Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The reason this is often overlooked is because we assume that a commandment must start with a "Thou shalt...." However, one must remember that in the Bible, the Ten Commandments are never known as such (except in the margins and notes). They are known as the Law. In legal terminology, written law is not limited to such wording. In fact, laws are often written as matters of legal establishment and distinction. Contract laws are written this way. For instance, the deed to your home is such a contract. It establishes that your home at your specific address legally belongs to you.
Such is the case of the first commandment. God establishes the covenant fact that He indeed is God (I am the LORD thy God). Logically, the second half follows. The second half cannot possibly stand on its own. It must be established by the fact of the LORD God Himself as the existent, real, and only God.
I write all this to preface the third issue mentioned in the previous blog entry of 12/28. When we put Biblical adherence before worship, we violate the first commandment. As important as Biblical adherence is (and this is coming from a prophet!), it cannot take priority over God and His rightful glory, honor, and worship.
Sadly, this is all but nonexistent in the house-church.org website pages. It is another reason why I share the message, Stop going to church and start being the Church. Be the Church and worship. That is the preeminence of Colossians 1:12 - "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Jesus gets first priority in "all things". No exceptions. This fact must not be neglected in our writings, prayers, or churches.
That it is missing from the website is likely an oversight. Nevertheless, I should like to know more about this group and will continue my search. I shall write later concerning the last issue later. It requires further study and prayer.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
For the most part I actually do agree with most of what I see here at first glance. However, there are three areas of serious concern:
1. The polar debate with Gene Edwards
2. The question of what to do with unbelieving family members in the house church is not addressed
3. The focus on the wrong purpose (Biblical adherence instead of worship)
I shall discuss the first point in this entry then proceed to the others later on.
What is at stake here is not who is right and who is wrong. The issue is the same one that Jesus dealt with - the fleshly desire for power. In our Lord's case, He faced the Pharisees and Sadduccees, the religious leaders of the day. In the case of House-Church vs. Edwards, they are likewise the religious leaders of their movements. In both cases, the focus is on the people in power though the articles try to lead you to believe a more righteous line.
The same can be said of denominationalism. No matter the case, since the day God made Himself known to man, man has attempted to usurp God and take control. This is the way of the flesh. It is the first and very nature of sin, that man says "No" to God and "Yes" to himself, his flesh, and the father of lies - the devil. This is the very turning away from God to self. Therefore John emphasizes so much in his Gospel that we are to believe.
To believe means to turn to the living God from idols, just as we are instructed in I Thessalonians 1:9. It is not from these sins of the flesh, of power, greed, and self that we turn. It is from the sin of unbelief. For any one of these sins must necessarily add up to guilt for all (James 2:10). That is what Jesus died for and saved us from.
This point is a lesson unto itself and I will share more about it later for it is crucial to the other two points above. I will close with this:
My ministry and calling is to the remnant, the saints of God, to be used of Him to wake up the Church according to Ephesians 5:25-27 and I Corinthians 15:34. If I stray from this into the fleshly captures of what inevitably comes from getting books published and speaking engagements, then pray boldly to God and speak boldly to me that I would repent for all that I do now is for the glory of God.
Yet throughout history, God is sovereign and has not allowed the flesh of mankind to stop His purposes. The kingdom of God is filled with wheat and tares (Matthew 13). In these last days there will be false teachers and false prophets, some of whom started out in righteousness only to be felled by the flesh. This is a great mystery and yet it is true.
God allows these things but He does not prefer them. He still holds high the standard of His truth. It never changes. We are commanded to be, to do, to live, to believe, according to His Word. We can only do this in obediece to Romans 6:11 - "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Friday, December 26, 2008
Did you get everything you wanted?
How did you and the in-laws get along this year?
Were the kids perfectly behaved and grateful for everything they got?
How was the food? Did you eat too much?
How many different versions of the Christmas story did you hear or tell? In other words, what did you tell folks what Christmas is really all about?
I'll stop there because that's one of the questions I want to focus on first. Then I'll talk about the one's above it.
What is Christmas really all about? When folks ask me that I give the usual jaw-dropping answer, "It's December 25th, just another day." Both the world and Christians expect something more. But it is nothing more.
The birth of Jesus, God incarnate, is certainly profound. But not in and of itself. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world a baby but did not stay so. Just as He is still not hanging on the cross (as so many idols portray Him today), He is still not lieing in a manger. In fact, the eternal view of Jesus is as John described Him, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
John saw Jesus in many ways during their lifetimes together on earth. He saw Him in person for approximately three years, first as a man of some thirty-years old, and finally, on Jesus' last day on earth as Son of Man, as Christ crucified. Three days later John saw Him again and for fifty days onward saw Him still bearing the marks of that awful day. Then, in the Revelation, John saw Him that way again, as a Lamb slain.
When we meet Jesus someday in the air with the rest of the saints, this is how we will see Him. We will not see Him as a baby. We will not see Him on the cross. We will not see Him unmarked. Do you know why He will look this way?
Remember when Jesus came out of the tomb and was met on the way by two disciples? They did not recognize Him. Not even Mary recognized Him at first until He spoke her name. She confused Him with the gardener. Why?
