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2070- PLATO

 

Plato was born in 427 BC- he was the most famous student of Socrates.

 

He is best known for his theory of Ideas/Forms.

 

He believed that the material world was an imperfect copy of the Idea world.

That is he believed that Ideas exist apart from the construct of the human mind- that they were the perfect forms of the things we see in the material realm.

 

He could also be referred to as a Realist- because he believed these Ideas actually existed [for real].  Where did he get this from?

As we study Philosophy- each one that comes down the line has been influenced in some way by those that preceded them.

 

There was a famous thinker- Pythagoras [his followers were the Pythagoreans] who taught a concept called the Transmigration of the Soul [a sort of Reincarnation].

They believed that the soul of man went thru various stages- and existed independently of the body.

 

In Greek thought the soul is immortal- it exists before the body.

In Christian teaching the Soul [mind- Spirit] comes into existence when God creates man [the bible says ‘and man BECAME a living soul’- referring to the creation of Adam].

 

The Greeks saw the soul as preexisting before the natural life.

 

In the mind of Plato- the body was a receptacle- in this life we recollect the knowledge that comes from the Idea world.

 

He ascribed Ontological status to ideas themselves.

 

In Philosophy there are 2 basic ways knowledge comes [we study this in Epistemology- an offshoot of Philosophy- which deals with how we know things].

 

A Priori knowledge is knowledge obtained independent of experience.

A Posteriori is knowledge obtained thru the senses- what we call Empirical evidence.

 

In Plato’s schema he believed that the knowledge that comes to us from the Formal world [ideas- forms] was A Priori knowledge- that the human mind recalls- and in the present material world- knowledge comes to us from the perfect idea world.

 

The Greeks believed that all matter was flawed- that the Body was an imperfect vessel- and after death we are released into the perfect world- and free from the material realm.

 

Christian Tradition does not hold to this view.

The Church teaches that the created world is good- not evil.

Among Christians there is some confusion about this- because the older versions of the bible [King James] seem to teach that matter [world, flesh] is evil.

 

Why?

 

Paul the apostle talks about no good thing being in The Flesh- he talks about the Carnal mind- the apostle John says ‘all that is in the World- the lust of the flesh- the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world’.

 

There are many references like this in the bible- but they are speaking about the sinful nature of man [the flesh] and not about the human body itself [For instance Paul says in Romans ‘present your BODIES as living sacrifices unto God- Holy and acceptable’ in Corinthians ‘your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit’- there are many references in scripture that speak of the Body as Holy.

 

When the bible says ‘satan is the god of this world’ it is not speaking of the earth- which God created- and calls GOOD- but it is speaking of the ‘world’ system- an age of wickedness.

 

So- at times Christians have confused this- and have held a sort of Dualistic view of matter- that is not the biblical view- but a Gnostic view- that all matter is evil.

 

Plato saw the unseen world of Ideas as the perfect- pure world.

 

He taught that in this life we obtain the knowledge of the pure- by reason of recollection- that these pure ideas come to us ‘are recalled’ in this life.

 

He is famous for founding the first Philosophical school- it was called The Academy- named after a man by the name of Academus.

 

The land was donated for the school- it was previously used as an Olive Grove- and in honor of the donation- Plato named the school after the donor.

 

This is why we use the phrase ‘The Groves of Academia’ today.

 

Plato was actually a nick name- he wrestled in Athens- in a sort of precursor to what would later become the Olympic games- and he was broad shouldered- that’s where his name comes from- Plato means broad shouldered.

 

So- to sum up- Plato believed that Forms [ideas] were eternal, the cause of all that is.

He believed we are born with innate ideas- these are not learned thru sense experience- but exist independently of the mind- and in this bodily life we retrieve [the body is a receptacle] these ideas.

 

Does the bible teach anything along these lines?

 

Not exactly.

 

Christians believe that God himself is infinite- without beginning or end.

That wisdom- ideas- ‘forms’ of things do indeed exist- prior to our own life.

 

But these ideas are not without a Mind- God is Spirit- and he is everywhere [Omnipresent] he knows all tings [Omniscient] – so- in a way- there are indeed ideas- forms- but they come from the ultimate Mind of God.

 

A good example would be the building of the Tabernacle- and later the Temple- under Moses and King David [his son Solomon actually built it].

 

God told Moses ‘see that you build it after the Pattern shown to thee in the mount’.

In the book of Hebrews we read that the earthly Tabernacle [Temple] was simply an image- a symbol- of heavenly realities.

 

That God himself had the ‘form’ in his mind- indeed- like Plato taught- the heavenly form is perfect- the earthly expression imperfect.

 

But these patterns- forms- ideas- are from the Mind of God- they are not Innate in the soul of man- nor does the soul of man exist before his birth.

In the past few months I have had several Christian friends tell me that they feel like they existed before this life- a type of reincarnation.

 

I explained to them that in the Christian faith we do not hold to this view.

 

But- the bible does tell us that God had a purpose for us- Predetermined- before the ‘foundation of the world’.

 

Meaning that yes- in the Mind of God- in a way- we did exist- but we did not have actual being [called Ontological status in the field of Philosophy] until we were created by God.

 

God’s purpose for us was already in the Mind of God before our birth.

 

The bible says that Christ is made unto us wisdom- we are not Receptacles in the sense that Plato taught.

 

But yes- in time God reveals to us this Hidden Wisdom- about his love and purpose for us.

 

And in this life we act out- we fulfil this eternal purpose.

 

Man [or woman] can never find true happiness- true meaning- until they tap into this purpose.

We were created by the hand of God- to bring glory and honor to him- and we in this life can ever find true fulfilment- until we make it back to God.

 

1Chronicles 28:10 Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

1Chronicles 28:11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,

1Chronicles 28:12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:

1Chronicles 28:19 All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.

Exodus 25:9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Exodus 25:40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

 

Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

Ecclesiastes 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

 

 

 

 

2071- SNAKE ON A STICK

 

In John chapter 3 we read an interesting discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus- Nicodemus was a religious leader at the time of Christ.

 

And he came to Jesus at night- because the leaders already turned against Christ- and he probably didn’t want to be open about his curiosity.

 

He begins a conversation with Jesus ‘we know that you are a teacher come from God, because no man can do these miracles unless he were from God’.

 

How does Jesus respond?

 

‘Unless a man is born again- he cannot see the kingdom of God’.

This confused Nicodemus ‘how can a man be born when he is old- can he go back into the womb’?

 

Jesus says ‘unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit he can’t see the Kingdom’.

 

In Christianity we teach that man is separated from God- because of the original sin of Adam- man is born separated from God.

 

The only way back to God is thru a New Birth.

 

As the conversation continues Jesus brings up a strange incident that happened many years before- he says ‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness- so must the Son of man be lifted up- that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.

 

This story is found in Numbers 21- and what happened was the people were complaining about the journey they were on.

 

God indeed delivered them from Egypt/bondage- but the road was tough.

God provided them food from heaven- Manna- yet they missed the old days back in Egypt.

 

So- they complained ‘if we were back in Egypt we could eat all the good stuff’.

 

So- because of their complaining, God sent ‘fiery serpents’ among them- and they bit the people- and the people died.

 

The people cry out to Moses ‘help us- what can we do’.

 

God tells Moses to make a snake out of brass/bronze [a symbol of judgment] put it on a pole- and whoever is bitten- if he looks at the snake on the pole- he will live.

 

Jesus used this obscure story- to speak about himself.

 

How is Jesus like a snake on a pole?

 

On the Cross Jesus took the sins of the world- he ‘became sin for us’.

The snake in scripture is a cursed thing- in the garden of Eden God cursed the serpent.

 

So- Jesus on the Cross became sin for us- a cursed thing- and all who look to ‘the snake’ on the Cross- will live.

Jesus goes on and says the very famous words that most of us are familiar with ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son- that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.

He says ‘God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world- but that the world thru him might be saved’.

 

Man- in and of himself- cant ‘save’ himself.

 

The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians and says we were dead in trespasses and sins.

 

But God raised us up together with Christ- he chose to bring us back to life- spiritually- and we are now alive unto God.

 

The term BORN AGAIN is a biblical term- used a few times in scripture- but like anything else- it also has taken on other connotations over time.

 

Many of the more traditional churches feel kind of turned off by it.

Why?

 

Because many enthusiastic converts have used the term in a way that says ‘you older traditional churches- you are not saved- you are not born again’.

 

This is a mistake- in my view.

 

Jesus said the criterion for being saved- born again- is believing in him.

Now- whether a Christian uses the actual term ‘born again’ is not really that significant.

 

Plus- the older churches do indeed believe in being born again- though many of the members of these churches might not be familiar with this.

 

The Catholic Church and others teach that babies- as well as adults- enter into the New Covenant by the Sacrament of water baptism.

 

During the time of the Reformation- in the 16th century- the original Protestant Reformers still stuck with the rite of infant baptism.

 

That is they still believed in infant baptism.

 

They disagreed with Rome on the actual cause of Justification- the Catholic Church said the cause was water baptism- the Reformers [Luther primarily] said it was faith [I did an entire study on this- it’s on the page section of the blog- under Protestant Reformation- Luther].

 

But- they did not reject infant baptism.

 

As a matter of fact- when an offshoot of the Protestants- the Anabaptists- began rejecting infant baptism- the reformer Ulrich Zwingli drowned them!

 

So- this debate has gone on for a while.

 

Why did the original reformers stick with infant baptism- is there any justification for it?

 

Some- in the Old Covenant you had the rite of infant circumcision- and that was a way that children entered into the Covenant of law.

 

So- many believers taught that baptism was the ordinance that can bring our children into the New Covenant.

 

Most Evangelicals object to infant baptism- but there is some justification for it.

 

The main point I would make is Jesus simply taught that all who believe in him are indeed born from God.

 

The apostle John says ‘whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’.

 

James says ‘of his own will begat he us with the word of truth’.

Peter says ‘being born again- not of corruptible seed- but of incorruptible’.

 

I like Jesus definition of eternal life the most- he said eternal life- being born again was ‘that they might know thee- the only true God- and Jesus Christ- whom you have sent’.

 

So yes- in Christianity we teach that a person must be born again- the only way to experience this new birth is thru believing in God’s Son.

 

The death of Christ paid the penalty for the sins of man- and it is thru his death and resurrection that we can freely receive the gift of life.

 

Whether you were baptized as a baby- or an adult- the main point is to believe today.

 

That’s being born again.

 

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

John 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

Numbers 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

Numbers 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Numbers 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Numbers 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

Numbers 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

 

NOTES- In the home meetings this week I covered some practical stuff- I talked about how when the people complained about being on this new journey [being delivered from Egypt/bondage] that God judged them [the snakes bit them].

In the book of Hebrews it says that they were ‘mindful’ of the old days- and wanted to go back.

I applied this to recovery- that often times when we walk a new road- out of old ways- that we feel uncomfortable at first.

In a way- we were used to the old addictions- and even though bondage is a miserable way to live- yet at times people are drawn to the old patterns- it makes them feel ‘comfortable’ again.

In one of the meetings I have a friend who used to be involved with some famous Texas gangs.

 

Many years with these guys.

 

He actually surprised me that he has been showing up on his own to my meetings.

I have known him for years- never talked to him.

 

But he loves the meetings- has been off of Meth for 7 months- and is a real nice guy.

Last night- before the meeting he told me he resorted to some old ways- and it just happened before the meeting.

At first I thought he meant Meth- but no- he was at the corner store- right down the block from where I live.

 

Some guy he didn’t know disrespected him- and he knocked him out.

 

Now- he felt bad- said he’s trying to get away from the way he used to be.

 

So- as I spoke about old patterns- and how it takes time to create new ways of thinking and acting- I felt it helped.

 

There was another guy in the meeting-

 

He cut down a tree for me a few weeks back- he does use drugs- but he’s a friend- been in my meetings and knows the bible.

 

I wrote about this a few weeks ago- but left out some of what happened.

 

He cut the tree- but never came back to finish the job.

 

He was supposed to cut the branches and stack them along the fence.

 

So- I did it myself.

 

The cost for the whole job was 200 [cheap- it was a big tree].

 

So- I could have paid half- and got away with it.

 

But I decided to pay the 200- and have a talk with him.

 

I did.

 

A few days later he came back- very high- and had his 2 partners.

 

They came to finish- they didn’t know I did it- and paid anyway.

 

I told the guys [3 of them] ‘Don’t worry- I finished the job myself’.

 

One of them said ‘no- we need to finish so you can pay us the rest’.

 

Now- I went out of my way for these guys- and at that point I went off.

 

I got mad- told them ‘don’t f.. piss me off- I paid him the f… 200- now you’re getting me mad’.

 

The old man apologized- said ‘no- we don’t want to piss you off, I’m sorry- he lied to me’.

 

And they left.

The ‘tree cutter’ has been in my meetings since then- I made things right- and he is actually a good friend.

 

So- we have a tendency a times to ‘go back to Egypt’ but God has a new journey for us- much better than the old one.

 

The term anabaptist was used to describe and define certain Reformation-era Christians who rejected infant baptism in favor of believer’s baptism.

Since many of them had been baptized in their infancy, they chose to berebaptized as believing adults. Hence, their enemies called them anabaptists — “re-baptizers.”

Being labeled anabaptist was neither complimentary nor safe. In fact, for a time it was a sure death sentence.

Even though we now embrace that term as part of our identity, it really is an inaccurate term to describe the original Anabaptists. They never considered that any rebaptism took place — they outright rejected and refuted the entire concept of infant baptism. To them, infant baptism would have been an oxymoron. They would have consideredinfant and baptism mutually exclusive.

The differences between the Anabaptists and the Magisterial Reformers lay much deeper than any outward sign, including that of baptism. The Anabaptists were earnestly concerned with the restitution of the true church on an Apostolic model. The Anabaptists considered the state churches beyond reformation.

Here are a few additional tidbits about the Anabaptists:

  • The era of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in Europe spawned a number of radical reform groups, among them the Anabaptists. These Christians regarded the Bible as their only rule for faith and life. Because of their radical beliefs, the Anabaptists were persecuted by Protestants as well as by Roman Catholics.
  • The evangelical and non-revolutionary Anabaptists of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands, were a trial to the leading reformers because of their radical views on the nature of the church and of the Christian ethic.
  • There is no single defining set of beliefs, doctrines, and practices that characterizes all Anabaptists.
  • Contemporary groups with early Anabaptist roots include the MennonitesAmish, Dunkards, Landmark Baptists, Hutterites, and various Beachy and Brethren groups.
  • Anabaptists have been characterized historically by a love for the Word of God, and by a strict demand forholiness of life.

In her study, Anabaptists: Separate by Choice, Marginal by Force, Elizabeth Scott notes:

  • The Anabaptists of central Europe evolved in a time of social and religious chaos, developed unique ideas concerning the church and state, and retained a wildly radical view of society.
  • The teachings and way of life of the Anabaptists, according to the Anabaptists themselves, were merely ways of trying to reinstate the true church, a church of true believers. It did not seem this way to the Magisterial Reformers or to the Roman Church, however. It was those very teachings and acts that made the Anabaptists into the object of numerous persecutions at the hands of both church and state.
  • The historiography of the Anabaptists…is largely hostile to them and their teachings. It remains one of the largest problems in modern scholarship to separate the hostility of their biographers from the circumstances of Anabaptist existence.
  • The impulse to join and remain within a society of martyrs is certainly hard to pinpoint.
  • In their earliest years, many of the Anabaptists were followers of Zwingli in Zurich.
  • Their unique model of what Church and society could become, if politics and fear were placed as subservient to love and community, stand as witness to the possibilities of a voluntary church, and the possibilities of a free society.

Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia (copyright 1993, 1994) notes in part:

During the 16th-century Reformation in Europe, the Protestant Anabaptist, or Christian Brethren, movement flourished in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and other countries. The basic belief of the Anabaptists was in adult baptism, but they also supported the separation of church and state and voluntary church membership. While there was no direct development from the Anabaptists to the growth of the Baptist churches in England, it is very likely that the latter were influenced in their beliefs and attitudes by the continental Brethren.

 

NOTE- Many years ago I took a trip to Geneva Switzerland- I stood by a statue of Zwingli- right next to a famous river. I noted ‘wow- a statue of Zwingli’! He responded ‘yeah- he drowned the Anabaptists in this river’. Oops.

 

 

2071- ARISTOTLE

 

Born in Northern Greece- in 384 BC.

The most famous student of Plato- attended Plato’s Academy for around 20 years.

 

His main disagreement with Plato was on his theory of Forms.

Plato believed that the ‘idea’ world contained the forms of all things we see in the physical realm.

 

Aristotle taught that substance itself was the main thing- that the forms of what we see in the natural realm come from matter itself.

 

He spoke about Potentiality and Actuality- that is the material things have in ‘seed’ form the final product.

 

The acorn has the Potential of becoming a tree- the fetus has the Potential of becoming a man- etc.

The form is already embedded in the thing itself- it does not exist in the ‘idea’ world of Plato.

 

Aristotle loved and admired his teacher- yet Plato had somewhat of a disdain for his most famous student.

Plato passed over Aristotle to head up the Academy- twice.

 

As things go- Aristotle went and started his own school- called the Lyceum.

 

Aristotle did not just teach Philosophy- but Biology- Logic- Ethics- Rhetoric.

Some refer to him as the first real scientist.

 

His development of the laws of Logic- Cause and Effect- play a key role in the Scientific Method till this day.

 

Aristotle taught that the main way we gain knowledge is thru sense perception and experiment.

 

As we study the natural order of things themselves- we gain understanding from them.

 

What we refer to as the Empirical method- knowledge gained thru the observation and experimentation of things.

 

He referred to God as the Final Cause- not the First Cause.

Why?

 

He believed in God [some debate this- Aristotle himself called him God in his work on Metaphysics] and called him the Prime Mover.

 

As I said before- a big thing with the early thinkers was the origin of Motion- who started the ball rolling- so to speak.

 

Aristotle credited the source of all motion to an ‘un- moved Mover’.

 

He gave the attributes of God to his Mover- said he had no beginning- was not material- an eternal and imperishable substance.

 

So- why the Final Cause?

He said God attracts all things to himself- so in his mind- motion started by attraction- not by a ‘push’ so to speak.

 

This is interesting indeed- in modern physics we see that the universe is undergoing a continual expansion- heading somewhere- of course we believe this somewhere is God himself- the source of all things.

 

Isaac Newton agreed with Aristotle on this point- he referred to it in his 3rd law of Physics.

 

The medieval Muslim thinkers called him ‘The First Teacher’- and Kant [who we will get to later in this study] credits him with the bulk of what we know today as the Laws of Logic.

 

Aristotle taught that the main activity of God was thought.

The bible says that thru Wisdom and Understanding God made things [‘Wisdom builds the house- Understanding establishes it- and thru Knowledge it’s rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches- Wisdom is profitable to direct- the words of the wise are like nails fastened by the masters of assemblies- as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation’- various bible verses found in Proverbs- Ecclesiastes and Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth] – in a way Aristotle was right.

 

One of his key contributions was the Syllogism- you start with a Logical argument- you engage in Deductive reasoning- and come to a Conclusion.

 

A famous example would be ‘All men are mortal- Plato is a man- Plato is mortal’.

 

Aristotle did not believe that something comes from nothing- a phrase that will come up a lot as we progress in this study is ‘ex nihilo nihil fit’- meaning Nothing comes from Nothing.

 

He was also what we refer to as a Teleolologist- he believed that there was design and purpose in the created order of things.

 

He saw design in the universe- world.

 

Many today embrace an idea that there is no purpose or design- that the design we see in the material world is by accident- and furthermore some say all that we see- CAME FROM NOTHING.

 

I can’t stress enough that this is simply not possible- I don’t say this from the Christian view point alone- but from a scientific one.

 

Science deals with the observation and testing of things- we look into the material world and come to certain conclusions based on what we see- observe.

 

One of the most fundamental observations that science SEES- is what I quoted above- NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING.

 

That is- every effect has a cause.

 

This is important for our day- because many have capitulated to the view that all things CAME FROM CHANCE.

 

Not only is this statement illogical [chance is simply a word- this statement ascribes Ontological status to a word- which is impossible].

 

But it is scientifically not true.

 

Why?

 

Because science shows us that things do not ‘pop into existence’ without a cause- from nothing.

 

True science in no way contradicts belief in God- no- it backs it up.

 

Aristotle- as well as most of the great thinkers we shall cover- came to the conclusion that there had to be some immaterial thing [being] that was the cause of all other things.

 

Now- why did he argue for a PRIME MOVER?

 

Because he believed that the universe was eternal- if there ever came a time when science showed us that the universe had a beginning point- then the argument would be over.

 

The Theists [those that believe in God] would win.

 

Sure enough- in the 20th century that’s exactly what happened.

 

Today Physics teaches us that time- space- matter did indeed have a beginning point- what we refer to as the Big Bang Theory.

 

If the early thinkers had this knowledge- then the argument for a Prime Mover would be moot- because instead we would have a Prime Starter- see?

 

 

Aristotle is credited with writing the second greatest work on Ethics from the ancient period- called Ethics [the first one being Plato’s Republic].

 

He wrote on political theory- believed that Aristocracy [rule by the excellent] was the best form of government [sort of like Socrates Philosopher Kings].

Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great.

 

During Alexander’s conquests- he took a huge team of scientists with him- they collected all types of specimens from these conquests- and Alexander brought them back to Athens and they were used at the Lyceum for further study.

 

It has been said that this was the most expensive scientific enterprise up to the day of the modern space program.

 

He taught that the intellectual virtues can be taught directly- but the moral ones HAD TO BE LIVED FIRST.

 

The bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom’.

 

I agree.

 

Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

Proverbs 3:20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

 

 

 

2072- CHOSEN OF GOD-

The theme this week is Predestination- meaning God picked us- believers- to be his children before the ‘foundation of the world’.

In Ephesians chapter one we read that God pre- planned for us to become his kids- in this plan he chose us to be Holy- without blame- spotless.

 

This is a progressive work- meaning it takes place thru out our life.

 

The bible says ‘after we believed we were sealed by the Holy Spirit’.

The old King James Bible says the Spirit is the Earnest of our inheritance- until the final purchase is come to fruition.

 

You can take this as saying ‘God’s Spirit is the guarantee- the down payment- until we are raised from the dead- and are in the new heaven- at the end’.

 

But you can also look at it from God’s view- that his Spirit- which he gave us when we first believed- is working in us until we become all that he wants us to be- fully submitted to his will- and becoming like him in every way.

The term ‘Earnest’ is the same word we use in Real estate- earnest money- or down payment.

 

So- the Spirit is the down payment- that God himself made- to assure that he will someday get the whole purchase- us!

 

At the bottom I will post the main verses on this- God choosing us.

In the bible we read of this theme mainly in the Apostle Paul’s letters- but we find it in Jesus teaching too- mostly in the gospel of John.

Jesus says things like ‘all that the Father give to me come to me- and those that come I will never cast out’.

‘My sheep hear my voice- they know me- they follow me’.

‘No man is able to pluck them out of my Fathers hand’.

‘You have not chosen me- but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit- and your fruit should remain’.

‘No man can come to me except my father in heaven draw him’.

One of the main chapters in the bible that covers this issue is Romans 9.

While the apostle Paul teaches this doctrine [Predestination] he uses an example from the book of Genesis- chapter 25.

 

He says Rebecca [the wife of Isaac] had 2 sons- she was pregnant with twins.

In Old Testament times- being the first born- the oldest child- meant a lot.

 

He would get the lion’s share of the inheritance.

 

In the case of the twins- Jacob and Esau- God did something special.

 

He said ‘the youngest shale rule over the oldest’.

Ok- Paul teaches that God simply made this decision by his own predetermined will.

 

The boys were not yet born- had no track record of being good- or bad.

Yet God chose to pick the youngest son and give him something that he did not give to the oldest son.

 

In Romans 9 Paul says this is Gods choice- he says ‘does not the potter have the right over the clay to make one pot the way he wants’.

 

Yes.

 

So God- in his Divine Purpose- has chosen us- not because of what we did- or will do- no- he chose us by Grace to become his kids.

 

This doctrine has caused lots of wars in the Christian church.

 

Some famous church fathers are known for teaching it- Saint Augustine from Hippo- North Africa taught it in the 5-6th century.

 

He was a famous teacher in the Catholic Church.

The Protestant Reformers of the 16th century believed it.

 

The bible- in my view- does indeed teach it.

 

What we get from knowing this teaching is that God’s grace is all from him.

We had nothing to do with our first birth- and we in reality had nothing to do with our New Birth.

We were dead in sins- and God gave us new life because he loved us- and chose us.

 

In this life he is working progressively in us- that as time goes by we will fulfill his ultimate will in this life.

 

Paul says ‘it is not of him who wills- or strives- but it is of God- who shows mercy’.

 

There are indeed a lot of implications to this doctrine.

People say ‘is this fair- that God chooses some- but not all’?

 

The way the apostle Paul answered this question is God is sovereign- he has the right to do what he wills.

 

Christ died for us- he gave his life for the sins of the world- all who come to him he receives.

 

We preach this good news [gospel] to everyone.

We should not discriminate- God’s love is for all.

When people believe- it is a gift of grace- God gives us the faith to believe.

We should be thankful that he chose us- he gave us this new life- by a Divine act of grace.

 

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Romans 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Romans 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Romans 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

2Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

1Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Genesis 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Genesis 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

Genesis 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

 

2073- THE GREAT TEACHER

 

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew chapters 5-7.

This week I have been teaching on a few points found in chapter 5.

 

Jesus says ‘blessed are the poor in spirit- for the kingdom is theirs’ ‘blessed are you when people say false things about you for my sake- they did this to the prophets- you have a great reward’.

 

‘Pray for those who do bad things to you’ ‘you are the salt of the earth- the light of the world- let your good works shine so all can see’ [in chapter 6 Jesus says don’t boast or sound a trumpet when you do good works- but let the works speak for themselves].

 

The teachings of Jesus go against our human nature- he said ‘if someone sues you- takes you to court- and wins- go the extra mile- give them more’.

Actually we find the term ‘extra mile’ in this chapter ‘if someone forces you to go one mile- go 2’.

 

In Jesus day the Jewish people were living under occupation- the nation that ruled over them was the Roman Empire.

So- by law- if a Roman soldier demanded you to carry his pack- you had to- for 1 mile.

 

So- as the way human nature is- the Jews had mile markers all over- and if they were forced to carry the pack- they made sure it was just for the required mile.

 

In a way- it was a type of the Old Covenant law- it ruled over you- with the fear of judgment.

 

Now- say if after the required mile was done- you kept going.

All of a sudden you have the Roman soldier there- you’re carrying the pack- yet he has no rule of threat over you anymore- but the work is still getting done.

 

Not out of fear- but love.

 

This is a great picture of the New Covenant- we still keep the 10 commandments- but it’s not like a sword hanging over us- we do it because we are followers of Jesus- yeah- the 2nd mile.

 

The themes of Jesus in the sermon on the mount are themes of forgiveness- non retaliation- ‘if you bring your gift to God- and then remember that your brother has something against you- go- be reconciled to your brother first- then bring your gift’.

 

That’s the AA teaching of making amends.

 

We should give up our rights- not view the world thru the lens of ‘they did me wrong- they deserve to be punished- by me!’

 

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church ‘how dare you take each other to court- and that before the unbelievers’.

 

They were suing one another- Paul said they have more wisdom than the world- they should set the least of them to judge these matters.

 

He said just take the wrong- if you were indeed wronged- so what- follow Christ’s example and realize it’s a Cross you can carry.

 

In the world today there is a lot of unrest- maybe more than we have seen in many years.

 

Why?

 

What’s the root cause?

 

Nations and people believe they were wronged in some way- many of these resentments go back for hundreds of years- and both sides of these issues have deteriorated to a point where they think violence is the only way to resolve it.

 

In the letter of James we read ‘from whence come wars and fighting among you- they come from from the lust that wars in you- you fight and desire to have and cannot get what you want’.

 

Some demand the other side to pay a price- and if they feel the offending party has gotten away with an injustice- they take the last resort and fight.

 

A strange thing happened at the street service this past Sunday.

 

A few years ago there was a famous case of a foster mom who was sentenced to life without parole for the death of her child- Andrew Burd.

 

The case got national attention- the woman- Hannah Overton- was a missionary and her church supports her to this day.

 

I’ll admit- there were some wrong things done at her trial- I am not an out and out defender of Hannah- but she was charged with punishing the boy by making him drink spices- and the boy got sick.

 

She did take him to the hospital- but he died.

Wrong indeed.

 

There were questions- legal ones- that arose- but in the end the crime comes under not getting treatment for some one on time.

A crime I am familiar with because I worked with the ambulance service for 25 years.

 

I have never seen a life without parole for a crime like this- her conviction was for the cause of the boy’s death because she did not get him to the hospital on time- and her punishment is greater  then I have seen in cases where people kill other people- intentionaly.

 

So- the media made a big thing out of it- and Hannah Overton has a web site asking for a new look at the case.

 

In the church meeting Sunday an elderly woman stood up- she was distraught- her son recently died- and she asked for everyone to support her web site- called ‘justice for Andrew Burd’.

 

She was the boy’s grandmother.

 

I spoke to her after the meeting- prayed with her- told her I am familiar with the case- and let her know that I had just seen that Hannah’s last appeal was rejected [to the best of my knowledge].

 

The lady was so happy- she said it was the best news she has had in a long time.

 

Now- was this grandmother wrong to want justice for her dead grandchild?

 

Of course not- in the chapter above Jesus says ‘you have heard not to murder- and if you murder you will be in danger of the judgment’.

Judgment for sin- for crime- is real- and God ordained law and justice in both the Old and New testaments.

 

Yet we as people- as individual Christ followers- we are to forgive- release- not seek our own vengeance- or harbor hatred towards those who have ‘sinned’ against us because we too have wronged others.

 

Jesus said ‘blessed are the merciful- for they shall obtain mercy’.

 

He taught us to ‘turn the other cheek’- to not resist evil with evil- but to take the wrong-

 

In the world today we see wars raging- sides demanding a just outcome for past [or present] grievances- it’s not in our nature to forgive- to turn.

 

Many great men have followed the principles of Jesus found in the Great Sermon- Martin Luther King- Gandhi- etc.

 

Men who gave their lives for a higher cause- believing that the way of the Cross was indeed a better way.

 

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Matthew 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

Matthew 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

Matthew 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.

Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

Matthew 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

 

 

What Jesus Means to Me by Mahatma Gandhi

November 13, 2013 by Nayaswami Kamala Leave a Comment

Mahatma Gandhi
(1869-1948)

Although I have devoted a large part of my life to the study of religion and to discussion with religious leaders of all faiths, I know very well that I cannot but seem presumptuous in writing about Jesus Christ and trying to explain what he means to me. I do so only because my Christian friends have told me, on more than a few occasions, that for the very reason I am not a Christian and that (I shall quote their words exactly) “I do not accept Christ in the bottom of my heart as the only Son of God,” it is impossible for me to understand the profound significance of his teachings, or to know and interpret the greatest source of spiritual strength that man has ever known.

Although this may or may not be true in my case, I have reasons to believe that it is an erroneous point of view. I believe that such an estimate is incompatible with the message that Jesus Christ gave to the world. For, he was certainly the highest example of one who wished to give everything, asking nothing in return, and not caring what creed might happen to be professed by the recipient. I am sure that if he were living here now among men, he would bless the lives of many who perhaps have never even heard his name, if only their lives embodied the virtues of which he was a living example on earth; the virtues of loving one’s neighbour as oneself and of doing good and charitable works among one’s fellowmen.

What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.* Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so.

To me, it implies a spiritual birth. My interpretation, in other words, is that in Jesus’ own life is the key of his nearness to God; that he expressed, as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God.

The Spirit of Jesus

But I do believe that something of this spirit that Jesus exemplified in the highest measure, in its most profound human sense, does exist. I must believe this; if I did not believe it, I should be a sceptic; and to be a sceptic is to live a life that is empty and lacks moral content. Or, what is the same thing, to condemn the entire human race to a negative end.

It is true that there certainly is reason for scepticism when one observes the bloody butchery that European aggressors have unloosed, and when one thinks about the misery and suffering prevalent in every corner of the world, as well as the pestilence and famine that always follow, terribly and inevitably, upon war.

In the face of this, how can one speak seriously of the Divine Spirit incarnate in man? Because these acts of terror and murder offend the conscience of man; because man knows that they represent evil; because in the inner depths of his heart and of his mind, he deplores them. And because, moreover, when he does not go astray, misled by false teachings or corrupted by false leaders, man has within his breast an impulse for good and a compassion that is the spark of Divinity, and which some day, I believe, will burst forth into the full flower that is the hope of all mankind.

Jesus’ Example

An example of this flowering may be found in the figure and in the life of Jesus. I refuse to believe that there now exists or has ever existed a person that has not made use of his example to lessen his sins, even though he may have done so without realizing it. The lives of all have, in some greater or lesser degree, been changed by his presence, his actions, and the words spoken by his divine voice.

I believe that it is impossible to estimate the merits of the various religions of the world, and, moreover, I believe that it is unnecessary and harmful even to attempt it. But each one of them, in my judgment, embodies a common motivating force: the desire to uplift man’s life and give it purpose.

And because the life of Jesus has the significance and the transcendency to which I have alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely to Christianity, but to the entire world; to all races and people, it matters little under what flag, name or doctrine they may work, profess a faith, or worship a God inherited from their ancestors.

— The Modern Review, October 1941, republished on mahatma.org.in/

* The word ‘begotten’ has for Gandhiji a significance that is more profound and possibly nobler than its simple literal meaning.

 

2074- WISDOM- WEALTH AND LOVE.

The past few weeks I have been reading what we refer to as the Wisdom literature- these books of the bible include Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Job- James in the N.T. – and a couple more.

 

At the bottom I’ll just post some highlights from Solomon- from the book of Ecclesiastes [thought of posting all that I highlighted from James- Proverbs- but that would be too much for one post].

 

We read common themes in all these books-

 

‘Humble yourselves in the eyes of the Lord and he will lift you up’

 

‘Don’t make vows- promises- about the future- you do not know what will happen from day to day- let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ no’

 

‘Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall’

 

‘Judge not- lest you be judged’

 

‘A fool speaks all his words-a wise man holds them back’

 

‘He that does not offend in word is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body’

 

‘Life is like a vapor- it appears for a little time and is gone’.

 

‘Be doers of the word and not hearers only’

 

‘Faith without works is dead’

Last week I covered the Sermon on the Mount- even though it is not normally seen as wisdom literature- I think you could include it too.

 

In the writings of Solomon [Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Song of Solomon] we see The Preacher talk about life- in Ecclesiastes he takes a look at man- his turmoil- his relentless seeking of wealth- working daily without ever examining his own life- and the futility of it all.

 

Solomon dealt with depression during this period- he says things like ‘the day of a man’s death is better than the day he was born’ and ‘he who has never even been born is better than both’ [those who live- those who die].

 

Solomon talks about how he ‘captured the world’ so to speak.

 

He attained great wealth- had huge building projects- learned more wisdom and knowledge than anyone else.

He gave himself to ‘strong drink’ had many women [we will get to this at the end].

 

In the eyes of the world’s standards- he did it all.

 

Yet- he saw life as a vanity- an endless pursuit that leads to nowhere.

 

He considered the plight of the oppressed- those who lived under rulers who treated their people wrong- this too was vanity.

 

He looked at the unexamined life [remember Plato?] he said there was a man that had no relatives- yet he worked every day- built up a fortune- and when he dies he has no power over who will get the inheritance- it might wind up in the hands of a fool- who will waste it.

 

Solomon looked for meaning in it all- and apart from God- he saw futility.

There’s a quote that does not fit the modern day preaching- ‘give me neither poverty or riches- if I have too much- I might forget God- too little- I might curse him’.

We read ‘you came into the world without anything- when you die you can’t take anything with you- so be content with just enough’.

 

The apostle Paul says the same thing in 1st Timothy 6.

 

It’s funny- but in today’s church world these would be called ‘negative confessions’ yet the wisest of them all said this.

 

The frailty of human life runs thru out this literature- life is something that is very temporary.

 

James says ‘all flesh is like grass- it will be gone soon- but the word of the Lord endures forever’.

 

In a sense- we can make an impact in life- if we document stuff for the following generations.

 

That’s why we can read this literature today- because Solomon and others wrote it down- and it was passed off to following generations.

 

In John 17 Jesus says ‘I pray not for these alone [his men] but for those also who will believe on me thru THEIR WORD’.

 

The gospel spread because the early believers spoke- and wrote- of their experiences.

 

To leave a legacy behind- something of value for the next generation- is a biblical idea.

 

But to live for pleasure- wealth- human achievement is seen as a vanity- because all of these things- including our lives- are but for a moment in time.

 

Jesus spoke much about eternal riches- living with noble goals- helping your fellow man- showing love and compassion.

 

Experiencing true love- the highest form of it- which does not seek self gratitude- but wants the benefit of others.

 

Out of all the wisdom literature- Solomon wrote the most.

He gave himself to pleasure- drink- women- he tried the philosophy of Hedonism- this too was vanity.

 

He said something interesting- even in all these experiences in life- yet his wisdom remained- and he taught still.

 

His own experiences- failures- were meant for following generations to see- to enter into.

 

One of the wisdom books in the bible was written about his ultimate experience- it’s called the Song of Solomon.

 

Solomon had many wives and concubines [side women].

Yet at one point in life- he found the love of his life.

 

She is written about in this book.

 

What did he learn from this experience?

 

He found that love was beyond all of his other experiences- he said that true love was as ‘strong as death- as cruel as the grave’.

 

‘Many waters cannot quench it- if a man would give all that he has- yet it can’t be bought- or escaped from’.

 

‘The coals are like fire, a most vehement flame’.

 

His encounter with true love shows us that the greatest thing [1st Corinthians 13] is love.

 

God has chosen to create us- why?

 

God has all wisdom- all power- he does not ‘need’ anything.

 

When he made Adam- Adam was perfect before the fall.

 

Yet- he was incomplete until he found Eve- ‘bone of his bone- flesh of his flesh’.

 

He was connected to her in a way that nothing else could compare to.

 

God made man- so he too could have an object of his love.

The greatest description of God is found in the writing of the apostle John.

 

In John’s gospel he refers to himself as the one who Jesus loved.

 

He saw himself thru this lens- an object of unconditional love.

 

Solomon gave us many gifts- he attained all that a man could ever want- I think the greatest gift he gave us is found in the Song of Solomon.

 

Love is the supreme thing- it fulfills all the law.

 

A new commandant I give you- love one another as I have loved you- in this you fulfil all the law and the prophets.

 

Yes- the wisest man that ever lived had no power over it- God himself gave all he could- he loved the world so much that he gave us his Son.

 

Jesus said ‘greater love has no man than this- that he would lay down his life for his friends’.

 

In this the love of God was manifested- in that while we were yet sinners- Christ died for us.

 

Yeah- we do not deserve the love of God- people may wonder ‘how can God love me’.

 

Love goes beyond all other things- it is not a rational thing- God did this because he loved us- that’s why.

 

NOTE- Solomon in a way pictures God.

 

How?

 

God’s attributes- his character- what theologians describe are Omniscience [knows everything] Omnipresent [everywhere] and Omnipotent [all power].

God has ‘need’ of nothing- he is self-sustaining- people do not possess these attributes- we are dependent- contingent- have need of many things- the greatest being love.

 

Yet God- in himself- has no object to pour his love into [this is somewhat of a debate- God- being Trinity- does in a way have love- an expression of it- within the Trinity, Jesus says ‘you love them like you love me’ but for this discussion- that’s too much to get into].

