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Reformed, Orthodox, Catholic- c- 2013

Reformed- Orthodox- Catholic- c-2013






I want to try and comment on Micah chapter 5- an Old Testament prophet.



But first a few other things.


Last night I was watching Fox news- and Greta mentioned the top stories of the year.



Lots of the news shows do this every year.



I thought- in general- that it’s harmful to re-tell the school shootings- over and over again- right at this time.


In our media world there is a sort of voyeurism that takes place- we want to see- hear- the actual events- over and over again.



Sometimes after a tragic event- maybe it’s already a few days old.



And some network will get hold of the actual 911 call- and run that as the news ad during the day.


‘Hey look- tonight we have the actual call’.



Oftentimes it’s the call a parent made when she found her kid was killed- or some other tragedy.




We do not need to air that type of stuff.



Anyway Greta said she thinks that ‘Africa will be the top story of this new year- not the Arab Spring’.



Okay- I know my liberal friends are mad at me- some ‘un-friend’ me and stuff.



Because I have been hard on the Dems.



But this time I’ll be hard on Fox.


Who remembers the Arab Spring posts I did last year?


The 3 nations that ‘sprung’ were Tunisia- Egypt- and Libya.


All these nations border each other on the Mediterranean sea- on the North part of the African continent.



In short- all the Arab Spring nations are Africa- so far.



The only possible one that’s not African is Syria- and it hasn’t ‘sprung’ yet.



So yeah- we should not always believe what we see on the tube.



Okay- Micah 5 is the chapter for this week.



It has the famous prophecy that out of Bethlehem Jesus will come.



It speaks about Bethlehem as a small- po dunk type town.



‘You are the least in Judah- yet from thee shall he spring forth who is to be the ruler’.






Jesus hailed from the wrong side of the tracks in many ways.


Galilee was also a sort of underclass area- Jesus and his men spoke Aramaic- which was kind of a lower class language.


A sort of Ebonics of the day [ouch!]



Yet- from that spot where it seemed no good could come- yet good did come.




A couple of verses caught my attention.



‘Daughter of troops- gather yourself into troops’.


And ‘When the enemy comes into the land you will raise up against him 7 shepherds and 8 principal men’.




When I read these verses this week- I applied them to the halfway house ministry we started a couple of months ago.



Often times in scripture we read symbols- things that might use warfare imagery- yet they are not talking about ‘killing’ the way we think.




One of the tragedies of our time is we have too many religious people who have never made this distinction.


And even in the church we hold to many ideas- that come from images about war- that are only symbols- but some teach them as actual war.




In the book of Revelation the apostle John talks about the Christians overcoming the enemy.



It talks about a battle- Jesus on a White horse- a sword coming out of his mouth.



When Evangelicals turn these into actual war prophecies- they do damage to the truth.



I mean the image of a sword from Jesus mouth is understood as the Word of God.



So Jesus ‘slays his enemies’ with the word of God.



Does Jesus actually kill them?



No- when people accept the message of Christ- they get baptized.



Baptism is a type of death to the old man- and life to the new.



So- the images of those being killed by ’the sword from Jesus mouth’ should be seen in this way.


[Or as a type of end time judgment that Gods word carries out- Jesus said ‘the words that I speak to you’ will judge you in the final day.]



Revelation says those who ‘died the first death and had part of the first resurrection’ the second death has no power over them.



All who are in Christ have died a sort of ‘first death’ on these- the 2nd death [when you die] has no power.


The writer of Hebrews says Jesus delivered us- who thru fear of death were all our lives in bondage.


Those who have died the first death- who have joined themselves unto Christ and are ‘crucified’ with him.


Yeah- on these the 2nd death has no power.



Okay- I could go on and on like this- but the point is we as believers need to be careful when we teach the verses that speak about killing- death and swords.



Often times they are not to be taken literally.



So- when I read that God raises up ‘7 princes’ against the enemy.



I realized- at the halfway house- there are a total of 7 of us working together in the ministry.



I liked that- God uses people- princes- to come against the enemy.






Okay- back to Revelation.



