Mon, Mar 29th - 12:58PM
He's Still God!
I was standing
in a church lobby yesterday and was greeted by an incoming church member. She gave me a big smile and hug, and
said without a prompt, “I believe God can do everything today He did in the
Bible!”, and as she moved away and onto someone else, I was struck by the
simplicity of her statement. Sadly, I was also struck that her simple statement stunned me. How I needed to hear that! Maybe you need to hear it too, and
until it was said to me, I didn’t know how much I needed to hear it. Why is this statement so shocking? Why is there an edge of sadness to
it? I’ve been on this soapbox
before, and probably will again – it’s vitally important, particularly now.
On one hand,
I’m told to believe the Bible is the Word of God, and told to simply believe it
like a child, but on the other hand I’m taught that there are certain
supernatural things that God just isn't doing anymore. With this “house divided” kind of
teaching I’m finding it a struggle to believe at all. What was it Jesus warned about that? Was it something to do with millstones
hung about necks? Mmm.
The Bible is
plain enough in Ephesians 4:11+ and 1 Corinthians 12:28+ that God ordained
certain offices ‘within the church’. Many of these offices were obviously supernatural in application. I have never been able to satisfy
myself that some of these offices were voided at or after the death of the
“Last apostle” or the launching of the Church. No doubt, the ministries of these offices did help to launch
the Church, but did they then end? Do we need them no more? Are our churches today loaded to the walls with happy overcomers?
learned dissertations that 1 Corinthians 13 explains to the Greek speaking
among us that ‘when the perfect comes’ it is not a person, therefore arguing
for the annulment of these offices. But I’ve never heard a satisfactory explanation of why we still have
pastors and teachers, but not apostles or prophets, or those with ‘gifts of
In my simple,
layman’s view of biblical interpretation, I like to utilize the “Two witness”
rule, as easily expressed in Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15. I would think that if God were going to
change the game plan so significantly since the canonization of the New
Testament, He would at least mention it twice – and plainly. I don't see that.
addition to telling me what God doesn’t do, the more truthful instructors will
admit they are strong on doctrine and weak in experience. And with this, we move into what I call
the Doctrine of Balance. One of
the principles of this doctrine is that anything taken to extremes is likely to
Back in the
early 70’s the Charismatic Movement was strong on experience and weak on
doctrine. For them, the Holy
Spirit brought scripture to life, and His life-giving functions were extolled
in their meetings. Much of the
Charismatic Movement, maybe most of it, was valid – I indeed am a witness, but
the lack of doctrine cut it down in the end. Prior to the Charismatic’s, I had grown up in the
Presbyterian Church – arguably long on doctrine and extremely short on
experience. The living dead
routinely attended their churches. I witnessed that too. I was
one of them.
My Doctrine of
Balance would lend nearly equal weight to both doctrine and experience, because
both are vitally necessary. My
example is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as it was the great capstone of
everything He said He was, and everything He said and did during His
ministry. Without the Resurrection
to attest to His ministry, His Word would be merely a philosophy book today,
and for those who have zero experience and all doctrine, it is.
many churches have a plethora of evangelism programs, as the Great Commission
commands us to ‘Go into all the world’, but most of them have missed the
obvious New Testament example given to us by God - as an example. Acts 4:8 and following plainly show
that the Word of God was not only preached, but also confirmed by Him
supernaturally, and I submit, as archetypes of the Resurrection. Of note is the starring role of the
Holy Spirit – a role missing in many, maybe most of our mainline churches
today. Well after all, it’s 2010
A.D., we probably know more than the writer of Acts, don't you think?
Where is the
Holy Spirit in our congregations today? We pay Him lip service because He must be mentioned for us to have a
triune God as clearly taught in the Bible, but there it ends. By remaining ignorant of Him, either by
denominational edict or personal choice, we have shut Him out of our midst and
we are suffering for the loss. I
think it’s safe to say we need Him more than He needs us.
than repenting and inviting Him back into our churches, we learn to live with
our limps by only emphasizing doctrine to church members who are already dying
on these spiritual, starvation diets. All meat and no fruit isn't a healthy diet in life, and metaphorically,
it’s not healthy for our spirits either.
some good news! God is still confirming
His Word with signs and wonders. No, really! And know what – He wants to! You can learn about God by reading the Word, and by
experiencing Him! It’s the normal
Christian life – or supposed to be.
