to outright reject the true godly heritage of many of our Calvinistic brothers. Men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield and others who were plainly Calvinistic in doctrine. When a younger believer is taught that they weren’t [like I was taught] it is a great revelation to find out that other great thinkers saw the same as you. I remember when I first read in one of the ancient councils of the church [council of Orange?] I read how many of my own conclusions were the same as brothers who lived centuries before. Or when I first studied the Puritans and realized how many of them were Calvinists. To underestimate the influential people who have held to this doctrine thru out the centuries is really miss guided. Now for sure there are some problems when man tries to logically explain the issues involving Predestination. And I feel that many of these explanations have done harm to the truth of this doctrine. I can’t see how telling people that Jesus didn’t die for them [limited atonement] squares with scripture. Some call this ‘4 point Calvinism’ as opposed to ‘5 Point’. My POINT is we do get into trouble when we try to figure out all the logical conclusions. Some times logic doesn’t work! [Sproul would be mad at me for this one]. So in all our teaching, especially when bringing young believers along. Don’t hide the historical fact that Calvinism played a big role in our heritage. It does a disservice to Christian education to tell people ‘Edwards wasn’t a Calvinist’ or for that matter ‘that Finney was’. We need to simply tell the truth about the historic record. Some great men were, some weren’t, no big deal. When you lay out the facts people can come to their own views. When you hide the facts you do a disservice to the work of the Spirit in education.

 

  • Got with some homeless brothers yesterday, I will be seeing them in a few more hours. They read some of my stuff, one of them just lost his wife and child in a car crash this past year. He is struggling with it. He told me he was raised Mormon and hasn’t believed in God for years. But he started believing again in the last 2 weeks. I felt he wanted to kind of say ‘do you know why’? And maybe give me some credit, but I didn’t go down that road. I wanted him to believe because he chose to, not to impress me. I dealt with Mormonism in an honest way. Didn’t sugar coat the many problems with this belief [Like the total lack of any historical evidence backing up all of the so called tribes of people that Jesus supposedly appeared to in the Americas. All the names of people, cities, the money they used. None of these things have ever been found! Never mind the fact that the ‘angels’ who translated the ‘plates’ that Smith found in the ground, used King James English in his translation! EEEK!]. Well anyway when I went to see a good Christian friend who knows web sites, he was helping me with a few pointers. He started a business, was telling me how thru the business they get opportunities to witness. A good thing. He is an older man, involved in the local scene. He was getting ready to go the office, also spending time working at his house. I was hoping to finish with what he was showing me so I could get with some homeless guys at the mission. I don’t say this to boast or compare myself with my friend. I want to give an example. As he was telling me how thru the business they have opportunities to witness, he mentioned something about me being a fire fighter. I told him I am in the middle of retiring after 25 years. This brother has been financially independent for many years [he is rich!] I never knew this when I first met him. If I knew it I wouldn’t have paid for him and one of his employees when we went out to eat after a prayer meeting! The point is as we were talking, I was kind of rushing to get with the brothers. He was also rushing to go to the office. Why don’t we see the reality of touching people directly? If we retire as believers, or are financially well off, why not see your situation as being a direct conduit into the lost world around us? We often want to establish things [ministries, businesses, etc] and thru these other things we try to influence society. This is okay to a degree. But also leave yourself open to the concept of Jesus giving us authority and a responsibility to directly impact the world. I didn’t see my rushing to leave as ‘I need to go run the ministry’ or ‘establish our ministry’. I have left that mindset years ago. I saw my ‘rushing to leave’ more like Jesus going after the one sheep while leaving the 99 [I would not dare compare myself to the Lord!] The point is, if your child was starving on the street, strung out on drugs. Would your first thought be ‘how can I go start something that will affect them in the long run’? [a sort of Christian ‘trickle down economics!] Or would you take all you have, your time, resources and everything and directly go find that child and try and help them? I think we need to re evaluate what Jesus calls us to. Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in! Don’t just ‘go out’ hoping to have a successful career, give God 10 % on Sunday while hoping you will in some way have an impact in society. Jesus said ‘when I was hungry you never came to me, I was sick and in prison, where were you’ I don’t want to say ‘at the office’! [Or down at the church!] NOTE; let’s ‘tear down every high thought that comes against the knowledge of God’. I want you to see the subtle mindset of religion. We often appeal to people along the lines of ‘support your church financially, live a good Christian life. Come to church on Sunday and be excited about all the mission works and reaching out and supporting missionaries that the church [organization] is supporting’ while all of these works are good and noble, what this tends to do is develop a mindset in the church [the actual ecclesia who are sitting in the pews!] that their main job is to fund the organization [like giving to the Red Cross] and that by their being faithful to fund it, they will have a reward. Now, I am sure the Lord will honor those who have given this way, as well as honor those fulltime missionaries who are doing good works. But when we frame the conversation this way, the poor people in the pews are only spectators who are living vicariously thru the professionals. They hear all the exciting stories form the visiting missionaries. They see the great things that the Pastor has done over the past year. They are very excited about all the good things that are happening. Then they are told ‘it’s good to believe God to use you to excel in the business world and make more money so we can do more projects. Don’t you know if you only believe for your own needs, you are being selfish!’ So the condemnation is ‘why do I not feel fulfilled by simply supporting this system’? Because God didn’t design you to be fulfilled by simply making money and supporting others who are laying their lives down. He designed you to lay your life down as well. To personally be involved in some way by actually doing the work! Not by simply thinking you will get a reward by giving money to others who are doing it. I have found the breaking of this mindset to be one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of true revolution in the church. Every time you try and break this barrier, you are looked at as some rebel who doesn’t believe in tithing. Then to top it all off, every time a believer gets close to ‘making the break’ in his thinking and acting, he is then told ‘God will curse you if you rob from him’[Malachi]. May God help us all to get beyond this stuff! NOTE; Remember when we covered Exodus? [on radio] The children of Israel were told ‘you need to make more bricks, the reason the people are complaining is because they are not busy enough’! The bricks were being used to build Pharaohs cities, that which would bring glory to mans legacy. When we tell people ‘make more money, become millionaires so you can fund Christian stuff’ what we are doing is taking a very small percent of truth and applying it on a broad scale. In rare cases people are called to be rich to support ministries. The testimony of scripture does show this! Joseph of Arimathea, the rich guy who gave his grave to Jesus. Those in Acts who sold lands. There are examples of this. But you never see Jesus or Paul telling believers ‘trust God to make you rich so you can give us more money’. We err when we do this! We in essence are preaching a message to people that says ‘you are selfish if you are only working for your own needs, you need to give your life to become rich’ this message becomes a direct violation of scripture. In Hebrews it says ‘be content with what you have’. Paul says to Timothy ‘don’t desire to become rich’. This idea of telling believers to get rich to support ministries is way off. It actually falls into the category of ‘making more bricks for men’s glory’.

 

  • 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!

 

  • Got with my homeless friend yesterday, the Muslim brother. Found out that he served in Iraq and went thru lots of stuff. His family is Jehovah witness. They were stressed when he became a Muslim. During our conversation I never really push conversion on people. After becoming real friends with people, with no hidden agenda, then when you talk with them the door is open to share truth with a friend. Jesus style! He is knowledgeable in many areas, does read scripture. I spent a few hours answering many misconceptions that he had. I rarely have a bible when doing this stuff, but I have memorized lots of scripture over the years. So during our conversation I realized that my human power of persuasion wasn’t cutting it, I would quote scripture along with my reasoning. Stuff like ‘great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, believed on in the world and received up into heaven’ and explain the truth of the incarnation. I went a little thru the history of Islam and the difference between the way Jewish people and Muslims view Jesus as a prophet, but not Gods Son. I did quote a lot from Isaiah 53 and noticed how my buddy was listening intently as I would quote scripture. You could see it was really the power of the gospel thru Gods word that was doing the work. As I was quoting and explaining the substitutionary aspect of Christ’s death, he confessed that he was just reading Isaiah 53 earlier in the day. Wow, I felt like the guy in Acts [Phillip] who was preaching to the Ethiopian Eunuch! [Acts 8?] After a good few hours of really teaching my Muslim friend, I was dropping him off at his spot where he camps by the bay. It’s kind of cold, but I told him [truthfully] that I planned on baptizing some people when the water gets warmer. It’s been too long and I don’t want to neglect this part of the great commission. I didn’t want to push it with my Muslim friend, but he eagerly told me that he wants to get baptized when we do it! Also wants to be involved with some home groups and stuff. It’s only been a few weeks of friendship with this brother and he’s ready to get converted! This is the same brother that I was kidding about giving my classic Mustang to a few entries back. I thank God that he is ready to take the plunge! But he isn’t getting the car! NOTE; Let me say something about this ‘style’ or way of ministry. It is all to easy in today’s current mind set to relate to people on the basis of ‘come to my church/ministry and we will provide services to you and you will give a tithe and we will pay for others [missionaries] to carry the gospel to the world. Just be real faithful to give and we will do great things’. The intent behind this thinking is well meaning, I just believe it is a little misguided. It is all to easy to fall into a style of ministry that begins ‘falling behind’ in the budget and then there develops a tension on ‘why aren’t the people giving’? I know! It’s because we have failed to teach the mandate to tithe! [though there really is no mandate to tithe!] So what starts out as well intentioned people [the Pastors and the congregants] digresses into this power struggle where every time you meet one of the main inferences is ‘lets go people, we have much to do. Obey God, don’t rob him!’ the whole thing is so far removed from true New Testament ministry, yet we don’t really see this! In the above interaction with my Muslim friend, it was obvious to me that he has ‘gotten into it’ with many Pastors thru out his life. He has told me how what turned him off was the arrogance [and ignorance] of ‘chaplains’ [prison] and guys who were always relating to him with an agenda. I don’t want to say ‘I am the first noble person who treated him right’ but I want you to see how all believers need to begin directly relating to people without seeing ‘my church [organization] or the missionaries we support are responsible to do this stuff’ We are all responsible! When the modern system teaches the ‘brick builders’ to simply ‘make more bricks’ [bring in more resources] we are giving the impression to the average believer that this is his main responsibility! NOTE; If you remember that in one of my books I shared some thoughts from my mission statement [I think the last chapter of ‘Further Talks on Church and Ministry’] I shared how in the great commission Jesus simply tells believers to go and preach the gospel and baptize those who believe. Also to teach and make disciples [more than just ‘getting saved’] but there really is no instruction on ‘starting churches’. Later in Acts after the Spirit is poured out on the believers they ‘continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and breaking of bread’. That is they were growing as a community of people, not a separate organization that was called ‘the local church’. They were ‘the local church’. Because of this subtle shift in our seeing the separate organization as ‘the local church’ it becomes natural to see the bringing in of more money into ‘the storehouse’ [eeek!] so the work of God can be carried out! After all, God chose ‘the local church’ as his instrument to do this stuff! We sure have a long way to go. NOTE; This is the friend who shared the dreams about the ‘gold book of God’ [few entries back]. He also just shared how when he was a boy he had a dream and heard the word ‘unity’ and his mom [or someone?] was aware of this. I think they heard the voice too? The point was I also told him [interpreted] this prophetic sign as from God. During my discussions with him one of he main obstacles of becoming Christian was certain expressions of the Trinity. How Muslims say ‘you cant worship Jesus as God’ or you cant have ‘3 gods’. I tried to explain that Jesus said ‘if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. I am in the Father and the Father in me’. I also explained how the historic church battled over certain expressions of the Trinity. I explained the ‘Arian’ controversy of the 4th [or 5th?] century when the Bishop Arias thought it was wrong to call Jesus God, and ultimately the church had an historic council and came down on the side of Trinitarian language. I brought all this up to show him how believers have struggled with explaining the Trinity. But I used his own prophetic experience of hearing the word ‘unity’ to show him how Jesus and God are one. This was the 2nd prophetic thing that happened with him in concert to bring him to conversion. Which in a way was a fulfillment of what I told him a few weeks back, that many Muslims were having dreams and visions and converting to Christ. This whole experience was a good prophetic clinic to those of you who are not familiar with these things. Signs and visions work in concert with the overall purpose of God in redemption. Just like the book of Acts, those of you who do not believe in these things need to see the ‘orthodoxy’ of all that has happened in bringing my friend to truth. It wasn’t ‘spooky’ charismatic stuff, it was real evangelism! NOTE; Let me give you guys a little ‘prophetic clinic’ in what happened with my Muslim friend. He had these 2 prophetic experiences that stuck with him his whole life. The ‘gold book of God’ and the ‘unity’ word/vision. Both of these signs speak of the deity of Christ, the main obstacle keeping a Muslim from becoming Christian. So for all these years God knew there would be a time where this buddy would go thru as being Muslim. God had a predestined course for him to have had these prophetic experiences in his background. God was waiting for the day to come where Martin would run into ‘an interpreter of dreams’ [don’t want to sound too big headed, at least someone who believed they weren’t from the devil!] so you see how these dream things were not simply ‘eating too much Pizza’ but a collaborative effort with the sovereignty of God to reveal his Son to Martin. God gave his Son for the world, he has the right to divinely arrange the ‘playing board’ so he wins every time!

 

  • PARABLE OF AN AUTO MECHANIC I just had this thought. Say if God sent Jesus into the world to solve another problem besides the sin issue. Say if the main problem with men were that their cars kept breaking down. Jesus shows up in 21st century USA and begins gathering a following of disciples. He walks with them for 3 years and sees all these cars broken down. He begins miraculously fixing them. He also shows the disciples how to ‘fix cars’. He gets to the point of his departure and tells his disciples ‘I am going away, but I will gift you with the supernatural ability to not only fix cars, but to train others to do the same. As soon as you fix a car, teach the owner and give him instructions on how to ‘pay it forward’. Then Jesus leaves, he decides one day to come back and see how we did. He thinks ‘for sure there will be a great improvement since I left’. To his dismay he shows up and finds that things really haven’t improved that much. Sure, there’s been some improvement [all the preachers have their cars fixed! Ouch] but the overall scene hasn’t really changed. He asks one of the ‘mechanics’ what happened. Don’t you know how important it was for you to have taken my ‘car fixing ability’ and to have used it to reach the world? The mechanic says ‘we know it’s very important. That’s why we have set up all these ‘mechanic shops’ all over the world. These shops on every corner operate like this. On Sunday all the mechanics go to the shops and read from the ‘mechanic book’. We have a ‘head mechanic’ who knows more about the book than the rest of us, he is really good! We listen to him talk for about an hour or so and he reads all these great stories from the book on how Jesus and the ‘early mechanics’ did great things. We then put in our money at the end of the mechanic talk and go home. So do you see how seriously we take the responsibility of being mechanics?’ What do you think Jesus would say? The simple fact is we have relegated the responsibility of carrying out the great commission to the ‘hired mechanics’. On our way to ‘mechanic shop’ each Sunday we are driving passed a world full of ‘broken cars’. We see the cars being broken, but we think the head mechanic only wants us to send money to other mechanics so they can fix them. We have lost sight of the direct responsibility that we carry as ‘mechanics’. If all Jesus wanted was for us to financially support ‘other mechanics’ or to think it was the job of the ‘mechanic shop’ to carry it out, then we have been duped into inactivity without us knowing it. Then you find a few mechanics along the way that have figured this out. They begin rapidly fixing cars all over the place. They implore their fellow mechanics to do the same. They are shouting at them on the way to mechanic shop and saying ‘stop, help us fix these cars’. The ones going to shop tell the lead mechanic that these new guys are actually fixing cars, without being licensed by the shop! Well, the chief mechanic can’t believe this. He has been taught his whole life that it is his job to talk about mechanics and be a teacher of mechanics, but for someone to break out on their own, and use this wisdom outside of the shop is total rebellion. He starts warning all the others ‘don’t do what these rebel mechanics  are doing’. They are told ‘just keep bringing the weekly dues to the shop, because if you don’t you will get in big trouble’. No matter how loud the real fixers of cars shout to the shop attendees, the attendees see the ‘attending’ of shop class on Sunday as the primary responsibility. They believe the doing of this is the main thing that Jesus wanted. When you ask them ‘don’t you remember when Jesus told us to go and fix all the cars in the world and when he comes back he will ask whether or not we actually fixed any cars’ what will your answer be? ‘I guess we will tell him that the dues we paid to the shop on Sunday supported others who were fixing them’? That my friends is not going to cut it!

 

  • JOHN 13- Jesus says ‘I am come from God, and I am going back to him’. He had this divine sense of mission. Theologians have disagreed over how much Jesus knew about his own calling as a young person. I kinda see it like he gradually came to greater wisdom and understanding as the father was revealing the mission to him. The fact that Jesus became human also brought with it certain limitations of knowledge and growth. He did come to see his mission at a young age. When he was in the temple as a boy he said ‘I am doing my fathers business’. So I see how he grew in his sense of mission and destiny. You have come from the father, you will some day go back. Live with destiny in mind. At the table Jesus tells the guys ‘I am giving you an example’ as he washes their feet. Peter is like preachers today ‘heavens forbid that you wash me, are you saying I need some correcting’! I have found this response common among leaders [even me!] we sought of cant get corrected, then when we do realize we need it, we go to the other extreme ‘well, go ahead and give me a bath!’ We want to tear everything down and start all over! It is funny. Jesus says ‘what I am showing you, you don’t really know what it means yet, you understand it in your head, but not for real’ I feel the example of ‘servant leadership’ is a subject that most leaders ‘know’ but the fact of it being really lived out is rare. We still see ‘ministry’ and ‘church’ from the paradigm of ‘my successful career’. I am not saying everyone is wrong, I am saying the level we are at is sort of where the disciples were. We ‘know it’ in our heads, but we still ask ‘who will be the greatest in your Kingdom. Can we sit at your right Hand?’ Jesus makes one of the worst statements in all of scripture ‘one of you shall betray me’ he also says in another place ‘it were better for that man if he were never born’ WOW! How would you feel if this were said about you? At the table the disciples were feeling insecure. ‘John, ask Jesus who it is for heavens sake!’ John and Judas know, I don’t know about the others. It seems as if they leave the meal with the possibility of ‘Oh my God, could it be me’ this lets you see into the later distress that Peter has over his denials. He must have thought ‘I am the bad one’. Peter makes every attempt to not be the one. Jesus says ‘where I am going, you can’t follow’ Peter says ‘why not, I will die for you’! Jesus says ‘I tell you, before the cock crows, you will deny me 3 times’! “OH MY GOD IT IS ME!’ do you see the drama here? Why would Jesus say about Judas ‘it would have been better if you were never born’? It sure seems hard. Jesus said this for Judas benefit, not his own. Jesus knew that for the fathers plan to work, someone would have to hate him so much that he would betray him. Jesus loved Judas, he lived with him for 3 years. He saw THE SINCERITY of Judas as a zealot for his political cause. You say ‘but he was a thief from the start’ true. But I am sure he justified it like cheating on your taxes! The point was Judas really thought he was getting in on this new ‘progressive’ political movement of the day. Sure he was stealing, but after all ‘I deserve it, the Pay Jesus gives us isn’t cutting it. Doesn’t he realize we are risking our lives with him. I am deserving of it’. Jesus knew Judas was the average Joe. Jesus had some good times during the 3 years of friendship. Jesus didn’t lie when he said ‘friend, why are you betraying me with a kiss’? Jesus wished he had never been born. NOTE; in the current discussion with ‘Emergent Church’ stuff, some are bringing up the possibility of hell being symbolic in nature. Does ‘fire’ mean ‘fire’ and stuff like that. I believe it does, but want you to understand that true thinkers and movers have differences of opinion on this. Origen, one of the early intellectual church fathers, taught universalism. That all people will ultimately be saved. Of more recent fame, Carlton Pearson left his charismatic roots and embraced ‘no hell’. To be honest, he has gone a lot further than simply being ‘no hell’. He denies the authority of scripture, thinks John wrote Revelation as an expression of being delusional. I feel Pearson, in his journey towards universalism, went way too far. Clark Pinnock, a modern theologian has taught ‘annihilationism’ that all the wicked will be burned up and non existent. There are a few verses where you can get this from! The point is some very good people [and bad] have differences of opinion on this. My point is this statement from Jesus ‘it would have been better if Judas were never born’ sure seems to indicate that every one will not wind up in heaven! It seems as a harsh thing to say if Jesus knew his buddy would one day be in heaven. Judas could rightfully ask ‘why did you say it would have been better if I were never born, after all, all people who were ever born wind up in heaven.’

 

  • I just read an article in my local paper on a school teacher who was fired over an evolution thing. I remember watching the whole court case a few years ago on some northern state trying to get ‘intelligent design’ taught in the schools. I think it was Pennsylvania? The judge would rule against intelligent design on the grounds that the schools should teach science and not religion. To put it bluntly, the judge was truly an idiot! Now, why do I say this? If you watched the whole case you saw the evidence, given by the scientific community, that showed Darwin’s theory to have been proven wrong. All the evidence showed how no where do we see any scientific proof that ‘macro evolution’ ever happened in a natural environment. Macro evolution is Darwin’s theory that species change from one thing into another. This has never once happened, ever, according to the evidence. What has happened is ‘Micro evolution’ the adapting of species to its environment. Now, during the hearings this was brought out very plainly by the scientists on the creation side. To be honest, the other side for some reason did not have scientists defend evolution. They had an arrogant school board lawyer who was out of his league on all the scientific issues. Those hearing the case even brought this out. Ultimately when the judge ruled against creationism, it really wasn’t based on science. During the case the evolution side tried to show that ‘Intelligent design’ was a secret way to slip ‘creationism’ into the classroom, and therefore it would be a violation of the separation of church and state. The interesting thing about the case [I think it was in a town called Dover?] was the fact that Darwin’s theory was proven false. Now, the other side can say ‘but you never know, we might find other evidence some day?’ while that may be true, the school system should not be teaching a theory as fact when all scientific evidence shows it to be wrong! This argument is really not about religion, it’s about science. All the fossils and stuff clearly show that things [life forms] appeared on the scene at set times. Not ‘slowly’. This evidence shows that some where these life forms had to have been ‘designed’ prior to there appearing. This is fact, seen from the evidence! Now, whether you want to delve into a creator having designed them, or some other theory, is really irrelevant to the debate. The fact is the evidence shows these life forms to have shown up in complete form, not slowly changing. I find it funny how those who fight creationism by saying they believe in science, really can’t see how science goes against Darwin’s theory, and backs up the Christian worldview!

 

  • Let’s do a little more on Evolution. When Darwin popularized the theory, he knew that over a period of time he would be proven right or wrong. If his theory was right you would eventually find Fossils of all types of species in the transition stage. You obviously wouldn’t find something actually changing, but you would see stage 1. Then over a few million years stage 2 and so forth. As a matter of fact you would find these ‘stages’ of fossils all thru out the Evolutionary time table. You would not only need them for one species going to the next, but for all the species that have changed! Over a few hundred years how many have we found? A thousand? 500 hundred? 50? How about the big ZERO! That’s right, science has found none. Wow, you think if this were true that scientists would drop the idea. Many have. Even those who hate God! I have read where scientists have said the biggest problem with Darwin’s idea is the blatant hole in the fossil evidence. They have said ‘we don’t have the evidence to back it up’ or ‘as a matter of fact the evidence we have disproves Evolution’. Now there have been some famous hoaxes. As a kid I used to go to the museum of natural history in New York City. I remember seeing the famous ‘stages of evolution’ on display. They were statues of man evolving. They showed the proof behind each level. One of the levels was a whole man developed by a tooth they found in the ground. Surely science deals with facts. The tooth later was proven to have come from a pig! They built the whole guy from a pig. You guys are really smart. Another great proof was a skull that was found in the ground. It was trumpeted for years as a missing link. They found out it was fake. They were testing it and found ‘Plaster of Paris’ in its ‘DNA’. What has happened is a theory has been held to religiously and made us look like a bunch of idiots. The simple fact that atheistic scientists have come out and said ‘Darwin’s theory is fake, not because religion says so, but because science says so’ should concern all the evolutionists who think they are aligned with the evidence.

 

  • Over the years I have seen how division happens among good believers. On this site you can read some good stuff [I think!] on doctrine. You can also read lots of stuff on visions and dreams. I realize that there is a whole sector of the church who believe that the current church ‘is rampant with false doctrine’. I hear a local commercial on the radio station that I broadcast on say this. When I hear it I hope I am not coming across as someone who only sees ‘rampant false doctrine’ in our day. I also see how these reformed guys see ‘rampant false doctrine’. But sometimes there are honest disagreements that wouldn’t fall into the ‘false doctrine’ category. Paul was a tremendous theologian, reformed as much as any one! Yet what would you think if your favorite reformed theologian was raising the dead? Or sending handkerchiefs to sick people to get well? [it might have been Peter?] Or casting blindness on demon possessed followers? We often see only one side of the argument. Then you have the Charismatics who operate in these things, but it is next to impossible to show them that this same Paul who did these things wrote first Timothy 6, one of the strongest reproofs to the money gospel ever written. So we all have a tendency to take what we like and leave the rest behind. Sort of like some of the first canons of scripture, some guys just cut out the stuff they didn’t like! Even the great Luther had problems with James, Hebrews, Revelation, 2nd Peter and others. Sometimes our minds become idols. I want to exhort all my reformed friends to read the New Testament with an open mind, as well as my Charismatic friends. We all have blind spots that we don’t know are there [even me!] God ordained this to be so! That way we would realize we need each other in order to complete the mission. Let the iron sharpen iron.

 

  • As you can tell by now, I like to jump around a lot! Recently I have been studying various movements in Christianity. To some degree people would define me as ‘Emergent’ that is I challenge the way we practice church. I have been doing this for years. I have also seen some in this movement who challenge the ‘myth of the Cross’ [ouch!] and historic Christianities content. Just thought I would let you know I do not align my self with this part of being ‘Emergent’.

 

  • JOHN 14- Jesus says he is going away to prepare a place for us. He tells the disciples they know where he is going and how to get there. Thomas says ‘we have no idea where you are going, how can we know the way’. Jesus wasn’t talking ‘location’ as much as communion with the Trinity. He was saying I am going to THE FATHER and you now know the Father, because I have revealed him to you. You have seen me, you have seen him. Also, the way to the father is thru the Son, so you not only know where I am going [Father] but the way [Son]. Now I get it! You can take this 2 ways [not three!] you can look at it as Jesus speaking of the sending of the Spirit as his ‘coming again’, in verse 18 he does say this. He says ‘I will come to you’ and he is speaking of the Spirits coming. Thru this chapter the comforter is one just like him. Also you can read this as the literal second coming. We believe Jesus will come again! Some have said this chapter is speaking of something else besides these 2 options, they think this ‘coming’ is the rapture. A separate event from the 2nd I don’t see how you can believe it this way. Also in this chapter Jesus is showing the intent of redemption. He didn’t just come to take us to heaven. In chapter 17 we will read that he prays to the father for us not to be taken out of the world, but to keep us from the evil in it. Thomas seems to be thinking ‘location and how to get there’ when he says ‘we have no idea where you are going, how can you think we know how to get there’? But Jesus is really speaking the language of fellowship in the Trinity/Unity that he has with the father and the Spirit. He is telling Thomas ‘my purpose is to bring you into this oneness that I have with the father, to invite you to partake in this fellowship’ in essence ‘I am not talking about getting you to a location [heaven] in as much as bringing you into a state of being with me and my father’ true ‘HOLY COMMUNION’! You do see this concept thru out the chapter. The disciples seem to be struggling ‘how will you come back and reveal yourself to us and not to the world’ Jesus says ‘if a man loves me he will keep my words, the Spirit will then come and indwell him and we will all have community together’ [Father, Son, Spirit and all believers]. They are grappling with these ideas. They were like us, always thinking in terms of being saved to go to heaven when we die. Now, I thank God for this benefit. I am very happy that I am not going to Hell! Don’t underestimate this blessing. But Jesus is speaking on a much higher plane. He even says ‘the words I am speaking are not mine, but the Fathers’. A few practical things. Jesus says when I leave you will do greater works because I am leaving and the Spirit will come and indwell you. The ‘non Charismatics’ say this is evangelism. Jesus will give us the Spirit and we will evangelize on a mass scale, greater works. The Charismatics say this is doing more miracles, raising the dead and healing the sick and casting out devils. Who is right? Take them all! Just be sure and bring people into the Kingdom. The gifts are not for you to get famous or gain a following, they are for the purpose of evangelism and expanding the Kingdom. In this chapter we see Jesus great promises of peace and his dwelling with us forever. The promise of the Spirit showing us the things of the father. We are invited into this wonderful communion with him. Let’s allow the work of the Spirit to use us to bring others into this community. The 2 great commandments Jesus gives us is to love God and others. The ‘others’ speaks of his desire to bring people into this community. NOTE; on the radio when I spoke on this entry I mentioned some stuff on the historic creeds and the language that the early church used to define the Trinity. In the world today the 3 main religions are Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Islam and Judaism claim to be Monotheistic. Christians also claim this, but Islam and Judaism don’t agree. The reason for this is in the way the historic church came to define the Trinity. There have been Jewish converts to Christianity who accept Jesus as Messiah but do not accept the classic language of the Trinity. The verse that says ‘the Lord our God is one’ is a main text for both Muslims and Jews in their understanding of Gods oneness. Some of the Trinitarian language has been an obstacle to Muslims and Jews converting. Now, like I said before, I do believe in the Trinity. But if you notice the language that Jesus will use in our study in John, it seems more in line with ‘Unity’ then ‘Trinity’. The truth of the Trinity is there, but the explanations that Jesus gives sound better than the way the creeds say it. One of the creeds says Jesus was begotten eternally. That there was never a time where he was begotten. He was always ‘begotten’. They came to this language by trying to defend Christ’s deity. The problem is scripture teaches us that there was a definite point in time when Jesus ‘was begotten’. The fact that Jesus existed always with the father is different from saying ‘he was always born as a man’ which is what begotten refers to. So to be honest about it, the language in this creed is an obstacle. In my recent conversations with my Muslim friend I stood strong for the deity of Christ and God becoming man thru the incarnation, but I also tried to use the actual language of scripture when explaining it. This is going to be important for the future of the church as she tries to bring both Muslims and Jews into the church. We don’t want to compromise on the historic truths of Christianity, but we also want to express our belief in Monotheism in ways that are in keeping with scripture. Also when I say ‘into the church’ I mean bringing them to God thru Christ, not into some ‘culture of Christianity’ that the world sees as ‘church’. NOTE; I also spoke on the second coming and Preterism. Preterism is a way of interpreting the Second coming as having happened in A.D. 70. This belief arose out of a well intentioned answer to the critics of Christianity. Some critics have brought out the idea that the early church were all expecting an imminent return of Jesus, that they took the obvious scriptures that speak of Jesus coming quickly and stuff like that and were let down when Jesus did not come for the first few centuries. So some scholars developed the idea that Jesus did come in ‘judgment’ and fulfilled all the verses of the second coming in A.D. 70. Others have taught how the early church had to later adjust it’s theology around the ‘obvious’ mistaken teachings of Jesus. Some of these guys are believers, but they fall into the liberal camp. My belief is Jesus will literally come again. A Protestant scholar actually made an argument for the ‘literalness’ of Jesus return thru the Catholic teaching on Transubstantiation. He defended our Catholic brother’s ideas on the Real Presence in the Eucharist. He said the church has been faithful to the literal return of Jesus and his immediate presence by the reality of Jesus being present in Communion. Good effort, but a little too much spiritualizing for me. I believe the best argument that can be made, if you were going to go down this road, would be this chapter. Jesus says he will come again and also says the comforter will be the fulfillment of this coming. Now, I also believe in the future literal return of Jesus, because later on in the New testament you see Paul teaching a future return after the initial outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. I was watching an end time teacher using the verse where Jesus spoke on the destruction of the Temple and he was applying it to a future Temple. He was wrong. I also believe the Preterists are wrong. I believe the rapture as a separate event from the second coming is ‘extra biblical’. But in all of our seeking for truth, I don’t throw out the historic belief of Christ’s return. I believe the best way to explain the supposed delay of his return is to look at the character of God. The New Testament says the longsuffering of God is because he wants to bring as many people into the church as possible. That which seems to be a delay is really mercy. No need to try and find ways to explain this to the critics, Jesus is delaying his return for their benefit!

