Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I think God anticipates with expectancy that which he began in Christ Jesus before the Creation of the world… or as the writer of Hebrews put it…
Hebrews 11: 1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
I see God hoped to redeemed all people and it is by faith in Christ he planned to do this and was certain it would work.
I hope you do not disagree that God held in total confidence that His Hope for us would save us… For it is His Hope we receive as all things are a gift from God… for if salvation is of God alone as you state you believe, then Hope is from God and of God and imparted to us through Jesus Christ… If the hope as some state is only produced from human effort it is Godless hope and does nothing for us.
I will also add that all godly things come from God. As with righteousness and holiness, hope is also a gift of and from God. Our hope is not as this world hopes it is God's hope imparted to us. Otherwise to say we have "hope" in Christ, by your definition leaves us with uncertainty.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9"A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Freedom…This is the truth that comes when one is free in Christ Jesus. One is no longer a slave to sin but free to live righteously in Christ. How sad that we forsake what the Cross and Resurrection gained for us. So many turn to the law to receive a righteousness it cannot give. They willingly take upon themselves the yoke of slavery and claim they are free!
In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. In the time of Jesus many Rabbis would call out to gain followers by saying, “Take my yoke upon you” This was a way of saying, “Follow my teachings.” They taught strict rules and called for their disciples to live lives of holiness. This seems to those who do not know Jesus, to be a good thing, yet it is slavery to the Law that leads only to death. Galatians 3:24 already taught us that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to the Life in Christ Jesus. It was to bring us to maturity which comes by faith. Yet, it seems that some find security in seeking their own righteousness instead of trusting in Christ Jesus.
The yoke that God gave to Abraham was circumcision. This was to show that God’s people we set apart to Himself. Yet, here Paul states that to set one’s self under part of the Law makes them obligated to obey the whole Law. Many teach grace and then negate it by teaching one must be obedient. This is true if one understands obedience is that of Christ and not of our own. For it is of the obedience of Christ that we are made righteous. (Romans 5:19) How if one is made righteous by the obedience of Christ Jesus can one suppose they can make themselves more righteous? It is as if some believe they can add to Christ Jesus’ righteousness… and in doing so negate the only righteousness they have. For one cannot trust in Jesus and trust their own righteousness to be saved. Paul speaks strongly and rather boldly of those that follow the way of the circumcision and tells them to cut it all off for all its worth which is nothing.
So many start out trusting Jesus, and fall into corrupt teaching. They start with the purity of Christ alone and then are taught to add their own works. Worse they are taught they must produce fruit… We are not fruit producers but fruit bearers. The branch cannot produce fruit without the vine.
The higher Law of Love is what we are called to. Paul states, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Sadly many fail to do this but appoint themselves as judges of righteousness forgetting that no one is right with God. Only Jesus is truly righteous. We must live by the Holy Spirit in total dependency. In that way we only find freedom; freedom from sin and its wages which is death. It is easy to spot those who are not free and follow the sinful nature. They practice the very sins they claim to be against! “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul paints a sad picture. There are some of these judges that have even confessed they have a hard time not hating people who live free in Christ. They practice rage and cause dissension… and glory in their factions. Yet… even with all this how glorious is the contrast of those who live by the Spirit and practice Grace.
Those that live by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control” and as Paul states; there is no Law against these things.
Yet, also as we live by the Spirit we need be careful to not become proud and fall into the trap of the flesh. We must not become conceited that we are better than others. Humility is the conduit of Grace. Without humility, we cannot bear the very fruit we seek to bear.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This has been an interesting discussion that has gone to a few different places around the internet. I wanted to point out some of them.
Jordon Cooper: I interact with Bob Hyatt over the topic more.
Bob Hyatt: His Facebook comments where Tony Jones has chimed in.
You may not be able to access that link unless you are friends with Bob or Tony.
“The Last Dying Gasp…”
I recently had the privilege to have an (all be it brief) conversation with Bob Hyatt via Facebook.com. He stated in his update a very intriguing statement.
“I think I heard the final gasp of the emerging church's ability to speak prophetically to the Church today. Shame.” (1)
This was in response to a recent statement made by Tony Jones concerning about monogamous homosexual couples:
“…I now believe that GLBTQ can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state” (2)
Now to be fair to Tony Jones, I believe he is really trying to work through this issue. I see he has a mixture of personal reasons as well as he is trying to work out theological reasons for his statement. In all I see the dialogue around Tony Jones on this is very refreshing though I do not hold his view point. Also, to be upfront, I am not addressing Tony’s statement at this time as I am holding back my thoughts until Tony can work through this more. I do have a great respect for Tony and believe over all he has some very insightful things to say in the emerging conversation.
Now, Bob Hyatt’s statement intrigued as well as bothered me. Not that I dislike Bob, rather I truly have great respect for him also. We have some theological differences yet over all I see that these are minor as opposed to some that hold his systematic viewpoint. Bob is a very open person to lively diologue and I have enjoyed his thoughts over the brief years I have known him.