 

So- God made Adam- he was perfect before he sinned. God put him in a perfect environment- the garden.

He gave him purpose [till the garden] created animals- he had it all.

 

Yet- something was lacking- he had nothing to love with all his heart.

 

So God made a deep sleep fall upon him- and he created Eve.

 

He now had a co-equal that was a part of himself.

 

The apostle Paul tells us that this is a great mystery- man and woman- in love.  He says it is simply a picture- on a small scale- of Christ and the Church.

 

In us- who believe- God now has a bride- a love- that he pours himself into.

The bible says the angels are looking into this great romance- they see the interaction and in a way are jealous.

 

God reveals himself thru the church- thru the bride he loves.

 

It is this love of God for us that forms us into his image- in a way we are a type of the incarnation- God in man.

 

There is nothing we do to earn love- to deserve love.

When humans fall in love- they often don’t see the faults in their partner [though they are there on both sides] we use an expression ‘love is blind’.

Sometimes we think ‘how can that person love me’- because we see in the other the same thing- that they are ‘too good for me’.

 

These things are not rational- the love of a man for a woman- like Solomon learned- went beyond the wisdom and knowledge he had- he experienced this with the one love of his life that we read about in the Song of Solomon. [I quoted the last chapter at the bottom for those who want to read it].

 

God created us- we are the love of his life- this relationship between man and God far exceeds human love- the bible says it is beyond our understanding.

Yes- God is in love with us- that’s why he keeps coming after us- in a way- he can’t ‘help it’.

 

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 1:3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

Ecclesiastes 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

Ecclesiastes 2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

Ecclesiastes 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

Ecclesiastes 2:19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Ecclesiastes 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

Ecclesiastes 4:3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

Ecclesiastes 5:6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Ecclesiastes 5:13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

Ecclesiastes 5:14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.

Ecclesiastes 5:15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Ecclesiastes 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.

Ecclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

Ecclesiastes 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Ecclesiastes 11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Ecclesiastes 11:6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

Ecclesiastes 11:8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Ecclesiastes 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Ecclesiastes 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Song Of Solomon 8:1 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.

Song Of Solomon 8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

Song Of Solomon 8:3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.

Song Of Solomon 8:4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

Song Of Solomon 8:5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree there thy mother brought thee forth there she brought thee forth that bare thee.

Song Of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

Song Of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

Song Of Solomon 8:8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?

Song Of Solomon 8:9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.

Song Of Solomon 8:10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

Song Of Solomon 8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.

Song Of Solomon 8:12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.

Song Of Solomon 8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice cause me to hear it.

Song Of Solomon 8:14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

2075

DON’T PULL THE WEEDS- YET

  This week we are talking about the parables of Jesus found in Matthew 13.

There are some common threads that run thru most of them.

Jesus taught about planting seeds- some make it- some don’t.

Yet- the sower [planter] starts the process with this in mind- that yes- some will fail.

But that’s part of life- chalk it up- mistakes will be made- learn from them- and move on.

Last week I was teaching the wisdom literature- it said ‘plant in the morning- cast your bread upon the water- give out many portions- who knows- maybe one or the other will make it’.

If you never try- then for sure nothing will make it!

Jesus said the kingdom was like a fisherman who cast a wide net- it caught all types of fish- when you pull the net to shore- separate the bad from the good- there does come a time of ‘separation’ when the cup [net] is full.

A man planted a crop- but at night when he was asleep- an enemy came and planted weeds- bad seeds.

When the field started producing- they saw the weeds too.

The servants said ‘do you want us to pull out the bad stuff now’?

He said no- because if you try and get the bad seed out now- it will harm the good.

But wait until the harvest- at that time you can pull out the bad- and then the good wheat will get harvested.

Jesus explains that these parables are about the end of the age [world] and at the judgment time God sends forth his angles [also can mean messengers- preachers- etc.] and they will discern between good and bad.

A common theme in these teachings is there comes a time of judgment- there comes a time when the bad stuff gets removed.

But it’s not our job to try and ‘remove’ it before the time.

The church is in the word to be a light for all nations- to preach the good news about Gods love and forgiveness.

Too often we try to pull out the bad- spend a lot of time focusing on what we perceive to be the bad stuff in others.

Now- that time will come someday- but it’s really not our job to go and pull out the bad weeds before the time- because we can harm the good stuff in the process.

In one of the meetings I did this past week- one of the guys brought up Islam- he asked ‘are they right- or wrong- that’s a yes or no answer’.

Now- like Colin Powell said once ‘you can ask the question- but I’ll decide how to answer’.

I told my friend that it’s not a ‘yes or no answer’.

I explained that there are good parts found in the Islamic religion- that the teaching about giving to one’s neighbor is practiced- many times it is done more in line with the teachings of Jesus then what many Christians practice.

I got into the history of Islam- told my friend I taught it in the past- and yes- I did say that in the area of Jesus as God’s Son- they have it wrong [according to Christian belief].

But- I prefer to have a dialogue with all people- all religions- all back grounds- that I might have some positive influence in the end.

If we simply bash the other guy- then they will never stick around long enough to hear the good stuff.

In these parables there is a process to things- we plant- we water- we wait.

We do it in love- with patience- we warn people that there is coming a judgment day- but for those who believe in Christ- that day has already happened.

He took the judgment of God for sin- nailed sin/law to the Cross- and wiped away the ‘handwriting of ordinances that was against us’ [Ephesians].

In the teaching of Jesus we see a simple understanding of the End Times- the resurrection of the just and unjust- and a final judgment- and reward/penalty for those who have done good- and those who have done evil.

The End Times teaching of Jesus is not as convoluted as the many scenarios we see in the modern day prophecy teachings.

Recently I have had people say ‘John- some of the guys you are trying to help- they have burned you [true] they have done you wrong [true] yet- I know you believe that Jesus wants you to forgive them- but they take advantage of you’.

I see stuff- I realize that I have in some ways bent over backwards with some of these guys- yet- I believe that some will change, some will make it.

I try and cast a net that does not discriminate- I try not to pull out the weeds before the time- because I don’t always know for sure who are the good seed- and who are the bad.

In the time of harvest- when the crop is full- yes- God will indeed make a separation- but for now- I’m letting both grow together.

In the parables about the kingdom – we see in ‘seed’ form Jesus himself.

One of the early church fathers used to say that ‘Jesus is the kingdom’ in a way I agree.

He is the treasure hidden in a field- he is the pearl of great price- he is the mustard seed- the ‘smallest’ [least] of all seeds- but when it is planted [dies and buried] it becomes this huge tree- the birds of the air nest in it.

Jesus was talking about John the Baptist one day- he said ‘no one born of a woman is greater than John- yet he that is least [small seed] in the kingdom is greater than he’.

Many years ago I had a friend involved in the occult- he studied it- told me ‘John- these things do work’.

He struggled with being a Christian- and then ‘backsliding’ back into the occult.

He told me one time that there was a technique he used- he said ‘you make yourself small’.

Meaning you become less- then the person you are targeting sees you as small- then he said you later come on BIG- it was an intimidation tactic.

Jesus obviously did not use occult methods- but he became small- he took the least place- he was the ‘least in the kingdom’ who was greater than John the Baptist.

Jesus said ‘except a seed fall into the ground- and die- it remains alone [one seed] but- if it die- it will bring forth much fruit’.

The sacrifice of Christ for the world has produced a huge crop- a big tree- the church- the people of God fill the world today.

When we preach- and exemplify the love of God- we are casting the net- we are sowing the seed- we are infiltrating the world.

Not for self interest- for some conservative agenda- no- that’s a big mistake in my mind.

We are preaching the Good News- that God loves us- he gave his Son to be the seed that would become the tree- see?

In these parables of Jesus we see that there is a process to things- there are times when the ‘cup is full’ so to speak- the harvest is ready.

That’s when the good and the bad get separated.

I haven’t commented on geopolitical events in a while.

But there has been lots going on in the world- more than usual.

I believe we are in a sense in one of these time periods- where things are come to a crisis point.

You might say ‘John- haven’t these things been going on for years’?

Yes- but if you watch closely- there worse this time around.

Nations have used language [Russia- China] and done deeds- that are reminiscent of the cold war- things that we haven’t seen in quite some time.

The instability in the world is bad- worse than in a very long time.

In the beginning of this year I said I believe that something will happen this year- in the area of judgment- and it will hit in our country.

I still believe this- the cup is full- lots of stuff that is playing out on the world stage right now are signs- things are going to happen.

I am not in any way an ‘end times’ type of guy- getting into all the scenarios of which country will invade the other- many of these ‘prophecies’ are misguided in my view.

They are ancient prophecies we read about- yes- in the bible- but I am not into reading these prophecies as current events.

Most of these prophecies were referring to events- and world issues- at the time they were written [this would take a while to teach- and right now I don’t have the time].

But- having said that- just a cursory view of the news shows us that stuff is getting bad- and there is indeed a timetable to things.

Our job [the church] is to show the love and compassion God has for all ‘sides’- yes- he loves the Palestinian- as much as the Jew.

He loves the Syrians- the Iraqis- yes- those in these nations who are at war with each another- he loves them all.

This is not to say that we condone the actions of violence- aggression- on any side.

No- all killing is wrong- Isaiah says there should be ‘war no more’.

This is not some liberal positon- it’s God’s will.

I’m not naïve- I know we live in a world where stuff happens- but we need to reject the settling of our differences by killing people- that never works.

It just releases a wave of more killing- violence begets violence.

I could write much about all the reasons the world is on fire right now- try and give the viewpoint of ‘the other’.

But- if we can get closer to the biblical mandate- that killing is indeed wrong- for the Christian- for the Muslim- for the Jew- for all the various groups that do profess belief in Gd.

If we can understand that God himself rejects the taking of human life- then we can work from there.

The kingdom that we are talking about this week is headed by Jesus Christ- called the Prince of Peace.

When he was unjustly accused- brought before the courts- sentenced to death- his men would have fought for him- but he already taught them that his kingdom was not about violent action.

One of his disciples was a Zealot- they were guerilla fighters of the first century who wanted to mount a violent overthrow of Rome [Simon was a Zealot- not Peter- he was a disciple of Jesus].

Jesus taught them another way ‘those that live by the sword will die by it’.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the way- not just a mental ascent to belief in him- but following the pattern that he gave us.

Love never fails, love covers a multitude of sins- love does not keep a record of the wrongs that others have done to us.

Love rejects violence- vengeance- choosing the way of the gun/sword in order to accomplish some goal.

Jesus let the authorities kill him- unjustly- and thru this act he redeemed the world.

He was nailed to a tree- Cross- and thru this act became the ‘tree that fills the whole earth’.

Yeah- we see the kingdom in this man- the Son of God.

Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

Matthew 13:4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

Matthew 13:5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

Matthew 13:6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

Matthew 13:7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

Matthew 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Matthew 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

Matthew 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

Matthew 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

Matthew 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

Matthew 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

Matthew 13:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:

Matthew 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

Matthew 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

Matthew 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Micah 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.

Matthew 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.

Matthew 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

 

 

2076- BREAD FROM HEAVEN [Radio Shows coming soon]

This week I’m filling in some of the gaps of my overview of the bible series.

 

I’m covering some of the key stories found in the Old Testament- and teaching how they relate to Christ.

In Exodus 16 we read the account of God feeding the people with Manna- from heaven.

 

What’s Manna?

 

Good question.

 

The word actually means ‘what is it’.

 

When the Jewish people were on their journey out of Egypt- they were destined for the Promised Land.

The trip only took 3 days by foot- yet it took them 40 years to get there.

 

Why?

Because they complained- griped- rebelled the whole way- so- they wandered in circles for 40 years.

 

One of their complaints was they said to Moses ‘why did you get us out of Egypt- so we could all die of hunger in this wilderness’?

 

They missed the meals they had when back in Egypt- even though they were slaves!

 

So- God gave them food from heaven- God ‘rained down’ a type of wafer thing every morning- when the people got up- the bread was there.

 

God told them to take just enough for EACH DAY- some took too much- and the bible says it ‘bred worms’- yeah- maggots.

On the 6th day they could take enough for 2 days- so they would not have to gather any on the Sabbath day.

 

Now- in the gospel of John chapter 6- Jesus gets in a debate with the religious leaders of his day.

 

They said ‘Moses gave us bread from heaven [the Manna] what sign will you show us that we might believe’?

Jesus said he was the true bread which came down from heaven- he said those who ate the bread back in Moses day- they are now dead.

 

But he who eats the bread from heaven- he will live forever.

 

Jesus said he was the true Manna- the account from Moses was just a symbol of him.

 

What we learn from the story is that God gives us Daily Bread- he will speak to us on a daily basis- give us direction for life- and we need to be attentive to these ‘words’ from God.

 

He might bring to your memory a bible passage- or maybe a prophetic dream- vision- God can direct us in many ways.

 

If we discern that it is from God- then we walk in that word/direction- for the day.

 

When Jesus was tempted by the devil [Matthew 4] he responded ‘man shall not live by bread alone- but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’.

 

In the Lord’s Prayer [Our Father] Jesus says to pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’.

 

In Revelation 2:17 we read ‘to him who overcomes I will give to eat of the Hidden Manna’.

 

God gives us this bread- direction- as we overcome.

The bible says ‘blessed are they that do his commandments- that they might have right to the tree of life and may enter in thru the gates into the city’.

 

These images from the bible show us that as we walk in the will of God- then we have access to this daily spiritual guidance.

 

But if we are in sin- open rebellion- then we don’t get the Hidden Manna- we can’t eat from this Tree of Life.

These past few months I have seen many examples of this- both in my own life and in the people I am working with.

 

Last month I helped a friend move to a new place- it’s in a bad area of town- but we prayed that God would open up doors anyway.

 

Sure enough the day I helped him move I met 2 guys next door- both alcoholics.

I talked with them for about 2 hours- told them my story- and that was it.

 

My friend had a substandard apartment- and he had to move again.

So- one of the guys I met that day showed up on my side of town last week- Flour Bluff.

He was hesitant to come to my area- because even though I live in a nice subdivision- our area is known as a Meth haven.

 

The first day he was in the Buff I ran into him.

 

He told me a story- he was on North Beach [the area where I do our baptisms] and he was suicidal- he was going to take his own life.

 

He was making these roses that the street guys [and gals] make out of the palm leaves in our area.

He had the last one- and he decided to give it away- before he would take his life.

 

He saw a couple walking down the beach- and he gave it to them.

 

The guy told him ‘I’m a pastor for a church in the Bluff- Rock City- come to church Wednesday and God will bless you’.

 

Now- I just started going to this church- some of the local guys I work with meet up there- and it works out well.

 

He told me at first when the pastor told him who he was- he thought it might have been me [we both have long hair].

 

He went to the church- and yeah- God blessed him.

 

He hooked up with me and the local street crew- got in a meeting or 2- and kept telling me how amazed he was that God started doing stuff in his life.

 

Now- here’s the tough part- and here’s why I won’t share his name.

 

He told me he feels like he’s in a battle for his life- and has lost all hope- yet God seems to be pulling him out.

 

What battle?

I share this carefully- he told me that when he was in his 20’s he did a drug deal with a girl- his age.

 

She didn’t pay him for the stuff- so he ‘had sex with her’ instead-

 

He was charged- and convicted- on a rape charge.

 

About 4 years ago Texas and a few states made anyone convicted of a rape to now register as a sex offender.

 

He has applied for jobs- housing- etc.

 

As soon as they see he is a sex offender- they turn him down.

 

This is the battle that he faces.

 

The day he told me this- I shared with him some stuff from the bible- and let him know that I’m still his friend- and he’s welcome in our group.

 

I was busy later in the day- and have lots of friends who call/text- some nonstop.

 

So- I just don’t look at the phone- or carry it with me- all the time.

 

But- I saw a missed call from my friend- and I realized if he didn’t hear from me- he might have felt like I too cut him off.

 

I called him back- he’s back on North Beach- and I told him I will pick him up for my meetings- and we will still get together.

 

God started working with him- ‘speaking’ to him- showing him what to do- and he followed the leading.

 

There’s more to this- but the point is- he was in a way getting ‘daily Manna’- God was giving him directions- just for that day- and he had to follow them.

Over the years I painted bible verses on tiles and placed them in my yard- many are gone- some buried [long story].

 

This past year while working in the yard- every so often I find one [some are small].

 

Yesterday when I started this post- On Manna- I went in the yard and pulled a few weeds.

 

Sure enough- I saw a buried tile sticking out of the ground.

 

I pulled it out- Yeah- the verse was from the teaching I’m doing right now- it was the Manna verse.

 

Now- we can get carried away with ‘signs’ but God does use them- he does speak to us on a daily basis.

 

It’s important to hear him- to engage with him- to draw near to him.

 

In some cases- it can even save your life.

 

 THE TESTIMONY OF THE LORD IS SURE- NONE OF YOUR WORDS WILL FALL TO THE GROUND.

 

I spoke at our meeting last night- and will do one in Alice today.

I shared a real time example of Manna [hearing God daily] that most of the guys at last night’s meeting would be able to relate to- because these are street guys who know the local scene.

 

3 years ago I ‘left’ Texas- thinking I was moving back to North Bergen- N.J.

Before I left [now- it was a tough year] I told my wife ‘I’m moving back North- you get the house- I’ll live on my retirement check’.

 

She said ‘take what you want- the rest is going to get dumped’.

So- I got rid of lots of stuff- sold my vehicles [van and classic 66 Mustang] – and headed north.

 

After 3 months back in the NYC area- I knew it was time to head back.

 

God did open up ministry doors while I was in N.J. – and now I go back every year.

 

Ok- I got a call from my wife one day when I was in North Bergen- she said ‘Huey [one of my street friends- homeless] came by- he saw the dumpster/trailer in front of the house [with my stuff in it!] and he wants to know if he can go thru it before it gets hauled off to the dump’.

 

Sure- why not- it’s getting dumped anyway.

 

So- when I got back to Texas- yeah- my yard was ‘cleared out’ and sure enough- my office/study was empty.

 

I told my wife ‘you dumped the safes!’

 

Yup.

 

I had 2 safes in my office- which held my 20 years of radio tapes.

They weren’t of value- unless you wanted to do radio ministry- which I did for about 20-25 years.

The reason I kept them in the safes was for protection- in case we had a fire or something.

 

Lots of years of study and teaching went into these.

 

So- that was a big loss for me.

I still had about 50 programs that were on my computer drive- but I made about 700 15 minutes shows- they were gone.

 

One day Huey said ‘John- I need to tell you something’.

 

He felt guilty- he said they broke into the safes- he took them- which was fine- I told him he could have the stuff in the dumpster.

He asked me ‘do you want your tapes back’?

 

This was over a year ago- at the time I said ‘no- I’m done with the radio shows’.

 

I didn’t realize there would come a day where I would put them on-line [by the way- I just realized the ones I had on-line- on the blog- were deleted by my very unreliable host site- Kiwwi. Don’t use unreliable sites. I just started a reliable host site for voice- WordPress- it will take time- but eventually my shows will be on there].

 

So- the past few weeks- working on the new site- I really was upset about the loss.

 

This week- one of the verses that came to mind [remember- daily bread- Manna- hearing God] was ‘The testimony of the Lord is sure’.

 

So- yesterday I thought ‘Lord- could it be possible that I might get the tapes back? – If it’s ‘your testimony’ then let me get them back’.

 

I saw Huey at the mission- at about 9- he rarely is there at this time.

 

Now- these are street guys—who use [Meth].

 

‘Hey Huey- you want to make 50 bucks’?

 

Wow!

 

Get me those tapes back- and I’ll give you 50!

He said he knew where they were- I was surprised- if I were a Meth addict- and went thru the trouble of breaking into these safes- thinking there was something of value in them- and then found Christian tapes- I would have dumped them.

 

But- he did tell me- last year- he thought there would come a day when I might want them.

 

Now- he told me I didn’t have to pay him- he would track them down.

 

I told him ‘no- I’ll give you 50’.

I wanted them soon- and the 50 was an incentive [I must have spent 30 thousand dollars paying for airtime over the years- out of pocket- I never took an offering- so paying 50 was nothing].

 

I asked him ‘did you use a torch to break into the safes- because then they will be ruined’.

 

He said no.

 

I had no idea if they would still be good- if they were left in some alley- then it would be all over.

 

Sure enough- I had a full day- as all my days are now.

 

And at 5pm- I got a call- it was ‘my connection’.

 

Now- I can’t tell the rest [though I would like to!] but I went some place- and my tapes were in mint condition- in the racks I had them in.

 

So- if Huey never took them from the dumpster- they would have been dumped.

 

It would have cost me 50 bucks to have some locksmith open the safes- I lost my passwords during my ‘move’ to North Bergen.

 

Plus- I didn’t even have to pay a storage fee!

 

In the end- I got my tapes- because I know the ‘connections’ and I heard God- ‘the testimony is sure’- ‘none of your words will fall to the ground’.

 

Yeah- there back- Thanks.

 

Exodus 16:1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.

Exodus 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:

Exodus 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Exodus 16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

Exodus 16:5 And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.

Exodus 16:6 And Moses and Aaron said unto all the children of Israel, At even, then ye shall know that the LORD hath brought you out from the land of Egypt:

Exodus 16:7 And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

Exodus 16:8 And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

Exodus 16:9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the LORD: for he hath heard your murmurings.

Exodus 16:10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

Exodus 16:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Exodus 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.

Exodus 16:13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.

Exodus 16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

Exodus 16:15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

Exodus 16:16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

Exodus 16:17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.

Exodus 16:18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.

Exodus 16:19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.

Exodus 16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.

Exodus 16:21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

Exodus 16:22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.

Exodus 16:23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.

Exodus 16:24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.

Exodus 16:25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

Exodus 16:26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

Exodus 16:27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.

Exodus 16:28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?

Exodus 16:29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Exodus 16:30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 16:31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Exodus 16:32 And Moses said, This is the thing which the LORD commandeth, Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.

Exodus 16:33 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept for your generations.

Exodus 16:34 As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.

Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

Exodus 16:36 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah.

Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 6:48 I am that bread of life.

John 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 

 

2077- TAKING THE LAND

 

Today we move along in our overview of the bible- and we get to the fulfillment of one of the promises God made to Abraham.

The taking of the promised land- Canaan.

We see the story in the book of Joshua- the people have spent 40 years in the wilderness- and they arrive at the river Jordan- getting ready to pass over into the land.

 

An interesting ‘door’ opens- God once gain does a miracle- like the parting of the Red sea.

 

The priests who were carrying the Ark of the covenant [This in itself deserves an entire post- the Ark and the meaning of the Tabernacle of Moses- but I have covered it lots in the past so I decided to skip it] step into the Jordan river- the water stops flowing- and the people pass over.

 

After the people pass thru- the priests come up out of the river- and the water flows again.

 

Now- the first city they take is Jericho- they send 2 spies into the city- a prostitute named Rahab hides the spies- and they make a deal with her.

 

When they come back later to take the city- she and those in her house will be spared.

 

In Hebrews 11 Rahab is considered a ‘hero’ of the faith- she is part of the genealogy of Christ himself- and yet was a harlot.

 

God’s mercy is great.

 

The Israelites march around the city for seven days- on the 7th day they march around the city 7 times- blow the trumpets and shout- the walls fall and they take the city with ease.

 

The next city is small- Ai- so they send about 3 thousand troops to take it- they fail miserably.

 

Joshua faces his first real test- he falls to the ground and says ‘why did you let this happen- we should have stayed on the other side of Jordan’ [sounds like the Israelites when they said ‘we should have stayed in Egypt’].

 

God tells Joshua that they failed to take Ai because there was ‘sin in the camp’.

 

Huh?

 

When they took Jericho- they had to ‘dedicate’ the booty to God- they were not supposed to take any treasure for themselves.

 

But Achan- one of the men- broke the rule and hid some stuff in his tent.

So- they ‘stone’ Achan- and the take Ai.

Eventually they take city by city- I like the imagery of the Ark preceding the territorial taking of the land.

 

When the children of Israel were in the wilderness 40 years- the Tabernacle of Moses and the Ark were the central part of the mobile community.

 

The tribes camped around the Ark- when God said ‘time to move’ they ‘un-pitched’ the tent- and off they went.

 

This is a type of Christ [he is the Word of God- the Ark was a box that held the Word of God- the 10 commandments- it was a type of Gods glory in the midst of the camp].

 

So- as the people take the Promise Land- this Ark plays a vital role- they are taking the land for the glory of God.

 

Jesus was the living Ark- and the 12 disciples- like the 12 tribes ‘gathered around the Ark’- see?

 

The name Joshua means ‘The Lord saves- gives victory’.

The Greek translation is Jesus.

 

Joshua was a type/symbol of Christ- who brings us into the Promised Land- presence of God.

 

He is the leader of the Lords army.

Right when Joshua was entering the land- he saw a commander with a sword.

He asks ‘who are you- are you for us or for our enemies’.

 

The angel answers ‘neither- but as commander of the Lords army I have now come’.

What message did he tell Joshua?

‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you are now standing is Holy Ground’.

In chapter 20 we read about the cities of refuge- these were cities dedicated for the safety of those who killed a person unintentionally.

 

The person who committed the murder would flee to the city- he would take refuge from the avenger of blood [the relative of the one killed] and he would abide in the city- until the death of the high priest.

Then he would be allowed to go back to his own city- and live as a free man.

 

I like this- it is a type of Christ and how we find refuge in him.

 

We are all guilty [whether we know it or not- unintentionally] of the death of Christ.

 

He died for the sins of the whole world.

But- because of God’s grace- he has made provision for us- the church [people of God- community of God] is like a city of refuge.

 

We can ‘flee’ to this city- and find safety.

Jesus is called our high priest in the New Testament.

 

Because of the death of our high priest- we can now go out from the city of refuge [the church is a pace of safety but we are ambassadors of Christ- there comes a time when we are to move out of the safety- confines- of the city of refuge] and enter into the true inheritance we have in God.

 

In chapter 24 Joshua gives a good overview of what we have been teaching on these last few weeks.

 

He recounts the promise of God to Abraham- that he would multiply his seed [kids] and give him a land.

Joshua reminds the people that God did indeed fulfill this promise.

 

Thru out the book the most repeated exhortation to Joshua [and the people] is to be brave- don’t fear- have courage.

 

They are told- time and again- to obey the word/law of God.

 

If they are to finish the mission that God has given them- they must put away their false idols.

 

I hesitate to add his last part- but I think I will.

 

These last few months [year?] I have had good friends- good people- who though they have overcome substance abuse [like me] yet- they have mentioned that thru the working of the 12 step program- the part that deals with- well- sex.

That they were taught that when you do the sex inventory [if that’s what it’s called?] that God has given us a conscience [true] and that therefore whatever your conscience leads you to do- is permitted.

 

Sort of along the lines of ‘whatever is not of faith is sin’- Romans.

 

Now- this is not the first time this has come up and when my friends share this with me [one- who is living in what the bible refers to as adultery] I tell them that in this area- you need to obey what God says [not what ‘your conscience’ has told you!]

This is one aspect of the 12 step program- that frankly- can kill you [or send a person to hell- if I may be so open].

Now- scripture teaches that adultery [any sex outside of the God ordained plan- marriage] is right under the sin of murder.

 

That is- it is not a small thing.

 

Most of the friends I know- who are free from a substance yet have lots of problems in life- they simply don’t see this act- sleeping- sex- etc. as wrong.

 

Ok- my purpose is not to preach to everyone who is in AA/NA- but this has come up more than once-

 

One time I was with a friend- whose life is in disarray- in my view- because of this very thing.

 

He has asked my advice- I even copied one of the posts I did for him- called AA and the sex issue.

As I sat in his living room- as he was struggling with what to do [many relationship problems with the person he is living with- someone who struggles herself with drug abuse- a nice girl- but relapses a lot].

 

I noticed he had one of the AA books open- and he had the page underlined that said something to the effect of what I mentioned above- that you develop your own view on sex- and what your conscience says- because it is God given- that’s what’s ok.

 

Look- as someone who has made many mistakes [sins] yes- I’m not judging here- but I will say that this is simply not correct.

 

I have had more than one occasion- this last year- where I said to girls I’m working with ‘I don’t cheat- I don’t sleep around’.

And I haven’t.

 

Why?

 

A big part of ‘taking the land’ is walking in obedience to God.

 

In the book of Joshua God gave them the land- but they were warned- time and again- to walk in the laws of God.

 

And this issue- sex- adultery- is at the top of the list.

 

So- I got side tracked to tell you this- but I think it’s a major problem.

 

Ok- Jesus is our Joshua- he leads us into the Promised Land- and he is the Captain of our Salvation- who was made perfect thru suffering [Hebrews].

If we- in our own lives- want to fulfill the will of God- we need to remember what the commander of the Lords army told Joshua when he met him

 

‘Take off your shoes- for the place where you stand is Holy ground’.

 

None of us is perfect- God has declared us righteous- holy- because of the death and resurrection of Christ.

 

Over time- this becomes lived out in our lives- we do indeed ‘sin less’- this is a big part of fulfilling the will of God in our lives.

 

I’ll end with a verse from chapter 1 of Joshua ‘this law of the Lord shall not depart out of your mouth- but you shall mediate on it day and night- that you may be careful to do all that is written in it- that you may be prosperous and have good success’.

 

Note- in Deuteronomy 7:22 we read an interesting thing- as a matter of fact read the whole chapter- these are instructions from Moses to the people about the taking of the Promised Land.

 

But Moses tells them ‘when you do take the land- God will not let you take it all at once- because then the wild beasts will overrun the land- but you will take a little at a time’.

 

I like this- in our lives God works progressively- I don’t intend to put a guilt trip on you [especially about the sex thing!]

 

But- over time- this issue is a big one- and I don’t think we can get around it.

Let God work in you – a little at a time- don’t expect to ‘take all the land’ at once.

 

It’s progressive- but over time- as you overcome- you will see that obeying God- in all areas- is the real key to success.

 

Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,

Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Joshua 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Joshua 3:1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Joshua 3:2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

Joshua 3:3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

Joshua 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Joshua 3:6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Joshua 3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

Joshua 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

Joshua 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

Joshua 5:Joshua 11: And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.

Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

Joshua 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

Joshua 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

Joshua 6:6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.

Joshua 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.

Joshua 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Joshua 20:1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,

Joshua 20:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:

Joshua 20:3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

Joshua 20:4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

Joshua 20:5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.

Joshua 20:6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

Joshua 21:43 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.

Joshua 21:44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.

Joshua 21:45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

Joshua 23:9 For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

Joshua 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

Joshua 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Joshua 24:5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out.

Joshua 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.

Joshua 24:7 And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.

Joshua 24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.

Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Deuteronomy 7:22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.

 

 

 

2078 FORGIVENESS [And some thought on ISIS]

This week I want to cover the incident where Jesus came back to his home town and healed a paralyzed man.

 

We read the account in Matthew 9.

 

As Jesus arrives his fame as a healer is already known- so when he comes into a new city the first thing that people do is bring their sick to him- or ask for him to heal a friend or loved one.

 

Back in that day there were no scheduled ‘healing crusades’ or things like that- so when you heard Jesus was in town- you tried to get your cause to him.

 

In this case some guys carry A crippled man to Jesus- and the first thing he says is ‘Son- be glad- your sins are forgiven you’.

 

Now- the scribes [one of the religious leaders of the time] said [thought] within themselves ‘this man blasphemes’.

 

Only God could forgive sins.

 

Now Jesus knew their thoughts and confronted them- he said ‘is it easier to say ‘your sins are forgiven’ or to say ‘rise up and walk’.

Now- it is indeed easier to say ‘your sins are forgiven’- because on the outside- you don’t truly know if there was a change- a forgiveness that took place.

 

But Jesus says ‘so you may know that the SON OF MAN has power on the earth to forgive sins- I say unto you- rise and walk’.

 

The man got up- took up his bed- and walked away.

 

Here is the part I want to get to- when the people saw this miracle they were amazed- and the bible says the thing that amazed them was that God gave such power UNTO MEN.

 

When we study Theology and do scholarly stuff- one of the things you learn is what we refer to as Liberal Theology.

 

Now- when we use this term in Christian study- we do not mean Liberal in the sense of Politics [though most Liberal theologians would be more Liberal in the political way].

 

Liberal theology arose out of the German universities in the late 19th– early 20th centuries.

Men like Rudolph Bultman and others espoused the idea that the stories of the miracles found in the bible were simply ‘myth’ that they were in there simply to teach us moral/ethical truth.

 

Now- for the most part I reject the bulk of what the Liberal Theologians taught- because they tried to remove the supernatural elements of scripture in order to make Christianity  more acceptable to modern man.

 

But in doing this they rejected the resurrection of Christ as well as the other supernatural accounts of the bible- so- for most of us- we obviously do not fall into their camp.

 

But- as the way things are in life- even those we disagree with- at times- do make valid points.

 

I think in this account- they got it right.

How?

The main thing that Jesus was showing us- was not that men have power to heal the sick [though I do believe in the Charismatic gifts of the Spirit- which includes healing].

 

But the important thing he showed us was that men have the ‘power on earth- to forgive sins’.

 

As I write this post- in September of 2014- once again the world is in danger thru another Radical Islamist group- called ISIS [or Isil].

 

Isis is a radical militant group- who as of this time- has managed to ‘accomplish’ something that the other radical groups have not.

 

They are closer to establishing a true Caliphate than any other group in the modern period.

 

What’s a Caliphate?

 

The other most ‘famous’ radical group of our time is Al-Qaida- who most of us are aware of.

 

The way Al-Qaida operates is they simply hit targets of convenience- there is no real governmental order to what they do.

 

Isis has gone a step further- they have taken over areas of Iraq and Syria and have sort of established their own country- from which they move forward [like another country invading enemy territory] and when they take over an area [Mosul in Iraq] they actually establish order- they operate the city-provide services- and often do a better job than the leaders who they ousted.

 

Sort of like Hamas in Palestine.

Now- because of many other political reasons [the disaffected Sunni population in Iraq- the division between the Sunni and Shia- and how the leader of Iraq has not been inclusive of these groups] the radical group Isis has won the hearts of the more moderate groups- and they have financing- order- and the ability to launch more than just an isolated ‘terrorist’ attack.

 

No- they have a form of government and order to what they do.

 

The same thing has happened in Syria- the more moderate rebels have been won over by the radical Isis group- and they are at war with Bashar Assad- who the U.S. has said ‘must go’.

 

As of this week- the U.S. no longer holds that positon- and in a way we are actually siding with Assad- in hitting the Isis rebels.

 

Ok- I used to write on this a lot- and the reason I mention this is because all of these actions going on in the world today- in one way or another- are based on ancient divisions [religious] that some believe can be resolved thru violence.

 

And I fault our own history as well- the U.S. and the West are guilty in some ways of these same things.

 

Not out and out ‘terrorism’ but at times we justify military action for ‘self-interest’ and indeed- we kill people.

 

Now- we don’t cut their heads off on camera for the world to see- and we rightfully condemn such horrific acts.

 

But when we accidently drone a wedding party [which we have done in Pakistan] or accidentally shoot civilian reporters- and kids [which we did in Iraq] yes- these things are horrific as well- and when the cost of war includes a calculated amount of collateral damage like this- then we- the West- have to be careful before we engage in other countries- because these too are choices that we make- knowing full well- that kids and innocents will be killed- unintentionally mind you- but that’s no solace for the Arab/Muslim mother who had her child killed because the U.S. made a political calculation to engage in there region.

 

Ok- how do we [the global community] deal with this?

 

At the heat of the matter I think the answer is found in the story above.

 

Jesus showed us thru his life- that indeed- God has given POWER UNTO MEN.

 

What power?

 

The power to FORIVE SINS- the power to look at long term divisions- hatred of ‘the other’ and to release them.

 

In 1st Corinthians 13 we read that true love holds no RECORD OF WRONGS DONE.

Jesus on the Cross cried out FATHER FORGIVE THEM- THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

 

The first Christian martyr in the bible is Stephen- we read of his martyrdom in Acts 7- when he was being stoned he followed the example of Jesus and said LAY NOT THIS SIN TO THEIR CHARGE.

Saul was there that day- he heard this act of forgiveness- this great ‘power God had given to men’ and he became the greatest missionary of the New Testament- all the elements of Paul’s theology are found in seed form in the great sermon of Stephen that we read in Acts 7.

 

Stephen’s death- and willingness to forgive- had such an impact on Saul- that he would eventually carry the message of Stephen to the ends of the earth [of his day].

 

There are many teachings/parables that deal with forgiveness- let’s hit on one.

Jesus said there was a king who took account of his servants- one owed a lot- the king was going to make the man sell all that he had- put his family in bondage- and make him pay the debt.

 

The servant pleaded ‘please be patient with me- I will make it right’.

 

The king forgave him.

 

Then this same man went out and found someone who owed him a debt- he did not forgive his debtor- but put him in jail.

 

The other servants saw this- reported it to the king.

 

He was angry and went and put him in jail- delivered him to the ‘tormentors’.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our fellow man- the releasing of debt.

 

A couple of years ago I sold my van to one of my friends- for 1800 dollars.

 

He paid about 700- and I was in N.Y. at the time- thinking of moving back there.

 

He called me one day ‘John- I don’t think I will be able to come up with the next payment- do you want me to give you the van back’?

 

He’s a friend I work with from the streets.

 

I told him ‘no- consider the debt paid- get clean- move on with your life’.

 

He’s the same friend that asked me a few months back to take him to the detox- he is now back in our halfway house- and has about 120 days clean.

 

I have had more than one of the street guys say ‘wow- you let him keep the van’.

 

Even his brother- still on the streets- had a serious talk with me the other day.

I told him it was time to give it a shot- get off the Meth and do like his brother.

 

He said ‘John- look what my brother did- you let him keep the van- and he went and relapsed’.

 

This was about a year and a half back.

Yet- these guys remember the forgiving of the debt more than anything else.

 

Jesus showed us that God has given great power unto men- the greatest being able to forgive wrongs- to let the captive go.

 

For those who have harmed us- or those we have hurt.

To be able to say ‘I’m so sorry- can you forgive me- I was wrong’.

 

The offended party has the power to release us- to give the forgiveness- or not.

 

Let’s try to release the other- we live in a very unstable world today- the root cause is age old divisions.

 

Things that are either perceived- or actual wrongs.

Even if the wrongs we see- are real- yet- to seek vengeance- to want revenge- to behead people.

 

These are not the paths of God- Whether you refer to him as Allah- Jehovah- or Jesus.

 

The example of Jesus was to forgive- even in the midst of a great injustice [his trial and court proceeding was in fact an unjust thing- false witnesses prevailed].

 

Yet he forgave.

We can too.

 

Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Matthew 9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

Matthew 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Matthew 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Matthew 9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

Matthew 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Matthew 18:22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

Matthew 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

Matthew 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

Matthew 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Matthew 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

Matthew 18:28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

Matthew 18:29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Matthew 18:30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

Matthew 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Matthew 18:32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

Matthew 18:33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Matthew 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

Matthew 18:35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

Acts 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

 

 

 2079- 2nd Samuel 5-6. KING DAVID’S RULE and some comments on world affairs.

 [WARNING- at the bottom of this post I included graphic images that coincide with the content of this post- if you do not want to see pictures of this nature- do note scroll down]

 

This week I want to cover the rule of King David- we read his story in 1st, 2nd Samuel- let’s just hit on 2 chapters.

2nd Samuel 5-6.

 

David was the top military commander for king Saul- Israel’s first king.

 

He led the people into battle and was a revered warrior.

 

The people began to see David as the real leader of the country- and this stirred up jealousy in Saul.

 

Saul makes a few attempts to kill David and David eventually starts his own rebellion with about 400 men.

 

These initial troops are made up of the dregs of society- they have complaints against the ruling king- and they decide to take up arms and go their own way.