 

  • I got with some homeless friends yesterday. An older brother showed up. He is a friend of mine, I had met him a few years back. He is very strong on Jewish stuff. I actually refer to him as a ‘Messianic Gentile’. A Gentile Christian who is enamored with natural Israel. When we first met I let him know my feelings on this. Those of you who have read this site know what I mean. I am against the exalting of any natural heritage. But this brother has become a reader of my site and has told a mutual friend that he thinks I am ‘very deep’ in Christian understanding. To be honest I don’t see how prosperity guys and ‘Messianic Gentiles’ could even put up with me. But somehow they see things from our teaching that they like. That’s great! During the conversation my friend was telling everyone how Jesus birthday was today [the first day of Hanukah] and my other friend kinda told me he was announcing this to everyone. I told my friend that most Christians think Jesus wasn’t born in winter. You can look at the surroundings of the birth of Jesus in the gospels and it would seem like it wasn’t in winter. I am not dogmatic at all, I celebrate Christmas with a tree and all. I tried to avoid my Messianic friend. So he and another conservative right winger came and sat at my table [outdoor picnic tables] and started their talk. The conservative guy was also Messianic. He was telling the other guy how he went to the local Jewish meeting last night to light the candlestick and all. Then they started talking about some Christian/Jewish prophet who has this world wide ministry. Moved his family to Israel, looks like a true full blown rabbi and all. I really felt like puking up at this point, but I held it in. The conservative guy would actually ask a question and say ‘I am throwing this out on the table for anyone’s in put’ and as soon as I gave some in put, he would cut me off and say ‘lets stay on track here’. I realized I shouldn’t even get into it with these guys. I tried to ignore the whole deal, but hey they came to my table. After a while I spoke up, didn’t let the guy cut me off. Gave them about a ten minute reproof on some stuff. Quoted lots of scripture and all. Reproved the conservative guys teaching on ‘we create things with prophecy’ sort of a mixture of word of faith elements that he was espousing. I taught the biblical view of Old and New Testament prophecy. Also the ‘extra biblical view’ of Christians being little gods who have the power to create with words just like the ‘Big God’. I explained the reality of prophecy and also the reality of decreeing things as believers. But shot down the ‘we create things with our words like God does’ doctrine. Somehow the conservative Jewish guy had this understanding also. Well I rebuked them for a few minutes, didn’t mean to be mean. But you can only swallow so much of this stuff at one sitting. I have noticed I am becoming a little more known around this mission, kinda uncomfortable with it. A few guys have become avid readers of my stuff. Sometimes people will ask ‘oh, you run the radio ministry for ‘Corpus Outreach’ do you help the main speaker?’ They think someone else is doing the talking on the show. I tell them it’s me, they can’t believe some radio guy would be hanging out with homeless guys. I really like the anonymity, but I figured sooner or later people would become more familiar with what I do. I don’t hide the ministry stuff, I need for friends to listen to the show and read our stuff, I just try to avoid the persona of being ‘a preacher’. There are a few times where the persona comes in handy, like when I rebuked the brothers at the table! Did it in full biblical fashion, quoting scripture and all. Man, all you preachers would have liked me at that point!

 

  • This entry is sort of my statement of faith. I believe in the Trinity. I believe in a real Hell. I believe in a real Heaven. I believe in the literal Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe in the full Deity of Christ. I believe in the Physical Return of Jesus to the planet. I do not believe in the Rapture as a separate event from the Second Coming. I believe that all men must be saved, Born Again thru faith In Jesus Christ or they will not go to heaven. I believe in the continuation of the Gifts of the Spirit for the function of the church today. In short, I agree with the historic majority view of all Christians today [Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant] on most major Christian doctrines except for Pedo Baptism [infant baptism] and would disagree with some Protestant views of the cessation of the Gifts of the Spirit and the late development of Dispensational Theology.

 

  • JOHN 15 [Radio # 598] Jesus tells the disciples they are the branches, he is the vine. If they truncate themselves from him they will perish. In the world of ‘once saved always saved’ and ‘if you walk away you are lost’ a lot of these verses become arguing points. I believe the main context here is sort of like when I taught Hebrews [read chapter 6 of the commentary on this blog]. I see Jesus telling the disciples as a microcosm of the Nation of Israel ‘If you don’t continue in the Old Testament revelation of me as Messiah, then you will be cut off [AD 70] and be destroyed’. Basically Jesus telling Israel ‘you must remain in me [after all you have all come from me! John 1:1] if you want to be fruitful’. Jesus says ‘I want you to have full joy’ in the same context of bearing fruit. God designed all of us to be active participants in the spreading of his kingdom. In many modern scenarios you have the Pastors and staff finding fulfillment, but the average church attendee is simply a funder of the organization. They see everything thru this paradigm. ‘Give sacrificially, we can reach the world!’ It’s good to give sacrificially, but God wants all of us to ‘reach the world’ to be active participants in this thing. You can’t have ‘full joy’ unless you do the stuff! Jesus says ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them [religious leaders] they wouldn’t have known they were wrong’ also ‘if I had not done the works among them that no one else was doing’. Jesus reproved by word and deed. I find it funny how after preaching that you don’t need lots of money to reach the world for Christ, that preachers get really mad at this. Then when we do impact a large region [basically Texas, New York area and all the African preachers who have been reading/listening to us on the internet] with me paying for everything, that this really gets the ‘religious leaders’ mad. Don’t be mad, instill this same concept into your people and you will have a full reward. Tell them like Jesus told his disciples ‘go into the world, don’t think you need a lot of equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple’ [Message Bible] Jesus taught and lived contrary to the professional clergies agenda. They got mad! NOTE; Jesus says ‘ye are clean thru the word that I have spoken unto you’. As I was reading this chapter for a few days, getting ready to write on it. I usually get up early and pray ‘aggressively’ for a while before I write. Sometimes I just wait on the Lord and just listen [for about an hour] and hear what he is saying. All of these entries come from this ‘hearing’ time, not from much ‘head knowledge’. As I was waiting the other day, the Lord spoke to me about this verse ‘ye are clean [set apart for my purpose] thru the word I speak to you, not thru what you speak [pray] to me’. I felt like the Lord was saying there are times in our lives where we simply receive and become the ‘incarnate’ purpose of God. That God desires to reveal himself to people thru us. The purpose of receiving his word is not for didactic teaching only, but for becoming what he says. Sort of like the imagery I taught in John 1 [go back and read it!] we in essence become what he is communicating. We don’t just ‘hear’ it, we experience it. Like the Prophets in the Old Testament, God would communicate thru them, but they also would go thru some strange stuff! Jesus also says ‘if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will and it will be done’. I want to credit the Word of Faith guys for bringing out truth in this area. They popularized the idea of knowing Gods will and purpose by knowing his word. His will is his word, if you will. The problem became an unbalanced teaching thru only seeing the ‘good stuff’ and avoiding the suffering verses. It would become next to impossible to correct these brothers as they went headlong down the path of materialism. Any attempt to reprove them would be seen as ‘don’t listen to the negative naysayer’ and they would develop a mindset that would not receive correction. In the reality of Gods will being his word, we must understand it is his whole word. Even the verses that give warnings about end time teachers who would stray from the faith by becoming money focused! [1st Timothy 6]. So let’s give credit where it is due, but also stay on course.

 

  • Took a ride yesterday to San Antonio to pick up family from the airport. It reminded me of the old days. I tuned in to one of the classic rock stations and caught a ‘re-play’ of the first Led Zeppelin concert in 19 years! They played the night before in London. I hope to catch the replay on VH1 some day. The rock station was playing the list that Zeppelin sang, but it was from their old albums. It’s too soon to play the live stuff. Well any way it felt good to jam to Zeppelin while driving thru some real traffic, you know the cutting in front of people and stuff, while all the time not wearing my seatbelt. I guess the old rebellious nature comes out every now and then. At the airport the ladies with the Jehovah Witnesses had a stand and invited me over. I spent around an hour just really having an open discussion. One was an older black woman, the other Hispanic. Very nice ladies. I did the normal routine of quoting scripture and really relating one on one. I actually quoted John 17 ‘to know God and his Son is life’ and then the Hispanic lady walked up [she didn’t hear me] and says ‘do you know what John 17 says’ and the Black lady had to admit ‘he just quoted it!’ I like prophetic stuff! I could tell I was truly having an honest impact with the ladies. The Black lady at one point said ‘do you mean I might have been wrong all these years, I can’t accept that’ she kinda said it in true concern. I was treating them nice [not like the prosperity guys!] I really brought the reality of Gods ‘true church’ as being all who have come to know the Father thru the Son [one of their favorite verses] and tried to show how this ‘true group’ are made up of all those who believe, even the ‘deceived Catholics’! That was a little too much for them. But as I had to leave, they really wanted to keep talking, not so much to convince me, but they seemed taken aback by meeting someone who was knowledgeable and all about their group. Quoted scripture and all, plus looks like one of these hippies who is looking for a fix! I had to go but left them my info. I told them to get the Saturday San Antonio paper and our blog ad and radio stuff is in it. They were too old to know the blog stuff, but the radio program does reach San Antonio. I enjoyed the time, hopefully if I get back to the truck in time I can catch some more Zeppelin on the way home! NOTE; Just got the recent release of their C.D. for Christmas, will be hearing ‘stairway to heaven’ soon!

 

  • 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 led 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!

 

  • Let me do one on Politics. At the time of this writing the current presidential field has both a Baptist minister and a Mormon running. Being I leave these entries on for ever, I don’t want to simply comment on the current race, but want to overview some concepts. Some political pundits, as well as leading Christians have brought up the idea that to choose to vote for the Baptist Pastor based on his religious views would be a direct violation of the constitutions article on ‘no religious test’. These same commentators will accuse Christians of religious bigotry if they won’t vote for the Mormon because of his faith. I wonder if these pundits would tell a Muslim that if he voted for a Muslim because he agreed with the basic moral underpinnings of the Muslim candidate, that he would be violating the constitution? The fact is the article of the constitution that speaks of ‘no religious test’ is not telling individual voters that they can’t use their own personal views of religion while deciding who to vote for! You might personally be against this sort of idea, but if any religious person wants to vote for someone of the same religion, that is totally their own free choice. The constitution in no way forbids the individual voters conscience on religion! You would think that these political pundits [Chris Matthews] would be smart enough to figure this out. Now, the constitution does forbid the govt. from having a religious test on who can run for office. This is in keeping with the idea of freedom of religion that was in the founding of our country. My personal view is I don’t believe in picking a candidate on these grounds at all. I like the Baptist Pastor who is running, he sounds fine. My choice out of the Republicans would be the Senator who was a P.O.W. during Vietnam. I doubt he will get the nomination, but I like him the most. I also understand that many Christians do not like him, he has made some bad comments in the past about ‘conservative right wingers’, but I still like him the most. What about the Democrats? If I were ever going to vote for a Pro Choice candidate [which I will never do] the Black candidate would without a doubt get my vote. It actually offends me that other Black leaders are really not rallying behind him. Also that the Woman candidate and her ‘henchman’ make it sound like the Blacks should vote for her, because her husband [Clinton] really deserves the Black support. Frankly, I like the Black guy better than all the other Democrats. I think the lack of support from other Black civil rights leaders shows that they are stuck in a victim mentality that they can’t break out of. Well anyway I am sure I got a few people mad with this entry, the main point is you have the right to vote for whoever you want, even if you choose to pick someone based on your affinity for his religion. Don’t let the pundits tell you otherwise!

 

{This entry is the introduction to Race, Religion and Politics}

RACE, RELIGION AND POLITICS

 

They say you should never talk about religion and politics, I guess I’m a glutton for punishment!

 

Seriously, I believe these issues need to be addressed honestly before we can see real healing in our country. I stand against all racism! Even discriminating against Whites by hiring quotas and affirmative action. I agree with chief justice John Roberts [current Chief justice on the Supreme Court] when he said ‘the best way to stop discriminating against people by race, is to stop discriminating against people because of their race’! This might seem obvious enough, but he was saying this in the context of affirmative action. The policy that looks at a White kid and says ‘you lose 5 points because you are White’ and then says to the Black kid ‘you get 5 points because of your skin color’. Can’t get more racist then that. ‘Why brother, you get me mad when you say that’ good, you need to get mad if you believe in any form of discrimination! As you can see, I am against all racism, even the kind that Parades under the banner of Civil Rights!

 

  • JOHN 16 (radio # 599) Jesus says ‘these things I have spoken unto you that you should not be offended’. What things? The reality that after he leaves they will suffer and go thru stuff. He also tells them it is necessary for their own growth for him to leave. If he doesn’t leave them alone they will never experience the true ministry of ‘the comforter’. The Spirit comforts those who need it. They will need it! If Jesus didn’t tell them about the difficulty up front, there would have been cause for offense. When the American church preaches only a gospel of success, when people later go thru stuff they feel like ‘what’s wrong with me? God, you told me thru your preachers that if I believed you all would go well’ they get offended because they weren’t given both sides. Jesus gave both sides. When the Comforter comes he will reprove of sin, righteousness and judgment [do justice]. Some times we think the purpose for the church is to simply reprove of sin. God wants us to do justice [civil rights] and show what is right. I heard a preacher say ‘the only reason Christians should ever practice civil disobedience is if the govt. said you couldn’t preach. But if they are killing babies, you shouldn’t practice civil disobedience’. Remember when we said to use the same measure for others as you would use on yourself? I would ask this preacher ‘what if the law allowed for your 2 year old to be killed.’ Say if the law came to your house and said ‘we are going to get your last bible copy and destroy it, or take your little girl and chop her head off’ would you use ‘civil disobedience’ to save the baby or the book? ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now’ I think the American church is simply not able to ‘bear stuff now’. It’s not like we couldn’t understand the stuff, or ‘receive it’ into our ears. It’s just we are way too immature as a corporate people to truly grasp it. The need is really not more knowledge, its more growth [not numbers, maturity!]. I remember reading how Dietrich Boenhoffer visited a Christian university in New York. After his trip he commented on the surprise he had to see the level of immaturity in the American church. He would soon become a martyr under Hitlers 3rd ‘Ye shall weep and lament, the world shall rejoice. Your sorrow will turn into joy’ Jesus wants us to know that a day of recompense is coming. We will go thru stuff, but God will bring you out on the other side! We need both truths to stay balanced. ‘When a woman is in labor, she wants to abort the process. But after the child is birthed, she forgets all the pain’. A very important aspect of your calling is to ‘bring forth’ the thing God has destined you for. There comes a time where you need to pass the test. God is merciful, he lets you ‘re take’ the test. He brings teachers in who know how important it is for you to pass. They even will ‘teach to the test’ some will curve the grade. All types of stuff to get you to the next level. Sooner or later you gotta pass the test. If you don’t, God will still love you. You can even attend the graduations of your friends. But at the end of the day you will have been a spectator in the auditorium as opposed to a graduate on the stage. It’s better to be on the stage! ‘In me you will have peace, in the world you WILL HAVE TRIBULATION, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ Jesus promise isn’t to get us out of the world or the tribulation in it. But to keep us at peace by having our minds fixed on him. The world runs back and forth [I was gonna say ‘to and fro’ but that would have been a little too preachy] trying to extend their lives. Have enough money to retire on. Keep from getting blown up in a terrorist thing. They really have no peace, no matter how hard they try they will all die sooner or later. The only peace to be found is in God. To have the promise of future resurrection and living forever with God is the only lasting thing you can have. All the money you earn and save will be as useless as toilet paper in a few years, start living for eternal rewards!

 

  • PARA CHURCH MINISTRIES In all of our writing you can see that because I view ‘local church’ as the organic growing of the Ecclesia, this leaves little distinction from ‘church’ and ‘Para church’. They both are expressions of the ‘local believers’ functioning as God directs. It’s a little more than this, but for now it will suffice. The reason I am bringing this up is because the last few days I had the chance to check out some ministry web sites that I haven t seen in a while. A fellow ministry who used to broadcast on the station we are on has moved to the Chicago area. I had some friend who used to support them financially [still do?]. Good people all around. My friend who supported them was like one of the original funders to get in on it at the beginning. Sometimes I would get the feeling that they were a little uncomfortable with it, the ministry is run by a highly motivated woman who really can stir you up. They are both Navy people and the husband is still an officer in the Navy. I liked them, still do. When they first went on the air I sent them some free stuff. I realize now that we are so radical in some areas that most preachers get offended when they first ‘run into’ us. They have been off the air for a while, went north and I just saw on their site how they got a few Chicago papers to publicize some ministry stuff. They are very into getting their name out, my style avoids this concept. The articles showed how they opened a coffee house in Chicago, giving coffee and doughnuts out. Looking for support, the papers even say ‘the husband works and is paying for it out of pocket, they need help’ the atmosphere seems to be one of the many well meaning believers who kinda launches out and pays for stuff, like I do. But they will then try hard to convince others to support the work. Stuff we forbid ourselves. My local friend who supports them is an unselfish believer. Tithes and gives to ministries. I know he was giving a lot to this person. I also can see how the average believer can tithe, give to others who are reaching out and actually get over their head in sending money out. All the while hearing another ministry, who has been around forever [me!] who also refuse to take money. But instead is always challenging the believer to personally get involved. Direct commands from Jesus to ‘do the stuff’. To the ‘supporter of ministries’ it seems as if you are obeying God by sending money out. ‘After all, we are helping serve coffee to people in Chicago’ all right I guess? But the point is, in all of our involvement Jesus does require us to ‘see a brother in need, give’ ‘how does the love of God dwell in us if we do not help our brother who we SEE’. My point here is all the believers in the above scenario are good people. They know me and I know them. The idea of ‘ministers’ helping others and asking for support is not really wrong, but it can by pass the believers personal responsibility to ACT. We are really challenged to do the hands on stuff ourselves. In the verses I quoted above, our ‘responsibility line’ is IF YOU SEE A BROTHER IN NEED [as opposed to a ministry in need!] Don’t want to be picky, just want to show you that we are the living body of Christ on earth, in the world of virtual ministries [which I like] and TV and RADIO it is easy to SEE others who are reaching out and to start funding them and to leave no room for your own personal responsibility. There are real verses that say ‘let him who is not working get a job [lost half of the church right here!] so he can have to GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH’. Wow, scripture commands us to take the money from our check and meet the needs of people. Surely this cant be as important as tithing? Believe me, if you study everything on this subject, it is more important! I didn’t always see this, but after I did I tried to make this known as much as possible. So today we learned that it’s possible to send money to all sorts of people across the land who are doing good things. It’s possible to be the ministry asking for the money! Just keep in mind the scriptural mandate for all of us to act and function ‘locally’ in the sense of ‘when you see’ a brother in need. God has believers all over the world. He also has lost people all over the world. His plan is for all the believers to act when they see the real needs around them. When the church and ‘Para ministries’ appeal to believers at large to help with some need far away, keep in balance the primary responsibility to act when YOU PERSONALLY see the need.

 

  • This kinda goes with the last entry. Jesus said he came to set fire to the earth, and how he wished it were already burning. We are all fire starters in this Jesus revolution. Some mock the revolution. I know of unbelievers who make fun of it. Hey, if you wanna die and go to hell, that’s your problem [you will not start the fires, but believe me, you will see them a lot!] For the rest of us we have a job to finish. Now in this revolution our primary responsibility is to start fires. Sure, there are some who have started ‘fire ministries’ they will tell you how important it is that you recognize that God has called them to start these fires. They will show you the verses where a great past fire starter [Paul] started them. They will even take you to the verses where he asked for others to send him some money because God called him to start fires in other places. He needed bus fare to go to the next place and start another fire. What you usually don’t hear is that the Apostle wasn’t starting a huge ‘fire starter’ ministry to get others to support. He was simply asking for help to go to the next forest and set that thing on fire! Many current fire starters seem to think the job is to convince many others to join the fire starter ministry, when in reality a true fire starter lights the fire and runs! He knows that inherent in this fire is the self sustaining ability to grow and spread rapidly. He will check in every now and then to see how big the fire got, but for the most part he lets the thing burn on its own. One of the things that can stop it is when the future fire starters believe that they only have the responsibility to start the fires. They can unwittingly restrain the nature of the fire. They don’t mean to do this, it is just an outgrowth of viewing ‘fire starting’ as a profession. The early starters all believed that it was everyone’s job to start them. After all, the original fire starter seemed to say this all the time. The early fire starters remembered the words of the first revolutionary ‘I have come to set fire on the earth, how I wish it were already burning’! NOTE; another thing that has hindered the fire is that many starters think the job is to simply raise the money and believe for the money that the fire starter Paul would speak about. These sincere starters have lost track of the original mission, which was to actually start the fire! [win people to Jesus!]

 

  • Let’s do another science one. I have told people that the most proof for the existence of God, in the scientific world, has come in the last 50 years. In the last century you had one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time. Do you know what that was? It was the theory that the universe was not only much greater than previously thought, but that it was ‘getting greater’ every day! It was actually expanding! When this theory was first espoused, many scientists rejected it. Why? If this were true [which it was!] it would show that the universe actually had a starting point. If it had a starting point, than ‘someone’ had to start it. At first many scientists rejected the theory. The leading Physicist who came up with this idea had another negative, he was a Catholic Priest. Many thought he was biased towards his theory. As time rolled on, his theory gradually gained support from many other scientists. He had ‘theorized’ that the proof of an ever expanding universe would be a residual ‘heat’ that you would be able to detect in the atmosphere. Another scientist, who was studying something else, released his proof of finding a background radiation that existed in the universe that was coming from all angles. He proved the Priest was right! Today 99 % of science believes that the universe had a starting point. This is accepted science. Very few hold to the old ‘static theory’ that it always existed at the current size. Now, some stayed with the old view. Do you know why? They actually said that if the new view were true [which it is!] that this would undeniably be proof of the existence of a creator. The doubters said this! They in essence were scientists who were not willing to go with the science! They were in the category of the religious skeptics who were not willing to go with science when it showed our solar system to be Heliocentric as opposed to Geocentric [our earth going around the Sun as opposed to the Sun and planets going around the Earth]. During the time of Galileo many scientists believed the old way. When Copernicus came up with the idea that we hold to today, the Church rejected science because of religious bias. Well today you have certain scientists who reject science because of religious bias [the religion of secularism- the worldview that sees a naturalistic explanation for all things]. The fact that science now holds to a ‘big bang’ theory, as well as all the overwhelming evidence against evolution, should rattle the unbelievers. We are at a time in history where science has come to the top of the mountain of exploration, and has found the theologians sitting at the top! NOTE; the story goes that Galileo was before the Bishops and was imploring them to ‘look into the Telescope’ and see for your self the evidence! And the church refused to look, saying all they needed was Gods word. How true this is no one knows. Many skeptics have used the ‘Helio/Geo centric’ argument to show the ignorance of the church. These skeptics say ‘see, the bible taught that all the planets and Sun revolved around the Earth, and science proved otherwise’. First, the church came to this understanding by the themes in scripture of the Planets and Stars in their course and stuff like that. The scripture never taught as fact that the Solar System was Geocentric. When the scientific evidence proved that the Earth revolved around the Sun, the church should have accepted this. Of course she has now. But this should work both ways. Another Catholic scientist wrote a book a few years back ‘Darwin’s black box’ he brought out undeniable scientific proof that Evolution was false! Too much to explain here, but the proof goes along the lines of man having in him ‘closed systems’ that had to have been complete and sealed from the start in order to work. Sort of like what I taught on ‘complex machines’ in this section. The author brought out the fact that man could not have slowly evolved. These parts of man had to have been fully formed and sealed at the time of creation. So the skeptics are just as guilty as the church when they refuse to ‘look into the Telescope’! NOTE- The catholic scientist in the above entry was not the first to espouse the idea of an expanding universe, but he was instrumental in proving this to be true.

 

 

 

  • [In the next few entries I cover the controversy over John Hagee in the release of his book ‘in defense of Israel’. Since the controversy erupted, John has made successive statements in trying to correct the record. The problem is he has actually said ‘Jesus is not the Messiah to Israel’ in some of these defenses. Then a later defense will say ‘I meant Jesus was the ‘suffering Messiah’ as opposed to the ‘reigning Messiah’. To put it simply, I think John messed up big time in his wording, and has progressively tried to get closer to truth in his words. So if he continues to ‘progress’ in his future statements, then good. But he has said so much already on the subject that I felt it needed to be dealt with]

I want to do something that I usually don’t do. I need to mention the name of John Hagee, the Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio. The reason I am saying Johns name is because it would be hard to deal with the controversy without saying it. Most of the entries I have written on ‘defending Israel’ and the wrong exalting of Israel’s heritage have actually been reproving John anonymously. The reason I didn’t use his name is because we broadcast and advertise in the San Antonio paper, and I don’t want to really undercut a brother in this way. John just put out a book [11-07] that has gotten a lot of criticism. The book ‘in defense of Israel’ is sort of the stuff I reprove. Christians going to great lengths to exalt natural heritage. John went a step further, he taught that Jesus was not the Messiah [a huge NO NO!] and never claimed to be. At first blush it seemed to be a mistake, but as you get into the book, sure enough he has espoused this heretical idea. Many scholars have come out and rejected it completely. I want to try my best to give John the benefit of the doubt. It seems like what he was trying to say was Jesus never intended to rule as an earthly Messiah over Israel. That he came as ‘savior’ only. Therefore the Jews really can’t be responsible for rejecting him as Messiah, because he didn’t claim it. Now, first of all, this is simply flat out wrong. John seems to not see the most basic stuff. The word ‘Christ’ means ‘Anointed one’ or’ Messiah’. This is theology 101. In the Apostle John’s letter he says ‘whoever doesn’t believe that Jesus is Messiah [Christ] is anti Christ’. You can’t say stuff like this! I am not going to call Cornerstone church a cult. But in the recent arguing over this, Hagee has responded to his critics in a way that seems to defend his belief that Jesus never claimed to be Messiah. Or that he outright rejected this title. Of course Peter says to Jesus ‘thou art the Christ, the Son of the Most High’ which means ‘Messiah’. Jesus doesn’t rebuke Peter, but says ‘blessed are you Simon Barjona, flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but my Father in heaven’. I really can go on with this, but most believers know this stuff. What happened with Hagee? I believe John is a good man, I disagree with him on lots of stuff. In a way if you read all the entries that I  have written on John’s belief, they are very prophetic in a way. The entries on ‘seeing a verse about Christ and thinking it is anti christ’ were entries on Hagee. They sure seem very prophetic now! I think the problem with a ministry like Cornerstone church, is it’s very possible to become isolated from the broader Christian community when your whole life revolves around the well meaning ‘limited’ perspective of an old time preacher. A good man, just God never intended you to live your Christian experience being pummeled week after week with a very limited perspective. I have heard Hagee make some obvious mistakes in the past. I have corrected them, but never used his name [on radio]. They were really bad mistakes, not just my disagreement with him on his exalting of Israel. Well, let me say it. He once taught that Jesus wasn’t really forsaken at the Cross when he said ‘Why have you forsaken me’ he said Jesus felt forsaken, but God didn’t forsake him. A major mistake! I corrected it at the time. I give John the benefit of the doubt, but he must reject this recent view of Jesus not being the Messiah of Israel. The scriptures make it very plain that Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah [Christ] and that this rejection was the fundamental hinge point of the Cross. John has developed this belief while trying to hold to the well meaning intention of fighting anti Semitism. But no matter how hard you fight anti Semitism, you can’t say Jesus was not the Messiah of Israel! He really needs to correct this major flaw in his thinking. This is the first time I have used his name, but I felt like this really needed to be said for the sake of our ‘San Antonio’ ecclesia!