There is this image of Jesus with 7 stars in his hand- and it says these are the 7 angels of the churches.



Some see these ‘angels’ as church leaders.



The Greek word means messenger- and it can mean angels or people.




The point is- Jesus has these people- these chosen ones- and he uses them as ‘weapons’.


That is- those who are sent into the world with the message of the gospel- these are in a way soldiers for the Lord.



But they don’t go out and kill people in the literal sense- but when they carry the message of the Cross- and when others believe in that message- then yes- those who believe and are baptized have died in a way.



The apostle Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I but Christ lives in me’.



So yeah- when the enemy comes in- God sends messengers against him.



These messengers too have ‘swords’ in their mouths- they speak the Word of God.



And yes- every so often they ‘kill’ people- that is- those who hear the message- they die a sort of ‘first death’.


They die to the old man- the old nature.


They are raised with Jesus also- to walk in a new way.



Yeah- on these- the next death will have no power.



NOTES- I also wanted to mention yesterday’s ruling by Supreme Court justice Sotomayor.



She ruled that the Catholic owners of Hobby Lobby must either provide birth control thru their company- or start paying a 1.3 million dollar a day fine.



I remember when the debate was going on about Obama Care.



Many good people—Bishop Tim Dolan from N.Y. and others.



They were assured by the president himself that the religious views of Catholics would not be trampled over by the new law.



Yet- since the law passed- many Catholics have already been affected by the law in a negative way.



As most of you know- the church teaches that birth control is not an acceptable practice for Catholics.



Now- being raised as a Catholic- and now a Protestant- I do realize that many Catholics do not obey this rule.



But- others do.



It is sad that the Obama Care law does indeed trample over the rights of Catholics.



When a law forces a Catholic to provide something that goes against their conscience- that’s wrong.




The president and his supporters swore that this would not happen- tell that to the owners of Hobby Lobby as they start writing checks for 1.3 million- every day!










Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.











I wanted to close up the last couple of posts on the common misunderstandings of Christianity and Islam.


But also mention a few things about the halfway house.



Okay- the last misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians is the term Son of God.



This term is found in the New Testament- and around this time of year we celebrate the Virgin Birth as well.



Strict Muslims are not supposed to see- or ever read this term.





Islam teaches that to say Jesus is the Son of God- that it denotes a sort of sexual relationship between God and man [woman].


Of course the church does not teach this- when Christians say – Son of God- they are speaking about Jesus in a unique way.


He ‘came out’ from God- was ‘Generated’ from God- in a way that no other creature can lay claim to.


Now- when the church uses this statement ‘first begotten of God’ or ‘the first born among many brothers’ [both found in the bible].


The church is not saying that Jesus was the actual ‘first created being’ from God.



Okay- I know this gets a little tough- but it’s hard to clear up the misunderstanding without a little theology.


So- historically- the church interprets these terms as meaning Jesus has the first place- the Preeminence over all creation.



Grant it- those who reject the Christian teaching about the Deity of Christ- they think the church is denying the bible- in these areas- when she says these terms do not mean Jesus was created.



To be fair- I think the New Testament does tech that Jesus is not a created being [John 1:1- The Word was God- speaks about Christ].



But I also see how others can view these verses differently.


The main point today is the church does not believe that Jesus was the product of a sexual physical relationship between God and Mary.


No- Son of God means- to the contrary- that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary in a non physical way- and she became pregnant- thus ‘The VIRGIN Birth’.



But- because devout Muslims are forbidden to read this term- Son of God- some have made New Testament translations that leaves the term out.


Instead of ‘Son of God’ these bibles say ‘he that was generated from God’.


Okay- it kind of means the same thing- I’m not against making the change [though some are- because it is not an actual translation form the Greek].


But if it’s done so Muslims can read the New Testament without violating their faith- then I’m for it in that limited use way.



Okay- obviously Christians and Muslims have many other things they see differently- but in the last 3 posts I wanted to hit on some of the main things.



Often times when studying different religions- we [as humans] have a tendency to read what others have to say about a group.


But it helps- a lot- if you read what the group itself actually says.