 

Over time David is anointed king- and he consolidates his kingdom- takes the ‘city of Zion’ [the main base- Jerusalem] and establishes his reign.

 

When we did our overview of the bible we talked about the tabernacle of Moses- which was a sort of tent system that the people had during their wilderness journeys.

 

This tent had the Ark of the Covenant- a box that held the 10 commandments- inside a 2 room structure called the Holy Place.

In the back room- called the Holy of Holies- the Ark rested.

 

It represented Gods presence among the people.

 

The room with the Ark could only be entered into one time a year- the high priest would go in on the Day of Atonement and put the blood of the sacrifice on the lid of the ark- called the Mercy Seat.

 

This whole system was a type of the Old Covenant law- that men were separated from God [there was a thick veil that separated the 2 rooms of the tabernacle] and the blood on the Mercy Seat was a type of the future Blood of Christ that is called the Propitiation- the same word that describes the Mercy Seat.

 

So- in the day of David this Ark was stolen- the Philistines had taken it- and David- a type of Christ- recovers the Ark and brings it back to Jerusalem.

 

David sets the Ark up under his own tent- called the tent/tabernacle of David.

 

He puts on a linen Ephod [a garment that only priests could wear] and he makes sacrifices [something only priests were allowed to do] and he has all these worshipers playing instruments and singing songs to God around this open tent that had the Ark in full view of all the people.

 

This whole system of David’s Tabernacle was a complete violation of the rules pertaining to the Tabernacle of Moses.

 

How did David get away with this?

 

God was picturing the true rule of Christ- that was a kingdom that would do away with the veil of the temple- and would allow open access to the presence of God under the reign of Christ.

 

When Jesus was crucified the bible says ‘the veil of the temple was ripped in 2- from the top to the bottom’.

 

So what we see in David’s rule is a type of the open access we have with God because of the rule of Jesus.

 

There are not a lot of scriptures on this- but there is some indication that the Tabernacle of Moses was still standing- in another city- at the same time that the Tabernacle of David had the Ark.

 

This would be a type of the 2 covenants- the Law came thru Moses- but grace and truth came thru Christ.

So- Moses tabernacle was a type of the Old law- absent the true presence of Christ [the Ark was not there anymore].

 

And David had the true presence of God in his tent.

 

It was during this time that David wrote the Psalms- they were the praise songs that came forth from this radical worshipping rule that we see under King David.

 

Ok- now I want to get into some world issues.

 

I have been reading thru Isaiah the prophet these last few months- and there is a constant theme that keeps coming up.

 

As a matter of fact we see this theme thru the whole bible.

 

The theme is that God rules in the affairs of men.

 

God himself sets up kings- rulers- leaders of nations.

 

The bible says when there is injustice in a place- know that he that is higher than you considers it.

 

Nothing happens in world affairs- unless God permits it.

 

These past few weeks the headlines were about the ISIS-ISIL group in Iraq/ Syria.

 

They beheaded the 3rd hostage the other day- and the Western world is outraged.

 

Why?

 

Because it was public- because we can see it on Utube.

 

Now- is a horrendous act- more wicked because it is posted on-line for the world to see?

Would the killing- beheading- dismembering of a person be ‘more just’ if it were done in secret?

 

If a radical group- wanted to accomplish a political/military goal- would it be better for them to kill a few- and post it- or to kill many thousands- and not post it?

 

President Obama hesitated for a few years to engage this group- but after they beheaded the first American journalist- on TV- he acted.

Joe Biden said ‘we will hunt them down to the gates of hell- where they belong’.

 

Why the outrage- now?

 

Because it was seen- and it made us look bad.

 

Remember- nothing happens unless God permits it- he rules in the courts of men- he sets leaders up- and removes them.

 

 

Let’s cover some of the history of the U.S.

 

There have been times in our nation where we- as a nation- embraced wicked things- and called them just.

 

In 1857 the Supreme Court deemed a Black man to ‘be less’ than a White man.

 

This is the infamous Dred Scott decision.

A Black slave was moved to a northern state where slavery was not accepted- he sued for his freedom- the case went to the supreme court- and they ruled unjustly- yet- this ruling was considered the law of the land.

 

In 1896 the court justified racial segregation in the Plessy versus Ferguson case- the court ruled that racial segregation in the schools was just.

 

This was overturned in the Brown versus Board of Education ruling of 1954.

 

Now- in 1973 the court decided that the murder of children in the womb was an inherent right.

This was the infamous Roe v Wade case.

 

The court found that under the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment- there was a woman’s right to privacy- which extended to the aborting of babies in the womb.

 

Many legal scholars- even pro-abortion ones- consider this ruling to be flawed.

 

The initial ruling was abortion is now a constitutional RIGHT- but it can only be done in the 1st– 2nd trimester.

 

Later this was dropped- and it was considered legal to abort a baby until the point of viability outside the mother’s womb.

 

 

Now- why bring up these things?

 

When we engage in other countries- when we go to war.

 

The primary thing that that our troops swear allegiance to is to protect the constitution.

 

Which includes ‘our values’.

 

We often say that radical Islam is a threat to our way of life- our freedoms- our values.

 

These Muslim countries have values- one being they do not believe/practice abortion- which indeed is a hideous crime that the U.S. engages in- some 1.2 million unborn babies every year.

 

We are outraged that radical militants target civilians for a ‘political/military end’.

 

One of the definitions of terrorism is this- the targeting of civilians for some type of goal.

Which I agree- is wrong.

 

When we bombed the Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki- we did indeed purposefully target women and children- for a political/military outcome- the ending of WW2.

 

At the time of the dropping of the bombs- Germany already surrendered- the war was winding down.

 

There is a debate on whether or not we needed to do it.

 

But our country just obtained the bomb- thanks to the genius of Albert Einstein- and we decided to use it.

 

My purpose in bringing these things up is not to justify the beheading of civilians- which is wrong.

 

Nor is it to say that our ending of the war was an act of terrorism.

But it to show that we- as a nation- have gone down paths that do indeed bring the judgment of God upon a people.

 

The reason I pasted some of the pictures below was for us to see the things that we allow as a nation.

 

Many of the values that we fight for are wrong- when the Supreme Court makes decisions- which I have showed you have been wrong- then these decisions do indeed become the law of the land [this is a legal debate that has gone on for years- between conservative/liberal scholars].

 

But the fact is when we allow things that are atrocious- like the aborting of full term babies- then in a sense when we war- we war to protect all of the rights that we as a society deem just.

 

Yet- we have a history as a nation that shows us we have made very unjust decisions in the past.

 

And it’s difficult to say to the Islamic world that we are fighting for what’s right- that we are defending just values- when some of these values are not just.

 

The beheading of journalists on TV is wrong- but because we all saw it- that’s what enraged us.

 

What if we all saw the pictures of the babies we abort?

 

There are sonograms- pictures of children in the womb who are grabbing the instruments used- during the abortion- to protect themselves.

 

We have images of full term babies screaming in the womb- we dismember these babies in the womb.

 

One of the procedures used is with a suction device- it pierces the head of the baby- suctions out the brain- and collapses the skull- making it easier to pull the baby out.

 

The way we do this is nothing short of infanticide.

 

In the chapters above King David was a type/symbol of Christ.

 

I didn’t get to it- but when he consolidated the kingdom the bible says his men came to him and said ‘we are bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh’.

 

In 2nd Samuel chapter 6 after David restored the Ark to Jerusalem- he distributed Bread- Wine and Flesh to all the people.

 

These are beautiful pictures of Christ and his church- we see the communion table in these images.

 

As I end this post- we- as Gods people- are in the earth to bless all nations.

 

Our leader- our ‘King David’ gave us an example- he laid his life down for us.

 

I am not a conservative- nor am I a liberal.

 

As followers of Christ- we need to be outraged by injustice- on all sides- not just on the side we hate.

 

God blessed his people- when they did what was just.

When they got off course- they came under judgment.

 

This past year I mentioned- 2 times- that I felt our country was going to have some sort of event- that was worse than the 911 attack.

Now- I do not advocate for it- I feel like so much has changed in our world this last year or 2- that things are spiraling down.

 

Russia just did a drill a few weeks back- it was a test run of a nuclear attack on the U.S.

 

China has challenged us- openly- with military action.

 

Iran has just rebuffed Obama openly- on Twitter!

Lots has changed in the world balance- and we are in a very dangerous time.

 

As I close this post- I do appeal to all my friends- Muslim- Christian- Jew- all.

 

Yes- I consider them my friends- I value the few Muslim friends who read my site.

 

I just talked to a Muslim the other day- we had a good discussion- I received him as a friend.

This highly offended a few of my Christian friends who saw this- they are upset with me that I did not engage in a strong debate with him.

 

I later told some ‘look- I am Christian- and I of course realize the theological differences between our faiths- but I think it’s better to become friends- and hear the other side- and then as friends you gain influence- and respect one another’.

 

Those of you who have read my site for a while see that I do take this moderate approach.

 

I am not naïve’- I realize that radicals- on all sides- are not going to change overnight.

 

But in the long term- I think we should make the attempt to follow the example of Christ.

 

He taught his men to reject the way of the sword- to respect human life- and to love one another.

 

You say ‘wow John- you must be some type of liberal pacifist’.

 

No- I’m just trying to do my best- and to follow Christ’s example is the supreme thing.

 

 

 

 

WARNING- Below are the pictures of aborted babies and the civilian victims of our bombing of the Japanese cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2Samuel 5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.

2Samuel 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.

2Samuel 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.

2Samuel 5:9 So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.

2Samuel 5:12 And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.

2Samuel 6:2 And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.

2Samuel 6:14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

2Samuel 6:17 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

Acts 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Revelation 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Revelation 18:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

Revelation 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Revelation 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Revelation 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

Revelation 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

Revelation 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

Revelation 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

Revelation 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

Revelation 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

Revelation 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

Revelation 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

Revelation 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

Revelation 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

Revelation 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Revelation 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Revelation 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;

Hebrews 8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

Hebrews 8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

Hebrews 8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

Hebrews 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

Hebrews 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Hebrews 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Hebrews 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

Hebrews 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Hebrews 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

Hebrews 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Hebrews 9:18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.

Hebrews 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

Hebrews 9:20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

Hebrews 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Hebrews 9:25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

 

 

 

UPDATE- Just want to update my friends on what’s going on. Last Saturday I was working on my site at the Coffee shop in Texas. I read an old post from about 2 years ago- it was a post I wrote before I took my New Jersey trip at that time.

As I worked on the web site- I decided to move my 2014 trip up- 1 month.

I posted I will be coming to New Jersey in November.

 

Then- I texted my Texas friends and said “I’m going to New Jersey [NYC area] tomorrow”.

 

I drove to the Island at about 3:30- and thought I might as well go now.

 

Drove home- told my family “I’m going to New Jersey” “when”- “right now”.

The clothes were in the wash- I took them wet and filled up the car and left.

 

So- this was a very spur of the moment trip.

This past week I have been on the streets every day- hooking up with some old friends- and even did a few of my meetings.

 

At this point I’m not sure how long I will be back here- it looks like at least a month as of now.

 

I usually post a teaching each week- but in the meetings I’m trying to do here- I will just be covering the stuff I did in Texas- there’s no need to post a new teaching every week.

 

I’ll simply post my old post at the bottom- the one that inspired me to take off on the spur of the moment.

 

I have found wherever we are at in life- make the best of the time you have- I’m attempting to do that.

 

Few notes- Last year before I left N.J. I prayed with Rick and Stacy- 2 friends who struggle with addiction. We sat on the rocks at Hudson County Park- I spoke about me getting sober.

They cried- and when I got back to Texas Rick texted me and told me that both him and Stacy were going to try the AA thing.

 

Rick has not done well- But Stacy just got her one year coin and is going to become a sponsor.

 

This past week I took Billy to 2 NA meetings- Billy wanted to go- he asked me if he could come- Sure!!

 

He has been an addict for 45 years- he is 61 and well known in this area.

 

As I type- I just came back from Burger King- where I talk to my friend Daniel- the atheist.

 

I told him I just got back from church [Our Lady of Fatima] and he asked me what they preached.

 

He had some questions about the bible passages- and we had a good talk.

 

All in all this is what I’m doing every day- I also got my 18 month key tag for sobriety the other day- I actually have been sober for 20 months- but never got my tag.

 

So- all in all thats what’s going on- those who are on Facebook- you can see the pics and updates.

 

 

2025

 

THE PLOUGHMAN COMETH

 

 

 

Before I forget- the chapters for this week are Galatians 5 and Luke 9- if I get a chance I might hit on them at the end.

 

Ok- this week has been a big news week.

 

As I watched our secretary of state- John Kerry- do ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between the Palestinians and Israel- I thought we must be living in a dream world.

 

Why?

 

For many years now- the big issue- that some felt was the lynch pin to peace in the Arab world- was this issue.

 

But over the last few years- it is not seen in the same way any more.

 

Since the so called Arab Spring- the Palestinian issue has really been a background issue.

 

Now- I’m not saying we should forget it- but it’s not on the top burner any more.

 

The big burning issues are the 100 thousand people killed in the Syrian conflict.

 

The 2nd over throw of an Egyptian leader [for good or ill].

 

The major unrest in many of these Arab nations- these are the big issues.

 

And the U.S. was treating the Palestinian issue as a sort of emergency thing- Kerry was doing late night meetings- for some elusive break thru that has been ‘eluding’ US secretaries of state for 30 years now.

 

It just seemed sad- I mean I am not an Obama hater- by no means- but it’s almost to the point of incompetence.

 

Morsi.

 

I listened to the radio news- one day the President made a statement that we were behind Morsi [Egyptian president] 100 %.

 

The very next day- the statement from the administration was ‘we are not taking sides’.

 

This is so bad- we have lost all credibility in the world.

 

 

The Snowden aftermath.

 

This week we also saw the NSA leaker release more info about US spying- this time on our allies.

 

Now- Obama tried to defend the operation- by saying all of our allies do this.

 

Is this so?

 

He was spinning [lying?] the story.

 

Our European allies said ‘look- we all do targeted spying- true- but not the massive trolling for data that you guys are doing’.

 

The reality is our allies do not do what we do- this type of ‘throw the net out’ type of collecting of data.

 

Our allies were shocked that we were doing it to this degree- on them!

 

Obama said we needed to do this because it also provided a benefit to these allies [who we are spying on] because of terrorism.

 

They replied ‘how many terrorists are you finding by bugging our diplomatic offices’.

 

They are mad- France wants to postpone our upcoming economic talks over this- it is bad.

 

 

Last but no least- Obama delayed- for one year- one of the main parts of Obama care.

 

Why?

 

He simply said they were doing this because of business concerns.

 

The part he put off was the requirement for employers to insure their people- or pay a fine.

 

 

Now- when Obama Care was being touted- many critics said that these types of forced mandates on private business would hurt the economy.

 

 

But the proponents instead said no- but it will actually help it.

 

The main reason it was delayed- was because the implementing of it right now was going to be a disaster- like the critics said.

 

Next year we have the mid term elections- and the political insiders all knew that the Repubs were going to use the unpopularity of the plan- and try and repeat another mid term blow out [like the last one].

 

So- most think he put it off for purely political reasons.

 

 

But- if the plan was all that it was cracked up to be- why put it off?

 

 

Much of what the critics said was right- there are already reports [Bloomberg] that rates are going to skyrocket for many under the plan- and that there are still going to be millions of people with out insurance.

 

 

So- in all honesty- the critics were indeed right- and the fact that the president arbitrarily delayed it for one year proves it.

 

I mean it is questionable if he can even do it [delay it].

 

It is the law of the land.

 

Say if a Repub gets in next- can he do the same thing?

 

 

Of course not- they would be accusing him of breaking the law.

 

 

Okay- as you can see- there are ripples of trouble on the horizon.

 

 

I want to end with Luke 9.

 

A few key points;

 

Jesus tells his men that they are going to go out- preach the kingdom and go light.

 

‘Don’t take a wallet- or extra clothing- stay at whoever’s house they offer- etc.’

 

He talks about giving your life away ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it- but he that loses it will find it’.

 

I like the last verse ‘he that puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom’.

 

 

Over the years I have tried to put our modern American preaching in context.

 

It’s been tough- because there are a lot of well meaning folk- who focus in on actual bible verses- and teach a sort of Christianity based on the increase of wealth mindset.

 

Now- along with this teaching you also see a basic self help course mentality- only Christianized.

 

Yet at the same time we read in the gospels a type of radical calling of Jesus.

 

Explicitly telling people that this mission is not about us- not about getting stuff- but giving your life away.

 

It’s the overall context of all that Jesus said and did that goes contrary to the American message.

 

But it takes time to see this- we have a tendency to gravitate towards a message of financial abundance- or a message that seems to provide security for us and our kids.

 

It’s in mans nature to see things this way- that’s why Jesus made statements like ‘you can not serve God and money’.

 

I mean he does not say stuff like this just once or twice- but this is an underlying theme of his entire life.

 

 

The other day I taught a little from the book of Samuel chapter 12.

 

Nathan the prophet confronted King David- and gave a story about a rich man who had lots of sheep- and a poor man who had one.

 

In the story the rich man gets rebuked- the poor man praised.

 

Jesus does the same thing in his parables.

 

The rich are seen in a negative light- the poor in a positive one.

 

Now- this is actually a sign of a prophet- one who defends the poor and rebukes the affluent.

 

 

The prophet Amos- in the Old Testament bares this calling.

 

 

 

Point?

 

 

Jesus is challenging us- all of us- to take up the Cross and to follow him.

 

 

And a big part of that is living- not for self gain- not for self security- but giving our lives away.

 

One of the guys I have run into these last 6 months is a man by the name of Jude.

 

He’s around 70 year’s old- and always on the go.

 

His motto is ‘it’s hard to hit a moving target’.

 

And he does indeed live by this motto.

 

I met him thru the work I was doing at the halfway house.

 

He’s a big shot with  AA- and is known all over the country as someone who has brought many to sobriety thru AA.

 

He even has his own following in AA- they call them ‘disciples of Jude’ or something like that [a take off from the tribe of Judah in the bible- Judaism or something- I don’t remember the exact phrase].

 

 

I was with my buddy David one day- he keeps in touch with Jude every day by phone.

 

I asked him ‘hey- where’s Jude’?

 

He tells me he moved to Chicago.

 

He went back and is living on his friend’s couch- doing some business deal- and working for AA.

 

 

Then- the other day I find out he moved to the Mexico/Texas border and is renting a house in Mexico because it’s cheap.

 

 

I mean the guy is really a moving target.

 

 

So as I’m sitting with my buddy David- the phone rings- its Jude.

 

 

David told him I might have stopped by and stayed with him for a week or so in Chicago.

 

I was thinking of doing it.

 

But first I’m going to get a little settled in N.J. /NY area.

 

Jude says ‘sounds like me- a moving target’.

 

 

In Luke 9- Jesus is telling his men to be moving targets.

 

He’s saying ‘go light- when you go to an area to work for the kingdom- just stay wherever you can- eat what they serve- and then move on’.

 

 

In the mindset of the world- you strive to be secure- you seek that thru the ownership of stuff- the false security that people find in wealth.

 

Now- don’t get me wrong- we are to be responsible- and I have worked- retired- made money- the whole 9 yards.

 

But I have tired to give stuff away too- to live the ideal that Jesus clearly speaks about in the gospels.

 

 

In a way- I feel like my hand is now steady on the plough- I’m afraid to look back.

 

NOTE- In the last post I mentioned how president Obama was rebuked by the president of Senegal because he was openly challenging these African nations on their stance on homosexuality.

 

He later went to Kenya and did the same thing- sort of was publicly speaking about the recent decision by the Supreme Court and how he hailed it as a great stride for civil rights.

 

Now- the Deputy President of Kenya took him aside and rebuked him- and told Obama that they do not appreciate him demeaning their values in such an open way- and using his pulpit to say so.

 

The Kenyan official quoted scripture ‘vain is the man who puts his trust in man and not God’

 

The Kenyan official said he –and Kenya- were not going to remain silent as Obama spoke against their value system- and they feared God more than an American president.

 

It was surprising to see so many world leaders openly denouncing the president like this- I am not jumping for joy over this- I’m showing you that we have lost alot of credibility in the world- even among leaders that would normally not say anything.

 

 

 

FINAL NORTH BERGEN POST- 2014

 

Let me make some final comments about my month in North Bergen.

 

On this trip God really ‘spoke’ to me- lots of chapters from the bible- and lots of prophetic stuff.

 

But- as things go- stuff happens.

 

It’s 3 am as I write- Monday morning. Just got up to pray- and I’m mad- pissed off- but waiting.

 

Waiting?

 

Yeah- I’m mad because someone stole from me.

 

Now- it’s not real big- maybe they needed it.

 

But it was a special Cross I bought last year- I leave it in my room in North Bergen- like some other stuff. [Bought it at Saint Patrick’s cathedral last year- I look at it every morning when I get up]

 

In Texas I have had this happen- I mean the guys don’t realize there are some things- collectables- that I look at every day when I get up.

 

So- if they are stolen- I know.

 

So- instead of confronting the person- and getting mad [he would deny it] you just move on.

 

The real problem is the last time I was in North Bergen- I was robbed in Texas [big stuff].

 

So even though the item was of little monetary value- when people steal from others- then they can’t trust being out of the house.

 

Because you have to make sure you hide the valuable stuff [I now do this in Texas when I leave my house] and it just makes all the other stuff you’re dealing with harder.

 

Ok- enough of that.

 

The next day or 2 I’ll write some of the verses. [Actually- its 3:40- I think I’ll post it now- because I have a few days left in North Bergen- and it might keep my other stuff safe. I’m thinking of having to lock my stuff up in the car every day before I leave- computer and important stuff. So- stuff like this just makes things harder].

 

 

Ok- let me do some real time posting- its 5:30 am- just finished praying in the yard.

The weather is great- in the 50’s- and praying in the yard early is a routine for me.

 

There are multiple reasons why I took this trip on the spur of the moment.

 

One was I needed to get away from the Texas streets for a while.

 

Why?

 

A lot of the guys I work with deal with lots of stuff- and at times things get to you.

 

I never told this story- but it might help people understand why a little thing- like a Cross being taken- affects me.

 

About 3 months ago one of the guys I work with- who has a history of theft- and to be honest- is a klepto.

 

Well- he was at my house one day- and about 2 weeks later my wife told me ‘John- we didn’t want to tell you yet [they know I get mad] but someone stole Debbie’s purse- and they are using all her credit cards and doing I.D. theft’.

 

Ok- she was right- I was mad.

 

Debbie is my daughter- her car just got wrecked- and now she not only lost all her i.d.’s- but she was going thru the whole thing- having to file police reports- me taking her to work- her not having her stuff.

 

It was a mess.

 

The main culprit was a guy I help.

 

He also stole from another friend- they had him on camera selling stuff at the pawn shop.

 

He also has a history of I.D. theft.

 

So- I waited.

 

Some other friends on the street told me ‘hey- so and so just bought all new clothes and stuff at the store- he’s all decked out’.

 

I had more than one person tell me that he did it.

 

Now- I have helped this guy out- a lot.

 

One day I had enough.

 

Another friend told me ‘don’t worry- we’ll get someone to teach him a lesson’.

 

I said ‘you don’t have to do it- I will’.

 

That morning I prayed [it was hard] and I told another friend ‘I’m going to beat the f.. out of him if I see him’.

 

I went looking for him- went to the mission- and waited.

 

He showed up- now- it wasn’t ‘that bad’ [in my mind] but I did walk up to him- mad- used the F bomb a few times- and almost got into it.

 

My other friends came out of the mission- heard what happened- and acted like I hit the guy.

 

I did not- but it was bad.

 

The guy- he told a few people that he did not steal my daughter’s stuff- and one of the guys said he was crying.

 

Now- after about a week- I dropped it [till this day the cops have not resolved the case].

 

And I still help the guy [he’s not allowed at my house any more].

 

Others have said ‘John- you let the guys go too far- you forgive- but they take advantage of you’.

 

Now- because of incidents like this- you are always worried about people taking stuff- even if it’s minor stuff.

 

I had the same guy steal 2 packs of cigarettes out of my car once.

 

So- you wind up hiding stuff- locking stuff up- always worried someone might take something- it’s a hassle.

 

That puts some perspective on the last post.

 

I had a friend tell me once ‘John- they steal from you- because they don’t like it when others do well- and they are not’.

 

Maybe?

 

I needed to tell this story- so you could see the whole picture.

 

One of the reasons I’m in North Bergen- is it gave me a break from having to worry about the whole theft issue- that has effected both me and my family- I was getting too mad about that very issue- and now I have to lock my stuff up for the rest of this trip.

 

I’ll try and update the next few days- good stuff.

 

 

I’ll confront the person in a little while- then be out for the day.

 

 

MONDAY- 3 pm

 

Had a full day- met a new guy at White Castle- he heard me speaking- and we talked for about an hour.

 

He’s a history buff- and we discussed lots of world history- and church history.

 

Billy showed up- and I told him I’d meet him after I do my video across the street.

 

Today I made the 2nd official teaching video [I had planned on doing 4] and it’s strange- I haven’t recorded in about 8 years.

 

I used to record regularly- when I was on radio.

 

It just so happened that I started a radio [voice/video] site about 2 months ago- for the purpose of posting my old radio shows.

 

Then- about a week or so ago I made a video of Nick singing- a spur of the moment thing.

 

I am not computer savvy- so- I figured I’ll try and upload them on Facebook.

 

That didn’t work- but I managed to put them on my WordPress site.

 

So- I thought it would be good to see some videos of me teaching- in North Bergen.

 

In the 4 short videos I wanted to cover the whole bible [it can be done].

 

I made 2- and as I review the rest of today’s [my battery died] I might have already finished- I’ll have to see later.

 

I wanted to stay till Thursday- but as you know- stuff happens.

 

 

There are different reasons why people do things- all of us.

 

I’m obviously not perfect- I have a very bad temper problem.

 

I just got back- and Nick and Danny saw me a little off the rails today.

 

But- I don’t hide my flaws- I try and work on them- and try and finish the task at hand.

 

In the old days this whole day would have been ruined.

 

Actually I kept the normal routine- had a long teaching session with Danny- did some street ministry- and made the 2nd video.

 

There are so many chapters I read on this trip- and many prophetic events- how they fit.

 

Too many to tell to be honest.

 

Let me give one example.

 

I mentioned the other day that an old friend gave me a ring- from Horace Mann School.

 

The ring has an emblem of an eternal flame/oil lamp.

 

So- my atheist friend Danny was the one who told me it was a biblical image [I at first though it was a Genie lamp].

 

Now- that day [2 days ago] we talked about the bible and how there are verses about this.

 

I have been reading thru Exodus and many other portions of the bible- these are regular chapters that I started years ago- in order. [so- out of the few chapters that speak about this- you might only hit 1 every 2-3 years- because I’m not reading straight thru- but maybe 1 Exodus chpater every day or so]

 

Sure enough- the chapter the next day was one of the few that mentions the oil lamp- with a flame that won’t go out [Exodus 27:20-21].

 

There are many things like this.

 

I was talking to Danny yesterday- told him I bought a coke and it said ‘share a coke with Danny’.

 

I thought it was funny- and said to me it meant I was supposed to spend some time having fellowship with Danny.

 

Nick said ‘I got one that said share a coke with John’.

 

To Nick it meant something- we hang out just about every day.

 

Now- some of the things are actually ‘better’ then these few examples- but there have been many.

 

Like the Catholic deacon who walked in to Burger King- Danny said ‘hey- meet John- he’s a street preacher’.

 

He walked to the other side of the room and sat down- honestly it seemed rude.

 

Then he came back- had a paper in his hand and said ‘guess a number’ he didn’t say from 1 to 10 either.

 

Now- out of ‘inspiration’ I said ‘I’m a prophet- 6’.

 

He opened it up- Danny said ‘you got it’.

 

The deacon listened.

 

I don’t know if he prayed and did this as a test- either way it was a sign to Danny and the deacon.

 

I went to the Catholic mass for 3 Sundays at my old church- Our Lady of Fatima.

 

For the past 3 weeks- the main chapters were about God and his vineyard- these are some of the chapters- images- I use when praying for my North Bergen friends.

 

It just so happened that the same images were used during this time.

 

I have gotten a lot out of Exodus on this trip.

 

When I first got into town I read ‘get up into the hill [another image I use for North Bergen] and BE THERE’.

 

I felt God was saying ‘just be here’.

 

Not so much ‘do something’ [though I did lots] but he seemed to be saying ‘just being here- being with the guys- that has an effect’.

 

In these same chapters God says ‘build all things after the pattern that I show you in the mount’.

 

I felt like God was going to show me some new avenue of ministry- while here.

 

I have made about 13 videos this time- something I never did before.

 

God tells Moses to get things in place first- so the ark [the words] will have a format.

 

I did this by already launching the radio site in Texas- it was a platform that ‘contained’ the words.

 

These are just a few examples of things- over the next day or 2 I’ll try and write more.

 

Another chapter came from Corinthians [I think 6?] but Paul said when he came into town there was distress- problems- difficulty- yet he still completed the mission.

 

In life- you have to finish the mission.

 

I have had some Texas friend’s call/text during this time.

 

They didn’t know when I was coming back- I didn’t know either.

 

I felt like 4 weeks was good- if I get back Friday night- that’s 4 weeks gone from Texas.

 

Lets see what happens the next day or 2. I plan on leaving Thursday morning.

 

There are other things I have not written on- but things I felt were long term problems about my mom’s situation here in New Jersey.

 

I can simply give advice- offer help- in the end we all make our own choices.

 

But- I have offered- many times- for my mom to move to Texas- she can even live with me.

 

These offers have been made.

 

My sister died over a year ago- she had many problems- I’m trying to help- do what’s right- but we all make our choices.

 

I’ have been very uncomfortable about the situation she is in- for a long time.

 

We’ll see what happens.

 

TUESDAY MORNING

 

Today will be my last day in North Bergen, and I think I should write about something different.

 

When I come back home every year- I stay at my mom’s house- where I grew up as a kid.

 

For many years my mom and sister lived in a very dysfunctional home.

 

My sister Laura- who I loved- was an addict her whole life.

 

I work with addicts- but the effect of her addiction was worse than many of the cases I have known- in the sense that she fought every day with my mom- nonstop.

Because of this it was hard for me to come home over the years- some years I just did not come.

 

About 2 years ago I came back- after about 7 years of not being here [I’ve made the trip more in the last 2-3 years].

 

For many years I have told my mom if she wants to move to Corpus Christi I would work it out- at the time I checked into the Methadone clinic in Texas- meaning I was going to set everything up for my sister to come too.

 

 

Now- my sister was an animal lover [like me and my family- I have 5 dogs- 6 cats].

 

And one of the main obstacles was moving the cats- so we worked out a plan- I would get a vehicle and personally transport her cats.

 

But- as fate would have it- my sister died in 2013.

 

It was a shock.

 

Now- I thought maybe it was time for mom to move- she has no family in the area any more- my mom and dad have been divorced for years- and maybe it was time.

 

At the time she seriously thought of moving- me and Patrick helped her find homes for the cats- it was a serious thing.

 

One day Patrick brought 2 new kittens home- cute- but mom said ‘no more cats- I’m trying to get rid of the ones we have’ Hmm?

 

About a week later- Cheryl- Pats girl at the time- said ‘He’s never going to get rid of the kittens’.

 

I realized that it was to Pats benefit- for my mom not to move.

 

Patrick is a good person- I never resented that he lives with my mom I used to drive him to work- and treat him like a brother- he even calls my mom ‘mom’.

 

Patrick used to date Laura- at the time they were both using- and many bad things happened during those years.

 

Things that addicts do.

 

About 5-6 years ago I got a call- Patrick overdosed and almost died.

 

I prayed for Pat- he made it.

 

I was very grateful- and he has been clean- doing well for about 5 years.

Patrick broke up with my sister years ago- but one day asked her if she would ask my mom if he could stay at the house.

 

My mom let him move in at the time- and he has been here ever since.

 

Now- in NA/AA [Pat is very involved] they teach steps- openness- honesty- but my experience with many in the movement [I do a halfway house- take guys to detox- I’m very involved with recovery- I myself am a recovering alcoholic] mainly in Texas- is many of the guys still have the mentality of an addict- even when they stop using.

 

I realized that even though Pat is doing well- he has settled in living with my mom- and it’s to his benefit for her to not ever move.

 

So once again- there are obstacles- for my mom to finish her life with her family- I have 4 daughters- my wife and a brother and sister in law all in Texas- and eventually there will be great grandchildren.

 

The death of my sister was very sad- but in a way it allowed for my mom to finally make the move.

 

Now- at one time Patrick lived here- for free. I believe he pays some rent now.

 

I know my mom wants me to come back every year- and I thought maybe it will work out that I will do long term visits back here in North Bergen.

 

But- when a non-family member has benefits for things to stay a certain way- if I’m here- he can’t do the things me might do if I weren’t here.

 

One day I went to the yard to pray- and some guy was sleeping downstairs.

 

My mom didn’t know- and he acted like he got caught.

 

I did not tell my mom- but I realized that every so often Patrick might me letting people stay here- without her knowing [maybe charging?]

 

 

While these things are not real bad- they are indeed manipulative- and not honest.

 

So- when I’m back here- the longer I stay- the longer Patrick has to ‘adjust’ whatever things he does.

 

So- in a way- things happen- not big things- but games- to maybe make John go home.

 

Now- this is not the first time- and I usually overlook the games.

 

Patrick is in his 40’s- and I hoped he would become independent- get a place- and realize this situation not long term- it’s been going on for many years now.

 

One of the addicts you see me with on this trip is disabled- has no legs.

 

He has a nice apartment- raises his daughter- and is independent- yet still using.

 

In one of the meetings I went to on this trip- I saw one of the guys who makes every meeting.

 

I dont know him well- he maybe is about my age.

 

He spoke one night and said ‘people always tell me I should get a job’ and he went on and explained the reasons why he has no job.

 

Actually- he should get a job.

 

Part of recovery is becoming independent- hell- my ‘non-recovering’ friend is!

 

I love my mom- I love my friends- but our family for years has tried to have my mom move to Texas.

 

To be fair- she also works out a deal with Patrick where he does chores and helps her- so it’s not just a one way street- I realize this.

 

But I avoided being here for many years- because of what I explained above.

 

I do resent the fact that a non family member- who is trying to get on his feet- sees it to his benefit for my mom to stay here.

 

And at times has done things – little things- but things that don’t help.

 

The best witness- in my mind- for NA is for the people involved to move on in life- to become independent- to live a normal life as best as possible.

 

The little incident I wrote about yesterday was a part of this picture- it was manipulation.

 

Things kids do- not adults.

 

I will go out today and have a full day- I will make my last video for the trip- and leave early in the morning.

 

Talk to you later.

 

TUESDAY NIGHT- Danny gave me a nice gift today- 2 nice pens- he had them for 35 years. I told Danny that even though he claims to be an atheist- yet God used him in many ways.

 

I got a whistle from Danny [represents sound/voice- part of the teaching I’m doing- video].

 

Many of the comments- things that happened- were indeed prophetic.

 

Yesterday he told me he had a gift for me if I saw him today- I wasn’t sure if I would leave this morning- but decided I’d stay till tonight.

 

But- he knew I wanted to trade for a ring- but I thought I already have a ring given to me by my old friend Jim- and figured if he offered me a ring I was going to say ‘keep it till I see you again’.

 

Instead he gave me the pens- I was just talking about a verse to someone this past week ‘My tongue is the pen of a ready writer’.

 

Meaning? The things you write and speak will have impact- yeah- I took the pens.

 

Danny asked me some stuff about the bible- as I sat and quoted [like I have done all thru the trip] he said ‘You do something strange- when you quote the bible in these talks- I see your face- it’s like you go into a trance’.

 

He said ‘it’s like you’re actually reading/seeing the pages as you speak’.

 

I told Danny I don’t ‘see’ the pages- but I am ‘bringing’ them up from memory.

 

Jesus said ‘The Holy Spirit will bring all things to your remembrance’.

 

I had a long talk with Paul about addiction- the meaning of life- we talked for quite a while.

 

I told the guys the other day that I will be leaving Thursday.

 

Now- I only changed it by one day- didn’t even think they would notice.

 

So- as I was talking to Billy I said ‘yeah- wanted to see you guys before I leave in the morning’ he said ‘Todays only Tuesday- you’re not leaving till Thursday’.

 

I was surprised he remembered.

 

I said ‘I’ll see you next time’.

 

As he walked away he said ‘I’m bummed- that’s not till another 10 months’.

 

I share this to let you see that I do see these guys as friends- and they mostly see me the same way.

 

Why is this important? They do indeed see/hear all the stuff I’m teaching- quoting- and it’s not coming from a ‘forced’ thing- that is when you become a ‘friend’ of sinners [what they accused Jesus of] then you do have influence.

 

Danny asked me one day ‘do you think Billy will ever change- he’s a lost cause’.

 

I told him ‘honestly- no’ But I did tell him the story of a Texas friend and said he did change- and was as ‘hopeless’ as Billy.

 

So- at the end of this trip- I had a good time.

 

I’ll see my Texas friends next week- and God willing I’ll be back in North Bergen- well- the next time I simply decide to jump in the car and go.

 

 

 

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7h This is the link to the last video I made in North Bergen

 

www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

facebook.com/john.chiarello.5

 

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. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

 

 

 

2079- Been back in tx. for a couple of days- and figured I’d give an update.

 

My friend Dirk got out of jail about 2 weeks ago- I wrote his story this year- and wanted to tell the ‘ending’.

 

Dirk has been a friend for many years- about 9 months ago he stabbed another friend- almost killed him.

 

At the time Dirk told a story- that frankly no one believed [I still don’t by the way].

 

He said Tennessee was beating him up- Dirk took a knife out and held it up- Tennessee fell on the knife- twice.

 

Ok- obviously this didn’t happen.

 

But- I visited Tennessee in the hospital and he told me that he was on top of Dirk ‘getting the best of him’ and Dirk stabbed him.

 

I think this was what happened- and even though the ‘fell on the knife’ part was a lie- yet it did seem to me that Dirk had a plausible self-defense.

 

Now- I kept Dirks dog at my house for the last 8 months- and had all his stuff- he trusted me to keep his bank cards and all- I moved money from his account into his jail account- he offered to at least pay for dog food- I told him I didn’t want a dime.

 

 

Now- his lawyer- a public defender- did go out of his way at times for Dirk- he met me at the pawn shop when I got Dirk’s guitars out- Dirk was afraid he would lose them.

 

We did a few errands for Dirk [too many to be honest] and he would contact me when he needed to find a witness or 2- being I know the guys on the street.

 

I visited Dirk in jail- he called me- we kept in touch.

 

I would ask his lawyer ‘what do you think- what’s Dirk looking at’- he told me that because of the statement he made to the police- that it didn’t look good.

 

Now- Tennessee [the victim] did leave the state- he wanted nothing to do with it- so the state picked up the charges.

 

His lawyer would tell me that Dirk should accept a plea- they offered 6 years- on this charge he would have to do half before he was up for parole.

 

His lawyer knew I gave Dirk advice- so I would tell Dirk ‘I think your lawyer is good- I would listen to him’.

 

Now- the lawyer said they would never offer what Dirk wanted- 2 years.

 

In the end- he plead to a misdemeanor assault and got out on time served.

 

Dirk told me that his lawyer lied to him about a few things- and Dirk [like me] thought because the victim- who indeed himself told me that he was beating Dirk up- and he left the state- that how could the prosecutor go to court when the victim is not even there.

 

So- the lawyer tried to get Dirk to take the 6 year plea- then the 2 year plea- and came back 2 weeks later and he was out.