If your god
just doesn’t do some things because the last apostle died, or you haven't
experienced Him, you have the wrong god.
My God has
been stifled and gagged for too long, and there’s a great hunger coming upon
the land for the real God.
If you get in
the way, you’ll be run over and left behind. As Derek Prince used to say, “If you want God’s best, get to
know the Holy Spirit as a Friend.”
He is not a
Mon, Mar 29th - 11:12AM
again, I endured the “news” story concerning Sean Penn and his support of the
dictator, Hugo Chavez. This has
been sub-headline news for weeks, as we are encouraged to remain amazed at Mr.
Penn’s opinions. A few days ago
there was another story of Tom Hanks’ opinions concerning the current, American
Socialist regime in Washington D.C.
With both of
these stories, I am amazed, but not at the opinions expressed by these famous
people, but by the fact that the stories themselves ever got airtime. Let’s face it – the only reason these
people did get airtime is because they are famous and presumably, financially well
off. I would love it if the media
(all of it) would take the stance of, “Who cares what these people think?” or
more accurately, “Who cares if they think?”
concern to me is that the media marketing experts know that famous people
attract attention from the fawning masses, and those same fawning masses spend
their money as the media directs. They
also vote as the media directs. The
only criteria for opting out of the fawning masses is to develop the ability as
American adults to think independently, but I no longer have a lot of hope it’s
going to happen.
Far too long
we’ve been content with letting others do our thinking for us, and that
contentment caused us to become complacent. Now, as a result of this decades long erosion in our
society, we are reaping the rewards of citizen complacency, and while many are
becoming less complacent now, it may be too late. Every day I’m struck with a pervasive feeling of
helplessness as I watch our society being destroyed. I’ve been on the defensive too long, and yet it is difficult
finding an offensive venue, and the helplessness continues.
I’m told the
elections in November 2010 could be a turn-around for the country, as the
finally-awake vote the traitors out of office. However, as a realist, I have to admit the elections may go
against all this hope, and we will keep digging the hole to socialism, and yes,
With the pace
of the horrible and incredible changes we’ve seen in just the last two years,
what reasonable guarantee do we really have that the structure of elections in
this country won't change by November? While that may sound ridiculous, most of the changes we’ve seen were
called ridiculous just two years ago. But even if the structure remains intact, we come back to the voters –
demographics to destruction. The
issue is not if you vote, but for whom, and what are the options, more “lesser
of two evils” choices?
Two years ago we were convinced our freedoms would continue
unabated, protected by the Constitution. That does not seem so certain now. Two years ago, some of us were saying our country was being set up for
destruction from within. We were
called extremists and right-wing radicals. Now, two years later, many are beginning to awake from their
lifelong slumbers, and they are admitting perhaps we are seeing the beginning
of the end for our country – but are they two years too late?
It is just
possible that we are a lot further along the road to ruin than these
come-latlies are just now admitting. After all, while they were waking up, we were still rocketing down the
wrong road. While they were
attending political summer school, the country was still in motion.
important to the socialists among us that the public sleep, or at least, don't
wake up too fast. And if we do
wake up, we are given numerous distractions to vent about, like Sean Penn, or we
are encouraged to back the G.O.P., and find our way home to conservative
values. The divisiveness in our
voting population is encouraged by the media, and the traitors in our
government. They know that if we
fight amongst ourselves it will simply prolong conflict, which will not be
wasted to our loss.
There are much
bigger issues in progress while some of us continue to sleep and some of us
wrangle among ourselves. Most of
us are falsely encouraged by the attempted turn back to conservative values, but
you might remember we were not headed in the right direction even three presidential
elections ago. Instead, we
dithered. The ball is firmly in
Obama’s court now, and while I’m fed up with the blame game he plays, we
didn’t exactly make much conservative progress during the last administration
either, and I don't want to return to complacency.
