Monday, December 27, 2010

WTWTW? Outlaw Preacher's informal telephone conference

I read the fine print and realized that there was a cost for those calling in. It was not that specific as to how much so I decided to cancel this until I found venue that was more specific.
There has been a few heated discussions on Twitter that need to be addressed in a different forum. While I am not sure why I decided to do this, I have at least two topics we should address as Outlaw Preachers. 

  1. How organized are Outlaws anyway?
    1. Do we need any formal description/creed.
    2. If we “join a membership” is that being exclusive and against the “rule” of inclusiveness?
    3. If adopted should it be optional? 
     2. Inclusion without giving more victims to those that abuse. (A debate that surrounds a certain person who claims to be a pirate) 

Contact me: if you are:

1. An Outlaw Preacher

2 Able to call in Wednesday @ 1pm mst  (Yes, Adele, it is only 1 hr ahead instead of 2... sorry! LOL!)

I will send you out the details.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    A quick look at the Ten Commandments

    A quick look at the Ten Commandments

    Many view the Ten Commandments as how to live the Christian life, however if one looks at at the Big Ten, they may find something interesting.

    The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)

    1 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.

    At first this one is obvious, however if someone thinks about it, either God is insecure, OR we humans placed gods before THE GOD. Strangely to me if I was God (which is part of the issue I am addressing) I would simply show myself as God to a people (Like a small tribe that no one knew about… probably pulled from some nomadic pagan worshiping tribe) I would slowly show who I was so I would not overwhelm the simple humans… (hmmm like what God did with Abram and in choosing the Jews). My point is mainly this. God could show Himself in power, yet, He chooses relationships instead.

    2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.

    While this seems also obvious, imagine this. God created Adam to be His image… or IKON to represent God to all creation. Then what does this IKON do? They created IKONS in their own image or in the image of created things and worship themselves or creation! Why no images? We are that image… now we are to be the image of God in Christ. In being this image we worship God and do His Will. Worse than engraved images is someone who falsely represents God by being a “self made” image. When we create this false image of self reliance and a being set apart from God the Creator, we create a false god in which we worship. (Rom 8:21)

    3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

    While many see this as not cursing… (Like Jesus’ middle initial is really “H”… ) This vain usage is much deeper. In fact I have seen it take place in churches I have attended on Sunday as an act of worship! It is in misrepresenting God. It is the act of speaking for God falsely or in a way that is in fact an act of self worship of selfish gain. Imagine that God really needs your tithe? No… how degrading to even think God “needs” anything. To represent God as a money grubbing get rich scheme is only one of thousands (estimation is low there) ways we use God’s Name in vain.

    4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

    The Sabbath day has always bothered me as I was taught we “must follow the Ten Commandments” as Christians. While I at first had no issue as I went to church on Sunday, I soon realized that Sunday was NOT THE SABBATH… What? Saturday was the Sabbath to Jews. So, how does one reconcile this clear commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy… well to be honest, by either ignoring it… or by showing historically how it changed from Saturday to Sunday… yet, in all honestly I struggled with that historical view… So, what then? I realized as I read Hebrews that Jesus became our Sabbath Rest. In fact originally as you read this commandment it was about setting aside a day for God. Imagine that God only originally wanted one day for us to rest and reflect on Him! However, something sick happened along the way. Man began to worship to day and miss the Person it was about. Still, we go to church on our “imagined” Sabbath, and miss Jesus who is our Sabbath Rest. Jesus stated that all scripture was about him. (John 5: 39-40). As I mentioned, God set a day aside for us to rest… Hebrews 4:9 states that this is now “Today” so EVERY DAY is the Sabbath… as we rest in the finished works of Jesus Christ and cease our own.

    5 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

    As simple as this commandment sounds, what to do with parents who are not honorable? Imagine having the father who beat you, the mother who let others abuse you... Yet, without learning forgiveness we cannot learn to truly honor God. This is a hard one to say the least. Imagine that this was to be attempted originally without the Holy Spirit inside to give us strength! Now we have God’s Spirit inside us to help be our strength. Note I am not saying give us strength, but be our strength.

    6 “You shall not murder.

    Jesus stated that even if we hate another we murder in our heart. The point is not the taking of the physical life of someone but also hoping ill will toward that other person. Likewise many miss that most people do not even know you hate them! Hate can do more harm to the person who carries it than the person it is aimed at. In a sense as we hate others, we die a little our self.

    7 “You shall not commit adultery.