 

The lawyer was working with the prosecutor- I’m sure they did look at some of Dirks past- and maybe decided ‘together’ that the plea was ok.

 

The problem?

 

I was right- and Dirk too- the fact that Tennessee was gone- did indeed affect the case.

 

All during these months I talked to Dirk- did tell him what the lawyer told me- and thought Dirk should listen to the lawyer.

 

Then one day Tennessee’s brother came to the mission- he told me the cops were coming by every few days to find Tennessee.

 

I even told his lawyer that Tennessee was gone- as far as I knew.

 

So- I realized they did indeed need Tennessee- like I said- and I’m sure his lawyer knew it.

 

The last time I spoke with Dirk on the phone- before his trial date- I didn’t say the usual ‘take your lawyers advice’.

 

No- because I realized he was not being totally upfront with me- the lawyer- I told Dirk ‘if you are not happy with the offer- go to trial’.

 

He took the misdemeanor charge- and got out.

 

SATURDAY- I want to try and cover some of the stuff that happened back here in Texas when I was gone.

 

I got back Thursday and was going to take a few days off- but that never seems to happen.

 

I got with the guys Friday and today- and will try and tell a few stories.

 

I noticed when I got up today- I had a hard time walking- then after I cut the grass and sat down- I couldn’t stand up.

 

About 7 years ago I had an injury at the fire dept.- disc in the back problem [common] but it got so bad the last year on the job- that I finally had to get it checked [I always wait too long for stuff like this].

 

So- the back problem caused nerve damage to my right leg- and for a few months I couldn’t walk [there’s a name for it- I don’t remember].

 

When it happens your whole leg cramps- but not like a regular cramp- but much worse.

 

If it happens when your out- shopping- whatever- you go down [I was worried at times if I felt it coming on].

 

So- when I retired I DID NOT TAKE A MEDICAL RETIREMENT- I already had 25 years in- and as the process goes for injury leave [which I never took before- only a few days out of 25 years] I just did it myself- by retiring the normal way.

 

Usually you would stretch it out [sue] and get some cash as a ‘bonus’- I never did this.

 

The city waited about 8 months before sending me my official ‘thank you for service’ thing- because they figured I would do the normal thing- and try and get money for the injury- it was legitimate- and job related.

 

But- I never did it- I also lost my health coverage- it was too much to keep [each city- and state are different- our collective bargaining agreement did not have a good deal when I retired].

 

So- I did have things I needed to get checked for- and treated for- till this day I have done neither.

 

Without going too long- I thought I got accepted with the VA a few months ago- and then realized they misread my income- and turned me down.

 

I gave them the correct retirement income- and was accepted.

 

About 8 months ago I had a letter from them- thinking I was in- and figured ‘might as well bite the bullet and go get checked- treated’ [for multiple things].

 

I opened the letter- and they said I lied about my income [I’m beginning to think that if you lie- about lots of stuff- it works out better!]..They went 2 years back and saw I had about 20,000 income from a sort of 401k thing that the fire dept started a few years before I retired.

 

I used it as a savings- and cashed it out in one year.

 

The VA said it was annual income- it was not.

 

As of now I have not even opened the last letter they sent- I’m assuming [hoping] they got it right.

 

So- when I woke up today with the old leg injury- I figured I’d go to the ER [big thing for me] and at least do something about the leg.

 

It would be covered under workman’s comp- the only thing I actually have for coverage- which only applies to this one injury.

 

As I sat at the ER- I started thinking ‘maybe I should tell the doc- take a look at his too- being I’m here’.

 

Then I thought ‘maybe I’ll ask him about this other thing’.

 

Then- as I sat- I decided to just leave.

 

This whole insurance thing has been an issue for me- I was with friend’s today- much healthier than me- they have disability- insurance- everything [and never really worked] so yes- it gets me upset.

 

But- as I hobbled out of the hospital- I had a few of the guys on that side of town call- and spent most of the day- yeah- doing ministry.

 

I texted the guys when I got to our halfway house- no one home.

 

Andy was in the Bluff- my side of town- and I just got home about 10 minutes ago.

 

 

A funny thing happened- when I went to see his brother David- who I do the halfway house with.

 

Jackie- his girlfriend- who knows me- said ‘John- you lost weight’ [in a month?] and she asked ‘do you have PTSD’.

 

David has it- and it reminded me of what someone said when I first arrived in N.J. – about manic depression.

 

I told Jackie I have multiple things- but because of the way the insurance thing worked out- and other stuff- I have not been treated- for anything.

 

Jackie said ‘you have it’.

 

Now- I bring all this up because I want to say that after I left the ER- and had a full day- with the guys- I felt good.

 

Are the  physical problems fixed- no.

 

But I dreaded [feared] having to start the process- now.

 

Some of the delays were not of my own choosing [I had- have? no insurance] now as time goes by you become desensitized.

 

I do want to cover some of the other stuff that happened when I was gone- but might do that in the next day or 2.

 

Some guys relapsed- but others had some great things happen- I will pick up the meetings I do soon- thought of maybe taking a few days off.

 

When I got back I thought ‘maybe I will cancel one’.

 

But found out that they don’t want to cancel it- so I’ll do it.

 

Today another ministry asked me to start a new one- on their side of town.

 

I told the brother yeah- but think I should wait a while.

 

 

Let me end with a funny story- my last night in North Bergen- I went to say bye to the crew.

 

I had a ginger ale drink in my hand- and as I walked away I said ‘hey Billy- you want to finish it’.

 

He said no thanks.

 

Hmm?

 

He never turns down a drink.

 

He said ‘oh- I thought it was Beer’.

 

I said ‘Billy- I have 22 months [I’ve been saying 20- but I was behind 2 months- I don’t keep track well] sober’.

 

Billy says ‘Yeah I know- but I thought because it was your last night- you were celebrating’.

 

SUNDAY MORNING- This week if I start the meetings back up [I might wait one more week] all I will do is overview my month in North Bergen- and try and tell the most interesting stuff.

 

On the trip I made comments on the pictures- so some of you might be familiar when I re-tell.

 

Ok- one of the verses [actually a few] that these past few years I felt were significant about the teaching/outreach ministry deals with the ‘Princes of Abraham’.

 

In the bible Abraham had kids- The first 2 were Ishmael and Isaac.

 

Ishmael is the father of the Arab [many are Muslim] people- and Isaac is the head of the Jewish people [and according to the apostle Paul- Christians are the promised seed].

 

So- in my teaching I try and speak into these 3 groups- Jews- Muslims and Christians.

 

So- one day at Burger king Abe walked in- he is 99 years old and owns lots of real estate in North Bergen- worth between 50-100 million [Danny told me].

 

Danny introduced me to Abe- and his sweet wife Regina- who is 97.

 

Regina would walk up to me and Danny and give us lollipops- it was cute- Danny’s in his 70’s and I’m in my 50’s- but she saw us as kids.

 

Abe told me his story- he grew up in Poland and met Regina [also from Poland] when she was 5 years old.

 

Abe fought with the Russians against the Nazi’s during WW2 [called a partisan] and he told me he killed many Nazi’s.

 

They married in 1945- and came to the U.S. in 1947.

 

Abe studied in the Yeshiva university in Poland [famous school for Jews who study to be Rabbi’s] he and Regina speak 9 languages- and Abe is well versed in the Torah [the Christian Old Testament].

 

Danny told Abe I was a street preacher- and Abe mentioned some stories from the Torah.

 

He talked about Hamman- and I went on and told the story that we find in the book of Esther.

 

Hamman [I have not read it in years- so bear with me] was a persecutor of the Jews- and hatched a plan to execute them- on a gallows.

 

Esther was one of the wives of the king- and she was also a Jew- but no one knew [like Regina- she owned a grocery store in Poland during the war- she provided food for the Catholic church- and was saved from the Nazi’s by pretending to be Christian].

 

So- Hamman built the gallows- hatched a plan to kill the Jews- but Mordechai- a relative of queen Esther- said to her ‘who knows if you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this’.

 

He prodded Esther to reveal her true identity to the king- and to stick up for her people.

 

She tells the king the plot of Hamman- and the tables turn- and Hamman himself is hung on the very gallows he built to kill the Jews.

 

Now- as I told the story off the cuff [like jus now] Abe realized I did know the Torah.

 

I did this with a few other names/events he mentioned form his years of study.

 

Abe did ask me if I knew any other languages- I told him no- but as a bible teacher I have learned some Hebrew and Greek.

 

Of course Abe knows Hebrew.

 

As we talked I tried to think if I can speak any Hebrew words- sure enough I told Abe ‘I know a few words of Hebrew’.

 

I asked Abe ‘What does Yeshua Hamishia mean’?

 

Abe told me- it means ‘when salvation/freedom comes- he will be on a White horse’.

 

I told Abe that Yeshua- or Joshua- in Hebrew means Jesus in Greek [The New Testament was written in Greek].

 

So the same name is Jesus for Christians.

 

The translation I gave is ‘Jesus is the Christ’.

 

Now- I don’t know if anyone ever told Abe this- it’s one of the main points a Christian would share with a Jewish friend.

 

I talked a little more about Isaiah 53- which is a key chapter as well- it is in the Jewish bible- and is the most clear prophecy about Jesus.

 

As Abe walked away- he came back to my table [in the Burger King- which he owns the property].

 

And he walked up to my table [he can do what he wants- he and his family never pay for food when they eat here].

 

And he sang- in Hebrew- a Jewish blessing over me.

 

The bible says if you give a cup of water to a prophet- you get a reward.

 

In a way Abe received the words I spoke- he gave ‘a cup of water’ [the blessing] to someone who testified to him about the Christ- from his own Torah.

 

[The bible says in the book of Revelation ‘the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy’].

 

SUNDAY AFTERNOON-

 

Ok- Today I saw Cameron for the first time since I’ve been back- I met Cameron at our halfway house about 2 years ago.

 

He’s ‘one of my disciples’ [that’s what he said to my Muslim friend who came around looking for me this month].

 

Now- he has been in my meetings this year [by the way- I committed to do the meetings- for one year- it was an experiment of sorts- and actually went much better than I thought it would- I’ll talk more about it later].

 

So- when Cameron left our halfway house 2 years ago- the next day I went by- and saw he had my old fire dept. bible open [I donated it to our halfway house] and it was funny- he had it open and I saw he was reading the psalms- with all the notes I made in it years earlier].

 

So- Cameron has been texting me when I was in North Bergen- telling me his landscaping business is booming- and he has all types of accounts- making good money.

 

To be honest- I thought the kid might have been trying to make me feel good being I was gone [he’s like an adopted son of sorts].

 

So- today he showed me all that’s going on and sure enough- he was telling the truth.

 

Now- I had a guy- Mason- cut a tree for me a few months back.

 

I told the story- he was also one of the guys that sat in my meeting at another halfway house.

 

So- he said he cut trees- and I had him do mine.

 

He knows his stuff- but uses [drugs].

 

So- he never finished the job- I decided to pay him anyway- and he came back a few days later with his partners.

 

He never told them I paid him- and we got into it.

 

I made up with Mason and he sat in my meetings again [my ‘fellowship’ is real- some of the guys have gotten into it with me- or I them- and later we make up- very real stuff].

 

So- Mason has joined with Cameron and they are making good money.

 

As we left church- Mason was carrying- you guessed it- that same fire dept. bible. [By the way- they never met before- I knew them both- but they never knew each other- Mason ran into Cameron on the street when I was gone- and that’s how they hooked up]

 

Cameron gave it to him [see the pics- all the pics I’m posting on Facebook relate to these posts].

 

One of the many verses God gave me while in New Jersey was ‘Isaiah 43:18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

God requires of us to hear him daily- to be open to change and new things- conversion is not only a static event [one time thing] but an ongoing process.

 

I’m glad I stuck with the kid- and made up with Mason- they are a good team.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT-

 

Just got back from the beach baptism- I didn’t baptize- but went to a Rock City Church baptism.

 

We had a good time- the pastor- David- is a great guy. I’ve talked with him- shared prophetic stuff- he wants me to fit in more- I’m just supporting him in a way- being pastors need men who have a background in stuff. So I think that’s my purpose at this time.

 

I sat at one of the picnic tables- there are lots of people at a function like this who know stuff about the bible.

 

Sometimes when people see me smoking and stuff- they think I might be someone in need- that’s ok.

 

A lady came by- she writes- I gave her my card and talked a bit.

 

I shared some stuff with the pastor- he thanked me.

 

Then there were 2 ladies who sat by me- as we talked it turned into about a 30 minute meeting.

 

One of them said ‘I wish I could quote the bible like that’- I told them that I’ve been doing this for many years- and it comes over time.

 

They did know the bible- and were sincere Christians.

 

One of the girls realized she could learn stuff that she has questions about.

 

I did a teaching [spur of the moment] on whether or not Christians should obey the Kosher food laws of the bible.

 

I did a history of when God first allowed man to eat meat [after the flood] the various verses in Corinthians and Romans about the issue.

 

Many good Christians have questions on this.

 

I quoted a lot- gave some background- in the end I said it’s a mater of grace- your allowed to eat whatever- but some choose to be vegetarians- and that’s ok.

 

It was funny- I never planned on doing a meeting type thing at the baptism- but it worked out well.

 

On the way to the island I saw Austin for the first time.

 

Austin is an Afghanistan vet- who out of all the kids I work with- he’s in the most trouble [that’s his nick name].

 

I just asked Cameron earlier in the day how he was doing.

 

He told me bad- he got beat up in the face with a bat when I was gone- they disfigured him- for life.

 

He said you wouldn’t even recognize him.

 

Austin got stabbed before I left Texas on this last trip.

 

I remember the guy who stabbed him [who I know] as acting strange that day- outside the mission.

 

I asked him ‘how you doing’- he looked at me- I could tell he was ready to do something.

 

He said ‘what did you say’.

 

I replied ‘I asked how you were doing Bryan’.

 

He looked at me and said ‘blessed’.  A few minutes later he stabbed Austin- it made the news that night.

 

I recognized Austin as he crossed the street- and yeah- he looks different.

 

I noticed he took off his sunglasses for a 2nd– and put them on fast.

 

He didn’t see me- and I was on the way to the island.

 

I’ll try and cover a few more things this week- sort of like journaling.

 

As of now- I think I will wait before I re-start the meetings- I do enjoy them- but I feel I should wait.

 

It’s not easy for me to not be busy- so I’ll have to try and settle down some.

 

Ok- enjoy this update- I might do 1 or 2 more and that should be it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2080- This week I want to teach a little from Luke chapter 9- but let me start [end?] with one last note from my month in the NYC area.

 

On this trip there were many prophetic events- meaning lots of supernatural stuff.

 

Over the years I have had lots of these things operate in my ministry- but when you read the blog it’s hard to include many of these things- because frankly- people think your nuts.

 

Ok- Daniel- my atheist friend, I probably spent more time with him than anyone else.

 

Many of the people I met while sitting at Burger King were people Danny would introduce me to as they walked in.

 

So- in a sense- Danny saw me ‘in operation’ alot- to be honest I think he liked seeing this stuff.

 

At the end of my trip- while doing an off the cuff teaching- quoting and stuff.

 

Danny stopped me and said ‘John- I notice when you quote the bible like this- it’s like you go into a TRANCE’.  He said it’s like you’re actually ‘bringing’ up the pages as you speak.

 

Now- to some of my Christian friends the word trance sounds a bit like an occult thing.

 

Actually the bible talks about the apostle [Peter?] going into a trance- if I remember right you find the account in Acts 10- when Peter had the vision of the un-kosher animals coming down [meaning God was accepting the Gentiles].

 

The bible speaks of signs and visions- and a Trance is a higher form of a vision.

 

Now- I was actually not going into a Trance- as I just described- but Danny was simply seeing a person testifying about Christ- under the anointing.

 

Danny does have a background in the bible- I could tell as I did my off the cuff teaching- he would add parts of the story- and ask stuff.

 

Danny used to say ‘do you know the word hell is not even found in the bible’.

 

I would correct Danny about this- many times.

 

I even taught him the 3 words used for hell in the bible [1 from the Old testament- in Hebrew- and 2 in the New Testament].

 

I told Danny the most common one was used by Jesus himself- and it was actually a word that the people of his day used to refer to the city burn heap- a place outside of the city where stuff was burned [you know- the image of fire and all].

 

Danny said ‘hell is separation from God’ [Atheist?].

 

I told him that actually is the best definition- theologically- of hell.

 

Even though I told Danny- many times- that he was wrong about the word not being in the bible- yet it never ‘stuck’.

 

But one day- when teaching the subject- I quoted a verse from Revelation ‘death and hell were cast into the lake of fire’.

 

He then looked at me- and said ‘oh- hell is in the bible’.

 

I mean he was surprised.

 

The point is- when the word of God is spoken [quoted- read- etc.] it has power.

 

Danny saw me ‘in a trance’ many times during this trip- interacting with him and others- and it was the testimony- of Jesus- which the bible says is ‘the spirit of prophecy’ that affected him.

 

WEDNESDAY-

 

I’ve been back in Texas for about a week- and before I came back I felt God was telling me to take- at least- one week off before jumping back into the routine.

 

In January of this year- when I got back from another New Jersey trip- I started some home groups.

 

At first- I thought I’d give it a shot- not really sure how well they would do.

 

To my surprise- they went well.

 

I do about 5-6 a week- in various towns- once a month we go [or did?] to San Antonio- so- these were [are] fun.

 

I never told our groups- but I committed [to God] that I would do them- for 1 year.

 

I actually planned on going to New Jersey at the end of this year- and after some time away- then re-evaluate the meetings.

 

So- I’m a bit early- but I’m in that process now.

 

I also have heard some words/verses- that things will change-

 

Many of the people I worked with on the streets for years- said ‘we never knew you could do this stuff’.

 

Many never heard me teach- and I’m grateful for the compliments.

 

Why am I debating if I should keep doing them- besides the fact that I felt I had some words about it.

 

Most of the people in my meetings are people I have worked with- for many years- on the streets.

 

In the gospel of John we read an account where Jesus fed the people [noble thing- like Timons ministry- a feeding mission].

 

Jesus goes to another place- and the crowds find out where he is- and they follow.

 

Jesus says ‘are you seeking me because I fed you? Seek for the true bread’.

 

In the bible there are many teachings about helping the poor- the downcast.

 

But- we also read ‘if a man does not work- neither should he eat’.

 

Over the years I have had many people tell me I’m wasting my time with the homeless.

 

I always realized that there were some who were not sincere- but many are true friends- and I don’t devalue that.

 

But- many who come to the free food programs- they are simply getting a free meal- and the money they save is spent on drugs or alcohol.

 

In these cases- they are like the ones Jesus rebuked- they didn’t want change- just free food.

 

 

Ok- as of now I already decided that I will only go to the mission/streets- on the days I do meetings.

 

But- if after this time of re-thinking stuff- if I don’t do the meetings any more- then I think my years on the streets will be over.

 

This would not be easy at all for me- and I’m not sure yet if this is what I will do.

 

These past few days I have gone back and forth on this- reading- praying.

 

Some mornings I can’t wait to get back in the routine- others I see a change of lots of things- and am excited about both options.

 

As I type- I’m sitting at the local coffee shop.

 

Yesterday one of the kids I met before I took my trip wanted to talk.

 

I’ve spoken to him a few times [I actually have another one who bums cigarettes off me! Yesterday I told him ‘last one’- yeah- like being on the streets. Actually in one of my ‘funny home videos’ I took while in North Bergen- some guy walked up and bummed one when I was filming- I invited him to sit- I smoked with him- and finished the clip- when I later reviewed it- that clip never filmed].

 

Drew asked me about the site and all [he sees me working on it].

 

And I did bout a 20 minute teaching- you know- like I was doing in North Bergen. These are all college grads- or students- they have asked me if I just teach ‘religion’ only. I say no- but Philosophy- other subjects- when I engage with these smart kids- in all these subjects- It opens a door for the ‘religion’ too.

 

Some of the others who have seen me come in these past few months never heard me say anything.

 

So- in a way- even as I re-evaluate the whole meeting thing- yet- new ones seem to pop up anywhere I go.

 

Funny in a way.

 

Ok- that’s it for now.

 

THURSDAY [10-30-14]

 

Today instead of doing our weekly teaching- from Luke 9- let me share about transition.

 

Every year when I go to New Jersey- I attend the Mass at the old Catholic church that I went to as a kid.

Even though I’m not Catholic- yet I will read and follow the chapters that the priest spoke on for the week- and I do get direction from them.

 

About 3 years ago I stopped the street ministry in Texas for about a year.

 

I thought I was going to move back to North Bergen- and one of the key verses that God used about transition- came from Luke.

 

It said ‘NO MAN-HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH- AND LOOKING BACK- IS FIT FOR THE KINGDOM’.

 

I journaled that year- I still have that journal by the way- and as the year moved along- I would look back on that verse- and I knew God wanted me to follow thru with the change- to move.

 

Now- I went- and was willing to do it. I stayed 3 months in North Bergen- and it was a sort of an Abraham/Isaac experience.

 

He was willing to offer up his Son- and yet God changed the plan- at the last minute.

 

I came back to Texas- and never thought I would.

 

So- this one verse- was a challenge to me- to move along in new things- make the commitment- and then see what lies ahead.

 

I did look for that verse in the Mass readings while in New Jersey- it’s somewhere in Luke [it would be easy for me to find it- but I wait till it pops up instead].

 

There were readings from Luke in the Mass this last time- yet it didn’t ‘pop up’.

 

When I got back to Texas- I went to Rock City church- and the message was very prophetic- it spoke about much of what I just did in North Bergen.

 

I usually pick one verse from the message- and read that chapter during the week.

 

Sure enough- it was a verse from Luke 9- and the last verse in that chapter is my Ploughman verse.

 

This week I have debated about making some changes- I have not been on the streets all week- and I felt I wasn’t supposed to jump right in to the routine when I got back.

 

This year I have been doing home groups all over South Texas- 5 or 6 a week.

 

I felt God wanted me to do them- and they went real well.

 

I’m praying about whether or not I should keep doing them.

 

There are 2 ways I could read the Ploughman verse- one is ‘keep doing everything you are doing- don’t look back’.

 

But another way I could take it- is ‘keep moving along the new path- hearing my voice- even in the midst of change- you’re on a journey- don’t look back’.

 

As of today- that’s what I’m leaning towards.

 

I have spent many years on the go- and I am revaluating many things.

 

I do feel the meetings I held this year were important- many of my friends were never really part of my teaching ministry- they never heard me speak.

 

And it was important for me to have made this deposit.

 

It’s not hard for me to teach- I don’t really have to prepare much at all- I just read the chapter at the house- and speak ‘off the cuff’- and it goes well.

 

But- I’m not sure- as of today- that it was meant to go on forever.

 

In the New Testament the apostles spoke for a season- and moved on.

 

I wrote a lot about this in the past- but there are times when you speak to groups- cities- and then the job is one.

 

I will text our home group leaders today- and let them know I will make a decision next week.

 

I actually got a call last night from one I do on Wednesday- I told Angel I was going to text everyone today- they were waiting for me to show up last night.

 

I wanted to write on all of this- so people can follow the story- in the bible we read the stories of the men and women- not just what they taught.

 

You see the up’s and downs- the real life struggles that they had.

 

My atheist friend Danny- who I spent a lot of time with in North Bergen- God actually uses him by the statements he makes.

 

He does not know this- but this happens more with him than anyone else in that area.

 

He was talking to an elderly lady about the stairs in their building- he said ‘you know- as I get older- coming down the stairs is harder than going up’.

 

I have a hard time ‘slowing down’ it takes more effort for me- then going up.

 

This week I’m trying to slow down- re-evaluate some stuff- Danny was right- again.

 

“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/north-bergen-10-14-menickdanny-green-pumpkin-and-bobby-whistle.zip [The Green Pumpkin video I took in North Bergen- being it’s Halloween- thought it fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2081- ABRAHAM’S JOURNEY [Transition time]

 

– Before I begin this week’s new post- I want to try and explain something.

 

As I’m adapting to some changes- and making decisions about some new things- I’m also working on some old radio shows I did many years ago.

 

As I copy them to the WordPress site- I review them- these are 15 minute shows I did years ago.

 

I find myself making notes- you know- God speaks to me thru these old shows.

 

I will add a link to Ruth 1- I mean it’s really uncanny if you realize there is no order to me reviewing these tapes- each one [I’ve heard about 7 in the past week- years apart] has given me direction for where I am at in life- really strange in a way. This tape talked about transition and change- many insights into where I’m at right now.

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7A- Ruth 1

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7y [This is my first Corpus video- the quality not that good- but I wanted my friends from N.J. to get a look at Corpus- so I left it on].

 

[I hope these links work- if not- the Ruth radio show and the Corpus video ore on ccoutreach87.wordpress.com ]

 

Ok- this week I want to continue some of the teaching I actually started in North Bergen.

 

The story of Abraham [found in Genesis] is important in many ways- both practically and theologically.

 

Out of all the historical figures that the Apostle Paul uses when speaking about Justification by faith [meaning God planned from the start that he would save- accept- and yes- change [addiction recovery] man as a gift- not by human efforts- which is actually a bondage] he uses the story of Abraham the most.

 

In the letters he penned to the churches of Galatia [it was a region- more than one church/community] and to the church at Rome- he uses the chapters I have been quoting from in my videos [those of you have not watched the teaching videos on my WordPress site- watch them- these blog posts will fill in some gaps].

 

In Genesis chapters 12 and 15 God calls Abraham to a journey- he says ‘if you leave your family and land- and go into a new place- I will bless you and make you into a great people’.

 

God took Abraham outside and said ‘look at all the stars- and the sand by the sea- this is how many kids you will have- if you obey me’.

 

Now- Abraham went on a journey- a tough one to be sure- but exciting.

 

When God made this promise to Abraham- in Genesis 15- we read ‘And Abraham believed in the Lord- and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.

 

Now- these are the verses that the Apostle Paul uses when teaching the Christians [and his Jewish brothers] that God planned- from the start- to give us the free gift of eternal life- when we would believe a promise [about his Son] as opposed to trying to work hard thru a program [the law] to achieve change.

 

The apostle taught that the harder we try to achieve change thru our own efforts [working the program harder] it actually strengthens the sin [addiction] that we are struggling to overcome [Romans 7].

 

God gave ‘the program’ [the law- the 10 commandments] about 400 years after he made this promise to Abraham-

 

So- in the mind of Paul [who wrote the letters by the inspiration of God] this showed us that the first promise to Abraham [freedom as a gift] can’t be ‘un-done’ by the ‘2nd word/commands’ that he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.

 

Then why did God give us the law [10 commandments]?

 

Good question- and many in the days of Jesus asked this very thing.

 

God gave us the law to reveal our sin- to us!

 

Yes- it was sort of a mirror [James teaches this in his letter] to reveal our own inability to change ourselves.

 

In the letter’s to the Galatians and Rome Paul says ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ- but after we arrive at the school/truth [Jesus- grace- the truth] there is no longer any need for the schoolmaster’. [School master is an old term used in the earlier versions of the English bible- today it carries the connotations of someone who brought the kids to school- not the teacher at the school- so, the Law was only meant to bring us to Christ- not to actually change/save us].

 

He says ‘if righteousness [change] comes thru the law- then Christ DIED IN VAIN’!

 

Strong words indeed.

 

So- we see the promise that God made to Abraham- and the fact that Abraham went on a journey- and obeyed- as being key to our own journey in life today.

 

[on my blog I have written a couple of studies that will explain this more- if you want read the ‘Luther- Reformation’ study- and the ‘justification by Faith’ study- they are on the pages on the left of the site as you log on].

 

When God made this covenant [deal] with Abraham- he also said ‘and thru one of these kids the whole world would be blessed’.

 

That ‘kid’ was Jesus- who over many centuries later- would come from the line of David- who was the Son of Jesse- who came thru the tribe of Judah- who was one of the Sons of Jacob- who was the son of Isaak- who was- yeah you guessed it- the son of ‘Father’ Abraham himself.

 

[UPDATE AT BOTTOM]

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Romans 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.

Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:

Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

UPDATE Sunday- 11-2-14- these posts are a bit different- I’m not only teaching- but also sharing some things about my own personal journey [which I think might be helpful].

As I write- I have spent my first week back from New Jersey working every day at one of the local coffee shops.

I have not been ‘on the streets’ for a week [been gone a month- but was on the streets every day in North Bergen].

So- my ‘Texas crew’ have not seen me in a while.

As I left church a little while ago- one of the young kids who came to one of my meetings said ‘hey- are you still going to do the bible study here in the Bluff- they stopped when you left’.

I told the kid [he’s about 17] ‘no kid- I decided to drop that aspect of the ministry’

He looked sad.

Today [Monday] was only the 2nd time I have seen the street crew in a month and a half.

Yes- everything has changed- it surprised me in a way- I thought it would be a lot harder to change my routine- but after a week of changing things up- and not being on the Texas streets for a while- yes- I see the change needed to be made- and today I’m comfortable with it.

I told the guys I will stop by every so often- to say hi- but that aspect of the ministry- which I have done for many years- is done.

The home groups?

Over the years I taught on the radio [that was my teaching time] and spent the days on the streets.

When I dropped the radio shows- that part of me regularly speaking into a community was missing- I still blogged- and worked with the guys- yet there was a real sense of loss.

When I started the meetings in the beginning of the year [2014] for the first time- that aspect was restored.

I taught 5-6 times a week- for 10 months- all over South Texas [frankly- it was wearing me out- and I spent more on gas each month- then driving to N.J. and back].

But- it was one of those ‘faith things’- I said [to God] ‘I’ll do it- but when my money runs out [credit limit] you’ll have to do something’.

Well- it’s almost ‘run out’ but- to be honest- that’s not the main reason I’m dropping the meetings.

When I was in North Bergen- I did a few structured meetings- and Danny [the atheist] wanted more- I could tell.

Yet- when I’m doing ‘off the cuff’ stuff- teaching, yes- but just interacting- that’s my thing.

One of the verses that spoke to me when I first got into North Bergen was from exodus ‘come up to the mountain- and be there’.

Also ‘see that you build all things- after the pattern shown to thee in the mount’.

As some of you know- I’ve been making those amateur videos ‘off the cuff’- when I got back to Texas- I debated about doing more.

Now I see that I will continue ‘the meetings’ by doing the regular teaching- and every so often adding a video.

All the people that want me to keep doing the meetings- it’s much easier on me to do it this way- and more effective.

Just watch the videos’- like the satellite churches- many of them just have the live feed of the Pastor streaming in each week- same thing.

So- it took some time to see ‘the whole picture’ [one of my guys just called me now- my ‘street’ crew have been texting- calling- some are mad ‘where’s John’- I needed to hear God- and I’m notorious about not answering my phone- I tell my guys ‘if you need to get a hold- text- I never listen to messages- rarely get the phone’ you might get a text response- not always].

I loved doing the meetings- and yes- some are mad that I am stopping- but this is the best thing- for me at least.

It’s been a struggle to be at the coffee shop every day- I’m doing important work for sure- updating stuff- re-working things.

But I miss being ‘on the streets’ and will see my Texas crew soon [update- saw them today]- [by the way- had a few calls from my Jersey guys too].

NOTE- Anyone following the posts for the last month can see that I go back and forth- a lot- on stuff.

Now- it would be easy for me to go back and delete certain things- that normally no ‘ministry’ would ever post- never mind leave up.

But I want people to see the real stuff- in the bible you see real stuff.

You don’t just read bout Peter preaching- or king David being ‘a man after God’s own heart’- but you see Peter denying the Lord- you read about David sleeping with the wife of one of his men- I mean you see this stuff.

In these posts I hesitate to say ‘God told me this- or that’ [I’m sure I might have said it anyway].

No- to be honest- some of these decisions were probably not God at all.

Was it ‘God’ when I left for New Jersey on the spur of the moment a month ago- in the middle of the day- during a tropical storm flooding the roads?

I doubt it- I was ‘stranded’ in Roanoke Virginia at a rest stop at 2 am- I thought ‘what the hell am I doing here!’

Now- when I got to North Bergen I figured being I’m here- let’s make the best of it.

So- no- lots of stuff- in life- are you make the best of where you are at.

As of now- I’m pretty sure this is ‘the plan’- Will I maybe jump in the car again- and drive to California [been wanting to do that for years].

Maybe?

Either way- we all do our best- For the most part when you read the actual teaching on these posts- they are right on [I’ve studied for many years- not just the bible].

But- when you see the other stuff- that’s for people to see a little into the picture.

Will there be more stuff like that? Hate to say- probably yes.

So- for now- that’s what I think I’ll do- talk to you later [I think?]

[This is from a booklet I wrote years ago- Further talks on Church and Ministry- I felt it applied to this post]

Here are some of my own personal thoughts from my mission statement.

 

1 spend time making quality friends, all ministry takes place in this type of atmosphere.

 

2 true leadership is relating directly to groups of people in cities, not starting some type of organization.

 

3 the apostle Paul had relationship with believers in different locals, but he didn’t own them.

 

4 don’t try to produce only one type or way of church, but allow Gods natural process to work in various ways.

 

5 relating to areas/groups of people regularly is building the body. Either a church building, home or any regular place of contact can be the format for building the house of God.

 

6 planting churches in the New Testament sense was not the concept of setting up regular meetings in which Paul would preach to them week after week as a pastor, but planting churches was an apostle going to a location and making believers of the gospel of grace, and then trusting the Spirit in them to continue his work. Paul did speak of recognizing and ordaining elders in these cities, but it wasn’t a weekly church concept.

 

7 in the book of acts the focus wasn’t on setting up meetings, but sharing Christ with groups of people and relating to them as a family of children of whom you will always have relationship with, but allow them to mature and grow up on their own and eventually become independent.

 

8 the focus isn’t meetings but ecclesia. That is the actual people you disciple. when Jesus sent them out 2 by 2 it wasn’t to start home groups, but to bring the kingdom to regions. Don’t sacrifice the freedom of touching people directly. Jesus and those he sends simply speak, do, share and communicate with people. His great commission to go and make disciples and baptize. Direct authority to do kingdom without having to start or set up a movement. The movement itself is ‘Jesus family’ [ecclesia]. You will meet with people, but the focus is the people not the act of meeting. Learn to relate to people without having an agenda. Simply be free to love people.

 

9 look at Jesus and the 12. Later in acts, even Paul when going to a region, he holds meetings for a limited time [though the longest was around 2 years] preaches Christ, has a give and take with the community and then leaves. No ‘starting’ of anything, but a revolution in the hearts and minds of people. Later when re-visiting these communities, these are the ‘churches’ of the New Testament. We must see and operate in this simple way. This simple way is New Testament church planting.

 

10 his yoke is easy and burden light. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. Don’t lose the simplicity of doing Gods will. He requires nothing more than to go and touch and share and love. The people you touch are the ecclesia.

 

11 in these friendships the main truth will be Jesus and his grace, these friends will be encouraged to continue in Jesus and his grace. Prayer, bible study, fellowship and their journey with God. Be available to baptize and communicate with them, but allow God to grow the seed.

 

12 you never get the sense/feeling from Jesus or Paul that they were going somewhere to recruit people to their ministry. The sense was bringing this great message and kingdom to people! The people continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship with each other and later Paul would come back to see how they were doing, not to start some type of ministry, but true long term friendships in the kingdom.

 

13 the freedom isnt ‘house church’ or ‘temple worship’ but the kingdom being amongst us now! Obeying Jesus command to love! This command is free from all forms and structures of ministry, and allows us to daily love in action, always sharing in word and deed Jesus. A willingness to baptize those who believe and share and love and relate on a friendship basis. Jesus style.

 

 

I would like to note here that at the present time [2000’s] there are many worldwide Christian movements that are actually doing many of the things that I mentioned in this book. There are many ‘ex-pastors’ who have left their former roles as the central figure of the people they were pastoring and have continued to serve the body of Christ in a bi-vocational way [not getting paid to pastor!]. While I am not advocating this for every pastor who might read this book, I share this to emphasize that these thoughts are presently being practiced on a large scale worldwide [I do a lot of research!]. When people are confronted with new truth there is a tendency to discredit the messenger, so I wanted you to see that there are many thousands of believers who are walking this path right now. There are also many brothers who have seen these things before I did and I appreciate the role they played in helping me to see new truth. In many cases the believers who have left there former churches to live in simple community have been ostracized and looked upon as backslidden rebels. This has created in some a resentment in those who are technically correct in their seeing the church as the community, but many wont hear their voices because of the barrier of resentment that they pick up from them. So you have some who remain in the old way of seeing church and justify it by the fact that some who moved on have a bad attitude. We are all responsible before God to respond to truth when confronted with it, regardless of how much we resent the messenger! I personally believe that after reading this little book that your level of responsibility has gone up. You must ask God how He personally wants you to respond to the truths presented to you.

 

A few weeks ago I had a dream that I felt was prophetic, over the years I have had many interesting dreams and visions. I have never shared any of them in book form, but have spoken about them through our radio program. I dreamt that I was going to a Christian university, when arriving at the university there were many scholarly people dressed in suits and ties. There were many classes going on and discussions taking place about theological subjects. As I continued on my tour of the university there was a classroom where all the professors were gathered in a circle examining something. As I got closer I saw in the middle of these scholars there was what looked like an Indian warrior, he was crouched and just sitting there as something to be examined. He was severely scarred, not just normal scares but sort of a grotesque mutilation. He was there as something to be examined [I thought of the verse in Isaiah where it says he was marred more than any man, that he was wounded to beyond the point of recognition]. Later when I woke up I felt part of this dream spoke to the danger of us as Christians being able to learn and study truth, while never fully embracing the mystery in Christ. We have a tendency to build people up with all sorts of doctrines and never arriving at the point of fully grasping Him. My goal is after reading this book that your focus will not be ‘now I am going to go do the things in this book’, but that you would be able to see Him to a greater degree. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

 

 

Let me close with this, the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he was given authority by God to build them up and not to tear them down. He actually regretted being so hard on them in his 1st letter, but later said he was glad he made them sorry for a season because it would later bear good results. While I’m not comparing myself to the apostle, I do see a similar situation in some of the teaching we do. Its seems to upset people initially but after a while it will produce good fruit. My intent in examining our whole idea of church and ministry is not to give people ammunition to fight against their church, but rather to cause us all to embrace a more biblical concept of church and ministry. I personally do not advocate the total deconstructing of all present day church practices. I personally believe there is room for both building based churches [the church building] and the house church movement. My appeal is for us to look at all these issues and come to our own conclusions on how to embrace these truths at our own pace. I thank the lord that he has been patient with me as I walk this journey and I want to give you all the same room and grace he has extended to me. May God bless you guys until the next book!

 

In Christ

 

 

 

 

 

UDATE 11-7-14 – This week I will just post the video and one of my old radio tapes that I broadcast many years ago. I was going to write a weekly teaching for the video- but I covered the subject multiple times over the years on the blog [they are all on there now] – so- I figured I’d just post the video.

 

The radio program I feel would be helpful for those in leadership roles in the church.

 

Ok- God bless- enjoy.

 

 

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7J [RADIO- these are old radio shows- on cassette tape! So- the quality is not good- but turn up the volume and get what you can].

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7H [VIDEO]

 

Note- The link for radio is from my wordpress site- Zechariah 3

 

The video is me teaching- 11-6-14 C.C.  [If the link does not work- just go to the site- thanks.]

 

 

These are actual quotes from me- this past week I have been reviewing old radio messages I made years ago- and I make notes of stuff I feel pertain to me- as you can see- some of the notes seem to go one way- others different.

 

Just a note- when seeking God in ministry, many leaders struggle about the right path. I have done ministry since 1987- so- this is really not new for those in ministry- but to my ‘layman’ friends- thought you might like to see the process.