 

(622)In the last entry we showed how it can be dangerous for independent churches, no matter how big or influential they are, to really get off track doctrinally. In Hagee’s view, he grasps the doctrine that Jesus was not the Messiah to Israel. Others also embrace a dual covenant idea [see note at bottom] they see the scriptures in Romans about a remnant of Jews who are still with God, and see that as saying there are Jewish people who are still in covenant with God outside of the New Covenant [a view by the way that Charles Taze Russell embraced, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses]. Most theologians view the remnant as those who have embraced Jesus as Messiah. Like the writer of Romans and all the original Apostles. Even John who would later say ‘he that denies Jesus as Messiah is anti christ’. So the fundamental flaw is this view sees the remnant as being outside of Messiah, while scripture shows them to be in Messiah. Over the years I have seen believers who would start their walk with the Lord and then after a while be introduced to the broader Christian community. Like myself I see all the traditions of Christianity as a real part of this mystical Body of Christ that we call ‘the church’. Some are so excited to find the hidden treasures contained in the study of church history that they eventually become Orthodox or Catholic. They see all the great stuff of the past and join the great traditions. I personally don’t go that far. While I do see merit to this argument, I feel the 1st century church as seen in scripture was a much more organic form than the later development of traditional church. I don’t see the later development as ‘devil worshippers’ as many Protestants do, I see them as true Fathers of the faith with many good things to contribute to the community. I want to espouse the idea that from the development of the Lords supper we can see in microcosm the trend that the Orthodox/Catholic church took as she moved away from Organic church. When Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Eucharist, he told the disciples that from now on when you do this [do what?] that you show his death till he comes. You can almost take it like he was saying ‘as often as you get together [organic community] and eat the fellowship meal, you will be a symbol of the spiritual reality of the truth of all believers feeding and living off of the actual life that is in me’. Not so much a liturgical thing, but more of a spiritual thing. Sort of like saying ‘no more Passover meal, but instead a true sharing of my life as seen in community’. Now, if you read 1st Corinthians 11 you will see this play out. Paul tells the church at Corinth that when they were getting together for these meals [which are actually called ‘love feasts’] that some were eating and getting full and drunk while others were not even getting any food. A far cry from the liturgical thing! This section of scripture also is important to understand the mistaken idea of church at ‘the church building’. Our English bibles say ‘when you come together in the church [ouch!]’ it is easy to read ‘in the church’ as ‘in the building’! Actually ‘in the church’ means in the corporate get together. When believers meet corporately they ‘are the church’. So right off the bat you can go down the later road as seeing the ‘church’ and the ‘Eucharist’ as liturgical, while it is not! As you read the chapter you see Paul saying ‘as you come together [church!] you are disrespecting the great reality of Jesus being the bread and us being the ‘eaters’ or receivers of his life’. He is the bread of life! [John’s gospel]. Now, the reproof is ‘you are disrespecting Christ’s Body [the other believers in the assembly!] by doing what you are doing!’ He reproves them in the context of community. He is not speaking into the later development of liturgical Eucharist! So, as you read the New Testament you see this truth all thru out its pages. Paul referring to all the believers as ‘church’. Never once addressing the ‘Pastor of the church’, but instead all the brothers in the city! He actually tells the church at Corinth ‘you have a brother in open sin, when you all come together [as a communal group] deliver him over to satan for the destruction of the flesh’ he isn’t addressing a Priest or Pastor or Bishop. He is telling ‘the church’ to do this. So as time goes by you have the early development of church and offices and liturgy as a sincere reaction to the fear that the church would apostasize if she didn’t have a strong ‘magisterium’, a teaching authority that could say ‘this is true, this is false’. The well meaning development of strong liturgy was a natural out growth of seeing church this way. At the reformation the Protestant church dealt with important issues, but really didn’t change the way we ‘do church’. The Protestants just replaced ‘the Priest’ with ‘the Pastor’. All good people on both sides, just not what God originally intended. So today you are seeing the idea of church as the strong liturgical communion being challenged by many ‘communal/organic’ ideas of church. A return to the original model [some think ‘model’ is too strong of a word]. But in this whole debate, you also find good men, who have ‘discovered’ the church fathers and all the great wisdom of the Mystics [Christian spirituality] and they cling to liturgy as a welcomed communion as opposed to the truncated independent rebels! These ‘ex Protestants’ are doing a service by re introducing the themes and practices of the early church. But the ‘real early church’ as seen in the New Testament was not liturgical! The above example from the Lords table shows you this. So as we continue to either ‘reform’ or ‘restore’ [those who see a return to the early practices of organic church can be seen as restorationist as opposed to ‘reformists’] we want to embrace and understand the ancient practices of the church, like popular writer Tony Jones speaks about [One of the key leaders in the Emergent church movement] but we also want to use the actual New testament as the most pure form of ‘early church’ [John has clarified his belief on the dual covenant, he has stated that he does not believe in dual covenant. But he seems to have not rejected the idea that Jesus is not the Messiah to Israel- as of 5-08].

 

 

 

  • This fits in a little with the last one. As I read and study on ‘emergent church’ stuff, I see some good stuff [ortho-praxy; the living out of Orthodoxy] and some bad stuff. I must disagree loudly on some ‘bad stuff’. Classic liberal theology had strains in it that denied the doctrine of ‘Penal Substitution’. The teaching that Jesus was being punished for the sins of the world [or for the really reformed, the ‘world’ of the Elect!]. Some have actually described Penal Substitution as an evil doctrine that a just God would never be a part of. I of course see the doctrine of Penal Substitution as the only hope for mankind! A Christian can’t have a different view on the substitutionary death of Christ [at least in my way of seeing it!]. I know some challenge the way we see things. They feel Evangelicals need to be more open in the discussion. The point is, if you become a ‘flat earther’[ someone who believes the earth is flat] you then don’t say ‘we have different flat earthers, some believe the earth is round’. There are certain basic things that all Christians believe. If you want to have a differing view on Jesus paying for the sins of man on the Cross, you can have that view. But if I really believed the earth was round, why in the world would I want to be accepted by the ‘flat earthers’?

 

  • JOHN 17 [radio # 600] Jesus prays to the Father and asks God to ‘glorify him’ with the glory they had in the beginning. In verse 22 he says he gave this glory to the church. That’s strange. Scripture says God will not share his glory with another, yet here he gives it to the disciples. How can that be? Well, as the Body of Christ we are not ‘another’ we are one with him! He also says ‘I have given life to those who you gave to me, you have given me power over all flesh. I have given life to the ones you have chosen’. Here you see the ‘reformed’ part of me. Jesus is not simply offering life to those who want it [though he does this at other times!] but here he is giving life to those whom the father chose. You find both of these themes in scripture. Don’t fight it, we can’t explain it, but praise God, he chose you! [and me]. ‘I have finished the work which you gave me to do’. What work? He hasn’t gone to the Cross yet. I guess you can say in a way that the work was finished from the foundation of the world, and Jesus is saying ‘the course has been determined, I will go!’ But I also see some truth to ‘the work’ being him revealing the Father to the ‘men which you gave me out of the world’ the work of the 3 year mission to disciple and train the 12. God has determined for people to cross paths with you thru out your life. These are ‘the men’ that God has given you out of the world. It is your destiny to reveal THE FATHERS NAME unto them! In present models of church leadership we fail miserably at this. We see ‘the men’ that God has given us as supporters of our ministries. People whom we try to instill ‘faithfulness into’. ‘Be faithful to the vision of this house’ and stuff like that. When these men go their way, we look for ‘new men’ to come and fill the gap. We basically reveal ‘our name’ to them! Keep in mind that you have a destiny to cross paths with people thru out your life. You will have ‘finished the fathers work’ if by the time you part ways, they have seen and come to know HIM. ‘I have given them the words which thou gavest me’ Give people the words that God is speaking. Don’t fall into the trap of communicating only that which benefits the ‘vision’ of your ministry. We often communicate that which brings the crowds in. If we teach something and the offerings go down, we have a tendency to not teach it again! There is so much pressure in modern ministry to tailor the message to the hearer. Speak the things God is saying. Talk on social justice issues. Not only on the popular ones, it’s ‘in’ to be against racial profiling, but how about the truth on quotas and affirmative action? Speak truth in all areas. Speak the words that God wants communicated. You have a destiny to cross paths with people, avoid the temptation to speak with the goal of being accepted. You know, saying things that you know are popular. Speak truth to power! ‘Father, I will that they be with me where I am. That they may behold my glory’ Is he talking heaven only? Remember how Jesus said the Comforter will come and manifest and dwell in those who believe and keep his words? Jesus is speaking in terms of community here. Organic ‘local church’. Where 2 or more are, there is he ‘in the midst’. Jesus wants us to be where he is, Jesus told the Greeks earlier in this gospel ‘If they want to see me, they can meet me at the Cross’ [a grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying]. I think Jesus is speaking of meeting him in true discipleship and union with him and the father. The reality of the New birth and Jesus dwelling in us by the Spirit. Let’s end with Jesus desire for oneness and unity. In the beginning of this chapter Jesus said all who know the father thru the son have life [a big group of believers!] he also wants all of us to be one. This ‘oneness’ is actually a present reality in Spirit, though it is not fully functional and ‘seen’ yet in the world. Jesus wants it to be ‘seen’. This is how the world will know that he was sent by God! Let’s strive for this unity in Christ. I know there are so many divisions in the Body of Christ it isn’t funny. Some people miss read my own belief on this when they see how we reprove lots of stuff in the church. I don’t reprove from the standpoint of ‘we are right and you are wrong’ more from the standpoint of ‘we are all striving to be what the father wants, lets be honest and open with one another. Let’s reprove because we care for each other and don’t want the other to ‘fall off the cliff’. Lets do all we do with the purpose of true unity in mind. I don’t care how afraid you are of ‘the one world church’, but whether you like it or not, you are part of Gods ‘one world church’.

 

  • EMERGENT STUFF. Let me explain ‘Emergent’ a little. Some of you guys have no idea what this is, in a nutshell that’s one of the ‘problems’. Not so much that all Christians need to know about this movement, but the movement has a tendency to be a little ‘ivory tower’ isolationist. A lot of theologizing among intellectuals while by passing the ‘nuts and bolts’ stuff. Grant it, they intend to do this on purpose to some degree, but I think they are getting a little too experimental for me. Now, when I first read on this movement I liked the trend towards simple church, the challenging of the ‘way we do church’. There are a whole bunch of radicals like me who see church as a real lived out thing as opposed to ‘going to the church house’ [UGHH!]. It was this part of ‘being Emergent’ that I liked. As I have read a bunch of stuff these last few months I have come to see the war raging in the blogasphere between the ‘Anti Emergent’ and Pro Emergent groups. As you read all the comments I have made you will see there are obvious times where I had to openly disagree with some of the trends. While I believe homosexuality is a lifestyle that scripture sees as sinful, I also do not believe we should discriminate against gays. I also see the point of being open and discussing the ‘pro gay’ side of whether or not gays should be ordained. I think if you are open and honest about it, you would see that they frankly shouldn’t be serving in positions of leadership in the church. We should recognize and not stigmatize people who struggle with this lifestyle. We should help those who struggle with this lifestyle. Those who have a radical agenda to promote it, well I think Christians should disagree and have the freedom to disagree! But when it comes down to it, there is enough scripture and church tradition [AND!] that should lead us into a view of what’s right or wrong. Some in the emergent debate seem to have all the characteristics of being open and willing to hear both sides, but then seem to never come to any firm conclusions. Hey, ultimately we do need some answers! That’s where the other problem comes in. Some feel we really can’t know the answers! This is where you have the Chuck Colsons and others come out openly and fight the movement. I like Chuck, I have disagreed with him in the past. I kinda see Chuck as embracing the ‘pre evangelism’ philosophy that says ‘until you change society’s worldview, you can’t really present the gospel effectively’. Sort of like because we live in a postmodern culture, so we need to do battle on the field of ideas and establish the fact that there is ‘true truth’ [some have flipped over this statement] before we can present truth. I actually disagree with this. I think Paul nailed it down in Galatians [chapter 4?] when he said ‘after the fullness of times was come [what fullness?] God sent forth his Son’ if you read it carefully, you see the ‘fullness of time’ as describing the whole period of Old Testament law. God gave man an ‘age’ where he instituted, in humanity, a basic philosophical underpinning of right and wrong. This was law. Since Jesus [fullness of times] all mankind [postmodern, pre modern and every other group!] have been ‘victims’ to the power of the presentation of the gospel. It truly is the power of God unto salvation. You might think you need to go to great lengths to convince people of right and wrong and ‘true truth’ but according to Paul, the ‘pre evangelism’ stage is over! Now, there is some merit to Apologetics and dealing with stuff like this, but the point is God went out of his way to redeem man, the early church had a simple way to present the gospel in ‘a nutshell’ and we need to see it as the answer to peoples needs. We can’t get lost in thinking we have tons of ‘pre evangelizing’ to do before we present the truth [the real true truth- I hope you guys know I’m kidding a little here!]. So Colson fights the Emergents over knowable truth and to be honest the Emergents seem to be saying at times that you really can’t have the final answer. I commend their willingness to be open and invite everyone to the table of ideas, but ultimately we have to eventually come to conclusions. Like the guy in the movie ‘Office Space’ and his ‘jump to conclusions mat’. The debate on ‘penal substitution’ [whether or not God was punishing his Son in anger and wrath when Jesus died on the Cross]. Over the years while reading church history and theology, I have come to see how smart scholars have proposed different ‘ideas’ on Redemption. If I remember right C.S. Lewis, in his famous ‘Mere Christianity’ mentions the different ideas on this. I thought he said we know that Jesus death redeems us, but how it happens we don’t know. Hitting on this idea of differing views of Redemption. Some scholars say we really have multiple choices on the ‘theory’. I think scripture makes it plain. I think Penal Substitution is the plain answer. Isaiah 53 says ‘it pleased the Lord to bruise him’. Some say ‘this is an outrageous idea, how can God punish an innocent man for others crimes!’ some very influential scholars say this! Well, the answer is in the great mystery of the incarnation. God became man so he as man [Jesus] could bear the sins of man. In a mystery that is impossible to explain ‘God was just, and the justifier of those who believe’ [Romans]. At least Paul saw the ‘philosophical’ answer to how a just God could punish his own Son. I realize some great scholars have espoused different ideas like ‘God ransomed man back, as opposed to being the kidnapper’ and they show the ransom idea as opposed to the penalty idea. I see these as both true, not conflicting theories. God ransomed man back to himself, not from satan who now ‘owned them’ but Jesus death ‘saved man from God!’ [his own just wrath- as R.C. Sproul puts it]. So ransom and penal substitution go hand in hand. I don’t want to go on here, I just wanted to show you how we can be open to hearing all sides, but there are final truths that we need to know. We should help all people, we should not discriminate against gays any more than the good old bubba who cheats on his wife every now and than. They are both sinful! We need to be merciful to all sinners [after all we are very familiar with this camp!] but also tell them the truth in love. Contrary to Colsons ‘pre evangelism’ they are dieing to hear the gospel right now! Note; Let me explain my theory on why we do not need to do ‘pre evangelism’ to the extent that Colon sees it. When people reject truth, even as a whole society. That ‘rejecting’ in and of itself is actually sin. Thomas Aquinas [the great 13th century Doctor Angelicas of the Catholic church] said it was possible for man to come to the truth of God thru the study of the natural sciences, but it would take a very long time and only a few could attain it. Therefore God gave us revealed truth so we can quickly see the truth of God without going to great lengths to find it. If we live in a post modern society that rejects the basic premise of ‘knowable truth’ than we live in a willfully ignorant world, much like the world that Paul wrote about in Romans chapter 2. Willful ignorance of the truth of God is not some modern plight, it was around in 1st century Rome. Most adherents to the Colson doctrine seem to see post moderns willful ignorance as a different kind of willful ignorance. The kind that the simple preaching of the gospel can’t really undo! A sort of special class of rebels! My belief is the power of the gospel [Romans 1!] has the power to ‘undo’ this willful ignorance in a millisecond! Hey, you would be surprised at how powerful the gospel really is. It, my friend, is what I call TRUE TRUTH!

 

  • JOHN 18 (radio # 601) Jesus is betrayed in the garden. John follows Jesus all the way to the judgment, Peter stops short at the door. Why does John record this? Is he being self serving? He is the only gospel writer that tells you this [If I remember?] I think there is a purpose. Jesus already taught the principle of ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but he that is willing to give it up will save it’. All the others fled out of self preservation. John stayed. All the others will eventually die martyrs deaths, except for John! He will wind up on some island in his old age writing this tremendous prophetic vision [Revelation]. Truly he that was willing to give his life up outlasted them all! Actually if you read the last chapter of John this becomes an issue. Jesus tells Peter ‘if I will that John lives until I come, what is that to thee’? Then a rumor gets started over John not dieing until the 2nd coming! Hey, I wonder what they thought as they were all getting martyred one by one. Each time another disciple dies, they must have been thinking ‘hey, Johns still here, maybe he will live till Jesus comes’? The high priest asks Jesus of his doctrine AND disciples. Both Paul and Jesus had ‘doctrine and disciples’. Paul was a theologian on the run! Getting let down in baskets from city walls. Being stoned and put in prison. Paul was writing theology under crisis. Jesus and Paul weren’t some ivory tower theologians speculating on the latest fad in theology. They were ‘doing the stuff’. I want to challenge all my preacher friends, do you have doctrine and disciples? Let’s end this chapter in a little controversy. In verse 31 it says ‘the Jews’. Verses 35 ‘thine own nation AND the chief priests’. Verses 36 ‘delivered to the Jews’. Verses 38 ‘unto the Jews’. I want you to see how the scripture makes it clear that BOTH the leaders and the Nation of Israel rejected Messiah! Jesus in this chapter says he IS THE KING OF THE JEWS! Peter’s sermons in the book of Acts accuse the Jews as a whole group of rejecting Jesus, not just a ‘conspiracy of the leaders and Rome’ [as John Hagee is teaching]. I don’t want to be anti Semitic, some have actually accused John’s gospel of being anti Semitic. Hey, John himself was a Jew! The point is God has great plans for Israel as a Nation. Read Romans. But it is also a fact that ‘the Jews’ as a people group missed their Messiah. This chapter makes it pretty clear! Also when Peter cuts off the guys ear, Jesus says ‘stop, we are not here to fight. Shall I not drink the cup which my father gave me’? Paul will later teach that his own sufferings were ‘filling up the sufferings of Christ’s Body’ this would be heretical if it weren’t in the bible! Paul and the other early believers understood the calling to suffer along with the ‘being full’ part. I have heard the ‘being full’ verse used out of context a lot! Paul does says ‘I have learned to be content in any condition [state] both having a lot and a little’. I have heard preachers say ‘see, Paul knew how to be rich as well as broke’ no he didn’t! He was never rich. He knew how to have all his needs met [full] and to lack [times of suffering and imprisonment where he couldn’t get the basic stuff to do what he needed to do to carry on the mission]. Jesus says to Peter ‘shall I avoid the cup’? I think the modern American church has answered ‘yes’. I was reading the voice of the martyrs magazine yesterday. How so many believers are suffering and dieing for the faith. In Revelation it says it was the prayers of the martyrs that carried the day. Boy will we be embarrassed at the judgment when we find out it was the prayers of our martyred brothers and sisters who died in our day who really were changing things. And at the same time we were confessing money verses all the way to the bank!

 

  • I was gonna wait and share this with the John 19 overview, but what the heck! Yesterday I had a few signs; I haven’t shared them as much as at the beginning of this blog. I want to hear God on sharing this kind of stuff. It’s been only a year since I started really blogging. The blog went up a few months earlier, but I didn’t even know how to access it for the first 6 months. I was praying early under the stars, I was walking around interceding with this stick/rod in my right hand. I was quoting the verses ‘from your right hand will go a fiery law’ and as I held it out, right at the ‘tip’ of the rod a shooting star went forth [from the distance! But you saw it right at the point of the rod]. What are the odds of going outside, quoting stuff like this and then seeing a shooting star right at that spot? If you think ‘oh, brother. It’s just a coincidence’. Let’s do this, start getting up at 3 AM, walk around praying with a stick. Hold it up and quote stuff about fires going forth, and wait till you see a shooting star at the tip. If nothing ever happens, at least you will become an intercessor! Recently a bible scholar wrote another book on how there are so many ‘variations’ in scripture that you can’t trust the word. This happens every so often. Most of these men come from very strict fundamentalist backgrounds. Being brought up in a legalistic environment where the bible was ‘god’. They then actually find a sense of freedom when they do stuff like this. I don’t think they are all lost liberals. I think this at times is a response to the strong ‘fundamental’ Christian life. And when a scholar does this, in some strange way he is opting for a walk of ‘faith’ in the reality of the historic truth of Christ and the traditions of the church as opposed to the ‘jot and tittle’ legalism of his youth. I want you to see this dynamic and not just dismiss these critics out of hand. We can learn something from this. I have said in the past that the reality of redemption does not depend on a bible that has no errors. Now, stick with me. I believe in the canon of scripture. I believe in its inerrancy! I believe it has NO ERRORS! But what I am telling you is when Jesus actually redeemed humanity, it was a real purchase that took place. Your salvation does not depend on whether or not the translators got everything right! It depends on the reality that Jesus actually purchased you! Do you see the difference? There is a difference. When someone lives their whole life in an environment where everything depends and revolves around the debate of the accuracy of scripture. When they ‘rebel’ against this upbringing and leave that mindset, it isn’t always an open act of rebellion. Sometimes it’s an organic reaction of leaving a life consumed with text [like the scribes and Pharisees] and jumping into a life fixed on the actual reality of what Jesus did. I hope you can see what I am saying. To live with the reality of Jesus actually being the risen redeemer, like the first century church. And having a life that isn’t focused around the questions surrounding each verse, as some fundamental believers have experienced. This ‘leap’ while not necessarily the best ‘leap’ to make, is a return [or fleeing!] from a life consumed with the mental gymnastics of what text is the most reliable to one of ‘I am trusting in the great reality of Jesus that has been passed down thru both Tradition and Scripture’. It can be freeing from this point of view. Sort of like the early church and how their power was in the reality of what Jesus did and was continuing to do, as opposed to the accuracy of the recordings of it by the writers of the gospels. To the surprise of some, there have been good theologians who felt the ‘jot and tittle’ argument of accuracy actually harmed the faith. They are true believers in every way [some-not all! There are those in this camp who deny everything along with scripture!] Who feel that when the textual critics find variations, that this proves to the skeptics that ‘see, you Christians are wrong. We have found an error in your bible’. These scholars say ‘who ever said you would never find an insignificant little error’. These guys feel defending all the little variations is not the same as saying ‘Gods word is faithful’. They argue that God only intended for the reality of the major Christian truths to have been transmitted without error. That if you find a ‘flaw’ in some other area, that this doesn’t disprove the reality of everything else. Now, I don’t hold to this idea, but wanted you to see that some good people do. So anyway, the point is our faith rests in THE REAL FACT that Jesus redeemed us. The factual recording of this redemption is most certainly found in scripture, but the ‘finding of it in scripture’ isn’t what redeemed you, it is the actual reality behind the recording of it that redeemed you. Jesus said to the Pharisees ‘[ye] search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they testify of me. And you will not come to me that you might have life’. The ‘life’ is actually in him, the scriptures simply bring us into the ‘marriage’. They are proof of what he did. But the marriage is much more than a license!

 

  • MEGA CHURCH- I want to speak a little on the trend of ‘mega church’. Those of you who have read all my stuff know the way I view ‘church’. Not so much the ‘church I go to on Sunday’ but more of ‘the group of believers residing in my city’. Now, I am not against mega church. Recently a mega church in Texas taught some stuff that was in the class of real heresy. They denied that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel. This got us to discus how stuff like this can happen. In the idea of church as being ‘to get as many people to attend the Sunday meeting as possible’ this environment often breeds a corporate mindset that sees the ‘filling of the building’ as the goal. Along with this comes the ‘meeting of the budget at all expense’. When we first started reproving the doctrine of Jesus being a millionaire, the disciples having a huge budget, Jesus owning an expensive house and all the other stuff that went along with this distorted view of Jesus. It was hard to ‘correct’ the average Pastor who would hear a ‘proof text’ like Jesus wearing an expensive coat and then falling headlong into the money camp. It really upset me that average Pastors could be so easily ‘moved from the gospel of Christ’. I then began to see that in the context of these men’s lives, the major pressure was to ‘fill the building and meet the budget’. All well meaning guys, just distracted from the real goal [the developing of the character and image of Christ in the people groups [oikos] you relate to over your life]. Now, in this environment [the fill the building one!] you grasp hold of any teaching that helps with the accomplishing of the mission. So good Pastors, wanting to meet the budget, hear something from the prosperity group and take it in hook, line and sinker. Any reproof is seen as ‘these rebels don’t see the truth of money and its major role in the Christian life’. While in reality money is dealt with in scripture, but the overall view can be summed up in Paul’s statement ‘using the things of this world while not abusing them’. An overall balance of finances without falling into the trap that Paul warned about in 1st Timothy 6. But in the highly individualistic style of a Pastor overseeing thousands of people [like the San Antonio mega church- 18,000 members] you can become isolated thru viewing everything thru the lens of million dollar budgets and having people come and listen. The safety mechanism that Jesus put in the ‘church’ [corporate body of people] was when all the believers are together, they share and correct and keep each other in balance. The ‘big church’ model can be in danger of losing this ‘safety mechanism’. Some see this and encourage home groups, that’s a good thing. But some mega churches have Pastors who don’t participate. So these brothers are on a course to accomplish huge goals and then when they get off track doctrinally it is next to impossible to correct them. The members are so enamored with the strong preaching of the leader [in the more authoritative situations, I don’t see this in Corpus Christi] that they fall into the category of hearers only and would never confront the leader. Even if he starts to deny that Jesus is the Christ! [Messiah]. So in all of the varied expressions of church, let’s stay balanced and be open to receive from all the Christian communions that are out there. Don’t go down the road of viewing other Christian churches as ‘those deceived traditionalists’. I find it disturbing that when talking with Jehovah witnesses they espouse the same feelings towards the Catholic Church as many Baptists do. While not defending all the teachings of the Catholic Church, this mindset is inherently unhealthy. When a strong mega church is ‘ruled’ by an authoritarian Pastor, this whole dynamic is absent from the New Testament. There was NEVER a situation, NOT ONE TIME EVER where you would have 18,000 believers under the weekly preaching of any single person who was called ‘the Pastor’. Now you can see why the way you view your function as a Christian can be limited if your whole experience in Christianity is one of sitting in a pew and passively hearing bible words being preached. This perspective is not what you find taught in the New Testament assemblies of believers.

 

  • JOHN 19 (radio # 602) The reality of redemption! I want to stress the fact that Jesus actually dieing on the Cross and really shedding his Blood for us is what saves us. No spiritualizing here! Over the years I have seen and read how believers in an attempt to ‘see’ the deep truths of God will sometimes fudge on the real Blood of Christ redeeming us. Let’s make it clear, the New Testament teaches that it was the real Blood of Jesus and his death on the Cross that saves man. Now, were there spiritual aspects to it? Sure. But don’t ‘spiritualize’ the death and real shedding of Blood. Like the recent reproof we did on some who taught that Jesus was not the Messiah, so here we warn that his Blood really saves. I remember reading one of the founders of the Word of faith movement, E.W. Kenyon. He would eventually teach that the ‘death of Jesus [physically] didn’t touch the sin issue’ he would then teach that it was the ‘spiritual death’ that saved us. Then teach that Jesus was the ‘first born again man’ who was separated from God and ‘born again’. The New Testament teaches Jesus was ‘the first begotten from the dead’ meaning the first to rise from the dead to never die again. Not the first person to ‘be born again’! Later on you would have another famous Word of Faith brother teach the same thing. I don’t know why we have to always ‘see deeper’ than the plain truth? I guess it offends the natural mind to believe that Jesus physical death and separation from the father actually redeems man. I do believe Jesus ‘went to hell’ I don’t teach the ‘hell’ being a separate place called ‘paradise’ that was really like heaven. It would seem strange for David in Psalms to say ‘thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [paradise] nor suffer thy Holy one to see corruption’. It just seems to fit as being ‘hell’, not ‘paradise. But I also believe it was the real death of Jesus on the cross that saves us. He really died and really shed his Blood and it was really finished when he said ‘it is finished’. Jesus will also say to John ‘behold your mother’ and tell Mary to go home and live with John after his death. Catholic apologists use this to defend their belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary. They say ‘if Mary had other natural kids, then it would have been offensive in Jewish culture for Mary to not have gone and lived with them’ good point. But heck, I defend our Catholic brothers an awful lot. Let me defend the Protestants a little. It is also possible that Jesus strong teaching on putting the spiritual family before the natural one might have played a role here. This could be the beginnings of the strong family mindset that you will see playing out later in the book of Acts. True believers living and sharing as strong [or even stronger!] than natural families. Also we already taught how Jesus knew that John would outlive the others. Even Jesus brother James, one of the lead apostles at Jerusalem will be martyred. Maybe Jesus knew [maybe!] that committing Mary over to Johns care was a more long term thing than handing her over to his brothers? We also see Nicodemus openly follow Jesus in this chapter. He is the first of the Pharisees to confess Christ openly. Later in the book of Acts we will see ‘Pharisees who believe’ but most times leaders are the last to repent and change positions. Why? Well some of it has to do with the whole persona of leadership. With this calling comes a type of character that says ‘I preached it, any one who disagrees is simply persecution’. While there are times when this is true, there are also times where God calls leadership to new levels. Some get it on it early [Nicodemus] others later! [some never!] Be part of the early group. I forgot to mention we also see the Jews appeal to ‘King Caesar’ as opposed to King Jesus. They will tell Pilate ‘we have no King but Caesar’. They hated Caesar. The whole Jewish nation were treated like 2nd class citizens under Roman rule, sure they benefited from ‘Pax Romana’ [the peace of Rome] but they hated to be living under an occupying govt. Jesus told them earlier in this gospel ‘you refuse my testimony of who I am, yet you will accept the testimony of another’s name’ some feel this is a reference to anti Christ. I think it fits in good right here!