The part that intrigued me was that Bob seemed to be saying that part of the history of the emerging church was that it came out of the conservitive evangelical church. I agree that in a fashion this is true. If one reads many of the writers like Tony Jones, Doug Paggit, Dan Kimball and Mark Driscoll they will state it all started with them as they were young pastors involved in Youth Specialties. I do not deny that this is true, rather I see it as short sited in the over all history of the emerging church.
Dan Kimball points out that the term is not new with his friends or him. In a post The Emerging Church circa 1970 Dan points out a book written by Bruce Larson and Ralph Osborne who address the church in the changing times Dan quotes the book:
"When historians of the future look back at the 1970's, they will doubtless see this is an era of chaotic change in the Church, a day of new beginnings, a strange mixture of despair and hope, frustration and boldness. disillusionment and expectancy."
Dan points out that this is very true... he states:
"Over 35 years have past since this was written, and how true those same words can be said of today's church. Chaotic change, new beginnings, frustrations and boldness, disillusionment and expectancy, despair and hope. Culture has changed since then, and quite a significant change in the church has emerged since then."
Yet, what bothers me about Bob’s assertion is that even though, as Dan Kimball points out, the term has been around much longer than Tony Jones or himself, is to me the actual “conversation” has been around before creation. I see that the conversation started with God Himself in Genesis 1:3 as God spoke “Let there be…” and it was. I see that this is the “Logos” of John 1 for the word “logos” means more than just “Word” as it is translated, rather it means a continuous thought in the form of a conversation.
Interestingly a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus who resided in Ephesus taught that logos was “the Word (Logos) as an ordering principle of the world” . (3) To connect the dots for you, John was referring to the same Logos that Heraclitus taught about yet instead of the impersonal “Logos” which was a “principal” John connected this “Logos” with Jesus. John wrote from Ephesus which was the very place Heraclitus was held in high regards.
So we must see that the idea, of this principal or logical order which Heraclitus used the word “Logos” held in its definition much more than “word” as we try to use it today. Further understanding of “logos” is that it is not only this eternal principal that holds all things together, it was also in thought a conversation. (4)
Again, all that is to say I see the emerging conversation is eternal and the very conversation God started in Genesis.
I see that to make the statement as Bob Hyatt stated, “I think I heard the final gasp of the emerging church's ability to speak prophetically to the Church today. Shame.” (1) as missing the big picture.
Now as far as Bob’s thoughts on whether the emerging church was historical conservative, I see his point, yet, I have been a part of the conversation for about 5 years and have seen that there are quite a few that are from the liberal side. So, as far as I am concerned Tony was and is a liberal and nothing has really changed in my mind about him. To be a liberal does not disqualify one’s voice from the conversation. In fact that is the beauty to me of the conversation is that all have a voice and labels do not matter that much.
As far as the other thing that bothered me. Bob spoke of the prophetic voice that now is “gasping”. This bothers me as I see the prophetic as God’s voice and not our own. Tony’s statement may or may not disqualify him as prophetic as it will yet to be seen. Yet, I see that to open the doors of the church to the GLBTQ communities is not a bad thing but a good thing as the Spirit can work in their lives as He does in my own. We must never underestimate the Power of God as He works through His Spirit Who was given to lead us in all Truth.
Again, I see Bob may be just shooting out a momentary reflexive thought. I hope he will unpack his thoughts on this. I see that all this disagreement as a really great thing. I see that it opens the door to healing the divisiveness that has harmed the GLBTQ communities. I pray that this be so. We must remember the emerging conversation is not “just” about us, but about the Kingdom of God. We must not lose sight that we are privileged to be part of the Greater Things of God. As I told Bob in our conversation, “Emerging to me is not a movement or organization. It is growth. Tony is on a journey and came to conclusion that I even disagree with. Yet, again, this is by far not the final gasp... I see it as taking on a new form in a sense... expanding outward as does the Kingdom of God”
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Picture yourself on a boat on a river,
The river runs swift taking you down.
You feel like the waves will turn the boat over,
Tossing you; you fear you might drown.
Picture the boat finding the sea,
The waves are as big as the fear that now grips you.
You feel so small in the middle of nowhere,
The ocean feels like it could swallow you to.
Seeking that inner peace.
Looking with fear within.
Finding no hope.
To start again.
The water looks like it goes on forever.
The salt on your tongue stings in the wind
Your lips are so dry as dry as your soul
Your mind races by wishing life to begin again,
Seeking that inner peace.
Looking with fear within.
Finding no hope.
To start again.
You see something there on the horizon
A glimmer of hope or just a mirage?
You scream yet no voice rises from within.
You gather last strength and courage,
And dive in
Seeking that inner peace
Looking with fear within
Finding new hope.
To start again
Picture yourself on a ship on the ocean
The captain assures you he knows where to go…
November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I just read a quote on a blog. This guy quoted himself... = ) is a good quote.