Because He arose just as He descended, as the Lamb slain. Isaiah saw Him this way hundreds of years before the event (Isaiah 53). The disciples saw Him this way after His resurrection. John's last vision of Jesus as Son of man describes Him in a glorious way (Revelation 1:14-15). Nevertheless, Jesus will always be throughout eternity known in this most profound way - the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
The good news of His birth (not Christmas as we know it) is simply a matter of historical fact leading to this final triumph over sin. The Atonement bought sinful mankind back into righteous relationship to our holy God. The cost of redemption was the very lifeblood of His Son.
The birth of Jesus is therefore all about sin and salvation. He was born of water and blood (I John 5:6). He died in blood and water (John 19:34). Did you notice how these two verses switch the order of these components? In His birth it was all about the water (that of His earthly monther's womb). In His death, it was all about His blood.
You see therefore that there is nothing to celebrate about the first without dwelling upon the latter. There really is no other story. Adding or taking away from it is wicked. And that's just what the world and the churches have done over the past two-thousand plus years.
There is no commandment to celebrate Christmas. Neither are there words in the Bible to condone this practice in any way. It was mankind's addition and tradition that came about sometime in the fourth century AD, initiated by a pope of the Catholic church shortly after Christianity was legalized in Rome. The pope wanted to make the most of it and gain popular opinion for "Christianity" by combining Christmas with the winter solstice, a pagan holiday most popular in the day.
Just about everything we hold sacred and true about the holiday is first affixed to the pagan rituals. The tree, the greens, the caroling, the mistletoe, the gift giving - these are all pagan. They are still pagan.
Now you can't argue with history and so while you may necessarily agree with all that's said, you may argue still, what's wrong with all that? What's the harm? What about the children?
That gets to the second point as I remind you of the first set of questions at the beginning of this post. I sum up the set of possible answers to them in one word - disappointment. That's what sin does. It is probably the most tolerated evil in the world because it always leaves room for hope. Maybe next year. I can always exchange it. They'll grow out of it. The rationales go on and on.
There is no hope except in our Lord Jesus Christ. No glory. No certainty. No satisfaction. But that old man, that flesh, it wants so badly to have, have, have. Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20). This immediately and necessarily leads straight to sin (James 1:14-15).
That is why Jesus was so stern and absolute in His commandment to forsake everthing. He left no conditions on this. He gave no room for consideration. He permitted no time for contemplation. It is a transaction that every disciple must make (and continually make) in order to be free.
Free from what?
Only you know the weight of your own sin baggage. What disappointments do you carry? What do you continue to hope will get better next time? Who let you down, and you're just trying to forget about it?
You can forsake it all and be free. Right now.
That's the purpose of this blog. To share God's truth with you. Awake to righteousness and sin not (I Corinthians 15:34). This is what God requires of you and all that Jesus has given to you. It is your responsibility to transact upon your own will. He will not do it for you. You cannot wish it. You cannot pray about it. You must do it. Immediately you do, God will move all heaven and earth to make your path wide and your steps large and your eyes wide to see and ears open to hear all the glorious truth of this great freedom. You will be free indeed.
And there is much more after this. Get hold of this truth and live it before God daily. You will begin to understand and experience all God means by sanctification (I Thessalonians 4:1-7).
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
What would your family say?
How would your friends and co-workers react?
Would you get a call from your pastor?
What questions would you struggle with the most just before making the final decision?
Who would you be most worried about concerning their opinion of your action?
What sort of conditions would you attach to your decision?
What would you miss most at your church?
Would anybody truly miss you after about three months?
What would you do with the extra time?
Who would you most want to be with during this new-found extra time?
How would you explain to a stranger the reasons for your decision?
Why did you start going to church in the first place?
If you seriously spent any time answering these questions, then consider this word from the Lord Jesus Christ, "...whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." You are carrying religious baggage to be repented of. It is not of faith. Therefore it is sin.
Stop going to church and start being the Church.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I'm talking about nothing on earth and something in heaven. It's time for the Church, the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ to wake up. WAKE UP! The Church is asleep and Jesus is fast on His way back for us (Revelation 22:20, Ephesians 5:27, I Thessalonians 4:17). Are you ready? (Mark 13:33, Luke 18:8, Ephesians 5:27)
Oswald Chambers in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, has much to say about today's topic:
"When you are face to face with a soul in difficulty spiritually, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If that soul can get to God on any other line, then the Cross of Jesus Christ is unnecessary. If you can help others by your sympathy or understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You have to keep your soul rightly related to God and pour out for others on His line, not pour out on the human line and ignore God. The great note to-day is amiable religiosity.
The one thing we have to do is to exhibit Jesus Christ crucified, to lift Him up all the time. Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the Cross of Jesus will lead astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is banking on the Reality of Redemption, the people he talks to must be concerned. The thing that remains and deepens is the worker's simple relationship to Jesus Christ; his usefulness to God depends on that and that alone."
"The pietistic movements of to-day have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them; there is nothing about them that needs the Death of Jesus Christ; all that is required is a pious atmosphere, and prayer and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous, it did not cost the passion of God, it is not dyed in the blood of the Lamb, not stamped with the hall-mark of the Holy Ghost; it has not that mark on it which makes men say, as they look with awe and wonder - "That is the work of God Almighty." That and nothing else is what the New Testament talks about.