 

  • Been having some good talks with a Muslim friend from England. He is asking good questions about the Christian faith and has been reading this blog! Any of you guys reading this site from overseas, send me an email. I am interested in how well we are doing in other countries. I have gotten some good responses from Africa as well.

 

  • More scientific stuff! The Earth is the only planet in existence [as far as we know] to have the EXACT balance of gases and oxygen in its atmosphere to sustain life. If you were to scale down the distance of the Sun from our planet to 100 miles, in this scale if the Earth were either ¼ of an INCH further away from the Sun we would freeze, a ¼ of an inch closer, we would burn to death! If the rotation of the Earth didn’t have the ‘slight’ wobble that science has discovered, we would eventually fall out of orbit and all die. If the Moon wasn’t exactly where it is, with the exact gravitational pull having its effect on our planet, we wouldn’t exist! Not to mention the effect of all the other planets and stars in our Solar System. Do you know what the odds are on this? If you took every computer in existence and linked them together, this would not be enough capacity to even calculate the odds! If you went to Vegas and hit the Dice table, it would be like rolling Sevens every time, all day, every year for millions and billions and trillions of years in a row without ever once missing! Or like walking down to the ocean and finding my 66 Mustang in complete restoration and someone saying ‘the ocean did this’. You would say ‘are you totally nuts!’ and if they said ‘wait, listen to my reasoning. It took the ocean millions of years to do it’ I would still think you were nuts. Yet this scenario is what millions of people believe to be true about the Universe. The world of Physics today is going thru a tremendous upheaval as it is seeing the stuff I just showed you. They are the ones who have come up with these numbers! And I didn’t even include the reality of the most simple cell in the human body and how its design is incomprehensible. And for our planet to be the only one in the entire vast universe to have ‘happened’ to accidentally have this life on it is impossible to have happened by chance! Like I said earlier, the scientists are getting to the top of the mountain of inquiry and finding the Christians sitting at the top!

 

  • This week I heard 2 good messages. One from the radio and the other from a conference on TV. Both national ministries. They dealt with poverty/wealth and the biblical perspective. They clearly reproved the prosperity gospel and its extremes. One of them [to my surprise, the very famous prophetic brother] mentioned 1st Timothy chapter 6. A very strong reproof of the prosperity message and its abuses [it’s ok to prosper, but the strong money focus is what I am against!]. One of the areas of disagreement I had was one of the brothers taught that he still was believing for God to bring in billions of dollars thru his ministry for the kingdom. Though he did say he wanted to use it for good things and not horde it, he still was teaching the mindset that I have heard before that says ‘God is raising up people/ministries to flow billions thru’. He also shared how he believed God was calling ‘many’ people to become millionaires for the kingdom. Let me share why I don’t really hold to this view. First, I see the answer more in the mindset of releasing all the people of God into new paradigms of actually seeing themselves as ‘employees’ of the ministry of the kingdom. That is we are all directly responsible to function and ‘give’ directly as God shows us needs. Instead of the limited view of God raising up Christian ‘ministries’ to collect and distribute the billions, just show the people of God that God all ready has the billions collected, it’s just in all of our pockets! Instead of trying to find the right Christian organization to funnel the money thru, just see all of Gods people as the actual conduits who already have the money and just need to obey when they see the need! ‘Do you see a brother in need? If you do and don’t directly help him, then how does the love of God dwell in you’ [John]. The divine mandate is to act when you see the need. A different mindset than for God to raise up Christian 501 c3’s who are going to collect it all themselves! Now, there are times in scripture where corporate collections were made [Acts, Corinthians] it’s just we cant lose the mindset of Jesus actually using our 5 loaves and 2 fish [a little] or the widows mite. I disagree with the teaching that says God is calling many [I think some or a few is better] to become millionaires for the kingdom. Let me also show you how the ‘church world’ and the ‘money world’ get confused. I read Stephen Covey before. An excellent success/motivational writer. He is a Mormon but writes from a Christian/moral perspective. Over the years many of these brothers would share how the ‘poverty mentality’ saw there was only so much ‘pie’ to go around. That you really didn’t have enough for everybody. So in a sincere effort by good Pastors you would hear ‘God wants lots of you to live to become wealthy so you could give it into the ministry’ good intention, bad exegesis! You never [when I say never, it means never!] find Jesus nor any of the apostles teaching this! You do find Christian stewardship and finances taught, but not once a doctrine that said ‘seek God for millions so you can finance worthy causes’. Why don’t you see this taught? Well it would be a direct violation of many other verses ‘Be content with what you have. You came into the world without money. When you die you can’t take it with you’ [Timothy 6]. Jesus ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’. There are too many themes in scripture that just don’t fit in with the teaching of ‘become a millionaire to finance God’s kingdom’. Now, it is possible for you to be in business, to invest wisely and to see your calling as providing for the Kingdom. I didn’t say you couldn’t do this! I am telling you that in the New Testament you never see an appeal made along these lines! You see appeals to give to Gods work, share with those in need and stuff like that. Never an appeal for people to seek wealth to fund the kingdom. That appeal would contradict the other plain teachings on NOT SEEKING WEALTH. Simply put, that’s the reason you do not see this doctrine taught in the New Testament. So any way I give credit to the 2 brothers for going as far as they did in their teaching. I just thought it was worth reminding you about this.

 

  • JOHN 20 (radio # 603) THE GREAT VICTORY OF THE SON OF GOD. In this chapter we finalize the witness of Jesus from his father. All along he claimed to be the Messiah, here it is truly proven! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is an historical fact! If you were to try and disprove this fact [many have] you would find more historical evidence backing up the reality of the Son of God than any other person. If you believe in Lincoln, Clinton, Washington or any other historical figure, than for sure you must believe in the Christ! He has so much more proof than all the others. John will say at the end of this chapter ‘Jesus did more signs than these, but these are recorded that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life thru his name’. John tells us that the miracles [signs] that Jesus did were proof of his Messiahship. I hate to have to bring this up again, but being we are reading this during the controversy [12-07] let me say it. In John Hagee’s book ‘in defense of Israel’ John teaches that Jesus was not the Messiah to Israel because God didn’t give him the power to do signs like Moses did. That Jesus told them ‘no sign will be given to you but the sign of the prophet Jonah’. Then in an unbelievable fashion John will teach that because of this, Jesus was not the Messiah. It is almost unbelievable to hear him teach this. Many Messianic groups have come out and openly rebuked Hagee for this. These are the same Jewish groups that you would think would be on his side. They also see the danger of preaching a doctrine that says ‘Jesus was not the Messiah because he refused to do signs’. Peter in Acts will actually preach sermons that say ‘God approved of his Son by giving him the Holy Spirit to do miraculous signs in front of you’. The ‘sign of the prophet Jonah’ was not Jesus telling Israel ‘you will get no signs from me’, like Hagee teaches. He said ‘the sign of Jonah’ was that Jonah went to the gentiles [Nineveh] to preach and not to Israel. Therefore the sign was Jesus telling Israel ‘I am not your Messiah, I am going to the gentiles.’ This is not what the ‘sign of Jonah’ means. The sign of Jonah was ‘as Jonah was in the belly of the whale 3 days and 3 nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth [buried] for 3 days and nights’. The sign of Jonah was the death and resurrection of Jesus! Jesus was saying to Israel ‘I have been doing many signs already [raising the dead, opening blind eyes. All the signs that they were rejecting!] And in the ‘sign of Jonah’ statement Jesus was saying ‘this will be the ultimate sign, until you believe in this sign [the resurrection] your eyes will be blinded to all the other signs’. Hagee actually says ‘if God wanted Jesus to be the Messiah to Israel, why didn’t God give Jesus the ability to do signs like Moses’. He did! Moses even says ‘the Lord your God will raise up a prophet LIKE UNTO ME, whoever doesn’t hear him will be destroyed’. Peter says God did signs among you [Israel] to testify that he was the Messiah. The writer of this gospel [John] says ‘these signs have been recorded SO YOU WOULD BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE MESSIAH [CHRIST]’. John [the Apostle] will later write in his letter ‘who is anti Christ? He that denies that Jesus is the Messiah [Christ] is anti Christ’. So here we see that Jesus was proven to be the messiah by the miracles he did. The greatest one being his resurrection from the dead!

 

  • Yesterday morning I got up early and prayed a weekly prayer that includes the nations. Part of this time goes like this ‘Lord I pray for all religions outside of the covenant of your Son. All Jewish people, that they would see Jesus their messiah. All Muslim people, that you would give them signs and prophetic visions and dreams to show them Jesus is the way’. Then this morning I had a dream that family members were converting to Islam. That they were being ‘attacked’ or influenced by the ‘spirit of Islam’. In the dream I felt helpless against this force. We went to sleep [in the dream!] and I awoke [still dreaming this] with a radical spirit of intercession. I began praying and breaking the power of Islam off of the family members that just a few hours earlier seemed to be fully lost to Islam. I felt this dream spoke to the effectiveness we have been having recently with Muslims. These last few weeks have given opportunity to share with a homeless Muslim Iraq war veteran. Good friend. Then a Muslim friend from England started conversing with me and asking how to become Christian. He is reading this site! It never dawned on me that these were fruits from the prayer time! Like I said before, I can be dense at times. Let me cover some church history. I have had someone argue with me about the history of Islam. Not a Muslim, but a Christian who was saying ‘why do you say Islam started in the 7th century, it started around the 11th’. My answer was ‘Muhammad lived in the 7th century’. Not to hard to see this. So I thought I should cover some history. During the time of the rise of Islam, the Christian church was already dividing from east and west. After Constantine [4th century Roman emperor] consolidated the Roman Empire in the 4th century he set up the capital city of the eastern empire, Constantinople [named after him]. As time progressed the western church would take on the form of Roman Catholicism, the eastern [Constantinople area. Modern day Turkey-Istanbul] would be known as ‘Orthodox’. Though the official split of eastern and western [Catholic-Rome!] churches occurred in 1054 AD, yet the division started years before. The official split is called ‘the great schism’ of the 11th century; it would not be until 500 years later that the church would have her ‘reformation’. The official reason for this split was over a rather silly thing. For centuries the Catholic church had an expression that said ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’ than they included ‘he proceeds from the father and the Son’. Well the eastern brothers didn’t like Rome telling them what to believe and used this as the official reason to ‘have the schism’. To be honest the divisions were coming for years. After the Roman Empire consolidated under Constantine, he tried to strengthen the eastern territories of his empire and for centuries you had the struggle for which region would be the most influential. At first you had 5 major areas that were divided under 5 main Bishops. As time went on the argument would be ‘which bishop has the most say so’ and it was really a power struggle. Finally Rome said ‘the bishop of Rome is the FIRST AMONG EQUALS [a term that many in the Protestant strain of the discipling movement would later embrace] he holds Peters seat’ and this is really where the divisions started. Eventually Muhammad would rise and Islam would take control of the eastern capital. This later became the reason for the crusades. The Catholic church wanted to regain the territories that she lost in the east. The eastern churches are very much Catholic in many ways. They also hold to a view of Christianity that sees man being ‘joined’ with God and becoming pleasing to God thru Christ’s grace uniting with us and making us like him. A perfectly scriptural view, but a different emphasis from the strong intellectual power that you read about from the western fathers of the church. The Catholic church is noted for her social action in ways that the eastern church is not. So both of these communions have good things to bring to the table. The Orthodox [eastern] churches would not be affected by the major social and political upheavals that took place in the west. The Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment had major impacts on western Christianity, while not affecting the eastern church in the same way. During the 13th- 15th centuries you would have ‘pre reformers’ rise up in the western church. John Wycliffe, the great Catholic Priest who was at the center of learning in France would become known for his translating the scriptures into the common language. Then you have John Huss and John Knox [3 Johns, scripture says 3 fold cords are not easily broken!] who would have their own influence in western Christianity. At this time you had whole movements of believers who would be seen as neither ‘western or eastern’ but restorationist [the restoring of the early practices and beliefs of the church] Peter Waldo would be the Father of the Waldensians and in the 12th century you would have the Albigenses in the south of France. These groups would be looked upon as ‘cults’ [though the term was not used yet] by the traditional church. So you can see how the church has been growing and reforming ever since the first century. Even though we see many divisions that exist till this day, there are strides being made for unity. The eastern and western church are very close to‘re uniting’ once again. While I do not personally hold to the doctrine of the Pope being the occupier of Peter’s seat, I also see him as a Christian man who is striving for unity in Christ’s church. Some believe the whole attempt for outward unity is futile. The more ardent Protestants see it as ‘the one world church of the anti christ’ I reject that language out of hand. Well I hope you got something out of this short overview of world history [real short!].

 

  • Recently saw an appeal to give. The teaching [TV] was well meaning. They were showing how the scripture is loaded with the doctrine of ‘first fruits’. All good stuff on the ‘secret’ of first fruits. The teacher was being hailed as an authority on Jewish history and why ‘first fruits’ is so important. The main problem with this whole mindset is they ALWAYS seem to see giving in the context of sending money to ministries. Jesus taught THEE NUMBER ONE priority of GIVING TO GOD was to be expressed by meeting the real needs of people. Now, you do find the woman giving into ‘the offerings of God’ by giving into the Temple offering. Or giving into Jesus ministry, but the overall main doctrine on giving and how it relates at the final judgment of mankind is ALWAYS based on our treatment of our fellow man. ALWAYS! So, no matter how elaborate we get in finding the real ‘hidden truths’ of money in the Old testament, we do a grave disservice to the Christian community when we equate GIVNG TO GOD with giving money to my ministry! The world sees this and mocks us because of it. Do you not see how foolish we look when we teach GIVE TO GOD and than at the end of the teaching we equate it with GIVE TO MY MINSTRY? Do you not see that the STOREHOUSE OF GOD are the corporate people of God dwelling in the earth? The storehouse IS NOT THE CHURCH BUILDING YOU MEET IN ON SUNDAY! So no human should ever teach ‘if you don’t put 10% of your money in this basket you are under a curse’. Sorry about being riled up, but I get so tired of ministries teaching on the importance of giving to God and then equating that with sending money to them, this is outrageous!

 

  • Now that I cooled down a little, let me explain some stuff. Recently I posted our blog on another site of ‘ex Christians’ who left a cult. Good kids, very burned by cultic expressions of Christianity. One of the initial reactions was getting ‘cussed out’ [I used to say ‘cursed’ but in Texas this gives you away as a Yankee!] The kids also accused me of being a money hungry preacher who equates ‘giving to God’ with ‘giving to ME’. I realized how really offensive we are to the world when we do and teach ‘giving to God, test God in this [what?] and he will pour out a blessing’. If you rightfully interpret this verse from Malachi [the only Italian prophet in scripture! Kidding!] The ‘test me’ that God is talking about is testing him in bringing tithes and offerings into the ‘storehouse’. A room in the Old Testament tabernacle/temple where the money went. Now in the New Testament the corporate people of God are the spiritual ‘storehouse’ temple of God. This is a very basic truth. So ‘giving to God’ is really not ‘giving to your ‘church’ or my ministry [though it can include this!] But ‘giving to God’ would be giving directly to meet the real needs of humanity, whether believers or unbelievers. There are tons of verses on this. I have quoted them all over this site! So when we see a TV ministry spend an hour on ‘giving to God’ and then at the end of the show say ‘call this number, don’t test God’ the world LAUGHS AT OUR STUPIDITY! They see right thru this. I am not against giving 10 % of your money. I do [actually more like 25%] it’s just we need to see this stuff. Recently a Prophetic person got a divorce from her husband. Both Christians that I prayed for. The sister was behind on thousands of dollars of taxes for some business venture property. Another ministry gave her thousands to bail her out. I am sure they all meant well, but the media reported how this church gave tens of thousands to help another Christian business venture. It just seems wrong to take the sacrificial giving of the saints and to use it like this. We need an overhaul in our thinking. Be careful not to equate a message on ‘giving to God’ and then appeal for money for your organization at the close. This is a real stumbling block to the world. Some preachers say ‘well, if the world gets offended over this offering stuff, that’s their fault’. Not really, Paul does teach if taking offerings is becoming a stumbling block to people, then you can adjust your procedure! [Corinthians]. So after the kids on the ex-cult site criticized me as a ‘money grubbing preacher’ they then saw that I don’t take money and read some of our stuff. It worked the way it was supposed to!

 

  • I want to remind you of a couple of basic principles. The New Testament does give the primary source of funding for the things God requires you to do. Do you know what it is? I have taught it before ‘he who is not working, let him get a job SO HE CAN HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH’. This is the basic ‘funding source’ actually taught to the average believer. Now, Paul did say ‘who goes to war at his own expense’ teaching the basic truth to help leaders financially. But this does not trump what I just showed you. Paul is addressing a basic principle in ministry, but we should not view everything from ‘the ministry’ paradigm. The problem with ‘modern church’ is we live in a day where ‘ministry’ means ‘the huge Christian business that needs tons of cash’. The fundamental error of seeing ministry in this way causes many well meaning leaders to ‘search the scriptures to find true stuff on bringing in money’. This leads to tons of overemphasis in the modern church on the few verses where you find Paul asking for financial help. Or going to the popular verses on David/Solomon getting money for the Temple. We see thru the paradigm of funding the business, we don’t really teach the New Testament simplicity of all believers sharing what they have. The main teaching from Jesus on giving was doing it this way. The verses I quote from John/James ‘if you have the ability to meet the needs of your brother and don’t, how does Gods love dwell in you’? Direct instructions on you simply taking money from your own budget and meeting the need. No teaching here on you going out and starting some ministry to collect money for some good purpose! Now, you can find the principle of collecting money for ministry stuff. It’s just what I showed you is direct teaching from Jesus and the Apostles on how you should see ‘giving’ and it is in the context of community. The actual judgment scenes from Jesus teach this. ‘When I was hungry you didn’t feed me, naked you didn’t clothe me’ the whole context is couched in the idea of personal responsibility to act. Not for you to either fund the ‘acting’ of someone else [ministry] or to begin with the mindset of collecting money from others so ‘you could act’. Do you see this? This is why it ‘bugs the hell out of me’ when I see the average believer inundated with a message that says ‘become wealthy to fund ministries’ or ‘if you don’t give a tithe into this church meeting you are cursed’ wrong ideas breed wrong actions. I wonder if some of us will tell Jesus at the judgment ‘the reason I didn’t feed you was because I put it all in the church basket’ Ouch!

 

  • Yesterday I went to the courthouse to get the license sticker for my daughter’s car [98 mustang- I do like mustangs!] As I was leaving I saw the people from the Victory Outreach selling dollar candies for their ministry. They are a great ministry that I have been involved with for years [they do rehab homes for drug addicts]. They don’t know this, but let me explain. As I bought the candy I told them how years ago I used to preach at the jails in Kingsville and one of the first Pastors of their church in Kingsville was one of our original guys. He got saved and helped us for years in our church ‘Christian Outreach Ministries’. He eventually became the main Pastor for the Kingsville Victory Outreach and we had a great friendship. I would one day go on an ambulance run and it was him, he had a massive brain aneurism [years of shooting up] and died. He was serving God and clean at the time. As I was sharing the whole history of the family and the boys [I pray for all the boys from these families. They are the ‘seeds, seed’] the girl who was selling the candies knew them. It was funny, I could tell at first that people think I’m ‘full of it’ when I share stuff like this. Hey, they see some hippie white guy and think I am one of the local MHMR patients! As I left I later remembered that that very morning in prayer I prayed for this family! His name was Elias Alvarado and I was praying for his boys and family as well as some others. I will be leaving in a few minutes to go to Kingsville to drop off my uniforms [Fire Dept.] I have officially retired after 25 years. I will be taking a few of the Corpus brothers [street guys] and hopefully will hook up with some of our original group. I might not see these guys for a few years and when we get together it’s like no time was lost. True friends in the Kingdom. Not ‘church members’ who ask each other ‘I haven’t seen you in church for a while’ [UGGH!]

 

  • We had a good outreach day yesterday. Just a brotherhood of believers sharing and living like Jesus and the disciples. Ate some good tacos too! Took my buddies to a Mexican restaurant in Kingsville and had good stuff. Let me challenge you ‘money guys’ [or those of you who are victims of this wrong message!]. Did you know Jesus taught that the power of ‘compounding disciples’ trumps ‘compounding interest’? How many times have we been preached at on ‘the power of money’ ‘you can’t reach the world without money’ ‘if you are not believing God to make you rich, you are sinning’ all wrong stuff that the bible doesn’t teach. You know what the Word teaches? Take your measly little few bucks and give yourself away, the simple work of daily ‘making disciples’ will reverberate and ‘your disciples’ will make more! This is the power of ‘compounding disciples’, it puts the power of ‘compounding interest’ to shame!

 

  • It’s the start of a new year [apply this to the ‘new year’ of when you read this!] I felt like the Lord was impressing on me ‘growth thru your seed’ the biblical imperative to expand thru the people groups you influence with the gospel. Last year I had a prophetic dream that spoke of a new season of ‘trumpeting’ [proclaiming] the word of God. In the dream I purchased a little silver trumpet from a Physicians stand and left with a limp. [This dream is somewhere on this section! Either part 1 or 2 under ‘prophecies, dreams, visions’]. Later in the year I wound up injuring myself and actually spent the rest of the year ‘going to doctors offices and leaving with a limp’. I decided to retire from my job [no medical retirement! Just regular after working 25 years]. I felt the dream was speaking of the Lord expanding our ‘voice’ [trumpet] as we ‘walked away from the doctor’s office with the trumpet’ [authority thru suffering]. When I put in for my official retirement [12-07] I took my daughter to the mall and while shopping around ‘accidentally’ saw a ‘silver trumpet’ [little piece of jewelry] that looked like the one in the dream. So of course I bought it as a reminder. As I have been praying for the Lord to expand our parameters/borders thru our people, I went with my wife to do some work on a relative’s house. As we were there the little trumpet fell off of my key chain and I regretted loosing it. I started looking in the yard and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I must have spent an hour going thru the grass and my wife [ecclesia] was helping. I was praying ‘Lord, if you want to chalk this up to a loss, then fine. If not show me what I should do’ I felt the Lord saying ‘if you seek for wisdom like silver and gold you will find her’ [proverbs] and the parable of the person who lost the coin and searched diligently until they found it. Kind of felt the Lord said ‘keep seeking and praying’. Sure enough as we were looking, my wife spots it and can’t believe she found it. She usually can’t see good without her glasses. I felt this spoke of our ‘seed’ [wife, ecclesia] ‘seeing’ things that they would have never seen before and thru them seeing these things they will take up the ‘trumpet’ [prophetic voice] and run with it. This was in keeping with the prayers I have been praying, that God would increase our borders thru the people. I want to encourage you guys to declare and speak what the lord has been showing you, run with the vision! ‘Write the vision and make it plain, so he that reads it can run with it. The vision is for an appointed time. Though it tarry, wait for it. At the end IT SHALL SPEAK [trumpets denote voice, speaking gifts] It will come to pass’. ‘Blow the TRUMPET in Zion, Zion. Sound the alarm’. ‘I will exalt YOUR HORN [trumpets are horns of authority] like the horn of a unicorn’. ‘If the trumpet doesn’t give a distinct sound, then how will the people know whether to advance or retreat’ [Paul to the Corinthians]. God gives many images thru trumpets in scripture ‘the seven trumpets’ in the book of revelation. This last year my birthday hit on ‘7-17-07’ felt the Lord was speaking to us about having effectiveness thru the ‘blowing of trumpets’, all the venues of prophetic speaking that he has given us thru the radio, blog and the people. People are called ‘living epistles’ felt like the lord gave us 3 strong avenues of expanding thru the ‘word’. Three ‘scrolls’ if you will. 1- Radio [thru both airwaves and internet] 2- blog [same thing] and the 3rd ‘scroll’ would be the people. These ‘living epistles’ who would take the vision and run with it! Are you running yet?

 

  • Been reading Proverbs. The best book on success ever written! Remember though, the same writer [Solomon] would also write Ecclesiastes and speak of the absolute futility of wealth and life apart from a greater meaning! Proverbs speaks of the principle of the ‘storehouse’. ‘The lips of the righteous are a well of life’ ‘the wise son stores up during the harvest, the lazy son sleeps during harvest’ all good principles of storing wealth [both wisdom and finances] and then operating out of the storehouse. Jesus said every scribe instructed in the kingdom ‘brings forth’ both new and old stuff. Notice he is bringing it out of ‘store’. A ‘garner that’s filled’ type thing. You have heard how foolish it is to live from paycheck to paycheck, well apply the same principle to spiritual teaching. Are you feeding from sources that feed from ‘paycheck to paycheck’ that is they start the week with the mindset of ‘what should I teach the people this Sunday’ and then come up with something during the week to say. This is not a storehouse! I like the idea of waiting on God and bringing it forth in his timing. Paul spent many years [around 15] being taught Gods revelation before he brought it forth. One of the reasons for all the shallow teaching in the American church is because we violate this storehouse principle. Remember ‘the lips of the righteous are like a well of life’ store up some wisdom, and in ‘due season’ [the right time] bring it forth. Jesus said the faithful servant knows how to ‘give meat in due season’ at the right time. Hey, I like the meat marinated over night, but if all I can get is a plain steak right from the store, I’ll take it. But the marinated one is much better! They said of Jesus ‘he teaches with authority, not like all the other preachers’ Jesus knew how to let the meat marinate!

 

  • BUT YOU CAN REALLY HAVE THE CANDIES! In all of our dealings with the money gospel, I often find the attitude to be one of ‘you don’t understand, God wants you to have all the candy you want. God owns the candy store! Don’t you see how our lives are consumed with the truth of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      getting candy. Jesus died so we could have it. Him and the disciples had lots of it! Church tradition tells us otherwise and anyone who tries to stop us from getting more candy is deceived’. While I understand fully the joy of becoming a believer and learning that God does own the ‘candy store’. Yet Jesus would say things like ‘Don’t be like the unbelievers, they are thinking about candy all the time! They read about it, listen to it. They are consumed with the obtaining of candy’ Jesus even tells stories about the deceitfulness of it, he says ‘I want you to bear fruit, to be productive believers in the world. Productive in the sense of bearing spiritual fruit and making disciples. Don’t be deceived! The pursuit of candy is deadly’. Then you have preachers who love candy say ‘the deceitfulness of candy is that old tradition that says YOU CANT HAVE CANDY’! Well even the most simple ‘candy eater’ can see that this is twisting Jesus words. When you try to correct this, they say ‘you just don’t know how much God wants you to have candy’? I get tired sometimes with this response. I know God owns the candy store and gives us candy. But when I walk in to the store and see a 50 year old Christian consumed with the candy aisle, I feel like saying ‘brother, you are 50 years old, the candy diet has not been healthy, it’s time to graduate to real meat’!