Now- you still might find some shocking stuff- stuff that is downright in opposition to your faith- but if you read it straight from the ‘horses mouth’ at least you know you’re not opposing something that the other group might not even believe!




Okay- I guess we’ll skip the skip the few things about the halfway house.



I wrote a couple of posts the last week or so about my friend Huey who fell off of a pier and hurt himself pretty bad.



He spent the weekend at my house- he probably broke a few ribs- but does not want to go to the doctor so I put him up for a couple of days.



All is going real well with the halfway house- we already had a judge release an inmate to the house.



It’s kind of funny- the guy we sent down to represent the house- Andy- was a drunk on the streets about a month ago.



Yeah- it worked out well.



That’s it for now- figured I would not post on the terrible tragedy of the killing of the little kids.



That story has already consumed the news cycle- no need for more.



Talk to you later- John.







Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.













I woke up early the other day- around 1 am [I have had this problem for years].



Right before I woke- I had one of those dreams that you feel are significant.



I was with a friend- Huey- and we were on top of a building.



To get down you had to climb down a rope from a tree- Huey jumped on the tree and almost killed himself- he managed to escape but hurt himself real bad.



Later that day- in ‘real life’ [no more dream] he called me- he had some ride he needed or something [Huey is one of those guys that always has something going on- but seems to never accomplish anything. A few months ago he asked if he could store some of his stuff in the room at my house- I use the room for the homeless guys. Sure enough- he’ll come by late at night- needing something- I felt I needed to learn some patience with my buddy].


The phone he was on was breaking up bad- but I told him quickly about the dream- that he needs to be careful about something [you know- I thought maybe it meant danger- not an actual fall!].



So I haven’t seen him in a couple of days- but wanted to know how he was.



His brothers- who I’m doing the halfway house with- haven’t heard from him.



So I’m walking to my van at the mission- and I see Huey for the first time since the dream.


‘Hey- how you doing’?



He was in severe pain- maybe a broken rib.


What happened?


I just fell off of a pier and hurt myself real bad.






I told him ‘didn’t you remember the dream’.


He didn’t.





The point?


Listen to my dreams.


Okay- not really.


The point is God uses us- all of us- in community.



That means in the bible the various gifts of the Spirit- they are intended to function this way.


We have [in modern church] more of an individual style of the gifts.



Maybe we attend a church- or go to some function- and often times we want to hear what God said – ‘thru the prophet in the house’ type of thing.



But actually these types of scenarios lean too heavily on one person.



You might have a gifted young man- a real go getter- maybe the pastor of a church.



Okay- good- but if the format is trying our best to hear God- mainly thru the speaking gift of one person- then thats limited- it really is not the way ‘church’ was done in the bible.



Okay- enough of that.




I have a couple of things I want to write on- but can’t do them both.



I want to write a post- just to Al Qaeda.




Yes- not one of those ‘got ya’ type titles- but a real life post to members of Al-Qaida.


What would possess you to do such a thing?



This last year I have had a lot of web hits from countries where many Muslims live.



My blog changed a function a while back.



It shows me- not on the site- but in the private section- how many hits we get.



A while back I stuck a thing on the site to see what countries view- but I realized the hits were  much more than what that Fidgit thing was showing.



We were goin up a few hundred every couple of days.



Grant it- that’s not much- but it’s more than I thought.



We just passed 37,000 hits the other day.



So- I also noticed that the posts where I mention Islam- or some type of political thing- they get the most hits.



So- being I already said this much- might as well make this the Al-Qaida post.




I’m grateful to have Muslim friends who read the site- I’m grateful if some are Al-Qaida.



My appeal- what I try to do over the years- is to simply see both sides of a thing- to try and understand the others view- and then do my best to present the Christian idea.



Now- when I was talking to a friend the other day- Islam came up.



I told him ‘did you know that Muhammad- the founder of Islam in the 7th century- had many of the same protests that other Christian groups would later voice too’.



I explained that Muhammad’s rise in defense of the poor and down cast [by the way- that’s actually a biblical characteristic of prophets- in the bible] were similar to Christian movements that would rise later on- like the Salvation Army.