"The gospel doesn't "engage" the culture. It subverts it."- a quote from a guy who hates me.
Funny this quote in different variations are in most emerging/emergent books I read. I see it as true and yet, this guy agrees with the thought and hates the emerging church.
I run into this more often than you think. One person likes tell me whatever I say is wrong and then simply restates it as if he is right. I don't get that as he tells me I am wrong then agrees.
Hate is a powerful opiate. Some only seem to thrive as they waller in their hate for some other group. If they have an enemy, then their world is right. Yet, the bible states to "love your enemy." Neither of these guys have given much love to me. In fact both have written some pretty awful stuff about me.
Pride keep us from truly loving others. In all honesty I do want to retaliate at times... to give them a does of instant Karma... yet thank God Karma is not "christian"... LOL! So I sometimes stumble and read their blog and marvel at how close our thoughts are and yet how far they insist on distancing themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ.
The fellow with the quote I dare not link to. I want to... some of you may already know who he is if you know your iggy history... it goes back a couple of years. I would love to link to him and yet, I dare not as I want peace for him and myself. I am sure if you google him you might find the quote...
I pray for both these guys and others out there who deem people like me the enemy. May they grow in the Grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus... I also pray that for myself everyday.
I spent yesterday in bed. Why? Really I am not sure. I just felt empty and uninspired. Yet, in that moment where I slept more than thought I sensed that I was fighting something bigger than myself. Why in this moment did I want to shut down and not face the “whatever” I sensed was bugging me. Oh, and I hate to confess this so openly, it was the first day I tried to stop smoking cigars. Yep… addicted again to the devil’s weed. Arrgh.
It was not that facing the prospect of not smoking though that was bothering me. It was in a sense the idea of having lunch with a friend I had not spent time with for a while. Again, I was not sure of the “why” I was feeling as I was. I slept instead of facing the strange desire to call him and make up some excuse. “I am just too busy today.” “I have too much homework today.” “I don’t feel well today.” All excuses… to not face this strange feeling of dread…
Now, I finally got up. I had stayed up way to late as it seems I do too often and am doing now as I write this. I stayed up until 4:30 am Sunday. I know that is part of the reason I slept so much Monday. Yet, when I woke a noon, I just did not feel like getting up and out to face the day. I did check my blood sugar which was much too high again and took the dose of insulin. I also took care of some bodily functions that need attending…. Yet instead of going out and seeing what type of day God gave me today… I went back under the covers and hid. Sleep gave me the comfort and grace to face the day I dared not face.
My friend is a good guy though he is a bit messed up. He smokes, which I can’t hold it against him as I seem also to have this unhealthy fixation with tobacco, yet also he is stuck in a hold that seems to in able him to get a job and live his life more fully. He medicates himself with what is illegal in many states as he has horrendous back pains he says has kept him from working. We have prayed for healing and yet it seems that it does not come. He believes that this substance should be legal and is one of the best ways to help people like him. I agree that some people who have cancer or other issues may need this, yet I wonder for him if it is his “staying in bed all day” remedy. I try not to judge him about this as I know he loves Jesus as much as I do… maybe more. I also wonder though if I have the right to tell him that this may not be the remedy he truly needs. By the way, I do not indulge in his remedy if you were wondering.
No, I have my own that I face. Not “illegal in some states” types maybe, rather I tend towards things like eating, or in the case of Monday, shutting down.
It seems though as I woke up at 1:30 this morning that Grace is on my mind. Not at first, as I took a walk to buy a cigar and cursed my failings. I took a drive and listened to a recent book on tape about grace and found that just maybe that is what I was hiding from. You see, I believe I am grace to my friend. I am that safe space where he can be himself with all his flaws and find acceptance. I also realized my friend is grace to me. This was a bit of a shock as I thought about it. God’s grace covers our shortcomings. I am not saying that we should pursue our short comings as most often those are unhealthy ways of dealing with life. I see my friend in a bit of a different light tonight as I write this. I desire to fix him, yet also see I cannot fix myself so how could I fix anyone else. I sometimes wonder if God cares about fixing us… as I see that God seems more intent on making New Things out of the old. Is this the same? I do not think so as I ponder this idea.
Grace is not an easy thing to explain let alone understand. Theologians have many different ideas, yet as I studied them I get the feeling that in all their certainty, they are truly not arrived at any real conclusion. Is Grace truly just getting what we don’t deserve? Is there more to Grace than some theological definition? Of that I am certain. To me Grace is the very substance that holds all creation together. I see no “common grace” as some teach, nor do I see the many other number of breakdown explanations theologians give. Instead, I see the same God that spoke all things into existence is the same God that can un-speak all He created as if it never was… yet chooses not to.