 

  • OVERVIEW OF NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANITY AND THE CHURCH. Pretty tall order! As I finish our study on John’s gospel, I am debating on how much New Testament study to plunge into. I know we will cover the letters and all, but don’t want to finish the whole New Testament in a year or two. I heard a few ideas these last few weeks that I want to cover. One was that we are called to be the ‘21st century church, not the 1st century one!’ Good point, needs to be clarified. People will say this to counteract the strong ‘organic church movement’ to which I am a part of. The best way to understand the ‘21st century church’ is to understand ‘church’. If you have the biblical view of church, as found in the ‘1st century bible’ you see church as a community of people. As she grows thru the centuries she will form and interact with each generation as a real ‘person’ changes with the times. She shouldn’t lose her fundamental message [reconciliation of God and man thru Christ] nor her fundamental nature! She is and always will be the people of God! So any development or ‘seeing her in the 21st century’ has to keep in mind the basic nature of community. If you lose this idea of her, and begin to define her as ‘mega church’ or huge Christian corporation, then you are not really sticking with the actual ‘person’ [Ecclesia] that she is. So any growth has to stick with this basic idea of the church as the corporate people of God. The expressions of mega church or ‘Sunday church’ are fine, just don’t lose the fundamental 1st century idea. It’ not so much a following of a model in as much as it is sticking to the organic person we see as defined by community, got it? Now as we proceed from the Gospel into the book of acts and the letters we do find the basic nature of church. Some have made it harder than it needs to be. For example, the whole area of giving. By now you guys should know my position on ‘tithing’. I believe its fine to give 10% of your money, it’s just the whole New Testament is filled with direct instruction on giving. It is always seen in the community context. The later ‘idea’ of tithing into ‘the church basket on Sunday’ as being ‘the local church storehouse’ is really a silly development and digressing away from the idea of community. Not so much ‘those wicked Sunday churches’ an idea seen in George Foxe’s preaching. He was the founder of the Quakers, he would call the ‘churches’ ‘steeple houses’ as he was challenging the mindset of ‘church’ as the building. You would also see the ‘Church of Christ’ emphasize ‘the church of Christ meets here’ as opposed to the word ‘church’ on their buildings. All good people seeing real truth. So as you read into Acts and the epistles you will see Gods people adapting to society around them while not loosing the fundamental nature of being the corporate people of God. We must keep this ‘1st century revelation of Christ’s body’ just as much as keeping the ‘1st century revelation of Christ’. The ways we present the message can change, we don’t have to avoid modern technology or using corporate innovation as a means to advance the gospel. But we cant begin defining ‘church’ as the actual corporation itself! This seems to be the mistake of some who espouse ‘the 21st century church as opposed to the first century one’. So as we begin our way into the New Testament lets keep this in mind. We are going to learn about the great story of redemption, how God chose us and saved us by his grace. Being called the ‘people of God’ and partaking of all the blessings that were once limited to the commonwealth of Israel. Christ destroying racial barriers and ‘making in himself one new man’ from all races of men. Jesus himself being the preeminent ‘stone’ of this building. The singular ‘test’ of whether or not you are ‘one of the stones’ in this building will be defined by Jesus himself who said to Peter ‘upon this rock [your confession of me as Christ] I will build my church’. Jesus himself will be seen as the criterion of whether you are a believer or not. Yes, the message can be seen as ‘narrow minded’, some will challenge this idea ‘who do you think you are telling us we all need Jesus’? But the fact will remain that we all do! You will see thru out history that some will emphasize the teachings of Jesus more than the letters of Paul [Catholics and more orthodox churches] and the Protestants will become focused on Paul’s revelation as seen in justification by faith. While some see these as opposing views, I see them as 2 strains of truth that are destined to merge as Christ becomes more preeminent at the close of the present age. He will truly ‘bring all things together in him’ in ways that we don’t fully understand yet. So as we move ahead, lets fix our eyes on the ‘Captain of our Salvation’ and let him steer this ship the way he wants.

 

  • Many years ago I would teach and preach many of the concepts that you read on this blog. At the time I had Pastors who were friends and co laborers in ministry. At times as I would learn and grow in my understanding of church, I would sense a feeling of ‘is John saying I am wrong’! Sort of more of a defensive thing. Older believers would feel like ‘John doesn’t really see the modern office of Pastor as a New testament office’. Today there are many movements and expressions actually operating in many of the ideas that I spoke about. This is not to simply say ‘I told you so’ but to show how we often [we meaning preachers] judge truth from a defensive posture. The same with tithing. Most good men think ‘tithing can’t be wrong, I have done it for years. All the Pastors I know, the great men of the faith teach it, how can it be wrong’! Most men view it from ‘how will this affect the income of the organization [what they see as church]’. All defensive postures. These same men will never question all the well meaning Catholic Priests of the 16th century who were totally uprooted by the truth of the Reformation. The modern Pastor will simply say ‘well, truth is more important than the security of all those Priests and Catholic churches. If the truth of Luther disrupted the whole function and flow of the well meaning churches, then so be it’. Now, I do agree with this to a degree, but then these same brothers will judge the ‘modern reformation of the practices of local church’ from the standpoint of ‘it is disrupting things too much’. They don’t use the same standard that they apply to the Catholic brothers of the 16th century!

 

  • I felt like the Lord was saying ‘I am not concerned about who is right or wrong in the argument. I am concerned with what you are passing off to the next generation’. In many of the issues I have recently dealt with, I often hear ‘well brother, we will all find out who is right at the second coming. So for now let’s just have peace’. I am all for ‘having peace’ but God wants us to be responsible and willing to complete the task of our generation. Each generation of believers has a responsibility to the next. I am fully persuaded that there is coming a generation that will say ‘how did you guys miss the most basic stuff’! Some will say ‘I can’t believe you taught that Jesus was rich and he died to make us all millionaires’! We will have some forgiveness to ask for! Leaders, God wants you to deal with the issues in love, but he is more concerned with us passing the baton off to the next generation in a noble way. I fear the next generation of believers will look back and see some very obvious mistakes. Things that we should have dealt with before they took the baton!

 

  • The past few weeks I have had an image of ‘unraveling scrolls’ while praying outside. Sort of like taking a scroll and holding one end while letting the tail stream in heaven. When the Lord gives me an image like this I try to stick with it as long as I feel necessary. I also started seeing the ‘scrolls’ as representative of 3 things. The radio outreach [tapes are like little ‘scrolls’ in a cassette case] the blog [I recently updated the site and ‘accidentally’ picked a format called ‘the scribe’] The 3rd ‘scroll’ was seen as the ‘people’ we relate to in the Kingdom. The ‘living epistles’ that the New Testament speaks of. So this morning I got up at 2 am, I really was hoping to avoid waking up like this, but it is becoming routine again. So instead of going right outside to pray I put on the devotional from GOD TV and joined with the prayer kids out of Kansas. The IHOP ministry of Mike Bickle. I prayed along with them for a few hours. Then a black brother interrupted to speak on some racial issues. I usually will try and stick with music when stuff like this happens, or just go and pray. Not that I don’t want to hear a black brother, but when in a prayer mode I find preaching to be disruptive. So I figure ‘what the heck, give it a minute’ the first verse he shares is from revelation 5 ‘The son of man is worthy to open the scrolls’ so I listened to him! Jesus has the authority to open the ‘book/scrolls’ he looses judgments in the earth. Sometimes we don’t fully see the purpose of these judgments. In Revelation he judges the earth with the sword from his mouth. Many people have ‘succumbed’ to this sword already! The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any 2 edged sword. Many ‘have been slain’ by it. So the message dealt with the church and Islam and how these 2 will compete and have conflict. It was a good word, not the ‘militaristic’ stuff you see a lot on Christian TV. I felt the Lord was confirming and speaking to the things he has been showing me. The true battle is for the souls of men. Islam takes people captive. When you intercede you are both ‘judging the ruler of this world’ thru the implementing of the power of the Cross and continuing to be a living conduit thru whom Christ’s Spirit continues to conflict with the spirit of the world. And you are directly standing in the gap for lost humanity. Though we are not Jesus who opens the ‘book/scroll’ yet we are an extension of him in the earth [the body of Christ] and as his ambassadors we have the right to stand on the boundary line of heaven and earth and to open the scroll and read from the final chapter! We stand as both pilgrims and possessors [the earth is the Lords, not the devils! Though satan is called the god of the world [system of unrighteousness] yet God has redeemed this planet! Romans] as pilgrims we say ‘our treasure is not in the things of this world, we live for eternal rewards’. As children of God we say ‘behold, the kingdom of God has come near unto you’. God has given you and me a scroll to unravel during this journey, people need to hear and see what’s in it!

 

  • HURRICANE KATRINA Let me share some prophetic stuff. Over the past few years it has been interesting to see the churches approach to this hurricane. First, God is very merciful. He requires us to mix mercy with judgment. Many believers have said publicly that the hurricane had absolutely nothing to do with judgment. Katrina means ‘cleansing’. The actual week [or day?] it hit was the same day that New Orleans was to celebrate a ‘day of decadence’. After the devastating storm, man in all his efforts said ‘we will rebuild!’ Even President bush took the position ‘nothing will stop us’. Sort of a slap in the face to a judgment from God. The tower of Babel mindset ‘we will build and no one can stop us’. Now I want to share an area of ‘judging’ that might not have been as obvious. During the time of our ‘prophesying’ [radio/blog] against the distorted teachings from the more extreme prosperity movement, there were certain ‘weather events’ that would concur with the words. Now, these ‘words’ were not judgment things. Just strong reproofs that needed to be dealt with. The hurricane practically wiped out one of the main prosperity ministries from Louisiana. I did not rejoice, but felt it was significant. I haven’t really followed up on this brother, but last night I put his show on for the first time in a few years. I only caught the last few minutes and heard him testify of how they didn’t know how they could afford to stay on the air. Maybe the lord was ‘cleansing’ this movement from the air waves? In love and mercy it is very possible that this was a part of Gods will. Often times the lord gives people serious down time to re evaluate their message. It’s easy to start moving ahead in ministry and never take time to ‘re tool’ the message. Bring it more into alignment with scripture. Well I feel this is part of what God wanted. Then the brother shared how the owners of this particular TV network paid from the networks money for 5 free years of broadcasting. Now, they meant well I am sure. But this might have actually been circumventing a ‘cleansing’ that God wanted to do. The President of this network is a good Christian man who has fought the critics of the prosperity movement for years. I do see how he might have come to the defense of this brother by feeling sorry for him. But it is not right to take the years of sacrificial giving that people have done and to use it to win your side of the fight. This causes the money that was dedicated to spread the gospel to be used to win in the game that people play. Sometimes we prevent what God wants to do when we interfere like this.

 

  • Let me pick up a little on the history/purpose of the church and kingdom. As the fledgling movement of Jesus followers were launched out after Pentecost, they went everywhere ‘preaching the word with signs following’. Gods ‘plan of salvation’ if you will included more than simple evangelism. Now, simple evangelism is very important! Some liberal trends of the social gospel of the early 20th century saw the importance of social action and would neglect the need for redemption on an individual basis. As the early church ‘preached the Word’ people in these areas of hearing would believe and thru baptism become outwardly marked as Christ followers. They were literally called followers of ‘the way’. Early believers were not setting up separate Christian social clubs that they called ‘local church’. They were the actual tabernacle that God would dwell in! As Paul will address the letters to ‘the churches’ he was addressing ‘the actual believers’ in these communities, not some separate ‘group’ that were defined by having a Pastor/Priest who was functioning as the ‘under shepherd’ in a way that each city had ‘the church I belong to’. You ‘belonged to’ the believers and the lord Jesus that were present in the community in which you lived. They were all ‘local church’. The Kingdom would be an outward reality of Jesus manifesting his works thru them as his body. The work of evangelism [making new citizens of this Kingdom] and the sending out of these new citizens [ambassadors] would go hand in hand. The church was present in society to impact and affect it for change. Social justice was a major part of the ‘prophetic voice’ of these ‘new people’ who were inhabiting the planet! They weren’t ‘starting churches’ in the sense of setting up ‘lecture halls’ so people could come and ‘do church on Sunday’. As time progressed [lots of time!] Christians in our country would begin seeing the need to ‘preach the gospel of the Kingdom’ and emphasize the importance of the church having a voice in society. You would find a funny dynamic taking place. Many of the strong independent church movements would get a hold of a ‘Kingdom message’ and without realizing it begin imitating both the ecclesiastical structures and programs of the ancient church! In essence many of these Protestants were rejecting the historic expressions of Christianity as seen in the Catholic Church, and then adopting the name ‘Bishop’ and building cathedrals [Atlanta] and begin impacting society in a way that Catholics have been doing for centuries. In essence they were seeing the need for a kingdom message and then mixing it in with their ‘501 c 3 Christian organization’. This would lead to the appeal for money from all the ‘rebellious Christians who are not tithing’ so the ‘church’ could fulfill her mandate to impact society thru ‘the church’. The better perspective [in my view] is to see the great reality of all of Gods people, under the headship of our high priest Jesus, to go forth and be the actual vessels whom God is using to touch the world. The simple strategy of Jesus to empower and entrust the Kingdom message with all who believe. To a degree the Catholic Church had the most influential ‘Kingdom church’ ever! In the sense of ‘institutional church’. After the fall of the Roman Empire [loss of power and influence] the Catholic Church would at one point in history become the sole arbiter in all things pertaining to religion and human govt. The ‘Kings of the earth’ would appeal to her to speak into the ongoing conflicts in the history of man. So in a strange way the 20th century ‘reconstructionists’ [Protestant ideas on the church being very involved in human govt.] were just babies in the sense that our catholic brothers ‘have been there and done that’.

 

  • MISTAKING THE CLASSROOM FORUM FOR ‘THE LOCAL CHURCH’. I was listening to Jim Kramer’s radio show one day. He is the nut on CNBC that does all these outrageous things while teaching investing in Stocks. I do like the guy! A lady called in to his show and said ‘you are really good, you are good enough to teach at some university! Have you ever thought of ‘stepping’ up to the next level?’ She meant well, and you could tell by Kramer’s response that he was a little offended. He told her that thru his worldwide radio and TV shows he is doing far more than limiting himself to a few people in a room! In essence what the well meaning woman was advising would really be ‘stepping down’ [loosing influence] as opposed to ‘stepping up’. This last year I have had well meaning comments along these lines. Friends of my homeless friends who are ‘preachers’ or mature believers. When my homeless buddies tell them ‘Johns a good brother, he does all types of ministry stuff’. At first these ‘outsiders’ think ‘poor John, he looks homeless himself. I am sure he means well’. Then they go to this blog or hear us on radio and word gets back to me ‘wow, he should start a church and become more legitimate’! Been there, done that! They seem to think the ‘classroom format’ [Kramer] is more ‘legitimate’ than the much greater format of blog, radio and actually traveling to regions to ‘make disciples’. We have the same mindset of the well meaning woman who called into Jim Kramer’s show! We need to stop viewing the ‘building that we meet in’ as a step up from itinerant ministry. We really need to stop calling the building ‘the Local Church’.

 

  • UPDATE ON RACE AND POLITICS As I am following the current Presidential campaign, a ‘funny thing happened on the way to the White House’. The White woman candidate [Hillary] has had some surrogates who have made racial innuendos. Not blatant stuff, but hints that would be considered ‘death’ to any Republican candidate. But being Clinton is a Democrat it took a little longer for it to come to a head. So today [I think it is Martin Luther King Day today? It’s early and I haven’t looked at the calendar yet] the Political world is reeling over race. The black supporters are accusing the white Democrats of being racist. A few years ago President Bush nominated a white judge to the Supreme Court [Thomas Pickering?] he was a conservative. The Democrats played the race card against him. The only problem was he put his life [and his families] on the line in the South by ruling against the KKK and for publicly going against this racist group at a time where it was unpopular to do it. He had a real history of defending blacks. The race card that was used was the fact that in a certain Cross burning case he let the kids off without jail time. The reason he did this was because during the trial he realized that the other kids who were the real instigators made a plea deal and sort of blamed these other kids for the whole thing. Basically the kids he went easy on were guilty, but the main instigators sort of framed them to get a better deal. So Pickering made a just decision. Well this was played in the media as Bush nominating a racist. Though the man went out of his way to defend blacks! This in itself is really racist. For the democrats to have done this for their own political purpose is actually racist. I know they don’t see this, but what do you expect? The republicans can be just as bad. The point is the democrats were all for the railroading of this innocent judge, even Hillary! Now she seems to be at the receiving end and her and Bill Clinton are incensed! ‘How dare the Obama campaign even bring up any racial accusations, we were at the forefront of Civil Rights’ they weren’t singing this tune when Pickering was being blasted. The point is using race in this whole scenario is wrong. But if some of Hillary’s people said the stuff, then they should be just as accountable as any one else. About a month ago I mentioned I liked McCain and Obama the most. I said this when McCain seemed to have no chance and Obama was way behind in the polls. As of today McCain is leading on the Republican side and Obama is about equal with Clinton! I would support Obama if it weren’t for the abortion thing. I still see this crime as the worst atrocity of our time. I don’t blame Obama or any single person for their view, I just believe no matter how good we feel about a candidate we can’t allow these feelings to override the greatest social injustice issue of our time. The murder of untold little Black and Hispanic and White babies. These 6 month developed kids feel safe in the womb, we allow for a doctor to stick an instrument in the Mom and dismember the child. The child cries and feels the pain. The little kid must think ‘O my God, they are really killing me’! Don’t allow your liberal tendencies to forget this atrocity!

 

  • Talking politics! While watching some of the ‘talking heads’ they were saying ‘they are using the church for this cause’ or ‘the local churches’ are spoken about in the same context as ‘the local hospital’ or ‘local barber shop’. The more you study the reality of ‘the local believers’ as ‘the local church’ and then hear this kind of talk, it really makes you wonder how much idolatry is involved with the present day view of ‘the local church’. It is almost impossible to up root the prevalent view of the local church as being the ‘church we go to on Sunday’. Why do I make such an issue of this? If you read all the stuff on this site [quite a job!] you will see how we as the people of God have bypassed the actual straight teaching from Jesus on all believers being personally responsible ‘to act’ and the modern church has developed the unbiblical idea of ‘the local church/ 501 c 3 Christian business’ in a way that seems to say to the average believer ‘your main responsibility is to honor and give money to and be in submission to this thing’. While in reality all of the verses dealing with ‘church’ are really speaking of the actual people of God called out of the world unto Christ. When believers are inundated with verses every Sunday on Paul asking for help with finances, these verses are then linked to Malachi ‘don’t rob God’. This leaves the impression that we will get in big trouble if we don’t tithe to the ‘storehouse’. Then the majority of instruction ALL THRU OUT the New testament on giving is seen as some ‘little moral teaching’ from Jesus on helping our neighbor. But if you look at the overall view of scripture, the main teaching on giving is in the context of all believers sharing their stuff with those in need. There is a subtle shift in the mind of the believer when he views the actual Christian business as ‘the local church’. He begins to see his responsibility primarily along the lines of putting 10 % of his money ‘in church on Sunday’. This idea is harmful to the main body of teaching in the new testament on the actual people being ‘the local church’. Well meaning Pastors have engrained verses on tithing into their people. They all know Malachi ‘bring the tithes into the storehouse’ or Paul ‘if you give to me God will supply all your needs’. While these are true scriptures, the main stuff on ‘give to him that asketh of thee’ or ‘if you do not directly meet the real needs of those around you, how does Gods love dwell in you’. The main body of Christian truth is taught in this way. Since the people are really ‘the local church/storehouse’ then they are the main ones who are to carry out the task. I just thought it strange to have been hearing ‘this group was raising money for this or that at their local church’. The language is so confused in the minds of the average believer that it will take at least a generation for us to see and begin implementing these truths!

 

  • POPULARIZE REDEMPTION As I get ready to jump into the New Testament, I want to re emphasize redemption. I was reading a testimony from an American believer who went to Turkey to interview a Christian woman who lost her family to martyrdom. The reporter spent a week with the woman. She found the faith of the Turkish believers to be one of ‘having their treasure in heaven’. The Turkish believers would say things like ‘well, we know some of us are being killed for our faith. But we praise God because we have a better treasure in heaven than on earth’. The reporter shared how the American churches message is one of ‘you can be all you can be’ or ‘have your dreams fulfilled’ type theology, while the Turkish church understood the real teachings of Jesus on the temporary stuff of this life. I went to a ministries web site to read some stuff. They are a good church out of San Antonio. I used to listen to tapes from the brother. While thinking of ordering some stuff I noticed how the majority of all the messages were on ‘winning the battle’ ‘achieving your goals’ ‘power of confession’ ‘wealth’. All practical stuff. I then realized how the majority message of the American church is consumed with this stuff. We seem to preach a gospel that sees redemption as the ‘being born stage’ [true!] and then we say ‘now that you are born again, let’s spend 50 years on learning how to prosper in life’. Sure, every now and than this message says ‘O, we believe in prospering to get the gospel out’ but then a year or so goes by and the main message seems to still be ‘how to get stuff’. I want to re focus as we get into the Letters of the New Testament. Redemption does things for you that a million message on money cant! Redemption changes things! You can confess a million times. Renew that mind all day long. Vow money to the TV preachers. But redemption is Gods divine act of changing you and everything about you, and he does it for free! As a matter of fact, if you try to add stuff to his work, it takes away from the power! We will learn the fact that the Blood of Jesus gives you the ability to be free. I know you have been taught ‘well, God saved your spirit, but you still have that old mind’ you are taught this in a way that exalts the verses on ‘renew the mind’ [God thing by the way!] but takes away from the real act of Gods power saving you. When you ‘got saved’ this act of Divine grace changes you in ways that all of you’re confessing and renewing could never accomplish. The New Testament will teach us the absolute power and primacy of this singular thing called ‘Redemption’. We will see a message that includes the practical things of life, but is saturated and inundated with the Cross! If you went to Paul’s web site, you wouldn’t find a bunch of success messages [a few maybe?] but you would see the great themes of justification by faith, the Blood of Christ, Gods sovereignty. You would see the majority theme being that of the great act of Redemption. Paul saw it more than just a way to get into the Kingdom!

 

  • 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?]

 

  • As I was just praying for all of our people [Gods!] I sensed an outpouring of the Spirit. A sort of tangible anointing. I also remembered a Prosperity preacher’s story and hesitated to share it. The more I felt the anointing I felt the Lord wanted me to share it. Many years ago my father was visiting Corpus and we were driving downtown with KCTA playing on the radio [the Christian station we broadcast on]. At the time the teacher was a prosperity preacher teaching on ‘the anointed one and his anointing’. They got into this teaching of Jesus ‘anointing us’ to get wealth. As the teacher was explaining the ‘oil’ [anointing] he was saying ‘picture yourself rubbing it all over you. Head to toe’ and he was applying it to ‘saturating yourself in Jesus anointing to get money’. I was really tempted to shut it off. My dad says ‘wow, you can really tell how much this preacher is enjoying himself’ my dad said it in a nice way. Sort of complimentary. I didn’t say anything. I just found it so offensive to view ‘rubbing Jesus oil all over your body to get wealth’. Peter says ‘we were not redeemed with corruptible things. Filthy lucre. But by the precious blood of Jesus’. Paul says ‘some have erred from the faith. Teaching that gain is godliness. From these teachers turn away’. I am simply amazed at the amount of Pastors who are still defending this stuff to their people.

 

  • While walking in my yard yesterday morning and praying I have an area that I fixed up for fellowships with the brothers. We have used it a few times, but not as much as I would like. So as I was walking and praying I asked the Lord to bring some of our guys together soon. Sure enough I was at the homeless mission later in the day and some Kingsville brothers called my cell phone and within a few hours we were sitting at the exact spot fellowshipping. Planning on doing some outreach in Kingsville. I heard the Lord say ‘make the tree good and the fruit will be good’ sometimes we spend a lot of time working and focusing on the ministry. I felt like the Lord was saying to just wait on him [healthy tree] and he will do the stuff! A few years ago [10?] I bought a lemon tree from the store. It was real small, took about 7 years to grow and produce fruit. Sure enough it wasn’t a lemon tree! It looked like grapefruits. So in keeping with 1st Corinthians 13 ‘love believes all things’- which means it gives the benefit of the doubt. I said ‘O well, I am sure Wal Mart meant well when they labeled it as a lemon tree’ NOT! I thought ‘man those crooks robbed me, some Mexican farmers KNEW that they couldn’t sell the grapefruit trees, so they told Wal Mart ‘these are lemon trees’. I got over it and in time used the ‘grapefruits’. Well I just found out that it is a Mexican Lemon [lime] tree. Supposedly more valuable than the lemon tree! Yet when I thought the ‘fruit was bad’ [not as good as what I bargained for] I was mad. It took time to actually enjoy the fruit. When I found out it was a good deal, I immediately felt better. Why? It still tastes the same. We put value on things by measuring ourselves [or fruit!] by others. I felt like the Lord was saying to be patient with the fruit he has given you. If the fruit tastes good [make the tree good!] then who cares what others think. Just concentrate on the tree being good for you and what the Lord has called you to. Others might think ‘he’s just an old grapefruit tree’ but in Gods eyes you are more valuable than what you thought at the start. NOTE- both of these brothers are around my age [40-45] I used to preach to their fathers at the jails. These brothers eventually got involved with us this way. Thru reaching out to the lost. I wasn’t recruiting them to some thing! Their dads are both dead now. They were both good friends of mine for years. They died in their 50’s, not too much older than me and their boys! We only have so much time in this life, I encourage you to give your life away for eternal rewards.

 

  • At the risk of loosing a reward, let me share this. Last week I gave some cash away. At the start of this week I didn’t get any ‘give away cash’ out of my savings [that’s where it comes from!]. But I helped someone out with rent and this one ‘act’ was equal to a months ‘tithe’. But I don’t see it like a ‘tithe’. I will still spend money this month irregardless of the ‘tithe’. But when people are under a law mentality, they see it more from the standpoint of ‘well, I gave my 10 % and I have fulfilled my obligation’. This is why I try to teach you guys giving along the lines of what Jesus taught. The Pharisees said ‘it is Corban’ when it came to taking care of their family. Corban was dedicating a certain amount to the Temple, over and above the tithe. But the mindset was ‘since I have dedicated this to ‘ministry’ I don’t have to meet the real needs of people [parents].’ Jesus said this tradition was making void Gods word. God doesn’t want believers to view giving from the mindset of ‘I gave to the office [Temple] and am free from any other responsibility’. Give to the office, just don’t think that’s all that God requires!

 

  • OVERVIEW OF AMERICAN CHURCH HISTORY- Let’s do a little overview of my story. When first coming to Texas I had a catholic upbringing but was pretty well ‘lost’. After truly coming to know the Lord I had the privilege of meeting believers from various backgrounds. I knew good Baptists, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and other good Christians. It didn’t take long to see how the more legalistic believers from all the above groups [some more than others] would view the ‘church down the block’ as either a cult or heretical. They would develop these views from sincere differences they saw from scripture over water Baptism, Gifts of the Spirit, Eternal Security and other important doctrines[I had a friend who would point to the statue of Mary in front of a catholic church. It showed other statues of kids kneeling and praying around Mary. He would say ‘Look, Idols worshipping Idols’!] The infighting from some of these brothers was really detrimental to unity in the Church. Many, like myself, would eventually move on in the Christian experience and continue to hold to the historic doctrines of Christianity while rejecting the strong sectarian mindset that can exist in many of these groups. I still see all of the above groups as Christian. I still actually hold to some of the basic tenets of the Baptist church, as well as the assemblies of God. You would even find me agreeing with my Church of Christ brothers on stuff. But for the most part I see many of these differences as divisive. Some ideas are important to discuss, some basic historic truths are worth dieing for! But not necessarily the ones these brothers have argued over. Other believers who have left the more independent churches will eventually become ‘anti Christian faith’ some will view all Christianity from a negative standpoint because of being burned by one of the above expressions of Christianity. As you study Church history along with the Bible you will begin to see the great revolution of the people of God and the reality of Christianity as the major hinge factor in world events for the past 2 thousand years. You can not trivialize the impact that Christianity has had on world affairs. Some recent books written by Atheists have tried to blame Christianity for all the ills of society, while at the same time others atheists will try to say that Jesus and his movement are a farce and have had little impact historically. Hey, you really cant espouse both of these views at once. The simple fact is Christianity has had a major impact on the world. To refute Christopher Hitchens recent book ‘God is not Great’ he tries to prove that Christianity and religion have done no good whatsoever and the world would be a better place without it. He is not honest about the facts. The truth [historically] is that Christianity has been the major force behind the most noble institutions in our country. The hospital system in the United States as well as the University system was founded by the Church. The major scientific thinkers of history have been Christian [or deist]. The majority of the  founding fathers of our country were without a doubt Christian. It is common today for our Public schools to focus on Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington when teaching on the founding Fathers. And because you will find certain non Christian statements from Franklin, yet he himself still embraced religion. But more from a Deist standpoint [belief in God while not being a Christian]. This small focus on a few of the fathers [there were at least 50 historic figures who would fall under the category of founding Fathers. Some actually started bible societies. Wrote their own version of the Bible and stuff like that] seems to leave the impression that the founding of our country was by men who were ‘fleeing Christianity’. To start a new world free from religious expression. This is in no way true. Most of the early settlers of our country were called ‘Puritans/Pilgrims’. ‘Pure’ from what? From religious expression? They got the name from being ‘Non Conformists’ under Queen Elisabeth’s rule in England. During the reign of Elisabeth England was dealing with the problem of the ‘Non Conformists’. These were the Christians in her realm who were Protestant, and they didn’t feel the ‘Protestantism of England’ went far enough in her reform. The Church of England was ‘too catholic’ for these brothers. So Elisabeth actually persecuted Protestant brothers under her reign, though she herself was considered to be the ‘Protestant Queen’ after her sister Mary, the infamous ‘bloody Mary’ martyred Protestants. You would think the Protestants under Elisabeth were happy, but they weren’t. Eventually Elisabeth would pass a law that told all the Protestant Pastors to keep wearing the catholic Collar on their vestments during ‘church services’. Eventually these ‘non conformists’ would get their name for not wanting to conform to these regulations. So these eventually would flee England. Some to Holland and other areas. Eventually to the Americas. This is the basic moral underpinning of the religious Puritans [pure form of Christianity as they saw it] who founded our country. In this background you will find the idea of ‘Separation of Church and state’ seen. Though our founding documents reference Christ and God many times, yet this phrase comes from a letter during this time. The phrase itself has been used in the hands of strict separatists as meaning something different from the original ideas of the fathers. Our constitution does have what is called ‘the establishment clause’ ‘Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise’ but if you read this in the context of all I just showed you, it is quite easy to see that they didn’t mean society should be free from all religious/Christian expression. But they used this language to protect the church from the intrusion of government interference. These fathers were fleeing England and a Queen who kept telling them to ‘conform to the states standards’. They wanted to make sure no state, not even the new one being founded, would ever tell the church how to run her affairs again. I know the other side [the strict separatists] have a different belief about the founding of the country. But this is simple history, you don’t have the option of changing the facts! This is also why Congress still opens in Prayer. Why the Ten Commandments are still found on the walls of government buildings. Why they still ‘have the gall to have our Senators sworn in on the Bible’! It is quite obvious that the majority of the founding Fathers were not atheists who were founding some new world that would be free from religion! Now, this new religious freedom allowed for the ‘starting of many churches/religions’. You would have the rise of many types of religious movements. The breakaway groups from both the catholic church as well as the protestant church would find new freedom in America. Many of these expressions are the churches that I mentioned at the beginning of this entry! But you would also see the rise of ‘cults’. The first major wave of ‘anti cultism’ seen in this country was the strong resistance in the early 20th century against the metaphysical cults. These are the groups known as ‘unity’ ‘Christian science’ or ‘theosophy’. These groups were seen as THE major threat to Christianity in the first part of the 20th You would have scholars from the universities, that were founded by Christians, writing against these movements. Princeton, the university from my home state, was one of the Universities that had these scholars. You would also have a strong anti catholic spirit among some of the writings of these Reformed scholars. These were good men who held faithful to what they still saw [and see!] as the major errors of Catholicism. This backlash and anti catholic spirit was seen in the real fear that Many had when John Kennedy ran for President. Kennedy would have to make it clear that his religion would not interfere with his allegiance to our country. The Pope would have no control over him in matters pertaining to state and government. Some feel this is what was behind his assassination, a strong anti catholic spirit. Of course we know this not to be true, Oliver stone [movie maker] has shown us the truth behind his assassination! [of course I had to put this in!] So this leaves us with a good country, with much religious freedom. This also has lead to the freedom for one type of Christian church to bash another type. Even to view them as heretics! So the Christian church of our country is not forced to ‘love our brother in Christ’ by human law, but I think we could find another law in scripture that supersedes human law! Note- There is a ‘curse’ or judgment that believers bring upon themselves when they view other Christian faiths as in total error or apostasy simply because they are catholic, or traditional. I know and believe there are important differences that still need to be dealt with in love. I believe heresy should be dealt with. But I have seen on too many occasions how Christians ‘use’ their judgment on the traditional church in a way that blinds them to truth. How many times have I tried to show someone that Jesus was not about materialistic living. Though he told his followers he would meet their needs, yet he walked above the pursuits of this life. I would get responses like ‘Oh that’s that old tradition/religious teaching the Catholics teach. Vows of poverty and stuff like that.’ These believers sincerely cant see the major body of truth in scripture dealing with the warnings of money because they grasped an idea that all the Catholics or traditional churches are simply wrong. Proverbs says ‘don’t move the ancient landmarks that your fathers put down’ we need to be careful that our view of ‘those deceived Catholics’ is not a blind spot [or should I say log!] in our own eye! NOTE- If you think about it, the effect of the founding fathers writings, our constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Who would have thought these ‘documents from a revolution’ would have had such a major impact? Even today it is considered ‘heresy’ to question the Constitution. Is it a ‘living document’ that changes and grows with the times? Some conservatives will burn you at the stake for saying this! I believe a reason for the influence of these writings can be attributed to the same ‘idea’ as Paul’s letters. Paul wrote most of the New testament. These letters were not ‘university papers’ that Paul spent hours pouring over in some library. These were ‘documents from a Revolution’. Things written during a time of major world upheaval. The instituting of Gods rule thru this new King called Jesus! Writings produced from a Revolutionary mindset. I think we need to get back to laying everything down for this cause once again. We are living and writing from a ‘safe’ harbor. This explains the tremendous lack of authority in the things we are communicating!