If health care
is really a big deal now, why wasn’t it a big deal three elections ago? The republicans are also in favor of
health care reform, but why now, and not then? The ball was in their court, but the issue was a
non-issue. It would have preempted
the dithering, after all. They let
sleeping dogs lie.
problem with our national values is a question of ownership. Whose values? Regardless of which values make you feel warm and fuzzy,
conservative or progressive (liberal) – the values we’ve lost in this
once-great country have always belonged to the God of the Bible. Those values are at the root of our
Constitution, and are it’s life’s blood. I’m afraid the root may have been cut while we abdicated our citizenship
1945 was the
high-water mark for America, and it may well be the last. If you can, think back to what our
country was like then, and contrast it with what it is now. We have indeed, come a long way – but
in the wrong direction. And with
the dumbing down of our population, that has continued unabated to this day, I
have less hope every passing day that we can turn the tide. I was in a meeting last night when
someone asked if we were just ignorant or stupid, and the correct answer in my
opinion is – both.
adopt a radically different set of values in this country – God’s, our country
is already finished.
matter that you agree or disagree; without God’s values being put in first
place in America, we are dithering to our deaths, nationally and
individually. This country, and
you, will finally wake up, but they will wake up dead.
Fri, Mar 5th - 2:22PM
understand the prophet thinking he was the only one left, as he hid in the cave
from Jezebel. There is too much
dialoguing going on in this country. And by that, I mean we are more willing to dialogue about something than
strive for conclusions. I must be
way too simple-minded; I always thought the purpose of dialogue was to arrive
at conclusions, but we don't do that anymore – we just talk about it, and talk,
and talk, …..
This is going
to be offensively blunt for some; anything that draws closed-end conclusions
usually is these days. I suspect
it’s because we are unwilling to acquire the truth, because the process is
fraught with risk. In other words,
we are afraid to be courageous enough to risk being wrong. My time is running out and I am too old
to care, so here goes.
I figure some
days I’m dead wrong and some days I’m right, but I am willing to risk bad
opinions of me if that’s what I have to do to find the truth. When I was young, that kind of risk was
too expensive, but now that I am more able to see the end than the beginning, I
don't mind the cost anymore.
theological trend these days favors the widely held viewpoint that God makes or
allows us to be sick in order to make us better Christians and somehow further
His Kingdom purposes. I suspect
that last sentence could keep a roomful of scholars buried in debate for weeks
– with no conclusions reached.
Let’s face it,
most of us aren't apostles or prophets; we aren't Pauline or Jobian in stature,
and in all likelihood, never will be. We are just people who love God and His son, Jesus the Christ, and deep
inside we long to know Him better. Why is this so complicated?
magnify His glory somehow by being the Eternally Obtuse One? Is that the God you hear about Sunday
mornings, or read about in your bibles? Is that the God who will comfort you in your afflictions? Frankly, when I’m sick or afflicted I’d
rather not have that guy around.
I’m fed up
with fuzzy Christian logic that would proclaim Jesus loves us, wants us well,
and provides healing, while at the same time makes us sick and allows afflictions
so we can become stronger – for Him.
Let’s ask it straight up: would you even consider going to a
human doctor like that? For that
matter, if someone like that showed up on your front porch and asked to talk to
your children, would you open the door to him?
Let’s ask some
1. Does sickness originate with God?
2. Does God have a need to make you sick?
(or, Is He that impotent?)
3. Let’s “bring it home”, as the modern folks say;
would you be like that with your kids, or would you ever even consider it for
are the kind of parent who would say, “Jimmy has been so rotten today that I’ll
make him a better person by giving him cancer. That ought to level-out the little monster!” Are you like that? If you aren’t, why would you ever
consider for a second that your Eternal Father is?
humility and spiritual maturity is probably worth more than the affliction it
costs to get it, but is our being sick or afflicted NECESSARY in God’s plans,
so that we can acquire maturity? I
say an unqualified “No!” What kind
of monster would afflict us with cancer so we could get humble? If that’s your god, kindly keep Him to
yourself! Especially if you are
considering sharing him with someone sick.