I see Grace in Jesus. Funny to say that as it should be so obvious. I see in Him who all creation came, as one who could have “fixed” things. Please don’t get me wrong, in a way Jesus did. Yet, instead we find Jesus in a sense failing. Yes, I said it. Here was the King of all creation laying down His life and letting those sick little creatures call humans nail Him to a Cross. Jesus should have done some major house cleaning like He cleaned the Temple. Yet, it seems that God chooses a different path that what we humans see as best. Often I desire the God that sent down balls of fire and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. I want the quick fix that would let people see God and tremble and bow down low… yet, God seems content in giving us days we cannot face and then pouring out Love in the form of Grace on us.
Even in my own definition of Grace I come up short. Much too short I must confess. Grace is more than a substance rather it is the radiance of Jesus. It is intangible yet in moments we experience it we cannot deny that it is more real than we are. I experience Grace in my children as I choose to discipline them or as I just watch them play. I experience Grace in music. I experience Grace when I am playing in the worship band and hit the right notes on my guitar. I experience Grace as I sit with those who I see as much more in tune spiritually than I am. I see Grace as I drive by the bars at night or see a drunk staggering to find a warm place to sleep. I experience Grace as I sit quietly or chatter excitedly about something I learned or… as it is more often relearned about God’s Word. I experience Grace in those I see as hurting. I experience Grace as I hurt and am not comforted… or when I am not. Grace is the touch of my wife as I tell her I failed. Grace is in her eyes even when I hurt her with my failings.
Grace is not easily explained. It can come in a lyric or a song, a bible verse… or your enemies. Yes, even in the choice of whether to set the record straight when some person states lies about me, I find Grace.
As I write this I am sure of one thing. Grace is humbling. In fact, in order to see it and experience it one must be humbled. I hold to many prideful things and in them only find dissatisfaction is my life. Grace drives out all that pride and in that moment of weakness, I find strength that was not there. Luther stated to “sin boldly”. More accurately Luther stated:
“If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world.
As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.” -Martin Luther, in a letter to Phillip Melancthon
I will add, if I be bold enough to add to Luther’s words. That it is in the Person of Christ we find the New Creation Paul wrote of. For without Christ there is no true Grace. With out our sin we cannot find this Grace. I am not saying that we should live un-righteously, rather it is in this understanding we find the True Righteousness of Christ. We only begin to see our own failings as the contrast to the Life of Christ which as a believer now dwells in us. Yes, “sin boldly” yet with the understanding of our need for the Righteousness of Christ to drive us to live out His Life in us. For in our failings we find Grace and in our triumphs through Jesus, we give Grace to others.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Ephesians 1: 3.Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8. that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10. to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12. in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14. who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.
The word “Logos” used in John 1:1 which is often interpreted as “Word”. We use it today in the word “logic” which has part of the meaning as when God created all things it was out of a chaos that existed. Both Genesis 1 and John 1 start with “in the beginning”. This should show us that we exist outside of the eternal and in a different dimension called time. The word “logos” is very much misunderstood and is really watered down in our English translations and understanding. God spoke “let there be…” and though it was not it was. Yet, we see in Ephesians, that there was a mystery that was before all things began. In the eternals (if there be a way to grasp this idea outside of Plato’s dualism) we see that we were chosen to be in Christ before creation. That means that before God created he had a plan that was that all things dwell in Christ.
Logos lost some of its meaning in our translations and understandings as we grasp that John was playing a trick on the Gnostics. John uses the Platonic concept to show that this is even greater than Plato’s ideas of dualism. In a simplified understanding it means a conversation. In a fuller meaning it is an ongoing conversation that started in the Godhead with the Father and Son and their unity or the Holy Spirit. Now I do believe the Holy Spirit is a Person, so don’t get me wrong on that. Yet this eternal conversation was of a Kingdom in the form of a Person being Jesus.
Jesus is not only the savior of me and my kingdom, which in the end is that of death; rather he is also the King of all Creation. I see that just as David desired the Temple to be built; it was his son Solomon who finished the Temple in which God filled with His Glory. This is the idea that God the Father desired for us in His Son Jesus. Instead of temples made by man, we are now the Temples of God in which He dwells and also we dwell in Christ Jesus for he is the New Jerusalem.
The Kingdom is not just a future event. It is in some sense as I see that it is still filling the earth with the Glory, yet as we still have death God has yet to fulfill this promise. God is making earth His dwelling, yet is preparing it for a time. I see in the narrative this tearing down of walls and divisions between first God and man in the Person of Christ that will also tear down walls and division between humanity. Yet, this Kingdom is not just some place to go after we die. It is not our dream that we hope for someday, for the Blessed Hope is of the return of Christ in all His glory and the Glory of God filling the earth as it is in Heaven. N. T. Wright speaks of the intertwining of heaven and earth and a restoration of both.
Understand that though God ruled the heavens it to was tarnished by the rebellion. I see in the book of Job a sense of many theaters. We have God and Satan in one theater and then we focus on Job and Satan. Then we focus on Job and his troubles on earth… Job and his friends until we come to a point were a person name Elihu appears and refocuses on God. God then reminds all that he is God and does as He wills and owes no man any reasons for His actions. Humorously, God does by letting us in on the story of Job. There are many kingdoms in play in Job.