 

  • PARABLE FROM A TREE! Recently I was having a conversation with a brother who sees himself as part of our ministry [even though we don’t have something to ‘be a part of’ in the traditional sense!] I could tell he has heard ‘John is a cult, he doesn’t believe you ‘need a church’ to be a ‘church’. As my friend expressed his belief that ‘I know the people are the church’ he also said ‘but you need a church building too’! This is a common response from well meaning people. A few years ago I read a story about believers [in Africa?] who had no money to ‘build churches’ so they started a movement of believers ‘meeting under trees’. They used the tree as a meeting place and met there and worshipped and shared in Christ’s life. Great stuff! Can you imagine 10 years going by and all the young believers saying ‘I attend this tree’ or ‘I go to that church [tree!]’. I am sure if you asked ‘why are you calling the tree ‘a church’. They would say ‘well, we know it isn’t ‘the church’ but we just refer to it that way’. Fine. Then after 100 years if you heard these same believers children say ‘We know the tree is not a ‘church’ but you really can’t serve God without a tree’! You would say ‘why not’? I think we need to stop saying ‘we need a tree’ [building].

 

  • PROVERBS 30:24-28 Every time I read Proverbs I stop on this [as well as many other!] sections and meditate on it. The ‘Ants’ prepare. The ‘Conies’ [Badgers] take shelter. The ‘Locusts’ go forth as groups in unity without a single head [what, no Pastor!]. And the ‘Spider’ practices Divine Placement! We see preparation, storehouse, having some resource to fall back on. We see the concept of ‘taking shelter’ from the badger. Though badgers are tough animals, yet they ‘break easy’. Their skin is soft! So instead of crying about their weakness, they manage it! They hide in rocks! The Locusts have no single head [much like the organic church movement, they do believe in ‘Elders/Pastors’ but they practice plural leadership, getting away from the idea that church is everybody getting together to hear one person speak!] They practice unity in numbers! Wow, how much more can you accomplish when you have groups of people! And out of all the above, only one thing is in the singular. The Spider. She is fragile, by herself [quiet] and yet over time winds up in Kings palaces! True wisdom brings you before great men! Not a lot of sweat and blood, just divine placement! I see her like the Apostle amongst the other groups. Proverbs says ‘Wisdom sends out her servants and builds her house’. The Spider is wise. Beautiful for ‘situation’ is how Jerusalem is described. She ‘sits’ in an influential place. There are times in our lives [especially leaders] where we need to ‘re position’ and see ‘from a distance’. Sit in the ‘kings house’ if you will. Then you can get some direction before sending the Ants, Badgers and Locusts out! The Merchant ships bring their goods from afar. The Apostle [which is another term for a commander of a fleet of ships] needs to set the course right at the start, or else all the ships will be wasting lots of time. Plus it is next to impossible to turn the fleet around on a moments notice. Sit back and function in the wisdom of the Spider first!

 

  • DREAM- MARTIN LUTHER KING; Just had a dream. It is the day after Martin Luther King Day. A few weeks ago as I was channel surfing I stopped at a local preacher’s message. A good man who has Pastored for many years in our city. I visited his church [though I use ‘church’ you know what I mean!] a few times over the years. I listened to him on TV and it was a good testimony of his coming to know the Lord and his calling. Though I knew this brother for years, yet this day was different. Sure enough I watched him again the following week. To catch him twice in a row seemed strange, I very rarely do this. Then a few weeks later I opened the paper and read that he died. I prayed for his wife and church family for a few days, prayed that they would make the transition well. Prayed for the new leadership to actually experience a new resurgence of life and growth. Sort of like what has happened with Jerry falwells son. After Jerry died his son took over the pastorate and they are really growing and on fire for the Lord! The dream I just had [an hour ago] was me going back in time before this pastor’s death and spending the day with him. I knew he was to die soon, and realized he was living his last few days not knowing this [in the dream at least, I know he in ‘real life’ was sick and  knew he had cancer]. So as I observed and fellowshipped with him he had to run some errands and I didn’t have time to drive him. But I knew his time was short and made the sacrifice. I was also talking to someone else in the dream and we both knew he had already died [in the future] but wasn’t aware how short his time was. I heard Martin Luther’s speech yesterday, they played a part of the ‘I have a dream’ [notice, Kings dream wasn’t to become ‘all he could be’ it was giving his life for a greater purpose than self fulfillment]. They played the part you normally don’t see. It was a few minutes before the famous part. At one point you could see a very brief moment of fear/anxiety. Sort of a glimpse into the thin veneer of mans flesh and weakness when he is at the crossroads of destiny. A hidden reality of the cost that was to be paid for his cause. I also heard a speech [and read it a few years back] that King made right before his death. He said ‘longevity would be a good thing. But I have been to the mountain and have seen the promised land’ he prophesied of his death. In so many words he knew he would pay for his cause with his death. I just thought the Lord wanted to remind us today that we are like ‘smoke’ that appears for a little time and vanishes away [James]. Or like grass, we grow in the morning and are ‘cut down’ at night. Why are we wasting our lives? We seem to be living for temporary things. Our dreams are all about ourselves. We are not applying our hearts to wisdom. We are not numbering our days. NOTE; During Kings time you saw a dynamic taking place that would become a major cause of strife in our time. The Nation of Islam was founded in the 1930’s in Detroit under Wallace Fard. After his death in 1935 Elijah Muhammad would lead the group until 1975. Malcolm x and Louis Farrakhan would follow. The ‘Nation of Islam’ is not a legitimate Muslim group! Their founding had ideas about ‘UFO’S’ and other very weird doctrines that you would find in the black ‘Jewish’ groups of the time. Groups that tried to trace their ancestry to being ‘the true Israel’. And they would couch the black mans struggle for freedom thru an ‘historic’ mindset. The only problem was the whole ‘history’ of ‘Black Jews’ is just as much fantasy as ‘White Jews’ or British Israelism. The doctrine that the white Europeans are the lost tribes of Israel. These ideas were prevalent at the time. This is also why you hear strange stuff from Farrakhan on UFO’S and stuff. King was a prophetic Christian who was carrying the cause of Civil rights along with the banner of Jesus Christ. The Nation would be a demonic force [copy cat] of the true mantle of King. You would hear ‘white devils’ thru the racist lips of the Nation, while King would include the white man in his struggle for freedom. Today you see Islam continue to counterfeit what the Spirit of God is doing in the earth. The black ‘church’ [I don’t like this term, there is only one church!] needs to understand that in her continued struggle for justice that she does not align herself with the truly demonic Nation of Islam.

 

  • PROVERBS ‘The Merchant Ships bring their goods from afar’ Ships represent whole ‘floating communities of people who are launched out under the authority of a commander [the same word used for Apostle in classical Greek!] and inhabit new worlds with the insignia of their ‘home country’. I like that! Noah’s Ark represented Jesus, Peter says the Ark saved us from the world of sin. How did the ‘like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us, not the washing away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a pure heart towards God’? Both the rapture guys and the Baptists and the ‘everyone else’s’ could be offended here! The Ark didn’t ‘remove us from the planet’! Like the Rapture guys teach. They say ‘like the days of Noah so shall it be at the end’ true enough, Jesus said this. They then say ‘see, in Noah’s day God took them away before judgment’ no he didn’t! They ‘floated’ in safety inside the Ark while STILL IN THE WORLD! We are all ‘in the Ark’ of the Body of Christ. We are ‘the Merchant ships’ bringing our goods from far [cast not your pearls before swine- we have pearls!] Wherever we ‘harbor’ on this journey we get off and establish a ‘beachhead for the Kingdom’. We ‘Colonize’ new lands for our King. Quit trying to get Jesus to take the boat out of the world. He wants the boat to stay in the world. Hey, after it stops raining [40 days represent judgment and divine cleansing] you are supposed to get out and re populate the planet! NOTE- the Merchant Ships speak of the virtuous woman in the last chapter. How can Jesus be ‘the Ark’ and also the virtuous woman be ‘the ship’. We are Jesus perfect bride. We are called ‘the Body/Bride of Christ’. Paul says this oneness is a great mystery, Christ and the Church. So both Jesus and his Bride can be ‘the Ship/Ark’! Also fundamental to the nature of colonizing is once you establish a presence in a new world you do your best to never lose that piece of territory. You try to keep the flag up at all costs! When Jesus ascended to the father he sent his Spirit to continue the work of colonization that he initiated. The biggest problem with the Rapture theory is it seems to teach a 7 year [or 3.5] period of retreat. Why would Jesus have a 2 thousand year presence, a true testimony of ‘his Kingdom having no end’. And then withdraw all the troops right before the final victory? Sounds familiar doesn’t it! NOTE; The New testament says Jesus will judge the enemy and the unrighteous world with his presence ‘the brightness of his coming’. Paul says the gospel is life saving to those who believe and judgment to those who don’t believe. In the whole debate on whether or not believers can be on the earth during a time of Gods wrath, we miss the reality of Gods presence being his wrath to the unbeliever but being our salvation! We do not ‘flee from the face of him who sits on the throne’. The water in Noah’s day both judged the unbelieving world and saved the believing world. It was the actual thing that caused Noah’s boat to rise above the ungodly earth. It ‘saved’ the righteous and condemned the unrighteous!

 

  • I am really frustrated over the current presidential election. Too much racial stuff! I also just woke up at around 1:30 am and the TV was on a documentary about They told the story of this white kid who went to prison and got into this skinhead stuff. He and another kid killed a Black man in prison. They showed the way this white kid was influenced by all the racist propaganda from these groups. Some of it is the same stuff I have heard taught amongst Baptist groups down here in the Deep South. I remember hearing over the years the doctrine of how Noah’s son, Ham, was the father of all ‘dark skinned’ people and how the Blacks are cursed with being subservient to Whites. Pretty ‘damn’ racist, wouldn’t you agree? Well this is the way it was taught. After the flood in Genesis Noah and his family repopulated the earth. There was an incident when Noah got drunk [like Doug Heffernan says on King of Queens ‘I like my Whiskey’] and one of his 3 sons found Noah uncovered in his tent [all this is true by the way!] and instead of covering him up, he makes fun of his father and tells the others. Some think the wording of this story even means the son might have done some type of incest thing with Noah. Either way the boy was then ‘cursed’ for this. He was told his descendants would be slaves to his brother’s descendants. Those who teach this will show you that one of the interpretations [possible?] for Ham [the boy’s name] is dark skin. Thus all blacks are to be slaves. Does this story teach this? I think not! Hams descendants would become the Canaanites. These tribes were part of the ‘ites’ that the children of Israel kicked out of the Promised Land. These descendants of Ham would eventually ‘serve’ the descendants of the other brothers. Thus the ‘serving other nations’ curse has nothing to do with our African American brothers. It’s sad that the kid in prison believed stuff like this, even sadder that some ‘southern preachers’ actually teach it! Note: You would think at least one of the requirements to be a preacher would be to have some basic level of education, but as you can see this is not always so.

 

  • DARWINS DILEMMA When Darwin studied the Finch [bird] on the Galapagos Islands he saw the variations in design with the birds beak. Some were longer than others. He thought this was a sign of Evolution. He figured as time went by nature caused this change in the beak for the survival of the bird. The longer beaks could more easily pick food out of closed spaces and stuff like that. This theory would then be used to explain the existence of man! Quite a jump indeed. But for those who prided themselves in naturalism [natural explanations to the origins of life] they held to a type of intellectual pride that said ‘see, we are intelligent. Not like those ignorant Christians!’ Well Darwin himself admitted in his book, The Origin of Species, that if his theory were true you would eventually have to find lots of ‘in between’ fossil stages. Sort of like if I found a tricycle, bicycle, car and airplane fossilized in the ground. I would look at all 4 different things and say ‘gee, wonder how these 4 separate functioning units got here?’ If I surmised ‘hey, I know! First you had the tricycle, then over a million years it became a bike. Then you had another million or so years go by and the car showed up. And last of all, the wonder of time and chance produced this plane!’ For me to test this theory I would say ‘well, let’s spend the next 100 years digging up these things all over the planet. If you are right, we will find lots of ‘tricycle/bicycle’s’ and ‘bicycle/cars’ and, well you got it. So over the last 150 years how many of Darwin’s ‘missing links’ have we found. Absolutely zero! Not even one. For his theory to hold water you would need MILLIONS of missing ‘links’. That’s how many fossils of things that we have found in the other stages! So the atheist sees this. And in his mad dash for the evidence has come up with some stuff. ‘Piltdown man’ and other so called stages of men that they ‘built’ from missing skeleton parts that they have found [or simply from a single tooth of a pig!] Sort of like the wheel of a tricycle. You could find the wheel of any of the 4 things above and say ‘see, here’s the missing ‘trike/bike’. And I would say ‘that aint no trike/bike, that’s just some wheel from one of the machines!’ And this is what has happened with the ‘Lucy’ fossil and these other things. They have either been found to be hoaxes, or simply parts of human and/or ape skulls. No big discovery at all. This has happened on more than one occasion. Hey if Evolution were fact, you would have TONS OF THESE TRANSITIONAL SPECIES. As of today we have ZERO! That’s what makes me laugh when the ‘average’ evolutionist thinks he’s on the side of science, when he doesn’t realize that his mentors have used him as a guinea pig, convincing him to be an advocate for a theory that is just as ludicrous as a ‘flat earth’. And then to see these ‘flat earthers’ running around priding themselves in their wisdom makes you laugh. So how in the world do we explain the 4 types of machines I have espoused? Well I know the wheel of the plane sure looks like the wheel on the bike. They have the same engineering and all. Maybe instead of this meaning the plane evolved from the bike. It could mean that the original engineer who built all 4 of the vehicles liked the design and used it 4 different times! [The eye, ear, etc.- man and animals have common traits, as well as uncommon ones. Common designer, not all evolving over time!] You say ‘well brother, all this sounds convincing. But I will stick with science’. Hey, where do you think I get all this stuff from? NOTE; I just read an article on how many scientists and educators fully believe in Intelligent Design. All the fossils that we mentioned in the above case [the example I used on the 4 vehicles] were found over hundreds of years in complete form. This EVIDENCE is what intelligent design refers to. [As well as tons of other stuff!] It is simply real TRUE evidence that shows things appeared on the planet already ‘formed’ or designed! All the evidence points to this. No evidence points to the slow evolving of one kind of species into another. So many scientists, even those who hate God, will tell you the evidence for evolution simply does not exist. The article I just finished reading documented how the secular universities are firing these educators when they realize they have real doubts about evolution based on the facts. That’s why when I read articles in my local paper by Libby Averyt [the editor] thinking she is very ‘progressive’ when saying Intelligent design is ‘religious’ and Evolution is science, these people really have no idea what they are talking about. They think they are on the side of ‘all scientists’ when in reality the most educated ones are seriously questioning Darwin’s ideas!

 

  • THE STUPIDITY OF THE NEWS MEDIA! I can’t help it! Today is the 2008 Democratic primary vote in South Carolina. By all accounts Barack 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 ‘Barack 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 Barack 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!]

 

  • PROVERBS (watch out for this number! Kidding.] I mentioned a few entries back about a local Pastor who had recently died. When I first came to Corpus I gave him one of our books ‘HOUSE OF PRAYER OR DEN OF THEIVES’. I gave them to lots of Pastors. About a year ago I heard him preach on ‘YOU CAN NOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON’ ‘THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL’. Themes that were very rarely heard from ANY preachers in this city! [Shame]. I don’t know if he preached it because our blog site and radio program are very popular with the local believers. This allows for many pastors who ‘by pass’ us to later hear from their people stuff like ‘why don’t you ever preach on the dangers of mammon’? And there you go! Proverbs says ‘there is that withholds more than is right and it tendeth to poverty. There is that scattereth and yet increases’. I took one of the homeless guys to Wal-Mart and offered to buy him a tent. It’s cold and his is leaking. I also paid for a weeks rent for another friend [not the rent I paid a few entries back]. I told my buddy ‘don’t spend more than 50.oo on the tent’. He came back from the aisle and said he didn’t need one. He admitted the one he needs is 70.oo and he could manage with the one he has. I told him ‘no, go ahead and get it’. I wrote the check over at the register and added it to some cash on hand and paid the rent for another friend. They at times even say ‘brother, we don’t want you to drain too much money’! There is that scatters yet INCREASES! Are you scattering? The friend with the tent looks clean cut and all, you would have no idea he is homeless. He works odd jobs and looks cleaner than me! I met him a few months back, he knows a lot of bible stuff. I gave him all the books and stuff I wrote on disks and after he read our stuff was really excited. Many things were confirmed in his mind. He had massive colon surgery 6 months ago. He has told me he has been in pain and needs to get checked. He is totally trusting God for healing and has refused the Chemo treatments. I dropped him off and walked to his campsite in the middle of a wooded area. It’s been a few years since I have been to the camps. I spent a little time with him and he was real excited about setting up the tent. It was around 35 degrees and raining. He promised to pay me back, I refused. I never let the guys pay me back, I see this as giving a ‘tithe’. Something that is rightfully Gods. While walking back to the truck, and thinking and praying for him over the past few days I thought ‘Father, take care of your son. It’s cold and these guys need your help’. They are great guys, many of them are reaping years of their parent’s broken homes and lives. David said ‘I have been young and now I am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread’.

 

  • PROVERBS ‘Wisdom sends out her servants/maidens and builds her house’ ‘She hath hewn out her 7 pillars. She hath killed her beasts and mingled her wine. She sends out her maidens and distributes the food/treasures’. Jesus said the Kingdom was like planting seed. Faith sends things forth. Recently I visited a web site [not here! Too many local guys think I am talking about them! Understand, the whole ‘paradigm’ that we challenge applies to everybody! Don’t get self conscious. I very rarely watch or deal with local guys one on one. Sometimes, but mostly these examples are from far away!] They are a good prophetic ministry out of New York. I would guess their budget and staff and facilities run in the millions of dollars. They do lots of stuff. On their site they mentioned that one of their main areas of ministry is their web site. I do like the site. To be honest we do much more teaching and in depth stuff then they do. I don’t want to boast, but give you an example. It might really be this ministries most effective tool. It is a product of much time and money and staff and buildings and millions of dollars of organization. It is a product that could also be done with no money, staff, buildings, etc. Now, I am glad they are doing what they are doing. Wisdom says ‘If you can prepare the table [good teaching/food] Set up the pillars [basic structure of people being the ‘carriers/temple’ of God]. If you can ‘send out your maidens’ [news paper ads, radio, blog, people]. If you can do it all without ANY of the very expensive machinery mentioned above, then BY ALL MEANS DO IT! I tell my buddies all the time ‘YOU GUYS CAN DO THIS’. You are not ‘called’ to simply be excited that I am doing it. You are to see that Jesus said to all the disciples ‘Go into all the world. Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple [Message bible]’. Don’t fool yourself into setting up a million dollar organization and then wind up producing something that you could have done by simply praying, studying and writing. You say ‘brother, but we need money to eat’. That’s the whole plea Paul and others were making when asking the churches to ‘help them financially’. They were trusting God for the basics. Our problem is we read these verses on ‘the basics’ and quote them in an environment that leaves the impression that Paul was speaking about some multi million dollar organization. Some say ‘well John, we are glad you are doing all this stuff for free. But why teach it to everybody’? Because we need to see the reality of all believers functioning without the need for tons of money and organization. It is a biblical doctrine to teach believers to go and give and live to have a real impact. We limit the Body of Christ when we don’t release them into this freedom. Well, if you have wisdom you can ‘send out your maidens/servants’. Scripture speaks of a poor wise man who takes a city. Jesus was ‘poor’ compared to the elite of his day. Paul as well. They knew how to ‘take cities/regions’ they had wisdom that exponentially increased thru the spreading of the Gospel. A true revolution of heart and mind. They turned their world upside down without tons of money!

 

  • I am really going to jump around today. Those of you who read this section in order have realized that I still have to finish our study on John’s gospel! I sidetracked and read Proverbs and wound up teaching highlights as an ‘aside’. So yesterday I woke up and felt the Lord wanted me to read Revelation 11. I have been praying for a few years now with a ‘rod’ [stick] in my hand as I walk in my yard [it’s dark so I don’t look too insane]. Let’s read Revelation 11 [by the way it IS NOT SPEAKING ABOUT ME!] ‘And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein’. This last week I once again had a discussion with a brother who assumed all the language in the New Testament about the Temple was speaking of a future rebuilt one. Some language MIGHT possibly refer to one. But some referred to the ones in the past; some refer to the people of God as the holy Temple [Ephesians]. So God might be telling John that he will wield authority in ‘judging’ the church. That thru John’s prophetic ministry [the actual writing of this vision called ‘the book of Revelation’] he will wield a rod of purging and chastening. ‘But the court that is without the temple leave out’ John’s prophetic vision is specifically designed to ‘line up’ the people of God. The ‘court’ can represent all the gentile nations whom represent those outside of the church. In essence ‘prophesy into the church John, don’t judge the world! I have not come to condemn them; I have come to save them’. The church has gone thru this ‘moral outrage’ stage and has railed against lost man. People who feel they have no hope, who have tried to overcome their addictions and have failed. They then tried to justify them. Why? Because they want to be accepted, they want society to say ‘we affirm you’. Am I saying we should affirm them? No. But we have used the ‘rod’ to condemn them and God is saying ‘leave those in the courtyard alone’. ‘These will tread the holy city [people of God] 42 months’ God was revealing to John that there would be a set time where the world would ‘tread’ on the church. John is actually living at the beginning of the rule of a bunch of demonic Roman rulers who will ‘destroy the people of God’ for a season. We have also seen a season of mocking and outright laughter at the American church. Some of it was deserved. We have allowed our ‘immature’ spokesman to broadcast their images to society as a whole [thru Christian TV] and some of them truly don’t realize how silly they look. I know they don’t mean to look silly, but they have grasped hold of a temptation that Jesus warned against. He told us leadership in the church was not designed to function like ‘gentile leadership’ seeking fame and position. So the American church fell into it and the ‘gentile’s tread us under foot 42 months’. ‘And I will give power unto my 2 witnesses and they will prophesy’ many cults and well meaning believers have erred terribly in thinking their Pastor/Prophet was one of these guys! I have taken this 2 ways in the past. I have seen it as either Israel and the church [2 witnesses in society] or the 2 offices of Apostle and Prophet. The point is after the humiliation and defeat [both in Johns day under the emperors and in every other day] God restores a prophetic voice back into the church. Be assured this voice will not be seen or heard thru many of the mediums being used today to broadcast Christian stuff. ‘Clothed in sackcloth’ part of the price of prophetic ministry includes ‘being clothed in sackcloth’. There just seems to be a principle you find in the Prophets of scripture that at the same time they are prophesying, they are going thru hell! ‘If any man hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours them’ there is this funny dynamic with prophetic ministry. Their critics wind up getting ‘corrected’ by the words of the prophets! ‘And when they finish their testimony the beast makes war against them and kills them’ the reality is/was that there was a real price to pay for their prophetic ministry. I recently wrote on Martin Luther King, there is a real question on whether or not his ‘ministry’ would have took hold in the minds of the public if he were not killed for the cause. John will write thru out this book on the power of the blood of the saints being spilled! Their prayers are like incense to God! ‘And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THE GREAT CITY WHICH SPIRITUALY IS CALLED SODOM AND EGYPT, WHERE ALSO OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED’ Wow, I wonder how well this would have gone over if John preached this at one of those ‘Christians defending Israel’ conventions! All kidding aside, John refused to exalt natural heritage at the expense of the Cross. It is important to see this language in a book that many American preachers use to exalt natural Israel. They will confuse all the imagery of the Ark and the Temple and stuff like this with natural Israel. They truly don’t see what I just showed you! The imagery in a prophetic book like Revelation is IMAGERY! Don’t accuse people of ‘not literally believing the book’ because they interpret this book the way it was meant to be seen. Even the ‘literalists’ will concede that the ‘sword proceeding out of Jesus mouth’ is the word of God. That the ‘lamb on the throne’ is not a real lamb. The one I like is ‘God puts his mark/name on his servants’ and you never see movies being made about Christians getting computer implants in their heads! [Or hands]. ‘And all the nations SAW their dead bodies and refused to bury them [public humiliation] and were so excited over the fall of the believers that they sent gifts to each other’ cant you just see this mindset in the church today. How the late night comedians mock us. They are overjoyed when the church falls openly. They don’t want to ‘bury the mistakes’. They still use Jimmy Swaggart as an example. Even though many of them have secretly been just as guilty as swaggart! ‘After 3 and a half days the Spirit of God entered into them and THEY STOOD ON THEIR FEET and fear fell on them who dwelt on the earth’. God will recover his testimony in the earth. An interesting thing is happening right now with our American political scene. The New York Times announced how the ‘religious right is dieing in influence’. But they don’t seem to realize that Christ’s testimony is not limited to the ‘religious right’. You see the Tony Campolo’s and the Jim Wallis’s are just as much ‘filled with Christ’s Spirit’ as the Chuck Colson’s. The secret to Jesus kingdom is it starts like leaven. It eventually invades all areas of society. Wont the Times be surprised when they see ‘the Spirit of life enter into them’ from both sides of the aisle! ‘And a great voice said to the 2 witnesses, come up hither’. Funny thing here. This is the exact wording that the rapture guys use in chapter 4 to say ‘Jesus took all the believers off the planet’. Well here God says to 2 prophets ‘come up hither’. According to this reasoning more believers left on this flight! ‘The Kingdoms of the world are become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ’ John is preparing the church for a few centuries of real persecution. He is reassuring them that they will ultimately win! ‘And the nations were angry, and the time of the dead to be judged. And rewards given to the prophets and to those who fear your name’ you have multiple times in Johns Revelation where he sums things up. One of the problems with popular interpretations of this book is they try to teach everything in a ‘Line’. Here John is simply summing up the judgment and nature of all that is to come. Man has been and will continue to be angry at God. The more proof rebellious man sees of the reality of God causes him to hate even more. The church is here to do her best to glorify God and bring people into his Kingdom. But make no mistake about it, the world and her rulers have at times done all they could do to fight against God. John is reminding the early church that the rulers who are setting them on fire and hanging their bodies like lamps along the road have their day coming! ‘And the temple of God was opened in heaven [not a man made Temple! God’s people are ‘the Temple/dwelling place of God’. Heaven is also called ‘the sanctuary’ in Hebrews!] And there was seen in his temple the Ark of his testament [The box with the commandments in them. Not Noah’s Ark- this is for the critics of my theory in entry # 662. Those who say ‘get the boat off the planet’! You will have to read the entry!] and there were lightnings and thunder and earthquakes and hail’. Johns Revelation is a great prophetic encouragement for the church in every generation. When John describes a ruler called ‘the beast’ and the number ‘666’. It is only natural for the early church to have seen this figure as Nero. His nickname was actually ‘the beast’. And one of the numerical spellings of his name and title came to ‘666’. Is it heresy to apply modern interpretations to these figures? No. But it is also ‘immature’ to read a prophetic vision like revelation without a basic understanding of how the church read it for 1900 years! This book has tremendous spiritual significance for all believers. To see it as an exact literal translation of geopolitical events of our time is not being ‘mature in our thinking’. NOTE; I wrote this entry yesterday morning. Later in the day I watched the world news with Katie Couric [to all my conservative friends, forgive me for committing the unpardonable sin!] Katie quoted, to the WORLD! ‘Jesus said, lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth’ and then did an expose on Kenneth Copeland ministries. To update you guys. I prophesied on this site that ‘no mountain will be able to stand against what God is doing. Not even Eagle mountain’. Eagle Mountain church is the name of the church Copeland founded. Then a few months back the U.S. Senate began investigating 6 Prosperity ministries. And last night the ‘world/secular’ media quotes Jesus words in rebuking the money gospel. I do not always agree with the ‘exposes’ of the media. I consider Kenneth Copeland a brother in the Lord. I believe he has been a victim of the enemy’s strategy to sidetrack the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom. The Lord only allows public humiliation/chastening [the bodies were lying in the street 3 and a half days! The above reference from Revelation] for his purpose. Don’t take lightly when the secular media quotes Jesus IN CONTEXT while critiquing a minister!