The type of Christian experience in the New Testament is that of personal passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other type of Christian experience, so called, is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration, no being born again into the Kingdom in which Christ lives, but only the idea that He is our Pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is Saviour long before He is Pattern. To-day He is being despatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere Example. He is that, but He is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God."
This last one is my favorite:
"Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally. Paul lived in the basement; the coherent critics live in the upper storey of the external statement of things, and the two do not begin to touch each other. Paul's consistency was down in the fundamentals. The great basis of his coherence was the agony of God in the Redemption of the world, viz., the Cross of Jesus Christ.
Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ."
"Do away with as much of it as possible." Stop going to church and doing the church thing just because that's the way you've always done it, the way you were raised, the way you've read about it in books (not the Bible), the way it was taught to you by those you love and trust the most. Start being the Church and get your churchiness right by taking direction from the Lord Jesus Christ alone. To start with, there may be much you have to repent from.
More on that later.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Just after this wonderful moment, God brought three people out of my past back into my life. Three people who hurt me. Three who I was very angry and bitter with. I knew I was free from those things. But Jesus said, "you shall be free indeed." And so those very specific and painful people had to be finally reckoned with. I had to let it go. I let go of the anger, bitterness, and circumstances. I had to let go of the feelings that arose just at the mere mention of their names, the sight of their face, the association of their deed with someone else. One of these had been festering for nearly thirty years!
Christian, let it go. (Hebrews 12:1) Be free indeed. That is the depth of confession, forsaking, and repentance. That is the breadth of God's love to cover it. That is the power of Jesus' atonement to settle it forever and never bring it up again.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
My last post was about prayer. Most people would say that George Mueller was all about prayer. Well he was. But he was so much more. He said that the chief objective of his life was not the orphans and not prayer. Indeed, it was the glory of God at all costs, every day.
If anyone could have given up, blamed it all on someone else, or succumbed to circumstances, it was George Mueller. He cared for perhaps two-thousand orphans every day for decades. He knew not where the next meal would come from, the next bedsheet, the next set of clothing. Every single bit was faithfully committed to God in prayer. God was delighted to answer every single bit with provision.
Now we might consider this remarkable. We would say that George Mueller had an exceptional gift. But he said of himself that he was a mere man, that anyone could believe God and pray as he could. Yet two-hundred years plus after his birth, who else can be listed in the same ranks as Mueller? It seems precious few. Why?
We all say to ourselves, "I want to be like that." We pray to God to be like that. Deep down we know it's true that we could and yet the reality escapes us. Or perhaps, like me, you have tasted on brief occasion that goodness of God and wonder how to keep it up.
But like me, depravity, circumstances, and blame settle the affections elsewhere. All too often I put my trust in man resulting in utter disappointment. Thus begins a viscious and bitter circle. I try to convince myself of godly motives for thinking and feeling the way I do. Jesus did not put His trust in any man for He knows what is in man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Yes we know all that but no change; no improvement; still angry.
Mueller's biographer went on to tell his "secret". He purposed in his heart every day at the beginning of the day to make himself happy in the Lord. No matter the circumstances, the letdowns from man, the personal feelings of the flesh (Oh poor me!), George Mueller determined that God was good and to ensure his prayers were heard and answered, he must first be right with God, then worship, then petition.
As I considered this, God let me know that it is the right course. He brought to mind another great man of God whose writings I have delved daily for nearly thirty years - Oswald Chambers. He writes that we are to worship God at times in extravagence. Like Mary who broke the alabaster box of precious ointment on the Lord's feet, then wiped it with her hair, so are we to demonstrate our love for the Lord Jesus at times. We are to worship Him in the moment and do the thing that required no forethought, no great gathering, just a spontaneous outpouring of love, worship, and blessedness to Him.
God salvation brings us to this very thing, that we can worship Him in the beauty of holiness. God says in Ephesians 1:3 that He will bless us with heavenly blessings when we do this. That word "bless" means "happy".
That's what Mueller was after. He knew the depravity of mankind and his own heart. He set aside that easily besetting murk and instead made himself happy in the Lord. Sometimes this took more than a half hour as he poured out confession of sin to God and then trusted in His mercy through the blood of Jesus. Only then did he know by the blessing poured upon him from the throne that he was in the presence of God Who was then ready to pour out from His storehouse of abundance.
So now you know some of why you haven't heard from me in a month. But no more. Pray for me and yourselves as Mueller learned to. Dare not to start a day without being happy in the Lord for He is good.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
There is NO SUCH THING as life after death. You were created an eternal soul. The death of the body is irrelevant. Eternal life for the Christian starts at the moment of salvation. That life is a life guaranteed with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in heaven. Eternal life for the unbeliever starts at the moment of conception. If they are never saved and upon the moment of their physical death, their soul goes on living in the eternal damnation of hell.
Eternal life in heaven is not something any Christian has to wait for to experience. You don't have to wait until physical death to go to heaven. It was not an exclusive experience for Paul as he described in II Corinthians 12:2. You can go there anytime you want.
Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
Whenever we pray, and we are right with God, we are at the throne of God. That is where He hears us ans speaks to us. No matter where your physical body is when you pray, your spirit is in heaven. That's where Jesus is now. That's where the Father is now. That's where you go.