I went on to show that he also felt like the growing use of statues in Christian worship was a violation of the commandment that says you should not make images/idols.



Now- to my Catholic friends- I have taught the entire history of the use of art- and yes- statues- in Christian worship.



I have also taught against the Iconoclasts- those Protestants who destroyed the statues in the Catholic churches- during the times of the Reformation [16th century].


So- I’m not ‘Catholic bashing’ at all.


The point is- Muhammad had some of the same objections- based on the bible- that later Protestants would have.


Gee John- I never knew this?  That’s why I teach it- it helps to have less of a negative view of Muslims as a whole.



So- after I try to look at some of the good things that Islam has done [Hamas- in the Palestinian area. Why do they garnish so much support among the populace? Because they start hospitals- they feed the poor- they start welfare programs for the kids. Do they do this as some sort of trick- a way to gain the hearts and minds of people? No- they do this because it’s a basic tenet of their faith].


Okay- then what do I say to any Al-Qaida on the site?


I say that the historic divisions- the things that divide the East from the West- many of them are actual misunderstandings.


Yes- some of the religious objections were misunderstandings.


The classic one.



Muhammad believed that the Christians worshipped 3 Gods- what we call the Trinity.



But he thought the believers worshipped God- Jesus- and Mary-the mother of Jesus.


That’s of course not the trinity- this is simply a misunderstanding.


Christians believe that there is one God- in 3 persons.


Those persons being the Father- Son and Holy Spirit.


But the biggest thing I like to show my Muslim friends- my friends form other faiths- is that the message of the Cross- it’s one of grace.


Christians believe that Jesus kept all the commandments of God- then he died to pay the price for our sins.


As Christians- we don’t teach against the 10 commandants- but we don’t use them to gain acceptance with God- the acceptance we have with God comes because of the death of his Son on our behalf.



In actuality- this message is a great relief for all people who live ‘under the law’.


That is- if your Muslim- if your Al-Qaida- you too can take this.


Yes- Jesus died for you too.



That’s the appeal I make- I’m not asking my friends from other faiths to convert- if they want to- fine.



But that’s not my appeal.



I’m saying to all my friends- this message of the Cross- this is for all people.


Heck- if you want to stay Muslim- stay- but just accept the reality of this post.



Yes- Jesus is spoken about much in the Quran.


The prophet Muhammad respected Jesus.



Jesus can become- should become- all that he was intended to become- that is he died for you guys too.



Right now in the Muslim world there is a movement going on- it’s highly debated in Christian circles.



The movement is many Muslims are receiving Christ in this way- and staying Muslim.



Yet- they are accepting the Christian view of the death of Christ on their behalf.


As somewhat of a scholar type guy- yeah- I see where the objections arise.



But as a real world person- who is glad that I get many readers from countries where I know many Muslims live.


To you- go ahead- accept the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection.


Many Muslims have already done this- many more will.


If you want to keep the other good points of Islam- fine.



But don’t see acceptance thru your ability to keep the law- no one can ultimately live up to that standard.



Jesus was the only one who never sinned- his death on our behalf allows us to come into the presence God.



He died for all- Muslims- Jews- Hindu’s’ the list goes on and on.



In today’s world- many of the objections against Christianity are really objections against Western Imperialism.


A thing I too reject.



That’s not the heart of the Christian faith.


You can receive Christ- and keep objecting to all the political ideas of the Western world.



Heck- Jesus railed against the money changers [the rich capitalist pigs of the day].



In some ways- Jesus was the ultimate Revolutionary who spoke truth to power.


Yeah- many radical’s- even Al-Qaida could respect him for this.



That’s my appeal to Al-Qaida today.


Glad some of you might read- keep reading- that’s the point.




NOTE- There is a famous prophecy about Jesus in the bible- it says ‘Gentiles shall come to your light- and kings to the brightness of your rising’.


This also applies to the ‘rise’ of the church- the people of God.


But in context- the gentiles are all the nations [even various religions- some are called Denominations] that are not Christian- not considered benefits of the Covenant of God.