God’s great enough to use everything we go through for His glory does not justify
us thinking He needs or wants us to be sick in order to
accomplish His purposes. Stated
another way, just because I become a more mature Christian because of my
afflictions, does not mean He needed me to be afflicted so I could. I’ve had sicknesses and afflictions
that created a greater degree of spiritual maturity in me, but it was because I
got desperate enough to seek Him! Oh, if I had only sought Him that desperately when I was not afflicted!
don't think Jesus demonstrated healing, said He came to give us abundant Life
and told us to ‘heal the sick’ (in Mark’s gospel), while at the same time
making us sick to make us better. Maybe you believe it, but I don't see the benefit, and in fact, I think
it’s a classic example of a house divided. Next time you get sick, try exercising your faith for
healing with that god…and good luck. You’ll need it.
And by the
way, where did all those pesky demons go? A key ingredient of Jesus’ earthly ministry was focused on deliverance
from demons; in fact, that ingredient was paramount in quite a few of His
healings – read about it, it’s still in the Book. So where did they go? Either Jesus was using some kind of metaphorical deliverance, or they’re
still around. And if you’re into a
metaphorical Jesus, again – good luck, you’ll need it!
answer’s in plain sight in the last chapter of Mark’s gospel. ‘Cast out demons’ was the admonition
given to us – no metaphor intended. So do we do that? You know
the answer to that as well as I do – no we don't. Instead, in most of our current Christian thought, we’ve
bought into worldly wisdom and relabeled the little pests as “Illnesses”. You know, like mental illness, and the
illness of alcoholism, etc. It’s
enough to make one sick, pun intended. And we’ve allowed this trend because we have trained “professionals” who
make a good living dealing with the problems we haven't been obedient enough to
if I barge into your house and smear mud on every carpet, why on earth would
you be satisfied with just cleaning the carpet?! Is that stupid? First, kick me out of your house, then clean up. And try to keep the door closed.
isn't too difficult to understand – if you want to understand. And if your front door was open to me
because of some sin in your life – sin that served as an invitation for
my invasion, get rid of the sin, cancel the invitation, kick me out and then
clean up the carpets. Remember, with
a valid invitation, I am not trespassing. In this example, the medical professionals are the carpet
cleaners. This ought to be basic
stuff for everyday Christians.
opposed to the medical profession – just realize that your doctor, Christian or
not, IS NOT GOD. And if you
go to a doctor who has this delusion, you are at serious risk because, in all
likelihood, he’ll be trying to treat your demons with his!
So, let’s say
you have a friend who has cancer, and after months of brave, Christian
suffering, he dies. Then people
will point to Uncle George, lost in Ecuador for twenty years, and say stuff
like, “Uncle George was brought to salvation because of all the faithful
suffering he observed…”. I guess
this means that with God, the ends justify the means?
I think that’s like throwing out the baby and keeping the
bathwater. Let’s be real, if Uncle
George had seen God in action twenty years ago, he’d have scampered out of
Ecuador and headed for the nearest Christian church!
Well hey God,
if that’s the way it works why don't You make or allow more sickness so
everyone will be saved? Would you
go to that kind of camp meeting?
And that’s the
crux of this: we have been called
to allow God to DEMONSTRATE His greatness, love and power through us, and it
should be a slam-dunk in this war-torn environment. All of the confusing dialogue is part of an ongoing effort
to avoid our responsibility. Is it
any wonder church attendance is down. These complications are literally killing us.
stupid, but that’s my viewpoint. And if you do call me stupid, kindly don't call before 8:00 am.
Thu, Mar 4th - 2:39PM
Dog Bowl Ideology
“I notice that you are carrying a
“How very observant of you.”
“May I ask, why do you carry a
“Because I can.”
“Are you afraid of something?”
the news this week is the story about the Supreme Court hearing the Chicago gun
question. Without going into the
details, which in this case seem only to further obscure the obvious, for
often, that’s what the lofty jurists do best, I’d like to comment about Needs
and Wants, with a seasoning of Rights.