Prayer starts in heaven. Prayer is not getting what we want, but getting hold of what God wants and then doing it in His power here on earth.
Romans 11:36, "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
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:"
Do you know the happiness (blessing) in your spirit like this? Then perhaps you have never really prayed before. Perhaps you are not saved. Or, perhaps you simply don't know the truth.
I shared this truth with a friend a few months ago. He was going through a very difficult time. Beyond tears, he needed Jesus in a personal way. He's been a Christian for more than twenty-five years and is what most folks would consider mature in the faith. Yet he had never been been "blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."
The next day he came to me and shared something extraordinary. "For the first time in my life I know that I actually talked to God in His presence and He talked to me personally." It was real.
Christian, start praying this way now. Don't do it for the blessing. That's a by-product. Do it just to be with your Savior and seek Him with your whole heart.
Friday, October 24, 2008
All writers have to edit. Some are fortunate to have editors do the work for them. As a writer, I'm usually on my own. What that means right now in this stage of my development as a writer is this - the final piece ends up surprisingly like the original draft. Why? I hate editing.
That got me to thinking about the Bible. It is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Even though written by many men over many years, it is perfect. I have to believe that when these men were under holy inspiration that what they wrote they wrote once and only once and they were done. No editing! No rough draft, second, third, fourth cut. No word count concerns. No grammar issues, misspellings, need for a better word using the Thesaurus. Simply perfect.
We know all that though don't we? If you're like me though, do you ever wonder about the fallibility of the inspired process that God takes you through as you exercise your spiritual gift? I am a prophet. So telling God's Word as it is is quite easy because all I have to do is copy it. But the words that I put around it are where I get into trouble. Without a doubt, God inspires me to write. But it's not the same as when He created the Bible. To me this is both good and bad. Good because I know the Bible is complete and I am by no means a new contributing author. But bad because I so love to use the gift of God in writing, yet find the need to edit constantly at my heels.
So nowadays, God's inspiration only goes so far. And I'm OK with that. But I have to get over this loathing of editing. I'm so thankful there are folks out there who are willing to help me in that process. They are patient, understand what I want to say, and know how to guide me to a good finished product. Pray for them.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Paul posed a similar exchange in Galatians 4:9, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?" He refers here to the law and the flesh. John amplifies this in 1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
The world says, "It's not what you know but who you know." Beware lest Jesus one day say to you, "I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth...." (Luke 13:25-28)
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Jesus tells us in John 4:23-24 that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Furthermore, God tells us in Psalm 24:4 that only those with a pure heart can approach God's throne. Only there can we hear God's voice, His commands, His calling, His personal words for us.
No sinner can go there. No Christian with sin in his/her life can go there. God will have no sin in His holy presence. This confused my friend. Perhaps you see things now like he did at that time. Hasn't the blood of Jesus cleansed us from all sin, saved us, and brought us forever into the presence of God?
From an eternal and positional perspective the answer is yes. However, during this mortal life on earth, we must still experientially deal with sin. Jesus' work is done. But our work, our responsibility, is to maintain a right standing, our fellowship, with Him. While we do not lose our salvation when we sin, we do lose our fellowship and right standing with God. How is this amended?
God tells us the way in I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Then, transact with God according to Romans 6:11, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Finally, lock it in by putting on your armor according to Ephesians 6:10-20 finishing with this command, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Those effectual and fervent prayers will be heard and none other. Why? Because you are righteous both positionally and experientally.
Well this gave my friend great pause. He said he had to go home and study the Scriptures and pray on this. He did.
The next morning he came to me rejoicing. "For the first time in my twenty-five plus years of Christian life I HEARD God speak to me personally", he said. He now has ears to hear. Do you?
Don't wait for the crisis of sin to get you to this place that all Christians have before them since day one of their salvation. Know this truth and be free indeed!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
So you went to school to be a writer and not a businessperson? Then shame on the schools of higher learning for not requiring courses in basic businss. Shame on you for not doing your homework and realizing the basic elements of a successful writing career.
I was once in that crowd. You know, write something, put up a website, and the sales will come. Doesn't happen that way. And at the time I was already a professional and successful businessman in another field. But for some dumb reason I never made the connection.
But now I read in professional writing magazines, websites, and blogs written by professional writers a whole slew of complaints about this business of writing. How dare you? And editors, how dare you print this stuff that your own staff is whining about? Why are you critizizing your own business? In my business world apart from writing, such things just do not happen. I never read in my engineering journals complaints about the expanded responsibilities one has to the overall business. Anyone who pigeonholes themselves into being just an engineer or just a writer will quickly find themselves at the bottom of the slush pile.
Business is a fact of life and the writing business is no different than any other. Stop the whining!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Stand in awe and sin not....Psalm 4:4
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. Psalm 39:1
Awake to righteousness and sin not....I Corinthians 15:34
Be ye angry, and sin not. Ephesians 4:20
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. I John 2:1
Enjoy the perfect presence of the LORD and give Him glory today. He has saved you from your sins!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Immense sand dunes rise up from the desert floor. Wind whips the sand and bites your legs if you are foolish enough like me to get out of the car wearing shorts. Even crazier was the taking of pictures with a very expensive camera. Sand and dust quickly infiltrate everything. So my family and I jumped out, took the shot, and jumped back in the car before it was swallowed up in sand (literally it was piling up around the tires in just a short time!)