 

‘Been on vacation from homeless- sometimes I go back and many are gone- might not see them for years- yet in the end God’s will was done [note- I said this in an old tape]’. ‘I have finished the job you gave me to do’ ‘God takes away the first [ministry] that he might establish the 2nd’ ‘I send an angel before you [Exodus] obey his voice when I bring you into new places’ ‘When you drink old wine for so long [meaning patterns you get used to- in ministry] it’s hard to change to new [new callings]’ ‘John decreased the commitment that people had to him- the people will play a lessor role in John’s calling’ [I actually said this on one of the tapes- about John the Baptist] ‘Jacob is an overreactor- he always goes to extremes’ ‘God wants us to be actively moving forward’ ‘to do good and help others- don’t forget’ ‘my yoke is easy and burden light’ ‘roll the dice’ ‘work smarter- not harder’ ‘sometimes you change course- other times you ride out the famine- it’s difficult to go back after you announce new things- the new thing that survived was not a minor thing’ [after transition]- ‘God repositions you for more important purposes’ ‘God refines you in the furnace of affliction’ ‘What you meant for evil God meant for good- so you could save many lives’ ‘Process and conduct- God can change the process’ ‘You have given me a southland- give me also streams of water’.

 

NOTE- I decided to add this book I wrote many years ago at the last minute- because I felt this week’s radio show was for leadership in the church- and this little booklet was primarily written for leaders in the church- ok- God bless.

 

[BOOK]

‘FURTHER TALKS ON CHURCH AND MINISTRY’

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

 

CHAPTER ONE

HOLY SITES AND HOLY PLACES.

 

CHAPTER TWO

AUTHORITY IN THE KINGDOM, WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

 

CHAPTER THREE

KINGDOM BUILDING OR LEGACY BUILDING?

 

CHAPTER FOUR

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE UNDER THE LOCAL CHURCH?

 

CHAPTER FIVE

BUILDING THE CHURCH AROUND THE PERSONA OF CHRIST, NOT MEN!

 

CHAPTER SIX

ORDINATION AND THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF ACCOUNTABILITY.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

EXAMPLES FROM PASTORS AND BELIEVERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

ARE CHURCH BUILDINGS EVIL? [OR THE GUY WHO WANTED TO CAST DEMONS OUT OF ME!]

 

CHAPTER NINE

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS ‘THE LOCAL CHURCH’?

 

CHAPTER TEN

THE SPIRIT OF COMPETITION IN THE MODERN CHURCH.

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

GODS PEOPLE ARE NOT SIMPLY ASSETS TO AN ORGANIZATION.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

WHAT MODEL OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT DO I ESPOUSE?

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

THE CAT CHAPTER. [I DID THIS FOR MY KIDS!]

CONCLUSION

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Welcome back! I hope those of you who are reading this booklet have read our other 2 books first. Though it’s not necessary in order to understand this book, I prefer to think of these little booklets as an on going conversation with our friends in the kingdom. Those of you who are familiar with our ministry know that we view ‘ministry’ and ‘church’ in an unconventional way. I see church as the people of God who are gathered together by Christ in various and unique ways. I see the people that we associate with and minister to as a legitimate expression of church. Therefore those of you who have been in conversation with us through our various areas of ministry [radio,outreach,etc.]are a unique and vital expression of Christ’s body. Our goal is to simply relate to you in such a way that the end result would be for you to be built up in Christ and to find fulfillment in him. In this book I hope to share a lot of personal thoughts that the lord has communicated to me over a period of time. I feel that if I can simply communicate to you the biblical idea of church/ministry and how we all fit into this picture, that I will have in some small way accomplished the goal of writing this third little ‘letter’ to the ‘churches’ that the lord has called us to speak into.

 

CHAPTER 1

HOLY SITES AND HOLY PLACES

 

I recently have been studying and speaking on the issue of church and ministry as seen in the New Testament, as opposed to the way we as 21st century believers view it. In this ongoing conversation [primarily through radio] I have been talking about our tendency as believers to fall into a pattern of seeing ourselves as spectators/funders of the work of professionals. We settle into roles that relegate us into a nonfunctioning position of hearers of truth. We generally believe that if we attend the church meeting on Sunday and give financially to the church that somehow this has fulfilled our Christian obligation and that we are free to do as we please with our time and resources the other six days of the week. In this conversation there are those who feel this whole ritual of Sunday church is wrong and should be totally abolished, but there are others who are not quite that extreme but still see a need for a radical rethinking of this whole process. I consider myself to be in the more moderate class.

 

I personally don’t find anything inherently wrong with ‘going to church on Sunday’ but the general theme of New Testament Christianity is against the idea of believers simply being hearers of the word only. Because of our limited understanding of the word ‘church’ [ecclesia] in the New Testament we usually do not view ourselves as Christians in a proper way. One of the main themes in the New Testament is the idea of the church as community. That God intended for there to be a body of people who would actually be the place where God would dwell. He really lives inside the people who believe in Christ. Because of this the old idea of God manifesting himself only at a certain location [like the temple] is done away in Christ. If you remember the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman [John 4] she asked Jesus about the legitimacy of the religious locations of her day. She wanted him to speak to the issue of which physical location is the proper one in which people should go to worship. Jesus reply was there is going to be a change in the whole system of so-called ‘holy sites’. He tells her that the true worshipers of God will be accessing him in spirit and truth. He is looking forward to the reality of the body of Christ being a living temple of people who will be able to be in Gods presence all the time regardless of there physical location. While most Christians believe this truth, in practice we often deny it. We look to the religious activities that surround our church day as some how being a more spiritual site or day of worship. We gear up for religious meeting and then experience ‘coming down’ from the religious high point of our week.

 

Now this is where I take a more moderate view than some of my brothers. I too enjoy the day of worship and fellowship that takes place on Sunday; I just wish that we could break the mindset that sees the doing of this as the primary role for Christians. I wish we could see that God is really with us on a daily basis as we interact as believers with each other. There are many times in our focus of going to church on Sunday that we unconsciously transfer the mindset of the Samaritan woman into the present day. We tend to view both the place and the day of church as taking place at a set location at a certain day. Jesus specifically told her that the day was coming that true worship would take place at a temple in a set location, but that temple would be the corporate people of God and that place would be wherever 2 or more are gathered together in his name!

 

CHAPTER 2

AUTHORITY IN THE KINGDOM, WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?

 

Not only are we hindered in our thinking by seeing church as something we go to on a special day, but the whole idea of ministry being some kind of a corporation that exists as a 501 c3 entity. Over the years of ministry I have personally come to rethink this whole issue. I’ve come to view ministry primarily as the kingdom works that God produces through his people when they are in right relationship with him. If you think about it this goes right to the heart of the issue of church being a living society of people. A functioning nation of Christ followers. When Jesus commissioned his followers to go out into the world and be witnesses for him, he told them to do kingdom works and to say to the people that the kingdom of God has come near to them. The actual presence of Christ in his people carrying out his works is true ministry. Later in the book of acts the Spirit falls on a bunch of people and they go forth both speaking and doing things in the name of Jesus. Ministry is primarily a function of God working through his people while bypassing all the technical loopholes of religion. There are certain basic standards that Christians who want to serve God should live by, but the whole idea of ministry being this 501c3 entity that exists as a separate thing is really unscriptural. Jesus not only challenged the idea of holy-sites being a special place, but also the idea of God’s authority/legitimacy existing in certain religious offices or institutions of his day.

 

The religious class challenged the authority of Jesus. They were saying you have no right to function as the Son of God. Who gave you this authority? Jesus answered in an interesting way. He asked them who gave John the Baptist the authority to do the things he did. Was it from heaven or of men? Well the Pharisee’s didn’t answer. But Jesus showed us that there where 2 types of authority, or ways of being legitimate in what you do. One way is that God directly gives you the right to function as a kingdom person, or you derive your authority from other people. You somehow seek legitimacy by going through the procedures of men. One of the main truths of the New Testament is the incarnation. God becoming man in the person of Christ. The very fact that Jesus was sent by his father, and being God incarnate in planet earth was all the legitimacy that anyone would ever need to do ‘ministry’. Any attempt from the religious mind to try and denigrate his character, or de-legitimize his right to function was directly challenged by the fact that he was sent by God. The works themselves were proof that he was legitimate! Now when we in the church seek to become legitimate, or to derive authority to do ministry through all sorts of natural procedures, we are in essence saying ‘we get our authority through man’.  Its o.k. to become a 501c3 organization if it’s simply a matter of necessity [you need it to accomplish mission] but if it becomes a means whereby we feel ‘more legitimate’then we’ve simply jumped thru a hoop that will become a hindrance down the road.

 

The pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost was more than an event by which the church would enjoy charismatic gifts. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God would come upon certain individuals at certain times to give them authority to function in their offices [kings and prophets]. The fact that the Spirit came upon them was proof of their legitimacy to function in that office. The day of Pentecost was a ‘pouring out’ of the anointing on a whole body of people as opposed to a particular office. God was fulfilling the words of Jesus when he said ‘all authority is given to me go ye therefore’. Jesus was ‘legitimizing’ a whole society of people to go forth and do his works. No special class or office, but the whole body would now have this priestly/kingly anointing. If anyone would question their authority, or right to do what they were going to do, they would respond by saying we derive our authority through Jesus. They understood that their ordination came by the very fact that Christ poured out his Spirit upon them. Any challenge to who gave them the right to function was seen as a direct challenge to Christ’s authority. In the Old Testament when you challenged an emissary of the king you were directly challenging the king, so likewise when we question the legitimacy of fellow believers because they don’t seem to fit the ‘normal’ way of doing things, we’re unconsciously saying ‘who gave you this authority’. Now I am not saying that every Christian has the right to do anything he feels like doing, but there is a difference between seeking the legitimacy of man and simply doing the works of Jesus!

 

CHAPTER 3

 

KINGDOM BUILDING OR LEGACY BUILDING?

 

I just finished doing a teaching on the radio on the book of Exodus. We covered the story of the children of Israel as they progressed in time from a few people into a whole nation of people. If you remember your bible well, you can follow the original desire for God to have a family of people who would inhabit earth and live in fellowship with him. As man sinned and rebelled against God he became separated from God, but the desire to build and make a name for himself still existed within man. The story of the tower of Babel speaks of this. Men tried to come together as a corporate group, and even were willing to have unity [as opposed to ‘doing their own thing’] but it was for the purpose of building to the glory of man. It was ‘legacy building’. A desire that’s in all men to ‘leave a name for myself’. In the corporate world of business you find this mindset existing in a very strong way. In 21st century American society we call it ‘keeping up with the joneses’.

 

There is a popular commercial on TV at this time that shows an average Joe living high on the hog in order to keep up a certain image in the community. It shows ‘Joe’ as possessing a lot of things in order to live up to the image of the people around him. At the end of the commercial the question is asked ‘how does Joe manage to live like this?’. The answer is ‘he’s in debt up to his eyeballs’. This little commercial captures in a nutshell the attitude of trying to create an image of ourselves so others would think more highly of us, or so we can feel vindicated in the sight of our critics. Now many times in modern ministry and ‘church’ building we give in to this desire without even realizing it. We build facilities or large organizations in order to prove to those around us that we can really do this thing [tower building mentality]. We seem to loose sight of the great reality that Gods  ‘institution’ or ‘organization’ which he uses to carry out his will is the church. It is a family of people [a holy nation, temple, city, body] that God freely dwells in, in order to advance his ‘cause’ throughout the earth.

 

When we unconsciously develop systems of ministry that we feel are the ‘church’, that is if we follow certain patterns and models of ministry and then begin to build these entities with the belief that these models are actually ‘the church’ then what we’ve done is transferred Gods true desire to build his kingdom [a rule in the earth that would give glory to his image] and replaced it unconsciously with a natural desire to build something that gives testimony to our image [i.e.: ‘look what I’ve done, look at the big legacy I will leave when I’m gone’]. Jesus warned the disciples that this desire to have authority and be ‘in charge’ of people would not be acceptable in true kingdom building. He was showing us that this desire for success was nothing different than what already exists in lost society. Many men sacrifice a lot in order to build institutions or businesses. People regularly sacrifice their time and resources in order to get their business going. Often times they even work in unity with many other people [staff, employees] to accomplish their goal. Now I’m not saying this is wrong in and of itself, there are many good businesses and institutions that have started this way. But when we transfer this mindset into the church we can confuse the energy and excitement that naturally comes with any true adventure and begin building ‘at all costs’. We can loose sight of the ‘entity’ that God is building and get caught up in the natural desire to ‘image’ build and become sidetracked.

 

In extreme cases this actually leads to abusive church situations where the leader[s] are so focused on building the ministry that they begin to unconsciously manipulate people in order to fulfill the vision. This is why it’s so important to see that the church exists as a community of people in the earth whom God lives in and interacts with in various ways in order to build his image in the earth. God wants the knowledge of the glory of ‘the lord’ to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The ‘tower’ that all men will see is the ‘Cross’. God will draw all men to the image of his Son as opposed to some great edifice of man. Gods Spirit wars against the natural desire in man to ‘legacy’ build to his own image. We as believers need to reevaluate the motivations behind our outward enthusiasm to ‘press ahead’ at all costs. When we examine ourselves and make adjustments in our thinking I believe God will allow us to participate in great works for his name.

 

CHAPTER 4

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE UNDER THE LOCAL CHURCH?

 

Over the years of seeing the freedom that we have in Christ, especially as it pertains to functioning in church and ministry, I have met other believers who have seen and grown in the same understanding that the lord has given us. I believe this to be a natural process of the body of Christ coming to maturity. When the head [Jesus] is communicating with the body [the church] you often find different members seeing and functioning in the same truths, though they have never personally met each other. Some of these experiences are lessons for the whole church. Many times in trying to express truth there is a natural tendency for fellow believers to respond in a unified way in defense of a wrong [or misguided] way of seeing things. I remember sharing with a missionary family how the New Testament teaches a greater freedom for the functioning of missionaries/apostles than what we put on them today. I showed how Paul simply operated under the spirits guidance and practiced giving and receiving in a voluntary way with all the believers he was spending time with. I showed how even though Paul was an apostle sent out of the church at Antioch [acts 13] that this didn’t mean he was under some type of 501c3 entity at Antioch that he was sending his tithes to in order to be in obedience to the ‘New Testament pattern.’ If you read the story in acts all the apostles and believers functioned as citizens of a heavenly city and saw themselves all equally as part of this new community of Christ followers.

 

The idea that Paul [or any other New Testament minister] had some type of structural relationship with his ‘home church’ in the sense that he was sending tithes back to his ‘home church’ on a regular basis is simply reading 21st century American patterns into the story that doesn’t exist. You would think that the missionary family would have rejoiced to have seen this truth, as it would have given them freedom in moving forward in new ways in the kingdom. But contrary they were offended in a sense because they truly felt the role of tithing to a specific group of Christians who meet in a building in there area was a New Testament pattern that must be adhered to. While its ok to give to groups of Christians in this way, but to see this as a pattern that if violated would bring the curse in Malachi upon a person is ridiculous. These are ways that we confuse the spiritual temple of believers with the entity/501c3 structures that exist in ministry today. While the obtaining of the 501c3 status, or the purchasing of a building for believers to meet in is not inherently wrong [remember, if its needed for mission it’s o.k.] but to then view that as ‘local church’ which the missionary needs to tithe to in order to be in obedience to the ‘local church’ is confusing the spiritual entity of Christ’s body with the physical entity of American ministry.

 

When we view ‘ministry’ as a separate organization, we sacrifice the freedom to directly build into people. I was driving through town one day with a friend and as we passed by a certain business I mentioned that I needed to go in at a later time to purchase some equipment. My friend asked why I needed it and I explained I felt the Lord wanted me to buy it for a friend in order to help him in ministry. He questioned why I would spend money on someone who had no type of relationship with us, like a ‘part of our church/ministry’. I explained how believers should be willing to spend time and money for the benefit of others regardless of whether or not they are ‘part of our organization’ [by the way we have no ‘organization’ that someone ‘joins’]. I should mention that the person I wanted to spend the money on was one of our original friends/converts that we worked with in the early days of ministry. So the benefit would be purely spiritual, that is I would receive a reward from God in the sense that one of ‘our disciples’ would benefit directly from this purchase. Paul told the Corinthians that he would gladly spend and be spent for them. He said the fathers spend for the children, not the children for the fathers. He was showing the attitude of building people up for their sole benefit, not simply building staff or employees but giving yourself away solely for the benefit of ‘spiritual children’.

 

Many times people will unconsciously do the things I advocate, without realizing it! Recently there have been many examples of God working supernaturally in the area of finances. Many people who disagree with my teaching on grace giving have actually been blessed by doing it the way I teach it! People have been giving testimonies of how God would move on them to freely give [apart from the tithe concept] and how after they obeyed his voice to MEET THE NEED OF ANOTHER PERSON, versus ‘paying the tithe’ that the Lord would move supernaturally on their behalf by another person [not institution] being moved to give to them in return. I have been teaching this for years! How when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for ‘corban’ giving that he told them their mindset of dedicating money to the temple [institution] caused them to neglect giving directly to people [their parents]. So the recent breakthrough in giving that people are experiencing is what I have been saying all along. God wants us to give spontaneously to directly meet the needs of people! I realize this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also give regularly, but the point is sometimes we reject what a persons saying [like me!] without realizing that what their saying is right!

 

I should note something here; over the years I have consistently taught and believed in the concept of giving as God leads. There have been many times where the Lord would move on me to meet the needs of people. Just a few days ago one of my homeless friends asked me if I was still buying tents for people, I said sure. There was really no second thought or feeling of ‘I already gave the required amount this week, and this is going out of the way’. I simply felt it to be in keeping with the New Testament to give to someone in need. A few weeks back I ran into one of the original homeless friends that I met many years ago. The first thing he remembered and couldn’t stop talking about was how when I first met him I was giving away clothes in the winter to him and a bunch of other people. Theses simple acts of charity are in keeping with the teaching of Jesus on giving. The New Testament says ‘give to him that asks of thee’ ‘if you have the ability to help your brother and don’t how dwelleth the love of God in you’ ‘if someone comes to your door in need and you don’t help, it profits nothing’ ‘let him who is not working get a job so he MAY HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH’.

 

All these verses [which I just paraphrased off the top of my head, you’ll have to look them up for yourself] speak clearly to the issue of God wanting us to give to meet the needs of others spontaneously and freely. No sense of ‘I already tithed this week to the church’. This legalistic mindset actually works against the spirit of New Testament giving. I am not saying Christians shouldn’t give regularly for the functioning of Christian ministry, I put aside money on a bi-weekly basis in order to fund Christian works. It is because of my priority of doing this that enables me to meet the needs of people when they come up.

 

I believe Christians should regularly give to the work of the kingdom, I also believe that many people would experience breakthrough in their giving if they truly practiced the New Testament doctrine of grace giving. All the communities of the New Testament [churches] gave this way. There simply was no tithing concept taught to the gentile believers. The scripture says the Corinthians gathered on the 1st day of the week and gave Paul an offering to BRING BACK TO THE POOR SAINTS AT JERUSALEM. Do you see this ‘THE POOR SAINTS’. They were giving to meet the needs of people here. We use these verses to tell Christians if you put in the required amount on Sunday then you’ve met your obligation. We distort scripture to fit into our way of seeing things. I believe its O.K. to put money in the offerings on Sunday, many times the work of ‘building based’ churches is good. Supporting missionaries, planting churches and many other good things. It’s just that we shouldn’t use this as an excuse to by pass all the other instructions in the New Testament to freely give to others in need!

 

I want to note something here, this is a good example of how are ‘seeing’ church as the Sunday meeting as opposed to the corporate group affects us. The issue of ‘how much should I put into the basket on Sunday’ was a NON ISSUE in the New Testament. There were times where all the believers in a community [the church] gave in a corporate way[ Acts 6, 1 Cor. 16] but there was no ‘Sunday church offering’ that all the ‘New Testament’ churches gave into. Why? Because the New Testament churches are all the believers in any given community. The focus wasn’t ‘going to church on Sunday’ that is our ‘thoughts’ or ways of seeing things [it’s O.K. to go to church on Sunday] but the focus was a community of people living and sharing on a daily basis. So when Paul writes these churches, or when Jesus tells us to give to him in need, they are addressing people directly. It’s not like the focus was on an institution. This is why ‘how much should we give, or should Christians tithe?’ is not seen in the New Testament like we see this question today. The bible speaks of ‘churches’ as communities of people; we speak about them in terms of ‘the church I go to on Sunday’. This basic misunderstanding of church causes us to hold onto a less than ideal view of Christian giving.

CHAPTER 5

 

BUILDING THE CHURCH AROUND THE PERSONA OF CHRIST, NOT MEN!

 

In the early days of ministry I remember listening to some tapes on apostles and how they build Gods church. Later I came to see ‘church planting’ as apostles [or evangelists, or just Christians] going to areas and simply preaching Christ to groups of people. After the people believed there was a natural development of family and community that took place as Christ’s Spirit develops the body of Christ. So the New Testament churches are simply bodies of believers in these location’s who came to know Christ. God’s authority and the works of his kingdom are simply a natural expression of Christ’s Spirit through his body. As time progressed in church history people later developed all sorts of offices and institutions that they incorporated into the church. Eventually people began viewing the institution or 501c3 entity as a separate thing called ‘church’.

 

With this mindset people began seeing apostles and ministers and people who plant these entities as ‘CHURCH PLANTERS’. Church planting then began to be looked at as C.E.O.’s who are starting corporate entities with all sorts of projects to do. The entity itself became the focal point of all ministry and authority in any given community. The actual people [the real church] simply became servants to the entity’. The 501c3 itself became the thing that we saw as having the actual conferred authority of God upon it. The people who did not conform to the ‘system’ in many different generations of Christians were seen as being rebellious or not coming under the authority of the church [system separate from the people] though many of these people were truly Gods corporate community [church] they were looked at as in opposition to the church because the understanding of church evolved [or devolved] from the original meaning. We then put expectations on church leaders to build big facilities and to try and fill them up.

 

I want to make a note here; I am not against the modern phenomena of mega churches. If they are growing as a natural outgrowth of healthy evangelism it is a good thing. Where we often miss it is when we begin seeing the goal as having the big thing and then pressuring the flock because they’re not helping us obtain the big thing. Well the original tapes I listened to from the brother who was teaching on apostles eventually visited Corpus Christi and he spoke on his vision to build a 7 thousand seat auditorium and having 100,000 dollar faith and then a million dollar faith and having faith to build it and that people will want to hear him speak [the money stuff was spoken at a different time, but this is the context]. While this minister meant well he simply was not speaking New Testament language. True apostolic church planting is the natural outgrowth that takes place in communities of people when they come to know Christ. When we as leaders begin seeing the entity [501c3] as the goal, and the people as the tools, or fellow helpers and financial supporters of the entity, we’re then relegating the body of Christ to simple servants of the system. Sort of like the children of Israel in Egypt. They were multiple [big numbers] but they were under constricting styles of leadership that caused them to build the cities of man [Pithom, Raamses]. God raised up prophetic leadership [Moses] to bring them out of bondage so they themselves would become a self functioning society on their own, without being subservient to another system.

 

The unhealthy focus of ‘church’ that centers around the high-powered personas of men is in direct violation of the spirit of the New Testament. Church today too often has become a community of people whose ‘common bond’ is found in the personality of the pastor. All healthy groups of people in society will have stages of growth where they go through the process of leadership bringing them from dependence to independence and finally to interdependence [the stage where I don’t need you to survive or find my identity through you, but I need you as a coequal member in order for us both to function in a healthy way]. The New Testament ecclesias were groups of believers whose leadership [elders] functioned as mature guides and facilitators of this corporate experience. This leadership style is far removed from the present mindset of church leadership, which patterns itself after the predominant personality of one individual. While its O.K. at certain stages of group development to have periods of time where one person is the main influence in an individuals life [like a mentor/big brother], but if this relationship between mentor [pastor/leader] never grows to a stage where the ones being mentored do not eventually develop to the point where they are no longer dependent on the mentor, then you have the danger of the leader and his personality becoming the central figure that the disciple organizes his life around. We unconsciously repeat this cycle in the church without realizing it.

 

The simple truth of the churches of the New Testament having no central office where a person [no matter how well meaning he is] is the primary figure of the community should cause us to rethink our present mindset of church and ministry. It is inherently dangerous for any group of people to hear and see and be centered around the giftings of one person [the exception being Christ]. The gifts of the Spirit that freely operate through all of Gods children are powerful. God designed a safety mechanism in the church [body] to prevent the power of these giftings from causing people to become to oriented around one individual. The method God chose was ‘body ministry’. That is Gods pattern of all the people of God corporately sharing and giving to each other would prevent the unhealthy focus on one persons personality. Any group of people, no matter how well intentioned they are, put themselves in an unhealthy position when they violate this principle. We often confuse the New Testament doctrine of leadership and replace it with the charismatic individual. We don’t realize that we are violating the intent of scripture when we do this! All biblical leadership should bring people to a point where ‘He must increase and I must decrease’. Leaders need to be the ones who take the bold initiative to ‘wean’ people off of our personalities.

 

Children in a natural home environment will go through stages in their relationship with their parents that hopefully bring them to a point of independence. Though they are your children when there 12,25,or 55 yet the way you relate to them will be different as they mature. The mistake we make in present models of church leadership is we think it’s healthy to relate to the people the same way throughout their entire lives. If you hear me preach or function in some prophetic gift week after week for 30 years, and my primary relationship with you is this way, then its only natural for you to develop an unhealthy view of me. It’s inherent in the gift of the Spirit to cause people to be drawn to the persona of Christ, when we violate the principle of body ministry [that is where all the people give and receive from each other] we unconsciously set up an unnatural environment where people are eventually drawn to the wrong persona [the person who they see functioning in the gift all their lives]. Many well-meaning pastors do not realize what a basic violation of scripture this is. Our goal should be bringing people to a point in their lives where they need us less and less as they develop a greater trust in God.

 

I know that it’s difficult to embrace these truths, even if they are true! I myself had a hard time seeing the reality of the present day mindset of ‘pastor/minister’ as a basic violation of the intention of God for the church [body] to be an environment where people are centered around the persona [identity] of Christ. Many times well-meaning pastors become the central personality of the group in an unintentional way. Out of a sincere desire to ‘protect’ the flock they unintentionally become the central attraction of the local community. They feel that if there were too much freedom the people could go off track. This possibility does exist, but the primary method of preventing people from going off track is to allow them to develop into mature saints who need not be dependent upon us. The example of the parent/child relationship. It would be ‘safer’ to allow the child to never leave the home and for you to always be the child’s main source of comfort and identity, but it would not be right! So likewise in the church leadership needs to re-examine our proper roles and responsibilities.  If we have embraced roles of ‘pastor’ that truly violate this most basic principle, then it is incumbent upon leadership to recognize this and to make the proper course corrections as God would direct.

 

I really want to emphasize the truth that the church is a community of people whose environment tends to the exalting of the personality of Christ at the expense of the personality of the individual leader. God intended the Church to be a place where gifted individuals WOULD NOT come to the forefront in the minds of the group, but would recognize the fundamental nature of servant leadership and willingly take the position of humility. [John 13, 1Cor. 12:22-25]

 

We don’t seem to understand that the way modern Christians relate to leadership in the present day is in many ways a violation of the spirit of the New Testament. Today it is common in any city to have many churches who all have their own pastors with believers attending the church of their choice. While all of these people [both the pastors and believers] are for the most part well intentioned, they unconsciously develop a mindset that Paul rebuked in the Corinthian church. The church at Corinth [all the believers living in the city!] got to a point where they began identifying themselves by the people they followed. Some said they followed Paul, while others were following Apollos. The actual seeing of the individual leader, and identifying around him was rebuked by Paul.

 

Now I know that we don’t realize this, but for us today to have many thousands of believers in many cities actually saying ‘he is my pastor’, to the point where all the believers have one main personality that they look to and identify with is not the intent of leadership in the New Testament. The biblical model of believers in any location is to have a plural group of elders that are viewed as trusted community leaders; this is more in keeping with the intent of the New Testament. If you later were to visit these New Testament communities and found them saying ‘he is my elder, or I go to elder so and so’s church’ this would be seen as division resulting from having too high of a view of Christian leadership. I know it’s difficult to realize we have done these things, and I’m not advocating getting rid of all the good men who serve as pastors today, but if we begin to see the basic violation of scripture in our present models of leadership this will allow us to take a more humble approach and hopefully facilitate a greater spirit of unity in the Church.

 

What I want you to see is how we in the church have a view of ‘local church’ that causes us to have a misplaced loyalty that is inherent in Christ’s brotherhood. Because we view ourselves as ‘members’ of so and so’s church, as opposed to truly being one body in Christ, this breeds a spirit of disloyalty to our fellow brothers in Christ. We tend to hold to the view that if your not a part of ‘my local church’ [meaning the individual meeting I attend] that somehow I am truly not responsible to you. While in reality I really am supposed to have the same care and concern for you as my brother in Christ, regardless of whether or not you attend my ‘church’ [group I meet with]. In the New Testament there are references to the ‘church in your house’ and things of this nature.

 

Where we usually ‘miss it’ is when we think that somehow these statements violate the concept of our oneness in Christ. When the bible speaks like this, it is not saying that all the believers in one location have separate ‘churches’ that they belong to. It is simply saying ‘that part of Christ’s body that meets in your house’. It would be wrong to view statements like this and then develop an ecclesiology that ‘sees’ a hundred different independent ‘churches’ [entities] in your city. While there very well might be a hundred different groups of believers in your city, you should be committed to these believers just as much as the people you meet with every Sunday. While God recognizes different groups of believers in each city, He also lays down guidelines for our mutual care and concern that we are all to have for one another. Our dividing over ‘who’s church I attend’ creates a false mindset of a lack of loyalty to our brothers because ‘they don’t go to my church’.

 

I just read a verse in Isaiah [55: 8] ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord’. I want you to see that when we view things from our own perspective [our thoughts] we often violate Gods ways [his thoughts]. Many times when dealing with issues that would personally affect an individual’s present mindset, or the lifestyle that he’s living [like when I deal with the subject of tithing, or the lack of the full-time paid minister in the New Testament story]. People will often reject the truth of scripture [Gods thoughts] simply on the grounds that they are already practicing ‘church’ in a certain way [their thoughts] and have no desire to ‘give up’ their present practice of doing things. Many times it’s simply a matter of personal survival. ‘If you are right John, then it will affect me too much, and I am not willing to ‘die to the way I see things [my thoughts] because it will entail too much pain [I think they used to call this ‘bearing our cross’]’.

 

So while I don’t want to personally condemn any brother for his views on church and ministry, I want us all to see how we are subject to preferring our own views to Gods [even me!]. It’s a natural tendency of the sinful nature to presume ‘our thoughts’ [our way of seeing things] are ‘Gods thoughts’. It’s when we take this presumption to the extreme that we get into trouble. We get to the point of seeing others who don’t hold to ‘our thoughts’ as violating scripture [Gods thoughts] and then we unconsciously fall into the category of the Pharisees where we condemn those who don’t ‘see things our way’.

 

CHAPTER 6

 

ORDINATION AND THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF ACCOUNTABILTY.

 

In the 1st century Jesus showed up in the midst of a religious system that had a voice of its own and refused to acknowledge anyone who did not submit to its authority. This system [religious Judaism] not only resisted Christ and the disciples, but would later resist the freedom and growth of the New Testament churches established by the apostle Paul. The leaders of this system actually said that they feared loosing the influence they had in society if the young church continued to experience success. They were already showing signs of the kingdoms of men resisting the kingdom of God. The Pharisees had their position that religion gave them and they were unwilling to give it up, even if it meant their rejection of messiah. The Pharisees used the law and religious protocol as a means to de-legitimize those who would not jump through the hoops of their day. Many of our modern concepts of church and ministry unconciously produce the same results. The very idea of ordination in the new testament was simply the public recognition [through the laying on of hands] of those leaders [elders] in the Christian community [not some non profit entity] who were deemed grounded in the person of Christ and could be looked up to as spiritual guides in a voluntary society of believers.

 

Over the years ordination has evolved into a ritual of licensing and certification from a religious institution in order to be legitimate to function in church circles. So the simple concept of all believers having the ordination of God [John 15] has now developed into a system of approval that one must have in order to function in the church [as a full time minister]. Now while I personally have no problem with ordained ministry, we must see that what we call ordination today is a more developed concept than was originally intended in the New Testament. It can become wrong when we begin to limit the function of all believers as ordained priests under God and use the modern concept of ordination to de-legitimize those who don’t have it. The 1st century Pharisee saw Jesus ministry as a direct violation of their understanding of legitimate ministry. They were using law and religious regulation to exclude people from feeling accepted in Gods society. Jesus way of doing ministry not only violated the current standards of the day, but also opened up a whole new realm of people who would be able to function in Gods kingdom. All who would simply accept him and become a follower were now given legitimacy to spread God’s kingdom despite their unwillingness to submit to the system of their day. This is what offended the religious mind of the 1st century Pharisee. They spent years jumping through the hoops of religious protocol in order to function as religious leaders, Jesus comes on the scene and bypasses all their procedures and vests authority to do kingdom works to the common people.

 

There was a spirit present in both the mind and religion of the 1st century Pharisee. They had an intellectual knowledge of scripture that focused on particular aspects of scripture while never being able to comprehend the ‘body of truth’. Their religious position in society gave them a greater degree of responsibility to be able to understand that Christ himself was the goal and result of all religious learning. In essence they were guilty of possessing a special position in society and because of there unwillingness to loose the ‘honor’ that came from this position they committed the worst type of offense that leaders could commit. They actually rejected the person of Christ in order for there own personas to continue to be at the forefront. If you remember when Paul speaks of antichrist [I am not saying here that present Christian leaders are antichrist!] Paul says that ‘he sits in the temple of God showing HIMSELF to be God’ 2 Thes.2: 4]. There is an aspect of ‘anti-christ’ that rejects the development of the person of Christ in the Church [body] in order for mans persona to remain at the forefront. He sits [antichrist-not wanting Christ to be seen!] in the place of God taking the glory [adulation/honor] to his persona that belongs to Christ.

 

I want you to see that no matter how well we know scripture, we really know nothing until the actual person of Christ is at the forefront [Jesus being Lord]. When man persists in his pride to continue to hold on to a position of attention in the Christian community that rightfully belongs to Christ, he unknowingly is violating one of the most fundamental truths of the church. What I want you to see, without getting too much into the whole subject of antichrist, is that he wants the place that rightfully belongs to Christ. In the Christian community Christ’s rightful place is the center of our attention. True worship is Him actually being the focus and center of attention. The unhealthy attention that we often see given to people’s personalities is a subtle way the enemy uses from keeping Christ’s image and person from being the center of community.

 

Recently there was a Christian brother who fell in a very public way. It was a situation where he admitted to certain sins [adultery] and it was very public. While I wont use his name, he was a very influential leader in charismatic circles. He held the title of ‘arch-bishop’ [I don’t understand why we do this stuff!] Well as usual when word got out about his fall, people began to expound on why this happened. Some explained that they thought it was because he wasn’t ‘accountable enough’ [he was archbishop to more than 200 churches!] We never seem to think that if we allow individuals to be exalted above measure, that this itself is a violation of the principle of New Testament leadership. Jesus said whoever exalts himself will be humbled. Many times in Christian circles we don’t realize that we are doing this!

 

We often blame the fall on ‘lack of accountability’. True accountability is submitting to each other in love. It is not some unnatural structure that we create. I have heard it taught in the way that if some outside person is our ‘covering’ and they call us once a month and yell at us, that some how this is being humble and being accountable. You can’t be accountable without true friendship and relationship. We often jump to the conclusion that when one of our brothers fall that it’s a result of a lack of accountability, when it just might be that we allowed them to be lifted up to a place where the Lord had to humble them. [I don’t want to judge this man, I didn’t even realize I was going to share this but during my prayer time early this morning I continued to pray for him and some other brothers who have fallen, and then I felt the Lord permitted me to share this!] When we allow leaders to attain honorific titles in violation of scripture we are unknowingly placing them in a position where Christ must humble them.

 

Let me mention here the interesting phenomena of Christians [charismatic and others] seeing the ‘need’ for believers to revert back to ecclesiastical structures. During the Jesus movement of the 70’s, as well as the charismatic movement, there were well intentioned brothers who felt like the freedom of ‘simply following Christ’ and the working of the Spirit were not enough to keep the movements from going off track. They sensed the need to have ‘structure’ for the new believers. Jack Sparks, a brother who felt this way, eventually reverted all the way back to Greek orthodoxy and is an orthodox priest today in California. Others like Bob Mumford and Ern Baxter became involved in the discipleship/shepherding movement which placed an overemphasis on the concept of covering and being in submission to authority. These men were well intentioned, but it is my feeling that there is a degree of arrogance and elitism that causes people to believe that somehow through establishing ‘structure’ that they can safeguard the new Christians who where coming to Christ at this time.

 

The whole phenomena of reverting back to previous church communities is nothing new. You had the ‘oxford movement’ after the reformation where many Anglican scholars became Catholics after studying the church fathers and other early sources and felt that the earliest Christian witness was Catholic. You had cardinal Newman later on also becoming catholic, or a Frances Schaffer jr. leaving evangelicalism in order to become eastern orthodox. In all these scenarios these are good men who are finding refuge in ‘structure’. While I consider all of these faiths to be Christian, I believe the error of this type of thinking is we seem to believe if we add structure to new believers this will keep them from going off track. The ‘structure’ of the New Testament churches was nothing like this. Their safeguard was in keeping Jesus pre-eminent in their lives and living together in Christian love and brotherhood. When a Paul or other Christian leader saw them getting off track [Galatians/Corinthians] the answer was not more structure, but simply refuting the error and re-presenting Christ. It was ultimately being able to trust God to finish the work that He started in them.

 

CHAPTER 7

 

EXAMPLES FROM PASTORS AND BELIEVERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

 

I recently did a study on the whole phenomena of the house church movement. Many of the stories I encountered while doing research went along theses lines. You would find various groups of believers who felt disenfranchised with their roles in modern church systems; they felt like they were professional spectators. The whole concept of church became to them a place where you go to hear lectures. The only one who finds fulfillment in expressing themselves are the professional clergy [and a few rebellious prophets who could muster up the nerve to stand up and speak!] but the overall sense was these people were simply filling roles of listening to preaching week after week without ever truly functioning. Many of these people left their churches to form house/cell type churches. There were also many traditional pastors who saw this same restricting style of contemporary church and also left the whole concept of professional pastor and simply became a bi-vocational leader in a voluntary based movement of believers.

 

Some of the movements I studied were tremendous in their ability to rapidly spread throughout regions without the drag of salaries, buildings and all the other usual things associated with full time ministry. I find these movements to be exciting and biblical. The whole idea of average believers advancing the kingdom of God without all the trappings of modern religion is truly getting back to the heart of New Testament Christianity.  Many of their stories shared a common theme of being seen as rebellious or not willing to submit to authority because of their willingness to break out of restricting mindsets in order to advance the kingdom. Many of the pastors who also left traditional church roles found freedom in not having to raise huge amounts of money for salaries and buildings, they testified of a freedom that came with their not having to sermonize on tithing and other money raising efforts. There was a real sense of effectiveness in the reality of the ‘church’ being vibrant groups of believers who can rapidly expand across a region without having to stop and build structures and set in order clergy and all the other trappings associated with modern day church. While I personally don’t advocate one form above another to the degree that some house church enthusiasts do [it can be just as bad to focus on the ‘house’ in house church as in the building in modern church] but I do see in this movement a return to the simple reality of Christ moving and expanding through his people [true church growth].