 

  • 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! NOTE; I just re watched the story on Kenneth Copeland. You can find it on u tube [or religion news]. They actually show you the offering form from Brother Copeland. It says on the form ‘sow you seed expecting a 100 fold return’. Now, to be fair brother Copeland is not ‘promising’ a 100 times back, like the news reports. But the problem is when Jesus uses this language of the 100 fold return, he actually says ‘the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word’ so you don’t ‘get the full return’ [I taught all this in my FIRST BOOK!]. In essence the ‘100 fold return’ in no way is speaking about CASH!  Now, many people like myself have tried to correct this for years. And the fact that many in this movement take it so lightly to actually twist Jesus words like this, it is now being ‘shouted from the rooftops’. [News!]

 

  • MORE ON REVELATION- Yesterday I spoke with a believer in New Jersey. They had some questions about a famous radio preacher in the area. He is famous for predicting second coming dates. They have passed and he has missed it. Well what do you know, he has come up with another one! I used to really correct him a lot to this person. He holds to end time stuff that I disagree with. He is also ‘Calvinist’ in his belief, and teaches that all the ‘churches’ are deceived and God is calling true believers out of them! As hard as I have been on the ‘local church’ concept, I couldn’t disagree more with the guy! So in the discussion I told the person, first. John wrote the book of Revelation under present persecution from the Roman government. It is the beginning of a few hundred years of unbelievable persecution. Rome would actually kill believers because they would not say ‘Caesar is Lord’. They were not against ‘the Christian God’, they believed in many gods. They had the Pantheon! But they would not permit this new religion to pledge allegiance ONLY to their God. So John is actually giving images of Rome and her leaders in Revelation. Rome would be THE NUMBER ONE threat to the fledgling church of Jesus. She will ‘kill those who do not worship the beast or bow down to its image’. Now over the last 2 thousand years, if you take a broad look at the scene. You will see the first 3 centuries to be the worst in Roman persecution. You will read John writing that ‘the city on 7 hills’ is the one who is guilty. There are actual historic records referring to Rome as ‘the city on 7 hills’. You can read in history how Nero was nicknamed ‘the beast’ and other images that clearly speak of Rome as the persecutor. Now, which Rome is it? The Rome of Protestantism who saw the Catholic Church as ‘Babylon’? Or the restored Rome of the modern day prophecy preachers? Well all evidence points to the ‘Rome’ spoken of by John as the Rome of his day. There has never been official executions of believers for their confession of Jesus on the scale of the Rome of Johns day. Why look for her in some other day? No need. The point I was trying to make to my friend was don’t be limited in your understanding of scripture. When a preacher starts predicting dates for Jesus return, that is a warning right there! The friend explained how the first ‘date’ he set was explained like ‘something really did happen that day [1994?] but it was hidden’. I told them this is the exact mistake the Millenarian movements made in the last 2 centuries. The ‘Millerites’ were founded by William Miller. A well meaning preacher who was a former game warden who got a hold of dispensational theology. He had a tremendous ‘knack’ for memorizing scripture. He would gather his followers together on more than one occasion to stand on a hillside in white robes and wait for Jesus. When the first date didn’t work, they would come up with a ‘secret’ thing that happened on the day. And then set another date! The Jehovah witnesses and the 7th day Adventists would follow this idea. The point was the setting of dates, and then later saying ‘something really did happen, but it wasn’t what we thought’ is a popular hobby with end time brothers. Now, will Jesus actually return some day? Yes. But we don’t know when. Don’t try to figure out all the details. Don’t re make Rome and the temple and all the hundreds of actual things that have taken place at multiple times over the years. If your scenarios demand a re doing of all these events, then check your facts. The Pharisees could not see how Jesus was already the fulfillment of many prophecies. The thing that blinded them was their intricate interpretations of specific prophecies. They came to hold dogmatic views that were idols in their minds. They tried to make Jesus fit the way they had believed for years. He plainly rebuked them for their narrow ideas ‘you know where the Messiah will come from’ he will shout at one time, responding to their narrow interpretation of prophecy. We need to hear the whole counsel of God. Keep an open mind. I think the Apostle John would be stumped as to how, after all the slayings and killings of believers that took place under the ‘beasts’ of Rome. And how history tells us there was never a time of such religious persecution as this time. That we are still looking for a ‘revived Rome’ to fulfill these things. Why look for her, it is plain to find her in the annals of history!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT Gandhi said ‘if Christians lived what they claimed to believe, they would change the world’. He said this in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. He believed and practiced the principles of Jesus in his fight for justice, he saw the law of ‘non resistance’ as taught by Jesus to be key to changing the hearts and minds of men and government. Though Gandhi was not Christian, yet we could learn from the example he left us by changing society thru the deeds of Jesus! Over the next few weeks I will cover ‘glimpses’ from the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7.

 

Jesus said people went out of their way to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, but a greater than Solomon was here. As we just covered a few weeks in Proverbs, I find it ‘prophetic’ that I accidentally stumbled into the Sermon on the Mount. Of course I knew where it was! But I ‘happened’ to fall upon it and felt the Lord wanted us to do it. The reason it is important to understand that Jesus had greater wisdom than Solomon is because it is a common hobby among Evangelicals/Protestants to ‘search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life [success, fame, fortune- the things that we feel will cause our ‘image/legacy’ to continue!] and these scriptures testify of me’. We often approach scripture with the mindset of ‘let’s find all the wonderful promises and ‘keys’ to success. Let’s look from Genesis to Revelation and find all the stories of men who became rich, of people who had the techniques down. Let’s exhaust scripture to get what we want out of it’. And Jesus comes along and says ‘all the wisdom in scripture, all the ‘Solomon portions’ if you will, are really good verses. I put them there! But I am come as one greater than ‘Solomon’ [all the wonderful success techniques you could ever find- confession, meditation, sowing ‘seed’, etc.] In me you will find life’ [all the answers to your questions]. When Jesus told Peter ‘upon this rock I will build my church’ he wasn’t just telling Peter that the church would be made up of success principles and at the end of the service you would tag his name on to it. He was telling Peter ‘I actually am the foundation stone of this building, all who see and confess me are the living stones’ this meant giving priority to Jesus and his teachings over and above all the great ideas we could ever come up with. Today we build the church on motivational stuff. We can go week after week to the ‘Sunday services’ of the American church and find the same stuff you would hear on the real estate infomercials if you stayed home and watched TV. Jesus is going to show us what it means for him to be the ‘rock on which he builds his church’ a re focusing on him and his purpose as the chief priority of the Kingdom.

‘BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT…BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN…BLESSED ARE THE MEEK’. Jesus right off the bat challenges our present mindset of those who are ‘blessed/successful’. A few years ago I read a great book by John Eldridge ‘Wild at Heart’. John dealt with the idea of the church ‘emasculating’ its male members! He showed how God put in men [and boys] this adventurous nature. And when the traditional church said to men ‘die to yourself, lay your goals down’ that men were being told something contrary to scripture. Is this true? I agreed with most of the book, John seems to be a ‘quasi theologian’ [you can pick this up from some of the statements peppered thru out the book- I guess its just something with these Johns!] But I think part of the book missed what Jesus is teaching us. Paul and Peter and all the followers of Jesus had degrees of success and fortune in their careers. Paul’s career was focused on ‘being in ministry’ he will tell us how he excelled above his peers in the theology of his day. Yet when Jesus called these guys to his Kingdom, they really did lay down there adventurous lives for another calling. Now, was this new calling more adventurous? You bet! But not in the way the American church seems to portray it. Peter and Paul lost a degree of wealth and success that never really came back to them in this life. Though today [after their deaths!] they are famous and respected, yet these things escaped them as they walked the planet! Jesus tells us there is an aspect to being ‘poor in spirit, mourning and being meek’ that causes us to experience his Kingdom. Don’t by pass these characteristics as you pursue Gods purpose for your life. Many flee their place of destiny when they taste failure. They don’t want to face their peers. Often they don’t realize that this feeling comes from a pride and religious arrogance that is rooted in the gentile idea of leadership. You have 2 choices when facing this type of obstacle. You can pack up and go somewhere else and apply all the same principles of success at ‘the new place/church’. Or you can swallow some crow and taste ‘poverty, meekness and mourning’. And you will be surprised at the outcome! Solomon did say ‘before a fall man is proud, but honor comes after humility’.

 

  • UPDATE! It’s been around a year since I started this blog. Today is 2-5-08. I wanted to update some stuff. I have been retired for a little over a month now. People ask me ‘what are you going to do now?’ I try to explain to them that the ministry has taken up most of my time over the past 20 years! The days at work were days of reading, writing and praying! Of course I would do the regular routine and all, go to a fire and stuff like that, but ‘my life’ did not consist of my job. I realize that many peoples lives do, and this is why when someone retires at say ‘45’ years old, they feel ‘lost’. To be honest I feel as if I just left a ‘part time job’ that I used to go to and study and stuff. So for the most part nothing has really changed. Now scripture says ‘without a vision [purpose-controlling destiny] people perish’ or ‘cast off restraint’. When peoples lives and identities are in their ‘job’ or ‘ministry’ or anything else. When those things change they do lose a purpose to their lives. God created man to have a purpose and fulfill a destiny. It shouldn’t be your job! Also these past few days while praying I felt the Lord impress the verse ‘one shall chase a thousand and two will put ten thousand to flight’. I have prayed this verse over our people for years. I felt the Lord impress ‘the radio ministry started in 1996. The blog in 2007 [2006]. The influence you had in ten years of radio was doubled in one year of  blogging’. Sort of like this past year has reached as many people/areas as the previous 10 years combined. I felt like this meant the ‘second’ area of teaching [blog] added to the first ‘stream’, exponentially increased our effectiveness 10 fold. Not like the first stream was ‘10 times less’ but once we added the second ‘stream’ it flowed with the first and caused great increase. If we didn’t have the ‘first stream’ already flowing for 10 years, the effect of the second stream flowing for one year would not have been the same. If you took away the 10 years of radio, the new open door would not have had the same impact. Right after I started the blog,  KCTA [our radio station] went ‘viral’. They started broadcasting over the internet. At the same time I put our blog ad in 5 news papers. This allowed for all of my old friends from New Jersey to not only read the blog, but also actually hear our broadcast! God truly gave us exponential growth! The point is be open and FAITHFULL to the areas he is speaking to you about. I never thought we would have another teaching tool as effective as the radio. To be honest this blog has been much more effective than I ever thought. The idea of running the blog ads in news papers was something I ‘felt the Lord wanted me to do’. I had no idea I was going to write so much stuff on this blog. It has become a ‘mini library’ for all of our teaching! The radio is good, but some times you have to wait a few years before you hear what I spoke, we are that far ahead of the schedule at times! But with the blog I might ‘hear’ something, write it and publish it all in one day! A drastic decrease in the amount of ‘down time’ before you actually get the word. Well anyway I just thought I would update you guys a little.

 

  • JOHN 21 (radio # 604) wow, I have been putting this off for a while! If you go back a few months you will see that I never finished this study. Jesus finds the disciples went back to fishing. As they near the shore he yells ‘did you guys catch anything’? No! They reply. ‘Cast your net on the other side’. Sure enough they fill the net! Notice something, there is another account where Jesus says ‘cast the nets’ and in that story they only cast ‘one net’. Why? Fishing was a tough business. After pulling in and cleaning all the commercial nets it is not easy to ‘cast them all back out for one last try’. So in that story Peter sort of says ‘Oh fine Jesus, will humor you’ and he cast ONE net. What happened? The net broke! [I think I am remembering right? If not this story will still have some meaning]. Here Jesus says ‘cast it’ they do and he fills it. The point is prepare for the capacity that he wants to give you! If he says ‘nets’ [multiple] do ‘nets’. Don’t think ‘fill the building’ here. Think in terms of harvest. The ‘fill the building’ could be part of it, but I think there’s more. Let the Lord direct your ‘casting’. Don’t focus on ‘my church in my city’ only. You often see these appeals on church web sites. It is not uncommon to find a web site on the other side of the world saying ‘come visit our Sunday meeting’. For heavens sake, if you have a web site [interNET] use it to cast to a broad region. Actually teach and interact with the thing! All the ‘virtual community’ are a real community of people. Don’t take a possible few million potential readers and say ‘come visit my building’. Geez! Get the word out! As the disciples get to shore they realize its Jesus and Peter jumps out and leaves the brothers to bring in the nets. Thanks a lot! But oh wait, then Jesus says ‘bring the fish’ and Peter runs down and grabs the net right at the end! Sort of like what Saturday night live used to say about Bill Clinton. He was a nice guy, the type who would offer to help you move the furniture, but when you let your side down you realize he wasn’t really lifting! Peter was a little ‘showboat’ here. Leaders, be careful about arranging your ‘ministries’ around your personas. Are the majority of the funds being spent on broadcasting your gift and image to people? This is not primarily New Testament ministry! Peter tells Jesus 3 time ‘you know I love you’. Most of you are familiar with this story. Jesus says ‘do you love me’ 3 times to Peter. In the Greek Jesus used the 3 different words for love. But don’t lose the context. Scripture does say Peter was grieved that Jesus asked him this 3 TIMES. Peter understood that Jesus wasn’t asking him 3 different things one time each! Maybe Jesus was allowing Peter to work in his own mind for the 3 times he publicly denied him? Maybe we need to say out loud ‘I LOVE JESUS’ to reaffirm to ourselves that if we really weren’t sincere why in the world would we even be doing these things! It’s easy to question all your motives, especially after reading this site! For the most part all you Pastors and leaders I relate to, you guys are real ‘players’. If you didn’t really love the Lord most of you wouldn’t be doing the stuff you are doing, I commend you! In verse 18 Jesus basically tells Peter ‘I am going to give you one more chance. You feel terrible about not dieing for the cause. Your denials of me were done out of fear of loosing your life. The church is going to enter a period of great persecution, many will die for the faith. When you get old Peter you will stretch forth your hands and be martyred’. It’s almost like Jesus said to him ‘don’t worry, I am giving you another chance at it’. I think this scenario is very possible, he doesn’t tell the others they will die like this. As we conclude John’s gospel, let’s recap some stuff. I said earlier that Johns gospel could be called the ‘gospel of sovereignty’. I believe Jesus taught Predestination in this gospel. At least he hits on this doctrine more in this gospel than the others. I think you could also call it ‘the gospel of belief’. There are more statements on those who believe having eternal life than in any other gospel. I think we should not take this lightly. It is common in Christian circles to add a bunch of stuff to the gospel. Many evangelicals preach a type of altar call that says ‘if you think simple belief in Jesus is going to save you, well you got another thing coming’. But simple belief in Jesus does ‘save you’ [Actually Jesus saves you!]. There is a recent resurgence in Reformed theology going on in the Evangelical church. Good stuff on Orthodoxy and Eastern roots also. Studying Patristics. We need to be careful that we don’t stray from the simple offer of eternal life to those who believe! It is all too easy to ‘fall in love’ with a sort of romanticism with all things Orthodox and mix sacerdotalism in with justification by faith! This gospel falls down heavily on the justification by faith side! [I know my Catholic friends will say ‘hey, chapter 6 says this is my Body!’ I don’t want to re teach it here. Go back and read chapter 6 on this study]. So thank God that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have Everlasting life!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘blessed are they which hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled’ who were those hungering for righteousness in the crowd of hearers? You had 2 groups of people. Those who thought they were already righteous, the religious crowd. And you had the underclass, the ones who were told their whole lives ‘you will never make the grade. You are some sort of illegal alien from the promises of God’. It was to this group that Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to them. The adulteress couldn’t believe that the Messiah, the main leader of the so called religious class. The one who they were all waiting for. The harlots thought for sure when the main one would show up. Well he would surely judge and condemn them. They ‘hungered’ for that which they were told they could never have. To their surprise Jesus would say ‘neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more’. Jesus would say these are those who love much because they were forgiven of much. Jesus called them blessed! ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. How do you get mercy? Do you ask Jesus for it? Do you memorize and confess ‘mercy verses’? Do you tithe for it? Jesus said the way you get it is by GIVNG IT AWAY! The principle of the ‘golden rule’ which comes later. Be merciful. Mete it out. The Pharisees were always praying and fasting and attending ‘Sabbath services’ and yet passed over the more important matters. They saw their religion as fulfilling some type of job title. Jesus wants compassion and action, he wants social justice! Yes, preach the gospel while doing it. But DO IT! ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’. How do we live up to this one! It’s not what you think. God says in Psalms it is the contrite person, the broken person. The one like King David, who when confronted by the prophet about his sin. Most kings would have killed the prophet. David said ‘you are right, I have sinned’. Very rare response for someone in power. God said David was a man after his own HEART. David had a pure HEART. Willing to admit his sin and not try to live up to some image to impress men. He took it like a man. What if David kept trying to hide it? Live with the secret of his failure. Worrying about the next ‘prophet’ who would confront him? Then he would not have been able to ‘see God’. We all have sinned. If you choose to do it, God will forgive you again and again. But you will feel a manifest loss of his real presence! Be assured, the day you choose sin, you forfeit all that the Lord wanted to reveal to you in that day. Yes, his mercies are new every morning. But why waste a whole day?

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness sake. Blessed are you when men shall talk about you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake’. Jesus causes us to rethink the response. He takes from us the normal idea of ‘going thru undeserved suffering’ and tells us it’s a good thing! He shows us that persecution is a tool that God permits for the benefit of his children. When you view it from this standpoint you can rejoice because you are in good company ‘for so persecuted they the prophets which were BEFORE YOU’. In essence ‘this is not some new thing you are going thru’. Peter says ‘when you go thru fiery trials, don’t think it strange. Like you are being singled out. But rejoice, realizing that the SAME stuff is happening to your brothers thru out the world’ [actually worse stuff!] The enemy’s strategy is to tell you ‘wow, look at all the stuff people are saying about you! They are even talking about your family. Look how God is rewarding you for following him. If I were you I would walk away right now before it gets worse’. The enemy wants you to view undeserved difficulty thru this lens. If he can get you to believe the lie, then his plan for the difficulty will prevail. Joseph told his brothers ‘what you meant for evil, God meant for good’. Joseph was mature enough in his understanding to see that it was the intended harm that his brothers meant to do, that allowed him to be in a position of actually fulfilling the destiny God gave him thru his dreams! Seeing the big picture allowed him to overcome the natural bitterness that comes when people unjustly use you. Here Jesus tells us that when you go thru UNJUST CRITICISM there is a real blessing that you can obtain that comes no other way. Look at it this way and you will be able to rise to the top and use your influence to actually bless those who come against you!

 

  • TENT STORY- A few weeks back I bought a tent for one of my homeless friends. Nice tent, it cost 70.oo bucks. About a week later he told me he put it up and right at the end of setting it up he noticed it had a factory defect. A part was too short! As I asked him ‘are you sure’. He reassured me he has put up many tents, he was sure. I told him I didn’t have the receipt any more [I am terrible at this!] but we can return it in a few days. As I have been teaching the Sermon on the Mount and praying for my friends I prayed one morning ‘Lord, give our people divine revelation. Show them things thru prophetic dreams’. Sure enough later that day I got with the guys. The ‘tent man’ tells me ‘you know, the strangest thing happened. I had a dream the other night that I set up the tent. I dreamt that it worked’. When he woke up he felt like it was a prophetic dream. He usually will not go thru the 2 hour procedure of setting it up all over again! It is quite a large tent! But he tried and told me when he got to the last step he couldn’t believe the defect was gone. He told me ‘I know for sure the defect was real. There is no way I was simply mistaken’. I felt this was an answer to the prayer! I told him I was just praying for the Lord to reveal stuff to us thru dreams and stuff. He says ‘I have been dreaming about the sermon on the mount also’! GEEZ!

NOTE; the reason I got with the ‘tent guy’ was his employer was moving back to San Antonio and he had to get his stuff out of his bosses house. Lots of stuff! I used my truck to help him get it. About mid way thru putting all his stuff in the truck I told him ‘hey, if you have much more, you will be in danger of violating the verse that says ‘lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth’. As we got back to the ‘tent area’ we unloaded a lot of stuff at his camp. I put a few big things in my garage [he had a desk, microwave and air conditioner!] As we were leaving a guy across the street stops us. He walks up with this ‘Corpus Christi Police’ shirt. He is acting tough. I must admit this is a weakness of mine. When someone acts tough I feel like I have to put them in their place. I know its wrong but I am just being honest. This guy looks like a throwback to the Vietnam era. Long hair in a pony tail and all. My hair is just as long, no pony tail! He starts questioning me as we are leaving in my truck. My 2 homeless friends are used to getting harassed by the cops. So they are being timid. The guy starts acting like he is a cop. I read his shirt and under ‘Corpus Police’ it has ‘citizens association’ basically fake cops. Now I must admit I have a history with ‘fake guys’. I love the volunteer fire dept. I worked with these guys for years. One of the problems was they had the same Fire Dept. Tee shirts that we wore. These guys would wear them all over town acting like paid guys! We would get calls at the fire house ‘one of your guys spotted a violation at my club’ or stuff like that. We would later find out that ‘our guys’ were the volunteers in our shirts! So I have a 25 year history with this stuff. Finally I tell the fake cop ‘hey, I am helping out some homeless guys. That’s why we were in the area’ I also let him know he is a fake cop, and shouldn’t be wearing the shirt presenting himself as the ‘real thing’. I told him I worked as a paid Fire Fighter for 25 years and told him ‘we have had problems with guys like you for years’. Now my buddies are real quiet. You could tell this guy didn’t want to back down. I finally pulled over and as I was getting out my buddies are like ‘no, let’s just leave’. I got out and the guy backed down. I didn’t threaten him, but I let him know he is a fake cop trying to pass himself off as the real thing. Well I finally left. The guys said ‘he changed his tune after you got out’. I knew the guys were used to getting harassed. I did tell them ‘now I have to go home and finish writing on the Sermon on the Mount’. They knew where I was going with it, I realize I did not practice the principles of Jesus in this scenario. But wanted to ‘fess up’. My homeless buddy does tell me later on that he kinda feels guilty that I have spent a lot of money and stuff helping him these past few weeks. I tell him ‘don’t feel guilty brother. I had to make some minor adjustments. I told my kids ‘try not to eat too much this week, we are short on cash’ He laughed! [He knew I was kidding].

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Ye are the salt of the earth, if the salt loses its flavor, what good is it’ ‘ye are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hid’ ‘Let your light shine before men THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS and glorify God’. The message bible says ‘you bring out the flavor of the earth, the God colors’. Sort of like our lives actually cause others to think and react to God. There have been many times when I was just hanging out with some lost guys. And somehow someone will say ‘he’s a preacher’ [I hate this language!] but without me saying a word, they will start talking about the Lord! It’s like the ‘God colors’ are already there, as we interact with society we ‘bring them out’. Here Jesus says he wants the world to see our good works. Is he contradicting what he will say in chapter 6? ‘Do not your good deeds to be seen of men’. The distinction is motivation. Jesus said the religious leaders were performing. They sincerely saw their function in ministry as a way to build status and image in society. They did not know they were wrong! I remember years ago I would go to the jails and preach. Many of these guys became my best friends over the years. I had hundreds of letters from brothers asking questions and stuff over the years. Great testimonies. I met a believer who started going to the jails also. One day in a church service they read one of the first letters they received. They seemed to make a very big deal about it. Announcing and reading stuff that was ‘normal fare’. I thought ‘geez, I have read hundreds of these letters before’. I realized to this person the fact that they received a letter from someone in jail was a way to promote their ministry. I think Jesus is making this type of distinction here. He wants our ‘good works’, not ministry performance, to be ‘seen of men’. I want to throw in some context here. The ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘city on a hill’ can most certainly speak of us as Gods people. But like I taught in Hebrews I also want you to see the Jewish context. As Jesus is calling the disciples to himself he is bringing a ‘remnant of Israel’ to himself. He can also be addressing Israel in ‘microcosm’. Saying ‘you guys are salt and light, if you miss out on me you will lose the main ingredient. What good is ‘unsalty salt’? It is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under men’s feet’. Has the Nation of Israel been ‘trodden under men’s feet’? They have been despised and mistreated for millennia! Jesus will tell Israel ‘I am the main ingredient, the CHIEF cornerstone, if you miss me you’ve missed it all’.

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- I believe this section may be the most ‘theologically’ important part. ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, I have not come to destroy but TO FULFIL’ . I have heard this explained ‘see Jesus himself stressed the importance of the law, therefore we should exalt the law as believers’ [Reformed brothers sometimes hold this view]. Or ‘Jesus only did away with the ceremonial law, all the traditions and stuff that rose up along with the law. He never did away with the moral law, the 10 commandments’. Those who hold this view will teach that all the references by Paul about ‘the law being nailed to the Cross’ [Colossians] or ‘if there had been a law given that could have given life than righteousness would have been by the law. I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness had been by the law, then Christ died in vain!’ [Galatians, Romans]. Or better yet ‘The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. But now that the fullness has come, there is no longer a need for a schoolmaster’ [Galatians]. Those who see this as ‘ceremonial law’ say these references are not about the 10 commandments, the ‘moral law’. Hebrew says ‘the law was a shadow of the things, not the real image. Now that the real thing is here [Christ] the shadows are getting old and fading away’. Now, all these references are without a doubt speaking of the ‘whole law’, not just ‘the ceremonial law’. The New testament flatly teaches that believers are not under the law. And when it says ‘the law’ it really means ‘the law’! Yet Paul will teach ‘does this mean we go out and kill, steal, commit adultery’? NO! he says now that we are new creatures we have the law of love working in us and we don’t do these things. But there is no doubt he teaches the law having no ‘control’ in the sense that we wake up every day and think ‘now, today my life must be regulated by the rules’. This was a type of legalism that Paul would spend most of his time fighting against in the New Testament. So lets get back to Jesus words ‘for truly I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED’. This verse is not saying ‘the law will never pass away’. It is saying ‘it will remain in force, it will continue to stand as the ‘standard’ of righteousness that will forever be a reminder of mans total inability to live up to God standards. It will even be the ‘the strength of sin’ in a sense [Paul-Romans] that as man looks to the perfect law and character of God, as seen in the law, he will forever be reminded of his utter inability to be righteous in and of himself’. But then, WHEN ALL IS FULFILLED [thru the perfect life of Jesus and his death and resurrection!] then it will ‘pass away’. It will cease to be a means of condemnation by which sinful man can never live up to it. Now Paul will teach ‘is the law sin, God forbid’. In no way am I saying [or Jesus!] that the passing away of the law means man no longer has to live right! Jesus is saying that when he finishes his work on earth, all ‘new creatures in Christ’ will be fulfilling the law by the new Christ nature that is within them. Sinful man will still be under the condemnation of the law, the only way it ‘passes away’ for them is to ‘get in Christ’. You are either under the law [condemnation] or in grace, there is no middle ground! Be assured Jesus said ‘except your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will not enter heaven’. His wasn’t telling the people ‘try harder’. He was saying the standard is so high, no man can do it thru his own works. It will take the divine work of redemption to pull it off. A righteousness equal to the very nature of God. An ‘imputed righteousness’. So in a nutshell Jesus hits on the whole underlying theme of the New Testament, justification by Faith. He in no way is saying ‘see, the law exists along side redemption in the life of the believer’. That my friends would be pure legalism!