Looking out from this harsh landscape at the bottom of the world, you can see the rim of mountainside surrounding this spot in all directions. Striations are clearly seen on the cliffs where this once ancient body of water existed and left behind its bed as it disappeared. This is no small area. It is hundreds of miles in circumference. But the best was yet to come.
As we left the area on another unimproved road to get back to the highway, we saw a herd of cattle down below. This desert seemed hardly the place to support any such life. I told my kids that if we got a flat tire, it was unlikely that we could survive the seventeen mile walk to get out. The sun was high, the wind was fast, and there was no cover. Worst of all, there was no water. Drought has hit this land hard this year. Mud cracks and salt packs are everywhere.
That's what made this part of the Oregon Trail so dangerous to the uninformed. What appeared to be fresh water was in fact poisonous alkali salt. Cattle died. People died. If enough provisions were not carried, or if fresh water was not running in the river, then death was imminent.
Yet there it was down at the bottom of the desert, a small spring surrounded by a herd of cows. I only saw it because I was curious what kinds of animals were down there. Earlier we saw a few pronghorn antelope. These skittish creatures don't linger long for photo-ops! My binoculars enabled me to identify the cattle and catch the glint of water from the bright sun. A few miles further up and a sign at a crossroads confirmed that indeed, "Chicken Springs" was just down the way.
What does all this have to do with the Biblical flood? Read the evidence and see it for yourself. Here is a great example of the fountains rising up from the deep and water covering the whole earth. All that is left now is evidence of that water recession, sand dunes, and a tiny spring (from the deep - it must be for the surface water is poison).
This has to be one of the most remote and spectacular places I have ever seen and touched. Truly God is merciful and mighty that He would leave this all behind for us. It is a reminder of His power and grace, His hatred of sin, the ultimate demise of this world, and the new heaven and earth to come.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Given that a believer is gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit to evangelize, street preaching is a wonderful way to do that as shown by the examples of Jesus, Paul, John, Peter. etc.. However, not all are gifted in this way. That's where part one of the deception comes in.
How many Christians are taught to believe that we must all go out and evangelize the world by public speaking? And how many of that group are scared to death to do that? How many of you still feel that way even after going to the EE class? Well, there's a good reason for that.
First, it's not your calling (hold your comments for just a second folks! Yes, everybody is called to witness AND make disciples. The critical issue surrounds how we do that as a Body.) Second, it's not your gift. There are folks in the Body who are gifted as evangelists. Check out I Corinthians 12-14, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4 for the rest of the list.
Each person, as they are uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit, fulfills the Great Commission. For instance, those with the gift of hospitality evangelize, witness, and make disciples most supernaturally in the home as they serve and make folks feel at home (or whatever else folks with this gift do! :-) My gift is prophecy so I witness and make disciples in a very direct way through sharing God's Word boldly in print and small group settings.
The calling is the second area of issue. God first gifts His Body, then He calls each member uniquely. Have you made both your calling and election sure? Do you know that it (your calling) can change from time to time as the Spirit wills? Perhaps you are a gifted evangelist but NOT called to street preaching. You can only know with certainty the words of truth by seeking them directly from heaven. Follow the path from Romans 11:36 through 12:2.
Monday, August 18, 2008
No sooner did the show end than another loud voice opened up behind the audience. A street preacher had set up a podium and was deriding various members of the audience and the cast. I listened closely.
With a Bible in one hand, he shouted at the one cowboy and called him a public drunkard. The bargirl was a "harlot". The audience in general participated in a show of evil and wickedness. At that, a member of the audience shouted back something at the preacher that I could not understand. He replied to her that she should keep silence. "A womans's place is in the home and that's where you should be," he shouted at her. She laughed and said something else mocking him. His reply to the audience in general, "Here is a rebellious woman!"
Next he selected a young boy in the audience. "Look at this young man wearing an AC/DC shirt!" I didn't catch the rest and frankly at this point stopped listening. My family and I walked away. The show was over and this follow-up "act" was one we didn't want to watch.
A half hour later he was still going at it as we walked back to our car. He was shouting at people to "read the Bible! Read the truth!"
After such a deriding who would possibly be motivated to read the Bible or anything else this man recommended?
But that's not the real problem here. There is a great deception going on. Although the words he spoke were Biblical, they were also out of context AND deceptive. Why?
Where in God's Word does God ever accuse a sinner of being a sinner? Where did Jesus ever shout someone down, point out their sin, and then try and witness to them?
The street preacher was out of context. No Biblical basis exists for his activity. God never calls anyone to go out into the world and call the world a hypocrite or a sinner. On the other hand, Jesus did go to the religious people and accuse them of such.
But folks on vacation, watching a Wild West show? This is not church, synagogue, or any kind of religious gathering. Frankly, this audience was set up. They were preyed upon.