 

As you read the New Testament you never get the feeling that Jesus or the apostles were going to areas to start some type of meeting that they would get people to attend. They were being sent out to spread the great message of Gods kingdom. All the sermons in the book of acts focus on Jesus and his great work for us. After people in these various regions came to the reality of Christ they were then considered to be the church. The actual reality of Jesus living in them through his Spirit is the entity that God recognizes as legitimate to carry out his works. There was no magical element of organizing under a particular form that would then become the ‘church’. They were church by virtue of the fact that Christ dwelt in their hearts by faith.

 

As these communities spread throughout the earth they would have more mature leaders in their midst who gave guidance and direction to the flock in a voluntary way, but the concept of one professional minister who was hired to perform religious functions for the community was absent from these New Testament ecclesias. The whole mindset of ‘church-planting’ was simply the natural outgrowth of people coming to know Christ. There wasn’t a separate calling to start churches apart from the great commission to go and tell all people about this great gospel of Christ. Apostles had a special gifting to help build these communities, but in no way is this separate from the calling to preach the gospel. It is simply the proclaiming of Christ to communities of people that holds the power of ‘church planting’. And the thing that we’re planting is Christ in the hearts of people. I think if we can get back to seeing things on these terms there will be less of a pressure to go and make something happen, and more of a balance on Christ in us, the hope of glory!

 

CHAPTER 8

 

ARE CHURCH BUILDINGS EVIL? [OR THE GUY WHO WANTED TO CAST DEMONS OUT OF ME!]

 

Many years ago before I really understood the truths of ecclesia and the communal aspect of the church, I was introduced to the belief that the ‘church building’ itself was wrong. I don’t personally adhere to this belief, but let me share the story. While ministering as a new believer in Christ and learning ‘the ropes’ of ministry, I remember driving past a brother who was a street minister from Mexico. It was unusual in the way he was conducting his street meetings. He would get permission to use an empty lot and then set up actual church pews in the lot without walls or any type of cover over it [even if it rained!]. Well one day on my daily rounds of visiting people and witnessing for Jesus [because this is what ministers are supposed to do, right?] I stopped by this brother’s lot and figured I would bless him with some lunch and listen to him preach [I felt sorry for the brother because no one else was attending his meetings]. After he spoke I had a chance to fellowship with him. After hearing his thoughts I realized it was on purpose for him to have no walls or cover over the pews [these were actual church pews that were out there in the open!].

 

He shared with me the verse in Hebrews [13:10] where it says that those who worship at the sanctuary have no right to partake of the altar of Christ [the cross]. He saw this as meaning that all Christians who meet in buildings [the sanctuary] were lost! Well, even as a young believer in the lord I was smart enough to know that this verse had nothing to do with ‘church buildings’. I showed the brother that in context the verse simply meant that those Jews [remember who the book of Hebrews was written to] who were not willing to leave the old covenant system [the sanctuary] could not move on with the new covenant truth of Christ and his cross. The sanctuary represented the whole concept of law and Judaism. This verse had nothing to do about the inherent nature of church buildings! Buildings themselves are neutral ground; it’s the style of one person functioning [the pastor] at the expense of the rest of the body that I see as less than ideal.

 

Well after seeing the obvious error of the way this brother was reading this verse, I began to ‘expound unto him the way of God more perfectly’. When he finally understood what I was saying [you could tell by the look in his eyes that he saw the truth] instead of repenting of his distorted view, he became irate and began to cast demons out of me [hey, I didn’t think there were any in me!]. The reason I share this example is because there are those in the house church movement, while not as extreme, seem to view the church building itself as an evil thing.

 

My personal view is the church building can become a hindrance when we view it as part of a system that makes up ‘church’. We seem to see the whole concept of the church building and the pastor as the weekly speaker and all the other things associated around this structure [like tithing to the storehouse] as ‘the system’ that God instituted to carry out his work in the earth. Remember Gods inherent authority resides in no human system or mode of religious worship. His authority resides in the church, the actual people of God in any given community on earth. So if there are believers carrying out Gods purpose, whether they have the whole system that we deem ‘local church’ or not, is irrelevant. Remember what we said about Jesus and the 1st century religious mind? They were finding fault with Jesus and his disciples because they were not following the religious protocol of the day. When we embrace certain mindsets that see ‘local church’ as the limited system of Sunday worship and all the other usual things associated with it, what we’re unconsciously doing is vesting authority in a style, or form of religious worship while by-passing the true legitimacy of Gods people. Its not to say that Gods people who function in the whole system of Sunday church are illegitimate [that would be making the same mistake as the brother who wanted to cast the demons out of me!] but this shows us how we unconsciously make the same mistake as the 1st century Pharisee by seeing as illegitimate those who don’t follow certain protocols.

 

It was a common thing during the 90’s to speak about the ‘changing of the wineskin’ in order to receive the new wine [the new move of God]. Many of theses thoughts were helpful in causing us to re-think the way we ‘do’ church. I also remember a common theme being ‘God wants to pour out his Spirit, but the wineskins are not ready’ in some of these examples the ministers actually meant that we don’t have big enough buildings to put all these new converts so God is ‘withholding the new wine until the new buildings go up’. At this point you should begin seeing how once again this is confusing the reality of Christian community with ‘the church building’. I find it interesting that the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost was not delayed because of the lack of facilities to put all the new converts in.

 

Also the great missionary journeys of Paul were not delayed ‘until the new wineskins were in place’. This shows us how we’ve come to view the people of God as being dependent on the present system. Could it be that God withholds His Spirit because the ‘new wineskin’ could refer more to believers seeing themselves as the actual church that God wants to fill? If we are not rightly discerning Christ’s community as a self-sustaining society of people then the church really isn’t able to contain the new wine. If we are so limited in our thinking to view the new wineskin as larger facilities, as opposed to a rethinking of what it means to truly be Christ’s body, then maybe the holdup has more to do with a change in the way we view ‘church’ then it has to do with bigger church buildings!

 

CHAPTER 9

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS ‘THE LOCAL CHURCH’?

 

Growing up as a catholic boy [though not a good one] I remember when I came to know the lord I started reading through the bible and found how the bible contradicted many of the religious beliefs I held to as a boy [this is not to say Catholics are not Christian]. Later while attending a good Baptist church I naively believed that good Baptists must have it right because they do read the bible! Well now I see that none of us have everything right [including me!] but some of us are closer to truth than others.

 

One of the traditions I saw with my Baptist friends was their whole concept of ‘local church’. They seemed to see it as the actual process of ‘going to church on Sunday’ and all the things associated with that particular form of worship. Many of them found fault with the Catholic Church and her traditions, but could not see how their own limited view of ‘local church’ was just as religious as some of the Catholic teachings that they so often criticized. Till this day I still cant see how so many of my brothers in Christ view a particular form of modern church service as ‘the local church’. Some brothers view it to a degree where they really do harm to the rest of the body of Christ.

 

When any system of church or worship is embraced to the degree of seeing others who don’t embrace it as lost or in rebellion, then we unconsciously are saying that all others are illegitimate. While the practice of Sunday church and the other expressions of it are o.k. with me [to a degree], I still couldn’t see how bible believing Christians could view this form as ‘the’ legitimate form of church that Jesus established 2000 years ago. The ‘church’ in the New Testament are all the communities of believers in any area where they reside. She is not some limited form of worship or specific social group that someone joins. How arrogant would it be for me to teach that the meetings or expressions of my own ministry were ‘the’ local church, and then tell people if they do not put 10% of their money into this expression that they would be under a curse! This really is wrong at the heart of it. Its o.k. for Christians to associate in this Sunday church way, but its not o.k. to view this form as ‘the local church’ to the exclusion of all the other varied forms of ‘church’ that exist in a living organism [the real ecclesia].

 

I recall reading an article from one of the leaders of ‘youth with a mission’ [ywam] this is a great organization. This leader is seeing many of the truths I’m expressing in this book. He went on to explain how in the early years of ywam that they would lead many college students to Christ, and these students would naturally form on campus Christian associations/bible groups that would flourish naturally as any living organism should. But they would then tell their students that in order to not be in rebellion they needed to be ‘part of a local church’ [not realizing that they already were ‘part of the local church’ by virtue of the fact that Christ was dwelling in them and having expression through them as they met together]. Well the brother explained how they would then send them into ‘the local churches’ [which really meant lecture hall/church building environments in order to hear sermons]. And how these young groups of students would stagnate by being told to be under this type of authority. So what they viewed as being in submission to authority and being ‘under a local church covering’ was really a violation of the true expression of church that already existed in the on campus meetings. The brother also shared how they felt constrained to send the students to ‘the churches’ in order to appease the egos of the men who led the churches. This little example shows us how the mindset of viewing one form of religious expression as ‘the local church’ can actually hinder ‘the local church!’

 

One night I attended a fellowship group where a bunch of Christians ‘unofficially’ met together to eat and share and just have a good time [much like the early atmosphere of the Lords supper/love feast]. During this time of fellowship everyone just shared, sang and enjoyed themselves in a very relaxed atmosphere. The place we were at is a beautiful environment out in the country that is dedicated to the body of Christ. This place is not considered ‘a local church’, though every aspect of our meeting fit the criteria of ‘local church’ to the tee. On our way back to Corpus Christi the friend I was with had recently read some of our books and sincerely asked me about my views on the ‘local church’. This brother is a mature older prophet in the Corpus Christi area with a proven track record of faithfulness to the Lord.

 

He couldn’t understand why I saw very little distinction between the ‘local church’ and para-church ministries. Well as we were driving back into town it was late in the evening and all the lights of C.C. could be seen, it was a great view of the city. I explained to my friend how what we just experienced at the ‘para-church’ ministry was a real expression of ecclesia and Christian unity. Two or more were gathered together and Christ was present. As we drove back into town I explained that today [it was Sunday] many various groups of believers met in many different locations and that this was also an expression of the Body of Christ. And as we looked over the city I told him that my understanding of all the various ‘churches’ that met together in all the different locations were in Gods eyes one church. That the New Testament doesn’t show them to be 100 different separate entities that we call ‘local church’, but that all the believers who gathered in this day were ‘local church’ [ecclesia] even the ones who met at the Christian camp [actually the style of meeting at the camp was more in keeping with the 1st century model].

 

God sees his church as one entity, not as many different entities all with their own separate identities. There are many church buildings going up in our city [nothing wrong about this], while driving to work not to long ago I noticed how one of the churches is building within a few hundred feet of another church. They are both good churches, but God simply doesn’t see these brothers as separate entities. It would be like the kids living in your home, they might be in different rooms right next to each other, but they don’t ‘operate’ as unique entities apart from the other siblings [at least I hope not!].

 

I was fellowshipping with a friend and sharing with him some of the thoughts in this book. During our discussion he was struggling with the concept of ‘the church’ being a free society of Christ followers [a brotherhood] as opposed to the normal way we see church today [the whole concept of Sunday church as the ‘church’ we go to]. While trying to explain myself [or should I say ‘defend’] I noticed that there was a picture of the last supper on the wall. I then used it as an illustration of ‘local church’. I showed him how this ‘supper’ was one aspect of Jesus sharing of his life with the disciples. Jesus lived and walked daily with his disciples for three years and is now going to leave them for their benefit [even though they don’t see it yet!].

 

During this final meal he rightfully is the center of their attention. He has already taught them the principle of calling no man on earth ‘father’ or ‘master’ or ‘rabbi’, because they are all brothers and their master/rabbi is Christ himself. So the atmosphere of them all being equal at this supper with him being the focal point is an intentional lesson for them. He then does the unthinkable, he gets up from the table and puts on a servants garb [towel] and begins to wash their feet! He tells them he is giving them an example of what it will mean to be a leader in the church. He shatters the gentile idea of leadership [being at the top] and once again shows them that the last will be first is a real mindset that is to be lived out in Christian community. True ‘local church’ is the common sharing of the life of Christ [the Eucharist is a picture of this] in Christian community where we all are equals [this means all, do you see how there was purposely no man or office that was predominant here, apart from Christ] and where leadership is identified by a servant’s heart!

 

CHAPTER 10

 

THE SPIRIT OF COMPETITION IN THE MODERN CHURCH

 

Over the years while working with brothers who were addicts or ex-cons we would spend a lot of time just fellowshipping and spending time together as friends. Jesus was actually accused of being a friend of sinners. This accusation seemed to imply that it was all right to view people as a thing to be ministered to, but to actually befriend sinners was a violation of the religious world of separation between sinner and saint. The religious mind views people as a resource pool to accomplish ministry goals. People are viewed as being expendable. I have often seen the example used where if people are in the way of accomplishing religious goals then you must avoid them. While the principle of not allowing critics to stop us from accomplishing God given goals is important, yet we must put in perspective that the actual city/building that God desires to build is the community of people herself. Many times while working with these friends of mine we would run into or have experiences where other pastors would interact with them in efforts to ‘get them into their church’. Some would visit one church or another and then later tell me how the one pastor would be offended that they went to the other ‘church’. They seemed to be able to see right through the church games that these men were playing.

 

The goal of these well meaning pastors was to get people to go ‘to their church’ which in many of these scenarios simply meant attending a building to listen to someone preach. If the many ‘churches’ are simply competitive lecture halls from which men find personal fulfillment by having people come and listen, then in these scenarios the struggle or guilt that we put on people to make them come is an actual violation of the true church, which after all is made up of all these various believers in our communities. I am not saying that in all of these types of situations that there are never legitimate expressions of church, but the actual spirit of this type of thing goes on a lot in the average city. The people can fall into mindsets of where their simply being viewed as tools to accomplish religious goals. In the New Testament the mindset of ministry and ‘church planting’ had nothing close to this sort of attitude. The New Testament Churches were simply communities of people who gathered around the reality of Jesus. In these communities church was a daily way of life, it was not focused around meetings at all.

 

This is why I take issue with the strong house church emphasis that actually sees a pattern of ‘house church’ as the only legitimate expression of church. This is the same mistake as the building centered approach. They are both focusing on the wrong thing, where the people meet. The focus in the New Testament is not on where or even how they meet, but the emphasis is on the reality of all the believers in any given location as being the corporate expression of Christ in all types of situations. The fact that Christ lives in all of us is the great mystery. It’s really insignificant in my thinking on exactly how we meet. Now I know that some styles are better than others. For instance a meeting where all the believers function by sharing and caring for one another is much more edifying, but the daily reality of Christ manifesting through us as we interact in community is the true church. This obviously includes our meetings, but like I said earlier the New Testament thrust was preaching the gospel to people. It wasn’t on setting up meetings at all. The meetings were a simple outgrowth of true church life. When we loose the reality of this we digress into this competitive approach that causes pastors to compete with one another in a childish way. Paul told the Corinthians that their sectarian attitude to gather around the personas of men was a sign of their immaturity.

 

I can’t believe how immature we are in our thinking. I was having a discussion with a mature leader in the church and when I shared some of these truths he actually said ‘my pastor knows how to spot wolves who try to come in and harm us’ [or something to that effect] the feeling I got was he was feeling threatened. Now this was a mature believer in his 50s[I’m 43 as I write this book]. The reason I say this is because it seemed so unnatural for a mature saint to even use the term ‘my pastor’. In the body of Christ there are many different gifts, some are apostles others prophets, some evangelists, but out of all these gifted ones it would be highly unscriptural to refer to any of these in this way. Just try it, do you feel comfortable saying ‘my prophet’ or ‘my apostle’ then why do we think ‘my pastor’ is not indicative of our immature thinking. I am not advocating the doing away of this term [pastor] but this language should cause us to rethink our immature ways of seeing church. Church is not an endless series of religious meetings whereby people ‘attend’ in order to listen to bible words being spoken. The practical instruction and teaching that are operating in any healthy group of people will allow there to be room for the functioning of all the people in the group. This codependence that we’ve developed with the emphasis on one persons persona is in direct violation of the function and flow of New Testament thought.

 

The phenomena of one person being the primary voice and expression in the group [ecclesia] are an immature result of not rightly discerning Christ’s body. When people are together at social functions there is usually at least one person who has had a few drinks. You can identify that person by the way he acts. He wants to dominate the conversation, if you try and talk back he’ll cut you off because he derives enjoyment when the conversation centers around himself. He actually feels good about being the predominant voice in the group, to the exclusion of every other voice! I don’t know if we realize it or not, but in many modern church scenarios this is what the world sees. They frankly don’t want to ‘go to church’ because it has become an environment where one person is doing all the talking, and a lot of times it’s about him! People are tired of this. Our conversation [more than one person speaking] should revolve around the person of Christ as opposed to the persona of any one person.

 

Grasping the biblical truth of leaders choosing between effective ministry or ministry for the honor of men is a hard pill to swallow if you are involved with the ‘honor of men’ mode at the present time [if you are now reading this and it describes you!]. What I want us all to see is that it takes true courage to walk in truth in every generation of believers from the 1st. century until today. There were many well-meaning Christians during the time of the reformation who were serving God as priests in the Catholic church. Many felt it to be a disruption to go on in the new truths of the reformation [justification by faith] and simply remained faithful to God in the majority position of their day. These priests were still Christians [for the most part] and many of them sincerely followed Christ to the best of their ability without embracing the new truths that God was bringing forth in their day. I mention this because there are many well-meaning brothers in Christ who see the things in this book as truth, but choose to stay in the majority system of contemporary church and will continue to be used by God to a degree. The real question for us is do we want to be a part of ‘modern reformation’ or just be faithful to the system [after all our brothers have been doing it this way for years!].

 

CHAPTER 11

 

GOD’S PEOPLE ARE NOT SIMPLY ASSETS TO AN ORGANIZATION!

 

Getting back to the story of the children of Israel in the book of exodus. If you remember the story God took his society of people, who were many [big numbers] and he brought them through stages to lead them into a place where they would become a self-sustaining entity on their own [with God as their king!]. They were living in Egypt and being ruled over by taskmasters. The bondage they were under was an expectation to produce a certain amount of building materials in order for the cities of man to be built. The cities represented the images and personas of men. In the process of God delivering them from this bondage of image building he raises up Moses [a type of Christ]. Moses God given prophetic authority begins to confront mans authority [pharaoh] and begins a process of freeing the people from this mindset of being ruled over in order to produce things so the images of men would be glorified [ouch!].

 

As Moses confronts mans authority, he at the same time leads the people on a journey. The journey is exciting and life changing, but it also has many risks and pitfalls. The children of Israel’s response determined how long this journey would take. The more they complained about this new walk and all of the difficulties involved with it, the longer it would take before they could enter a place of rest and true self rule [under God]. During this season of testing and trial in the wilderness they actually longed to go back into a system of being ruled over because the old system provided a sense of stability and structure that they were comfortable with, despite the fact that they were slaves in it! In process of time they [their children] eventually do enter into the promised land of self-rule.

 

They obtain their own national identity [the nation of Israel] apart from simply existing under another’s identity [Egypt] and God begins leading them with the assistance of prophets and judges and elders [a type of plural leadership flowing freely in society]. During process of time they reach a stage where they see how all the other nations are ruled [watch out!] and decide that they too want a king [man] to rule over them. Wow, after all that God brought them through to deliver them from mans control you would think they wouldn’t have done this! Well God actually says that by doing this they are rejecting his leadership for the leadership of men. He even warns them that this type of ‘mans rule’ will take of their best men and use them for the self-advancement of his dynasty. God says this king will even demand the tithes of the people in order to fund his kingdom [wow]. I guess when God says that the things that happened to Israel were for a sign for us so we don’t make the same mistakes; he really means it [1st cor.10]!

 

Many times in our present understanding of church we view people as assets to our ‘organization.’  ‘Wow if I could just get that talented person as a staff member in our church’. This way of viewing people as things that can help our organizations grow is the ‘Saul’ mindset ‘he will take of your best men’ mentality. People have intrinsic value, they are valuable in Gods eyes because of the simple fact that Christ died for them and has purchased them with his blood. People are not objects or tools to be looked upon as assets to an organization. If you were to adopt a child [a very noble task] hopefully you would do it because you loved the child and wanted to be with them. If this child later found out that you did this in order to gain some type of benefit [like a tax deduction or something of this nature] your child would be devastated. So when we view Gods children [the true church] as objects that will help advance our ‘churches’ [organizations] we devalue them.

 

I am not saying here that all present models of leadership in the church are ‘mans rule’, but a large degree of it is. There is so much image building that goes on in the church that it’s not even funny. Much of the collecting of tithes is simply a process where one leader is in competition with the other in order to ‘out build’ him, and a lot of times the people begin to simply be weekly attendees of our meetings who we deliver messages to and then hope to bring in a huge offering so the image of ‘our church’ can gain a degree of respect in the community. Like I said before, there is nothing inherently wrong with ‘big churches’ or ministries, but we must be careful that as we build we are not doing it at the expense of Gods true heritage [the people of God!].

 

If we can grasp the concept of Gods people actually being the vehicle that God uses to express His image and purpose in the earth, then we will stop viewing them as being simply a resource pool to accomplish ministry goals. My own prayer time has evolved as I began to see these truths. I used to spend a lot of time praying for the success of ‘my ministry’ but as I’ve come to see these truths I focused my prayer time more on the actual purposes of God to be made manifest through all the people we relate to. I began praying for God to accomplish and activate his purposes directly through his people. I began viewing ministry as not so much ‘something I am building for God’ but as the expression of his Son being developed and manifested through the people I relate to. If the people you influence over your life are truly impacted by the person of Christ, then in essence you have had a successful ministry. Many of these approaches to ministry will obviously not have the same amount of outward ministry things to look to [like buildings] therefore the concept of not building for the honor of men must be fully grasped by those who take on this style of ministry. This way of seeing and doing ministry also allows you to be free from having to raise large amounts of money in order to accomplish ministry goals. God truly can and will use any believer to expand his kingdom in the earth as you begin to see ministry this way.

 

Jesus simple way of sending the disciples out and telling them not to worry about purse or scrip [money. I like the way the message bible puts it ‘don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple’ Mark 6] shows us the simplicity of all believers being able to carry out ministry by virtue of the fact that Christ is in us. This is what I tried to stress earlier, that as you begin to view ministry as a simple function of Christ revealing and manifesting himself through his people, then this is something we all can do all the time. No big process of raising money [no special appeals for funds] but simply being a Christian in society and interacting with God and fellow believers in all types of situations makes the presence of Christ manifest [where 2 or more are gathered there am I in the midst]. It is common today to view ministry as a function of professionals and the need for them to raise money for projects causes there to exist in the Christian community a mindset where good Christians are always appealing for funds in order to accomplish some project. This actually projects the image that ministry is some type of a separate function apart from us. This really violates the whole concept of ministry being a natural outgrowth of believers being in right relationship with God [John 15].

 

CHAPTER 12

 

WHAT MODEL OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT DO I ESPOUSE?

 

Over the years when dealing with these types of issues I have found it difficult to break through the ‘normal’ way and pattern of thinking that most Christians have. For instance some times people will ask me the question ‘what type of church government do you believe in’? Most Times in their minds they’re really asking me ‘what type of order, or pattern of Sunday church do you espouse’. While I also understand that they are including the concept of government that applies to the broader association of the various denominations, to me they are still ‘seeing’ church government as a particular order imposed by the ‘separate entity’ of their denomination. Let me try to make this a little clearer [hopefully].

 

If I were to explain to someone the reality of natural human life, I would go through the process of showing how life starts between a healthy relationship of 2 people coming together by Gods design [I hope I don’t have to get to detailed here!]. As children are born they will go through various stages of development and life. They will encounter many different situations as they proceed along this thing called life. One of the many things that most children will have [though sad to say, not all] is a home environment. This home environment is just one of the many things that make up their lives. In this home/house they will at different times and in different settings be taught all types of things, both by example and through actual instruction [I thought I told you to clean up your room! 2 days ago!].

 

In this home environment you might have a special day where you all come together in the family room for devotional time [this day varies with my younger girls but I try to do this on a weekly basis]. While this devotional time is important, it is only one small aspect of their entire lives. If you were to refer to this one day of teaching as ‘the life/the church’ I would correct your thinking and say this small area of Christian activity, though important, is only one aspect of their lives. Life itself is the actual organic reality of them being human beings who were birthed and grew up as real human beings. The sum total of all their experiences have shaped them, but they themselves, by virtue of the fact that they were born and actually [really] exist as human beings, is life. Life does not describe the home/house environment only. Or just one specific way in which we do our devotion time. It consists of the fact that they are truly alive!

 

So getting back to the question of ‘what type of church govt. do I believe in’ I often answer ‘none’, to the surprise of the person asking the question. I then go on to explain that I view ‘church’ as the actual living/organic entity of Gods people. God’s people are Gods people by virtue of the fact that they were born into his family; they are children of God, really! They are ‘church’ because of this fact. They will experience many good [and sometimes bad] things along the way. Most of them will find a ‘home/house’ environment to go to in order to associate with other believers [what we often describe as church] during these times of fellowship there will be certain days in which instruction is given [normally Sunday]. And they will experience many other types of situations throughout their Christian experience. So when someone asks me what type of church govt. do I believe in, I usually see the question to mean ‘what type, or style of Sunday church meeting do you espouse’. I try to make an effort to explain that I believe in the ‘actual church govt.’ that is I believe that all the people of God, all the time make up the church everywhere they are [remember Jesus answer to the Samaritan woman].

 

As God is daily communicating and interacting with his people by his Spirit this is an actual real existence that we share both with our creator and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This type of ‘church govt.’ is what I espouse. The ‘ordaining’ of elders in the New Testament was simply the recognition of more mature/grounded spiritual leaders who the early Christian communities could look to for guidance and direction [or correction] as they experience and live out ‘church life’. We have such a legalistic mind that as Christians we have changed church govt. to describe a certain form, or way of doing religious meeting while it originally referred to God ‘governing’ His people through the ‘govt.’ of Jesus being at the right hand of glory!

 

CHAPTER 13

 

THE CAT CHAPTER [I DID THIS FOR MY KIDS!]

 

Whenever I have this type of discussion I usually receive different responses from well meaning Christians in defense of the old way of seeing church. Some feel it is total rebellion to even dare question the system [my pastor knows how to spot wolves mentality, which usually means me!] sometimes people try to devalue this message by saying ‘oh, that brothers one of those theologian types’ which I assure you I’m not! [never been to bible school, never been ordained [by men]]. Some feel that this way of seeing ‘church’ is impractical. I believe that seeing all of Gods people as the actual entity in earth that God has ordained to advance his kingdom is the most practical thing you can do. I personally have been active and involved as a believer in all sorts of practical charitable outreach. I do this by virtue of the fact that I’ve been ordained by God to go into all the world and make disciples. Whether you realize it or not, so are you!

 

All the ‘ministry’ stuff I do is not some higher calling that I have in which others need to recognize and support in order for them to get some type of reward simply because they support me [by the way we do not accept financial support]. This mindset creates a false barrier that causes Christians to see ministry as something separate from themselves, that somehow relieves them from their own personal responsibility to spread the kingdom. We sort of give the attitude that if the ‘average Christian’ simply supports the pro’s that he’s fulfilled his obligation. I often tell people that I am no different than them. God requires all believers to reach out and touch society around them in real practical ways.

 

 

No one is to simply be a book writer, or radio speaker or any other ‘thing’ we see as ministry. But we are all responsible to reach out in real practical ways, touching the lost world around us. Our real message as Christians is that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. The message that the world needs to hear from us is that God is not mad at them, or trying to make them conform to some church standard. But God has already embraced and accepted them through Jesus Christ. Our message is one of total reconciliation and forgiveness. We all bare a responsibility to give our lives away for the sake of others. This whole book is to emphasize the reality and responsibility we all share in the great commission. The great truth of God ‘legitimizing’ all of us bares with it a great responsibility to touch the world. Jesus said to whom much is given much will be required.

 

This book hopefully opened your eyes to some degree to how much has been given to you. Much is now required. All the ‘ministry’ things that I personally do, working with homeless people, ex-cons [or present ones!], doing radio, personal outreach/evangelism, all of these areas are a natural function of trying to hear God and respond. I’m not saying I do everything right, I’m sure I don’t [really sure!] but I try to view ministry as simply hearing and doing the works of Jesus. If the verse in Mark says to  ‘make no special appeals for funds, travel light because you are the equipment’ then my first reaction to God calling me to do something in ministry is to simply act. This is a forgotten doctrine of the old traditional church; I think they used to call it ‘obedience’. So my response to God should be ‘Lets go’.

 

Now I realize practically there are many contemporary building based churches that are hearing and responding to God, and that many of these pastors are obviously not going to personally fund everything they do. But I’m trying to show how we often respond to God’s call on us by perceiving that ‘God wants me to start a ministry’, once again falling into the trap of seeing ministry as some type of entity [usually a 501c3] that God wants us to start. God isn’t telling the ‘entity’ to do it, He’s telling you! [Or me] do you see this? So all the ministry stuff I do is without a board, no 501c3, and no separate entity at all. Just do it! [I should make a note here, in the early days I did incorporate and had a name, Corpus Christi outreach ministries, but this now is simply the name of our radio program. It’s more humble to leave it like this then to tell everyone ‘you’re listening today to John Chiarello’]. Now the principle of team work is important, after all this book is about the Church, Gods corporate people, but what I want you to see is you are free to do kingdom works without starting some  ‘thing’.

 

I have also sensed at times that when I share this simple approach I take concerning ministry, that it will offend others who have gone the more traditional route. Sort of like a feeling of ‘how dare you think that you can just do these things on your own, who is your covering!’. This attitude is what I was trying to express earlier when I shared how the mindset of the 1st century Pharisee was offended at both Jesus and his disciples simply doing kingdom works because they were sent by God. There seems to be a lack of understanding of the true nature of our sonship in Christ. While God doesn’t want Christians to be rebellious or out of order, we often use this type of language in order to challenge true believers who are walking in the will of God.

 

If you think about it all of the commands in the New Testament are given to believers in order for us to actively participate in kingdom works. Jesus says when he returns that all nations will be judged on whether they fed him when he was hungry, or visited him when he was in prison [actual things that Christians should do]. He gives instructions on when we invite people for a meal to invite the down and out because they cant repay us [no political lobbying here!] but how many times have we actually done these things? We seem to read the new testament and confer the responsibility of these things on ‘the church’ as in if she were some type of separate institution that if we just give money to that we will be relieved of our responsibility to act!

 

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for this type of thinking. Jesus also taught that there would be people who at the judgment would be rejected because they never knew him, these people primarily focused on ministry as being ‘performance’ [have we not prophesied in your name type mentality]. This shows us that true ministry are the works done as a response of the compassion of Christ being expressed through us. Ministry is primarily not a function of religious performance. In American Christianity we often view ministry as a time were someone will be performing in an audience type atmosphere. Either a great sermon or fantastic singer, while there are times where these types of gifts edify, we often view ministry in these ways not realizing that for the most part this is simply ‘performance’. [I don’t want to sound mean here, but I really don’t know how else I could say this!]

 

A few weeks ago I took a trip to the New York City area, before I left I gave specific instructions to my kids to not bring home any more cats! I told them that they all ready had enough pets and I didn’t want them to have any more. My daughters have been involved with a lot of pet rescues where they find strays and get them fixed and get all their shots and find them homes. The only problem is some times the home they find is mine! To be honest they have done pretty well. I also now have two dogs living with us [it’s a long story]. So when I arrived back from my trip I was greeted by the whole family and I noticed there was a strange looking kitten, I wasn’t really sure if it was new or one that I just didn’t remember. Well as the puppy is playing with the kitten my daughter says ‘oh, daddy did you see the new kitten, she belongs to the puppy’ in essence they were telling me that they really didn’t get any new pets, but that one of the pets got a new pet! This is what you would call living up to the letter of the law while violating the spirit of the law. This is what we do in our understanding of church and ministry. The whole intent is to build and edify people. They are the valuable object to God. In our efforts to ‘build ministry’ we often devalue them [most of the times unconsciously]. As we re-examine our ideas and concepts of church it is my goal to lead us to a place where people are valued again, even if it’s at the expense of the institution!

 

Let me end this chapter with one more ‘cat’ story. One day one of our cats was killed by a car. My kids were upset so I violated the rule of not bringing any more cats home and went to the local shelter and adopted this real cute kitten. Well being I was the first voice that this kitten would hear [from my family] she became closer to me than normal. After a few more bad experiences with cats getting out my kids took 3 new stray kittens [recently rescued] and put them all in their room for months. The litter box, food and everything they needed was in this little isolated closed environment [watch out], well they stuck my little kitten in there too!

 

After a few months I told my kids that this isn’t right. I haven’t seen my kitten for so long, she used to play with me and really liked me a lot, being I was the first voice she’d grown accustomed to. Well my kids warned me that she isn’t like that anymore, she’s been with the little scared strays in the room for so long that she’s picked up the scared attitude and is afraid of people. Well I couldn’t believe that she would have forgotten my voice, I know its been a long time since she’s heard it, but after all I am her ‘daddy’ and she was a special kitten to me. Well I finally broke this little secluded environment that they were living in and went into the room. Sure enough all the cats were scared of this type of forced intimacy. I was just to close! They all had this scared look and ran under the bed. I couldn’t believe that even my little kitten was so affected by the natural fear that these strays had, that she too thought it necessary to hide from the face of her father.

 

Well after a few seconds my little cat came running out from under the bed and into my arms, as if to say ‘yes I remember you, your that first person that rescued me that day a long time ago, Its been so long since I saw you that I had forgotten your voice. I have been living with these unwanted strays for so long that I was afraid to approach you anymore’ well I think this is what happens to Gods kids sometimes. They start out at ‘the day of rescue [salvation]’ with the joy of hearing His voice, but after living our lives out in unnatural environments [closed rooms] for so long we forget what it was like to truly hear his voice and to commune with him. Often times there needs to be an intrusion into our closed environments before we can recognize the voice of our father once again. [NOTE; when I told my girls I was going to put a story about our cats in the book, they said ‘wow, our cats are going to be famous’ we just cant seem to get away from this desire to legacy build!]

 

CONCLUSION

 

Leadership is primarily the function of helping people ‘get out of their rooms’. It is the process of leading people away from feeling content and satisfied in our little rooms of fellowship and doctrine, which cause us to feel superior to our brothers and sisters in Christ. The end result of this little book shouldn’t be ‘now that I see these things I have found a ‘new’ room to dwell in [the room of the doctrine of ecclesiology/house church] but the result should be seeing ourselves as free in Christ and being built up as co-equal members of Christ’s body, Paul said knowledge puffeth up but charity buildeth up [edifieth]. As we all come out of our peculiar rooms of various doctrines [some of which are true!] we don’t advocate the belief that doctrine is not important but want to bring people to a place where we find our identity in the person of Christ as opposed to the doctrines of men.

 

I would like to end this little booklet in an unconventional way. I want to simply share some thoughts from my own personal mission statement. Also I want to speak directly to all of our friends who either listen to us on radio or who I relate to in some way in the kingdom. Over the years of sharing these truths I would often have people who have heard us or read one of our books and after seeing certain truths would express their concern about their church, or so and so’s church. I without fail have always defended the church or pastor. The reason is I feel that the truths in these books are not to be used to personally come against a particular church or pastor. I do believe we all need to examine our motives and readjust our thinking when it comes to why we do the things we do ‘for God’. Its possible to be involved in church building and without realizing it, to be building monuments that will burn up in the day of judgment. All true church building consists of unselfishly depositing into other people for their growth and benefit. Ministry is not a ‘career choice’ as if someone were choosing between auto mechanic/fire-fighter/pastor. Ministry is a gift that God deposits in all his people for the mutual edification of the whole body. What we fail to see in many present forms of church is how we are simply empowering a few individuals at the expense of the people in the pews.

 

I have seen many well-meaning men go into ministry and immediately feel a sense of fulfillment because they are flowing and speaking and giving out of themselves to others. The writing of this book as well as the radio programs I do give a sense of fulfillment in that we are all created to give ourselves away. But in many current situations the main speaker is finding fulfillment at the expense of the rest of the body. God designed the church to be a place where all of Gods people would find fulfillment in giving themselves away. The unnatural act of submission that we often teach is not true biblical submission. We often tell people if they are not satisfied with their passive role as listeners that they are in rebellion. While in reality true rebellion is not developing into the mature functioning person that God wants all of us to be. My purpose is not to give Christians excuses to ‘not go to church’.

 

The mindset of ‘I can worship God on the golf course’ mentality. But to cause us to radically rethink what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. The Pharisees of Jesus day were involved in all types of religious activities, but Jesus said their main motivation was to simply attain a certain status amongst their fellow peers. He said that’s what they were in it for and that they already received their reward [the honor of men]. Why do we want to build big ministries? Is it truly for the glory of God or are we unconciously enjoying the natural success that comes with the adventure of any big project? I’m not against big projects in and of themselves, but we must examine our motives for doing the things we do. True New Testament Church planting is simply depositing Jesus image into the people we relate to over our lifetime. What legacy did Paul leave behind? Was it some huge earthly institution? We find him at the end of his life living in a rented house, receiving visitors and declaring the kingdom of God [Acts 28; 30-31] he left behind a legacy of gentile communities who believed in Christ!

 

Here are some of my own personal thoughts from my mission statement.

 

1 spend time making quality friends, all ministry takes place in this type of atmosphere.

 

2 true leadership is relating directly to groups of people in cities, not starting some type of organization.

 

3 the apostle Paul had relationship with believers in different locals, but he didn’t own them.

 

4 don’t try to produce only one type or way of church, but allow Gods natural process to work in various ways.

 

5 relating to areas/groups of people regularly is building the body. Either a church building, home or any regular place of contact can be the format for building the house of God.

 

6 planting churches in the New Testament sense was not the concept of setting up regular meetings in which Paul would preach to them week after week as a pastor, but planting churches was an apostle going to a location and making believers of the gospel of grace, and then trusting the Spirit in them to continue his work. Paul did speak of recognizing and ordaining elders in these cities, but it wasn’t a weekly church concept.

 

7 in the book of acts the focus wasn’t on setting up meetings, but sharing Christ with groups of people and relating to them as a family of children of whom you will always have relationship with, but allow them to mature and grow up on their own and eventually become independent.

 

8 the focus isn’t meetings but ecclesia. That is the actual people you disciple. when Jesus sent them out 2 by 2 it wasn’t to start home groups, but to bring the kingdom to regions. Don’t sacrifice the freedom of touching people directly. Jesus and those he sends simply speak, do, share and communicate with people. His great commission to go and make disciples and baptize. Direct authority to do kingdom without having to start or set up a movement. The movement itself is ‘Jesus family’ [ecclesia]. You will meet with people, but the focus is the people not the act of meeting. Learn to relate to people without having an agenda. Simply be free to love people.

 

9 look at Jesus and the 12. Later in acts, even Paul when going to a region, he holds meetings for a limited time [though the longest was around 2 years] preaches Christ, has a give and take with the community and then leaves. No ‘starting’ of anything, but a revolution in the hearts and minds of people. Later when re-visiting these communities, these are the ‘churches’ of the New Testament. We must see and operate in this simple way. This simple way is New Testament church planting.

 

10 his yoke is easy and burden light. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. Don’t loose the simplicity of doing Gods will. He requires nothing more than to go and touch and share and love. The people you touch are the ecclesia.

 

11 in these friendships the main truth will be Jesus and his grace, these friends will be encouraged to continue in Jesus and his grace. Prayer, bible study, fellowship and their journey with God. Be available to baptize and communicate with them, but allow God to grow the seed.

 

12 you never get the sense/feeling from Jesus or Paul that they were going somewhere to recruit people to their ministry. The sense was bringing this great message and kingdom to people! The people continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship with each other and later Paul would come back to see how they were doing, not to start some type of ministry, but true long term friendships in the kingdom.