The apostle Paul teaches us that we are all now part of the covenant of hope- we all now benefit from the promises of God [Ephesians].


The point being- the bible speaks about other groups- other nations- seeing the reality of Jesus and his kingdom- and that these too will come to the ‘brightness of his rising’.







Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.






Which way to go?




Yeah- today I have lots of things to write about- but must pick one or 2.




Yesterday I spent the day with David- my buddy who started the halfway house.



I picked up Henry in the morning- he was at a weekly breakfast that a local church sponsors.



I actually posted the pic yesterday- the plate looked like a Denny’s thing!


I don’t eat breakfast or lunch- though I’m regularly at these spots- because that’s where I have met lots of street guys in the past.



Me and Henry stopped at brother Rey’s [pastor of church without walls] and he donated a couple of real nice cots to the halfway house.




At the halfway house we took in a new guy- John.



Yeah- I was with John David- I took John Henry- and we added another John.



That has come up a lot these last few months.




I also posted his pic on Facebook.



Please pray for him- he has liver cancer real bad- has been sober for a while- but he might die while at the house.



Okay- I really did not plan on spending the whole day helping with the halfway house- but once we started- I felt that was the plan for the day.



As we left the halfway house and headed back to David’s little apt. – he wanted to stop at McDonalds- the one close to the area where all this is happening.



As we sat inside- I relayed to David and Henry that the last time I was here was about 8 months ago.



It was the beginning of my involvement in this area of town [downtown Corpus- most of my homeless/street friends live on the south side].



I told the guys that I took a ride one morning- prayed for the Lord to open some doors- and stopped right here.



There were 2 homeless guys sleeping on the bus benches outside.



It was early- about 6:30 in the morning.



I bought a couple of breakfasts and woke the guys up- they were grateful for the meal.



I spent about 4 hours with the guys- hanging out- telling them about the ministry and all.




I never saw them again.



I did go back to look for them- but like many others- they just moved on.




But- thru a series of events- we are now doing the halfway house right in the area- and sitting at the same McDonalds that I bought the breakfasts from.



So yes- God did open some doors- in ways that I did not see in the beginning.





Yesterday as I was reading the paper I came across a sad story.



When I read my papers every morning- I glean from the both current events- which I write about lots.


But I also write the names of severe crime cases- people being sent to prison for life- or upcoming death penalty guys.



I write the date of their execution on my calendar- I pray for them thru out the months [along with lots of others].



And if I remember- I pray for them on the day of execution [I’m not praying for them to get ‘spared’ though that did happen one day- but for them to die ‘well’. If they are indeed guilty- to ask forgiveness from their victim’s families if they have not done this. Or if they have denied the crime- to confess- to go out well- and to ask God for forgiveness].




I started this a few years ago- I felt the Lord leading me into this strange type of prayer group- you know- people who are now dead.




Almost seemed like a waste of time- I mean who ‘collects’ these dead ones?




Anyway- in yesterday’s paper I read about Niko [the San Antonio news].



They had a picture of him sitting on the beach- by a pier.



He is [was] 11 years old.



Niko was an ambitious young kid- smart- and had big plans.



He liked soccer- and wanted to attend Harvard one day.



But Niko was diagnosed with cancer- and died.



The story went on.



His family were visiting him at the hospital once again.


And he said to them ‘Today is the day- today I have to go’.



He died later that day.



As I read Niko’s words- it was so sad.



The end of the story said his last words were ‘don’t worry about me’.




I have Nikos story right here- when I’m done typing I will post it here in my study- along with the names of my ‘prisoners’ who have died.



Yeah- in some way I feel like this little community that I live amongst- homeless buddies- friends in prison- and some who have died.


That they are all part of this group.



I have had many confirmations about this over the years.




I’ll end with just one.




A few years back I did an on-line teaching about the other books that never made it into the bible.



Many years ago I bought some of these- and when you study church history and theology- well- these are an aspect of that type of teaching.



So I commented on them- gave the reasons why we don’t have them in our bibles.