The deception came about because although the preacher spoke the truth of God's Word, he did not speak the truth to this audience. Calling people "rebellious, harlot, drunkard" is just plain foolishness. Of course they are. They are the world. It's a statement of the obvious but not to them. They don't know any better. They are dead in their trespasses and sins. There is no awareness of sin in their lives.
The deception is placed in their minds regarding the face of the Christian church. The perception is that we are a bunch of Bible thumpers. The world sees a street preacher like this and just waits to trip him up at his own game, to find some fault in him according to his own doctrine.
A pastor once told me that today's church is its own worst enemy. He quoted that from a preacher that said it about 100 years ago. What do you think?
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I've been busier than this over the past month. I decided to start posting snippets of my book on various blogs. The ones on Christianity.com are ripe for this because both the originators and responders in their forums just get so much of it wrong.
For instance, one of today's forums has to do with how many people are going to heaven. Surprisingly most people replied "a lot less than you think" along with quoting accurate supporting verses. So are the rest of Christendom deceived? Or do they just believe myths that provide them with answers that feel good, seem right, jive with what everybody else believes? Sadly, both answers are true.
Christian Mythology is coming to market to address the latter group. It's not my job to get folks into heaven. But I am called to proclaim the truth.
Have you made your calling and election sure?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Then the thought occurred to me that I can write BUT use somebody else's blog to get the attention I need to build a platform. It doesn't have to be my blog at all. I can simply post comments to someone else's blog. The trick is that simple. AND...
Make sure the blogs you post to are in your genre of writing. That way you are writing to the market you want to have notice you. Make sure to post to blogs that are large and widely read. There's lots of little ones out there not worth the time. Post to blogs hosted by editors. Get right to the buyers and sellers. A captive audience of millions of readers and that one important editor. WOW! What a revelation.
At the end of the post, a simple URL will start to bring traffic your way. Many blogs even feature a Google autofill to make this even easier.
Friday, May 16, 2008
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Have you ever been looked over for a promotion or been denied a job opportunity that you thought was the perfect opportunity for you? You are certainly not alone here. Wouldn't you rather be one of the few who makes it right to where you want to be without all the hassle of politics and networks and slush piles? You can find out how for FREE on my website and then get moving into that position.
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If you haven't already skipped to the bottom of this message to click through to my website for this valuable free information, may be it's because you are a little skeptical. That's a fair assessment for the claims I'm making so far without giving you much to grab onto. So read on about this real example to convince you to scroll on down and click.
At least one employee in every workplace has one. The little cartoon of people laughing hysterically at the comment, “You want it when?!!!” Whether manager or hourly worker, it makes no matter. The implication is the same. You are not going to get what you want right away. After all, who do you think you are? Can’t you see I’m busy?
A former boss of mine exhibited what I believe to be the best example of an open-door policy. Whether you came to him, or he perceived the need on his own, he took immediate action on the request. He didn’t delegate. He didn’t shift you to his secretary to make an appointment. He took charge. He took care of the problem. Because he knew that a problem left unattended was a problem that would fester and grow bigger with time.
There are two general work situations that demand the principle of now. If you are a manager, then you are a servant to your people who work directly for you. Like my old boss, your job is to drop everything to help your people get things done. Now. If you are an hourly employee, then your job is to act now upon the words of your boss. Get the job done. No assumptions about the calendar or the budget or the method.
I try to reinforce this principle with my children during teachable moments. The other day my eight and five year old sons and I were building a sand castle. The older was yelling at the younger to get out of his way. They were both trying to dig the moat, which at that point was not big enough for the two of them. I stopped the argument and asked a few questions.
“Son, what do you want?”
“I want him out of the way,” replied the elder.
“Don’t you really want to build a sand castle?”
“Yes, but he’s in the way.”
“Then follow my example and try to create a solution instead of a problem. You want him out of the way immediately and obviously he is not moving. He is trying, just like you, to do a good job. How about if you ask him to come over here by me and start working on the castle walls while you continue to dig the moat?”
The idea worked. It had to be reinforced a few times. But they’re just kids. As adults, the same reinforcement is needed. We learn exactly the same way. What we did not learn properly when we were children we must now learn as children.
“Why did this solution work?” I asked.
“Because now we both get to do something to make the castle,” he replied.
“What I mean is, what is the principle that makes it work?”
“I don’t know.”
Another series of questions and answers revealed the following:
My sons did as they were asked. They did it immediately. Why? Not because the external goals could be accomplished (being out of each others’ way and building the castle). Because the internal principles of leadership and understanding were applied. Would my children obey if the command was foolish or not according to their desires? No. So as their father/leader, they trust me personally. They trust me, my judgment, and my words. They trust that I know what the goals are and how to achieve them to everybody’s satisfaction.
That was a fun example of a very real and serious principle that you can adopt at work right now. You can order my book and learn about this principle and dozens of others that will bring you and your company to profitability beyond your imagination. But before I give you that URL, there's one more very serious story you should read.
Do you remember the big Cadillac recall back in the mid 90’s? GM said that there were thousands of the Northstar-powered luxury vehicles on the road that were motorized bombs. A potential fuel leak was the culprit. Dozens of people died in random explosions on the highways. You remember the news, don’t you?