 

13 the freedom isnt ‘house church’ or ‘temple worship’ but the kingdom being amongst us now! Obeying Jesus command to love! This command is free from all forms and structures of ministry, and allows us to daily love in action, always sharing in word and deed Jesus. A willingness to baptize those who believe and share and love and relate on a friendship basis. Jesus style.

 

 

I would like to note here that at the present time [2000’s] there are many worldwide Christian movements that are actually doing many of the things that I mentioned in this book. There are many ‘ex-pastors’ who have left their former roles as the central figure of the people they were pastoring and have continued to serve the body of Christ in a bi-vocational way [not getting paid to pastor!]. While I am not advocating this for every pastor who might read this book, I share this to emphasize that these thoughts are presently being practiced on a large scale worldwide [I do a lot of research!]. When people are confronted with new truth there is a tendency to discredit the messenger, so I wanted you to see that there are many thousands of believers who are walking this path right now. There are also many brothers who have seen these things before I did and I appreciate the role they played in helping me to see new truth. In many cases the believers who have left there former churches to live in simple community have been ostracized and looked upon as backslidden rebels. This has created in some a resentment in those who are technically correct in their seeing the church as the community, but many wont hear their voices because of the barrier of resentment that they pick up from them. So you have some who remain in the old way of seeing church and justify it by the fact that some who moved on have a bad attitude. We are all responsible before God to respond to truth when confronted with it, regardless of how much we resent the messenger! I personally believe that after reading this little book that your level of responsibility has gone up. You must ask God how He personally wants you to respond to the truths presented to you.

 

A few weeks ago I had a dream that I felt was prophetic, over the years I have had many interesting dreams and visions. I have never shared any of them in book form, but have spoken about them through our radio program. I dreamt that I was going to a Christian university, when arriving at the university there were many scholarly people dressed in suits and ties. There were many classes going on and discussions taking place about theological subjects. As I continued on my tour of the university there was a classroom where all the professors were gathered in a circle examining something. As I got closer I saw in the middle of these scholars there was what looked like an Indian warrior, he was crouched and just sitting there as something to be examined. He was severely scarred, not just normal scares but sort of a grotesque mutilation. He was there as something to be examined [I thought of the verse in Isaiah where it says he was marred more than any man, that he was wounded to beyond the point of recognition]. Later when I woke up I felt part of this dream spoke to the danger of us as Christians being able to learn and study truth, while never fully embracing the mystery in Christ. We have a tendency to build people up with all sorts of doctrines and never arriving at the point of fully grasping Him. My goal is after reading this book that your focus will not be ‘now I am going to go do the things in this book’, but that you would be able to see Him to a greater degree. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

 

 

Let me close with this, the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he was given authority by God to build them up and not to tear them down. He actually regretted being so hard on them in his 1st letter, but later said he was glad he made them sorry for a season because it would later bear good results. While I’m not comparing myself to the apostle, I do see a similar situation in some of the teaching we do. Its seems to upset people initially but after a while it will produce good fruit. My intent in examining our whole idea of church and ministry is not to give people ammunition to fight against their church, but rather to cause us all to embrace a more biblical concept of church and ministry. I personally do not advocate the total deconstructing of all present day church practices. I personally believe there is room for both building based churches [the church building] and the house church movement. My appeal is for us to look at all these issues and come to our own conclusions on how to embrace these truths at our own pace. I thank the lord that he has been patient with me as I walk this journey and I want to give you all the same room and grace he has extended to me. May God bless you guys until the next book!

 

In Christ

John Chiarello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME RAMBLING’S…

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8b Me teaching some college kids-

 

https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=504 Just another radio show from back in the day.

 

https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=484 This is program 723- talks a bit about what I discussed with the boys.

 

 

 

The last few weeks I’ve been working at the coffee shop every day.

 

Now- there are a lot of college kids- and intellectuals at a place like this- and I hear them discussing stuff every so often.

 

But- I didn’t want to blow my cover [sort of hiding out- being anonymous] – so- I really don’t talk to anyone.

 

But I have said hi to some of the kids- Alex and Drew are new friends- I talk a bit with them [you know- my spur of the moment stuff].

 

Every so often others hear me talking- and I do teach just about all the subjects these guy are going to college for.

 

So- today a few of the ‘by-standers’ asked ‘are you a professor’?

 

Ahh- my covers blown.

 

Alex [studying phycology] showed me his notes- some stuff on Freud.

 

He had some notes on cause and effect.

 

I did about a 20 minute teaching [not on video] and covered a lot- showed him how all these fields mix together.

 

Anthony [him and another guy were listening in] asked about Dark Matter- Dark Energy- I tried to do my best and explain the difference between Physics and Metaphysics.

 

The ‘God Particle’- we went on for a while.

 

I explained why some of the recent theories [multiverse- etc.] sprung up- how these are legitimate questions to ask- for sure.

 

But – as of now- these are metaphysical arguments [which is ok] but these guys are being taught that they are physical arguments [physics] and that’s a mistake [trust me- I got this right- I’m pretty sure they were getting it].

 

I was going to write a whole post on the discussion- but I have written it before.

 

Instead- I whipped out my trusty camera- and figured I’d let you guys in on the action.

 

Note- off video I covered Epistemology, Cause and effect, David Hume, Thomas Aquinas- Aristotle- a bit more. I add this because I have said for years it’s a tool to talk about the arguments for the faith- and in an environment like this- the tool works well.

 

I will use the above video for the weekly teaching- even though I did not plan on doing Apologetics on any of these videos.

I have written a lot about this over the years- but should at least make one note- to you ‘smart guys’ out there- on the video I do refer to the Multi-verse- and Dark Matter/Energy as ‘theory’.

Now- Physicists will say ‘aha- in science THEORY does not mean ‘theory’ in the normal sense of the word’ [Einstein for example- we hold his theories as fact- which I do as well].

But- in the ongoing debate about the multiverse- it is indeed ‘theory’ in the normal sense of the word- like I used in the video.

John Polkinghorne [I said Polkinlore on the tape- heck- I can’t get everything right! Who I quoted–off the cuff- in the video] is one of the top physicists in the country- and he says the same thing.

Now- as you can see- I’m already teaching here- but I just added this because the video was ‘off the cuff’ and I think they will all be like this down the road.

 

NOTE- To be honest- some of these kids are struggling too- like my ‘street crew’- one of the kids really needs direction- he’s dropped out of college before- now back in- ready to drop out again. He asks for advice- which is good.  [update- he dropped out yesterday- again].

 

While I’m not here technically ‘preaching’ to these guys- yet I have made a few friends.

I just took a walk with Alex to the corner store- we passed a fraternity thing- it says ‘Alpha’.

I asked Alex ‘do you know what language it is’?

 

‘No’.

 

Its Greek- our New Testaments were written in Greek- that’s why it says of Jesus ‘I am the Alpha and Omega’. Those are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet and…….

 

Well- you get the picture.

 

NOTE- As I journal in a sense these past few months- I want to not only teach [which you see in these amateur videos- by the way- they are raw- I mean I’m sideways on the thing- but that’s ok- your also seeing how anyone can do this- even with the simple tools we have- like a cheap phone. But we live in a day where anyone can start a free blog- web site- make videos- or radio tapes- teach- post- we live in a time where we can all ‘preach’ the gospel to the world- with no cash!] But also show how even in the midst of transition- you never stop communicating when the opportunity arises.

 

In this week’s video- there was no preparation- I was just hanging out with some college kids- talking- and I said ‘you know- I should get this on video’- They said ‘yeah- go ahead’.

 

So- you see this stuff- the good- the bad- and yes a times the ugly- but that’s the journey.

 

One more note- many of my friends that I was doing the home meetings with this year- they are upset that I stopped that aspect.

 

Now- if they see ‘wow- John left us and now has a new group’.

 

Actually these spur of the moment meetings are the most effective- plus you can see how ‘this’ works.

 

In North Bergen- I just hung out with people- and over time I did some teaching.

 

Some structured- some not.

 

So- maybe I’ll be at this coffee shop for a while- then go to another spot- start over.

 

In The New Testament the apostles went to different areas- and then they moved on.

 

 

There’s a story in the gospel where Jesus was going to another region- and the people were offended.

 

They wanted him to stay- to keep doing what he was doing.

 

I have written a lot on this subject over the years- called Ecclesiology- the nature of organic church- and the itinerant ministry of apostles [meaning they are always on the go].

 

One of the college kids at the coffee shop can’t drive- he has seizures.

 

So- every so often I’ll take him to do stuff [we went to Fed Ex this week- he sold some stuff on EBay and needed to ship it].

 

Now- even though I’m slowing down- when I’m in the car- going somewhere- for some reason- I’m in the ‘non-stop’ mode.

 

Alex saw me passing up the corner we are supposed to turn at- then doing it again- I think he kind of saw a little of the ‘on the go’ thing-

 

Sort of the way I am when doing – well- everything.

 

He asked a little about my story- I mean they see me hanging out at the coffee shop-

 

I’ve shared some with them- then told Alex ‘well- kid- it’s sort of like a long story- I’ll get to it in time’.

 

Yeah- we have some time.

 

NOTES FROM SOME OF MY RADIO SHOWS [Been reviewing them as I upload them to the site] ‘You can’t be stagnant- you must move forward on the journey’ ‘The place where you die becomes your inheritance’ ‘You will not fail or be discouraged till you have set justice in the earth’ [these are me quoting Isaiah on tape] ‘More are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife’ [I could stop here and do a whole teaching- the apostle Paul in the book of Galatians uses this verse in the same spiritual context that you see me teaching on the videos- he really spiritualizes these prophetic words from Isaiah a lot] ‘The Lord has made room for you to be fruitful in the land’ ‘They were dysfunctional but God still used them- as long as they stayed in the land’ ‘Keep this new feast with new leaven- from now on you have a new table that you will be sitting at’ ‘Repentance is not blaming other people- those in active sin do not inherit the kingdom’ ‘have friendships with people who are struggling with sin- don’t be a Pharisee’.

 

MONDAY AFTERNOON- Today some of the college crowd had some good questions ‘what about the end of the world- and the 2nd coming of Christ’.

 

Good question [note- after just a couple of weeks hanging out- not bringing up ‘the God’ thing- yet- over time it’s like any other ‘crew’].

 

Ok- I taught a bit about ‘end of the world’ stuff- this can get deep- and this is indeed one of the subjects I plan on covering in these weekly videos.

 

In short.

 

The bible uses different Geek words for World.

 

And when Jesus talks about ‘the end of the world’.

 

The word he uses is not for earth/planet- but age [meaning a time period].

 

In some ways the ‘end of the world’ already happened.

 

Huh?

 

At the time of Christ- he instituted a new ‘age’ [which is the actual word used in this context].

 

So- Jesus’ death and resurrection brought in a new age/time period- some refer to it as ‘the age of Grace’.

So today- in a sense- we are in a new age [world].

 

Now- the technical word for understanding some of the end time’s verses like this is called ‘Preterism’.

 

I’m not a full Preterist [they believe there are no references to ‘the end of the world’ in the normal way- and they each teach 2nd coming already happened].

 

I’m not in that camp- but- there is truth to what I just taught above.

 

One of the guys said ‘I like the way you do it- you don’t push it’.

 

As I sat down at my spot- he said ‘is it ok if I sit with you’.

 

Sure can kid- sure can.

 

Play Music

“The World I Know”
Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on.
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why.

Are we listening?
Hymns of offering.
Have we eyes to see?
Love is gathering.
All the words that I’ve been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one.

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below.
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down.
‘Cause it’s the world I know.
It’s the world I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

facebook.com/john.chiarello.5

ccoutreach87.wordpress.com

 

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. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONDAY MORNING- I will post this in a few minutes- watch the videos- listen to the radio tape- and scroll down- follow the story.

 

When I went to my car this morning [few minutes ago] I saw something on the ground- under my driver side door.

 

Hmm?

 

It was a woman’s purse.

 

I hesitated to open it up- thinking ‘who the hell knows- maybe it’s a trap’ [yeah- still got that paranoid thing going- You should have seen me yesterday- I took a ride thru Robstown- where the cops used to pull me over when I was taking my street crew to the meetings.

 

As I’m driving- alone- in my head I was saying ‘go ahead- pull me over now!’.

 

Sure enough- a Robstown cop gong the other way- on the highway- sees me- spins around and puts on the lights.

 

Now- I had a few incidents this year where I kinda got into it with these guys- my street crew even said once ‘man John your belligerent with those guys’.

 

So- when he pulled behind me- I mean my heart was pumping.

 

I knew- this time- they had no cause- and to be honest- I have a temper- and I can’t trust myself at times.

 

So- he gets out of the car- walks up to the window- my inspection sticker was out- my bad.

 

Ok- what was in the woman’s purse?

 

Those of you who have followed the posts- will know.

 

Someone returned my daughters stolen purse- and ID’s.

 

The guys have not seen me for a few weeks- the rumors were ‘John went over the edge’.

 

They have seen me ‘over the edge’- and I guess the person who took it- thought ‘I hope he’s ok’.

 

And did the right thing- enjoy the rest.

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8g This weeks video.

https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=50  This is the radio tape for the week- it’s an old wave file- you need to hear it by using internet explorer browser- sorry.

 

Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Galatians 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

Galatians 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Galatians 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

Galatians 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Galatians 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

Galatians 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Hebrews 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Hebrews 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Hebrews 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

Hebrews 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

Hebrews 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

Ephesians 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

1Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Revelation 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

Revelation 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Revelation 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Revelation 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Revelation 21:12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Revelation 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

 

NOTE- In this week’s video- you will see my frustration on the tape. I bought a new phone- an Lgg3- just for video. It did not work for what I needed.

So- I re-did the video 3 or 4 times thru out the day- driving back and forth to T Mobile- thinking we got the problem fixed- then to make a 2nd– 3rd recording- and it still didn’t work- so- that’s why I’m upset on the video [you should have saw the one that didn’t upload- dogs barking in the back- for those of you who don’t care about bible teaching- just the video saga alone is worth staying with us].

To sum up- the above verses are intended to progressively follow the story that I started teaching in North Bergen- a sort of panoramic view of the Kingdom of God- and how the Apostles in the New Testament do indeed see these promises made to the Patriarchs- as finding fulfillment in the Church.

 

The writer of Hebrews [who I quote on the video] sees Abrahams journey as ‘looking for a city which has foundations’- he goes on [the above verses] and says this city is THE CHURCH.

 

John shows us the same thing in the book of Revelation- how the ‘city coming down from heaven’ is THE BRIDE- THE LAMBS WIFE.

 

In these weekly videos I plan on covering issues that I feel are important- for the church- globally.

 

‘John- how is this stuff important’?

 

God question!

 

When we read the bible- with understanding- we view it thru the Cross.

 

Meaning- God revealed himself to us thru his Son.

 

So- when you read apocalyptic literature [Revelation- Ezekiel- etc.] you read it realizing that the visions the prophets were seeing are not TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY.

 

How does this have significance- globally?

 

We live in a day where religious extremism is a major problem- and in some cases a wrong view of the bible feeds into this.

 

If we are reading the book of Revelation- or the other prophetic books- seeing them thru the lens of ‘look- God is going to kill our enemies’ or ‘God will wipe out any nation that comes against Israel’.

 

Then- we are not reading it correctly- thru the paradigm of the Cross.

 

Ok- I don’t want to go on- but hopefully in time you will get a better understanding of these things.

 

I do obviously believe in the bible- and do not ‘spiritualize’ everything.

 

But when we read the visions that the prophets had- they are intended to be ‘spiritualized’ in a sense- they are ‘pictures’ they speak of significant things- and those things are not about nuclear war- or God taking a political side- or even siding with certain nations in a militaristic way.

 

No- like the verse I have been quoting these past few months-

 

‘The TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT [INTENT] OF PROPHECY’.

 

RADIO GLEANINGS- Today is Thursday 11-13-14- as I wind down my updating of radio tapes- a funny thing happened.

The other day I ran into one of the street crew- I’ve known him for years.

Though he too lives on the street- yet- he is very critical of the other street guys.

He in a way see’s himself as different- ok.

But- he has told me- over many years- that a Christian should not be ‘on the streets’ with drunks- addicts- etc. [he is one by the way].

 

Now- he’s a friend- and a few years ago one of his girlfriend’s told me one day ‘so and so idolizes you John’.

 

I never knew he looked up to me that much.

 

So- once again last week he told me the same thing.

Now- every time he tells me this- I always say ‘the bible makes a distinction between associating with Christians in ‘the church’ [ministry] who are living in active sin- and between being out in the world- Jesus told us we are salt and light- and we need to be in the world’.

 

But- when he gave me the same advice last week- being I’m in the middle of trying to hear God about this stuff- I thought ‘well hell- maybe he’s been right all along’.

 

Then- sure enough on my radio tapes I heard my teaching on the book of Corinthians- and I dealt with this very issue.

 

About not associating [or having ministry partnerships] with a brother who is in open sin.

 

Now- I want to be careful here- because we are indeed ‘all sinners’.

 

But- in the past few years I have been involved with ministries- and some of my friends in these partnerships- well- are living with people they are not married to.

 

I actually have brought this up- multiple times- with my friends- and they have said ‘well- I’ve decided to keep living with so and so’.

 

Over time- I felt in time- maybe things would get better.

 

They haven’t- so- in some of these areas- I do see/apply the teaching on not having close interpersonal ministry involvement with brothers [who I love- and tried to give advice- multiple times- about this- and will still go by and see him- he is still a friend] if they choose to keep living with someone who they are not married to.

 

I hesitate to add this- but felt I needed to.

 

But-what about my street crew?

 

As I heard my own tapes on this subject- sure enough I jumped to another tape [these are years apart by the way].

 

I think it was something from the book of judges- and on that tape I actually said ‘you know I have a homeless friend [the guy I just mentioned who has told me not to ‘hang’ out with other street guys] and he often brings up the bible teaching from Corinthians about not being with sinners- and I try to give him balance- that Jesus told us to be in the world- but not of it’.

 

Sure enough- I went on and gave the parable from Jesus himself- where he says ‘don’t try and uproot the weeds- in doing so you might hurt the good stuff too’.

 

He was talking about us- in the world.

 

I just found it strange that my own advice on these tapes- has been speaking about my own transition- I mean I was debating comments from a friend- and actually heard my self correcting myself- about his actual advice- years ago.

 

So- today I will see the street crew in a little while- will try and make another video [if weather permits- I feel like I’m in N.J. right now- it’s about 40 degrees- and wet!].

 

So- I’ll finish up this process of hearing some old tapes- and make a few more notes.

 

As of now- I will still see the street crew- but not like before- not an every day affair.

 

Radio quotes from me-

 ‘Frame your gift around the things that matter- don’t worship men’ ‘Don’t look for verses to justify what you are doing- try and see the big picture’ ‘Don’t tear out the bad before the harvest- cause you might hurt the good in the process- don’t be a moral crusader- Paul did teach separation from sinful brothers- but don’t leave the world’ [in context- we all ‘sin’ in a way- the apostle Paul was talking about a brother at the church of Corinth who was sleeping with his father’s wife- probably not his own mother [I hope!]. Now- when Paul told them to separate from him- it was because he was openly doing it- and everyone knew. It was not a situation where he was trying to do the right thing- so- I want to be careful here- I have many friends on the street- in many situations- but- when you are doing ministry- Christian ministry- this sin- adultery- really tops the list- show mercy- extend love- but try your best to do the right thing- even if it’s hard]. ‘don’t isolate yourself’ ‘God visited Sarah and Abraham at the set time- and fulfilled what he showed them at the start’ ‘some ministry things you do are fun- exciting- but are not necessarily the main purpose’ ‘he was not laying down the vision- just changing the process- some past patterns are done- it’s been a long journey- some things seemed surreal- but we must give up on our old process’ [I was doing an old teaching about the life of Abraham when I made these comments] ‘It’s been fun- a wild ride’ ‘He makes mistakes on the journey- but he’s stumbling towards God’ ‘Don’t sell your birth right for fleshly/material things, the present church has ‘sold’ her birth right by using bible verses to simply inherit monetary things’ ‘I will make you a fruitful nation- kings will come out of you’ ‘Come out of Babylon [meaning sinful lifestyles- habits] and rest in God’s city’ [the church- meaning the people/community of God- that transcends all denominations and various expressions of church- but is made up of all who believe- both in heaven and on earth].

 

Thursday afternoon- Just got back from seeing some of my street crew- it’s been about 2 weeks since I checked on the boys.

 

Now- lots of the guys were worried ‘has John fell off the wagon’.  Just got a text from a friend checking on me.

 

Honest? I’m sober 22-23 months [heck- January 3rd is 2 years- you figure it out].

I don’t keep track anymore- and I don’t live each day under a legalistic bondage about the thing.

 

But- I just reviewed another tape [#634] I was teaching the story of Samson-

Here are a few notes ‘He escapes and goes into hiding- yet God uses him in a greater way’ ‘the enemy attacks those who plant the word- Samson used a jawbone of a donkey to defeat the Philistines- then when he was weary he drank water himself from the same BONE’ [I taught that God will use your own teachings to bless you. On this tape I even said ‘I have been reviewing some old tapes- and God has been speaking to me from them’- I have no idea when I said this- but that’s happening right now!] ‘humble yourself and God will exalt you in due time’ ‘Don’t seek fame’ ‘God strategically placed him to defeat more of the enemy in his death than in his life’-

 

At the mission today- I talked a bit with Bobby.

 

Bobby is an alcoholic- yet this year he came to my meetings- and really surprised me- he has a strong background in the bible- and I could tell he has sought God for years.

 

Yes- he still drinks- but he will have to deal with that in time.

 

Bobby seemed to be one of the guys that was the most ‘depressed’ about me not coming around like I used to.

 

Now- I do have a one track mind [it can change tracks at times] but when I think I’m supposed to go a certain way- that’s it- I go.

 

So- Bobby looked worried as he came up to me at Timmons.

 

I sat with Bobby- assured him I’m doing well- and I think some of the others listening in might have been surprised- because I am doing well.

 

I talked to Bobby- told him I did not abandon them- but made some changes.

 

I had a good fellowship with Henry- one of the street guys who is a close friend.

 

I mean we talked Theology- he is smart [talked about Hebrew- Greek and Aramaic- and lots of stuff that you would normally not think a guy on the street would know].

 

Cameron was more than happy to see me- I might stop by later and see his dog- the kid is doing great [well- better than I thought].

 

I cheered Bobby up- told him I doing good- and will stop in every so often to see them- they are my street crew!

 

I told the guys that Eli [the friend I did the Bishop meeting with] said ‘John- you can still stop by and see me’.

 

I let the boys know I’m now making videos- and maybe we will jump in the car one day- take a ride to Bishop [or Alice- San Antonio- etc.] and do one of the meetings [only spur of the moment thing] I’ll get it on tape.

 

I have made the main transition that I felt I needed to make.

 

I will not go back to the street ministry- not like in the past.

 

But- I will see the guys every so often- just for lunch time.

 

I have been refreshed from hearing my old radio shows- it was like drinking ‘water from the jawbone’ [Jawbone represents a speaking gift- I think you get it].

 

Note- Bobby has a ‘lady friend’ at the mission- she’s a sweet girl.

She knits Bobby wool hats for the winter- hand maid.

 

Before I went to N.J. Bobby put one in my car- during one of our rides to the meetings I was doing.

Bobby asked me about it today- I mean it’s 40 degrees out- and wet.

 

I told Bobby ‘you know what I did with it- I gave it to Billy- my homeless friend in North Bergen’.

 

One day Billy asked if I had a warm hat- ‘yeah- in the trunk’.

 

Bobby told his lady friend ‘John gave it to one of his New York homeless friends’.

 

She was elated!

 Felt like she contributed to my ministry.

 

She sure did- they all do.

 

Oh- forgot this note from the tape- it said ‘we thought you were mad and were never gonna come back’- I mean that’s what my street crew thought/expressed today.

 

I had no idea when I was going to ‘come back’- last night I had a dream- it was one of the street guys- Danny.

 

He attended the meetings I did this year.

 

I can’t remember it all- but when I woke up- I felt ‘I guess today is the day’- and saw the crew.

 

FRIDAY- What a ‘funny’ day. As you watch the video- I explained that I made the first one- then the phone ran out of memory on the SD card.

So- I’m a bit of an over reactor- and I drove to the T-Mobile place [on the other side of town- I was recording at the T heads].

 

And I told them ‘look- the only reason I bought the lsg3 phone- was to record- and that darn phone aint recording- I’m tempted to go back to the Huawei thing’ [NOTE- I’m probably not even saying the correct name for either phone- but that’s what I have been calling them].

 

Now- the poor kid [manager?] Saw I was upset.

He worked with me- I bought the extra memory- and off I went [that’s when I made this week’s video].

 

But that’s not the end of the story.

 

After I made this week’s video- it still didn’t seem to work.

 

So- I went back- the poor kid helped me try and get it right- I mean I had my laptop out- he’s viewing the tape. I went out to the car to smoke- and thought ‘geez- this kids gonna see me trying to teach the bible- I hope he doesn’t watch too long!’

So- I was ready to get another phone- I mean I’m in the store- not yelling or anything- but I talk to my self- a lot- they hear me at the table on the side ‘you gotta be kidding me- I’m ready to switch back to the crappy Huwia…’

 

You get the feeling.

 

So- right before I change phones- lo and behold- the video worked!

 

I have been using some junky player I downloaded in New Jersey when I first entered the fray of video recording.

 

But- the actual media player on the laptop- it worked.

 

So- as I was leaving- the kid said ‘and what are you teaching on these video’s’.

 

I didn’t want to say ‘the bible’ after they saw the whole thing- so I said ‘you know- Philosophy- Theology- stuff like that’.

 

I think the kid did watch the video- to be honest.

I mean it was funny in a way- hope you enjoy this week’s talk- it came at a price.

UPDATE- I just replaced the phone- if I can- I will upload this week’s video- it is important- if not I will re-do it again- for the 3rd, 4th time.

 

I figured out the problem- being the lgg3 phone is so ‘advanced’- takes top of the line video [that’s why I made the investment] – a normal 20 minute video takes up about 200,000 kb [memory].

 

On this phone- it took over 3 million- in a compressed zip folder.

 

I do pay for space on the WordPress site- so- it would take up the whole site- not good.

 

If you want a phone for video- it’s not the one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8i Texas crew at Burger King

 

https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=488&action=edit# Radio show 623.

 

 

In this week’s video I was going to teach- but instead I just let a girl I just met share her story.

After I stopped the video- we talked for another hour or so- I realized that she is a sweet girl- and did ask her ‘hon- let me ask this- lots of my friends here in the Bluff struggle with Meth- has that been a problem for you in the past’.

 

She talked openly- the reason I asked was not to offend her- but some of my friends [not all] have conspiracy theories- and extreme paranoia from Meth.

And sweet Desiree – off tape- did seem to show some of these signs [her involvement with the CIA- crimes that God showed her- stuff like that].

 

One of the friends who was at the table left- he’s not in the video.

 

He’s a guy I have known for years- now clean for 1 year- and lives at our halfway house.

 

Andy asked him ‘what do you think about the girl’s story’.

 

He replied in a snide way- that she was ‘full of it’.

 

Now- I share this to say God deals with all of us- and this girl no the video does have value to what she said- it’s her experience with God.

 

So- if I were vain- I would not have ‘wasted’ the space on my site- and could have simply done the teaching I planned on.

 

But I felt God wanted you guys to see her story- so enjoy.

 Radio quotes- and a few key verses I have been reading the past week or so-

‘The people God used all had major flaws’ ‘All material things will pass away’ ‘Everything was on hold until he cut off ungodly connections’ ‘God strategically placed him so he would have greater influence in a larger audience’ [talking about Josephs story in Genesis] ‘If gifted people don’t have self-discipline- order- then the gift wont’ function at its highest potential’ ‘Behold- I have refined thee- but not with silver- I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction’ ‘see a man skilled in his work- he will not stand before obscure men- but before kings’ ‘Beware of materialism- for a man’s life does not consist of the abundance of the things he possesses’ ‘You will grow in wisdom and stature’ ‘Thou hast heard- see all this? Will ye not declare it- I have showed thee new things from this time- even hidden things, and thou did not know them’ ‘The word of the Lord came unto him in a vision- saying FEAR NOT’ ‘Authority in the kingdom comes thru serving’ ‘I will tell you things before they come to pass- so when they happen you will know I did it’ ‘Prosperity is abounding in both lack and abundance- its’ not measured by building wealth’ ‘It’s hard at times to let go of the old mindset- because we have invested so much time in it’ [ I was talking to leaders about ministry on this tape] ‘Church is a revolutionary movement in the earth’ ‘He caused waters to flow out of the rock for them- he broke open the rock and the waters gushed out’ ‘Thou hast heard- see all this- will not ye declare it? I have showed thee new things from this time forth- even hidden things and thou did not know them’ ‘they are created now- and not from the beginning’ ‘And now the Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent me’ ‘For behold, I am with you’.

 

Ok- as I end this ‘thread’- Those of you who have read my posts and followed the last few weeks have seen how I struggled somewhat about making some changes.

 

I felt like I would go back and interact with my street guys- but not in the same way as before- I used to spend whole days just helping the guys.

 

I’m not around as much- but still see them.

 

I felt I would drop the 5-6 weekly meetings I was doing all over South Texas- but I would do them ‘on the fly’.

 

In the next post you will see just that.

 

So- I hoped this little journaling helped- especially other Pastors/ leaders who might read the site.

 

People in ministry often struggle when making changes- and sometimes we become ‘addicted’ to the ministry- in a wrong way.

 

As I transition back into more ‘action’ I noticed that I’m already starting to hit ‘high gear’- meaning I can see how easy it is to go ‘nonstop’.

 

I spent the whole day with some of the crew- did a meeting at the halfway house [next video] went to see Brother Bear.

 

He’s a friend who has been wanting to work with me in- well ‘ministry’.

 

As I checked out his spot- it reminded me of the first building we bought in Kingsville years ago.

 

It was an old lumber yard I bought for the ministry.

 

Bear’s spot looked just like it- we walked around- talked about ideas for- well- another ministry.

 

I did tell Bear that I changed my schedule up- and of course would be willing to do one of the ‘new style’ meetings there- but I saw myself getting into the ‘high gear’ thing- and had to slow it down.

 

Jimmy D [who has been calling- texting a lot] said ‘I’m glad your back- we thought we lost you’.

 

No- I’m not ‘lost’ just had to re-group a bit- and it seems to be working better.

 

Note- in the next video you will see how I did the meetings I have been talking about this past year- I know you’ve seen me teach on the videos- but the next one is the closest to what my meetings looked like.

 

God bless- talk to you later.

 

Note- Guess I’ll add this- wasn’t going to- but changed my mind [just now].

 

One of my closest homeless friends is Henry- I’ll try and get him on video one day.

 

You would be impressed- he’s very articulate and knowledgeable.

 

Henry seems to take it the hardest when I’m gone- like for months at a time.

 

I have been seeing Henry every day this week- and yesterday I felt I should go to the bookstore and find him something- he loves books.

 

I went to Half price books- but couldn’t’ find all the bible reference books they used to have-

 

I wanted to get him one that has the old classic cover on it- so I prayed ‘what would Henry like’.

 

I found a classic looking one- they were poems about Christ- written over the centuries.

 

I gave it to Henry yesterday at the mission- he was so grateful- he’s already sharing some of the poems with me.

 

It’s the little things like this- that have the most impact.

 

 

 

 

REAL TIME UPDATE-   http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7S  This link should be good- radio show 623. Story below- enjoy.

 It’s funny- I’m obviously new at doing ‘links’- learning how to make videos- calling the phones by the wrong names- I mean anyone can see I’m a 52 year old- trying to do stuff that kids can do with ease.

 

So- after I posted the last post- I checked the links- to make sure I’m not wasting my time- doing it wrong.

 

Just this morning I was thinking about the old host site I used for radio- My daughter found it- you know- some free site that hosts voice.

 

It’s was called KIWWI- or something like that.

 

So- after spending hours typing in code and all [I don’t have to do that anymore- the WordPress site has an easier process].

 

One day I clicked the link- you know- just to make sure the thing was working.

 

Sure enough- for some reason all the radio files were gone!

 

So- I tried to find out the problem- took it to the computer shop [I know they don’t do stuff like this- but when you ask- sometimes the smart kids think ‘geez- this poor guy- lets help him’].

 

So- after trying to figure out what went wrong- I went to the KIWWI site- and it said- ON THE SITE- ‘If you have complaints- SCREW YOU!’- Well- I’m exaggerating a bit- but that was the jist of it.

 

I thought ‘hell- this site is run by some college kids- I guess they do what they want’.

 

So- I googled ‘what’s the best site- to upload voice- that won’t screw you’ [Ok- I’m ad libbing a bit here].

 

And found WordPress.

 

Anyway- when I just checked the radio link from the earlier post- it took me right to my admin acct. – for the site.

 

I had to log in to hear the show [WordPress does try and get you to upgrade and all- I will later- but for now I’m still learning stuff- but I thought ‘maybe because I didn’t upgrade- this is payback!’]

 

I thought ‘this is not good- no one can the thing unless they log in!’

 

I thought maybe it’s just my laptop saving all the passwords and stuff- so I logged out- re-booted- the whole 9 yards.

 

Nope- the link still took me to the log in thing.

 

Ok- Now I’m thinking the KIWWI crew is running WordPress [I am an over reactor].

 

So- I  jump in the car- drive to Best Buy and figured I’ll log on there- and see.

 

Of course I’m on some 5 thousand dollar computer they have for show- can’t find how to even google anything- the guy shows me.

 

I check the links- the video link is good [started downloading] and I’m telling the guy ‘Well- I’m trying to download- check the links- it’s a Christian site’ [I’m sure people try to download porn and all- I’m reassuring the guy].

 

So- the radio link is not working- then I realized I copied the link from my admin site- my bad.

 

So- My video finally downloaded- plus the guy raised the volume for me on the radio show [I think he wanted to hear exactly what I was downloading].

 

Now- I figured it out- but I can’t shut the video- or the radio show off- I mean it’s on a big screen thing- the guy sees me- in a rush and all- plus I’m on the screen on the video- and my radio show is blasting-

 

I mean it was funny- so- I think I got the link right- remember- all these videos/radio shows are on the WordPress site- if I get it wrong- again- just find them there.

 

I’m back at the coffee shop- no more coffee- I got the tea that’s supposed to to relax you- let’s hope it works.

 

 

 

www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

facebook.com/john.chiarello.5

ccoutreach87.wordpress.com

 

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. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8k  11-18-14- Me Teaching at NeWay

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-Y  Radio show 705- have to listen with Internet explorer browser only [it’s a Wave file]

WEDNESDAY-

The video for this week was one of the ‘spur of the moment’ teachings- that I said I would do every so often.

 

There was a new guy in the group- he’s from Canada and said he was here in Texas doing street ministry.

I don’t doubt him- not 100% at least.

 

He said he has studied the bible in its original languages for many years- and seemed to know some stuff.

 

After I shut the video off- I took questions- it seems as if the brother had some questionable stuff- which is ok- that’s why I’m there.

 

I did my best to try and get some of his beliefs on track- and did some church history- ways we understand scripture.

He kept asking me what the original sin was- I did talk about the creation story somewhat.

I said they disobeyed God [don’t eat from the tree of knowledge] and the bible says sin is the transgression of the law- meaning- they disobeyed what God told them [simple?]

 

I did my best- he had a few other questions- sort of along the lines of a test.

 

If I may be so bold- I do know this stuff- and he seemed a bit off.

 

I found out later that he believed- from the original ‘languages’- that the sin was Eve had sex with the Serpent.

 

Ok- after I left the meeting I went to visit another friend- he also is involved with ministry- good guy- don’t get me wrong- I like these brothers.

 

Sure enough- he ‘taught’ the same thing.

When I was in North Bergen- yeah- this same question came up.

 

Ok- do the ‘original languages’ say this?

 

No- that’s the problem.

 

This belief does exist- like many others- in some other writings- but these were rejected by the church early on- as a matter of fact a guy at Timons had some questions about the ‘DaVinci code’- again- I taught the same thing.

 

Saying ‘just because a belief has been around- for a while- and you might find it in some very early documents [2nd, 3rd century Gnostic writings] – yet- this does not mean they are valid’.

 

The Canadian ‘preacher’ was at the mission today with a few other friends.

 

Normally I would take the guys with me- spend the day doing stuff- but to be honest- I stopped doing that- they saw.

 

What’s the problem here?

 

All 3 of these friends should be working- and in the old days I did do stuff with them- but no more.

 

I’m a retired fire fighter- I can- with a clear conscience- spend the day doing ministry.

 

But- if you are on the streets- doing ministry- and bumming cigarettes [yes- when I first met the brother- he is in the meeting on this week’s video- I told him ‘hope you’re not offended- but I smoke’- sure enough- he bummed one from me]!

 

The point- all the guys I was with today- yes- doing some ministry stuff- yet- they should have all been working- not looking for a day to just hang out.

 

 

This is indeed one of the changes I have made- and I think it’s best for all of us.

 

NOTE- In scripture- stealing- lying- ‘sinning’ in general- well- is bad.

 

Now- I’m no ‘saint’ [well actually I am- in the bible this word refers to all believers- it means ‘sanctified ones’].

But I noticed a funny thing- since I made some changes.

At the Coffee shop- sometimes I leave the laptop inside- and go out to smoke- a nice sitting area.

 

I always felt uncomfortable doing it- because if I did this with some of the ‘old crew’ it would be gone.

 

So- I have had to ‘learn’ not being around people who will steal- again- and again- and ag…

 

The other day- just as I was getting comfortable with it- I walked back inside and went to my chair- sure enough- my stuff was gone!

 

I asked Alex ‘I think someone stole my stuff’- does that happen?

He went up to the cashier- and before he could ask- I realized I was at the wrong chair- my stuff was at another spot.

 

I never realized how this affected me- and how it affects everybody.

 

Today at the mission a friend said someone stole the keys to his car- his wife was upset [they live on the streets].

 

He told his wife ‘look- what do you expect- we all do it to each other’.

 

It’s sad- I love all my friends- but I have felt for a while that things needed to change.

 

The friend who stole 2 packs of cigarettes from my glove compartment one day- I had him in the car a few weeks later.

 

I asked him to get something out of my glove compartment [I started locking it- but it was unlocked this day].

 

He opened it up- I forgot I had a pack in there.

 

As soon as he saw it- jokingly- he grabbed it and- without even realizing he was actually doing it as a joke- but I could see it was a ‘natural reflex’-

 

He acted like he was going to steal it.

 

I don’t think many of these friends realize that unless this lifestyle changes- they will never get anywhere in life.

 

THURSDAY- I’m going to do something right now- that I never planned on doing again.

What’s that?

 

Write a bit more about AA/NA.

 

The main reason I did not want to write on this subject anymore- is because I never was really ‘in the program’- in the sense that I never did a step.

 

I never had a sponsor- but only attended some meetings early on- and did read the big book.

 

Now- why write then?

 

Good question.

One of the changes that I felt needed to be made- in my ‘transition’ season that I have been writing about- was I felt in all good conscience that I can’t be affiliated with previous ministries- for a few reasons- but one is they are strong in AA- to the point where at times I see many ‘cultic’ signs in some of the people I associate with.

 

What do you mean Cultic?

 

Since I’ve been back in Texas- I have had friend’s relapse- again- and they start the whole routine over ‘John- I called my sponsor and…’.

 

Ok- if that’s the track you feel you need to be on- fine.

 

But if after 30 years- and the track never lead to anywhere [in around 90% of the cases- this is true. The latest statistic I read was the success rate is about 10%- many in the movement do not know this- because they do not read the most up to date data on addiction- many feel it is in a way wrong to be informed about the issue].