But I also said that when I read some of them- I have found some are actually quite good.




One of my favorites is called the Epistle of Barnabus.



But there are others as well.




Some in the early church actually had a couple of these that were included in some of the early bibles- others were never given a 2nd thought.




By the way- in this field of study- I come down of the conservative side.


That is I don’t hold to the ideas of men like Bart Ehrman- the more liberal scholars.



They seem to give more credence to the books that never made it into the canon- and cast too much doubt on the bible we have today.


Anyway- the few that I do lile- when I re-read them as the years go by- there have been times when God did speak to me.




Here’s one.



As my prayer time developed into this inclusion of dead folk [above].


I felt much more awareness of my friends who have died- as being amongst us during prayer.



Now- I don’t ‘pray to them’ but I have a greater sense of praying ‘with them’.  I mention their kids and all- because these guys- some- were actually friends of mine- who came to my church meetings I started years ago.



So- I painted a spot on my wall- it was dedicated to this group.



I simply wrote a few things- stuff that reminded me that these were those who have gone on- and are yet ‘here’.



Sort of like my ‘friends in prison’ type of thing.



Prison represents those who have died- and we are not so sure where they are- to be honest.




I’ll explain it in a moment.




So- right after I painted this little altar area- I read in one of the ‘lost books of the bible’ [I think it was in the Revelation of St. Peter?].


It said ‘have you preached to the spirits in prison yet’.



Meaning- have you included those who have died yet- have you yet ‘learned this’ son?



That was the type of sense I got.



As I read the verse- I simply said ‘yes’.



Now- I do know the source is from one of the early books that is not in the bible.



But this reference- even if it is a copy- or a fake- does come from our bibles as well.



It’s in the letter of Peter [I think 1st Peter 3?]



And it’s one those texts that scholars haggle over.



But Peter is speaking about some who died before the days of the world wide flood [Genesis 6].


And he refers to these dead people hearing the gospel- by Christ himself- after he died and rose again.



And they are called ‘the spirits in prison’.



So- that’s the same thing I felt/understood as I began seeing those who have gone on- well- they are still with us in a way.




Yeah- in a few minutes I will post little Niko’s picture up on my wall.



I’ll look at it as time goes by- as I see all my friends- both living and dead- and I will read his words.



‘Today I have to go- don’t worry’.


Yes- Jesus said out of the mouths of babies thou hast perfected praise.


You think?




Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.












I want to cover a few things today- not sure how much we will get to.




A few months ago I kept having a ‘thought’- I was thinking about a church/ministry that I have known for years.



They are from Kansas City [the Missouri side].


I have read the pastor’s book- I have met many that were involved in the church/movement- and I even had a good pastor friend who eventually went and joined the ministry.



He held a doctorate in theology and became one of the teachers for their university.



Okay- so- for some reason an image of the ministry kept coming to mind.




Actually- I kept thinking about the off balance of a few things I had heard over the years.



I was thinking about their belief- taught to the students/members of the ministry- that they are all convinced that we are definitely in the ‘end times’ and that they are actually fulfilling a role of an end times prayer ministry that will rise up before the Lord returns [which they believe the bible speaks about].



At its most basic level- this is dangerous to do- for a variety of reasons.





The other thing that came to mind was a simple statement I heard the minister make years ago.



He was mentioning some criticism that their church/university has gotten over the years.


Some of the parents of the kids have said to them ‘but you need to also learn some type of job skills- some type of learning in the liberal arts- you can’t just spend all your time praying and learning about being the Lords end time army’.



When I heard this- I actually agreed with the critic- though I was sympathetic to the ministry.




Okay- after having these things in my mind- for a few weeks [that’s how you know you’re actually praying in a way for them- because you’re thinking about them- even during prayer].



Then I read in my local paper that a kid from my town was I involved in a possible murder plot and killed his wife.



They were involved in the above mentioned ministry.





I went on-line a bit yesterday to read up on it before I comment- I won’t mention the names- you can find that from many other sources.



I just want to mention the danger of various expressions of Protestant ministries- and why this is so.