Of course not. It never happened. Do you know why? Because I stopped it. Yes, there were a few isolated cases of fuel line leaks. There were audits, inquiries, containments, and meetings. Root causes were determined and corrective, preventive, and mistake-proof actions were appropriately applied. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into fixing a process that everybody had once considered infallible.
Like your company perhaps, my company was world-class in the products it made. There was depth of experience, the best equipment, and the best engineers to always improve it. But through attrition and time, the experience base was slowly disappearing. The art and science of the process was not passed on adequately. It was not written down anywhere and everybody had their own version of how things worked. With that, unknown and unexpected variations crept into the process.
No one would have said that the process was out of control. In fact, everybody from the machine operators up to the CEO would say that they were the best in the world and they couldn’t possibly be susceptible to the kinds of problems that GM was reporting. Everything was good enough and no one from the outside could tell them any different. After all, who knew the business better than the experts?
The answer? No one. But GM did know a little something about business processes that we did not. Our business process was out of control and it was the real root cause of the problem. A real tragedy almost happened in the mid 90’s but it was averted because management woke up and fixed the problem.
Are you ready to solve some real problems in your life at work? Are you willing to implement the things that really work because you are just sick and tired of all those other books and fads that failed you? Are you ready to wake up (and how about waking up a bunch of those around you) and fix the problem like I did?
Then by all means I invite you to my website and get that FREE information I told you about a while ago. When you get to my site, just look for the new chapters menu and they're yours for FREE.
Go to www.biblicalquality.com right now for your FREE management strategies and the link to purchase your own copy of all my other proven profit builders in Biblical Quality.
Thank you and I look forward to your feedback.
Monday, May 12, 2008
In another article in the same issue there was a discussion about the future of the Christian publishing business. It seems altogether possible that traditional, conservative Christian publishers may one day soon be merged with the big, secular publishing houses.
Does any of this concern you? Do you see a greater bias entering the picture? Perhaps. But fear not. God can overcome all this if your voice is one He wants heard. But the thing that digs at me the most is this:
That Christians seem so willing to allow this to happen at all and see nothing wrong with mixing their business with the business of the world seems to add another blemish upon the Body of Christ. How can we ensure a pure and unspotted voice when our objectivity to the Word of God will almost surely be brought into question by those who agent, publish, and sell our works? It's one thing to be under this scrutiny by those who are also under God's authority and Holy Spirit direction, but quite another by those who are of this world, led by the father of lies.
There are many Christians out there with a voice. With Christian publishing becoming more of a business than a ministry now, the wilderness is just getting a little larger every day. Beware my friends, Jesus is coming again very soon. Be watching; be praying; be unspotted; be ready, and; be bold to speak and write the truth, taking it first before the throne to ensure your message is pleasing to God and according to His will.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I have two complete manuscripts on this subject and one in the works: Christian Mythology, The Remnant, and My Little Children. Last month I submitted the first to an agent. Yesterday I received the rejection. As I prayed about this situation a few things came to mind that I want to share with you.
First, Christians should recognize the imminency of the return of Jesus Christ. As such, we must be ready at all times. Jesus wondered aloud whether He would find faith on the earth when He returned. The purpose of my books and blog is to wonder in word whether He will find His Bride as " a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Second, God showed me that this rejection was something to rejoice in, be thankful for, and continue in prayer in full of the Spirit (according to I Thessalonians 5:16-19). Why do that in light of rejection? Because this work is one of faith, not sight. I know that God wants this message out. I also know His timing is perfect. I also know my understanding is frequently corrected by Him, particularly with regards to timing. I usually think "right now!" whereas God does not tell me when but allows me to learn.
Right now I am reading through Exodus. Moses had the same problem with time. He thought deliverance would be immediate. But God had some things to do first. He would show Himself God of gods and LORD of lords before Pharaoh. I wonder what kinds of things God has planned for this world just before Jesus comes and before my book is published.
Because I believe the time is at hand. God has given His final Word in the Bible to warn us of the wrath to come. I believe He wants to use my books as perhaps one last warning to the true Church, the Body and Bride of Christ, to get ready. That is the bottom line. Jesus commanded us to watch, pray, and be faithfully ready.
If you are ready and actively making your calling and election sure through the exercise of your spiritual gifts within the remnant Body, the praise the Lord. Give thanks. Keep praying. Keep discipling. And pray for me, that I may continue with boldness to write and speak the word with boldness as we all ought to. Finally, pray that I obtain an agent. I sent another query last night. The time is at hand.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Has this ever happened to you? What do you do? How well do you handle crisis? What do you do when you willfully get back into sinful acts to try to deal with crisis?
I finally had enough. I went to my favorite hot spring (Io Jima, Nagasaki, Japan) to relax. Once completely drained, I could take the time desperately needed to pray. And God broke through and spoke through and gave me the gift of repentance. It was more painful than the crisis but in a good way that only God can work.
Here's a few verses that He put in my mind today. Perhaps they will help you and me next time.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:9-10)
In such a state of guilt, I certainly forgot I was purged. Once restored, God gifted me again by reminding me that not only was I forgiven, but I was also not forsaken. He reminded me of my calling (to write) and election (I am!) so that I could relay this good news to others.
It's also a warning too my friends. Judgment is coming. Jesus is coming back soon as both Judge and Bridegroom. Deal with your sin now and be found faithful when He returns.