Wants are like two dogs fighting over the same food bowl. Rights provides the bowl. Basic Needs are unarguably more
important than Wants, for ultimately they cannot be denied, but Wants are easier
to delineate. After all, we Want
everything – and even that may not be enough. However, with enough effort and sacrifice, Wants can be
controlled, whereas Needs are constant.
aren't really basic in nature, basic like food, water and shelter, may only be
temporary needs based on situations, like having Styrofoam in the gunnels of a
canoe – only needed on the water, not on the bank. But the real issue with Needs is a Who question, and
that’s where Rights come into the picture, for Rights only pertain to
Needs. I can't force someone to
Want, but I can legislate their Needs.
Back to my
opening dialogue, I may not need to carry a gun, but I may want to carry a
gun. You may not see that I would
ever have a need to carry a gun, and you might question my want to do so. So far, both opinions are correct – but
the derailment happens when you wonder: “Who has the right to decide?” Enter government.
To be fair, I
will give a little ground to government, but only as long as I’m responsible to
a degree for the giving. For
instance, I have no problem with the government giving property owners the
individual right to decide whether guns should be allowed on their property,
but I don't believe the government should have the rights, above and beyond
what I grant it, to decide that question without my involvement. Otherwise, aren't property owners
merely renters? And in the
unlikely event we differ over rights and needs, we have the Constitution, which
originally came with a fine set of parameters for differing opinions.
At the current
time in American history the real fight isn't over needs or wants, it is about
rights, and who can bestow them. Our non-representatives in Washington D.C. and the political climbers
everywhere else, don't think of themselves as Elitists, just a Special
Class. Do you see the
difference? I don't either.
reason, they apparently think they can eliminate class-based social struggles
by endowing themselves with the right to govern all classes. (You might observe the important
difference between governing all classes and representing
them). May I make a short,
religious sounding comment?: When
you leave God out of government you will worship the state. And even though you might not like it
at first, you’ll adapt and get used to it eventually, because without God in
His rightful place, it is inevitable. Well, is God in His rightful place in America?
abortion; as a convenience, abortion is murder. And if this country can even consider that we have the
rights to legislate it into legality, haven't we left God out of our
lives? One of the definitions of
godlessness is: legality minus morality.
If we can, by
legislative edict, cut the public display of Christianity out of our schools,
while allowing other religions in, haven't we cut God out of our lives, and the
lives of the next generations? Even if you say the God of Christianity is just another deity among
many, doesn’t this obvious bias point the finger of truth at the fact we
secretly know He’s the only God, and we won't tolerate Him in charge?
So, who gets
to decide the what your needs are? Your choices are these:
1. Godly men and women who have enough humility to
look to God for the answers, or
2. Ungodly hypocrites, who look to themselves and
those of their special class, who would worship only themselves.
You know, if
we just give up and let the “experts” govern/rule, this would be so much
easier….slaves don't have to plan their days.
Tue, Mar 2nd - 11:46AM
The Red Mailbox
He wasn’t really lost, not really. He knew where he was, he just didn’t know how to get to his destination. Looking at the clock face on the dashboard only increased the pressure on him to find his way, and it seemed to be moving faster than his car.
Several choices were optional. He could ask directions, but that would require a sacrifice of time and pride. Driving aimlessly might just bring about some good luck – luck he could claim credit for. He could ask his wife, but she was lost too; she had just asked him if he knew the way. Two lost people don't usually add up to an un-lost solution.
The thought crossed his mind that there must be some cosmic force that senses emotional needs and opposes them, because if he really didn’t care about finding his way, odds are, he’d have found it by now.
Another minute gone, and it now appeared he’d somehow come back around to his starting point. And there was that same gas station…
If only this was a big city! How easy to plug in an address and let his GPS do it’s job, but this was a town that hadn’t the need for addresses, it was that small! Putting a number on one of these houses would be like hanging a gold earring from a pig! Unnecessary, unless you’re looking for a lost pig with an earring!
Sacrificing his pride, the man stopped at the gas station for directions. The station seemed to be empty but noises came from the garage bay. A dirty guy in stained overalls was crouched under a raised pickup truck, looking up at the underside like he was trying to generate a thought.
“Morning”, said the man, in an effort to introduce his presence. Peering out from under the truck, the mechanic answered, “Help you?”
“I need some directions; I think I’m lost.”