 

  • AUSTRIA! Got a good e mail from someone in Austria. They were surfing the net and came across the site. Praise God for Austria!

 

  • 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 our 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!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are ‘in the way’ with him’. Look at this principle. Jesus puts it right before he speaks on divorce. Divorce court is the single most contributor to personal bankruptcy. How many times do we see litigation and ‘getting even’ as the primary motivator for going to court? I heard of a guy who sold his house and vehicles for 50 dollars [or some outrageous value] just so his ex wouldn’t get it. Paul says ‘why harm your brother, or own family member. No man ever yet hated his own flesh’! Jesus said your wife was your own flesh. Two have become one. Why sue yourself! As you read further Jesus says ‘if someone takes you to court for your shirt, give him your coat too’! The law of non resistance. This next one is good also ‘if you are compelled to go 1 mile, go 2’! I have heard that in Jesus day the Roman Empire had mile markers all over the place. When a Roman soldier compelled you to carry his pack, you by law were required to carry it. But only 1 mile. Sure enough the legalistic Pharisees figured out a way to just do the bare minimum. So you had these mile markers all over the place. Well after the mile is up, these new Jesus followers said ‘let’s go for one more’. What! Are you outta your mind! The first mile is like the first covenant. The law had you under its grasp. That first mile was like ‘I will do this requirement, but I will be cursing under my breath the whole way’. Now mile 2 was different. Your were still doing all the same requirements of law, but you didn’t have to! The ‘law keeper’ was still watching [soldier] but the terms were turned around. It’s almost like you were in charge now. He couldn’t tell you anything. He almost felt guilty! As a matter of fact after the second mile was completed he was almost your friend! When you are in the second mile [under grace] you still do the moral requirements of the law, but you don’t have the soldier forcing you at the point of a gun [law mentality].

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Whoever is angry is guilty of murder’ ‘he that lusts after a woman is like committing adultery in his heart’. WOW! Is Jesus saying the consequences are the same? No. If you kill someone you will pay back much more in terms of societal justice. But God sees the root of it before it ever happens, he knows all men are possible candidates for murder. It starts in the heart. I remember during the O.J. trial that people were saying ‘How can you think that someone could do such a thing’? The fact was someone did do such a thing! Whether or not you think O.J. did it, the fact is someone did it! The point is we have a tendency to look at horrible crimes and think ‘surely I am not capable of that’ God sees the heart. Now, in covering the ‘lust verse’ I want to also do the ‘don’t divorce’ verse. Jesus says ‘whoever divorces and marries another is committing adultery’ and also ‘causing the person who you divorced to commit adultery’. First, Jesus says it starts with lust. I know men say ‘You don’t know how much I had to put up with’ and on and on. These guys make their decisions based on what they see from Hollywood. They believe the lie that they see on the screen. All doesn’t end up well. You didn’t divorce over other issues. You more than likely started an emotional relationship that lead to a physical one. All the devastating results of broken homes and broken families come along with this. Can God forgive divorce? Yes, but be warned ahead of time that it is very destructive! ‘If your eye offend thee, pluck it out. Your right hand, chop it off’ Jesus is saying ‘do you see the thing that’s leading you in the wrong direction? Is what you’re looking at and doing causing you to fall?’ Then by all means make the necessary adjustments now. Proverbs says a wise man sees the danger ahead and turns before getting there. A fool goes straight ahead and runs into trouble. One way to bypass the devastating results of sin and its drastic consequences is to operate in the wisdom of God and remove the offence. Does Jesus want you to ‘chop your hand off’? There was a famous church father, Origen. He took this verse literally and ‘self castrated’ himself to avoid sexual temptation. Now that’s what I call reading the bible literally [and painfully!] Jesus isn’t saying that! But he is saying avoid the areas of danger. A fool does not know what’s causing him to stumble, he keeps stumbling because he is not removing the stumbling block. He keeps tripping over the same thing. A wise man will move the thing that’s causing him to stumble. Is the wise man ‘above the temptation to stumble? Inherently more moral than the fool’ No, he simply sees his area of weakness and avoids the pitfall!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Give to him that asks of thee, and to him that would borrow from thee turn not thou away’ well, we could spend a lot of time here. Those of you who have read this site for a while know I have a ‘pet peeve’ about believers feeling that if they don’t ‘tithe to the storehouse on Sunday’ [may God deliver us from small paradigms!] they will be under a ‘curse’ but seem to give little or no heed to the actual teachings from Jesus and Paul on the primacy of ‘giving to those in need’. I just finished a study in Proverbs. If you replace all the verses on ‘giving to the poor’ with ‘tithing to the church building’ you could then deem tithing as important. If you replaced the portions of scripture where Jesus actually links GOING TO HEAVEN OR HELL based on our treatment of the poor. If you took those verses and said ‘at the judgment I will say to some ‘go into eternal judgment’ and to others ‘enter into your reward’. And then they said ‘why Lord’ and he said ‘in as much as you did not tithe to the church on Sunday’ then you would have a point about teaching the importance of ‘tithing’. But the fact is Jesus does link all these things to ‘giving to the poor’. Over 90 percent of all teaching thru out scripture deals with this. Even in Israel’s economy they had principles of ‘leaving the corners of your farm land un reaped for the poor’. Over and over again is this theme preached. But even today, some of you just read the verse I began with and thought ‘I wonder how this will relate to me’. It relates to you BY TAKING IT SERIOUSLY! By reorganizing your priorities around the actual words of Jesus! By doing this actual thing. I know believers are still going to give priority to the Malachi verse ‘you have robbed God by not tithing to the storehouse’. If they could just see that the ‘storehouse’ in the New Testament are people, not ‘church buildings’ then we would have made some headway, but traditions in the minds of those who are always ‘fighting tradition’ are too hard to pull down!

 

  • 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 buy 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!

 

  • I was listening to a famous [and good!] radio preacher. Been around for years and is good. Of course I am mentioning him to disagree with a mindset that is prevalent in Christianity. He was teaching on abiding in Christ from Johns gospel. He said ‘are you feeling bored with attending church week after week, year after year? Does it seem unfulfilling to go to a ‘church’ and sit and listen to the Pastor? You know why you feel this way? It’s because you ARE NOT ABIDNG IN HIM!’ Ouch! God didn’t create you to be fulfilled by ‘going to a church meeting and sitting and listening for 50 years!’ The reason you are not fulfilled doing this, is because you weren’t designed to be fulfilled by DOING THIS! This is the whole reason for the present revolution going on in the church over the practices and function of ‘local church’. Now, when I hear a good man say this. I realize he means well and is still functioning under the old paradigm. But after reading all the stuff on this site it becomes obvious that the problem isn’t ‘abiding in Christ’ [at least in the way he spoke of it] but the problem is you were designed to function and daily experience and live out ‘church’ [ecclesia- corporate expressions of Christ’s functioning society of people- community!] Present church leadership teaches a type of ‘loyalty/membership’ to a ‘local church’ that is contrary to scripture. The idea that leaders were designed to ‘be over/ cover’ believers for their entire lives is unbiblical. When God made man, he explicitly told him ‘when you grow up [could this be the problem! We are not ‘growing up’?] You are to LEAVE YOUR Father/Mother relationship and cleave to your wife’. In essence you are to establish new relationships with ‘your wife’ [the ecclesia- Christ’s ‘wife’] you are to relate on a co equal plain with the broader body of Christ and to not remain ‘cleaving to your former parents’. A lot of the abuses in the shepherding/apostolic covering movement made this mistake. They taught a type of ‘apostolic covering’ that said the problem in present Christianity is most believers are out of order. Out of order to these guys means ‘go find some man to cover you’! Double OUCH! So for the most part the reason you are bored by attending church for 50 years is because you were supposed to ‘leave you former parental structure’ [I am your Pastor mentality] and establish new relationships with the broader body of Christ. In this new relationship you too will eventually have kids, just remember that there will come a time where they too will ‘leave their father and Mother and cleave to their wife’. This my friend is the reason you are ‘bored with church’. Because what you call ‘church’ is simply a lecture hall. What the bible calls ‘church’ is a living organic manifestation of the Spirit of God functioning in a community of people! [That might have been a little harsh!]

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up treasure in heaven [why?], because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. Well, here we are again! Over the years as I have rebuked the prosperity messages abuses, I stumble across a verse and it ‘re opens’ the wounds! Not in a bad way, but in a way that causes believers who have overlooked the main body of Jesus teaching in this area, to re examine their ideas. Once again the message of Jesus goes against the grain of the modern success gospel. He isn’t teaching ‘don’t have an emergency account’ or don’t save up. He is challenging the single most important obstacle to the gospel. MAMMON! Jesus says ‘the world [unbelievers] spend their whole thought life obsessing over finances’ [the Gentiles are always thinking about these things!]. You see commercials on ‘I am 70 years old, my wife is 67. Our biggest fear is if one of us should die, who will pay the bills’? Their biggest fear, according to Jesus, should be ‘If one of us dies, we will stand before God and give an account of our lives. We will spend the next trillion, billion, gazillion years in heaven or hell’ who gives a ‘rip’ about the bills! Our society seems to magnify the insignificant and trivialize the significant! Jesus taught being responsible. He taught the principle of counting the cost and looking ahead. He also taught his followers to be warned against the deception of riches. Yes he warned about money and materialistic living. The church today needs to re tool her message back to the agenda of Jesus Christ!

 

  • SERMON NO THE MOUNT- Two things before we leave chapter 6. Jesus repeats ‘take no thought’ while dealing with mammon and the material things of life. We all know he didn’t mean ‘don’t be responsible’. But he did mean ‘take no thought’. He did tell us to watch out and be ware of the snare of money. I must say it plain like this because the contemporary church doesn’t believe this any more. The modern success gospel sees any teachings from Jesus against materialism as ‘that old tradition’. There minds are blinded from the fact that this theme of ‘material success versus spiritual riches’ is seen over and over again. Now, the Gnostics and the Docetists [early century Christian cults] taught a type of materialism that said ‘all material things are evil’. The reformers of the 16th century would later correct this [as well as the catholic brothers thru out the centuries! Augustine in particular] the church would show that the bible and tradition do not hold to this wrong view of material things. Matter itself is not inherently evil. The word ‘flesh’ in our English bibles sometimes gives the wrong idea. ‘I know that in me is no good thing, that is in my flesh’ yet Paul would also say ‘present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to the Lord’. So the ‘flesh’ that has no good thing in it is not saying the natural body [material thing] but the sinful nature [carnal-flesh] is absent from any self righteousness. So as the church would correct the false teaching of material things being evil, she would later fall into the snare of seeking material things! It’s like going from one extreme to another. So here Jesus says ‘take no thought’ don’t be consumed with always thinking and meditating and confessing and going to church with the obsession of ‘bringing in my harvest/changing my world’. This inward focus causes us to lose the character of Jesus in giving ourselves away. In forsaking all to gain a true eternal reward. Have you been ‘taking thought’ about these things all the time? Does ministry to you mean ‘finances, buildings, staff, etc..’? All OK things in their proper order, but if you have become consumed with the resources, where it takes up the majority of your thought life, then you are ‘taking thought’ contrary to Jesus commands!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Judge not, that you be not judged. Why do you see the little fault in your brothers eye, yet you do not see the log in yours! Or how will you say to your brother ‘let me help you get the speck out’? If you yourself aren’t seeing clearly, then how can you see well enough to assist him? First get the thing out of your eye, then you will see straight enough to help him’. These are all my own paraphrase by the way. Who were the main ‘judgers’ of Jesus day? We all know! The Pharisees. Even unbelievers use this term to describe a hypocrite! How did they get tagged with this universal description? They saw Jesus and his followers as ‘illegitimate’. No matter how many good things he did. Raising the dead, tremendous teaching ministry. True self sacrifice. Demonstrating the kingdom in word and deed. Yet they came to a universal judgment of him and his movement as false. Why? They saw Jesus and hid disciples as ‘un orthodox’. Not going by the ordinances and standards of their religious protocol. They were convinced in their minds that he was wrong, and they made sure others knew it! There was one problem. He was right and they were wrong. It is almost impossible for religious leaders to ever arrive at this conclusion! Some eventually did. Both Nicodemus and the later believers at Jerusalem had a group of Pharisees ‘which believed’. Yet these same brothers would give Paul hell for his gospel to the gentiles! But today, after 2 thousand years. The exact judgment they passed on Jesus ‘you are illegitimate’ has been forever branded on them! Now is Jesus saying ‘don’t judge’ in the way the world thinks? How many times have you heard an unbeliever use this as an excuse? Sort of like ‘no one can say adultery is wrong, Jesus said ‘don’t judge’. Jesus isn’t saying you can not correct or reprove. He is saying what Paul would write to the Galatians ‘see someone in a fault, you who are spiritual [those who have removed their own log!] restore him in meekness’. Jesus is saying you can correct, but do it in love and with the true heart of God. Seeking to restore the ones you reprove. Leaving room for them to repent and be restored to usefulness again. Even Paul will say if you rebuke false prophets sharply, they can repent! Jesus said ‘first cast out the log in your eye, THEN you will be well enough to help others’. The wounds from a friend [correction] are better than the kisses of someone who is just flattering you!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall open. Everyone who asks receives, seeks will find…’ I want to credit Brother Hagin/Copeland and the prosperity/word of faith movement for showing us that Jesus doesn’t say ‘ask. And sometimes the answer is ‘no’ sometimes ‘yes’. They did show the truth that in these verses Jesus isn’t saying ‘you always get an answer, sometimes you receive, sometimes not’. They brought out the importance of trusting Jesus to do what he said. The Word is his will, like John Osteen [Joel’s dad] would say ‘this is my bible I can do and have what it says’. The problem comes in when we use these things contrary to the rest of the teachings of Jesus, like say for instance IN THE VERSES SURROUNDING THIS TEXT! James will teach ‘the reason you ask and DON’T RECEIVE [Wow, even James didn’t know this secret formula of always receiving!] is because you ask out of selfishness, wanting to consume things out of lust and covetousness’. So here we see the importance of asking in faith and trusting Gods promises. But we also balance this with Jesus will for us to live above the materialistic pursuits of the flesh. Jesus will meet our needs and even give us material blessings to make us happy. He says ‘if natural fathers give their kids good things, how much more your heavenly father’. God will give you nice stuff, just don’t go overboard with it. I have seen good Pastors actually go down this path and teach their people things that would be considered real heresy. Stuff like ‘Jesus died so you can be rich’ [in money]. Or ‘Jesus wore an expensive coat, owned a fabulous house and preached a message of ‘follow me and you will be rich’. These Pastors have fallen into the warning Paul gave Timothy [1st Timothy chapter 6] they began to teach that gain was godliness, Paul said to ‘turn away from them’. So here we see the good promise of a good God who will give us good things, just stay on course while believing him for good things!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER THAT YE WOULD THAT MEN SHOULD DO TO YOU, DO YE EVEN SO TO THEM: FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS’ this might be the most important single verse in these 3 chapters. Was Jesus opening up a Pandora’s Box here? How did he know people would choose right? He didn’t say ‘treat others according to the ten commandments’. He said ‘treat them the way you want to be treated’. Jesus taught the concept of natural law here. If you remember a few years back when Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court. One of the main questions he was asked was whether or not he believed in ‘natural law’. Natural law is the idea that there exists in man this ‘moral compass’ of right and wrong. Paul teaches this in Romans. The fact that all men have a basic idea on how they want to be treated shows you that there is more to man than simple flesh! He has within him this God-given conscience that deep down inside knows what’s right or wrong. The reason senator Joe Biden made such an issue out of it when questioning Thomas, was because those who believe in natural law do see an inherent right to life. The abortion issue. When the Supreme Court legalized abortion, the court found a ‘constitutional right to a woman’s privacy’. Many lawyers, even liberal pro abortion ones, believe this decision is wrong based on faulty law. It would be like saying slavery is acceptable because there is an inherent ‘right to private property’. While there is a right to private property, the problem with this reasoning is OTHER PEOPLE ARE NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY! So even if you believed in a so called ‘right to privacy’ how in the world do you extend that right to include the murder of another human being! All human rights derive from the basic right to life. If human govt. deprives people of the inherent right to life, then you might as well forget about any other so called rights. Some say ‘well, abortion is established law’. So was the racist law of not allowing Blacks to vote! I don’t care ‘how established’ a law is, if it allows for the destruction of biological human life, it’s flawed. Frances Beckwith just released a book on this [1-08] and he shows the legal justification for overturning Roe V Wade. So Jesus was confident enough in ‘natural law’, the basic belief that inherent in man is the concept of right and wrong, that he said ‘do unto others as you want done to you’. He knew men had a basic idea of fairness and justice. Even kids on the playground will shout ‘that’s not fair’. No matter how hard man tries to deny the reality of natural law, its there!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS’ ‘you will know them by their fruits, what they produce. They come to you as wolves in sheep’s clothing’. In Ezekiel the ‘shepherds’ are rebuked because they come to devour the sheep. They see the sheep as a means for self aggrandizement. Here Jesus says ‘they are wearing sheepskins!’ They view ministry and pastoring/shepherding as a means to become wealthy and prosperous! Shall I continue? Let’s also take a broader view. In the history of Christianity you have had Christian cults that were ‘false’ by virtue of the fact that they denied the basic truths of Christianity. In the bible, 1st John deals with ‘those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh are anti-Christ’. John was targeting the early Gnostic/Docetist sects who said Jesus was a ‘phantom’. He appeared to be ‘real flesh’ but wasn’t. John deals with them as ‘anti christ’ because of their denial of the incarnation. Jesus was truly man and truly God. On a broader scale you have the religion of Islam. Arab [Muslim] people are good people! ‘Why brother how can you say that’? Easy, they were created in the image of God! Allah didn’t make them, Muhammad didn’t create them! They were created by Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Now, have they been led astray? Yes. As hard as it is to say this in today’s pluralistic society, they have been MIS LED. What about Jewish people? Good people! We should love and pray for them, not at the expense of Arabs [Muslims] but in concert for their salvation. Ultimately all religions except for Christianity produce ‘bad fruit’. Why? Because all religions outside of Christ are man centered. You try to self reform thru law. This produces death. Christianity offers a free redemption thru the Blood of Christ. You don’t ‘self reform’. Grace produces the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus does say in this passage ‘narrow and straight is the way to life’. Yes, it sounds narrow minded to proclaim Jesus as the only way. Christians in America have crossed the line in ethnic/religious views. They have wrongfully sided with militaristic views of defending one nation’s military against another’s. Do we as believers have the right to support our countries military actions against radical Islam? Yes. As Christians should we advocate the annihilation of Muslim people because of their religious beliefs? NO! Too many American Christians seem to have not made this distinction. I believe Christians and Muslims and Jews should all work together as much as possible. Respect each others different beliefs. But also advocate for why we believe that Jesus is truly the only way to God. Jesus truly is the answer!

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But he that doeth the will of my Father’. In John’s gospel Jesus says “this is the will of him that sent me, that you would believe on him who God has sent”. So Jesus isn’t saying ‘you get saved by your works’. But he is showing us that the Evangelical altar call is no guarantee! To be fair, the rise of the ‘altar call/sinners prayer’ was a well intended tool for evangelism. But carried to the extreme it seemed to teach whoever says this prayer [Lord, Lord?] will enter into the Kingdom of heaven. It created a strange type of soteriology that said ‘you might have believed in the gospel. You might have been baptized and joined the church. You might have a vibrant faith life and ascended the ranks of church leadership [Pastor, Priest or Pope!] You might have led a changed life thru your Christian faith. But if you don’t remember when you said the sinner’s prayer, and if when you did say it. If all the preceding ‘stages’ were not ideal [first you fully realized your lost state, then you went to the meeting, then the altar!] Then you are lost! This strange idea taught a type of salvation that was dependant on what you prayed and how you prayed it. The problem with this is Jesus does make it very plain that you very well might know the exact day you prayed the thing, and still be lost! The point is the New testament [1st John] as well as Jesus himself always point to ‘those who have actually done righteous deeds’ as being the outward sign of having been made righteous! John says ‘by this we know we are born of God. He that doeth righteousness is of God, he that doeth evil is not’. Jesus says ‘those that have done good will be raised to the resurrection of life, evil to the resurrection of judgment’. Now, I do not believe these statements are saying ‘you are saved by works’ but they most certainly show you what the life of the believer will look like compared to the life of the unbeliever! So for whole groups of Christians to teach a type of ‘salvation’ that is reassured by the saying of ‘Lord, Lord’. For these brothers to then almost teach a theology that says ‘and after you prayed this formula, if you lived the next 50 years as an old bubba who cheated on his wife. Had a few drinks with the boys, never really had any true faith. But you go to heaven any way because you were just backslidden’ Yikes! I think these brothers need to re read this verse! So The New Testament shows us the end result. The goal of justification by faith is the outcome of actually being made just! Or actually doing right things. Now, there can be some controversy here. One of the main issues surrounding the Reformation had to do with the Catholic belief that ‘we are saved by grace. But this grace infuses us with righteousness and then the righteous works that we do ACTUALLY MERIT a degree of salvation’! [Believe me, it is much deeper than this, and both sides [Protestant/Catholic] have miss represented each others ideas at times]. I do not believe this type of ‘good works’ theology. I know there are many Christians who believe it [Orthodox, certain Pentecostal groups, etc] I hold to the Pauline formula in Ephesians ‘by grace are you saved, not by works’ now, in context Paul is saying ‘the faith God gives you is not of works’. Paul isn’t saying there are no works included in what God is calling you to. He goes on to say ‘created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’. So the simple fact that Jesus and the writers of the New Testament actually make statements saying ‘those who have done good go to heaven, those who have done evil don’t’. This should steer us away from a doctrine of salvation that is heavily dependant on ‘what you said’.

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Many will SAY UNTO ME in that day “Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out devils and have done many good works” and I will say “depart from me, ye that work iniquity, for I never knew you”. I remember how we used this verse as fundamental Baptists to teach how all the Charismatics were going to hell! First, if this is what Jesus meant, then even those who ‘do good works’ [the whole context of the sermon on the Mount!] don’t make it! The point is there are those who see Christianity thru the lens of being familiar with Christian tradition and activity. Hey ‘I have been around the culture my whole life, surely I’m in’? Not necessarily. Also Jesus didn’t say they actually cast out the demons and prophesied, he said ‘they said they did it’. Who knows, maybe this group was fudging? I believe in all the gifts of the Spirit. I don’t believe that all the Charismatics have the definitions right! I was taught a whole view of ‘word of Knowledge, word of Wisdom’, gifts Paul defines in Corinthians. As being ‘knowing the past, or knowing the future’. It was a very limited perspective taught by Brother Hagin that seemed to miss the real intent of the gifts. So you can believe in the gifts, and really be seeing your own idea of what they mean. I also reject the cessationism of certain dispensational groups. The whole idea that the gifts passed away. The broad view of scripture [and church history!] show the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost to be an ongoing ‘life of the Spirit’ to be expressed thru the Church thru the Spirits Charisms. God never intended for this major event to be a temporary thing that would pass away. The majority of Christians believe in the gifts of the Spirit. Catholics [this only reaffirmed the anti gifts mindset in the fundamental circles. They would see the catholic churches embracing of the Charismatic movement as proof of the one world churches end time deception] Orthodox and Protestant churches for the most part accept the gifts of the Spirit. Some strains of Protestantism reject them. Well anyway Jesus is telling us don’t rely on ‘religious function- performance’ as a means of ‘getting into heaven’. We don’t want to fall into the error of ‘I was born and raised in ‘the church’ therefore I am Christian’. You might be Christian, but it’s because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and your faith in his Blood that saves you, not religion! Even Father Groeschel [a favorite Priest of mine on EWTN] will emphasize ‘we are saved thru Jesus Christ’ when asked by sincere Catholic callers to his show ‘how do I overcome guilt and sin’. The point is, we need to re focus people on the meaning and reality of Jesus death and resurrection as being the actual payment for mans sin. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking ‘I am surrounded by a Christian environment, so I must be one’. If you truly have trust in what Christ has done, then your are one. Even if you have ‘prophesied in his name, cast out devils and done many wonderful works’.

 

  • SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘whoever hears these sayings and DOES THEM is like a man who built his house on a rock. When the floods and storm came and beat on it, it fell not… whoever HEARS AND DOES NOT DO is like a man WHO BUILT and the storms caused it to fall’. Jesus doesn’t give the 3rd option ‘whoever doesn’t hear and doesn’t build’. In essence he is saying ‘all of you people who have heard this great sermon [Matt:5-7] have just increased your responsibility level. You can no longer say ‘well, we just won’t build!’ the cop out of todays society. The entitlement mindset ‘I will find some way for the govt. to declare me mentally unstable [many of the homeless people get these types of checks! On the 3rd of every month I wondered why the soup kitchens were almost empty. I quickly found out they all were getting ‘ssi’ checks on this day. Most of these checks go right to drugs and drink. I actually had a friend slip up and tell me that his ‘disability’ was having an anger problem and cursing at his boss and getting fired. WOW! What a joke.] Here Jesus is saying ‘you already heard the requirements, something is already being built, whether you like it or not’! Notice the hearers still had ‘structures’ going up! It’s like the city on the hill and the candle on a candlestick verses that we mentioned earlier. Jesus said the city can not be hid. Once the King has given you the responsibility, you can’t opt out and say ‘I will act like I don’t know any better’ too late! I personally have had to play a role in this type of dynamic. I know many well meaning Pastors must think ‘gee, why did I have to luck out by starting a church in the Corpus area, right at the same time when some nut on the computer starts a revolution on organic church and is tearing down all the old structures of church. Why couldn’t I just have done church the old way and never have heard from this guy!’. Who knows? I do know that once the level of teaching goes forth, all the hearers become responsible in some way as to how they respond. In essence ‘those who hear and do… those who hear and don’t do’. ‘But what about my fellow Pastors who are excelling in other cities, they never dealt with all this reproof’ well, they are those who never heard [certain reproofs] and therefore don’t have the same responsibility level of response. The question is moot. You guys reading us have heard certain things and now have 2 responses. Either build on a rock [apply and put into practice all the principles you have heard] or build on sand [pretend you never heard the corrections and build on sand]. Jesus leaves only 2 options, which one will you take? NOTE; I realize there are many cities and regions that are maturing in the broader vision of Gods Kingdom and in seeing church in a more biblical way. But there are cities who are not currently being challenged in the same way. Good churches and Pastors carrying out the work of God in the old paradigm. Inviting people to ‘church’. Doing ‘potluck Sunday’ stuff like that. These are all good people who are truly serving God. But then you have other cities who begin seeing the limited ideas of ‘local church’ and realize that these old ideas have to be dealt with. This certainly causes a degree of upheaval to those still functioning the old way. So instead of thinking ‘I wish I were Pastoring in one of these other cities who never have to deal with all this reproof’ just recognize that the Lord has blessed our city [and those of you who read this stuff!] with a greater degree of instruction and we should take advantage of being on the ‘cutting edge’. [I don’t want to sound too proud, but I had to say this].

 

  • CONCLUDE SERMON ON THE MOUNT – Well, we have come a long way. Look at this interesting ending ‘When Jesus finished all these sayings, the people were astonished at his teaching. For he taught as someone who had authority [he knew what he was saying!] not like the regular preachers’. OUCH! Old brother Matthew couldn’t help it, he had to stick it to them! Why was Jesus teaching more powerful than the hired clergy? He was on a mission. His goal was to start a Kingdom revolution that would end in him facing Pilate and winning! Rome will look straight into the face of this radical and say ‘don’t you realize we have been pushing your buttons all along. You had the gall to call us ‘foxes’ [Herod] we have had you in our sights for a while. Now don’t you realize I have the authority to kill you like we did John!’ [The Baptist]. Jesus says ‘you have no authority except what my Father gave you. You are still a bunch of lying foxes! And oh yeah, I am the Son of God!’ WOW. He had authority. As you sum up the sermons message, you see the Jesus style. He embodies the stuff! I think the church needs to see the teachings of Jesus as the ‘constitution’ of the family. I have heard extreme teachings on both the Catholic [Orthodox] and Protestant [dispensational] sides of Christianity. Some Protestants teach the Sermon in a way that says ‘all this was before the Cross, and has no relevance today’ [bad stuff!] and the more liberal believers kind of say ‘Jesus wants us to be nice, and the Sermon should regulate us as opposed to harsh Paul’s epistles’ [too soft!] We should see the attitudes of the sermon as the goal of our faith. We should do the stuff Jesus told us to do! We do overlook the obvious at times. Now the ‘doing of it’ won’t save us. But if God has imputed his righteousness to you [if your are justified by faith] the ‘justification’ will eventually ‘slip out’. And you will look righteous! According to Jesus, ‘looking righteous’ is measured by these things. The religious leaders thought looking righteous was being religious and moral crusaders. Jesus set the proper criteria. God wants us to be like his Son. Don’t build up a record of ‘I went to 10 million church meetings, tithed for 50 years’ but never once did the things Jesus taught in this Sermon. This is the danger of strong Orthodoxy, you can have all the right answers and still be ‘hearers only’. Jesus warned against being ‘good hearers’. The doers are the ones building right! So I would encourage all of us to regularly read and give priority to the words of Jesus. Not at the expense of ‘all scripture’ [the emergent brothers kind of fudge on this at times!] but as the filter thru which all scripture should be seen from. Too many of us do not believe in the actual lifestyle that Jesus called us to. He was a fantastic preacher, because preaching was not his goal! He was leading a revolutionary movement! And like I said before, letters from a revolution have great authority.

 

 

 

About ccoutreach87

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

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