I was reminded to pray for my friends too. Like Job, God often restores me when I pray for my friends. For you, He wants you to know with certainty these words of truth: What are your spiritual gifts? Are you using them daily for God's glory? They are part of your calling. Do you know your calling? Have you forgotten?
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Take a moment to read his address and notice the prolific use of Biblical overtones. What is blatantly missing? What is missing today? What is the Christian Church missing?
The fear of the LORD
So far in my studies I find three key reasons why this is so. Each one has a unique resonance.
- The fear of the LORD is not taught. Psalm 34:11
- God's commandments are not obeyed. Ecclesiastes 12:13
- Everything seems perfectly normal. Psalm 55:19
Take a moment to ponder that last one. I can write no more on this because I am soaking on that last point myself before the throne for many days now. I am desperately trying to learn to to battle this and teach others how to break into what I'll call an abnormal Christian life. But it is the life, the only life, that Jesus talks about when He declares, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." And we as Christians are for the most part missing it entirely because we choose to live the normal life of this world. Proverbs 1:29
Whom do you fear?
Sunday, April 6, 2008
This is what I have learned from Psalm 75:6-7, "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge : he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
My wife andI have also learned how to rely solely upon God for our daily bread. There was a time in my professional life when we went without a paycheck for nine months. But we never lacked for any good thing. And we never had more than was necessary. It was a tough time but a great time to praise God. We often think of it to remember how good God is. "...give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Proverbs 30:8-9)
In all this God is preparing us for the great leap into the world of full-time writing. God is doing a perfect job leading me there. It is my calling. He is making a straight path. He will do the same for you. Do you trust Him?
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The logical reason for this is that Christians cannot fulfill the Great Commission that we have all received during regular work hours at a secular job. It is simply not ethical to do so. And the fact is, we are all called to make disciples and/or be witnesses according to Acts 1:8. There is nothing more important on this earth while we live here than to do this work of the Lord.
What is that work of the Lord?
It is found it I Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. " Based on the context of this chapter, our work of the Lord is the transmission of the Gospel according to the commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at the three commands that Paul gives in this verse: stedfast, unmoveable, and always abounding. If you read these in black and white as I do, then the Biblical conclusion is that as ministers of the Gospel, we are to be about that work all the time, nothing impeding, nothing taking its place, nothing of sustenance other than this work.
Pay attention to the calling of God. It is different for every Christian. Some, like me, are called as writers. Others are pastors, teachers, evangelists, and other occupations that meet His calling criteria. The most important to pay attention to is your spiritual gift. I use my spiritual gift of prophecy to work as a writer.
What do you believe is your full-time calling of God? I'd like to know your story.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Over and over, the content desired by these mags was expressed like this: We desire positive, upbeat articles on the grace of God. No judgment.
To me that just smacks of three things:
- No truth
- Just chop out a major chunk of Scripture
- Deny pending reality
Perhaps only the positive sells, but only the Truth will keep you from hell.
This trend brings me nearly to tears. Much as my writing is a business, it must first be the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. Yes, so help me God. God forbid that I should write anything otherwise and if I do, please, please, please, tell me so. This blog is for the edification of the saints. I write as one gifted as a prophet and therefore I am zealous for the Truth and the accurate use thereof. I am fallible and therefore a learner. Thank you for your patience and for speaking the truth in love.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The context of the verse provides the primary answer to the first question. This chapter is all about the reality of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the saints. The themes of sin and death and righteousness and life are woven throughout. Sleep is acquainted with death and sin. Take a look at I Thessalonians 4:15-17. These verses talk about those Christians who are asleep in physical death and their ultimate resurrection at the Rapture. Going on from there to chapter 5 verse 6 talks of those Christians who are asleep in their sin. The latter need to wake up and be ready with Jesus.
This latter sleep is ultimately caused by sin. It can be recognized by things like:
- Everday life seems perfectly normal. I'm just doing what everybody else is doing. Status quo. In other words, I fit in just fine with the rest of the world.
- A still, small voice of the Holy Spirit telling the conscience that something is wrong. In other words, judgment and conviction are pending.
- Believing that everything you were ever taught, whether by school teachers, parents, or friends, is the absolute, unquestionable truth.
This is what experience shows me. I would like to back it up with Biblical conviction. But first, I would like some input from my readers. Then, I will put it all together and blog some more.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The goal of these writings is to engage my readers in dialogue that will mutually encourage us to know God in a real way by spending time in His Word and at His throne in prayer. For instance, do you know:
- the Bible is the Word of God our living Lord Jesus Christ and much more than a mere book of words? - Hebrews 4:12, Revelation 19:13
- the time you spend in prayer is only effectual if spent in righteousness and in heaven? - Romans 11:36 - 12:2, James 5:16
- the state you will be found in when Jesus returns? - Ephesians 5:25-27, Luke 18:8
These are the kinds of questions and answers I write about, pray about, and spend time with other Christians talking and encouraging one another about. It is my calling and passion (I didn't realize the latter until an unbeliever of all people told me that!).
Take a few moments to read through my website while you're here. Tell me what you'd like to see, what you'd change, and what you'd like to know more about. These are the things that will help me to be a better writer and a better servant in God's kingdom.