 

So- even though I am now clean for almost 2 years- yet- in a sense- when I run into some old friends still in the movement- and not clean themselves [many are addicted to prescription pills- and some use pills that are not prescribed to them- yet they still count their clean date from the last time they drank a beer].

 

It’s almost like trying to escape a cult- they view all of life thru the paradigm of AA/NA- which is a danger sign.

 

These are all good people- and when I first started writing on AA I did not want to side track those who are finding help thru it- the 7-10 % of success stories.

 

But- there are the other 90 %- who still need help- and often times the relapse is indeed because they are in a legalistic bondage to AA/NA.

 

I’ve taught on this a lot- and this is the basis of Christianity [many of the videos I’m making deal with this- the freedom from a system- the law- and having a new life in Christ- not focused on some system- that’s the heart of the New Covenant].

 

So- even though I have determined to try and cut all ties with the movement- in some ways those who are in it- however well intended- seem to take a cultic approach.

 

If you attempt to keep a relationship- with others in the movement- you are viewed as needing to ‘get with the program’.

 

 

I fear many of the well meaning people in the movement do not see the danger.

 

When I was in N.J.- not this last time- but about 2 years ago.

 

The last meeting I went to there was a speaker [note- I do realize you are not supposed to talk about what was said in the meetings- let me say- I am not in AA- and I am trying my best to not step on too many toes here- one of the aspects of a cult is you do not talk about what’s going on in their meetings- so- when I share the things I learned- it’s so we can all benefit- I also realize the reason people do not share is so they can be anonymous- which is ok- I get it].

 

So- one of the last meetings I went to- there was a guest speaker.

 

As he spoke- he said he wished he could live his life without being in a never ending process of depending upon meetings- sponsors- the whole thing.

 

He described it as a sort of bondage-

 

But he said because he was an addict- he can never have a normal life- being free from addiction- unless he did this- for the rest of his life.

 

I didn’t say anything- and maybe he was having a bad day.

 

But his own testimony- from his mouth- was what I already began seeing at the time.

 

The fact is- the free gift of grace- does indeed free us from focusing our lives around overcoming addiction- that was indeed the great break thru of the Cross- that God would set us free- for FREE [meaning you do not have to focus your life around a system to be free- Paul the apostle taught in Romans 7 that if you do try harder to keep the law [any program that you think you need to follow to be free] that it actually strengthens the sin [addiction]. This is what is indeed happening in many of the 90% of those who are relapsing].

 

NOTE- When I read other literature on addiction recovery- just to broaden my understanding- I did not realize that there were many others who saw major flaws with AA/NA- many of these alternative approaches were developed because of some of the stuff I mentioned above.

 

Any movement- must in time be open to new things- and I have had people tell me that AA/NA was given by God to Bill W- and because it was given- by God- that’s why it ‘rarely’ fails for those who do it.

 

But it does fail- often-

 

And it’s ok to say this- it needs to be said-

 

But if your view is because it is a God given program- that man never had before- then you become a defender of a movement- much like a cult defends their beliefs- this is happening with many in the movement.

 

Some of the teaching that I did recently dealt with the SEX issue- how in the bible adultery [any sex outside marriage- even Porn addiction] is considered very serious.

 

The bible says ‘drunkards- adulterers- etc.’ will not inherit the kingdom.

 

Now- if you’re in AA/NA just to try and get free from a substance- that’s your prerogative.

 

But- in the biblical teaching- if you are ‘under’ [meaning sponsor type thing] people who do practice sexual sin- then those under you will never get free- from the thing the leader is in bondage to.

 

That’s a  biblical principle.

 

[I have had many friends tell me that the porn/sex problem is one they cannot overcome- yet they stopped using substances- they do not realize the biblical principle I am writing about now- they need to know this- or the train will never stop]

 

I was invited to an AA celebration last year- I was told ‘you might not want to go- they are all renting rooms already- to sleep with each other’.

 

The person knew I would have a problem with that.

 

I said ‘what you have is hedonism- without the alcohol’.

 

Now- if that’s what you want- fine.

 

But Christians in the movement are submitting to sponsors- if they are involved in this- that the bible teaches you should not submit to.

Because the sex issue- in scripture- is just as bad [or worse] if done outside of marriage- as the substance.

 

The biblical principle is you can’t help others- if you’re in bondage yourself.

 

I often tell people ‘look- if you want help quitting smoking- I can’t help you’.

 

Why?

 

Because I smoke.

 I wrote in the past that I felt the underlying issue to most addicts is lust- The BIBLE says ‘we have escaped the corruption that is in the world THRU LUST’.

 

If you are in a fellowship- that actively practices lust- you will never get free from it- and many of the people who have overcome drugs and drink thru the program- do indeed struggle with lust- porn- adultery.

 

Why?

 

Because of what I just told you- the bible is a higher authority than man- and any movement that allows you to develop your own conscience on sex- leads to a bondage- if at the end of your ‘sex inventory’ you come to a conclusion that is not compatible with scripture- which is God given.

This past month those of you who have followed my journey- you’ll notice some of the verses and old radio quotes dealt with the issue of how should believers relate to those living in sin.

 

I tried to strike a balance between being ‘in the world’ yet not of it.

 

I mentioned that in the letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul did say to have no fellowship with the brother who was in sexual sin- because his sin was open- and accepted.

 

Yet- in the ‘world’ you will have people who are living in all types of situations- and it’s ok to have ‘friends’ that are sinners.

 

Jesus was called ‘a friend of sinners’.

 

Now- the problem with joining with a group/fellowship that practices sexual sin [not all- but many- and I covered in previous posts that the movement has decided to take no stand against adultery- in the big book I gave you the section that left that open-and I have known people in the movement that said when they did their sexual inventory that their conscience permitted various sexual sins that scripture forbids].

 

Now- I’m not nit-picking here- the point I’m making is if a believer puts himself under the authority of a movement/sponsor- that permits sexual sin [which is very different then someone who struggles with sin- yet does not condone it].

 

Then they are violating the mandate to not be unequally yoked together- meaning when you voluntarily submit to the leadership of a person- or movement- that permits this- you are indeed violating scripture- in this area.

 

I read a book from some pastors who were pro AA.

 

At the time I too was ‘pro’ AA- until I saw some of these things.

 

In my time in AA- there was more than one occasion that I knew of younger kids- struggling with porn- who were getting advice/sponsorship from men who themselves permitted it- they told me that to them it was not a sin.

 

Yet- the younger ones they sponsored did not know they were under the ‘covering’ of men who practiced the same thing [as far as I know].

 

There was a very respected older man- in his 70’s- who is well known around the country for having brought many to sobriety thru AA.

 One day I was working with a person from the streets- and I mentioned how I thought the sex issue- being openly practiced- was a problem.

 

I later found out that this highly respected older man- well did the same thing [I can’t explain it all- but the girl knew the man].

 

I said ‘I can’t believe it’!

 

The person told me that he’s just a leader in AA- and it’s not ministry.

 

Now- that might be ‘ok’ if your not a Christian- but if churches and pastors are ‘partaking’ of a movement that permits a very serious sin- bondage- and many young men in the movement are seeking deliverance from this very thing [lust- porn- etc.].

 

Then the church leaders need to re-examine their support- because if they are recommending to join a ‘fellowship’ that permits this- then in my view they are violating the scripture in the area of not associating [or at least recommending] a movement that permits this.

 

Now- this is not a critique of others who are just in the movement to get free from drugs/alcohol- this is a Christian based view that I feel is scriptural.

 

In essence- church leaders are telling their people to submit to leadership- that is in violation of the scripture willingly- openly- and not ‘repenting’- like the Corinthian brother.

 

And many of the younger [older] leaders in the movement practice sexual sin- because they permit it.

 

This is much different than working with people struggling to overcome sin- but know it is wrong.

 

The sinning brother at the church of Corinth was engaged in sexual sin- and was open about it- he saw nothing wrong with it.

 

That indeed is the position of many in the movement- those they sponsor WILL NEVER GET FREE from a lifestyle that the leadership condones- Do you now see?

 

THE DALLAS BUYERS CLUB-

Right from the start of me going to the AA meetings- my friends knew that this was an area that I had strong problems with.

 

Meaning they knew that I felt the ‘addiction’ to sex sin- be it porn- sleeping around- etc.- was a sin/addiction that was just as strong [or worse] then drugs or alcohol.

 

And my friends knew that I had a problem with those who openly slept around with other people in the group.

 

In Texas at the end of the meetings we did pray the ‘Our Father’ which was a good thing- but some in the prayer saw nothing wrong with leaving the meeting- with someone else from the group- and having sex.

 

It was simply acceptable.

One day one of the old timers- famous in AA- he knew I had these strong reservations.

 

He told me a story from back in the day- that there was a famous Dallas AA group- and one member was jealous that another member had sex with his girl.

He went to New York City and brought back 2-3 hookers- who had aids.

He didn’t tell anyone in the group- he just brought the girls to the meetings- knowing the other members would sleep with them.

According to the old man- many [he said all] of the the men in that group contracted aids- and it became a famous story in the movement.

 

One of the kids that was at our halfway house- James- he was very paranoid from his use of Meth.

 

Some days I would go the halfway house- and the door was locked with a chain- I couldn’t get in.

 

I liked the kid- and he knew I was doing the Christin aspect of recovery [the meetings you see me do on video- actually the video for this week was done at the halfway house where James was staying].

 

James eventually left our halfway house- and I saw him about a year later.

 

I was at Timons [a feeding mission] and he said ‘Hey John- don’t you remember me’.

 

I didn’t recognize him- he was clean- gained weight- and ‘on fire for Jesus’.

He went to a Christian based recovery group- called Rapha House [I have taken guys there before- also to the Victory Outreach- these are Christian based recovery groups- many in these groups are very anti AA].

 

He said ‘John- I found true recovery thru Christ- I’m sorry- but the halfway house and AA thing – to be honest- were of no help’.

 

Now- I share these stories to let Christians- who advocate for AA/NA- see that from the Christian view- it’s problematic.

 

I want to make a note- many who struggle with Porn- sleeping around- etc. – have actually justified it thru their reading of the literature in AA/NA.

Yet- some have also expressed- to me- that they feel tremendous guilt when they practice these things.

 

I have always told them that the bible is a higher authority then what they are reading in the Big Book- that even if you develop a view on sex- that in your mind is acceptable- because of what you found in the Big Book- yet- you have to decide if you will hear God’s view [from scripture] or man’s view.

 

But- some of these people have a view of the movement- that says ‘because God gave this movement to Bill W- for the first time a way has been made- therefore what the movement says- has God’s approval’.

 

I don’t know how many times I have told my friends- in this area- they have it wrong.

 

Now- I had no plan on covering this issue again- but in the last week I have run into some of the guys- and the cycle repeats ‘I relapsed- called my sponsor- …’

 

All of these guys are also struggling with sex issues- one told me ‘Johnny- I’m doing ok- but I’m still looking at porn on the phone’.

 

Others are still sleeping around- I mean you can’t get ‘free’ if you do these things- and view them as acceptable.

 

Look- if your struggling with these things I’m not condemning you- struggling means you see it’s wrong- and are trying- by God’s grace- to stop.

 

But many in the movement condone- practice- and teach that it is ok- that they are simply trying to stop substance abuse- and in many cases they have.

 

But they are using their ‘freedom’ from drugs/drink- to go full speed ahead in a practice that the bible clearly condemns- adultery- in just about every form you can imagine.

 

The BIBLE says ‘do not use your new found freedom to engage in sexual desires’.

 

For those of you who are not getting this yet- this book is called THE BIBLE- It trumps all other man made books- including the big book- get it?

 

Now- I’ve already gone too long here- my advice for Christians in the movement- the bible forbids being in fellowship [meaning a spiritual community] of people who practice adultery.

 

If you are seeking freedom from bondage- all forms- you will not find it in a fellowship that allows/practices it- period.

 

If you have found freedom from substance abuse in the program- I bless you- great.

 

But in my experience- I have seen younger kids battle with the lust issue- and calling their sponsors- who do the same thing- and have justified doing it- because of all I wrote in this post.

These kids will struggle with that addiction- for life- if they submit to a leader/movement who approve of it- that’s the biblical teaching on this- ‘A bad tree cannot produce good fruit’ if the ‘tree’ [movement- etc.] permits a practice that the bible condemns- then it’s considered a bad tree- in that area- it will never be able to help you- in that area- because it is the nature of the tree to re-produce after it’s ‘kind’- this is a biblical principle that will never change.

 

There’s a verse that says ‘blessed are those who do not condemn themselves in the thing they allow’.

Some have told me that after they did the sex inventory- their conscience permitted certain sex practices that the bible forbids- but ‘their conscience is God given- so God ok’s it’.

 

WRONG!

The bible says our consciences can be ‘seared with a hot iron’ meaning you can violate Gods word- and actually manipulate your ‘conscience’ to justify sin.

 

That’s what these guys are doing.

 

Once again- it’s an issue of believing God’s word- or the words of men in some book.

 

ESACPED A CULT?

 

The other day one of my friends- who I have helped over the years- who recently relapsed- again- asked me something about AA.

 

I told him ‘brother- I’m out of that cult’-

Now- understand- me and the boys are open- those of you who have seen my site realize this.

 

So- I would not have said it like this to a normal ‘AA’ member- get it?

 

Cult?

When I first started attending meetings- meeting the guys- I did express to the older guys ‘look- I’m getting free from alcohol addiction- but I think the underlying issue to addiction is lust- so- no more porn for me- or sex at all- I’m doing the celibacy thing’.

 

Now- I can’t say much more here- you say ‘brother- you’re married’.

 

Just trust me- I’m doing the celibacy thing- ok?

 

Now- I had a friend who fought me on this- he told me it was impossible- and every time I saw him he tried to discourage me.

 

He justified masturbation to porn- he justified sleeping with people you are not married to- and I would say ‘look- the bible does say some men- not all- practiced this’.

 

He would tell me ‘no- these guys all did it- it’s impossible’- He was a Christian!

 

Now- I didn’t make it an issue- he made it one!

 

Always telling me ‘it can’t be done’-

 

It would be like me saying ‘you can’t stop drinking- or using drugs’.

 

He was trying to pull me down- because he engaged in this stuff.

 

Now- this is the principle I’m writing about- how can kids being sponsored by these guys- who come to them- about this very issue- ever get clean?

 

They can’t- and the sponsors [in some cases] just keep reassuring the kids- and then when they hang up the phone they engage in the practice.

 

This is very problematic-

 

In order to get free from an addiction- you must admit that it is wrong- and it has power over you.

But- if you justify the sex issue- then you are violating the whole procedure of getting free.

 

And this issue- porn- sex sin- many of the kids in the movement are wanting to get free of it- do you now see the problem?

 

I want to make a note- I’m talking about the snare of porn and all- if you are a girl who made porn- and have seen that is was wrong- and stopped.

 

Then don’t let that effect you any more- God forgives- and you can move on.

 

Don’t live in the fear of ‘what if they see my videos- or on-line stuff’.

 

God forgives- and if people are seeking it- they are just as in the wrong as the poor girl who made them.

 

So- for you girls who made it- you’re forgiven- ok?

 

A few months ago I lent my phone to a new friend- Jacob- He was living on the streets.

 

He called his ex-girlfriend  in San Antonio- fine.

 

But later I kept getting texted by someone I didn’t know.

 

Then I realized it was his girl- I said ‘hon- I’m not him- I lent him my phone’.

 

So- she texted me a few more times- and one said ‘check out my pictures here’.

 

Now- I was with another friend- older then me, a Christian- he saw the texting thing.

 

Then I said ‘I’m deleting all of this right now’.

He said ‘wait- let’s look at the pictures’.

 

I deleted it- before I opened it up.

 

I realize that this issue is big- and lots of kids do the ‘sexting’ stuff- I’m not writing any of this to be judgmental- I want you to understand I’m dealing with an issue where kids in a movement- who are trying to overcome these things- are in the wrong movement- for this thing.

 

1Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

1Corinthians 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

1Corinthians 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

1Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

1Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

1Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1Corinthians 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

1Corinthians 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

1Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

1Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry

Colossians 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience

Colossians 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

1Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;


1Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

1Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

1Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

1Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

1Peter 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

1Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

 

These are from the King James bible- but much of the language is referring to sexual sin.

 

In scripture- you’ll notice- that drinking alcohol [which I do not do] is actually not forbidden- drunkenness is.

 

But- in the area of sexual sin- there is no moderation- meaning- you can’t do ‘a little’ and get away with it.

 

It is not like substance abuse- according to God’s word- it is only permitted in the marriage covenant.

 

What I fear has happened in AA- is some have a false reassurance- because they don’t drink at all [like me] and somehow think the sex issue is ok.

 

Actually- the sex issue- is worse- according to scripture.

 

I obviously am not condoning alcoholism- or drug abuse- but- the scripture puts a much higher price on those who commit sexual sin.

 

LAST WORD- as I get ready to post this- to be honest- I hope it’s the last time I write on this subject.

 

Yesterday I made a couple of new teaching videos- which I will upload in the next few days.

 

Some of the guys are already talking about making a trip to San Antonio again- and doing- a ‘spur of the moment’ meeting- with our friend in San Antonio.

 

In the next few weeks I’ll text some of our former home groups- and see if they want- we will do a meeting or 2- like I said we would.

 

Now- in this post- I know I hurt some friend’s feelings- my purpose is not to offend anyone.

 

These past few years- as I saw some of these things- I went out of my may to let my friends see these things-

I copied- printed- these posts for friends who do not have on-line access.

 

I hand delivered the posts- told my friends ‘I think you need to read this’- I really felt like some of my friends needed to take a strong- hard look at what was happening.

 

So- I’ll post this in a few minutes- and God willing- move on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAVID/JESUS- AND HIS MEN.

 http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8k Teaching the boys by the Lexington

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-8m Plus- we have music for this one!

 

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-89 another radio show from days gone by [I broadcast these- and Many others- on KCTA RADIO for about 20 years- hope you get stuff from them]

 

Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.

Matthew 12:2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

Matthew 12:4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.

Matthew 12:7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.

Matthew 12:8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

 

 

Ok- This week was another spur of the moment video- was with some of the crew at the mission- and said ‘you guys want to do a quick teaching by the Lexington’- and off we went.

 

Part of the reason I want to at least do one video with all of our ‘former’ home groups- is so people that saw all the pic’s/posts this past year [I posted lots of our meetings] can get a feel of how we did it.

 

Plus of course I plan on making a video- doing a post each week.

I will not always write a full post for these because I have taught most of these subjects- and already wrote the posts- over the years.

 

But- for a short re-cap- I talked a bit about Jesus as the fulfillment of the promises of God made to King David.

In the video I quoted the story were Jesus was defending himself and his men against the accusation that they ‘picked corn on the Sabbath’.

 

I always liked this story- because Jesus – as he often did- quotes the Old Testament scriptures back to the religious leaders [who were so legalistic that they couldn’t see that all their devotion to the ‘bible’ was actually obscuring their ability to see Christ!].

 

He does this often in the Gospels.

 

So- he replies ‘have you never read what David and his men did..’ [Watch the video for the rest].

 

Good stuff- Jesus is our King and High Priest- and he has made us a nation of priests- yeah- go ahead- pick the corn- even on the Sabbath.

 

Next post/video I’ll try and talk about this a bit more- but the Sabbath was a type of the Day of Rest/grace- which is now fulfilled in all of us who believe.

 

Because we are in this Rest- we have ceased from our own works [trying to please God thru our efforts- the law- man’s systems] and we are free in Him.

 

This theme runs all thru out the bible- and we keep catching glimpses of it-  The apostle Paul would say things like who can comprehend these things- our minds are so finite-

 

If we excel in LOVE- that’s the closest we will ever get to truly seeing these deep truths.

 

We can not fully grasp them with human wisdom.

 

Oh- on the way to shoot this video- we stopped at Rock City Church- they have a clothing thing for the homeless.

 

So- I browsed- picked up a nice plaque- it said ‘wisdom comes from the journey- not the destination’.

 

So- I said ‘cool’ and quoted a verse I use often in prayer ‘WISDOM BUILDS THE HOUSE- UNDERSTANDING ESTABLISHES IT- AND THRU KNOWLEDGE ITS CHAMBERS ARE FILLED WITH ALL PLEASANT AND PRECIOUS RICHES’ [I actually have this verse- along with about 20 others- painted on a board in my yard- it fell down a while back- I nailed it back up the other day].

A few people heard- and I repeated it.

 

Now- I’m going longer right now than I thought.

I also pray early in my yard in the mornings- I have a makeshift baseball diamond that I stand in- its cool- you’re up early- in this ‘field of dreams’.

 

So- in the service at Rock city church the pastor mentions the verse- how it’s a key verse to him.

 

I was quoting it a day or 2 before on the church property- then he says ‘I had a dream last night- about a baseball field in a back yard’.

 

Yeah- I was in ‘that field’ a few hours earlier- ‘building the house’.

 

Isaiah 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

Isaiah 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

 

1Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

1Corinthians 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1Corinthians 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

1Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

1Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

1Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

1Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

1Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

1Corinthians 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

1Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

1Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1Corinthians 10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

1Corinthians 10:15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

1Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1Corinthians 10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

1Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

1Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

1Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

1Corinthians 10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

1Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

 

Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.

Isaiah 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

Isaiah 45:13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 46:11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

Isaiah 47:8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

Isaiah 47:9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

Isaiah 47:10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

Isaiah 47:12 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

Isaiah 47:13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

Isaiah 47:14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.

 

Over the years out of all the sections of scripture that have been the most significant- I would say Isaiah- chapters 49 thru the end have probably ‘spoken’ to me more than any other section.

 

Most of the times I never focused on these few that I copied here- but the last time I read this section- God really spoke to me about the danger of man’s wisdom- and the lack of the fear of God that we see- not only in ‘the world’ but especially among the people of God.

 

Though these above verses are not in keeping with the video of the week- Yet if I were to say ‘what is the word’ for the week, this would be it.

 

God is challenging Christians to SEE that his word takes precedence over all the systems of men- no matter how well meaning these systems are.

 

God often calls his people to ‘come out of Babylon’ meaning we need to renew our minds to his word.

 

What we often do- is we seek the wisdom of men to justify our actions.

 

When we do this – it is an affront to God-

 

The bible says God is ‘jealous’ over his people.

 

So- for this week- read these verses- see the ways you might have unconsciously rejected the counsel of God and replaced it with the ‘wisdom of the world’.

 

It’s a process- note how God tells us that his word- council- is supreme- and the other things we seek after [magic arts- etc.] are false replacements for the true wisdom of God.

 

Note- as I typed ‘These verses have nothing to do with this week’s video’- I had a funny feeling- like maybe they do?

I checked the post before ‘posting’ it.

Sure enough- I was wrong.

In the above verses from Mathew’s gospel- Jesus says ‘they ate the showbread’- that sustained them.

 

I mentioned the MANNA in this week’s video ‘bread from heaven’- In revelation 2 it speaks of the HIDDEN MANNA- wisdom of God in Christ.

 

Sure enough- this does indeed apply [you figure it out].

 

Revelation 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Revelation 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

 

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all- have a great day

 

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/11-27-14-me-teaching.zip

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7E Radio show 628

 

  WHAT IS THE PROMISED LAND?

 I stuck the notes in the middle of these verses [not on purpose- but started commenting midway thru- and that’s where they are]- So- for those who don’t read the verses I post- at least scroll down and read the comments I made- I think they would help- my comments are scattered between the verses- it would be best just to read all the verses too]

Numbers 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Numbers 13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

Numbers 13:3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

 

Numbers 13:25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

Numbers 13:26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

Numbers 13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

Numbers 13:28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

Numbers 13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

Numbers 13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

Numbers 13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

Joshua 1:1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,

Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

Joshua 1:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

 

Joshua 2:1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.

Joshua 2:2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country.

Joshua 2:3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.

Joshua 2:4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:

Joshua 2:18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

Joshua 2:19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

 

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Joshua 3:7 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

Joshua 4:14 on that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

 

[NOTE- this week I did read some of the passages I plan on speaking on in the video- even though I wasn’t even doing a ‘deep study’ yet- ‘stuff’ [Hidden Manna] always seems to Pop Out. So- I added this chapter because a few days ago I quoted Revelation 5 in the videos- if you remember I said how the images we see in Revelation are significant- so in Revelation 5 we see Jesus with ‘7 horns’- an image of authority- I also said how he himself is a type of the Ark- so- in this famous battle of Jericho- the priests are marching around the city with the Ark- and they are blowing 7 trumpets- made of Rams horns- when you see the image of a Ram [like in the story of Abraham offering Isaac] it means the true Lamb sacrifice is still to come- so the 7 rams horns- blown by the priests- were indeed a prophetic image of a future Lamb- still to come].

Joshua 6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

Joshua 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

Joshua 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

Joshua 6:6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.

Joshua 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.

Joshua 6:8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.

Joshua 6:9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

Joshua 6:10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.

Joshua 6:Joshua 11: So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

Joshua 6:12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

Joshua 6:13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

Joshua 6:14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

Joshua 6:15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.

Joshua 6:16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

Joshua 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Joshua 6:18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.

Joshua 6:19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.

Joshua 6:20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

 

 

NOTES HERE, AND MORE BELOW

[ I’m giving you a flavor of the story here- I don’t want to load this post with bible verses- though I wouldn’t mind- but the intent of me teaching this is to show that once again- when the Apostles wrote about these stories in the New Testament- they saw them as primarily finding fulfillment in the completed work of Christ- the writer of Hebrews- chapters 3-4 [copied below] is trying to persuade his Jewish brothers to see that the promise of REST- and inheriting the land- was not talking about natural land- but looking forward to the kingdom of God.

 He says ‘If Joshua gave them rest—the land- then why did king David speak of another rest- still to come’- Then the writer of Hebrews [probably Paul the apostle] will take an obscure passage from the Psalms [95] and say ‘see- David spoke by the Holy Spirit- saying there was still a day to come’.

 

It’s very interesting to see how Paul [it’s easier for me to just take Paul as the author] interprets all these promises in a sort of spiritual way- finding fulfillment in Christ- and the kingdom of God- he even sees the ‘land promise’ as finding fulfillment in the Sabbath rest of God- which he also ‘spiritualizes’ by taking the creation story- and the passage that says ‘God rested on the 7th day’- he says ‘there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God’.

 

Now- I wrote an entire commentary on Hebrews on the blog- and I don’t want to do it again here.

 

There are many passages in the book of Hebrews that divide Christians over one of the many debates [which I think are silly- to be honest] that rages in the church.

 

These Hebrew passages which divide us are usually because we read in Hebrews things like ‘those who had the Spirit- if they fall away- they can’t be brought back to repentance’.

 

I believe if we understand that what Paul is primarily doing is appealing to his Jewish brothers- saying ‘look- God blessed you/us in a unique way- the Jewish people- but we must now move on in the revelation of God- as revealed thru the Messiah- and if we want the true REST of God- then we find it in Christ’ [see- I’m re-teaching it- The Jews did indeed ‘have the Spirit’ in the Old Covenant- in a way no other nation had. The Spirit of God anointed their Kings/Priests/Prophets- and in a sense ‘to fall away’ can be taken as them not ‘continuing in the revelation of God’ meaning believing Jesus was indeed the Christ- the one their prophets spoke about- see? Ok- Like I said- let’s not re-do the commentary- That’s why in the following verses he says ‘your fore-fathers didn’t enter in because of UNBELIEF’- He’s actually teaching- yeah- Justification BY FAITH here- telling them if they stay in the Law System- with the sacrifices- and the Levitical priesthood- which is based on works- not faith- then they too [1st century Jewish brothers] will fail to ‘ENTER INTO REST’ just like unbelief kept their fathers out- see?

 

So- even the very famous land promise [the promised land] is seen as the New Covenant of Christ- and the Kingdom of God- I could go on- but won’t.

 

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. [This is the obscure reference- where the writer says ‘see- David wrote this verse- by the Holy Spirit- many years after Joshua took them into the promised land- so- God must have been speaking of another day of rest [or promised land] that was to come some day-and sure enough- it has come! It’s this great work of Christ and the kingdom/ church today’- I mean if we- the people of God can ‘see’ these things- it would revolutionize how we see ourselves- and our role in the world today].

Hebrews 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. [once again- the writer takes the scripture that says ‘God rested on the 7th day’ and spiritually applies it- saying ‘there is a Rest’ [or covenant of grace- not law- works- which would be the other 6 days of creation- where God ‘worked’- law] but now- after the work/law period- the 7th day has come’! I mean if we can grasp these truths- and read the bible with ‘understanding’ then it would make a big difference- for sure.

Hebrews 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Hebrews 4:8 For if  Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. [This is where some confusion- and fighting- among Christians takes place- because in Hebrews we do read ‘the people of God’ ‘those who have received the Spirit’- in context- when the writer says- here ‘the people of God’ I believe it is a Jewish reference- and Paul is saying ‘see-there is still a Rest promise to God’s people’ trying to persuade his Jewish brothers to enter into belief in Christ as the Messiah- then they would rest from the works of the law- see?]

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Psalm 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 95:3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

Psalm 95:5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

Psalm 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

Psalm 95:8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Psalm 95:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Psalm 95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:

Psalm 95:11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

 

NOTE- As I post this- on Thanksgiving day- I want to bless you guys- have a great thanksgiving- we have much to be thankful for- so- I don’t want to ruin it by getting into some of the stuff I plan on indeed dealing with down the road.

 

But- I mentioned the Ferguson Mo. Situation- the shooting of Mike Brown- and the non- indictment of the cop.

 

As you know- the media- both left and right- just can’t deal- justly- with these things- because frankly- these guys are not really ‘media’ in the sense of non- biased reporting.

 

But- I have been on the streets for many years- and know gang members- addicts- the whole scene.

 

These guys are my friends- and because of this unique situation- I know- for a fact- that some of the local cops are indeed ‘dirty’.

 

Now- I have dealt with this in the past- and the main reason I didn’t report lots of this- is because these stories came to me as being ‘one of the group’- that is they were told to me by my friends.

 

Judges who buy drugs from the local dealers [one] – a cop who gets guys to do ‘sexual favors’ for them [yes- guys].

 

These things are regularly reported to me- over 25 years.

So- trust me- things are not always as they appear.

 

Now- when you know this stuff- and you see a media personality seem to take one side or the other- to me- they don’t ‘know’ what is really going on.

 

So- I hope to get into this down the road- and yes- this is something the church does have a role to play- but for now- enjoy your day.

 

-See, now you got me started.

 

Many years ago at the Fire Dept. – we used to read the old call logs [books that logged the runs we went to].

Now- these were old- from back in ‘the day’- but- they recorded stuff like ‘we had a call from some NIGGERS- and went to… .’.

 

Ok- did the cops have the same stuff?

 

Probably.

 

I say this to show you- many Black people have a right to distrust cops- and if you have a background knowledge of some of the stuff that goes on- then you can see it’s not always ‘paranoia’ on the part of the Black community.

They have a history- of well- being killed- for stuff like selling cigarettes in NY- or being shot because the White cop said ‘get your license’ and the Black guy- tries to get it- and is shot- on video.

 

Or walking down the stairs- and it’s dark- so the cop murders you [yes- that’s murder- in cold blood- and regardless of ‘the law’ it requires judgment according to God’s law].

 

Now- are all Cops bad?

 

No- but more than you think- trust me.

I am not a big fan of Al Sharpton- but I saw his speech last night- how he said the prosecutors- and the grand jury- how at times these guys all work together- and the biases [even the ones they don’t realize] do effect the process.

 

I have not followed the Michael Brown case- or to be honest- much media.

 

But I saw Bill OReilly defending the ‘forensic evidence’ one night- that if the forensic evidence proved the cop was innocent- then it’s a closed case.

 

He was referring to the fact that they found blood in the cop car.

 

The 2 Black guys trying to give the other view- said its how you interpret it.

 

So- if a Black kid got into a struggle- and there was blood in the car- the cop would be pissed off.

 

It is possible that as the kid ran- if he did stick his hands up and said ‘don’t shoot’ then it would be murder.

 

Now- I’m not saying that’s what happened- I don’t know- but it showed me that because of a history of police abuse [and trust me- I know- I just gave you the old call logs where we referred- often- to THE NIGGERS].

 

Then it causes distrust- and the Black community has this distrust- in my view- rightfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I deleted the entire post for this week- instead I will post these 2 videos-

 

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/11-28-14-the-system.zip

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/the-video-i-said-i-would-never-do.zip

I think my friends should at least watch the one titled ‘the video I said I would never make’- I did it because I felt it would help my friends understand some stuff- God bless you all.

 

To reassure my friends- in the first video I said I was going to mention names- the post I deleted IN NO WAY mentioned any things my friends have done.

 

I would NEVER talk about the things I learned- from friends- that have happened on the streets- these things were shared with me- as friends.

 

The thing I was going to write- was another- of many- things I heard that law enforcement did TO THEM [Like maybe planting Zanax on a friend- then- according to my friend- the cop later admitted it].

 

Now- that’s what I was talking about.

 

I deleted the whole post- frankly- because it’s difficult to tell these things- without using my friend’s names.

What concerns me about these MANY stories I have heard over the years- is when I tell the guys ‘why don’t you report it’- they are scared.

 

So- to reassure my friends- who do see my good and bad days- I will never get into the stuff you guys told me in confidence.

 

Psalm 82:1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

Psalm 82:2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

Psalm 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

Psalm 82:4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

Psalm 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

Psalm 82:7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

Psalm 82:8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

 

Matthew 13:1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Matthew 13:2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

Matthew 13:9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together .

 

  1. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteouswitness

 

16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then both the men, between whom thecontroversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges , which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition : and, behold, if the witness be afalse witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, falsewitness, blasphemies:

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery , Do not kill , Do not steal , Do not bearfalse witness

if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

I’m going to say a few things here at the end- that some might have problems with.

 

Thru out this ordeal [the video above- that I said ‘I would never make’] some-over time- said to me ‘John- everyone knows the girl lied’.

 

And- to be honest- I came to see this over time [thru many events].

 

But- why would a person say ‘I’m sorry- I don’t remember doing this- but if I did- I’m sorry’ [on facebook].

 

You might not believe this- but because- at first- being I didn’t know for sure- it would hurt the accuser- if she was right [now- be smart here- a person trying to deny something they did- would never do this- see?]

 

Now- you might say ‘your nuts’- well- maybe I am.

 

So- after all we learned at this stage- I’m going to say ‘I’m 99% sure I didn’t do this’- but- if I did- then ‘I’m sorry’.

 

Another lesson learned- after 2 years- you might think ‘wow- I had no idea it would affect him like this’.

 

Let me say something- everything has changed in my life- and even though I feel I’m back on track to a degree- you have no idea how this sticks with a person- for life.

 

You never know if the people you are trying to help- have read about you on-line.

 

Then- you might be working with someone- helping a street person- all is going well- then one day they are afraid to look at you- ahh- they read something.

 

Or- if you think someone knows- then that person accepts you- you feel great.

 

But- if that person avoids you- maybe for another reason- you think ‘O my God- I thought they knew!’

I never realized that your life changes- forever.

I’m typing at the coffee shop right now- but- a few weeks ago I gave some of the kids my card- so they could enjoy the site.

 

Then I thought ‘I haven’t seen so and so for a few days’- a new friend.

 

Again ‘O shit- I gave him the card- now he read everything’.

 

I mean this never ends.

 

So- maybe me talking openly about this helps others- I hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE KINGDOM- OF GOD.

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/the-second-video-i-said-i-would-never-make.zip

 

Here’s the link- for some reason the other link didn’t work

 

 

https://ccoutreach87.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/the-second-video-i-said-i-would-never-make.zip

http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7X   another radio show I did years ago

Ok- this video [hopefully] will be the last one on this topic [If I charged for these- I would be able to make money!]

But- I never take money [opp’s- ok- Cameron gave me 20 bucks- he’s making a killing with his lawn business- yeah- I took it].

 

So- as I talk about these things- I think its good- because those who have followed my site for a while know I have talked about all of this.

 

Often times when Christians go thru stuff- they go thru a ‘period of restoration’- then- when they ‘come back’- they pretend like nothing happened.

 

And people don’t just want to ‘hear’ preaching/teaching- though that’s a part of it- but in the bible you see the stories of failures- struggles- the difficulties are there- for all to see.

 

 

 

Ok- hopefully in the next video we can talk about the Kingdom of God.

In the progression of teaching I have been doing the last few months- I have been trying to show how the bible is simply the history of God bringing man back to himself [back to the Garden- meaning communion with God].

 

And how when we read the promises that God made to man- the intent was to restore this fellowship that was broken.

 

About a year ago I met a missionary- Albert.

 

He stayed at the halfway house for a few days- and we had some good fellowship.  He told me one day that a famous preacher [I’m familiar with the person- won’t mention his name] came to Robstown- and preached ‘the kingdom’.

 

He said many of the pastors [and from what I gathered- he himself] were no longer preaching ‘Jesus’- but the kingdom.

 

One day I was at the courthouse- and I met an older brother- he was passing out flyers- with the same basic message.

 

They were teaching that the true message of Jesus [and John the Baptist] was the Kingdom of God- and that the church world is missing it [or in deception] because they are preaching Jesus- not the message of the Kingdom.

 

I explained to Albert that this understanding of the Kingdom went to an extreme.

 

That in the bible [the books of Acts] the central message of the apostles- was actually Jesus.

One of the early church fathers [a Bishop] said ‘Jesus is the Kingdom’.

 

As with many things- there is usually some truth to a certain insight of scripture [yes- Jesus and John did preach ‘the Kingdom’]

 

But- these 2 [Jesus- Kingdom] are not really different messages.

 

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you- the Kingdom does not come with ‘outward observation’ [meaning- you’re not looking- obsessively- for a future Kingdom].

 

But that thru the death and resurrection of Christ- and his ascension to Gods right hand- the Kingdom has indeed been established.

 

Jesus- remember- is alive- bodily- at Gods right hand [that’s why faith in the bodily resurrection is a foundational belief of the church].

 

And we are NOW a nation of Kings and Priests.

 

So- Jesus- his rule- are present realities.

 

When I had the discussion with Albert- I thought at the time I would write a post- titled ‘an open letter to the Pastors of Robstown’- and sort of correct the extreme view that THOSE WHO WERE PREACHING JESUS- WERE WRONG.

 

No- that’s going too far- but yes- the message of the Kingdom of God- is greater than simply trying to ‘get people saved’- though thats a part of it.

 

Being saved is in a way your new membership into the Kingdom [we are called ambassadors for Christ]- and we are presently in the world- to be salt and light- to have an influence for good in the nations.

The best understanding- in my view- is that the Kingdom of God is both a present- and  future reality.

 

If we understand that Jesus is indeed alive- physically- right now- then he is the King- of the Kingdom- now.

 

He works thru the people of the Kingdom [us- believers] at the present time- and he will continue to reign thru out all eternity [remember the videos? That God promised King David that a Son would rule from the throne- forever].

 

At the culmination of all things- there will be the return of Christ- and a new heaven and earth- which will be a ‘new phase’ of the kingdom- that is already here.

 

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God

 

Now after that John was put in prison , Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of thekingdom of God,

 

And saying , The time is fulfilled , and the kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye , and believe the gospel.

And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into thekingdom of God.

And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

 

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come , he answered them and said , The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

neither shall they say , Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold , the kingdom of God is within you.

 

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

 

But we preach Christ crucified , unto the Jews a stumblingblock , and unto the Greeks foolishness;

 

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified .

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

 

 

 

 

www.corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com

facebook.com/john.chiarello.5

ccoutreach87.wordpress.com

 

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. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About ccoutreach87

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

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