The other day one of my friends was mentioning some stuff about not being a ‘lone ranger’ in ministry.


And I agreed with him.


But I also reminded him that the church he associates with [Baptist] is in many ways a ‘lone ranger’.


How so?



Depending on what kind of Baptist church your involved with- some are highly ‘lone’- others not as much.



But by ‘lone’ I mean historically they are a church movement that came out of the 16th century Reformation [later on- they were part of what’s called the Radical Reformers- those who took the reforms further than the initial protestors] and in historical terms- they are all ‘rebelling’ against authority.



They left the historic church.



Now- I don’t take this view in a harsh way- I have many good Baptist friends and many good churches are Baptist.


I say this only to give the broader perspective.



Okay- as time progressed [from the 1500’s] you had a multitude of churches/denominations break away from one thing or another.



It’s really astounding to see the many divisions that have come since the days of the Reformation [which some Catholic scholars warned would happen].





In these ‘off shoot’ expressions of Christianity- some are less dangerous- others more.




Many cult watchers have lists of what to look for in these movements- and these lists can be helpful.



What I try and tell people [and teach] is if you stay connected as much as possible with the historic church [yes- both the Catholic and Protestant expressions of it] then you are in safe territory.




But if you truncate yourself from ‘the church’ then you are heading for trouble.




In the above example- the thing that troubled me was having lots of young kids- on ‘fire’ for God- being taught that they are God’s ‘end time army’.


The actual ones!



Geez- that in itself is really disturbing.





First- I think the Evangelical church has to do some real soul searching about the way she views/expresses the ‘end times’.



The fact that over the last few years some of the best sellers are Tim Layahes books- his End Times series- is troubling.



He gives a very narrow- and skewed view [in my opinion] of the bibles’ teaching about End Times.



I posted the other day from Daniel 12- and I have hinted about these problems over the years.



But some of our view about the end times comes from a miss reading of the actual Greek text.



In the gospels when we read ‘end of the world’- the term actually means end of the AGE.



Okay- that little adjustment alone can change our understanding about lots of stuff.



That’s just one little thing- I have posted lots more over the years.



But the point I’m making is if we have a whole group of fine young people- embracing a view- from the elders over them- that they are indeed the actual ‘end time army’ or prayer movement- that was foretold about in the bible- than that’s very disturbing.




When I read about the case yesterday [the ministry is IHOP_ Mike Bickle is the main leader- I won’t mention the name of the local boy who is implicated in the death of his wife].


The church is trying to distance itself from the incident- and to be fair the young kid seems to have started his own ‘break away’ community [which can also be one of the problems with a Protesting position form the start- that is when the actual name of your group ‘Protestant’ seems to say we are nonstop protestors- well that can give rise to the nonstop protests- you think?]



We don’t know all the facts right now- but we know enough to say we- as Evangelicals- as Protestants [which I am] need to make every effort to stay connected to the historic church.


Yes- there are things that Evangelicals disagree with- there are things that the historic early church might view differently than we do.



But- they are our Fathers in the faith.




Over the years I remember a verse that some in the above movement used to mention.


It was a sort of obscure verse found in the Old Testament.



It says ‘don’t move the foundation stones that your Fathers have laid down’.




Yeah- I think that verse fits pretty well.



Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.






Let’s do a little from Daniel chapter 12.


That was the chapter for this past week.



These chapters in the Old Testament prophets are very familiar with the End Times teachers.


In Theology we call this Eschatology- the study of End Times.



But what I want to do is give you a few simple principles.



Daniel is receiving a message from God/angels.


He hears that God is going to do a great work with his people- but this work takes place in the middle of great trouble [often called the time of Jacobs Trouble- or the Tribulation].


God communicates that his people will be scattered- a ruler will come against them- and yet- this is the time they will inherit the promises God made to them.



The chapter ends by saying those who endure to the final days- they will ‘stand in their lot at the end of their days- and rest’.


The ‘end of days’ phrase- used by Jesus in the gospels- can be a tricky phrase.



How so?


In the New Testament when we read that certain things will happen- and the ‘end of the world’ comes.