2. Satan in his glory,
3. The restoration of the focus on God in his Glory.
4. The restoration of man in His Glory
God shows a picture of what is and is to come.
Now Jesus sits at the right hand of God in Glory. Jesus rules, yet in deference to my preterist friends, I still see that there is a time when Jesus returns in fullness of Glory. I see that just as Jesus lives, he will return in all his glory to restore all things and to bring all things into himself. I see that Jesus will abolish death and the grave. I suggest for a matter of perspective to take a walk through a grave yard and notice few graves have burst forth. I suggest that you notice also those who are dying in cancer wards. Death is still here and so is the grave. These have yet to be tossed into the Lake of Fire. Until then I see that we are now in two kingdoms. One that is coming down being the Kingdom of God, and another that is being driven out being the kingdom of darkness. I see that at points we can see the intertwining that N. T. Wright speaks of. That we can now grasp the Kingdom of God in its fullness as it is not a part of this creation but of a new thing God is doing. I see that that some things to us are yet in the future they are also now.
I am not suggesting dualism by stating that there are two Kingdoms as there is only one that is in Christ. It is that until the Light shines in all man as we find life not in our blood but in this Life of Christ we begin a journey in a New Kingdom that seems so far away yet is within us and all around us. Though it is about us in a small sense, it is also about a judging of Israel and in a greater sense a judging of all things that are in rebellion against God. (Matt 19; 1 Cor 6:3) We are now in that age. Then He who has final judgment will judge both the living and the dead.
Now we have to look at all this in a greater narrative than “God saved me”. We need to see that there is a narrative from before creation that is carrying on into a New Creation that will open with judgment then the restoration of all things being brought first into Christ then back into the Father. We are free from the sting of death, yet also will one day be free of death itself. All this is in a Kingdom… all this is in a Person… Jesus.
In this Person, being Jesus we see God bringing all things back to Himself. God’s plan even before creation was Jesus. There is no other plan. Heaven is where Jesus rules and as Jesus lives in us, and us in Him, Heaven is within us. Jesus is to be “all in all” as God eternal plan has always been. As the passage in Ephesians shows, we were included when we came to faith. The mystery is Christ Jesus who now rules in Heaven, our hearts and will soon place all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy is Death.
1 Cor 15: 19. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Death and the Grave will one day be cast into the Lake of Fire. Until the day we are clothed in the imperishable just as we are now clothed in Christ Jesus, we need spread the message of the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor 15:42)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In talking to many modernist Christians it seems that their math does not add up. Often they add man made philosophies to the Truth of Scripture. Never do they realize to have Absolute truth means then there is truth that is lesser... meaning that they created an issue that denies scripture's teaching that Truth is the Person of Jesus and not some abstract thought. If Truth is diminished by adding to it, then I see it is the modernist who then diminishes truth as a whole.
One cannot have a lesser truth as the Bible simply calls that a lie. Truth is the Person of Jesus and if we add to that we only come to wrong conclusions and according to scripture it just will not add up. Believing a lie even dressed as truth is still believing a lie.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Paul Washer: 10 Indictments against the American Church. Part One
I want to say first off I have nothing against Paul Washer. I believe him to be sincere and a man seeking after God’s heart. From my understanding he is Calvinist, which again to me is not an issue in the sense that I see him as not one that is of the DOCTRINES of grace variety rather being of the doctrines of GRACE variety.
Now saying that I hope the reader reads this with charity as I am not out to blast Paul Washer rather give a Biblical critic of his sermon the 10 Indictments against the American Church. In this I hope the reader goes to the scripture and not just accept what I say, or just accept what Paul Washer has presented.
I will say I admire his opening prayer. In it I hear a man who dares not be presumptuous. I appreciate the humility and can sense his love for the Church.
I will say I have had trouble listening to this sermon as I see it full of “works” instead of dependency on the Holy Spirit. In fact Paul sets the tone by saying, “We need revival. We need an awakening, but we cannot simply expect the Holy Spirit to come down and clean up all the mess we have made.” (1)
Now this is a huge concern and in this statement I fear that the tone is then shifted from the works of God by the Holy Spirit to the works of man and our own ability to bring revival and reformation. If we believe that to remove the Holy Spirit and to not depend on the Holy Spirit will bring reformation and revival, then we only fool ourselves and leave it in our own hands and out of God’s hands. This is much too serious to overlook that Paul Washer states this. I hope in his heart that he does not believe this as true yet as I look at the indictments I see that he then places all the responsibility on human efforts.
Indictment 1: A practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture.
In the core I agree with Paul, yet just reading and studying the bible is not enough. In fact by removing the Holy Spirit from the process, one cannot understand the Bible at all. For we are taught:
1 Cor 2: 12. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16. "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
One can only understand Spiritual things by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. For how can we understand without the revelation that comes by the Counselor of all things. (John 14: 15-17, 26) To remove the Holy Spirit from the equation is the most gravest mistake one can make in understanding the Scripture.