This comment brought a smile to the mechanic’s face, along with a low chuckle. “Bet I can help you… you could blink and miss the whole town! You can't be too lost, you found me.”
Another smile – good grief, a joke!
“Well, I’ve never been here before, and even though I hate to admit it, I can't seem to find the way.” How humiliating! But then, with any luck at all, he’d never see the mechanic again!
In a brief sentence, the man told the mechanic what location he was trying to find, and he was verbally given a detailed set of landmarks to follow. Most of the instructions went right over his head, but he wasn’t about to ask for them again…
Re-entering his car, the man’s wife asked him if he had directions. “Well, yes, but I have to find a red mailbox and turn left, but I don't remember where the mailbox was supposed to be. It’s the only red one in town, though.” A block or two later there was a bright red mailbox, and the rest of the directions fell into place.
Finally arriving at the destination, the man was thinking of the amazing importance of the red mailbox. It had been on the curb for years, no more important than any of the other generic mailboxes in front of each house in town, but to him, this morning, it had become vital for a few brief moments in time. The man thought, “Thank you God, for the red mailbox!”, and then he fought the urge to feel silly for even thinking it. True to form, his wife piped up, “Good thing there’s a red mailbox in this little town.”
Simple little fiction, isn't it?, but what if the ‘red mailbox’ in our lives is tucked away on a curb in the book of Revelation?
Personally, I’d rather be familiar with the directions now, before I need them, than not have them when I do, for when I need them the most, there might be no one to ask.
Like the lost driver, we’re running out of time, and we need to find our way. Asking directions from another lost person will only waste more time, but if we are willing to look silly for a brief moment, we might just find the correct directions – and find humility in the process.
Mon, Mar 1st - 2:00AM
I don't quite know where I stand right now. My day was alternately quiet and bumptious, seasoned liberally with coldness and distance, bordering on indifference – I speak of relationships…
In that regard, I am tonight where I am as a direct product of my choices; choices I can not change, for I can't rewrite history, and I feel trapped by the resulting circumstances. I can't go back – no one can, I can't move forward, and the present is untenable. That’s a hard place, and I have no one to blame but myself.
Sleep left me almost as soon as my bruised conscience sought it, so here I am doing some post-prayer writing, hoping against hope that some sense of things will become visible.
Some years ago, through selfish and angry choices, I fragmented my family and damaged my children’s lives, irreparably it seems. Oh, they talk to me now, but they never again will really trust me. They never again will trust me to be one of the few they can always count on to be reliable. In some vague way, they will never be able to turn to me as a defined, known and trusted substance. I will forever be somewhat suspect, even if they wanted it otherwise. And because of my choices, I damaged them and twisted their lives.
And as I was praying about that, and about them, I saw the individual manifestation of fear in their lives. One seems to wander through life, afraid to commit to a course; one is lonely, angry and afraid, slowly wearing herself out in unrelenting circumstances; and the other overprotects and over-controls, in an effort to stave off the vicious unknown, the same unknown that turned her world upside down and inside out as a young adult.
All these things are the results of my selfishness and my cruelty as I cannibalized their lives to remake my own.
Well, I remade my own, but I stand a good chance of having to count and re-count the cost – a cost no payment of mine could ever cover. And I am reminded of the words of an old camp-meeting song, “He paid a debt He didn’t owe; I owed a debt I couldn’t pay; I needed Someone to wash my sins away…”, and as the apostle appealed to Caesar, I appeal now to a higher Court.
Only Almighty God can fix these things, things I only succeeded in breaking. And that is what I do best – break stuff. It comes naturally to me. I never have to plan it out because with me it is inevitable. If it isn't broken, I will break it. If it needs fixing, I will only succeed in demolition.
Only God can make a world; only God can place life into death, and only God can sustain that life against all odds. Only God can take the breakage I cause and re-create it whole and new. Only God can untwist lives and place peace into hearts. And while only God may be able to forget, perhaps God can rebuild the torn fabric of our lives so it is pretty once again, and in His mercy, re-splice the fibers, making them even stronger than before.
And tonight, that is my prayer.
“…And now I sing a brand new song, amazing grace!; Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.”
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