The actual term in Greek says ‘the end of the age’.



This can refer to a specific time period coming to an end.



For instance- one of the great themes of the bible is the New and Everlasting covenant of the Blood of Jesus.


Yes- Christians celebrate and remember this covenant every Sunday in church.



The Eucharist/communion is the central mode of worship in many Christian churches of our day.



In biblical terms- we are already in a ‘new age’.



So- in some ways the ‘old world’ has passed away- and the new one has come.



Okay- applying this to Daniel- God says in the ‘end of days’ we shall stand in our lot [fulfill our purpose in life] and this will happen during a time of great trouble- like never before.



As we say ‘can I get an amen’?




So- in life- we have a calling from God- a purpose for being on the planet.



Thru out the journey there are ups and downs- but those who ‘endure to the end [outcome]’ will ‘be saved’- or fulfill the purpose at the end.



Got it?




Okay- just a few notes.



The last week or so I have been helping my friend establish a halfway house.



I have been working with some new guys- guys form the other part of town- yet they are brothers just like the guys where I live.




I mentioned Little Charlie the other day- he’s a young kid- has had his problems with drugs- and is living at the halfway house.



I brought a bunch of furniture and stuff over the last few weeks.



I like it- it already has some of my favorite nick knacks hanging on the walls.




I spent some time with the guys this past Sunday- I took them to a street church that my friend pastors [see all the pictures of the tent he sets up- I posted them on Facebook].



His name is Rey Escalante- he’s a good friend of mine- he works with the same street guys I work with.



I took the halfway house crew to his service this Sunday- we had a good time.



Rey feeds everyone a Sunday dinner too.



I had a good talk with Bryan.



Bryan is one of the guys at the house- he’s 46- I was surprised- he looks much younger.



He told me ‘John- I’m Catholic’.


I guess he has had various ‘preachers’ jump on him about that over the years- you could tell by the way he said it.


I told him that’s fine- I have Catholic friends [over the years even a few priests] who have read my blog.



So- I do get along well with my Catholic friends.



Bryan has been in Corpus for about a year.



He is a drug addict.




He works in construction- and looks to be a hard worker [some of the guys do work hard- there are different types of guys who struggle with addiction- and believe me- some are hard workers].



Bryan strikes me that way.



As we were heading to church this Sunday- he found out that his Jeep finally got repossessed.



He was behind 3 months on the payments and his friend was holding it for him.



Sure enough- they found it.



Bryan told me he was glad in a way.


That years ago- something like this would really get him upset.


You know- having to get with the dealership and try to get his tools and stuff back.


Yeah- this has happened to him before.



But this time- he has learned how to deal with it in a better way.



He can now focus more on his recovery- and less on the Jeep.



I had a good day with the guys- this type of ministry is really more like a brotherhood.



After we left the church meeting at Church Without Walls- we came back to the house for a couple of hours- by this time I picked up a few other guys- we had a house/yard full [Huey crashed out in the ‘homeless room’ I fixed up a few months ago- It’s just ‘their room’ type of thing].



Henry crashed on the couch- watching his favorite show- ESPN.


And the rest of us hung out in my yard- I cooked some hot dogs on the grill and we just laid back.



Bryan even took a short nap in my Hammock.



All in all we had a good day.



Yeah- like the prophet said- in the end times there will be trouble- yet- those who endure to the end- they will inherit all that God has for them.



In a way- I see God doing this with all these guys.




I took a ride with John David the other day.



John David is the older brother who actually started the Halfway House- I’m just helping him with it.



As we were driving- getting the rooms fixed up- he was so excited.



He was saying ‘thank you God for making all this happen- it’s happening all around us’.



John was a big time addict for many years- I know John- and his brothers- from the streets.



He almost died a couple months back [had the open heart surgery- had to be shocked with the paddles].



He has had quite the life.



And now- after all the troubles- he is ‘standing in his lot at the end of his days’.


Yeah- I thank God for my buddies- seeing them come full circle.



They stuck it out- in very tough times- may God bless them all.




Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] – I have posted lots.











About ccoutreach87

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


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