Interestingly, Paul sound a bit like many of those Paul’s followers hate. In this statement he sidesteps inherency:
“When you come to believe as a people that the Bible is inspired you have only fought half the battle because the question is not merely is the Bible inspired, is it inerrant. The major question following that that must be answered: Is the Bible sufficient or do we have to bring in every so called social science and cultural study in order to know how to run a church? That is a major question.” (2)
Now I agree with the statement as I see that we have been given all things needed for Godliness. Yet really is it the Bible that equips us with Godliness? If one looks at the scripture itself Peter states:
2 Peter 1:3. His (Jesus) divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
Note it is not the book, but the Person that equips us. Yes, the bible is one of the tools that Jesus uses to help us and exhort us, yet if we believe it is just the bible that leads us to all truth and believe that by just reading it we will be equipped to bring revival and reformation we only fool ourselves… in fact we deceive ourselves and fall into the very trap that Paul Washer warned about as Paul stated: “There is little need for the devil and evil men to oppose a man praying for revival unless he is also laboring for reformation. We have been given truth and we cannot simply do what is right in our own eyes and then expect the Holy Spirit to come down and bless our labors.” (3)
I do agree that we need be careful not to do what is right in our own eyes. There is danger in mere acceptance of doctrines often passed down as many are not of God but of man. Even in the traditional and most fundamentalist church man corrupts God’s truth with his own. While I agree we must return to Scripture to gain insight in how we must live, again I cannot emphasize enough that without the Holy Spirit it is works and results in nothing more than kindling and does nothing for the Kingdom of God. Using man’s own understanding leads us to only doing what is right in our own eyes. I have been victim and have witness the harshness of those who claim grace yet use worldly ways to bring their own understanding of godliness about. They care less about kindness and see only harsh and harmful words as the tools to bring down their supposed enemies. In this they lost sight of the Power of the Holy Spirit to bring real change in others lives.
The second indictment: An ignorance of God.
Paul Washer states: “Why the rampant sinning even among God’s people? A lack of the knowledge of the God, of God.”
I challenge this statement as though it is true in one sense, it is not the lack of the knowledge of God that sin runs rampant, it is the misunderstanding of the Life of Christ that is imparted to us for godlily living. We can have all the knowledge of God we can absorb, yet we are warned of knowledge: 1 Cor 8:1 “…We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” It is not more knowledge we need unless it is in the form of God’s love. To state that a lack of knowledge will cure sin is again deceiving ourselves and the Bible teaches that it can lead to pride which is sin… Also, Satan himself has much more knowledge of God and most Christians and is the father of all sin… yet one thing he lacks is love. It is the knowledge of God’s loving kindness and his great love for us as displayed by his Grace through Jesus Christ. Without the very Life of Christ in us, we are no better than an unbeliever as we lack the power to stop sinning. Yet even more there is a fundamental issue in Paul Washer’s understanding that is missing. Jesus is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. If one is in Christ, who has not sin, then we are without sin. Now on the outside we may still do wrong things and fail, yet in God’s eyes through Jesus we are pure as Jesus Himself. The issue is that without the Life of Christ we are only half way to the fullness of the Promise of salvation. One can accept forgiveness yet not realize that they need the Life of the Resurrected Christ which is eternal. One who thinks that all they need is forgiveness and never moves into the Life of Christ remains merely a forgiven dead man. Now, I believe God’s grace will cover much of our missing understanding, yet that is the reason many lack to power to stop their sin. They washed the outside of the cup and missed the inside and are still full of the same filth they started out with. This idea that we must “do” to make God move seems very strange coming from an Calvinist and more strange that other hard-line Calvinist do not stand up and call foul to the “do” list. I will try to get to the other indictments as I can.
Sermon Index Site Ten Indictments - A Historical 21st Century Message by Paul Washer
Sermon Audio Site Download MP3 (14.0MB)
1. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 6
2. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 5
3. Ten Indictments (A Historical 21st Century Message) - Part 1 paragraph 6
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
A while back there was some controversy over Doug Pagitt asking Todd Friel if Heaven was a place. In essence he asked, “If heaven is a place, where is it?” Todd was very indignant yet seemed unwilling or unable to answer… Many overlooked that as it is more acceptable to just “believe” in a “place” called Heaven. Even theologian N.T. Wright seemed to indicate in his recent interviews that Heaven is more than a place…
The issue is deeper than whether Heaven is a literal place. Jesus stated it was “at hand”, “Near” and “within you”… this seems to indicate that Heaven is more than a place if it is a literal place.
In a sense I agree with Doug Paggit yet in a sense I disagree.
Heaven is often thought of as the end place where we as believers in Jesus spend eternity. I agree, yet there is something missing in many people’s understanding as the “Heaven” now will not be as it is after the regeneration of all things. In that age, there is a renewed Heaven and Earth… meaning that this heaven and earth now will one day be restored to its original glory yet even more glorious than it was originally. We will move from “It is good.” to It is perfect in Christ Jesus.
One major issue is that many think of time in a linear fashion. We have all seen time lines where time is laid out in a line so we can see history in an overview. We see in a biblical view, Creation, Noah, Abraham, King David, Jesus, and the New Creation in its fullness. Yet if one notices time lines also have parallel history, Columbus discovering the Americas and Naval expeditions of the Ming Dynasty happened in the same timeline yet never interacted. (Though there is some indication Columbus may have used the knowledge that the Chinese gained in their expedition but that is a huge sideline) They paralleled each other in history. If we go off the map a bit, there is a separate history for Earth and Mars for meteorites have hit Mars that never hit Earth. If one can start seeing that history and time is brought into other dimensions one might start beginning to understand that when we bring in eternal things time begins to even take on a deeper and broad perspective.
God interacted in our “timeline” yet one would never say God is only in our ‘timeline”. In fact, as we begin to look at quantum physics we realize there are other dimensions that exist. This should not ever surprise the believer in Christ Jesus as we have many stories in the Bible where these other dimensions appear and interact in ours. From the concept of “the heavens” and “the Kingdom of God” to the angels that helped Abraham rescue Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah we see the eternal things interacting with our own limited view of time and space.
Many view the biblical timeline in this linear view and miss that parallel was always the eternal view. Yet, if we were to dig deeper, we would see time is not linear. I am not sure what the term would be, yet the idea of a matrix or multiple lines of time happening or possible a dimension not touched by time at all could exist beyond our perception. In this idea “heaven” is more than a place. It is beyond that definition at the least.
If time is more than linear meaning that God is in one state of being and we another, then the idea that “Heaven is at hand”, or “Heaven is within you” begins to become more broader that just the idea of dying and going to heaven. If God is working from a perspective of the eternal that does not have a linear view, but a broad view of all things and even things that are not as if they were. (Wrap your mind around that then read Hebrews 11:1 or Romans 8:22-25)
If one can start to see that when Jesus spoke of heaven, it becomes apparent heaven was more than a place. Jesus did say He was going to prepare a place for us, yet in that was he talking of a place in heaven or in the eternals as a whole? In John 14:2 where Jesus states this He states:
“2. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Now in sense I see a “place” yet, I see that that “place” is that we are immersed into the Body of Christ. (1 Cor 12:13) For just as the Hebrews were baptized into Moses (1 Cor 10: 2-4) we have been baptized into the Body of Christ Jesus. We have been “placed” into His Body or His Kingdom. The “place” with many rooms is the same Body with many parts Paul speaks of in 1 Cor 12.
If se begin to understand that if all things are in Christ, and Christ Jesus was before all things and the One through all things were created, they are restored as they are placed in Christ.
I believe in a literal return and a literal restoration, yet, now we have the eternal living in us. I see we have Heaven or the Kingdom of God in us and us in it.
Many only seem to see that Jesus comes to live in them. In this they seem to think that Jesus becomes King of their little kingdom. This is true in a sense, yet if one misses that we are also placed in Him and being in Him we are now a part of His Kingdom. Once we realize the vastness of The Kingdom of God, then we can start to realize the biblical teaching of dying to self. We are to die to our own little kingdoms and rise to new life in Christ or the Kingdom of God for they are the same thing.
History is in parallels and not just linear. The eternals are beyond a timeline at all and may even be beyond our comprehension in this timeline we live in. Again, to simply call “heaven” a place is to diminish what is in the eternals and make it into our image or base it on our own vain imaginations.
When asked about the multiple dimensions I like to explain it is the idea of 3 spheres. I am not saying these are the only dimensions, but for simplicities sake if we are to look at creation in the idea of Kingdoms we might see this.
God created the heaven and the earth.
First we see that there is a sphere I will call the eternal, or Kingdom of God. God creates all things and we see the sphere of creation that is “good”. After the fall of Adam and Eve, we see a corrupted kingdom, or the satanic kingdom that is opposed to the Kingdom of God. The “good” creation is then shrouded in the cloak of the satanic kingdom. After the death and resurrection we see the Kingdom of God displace the satanic kingdom with the eternal Kingdom of God.
Within the Satanic kingdom as it had dominion, God would poke holes in the veil of darkness and shine light. He would choose individuals and later the Jews to be His light within the Kingdom of Darkness. Yet, note I am never saying God was not in control of it all. In fact the Kingdom of Satan was and is and will be subject to God’s Kingdom which is what they hate. At the time of Jesus on the Cross, the veil was torn. Just as the curtain was torn in the Holy of Holies to symbolize that God and man would no longer be separated, the shroud of darkness was torn and is shredding as the Kingdom of God displaces it.
In its fullness the Kingdom of God will fully drive out the darkness and bring in the light of the eternals. This is the restoration or regeneration of all things.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Preview from BEC Recordings on Vimeo.
Jeremy Camp's new CD comes out November 25th... and my birthday is November 26th... (hint-hint)
If this video is not visible, click here.
Monday, October 20, 2008
There are many who preach about the Power of the Gospel yet often the gospel they preach about is not The Gospel. It seems to me often the gospel that is preached is that of a superficiality that promotes a certain powerlessness instead of offering people the Power of salvation.
Most often when I hear this other "gospel" I hear it taught as "getting saved from hell." This is not the same gospel that Jesus taught. In fact it demeans the True Gospel.
To read the whole post click here.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
12I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
27For it is written:
"Be glad, O barren woman,
who bears no children;
break forth and cry aloud,
you who have no labor pains;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband."
28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son."31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Here in chapter 4, Paul carries on the thought that one is no longer under the Law. He points out that even an heir is still a child; that he may own all the land; he is still nothing more than a slave as he is subject to others. Interestingly, Paul states “guardians and trustees” which were most often slaves put in charge over the child. It was not until the father set the child free that the child then was over his guardian or trustee. We were under the Law until set free by the Father through Jesus Christ. Jesus was God, yet many seem to forget he was born of a woman and human like us. This is important. If Jesus was not born of a woman, then the promise would not have been kept; the promise of our salvation. Once we were slaves. Now, we are sons! Yet, more than just sons but an heir of all God has for us.
Before we were sons, we were slaves to many things as sin, worldly rulers and their rules, laws, observing holy days that seem to not have meaning… the list of things can go on and on. None of these were god… nor gods… but we were still subject to them. Often people look at sin as just bad, and it is bad. Yet, if one can look at our old way of life as something to learn from to propel us forward, we will see that sin in itself only shined the light of God’s loving kindness. Our only response should be humbly admitting our wrong and to be set free by the grace of God. Now having been set free, why would anyone want to go back to the ways of slavery? Why would anyone want to be subject to another when they can be free?
I was a biker for a time. I rode with some interesting characters. Some of my friends wanted to be Hell’s Angels… which was strange to me. I asked them why they rode and they always proudly stated, “Freedom baby.”… I would then ask them, “Why do you want to be part of a club that will either kill you or at the very least take your bike away if you decide to leave them? Why would you then want to be subject to rules such as being fined $100 a week if your bike is not running?” Most the time I received blank stares. They seemed to not grasp that they would not be free. They would have to do as the club told them and would not longer truly be their own man.
Often we forget that we are free. We desire the old way as it seems easier than having to depend on God and be subject to Him alone for it is His way that is best.
Paul pleads with the Galatians to understand this. He states, “Become like me, for I became like you.” Paul was once under the bondage of the Law and became free. His desire is that the Galatians return to the freedom Paul showed them.
Paul was truly humbled by the love of the Galatians. He apparently was ill at the time of his visit and they restored him to health. Paul was impressed by their sacrificial joy. Now it seems with the teaching of those who confused them, this joy was now lost. We only experience the joy of the Lord if we are free to love others. Remember Paul had once persecuted those of the Faith in Christ, yet the Galatians rejoiced in his conversion. We can lose our joy if we look to other things. Joy comes only from God and doing His will. His will is that we be free to love others and not be pressed by the Law or rules of man. The Law had requirements for separation. The Jew could not enter or eat in the house of a Gentile. Today we set up rules of separation that are not of God. True we need be separate from the world and not do as those do who are caught up in its clutches. Yet, we are freed from such rules that keep us from loving those the world deems unacceptable.
Paul speaks of two women. Sarah and Hagar both bore a child for Abraham yet only one was of the promise of God. How often do we do things that we think God is in while all along He promised nothing in that direction? How much time money and energy is wasted by us as we follow the way of Hagar? We devise our ways yet God has given us the way of freedom or the way of the Promise. Only though the Promise are we saved. Are you on still one Mount Sinai? Do you need to come down from the Mountain of the Law to the Life in the Lush valley of Grace?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
If you get an e-mail with "Nude Photos of Sarah Palin" in the subject line, do not open it. It might contain a virus.
Billy Graham was returning
To Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his Plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home.
As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.
'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?'
The driver said, 'No problem. Have at it.'
Billy gets into the driver's seat and they head off down the highway. A short distance away sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap. The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone. The trooper pulled out and easily caught the limo and he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver's door and when the glass ws rolled down, he surprised to see who was driving. He immediately excused himself and went back to his car and called his supervisor.
He told the supervisor, 'I know we are supposed to enforce the law.... but I also know that important people are
given certain courtesies. I need to know what I should do because I have stopped a very important person.'
The supervisor asked, 'Is it the governor?'
The young trooper said, 'No, he's more important than that.'
The supervisor said, 'Oh, so it's the president.'
The young trooper said, 'No, he's even more important than that.'
The supervisor finally asked, 'Well then, who is it?'
The young trooper said, 'I think it's Jesus, because he's got Billy Graham for a chauffeur!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Time for Faithful Pastors to Go on the Attack!