    The idea of faithfulness reflects directly on God’s faithfulness toward us. When we commit to another and then do them harm by chasing our own lust, we not only dishonor them but God. While that is enough, the harm is also in that we break the union of trust and love by abusing the privilege of loving another who loves us in faith we will be only their love. Adultery leads to destruction of families… think about this… here in the Big Ten is adultery, yet no mention of homosexuality. If we were to prioritize God’s way, the Church would realize the greater harm of adultery and its ramifications (such as divorce) and the harm we allow and afflict the church with as we commit this action against our loved one.

    8 “You shall not steal.

    How many ways do you steal and not even realize it. Worse, the church can steal from the poor to line its pockets for programs that really mean nothing in light of eternity. We think of the thief who comes and steals our TV or laptop… but what of the thief of our time? How often when we are on our way to church we pass the person in need? In a sense we steal in so many ways... and are completely blind or worse see it and ignore it.

    9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    This is the age of the so called discernment ministries. However, while many are great resources, most are two bit gossip operations that bear false witness against their brothers and sisters in Christ… let alone their neighbor. While these fine people fight for truth, they use the tools of this world to lie, distort, and twist the truth to fit their “biblical” world view and in the end fall short of keeping this very commandment. We also may not realize that we do this to others. That homeless person may be a drunk; however, does that give you the right to ignore their plight or hurt? We state the poor need to “just get a job”, most often using our own work ethic as the standard they should meet! Might we forget that there is One who has a much greater work ethic than we ever would have… in fact he gave His Life to His work so we could rest in it! Bearing false witness also degrades the other as the IKON of God they are intended to be.

    10 “You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.”

    Paul stated this was the one commandment that got him. This one has bothered me for years, as it seems to make the “wife” on the same level as servants, houses, or livestock! Meaning, women are reduced property! Yet, while that may seem how it originally comes across, it is actually saying the opposite. If we covet we reduce people to property and degrade them. If we do not covet we are not degrading women or our neighbor in general. We are to edify and lift each other up not degrade each other by objectifying each other.

    While we may not be able to “live by the Law” we also cannot gain righteousness by it, we see it seems to point to Jesus who did live it and how far we fall from the perfection of what the Law demands. In that shortness we find grace in our failings… not condemnation. We find that in Jesus these things are what is now being written on our hearts.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Ephesians 1:7- 23


    Ephesians 1:7- 23

    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 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 reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under 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 put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you 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.
     15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)

    “In Him” is the point I cannot drive home enough. Other phrases such as “His Blood”, “He made”, “His will and “He purposed “ shows over and over what we contribute to the equation of our salvation, and that being nothing! It was at the “fullness of time” or in perfect timing that Jesus came to gather both the “heavenly things” as well as the things on earth all back “in Him”.

    Verse 11 once again starts with “In Him” and presents what we obtain being “in Him”. You who are “in Christ” obtained an inheritance as an adopted son! You see while the natural son might be disowned, yet the adopted son was never natural, but placed in the family and instated by decree of the family that the adopted was now a natural child. The predestination is not some pre-existing clause that somehow initiated you to be created “saved” and some not… and then just one day come to that realization as some Reformed traditions promote. Rather, that according to “His Will” those, “as verses 12 and 13 state, “who “trusted” to accept the counsel of “His Will” after having heard the word of truth would become not only sons, but be the “praise of His glory.

    The Glory… is Jesus! (John 17:5) We in Christ are His praise unto the Father for what the Father does in and through Jesus! Now we in turn become the glory unto God through Jesus (John 17:10). Now how does this take place? Through trust! Trust is the responsive action based on having faith and belief in the other, who in this case is God in Christ… and then you are placed “in Christ”! Another note some miss is that the “gospel of your salvation” is not a set of doctrines but rather a person as Paul states “you were included in Christ when you heard” Often the gospel is represented by a series of events, and in some way this is true. However, here Paul is clear that salvation is the Person of Jesus Christ as you were placed “in Christ” when you heard, responded and believed on Jesus.

    In verses 13-14 the Holy Spirit is finally mentioned filling out the whole of the Trinity as far as being mentioned. Here Paul states in verse 13 has place the Holy Spirit on you as a seal! A holy seal or decree that shows God Himself seals us. This concept of the “seal” is that of the kings ring which would be leave the insignia of the king on a royal letter in the wax that sealed the letter. The Holy Spirit is that seal that shows we are of the King Himself. The Holy Spirit is given as proof of ownership of sorts and proof that we are His until God redeems those who become His possession, to the praise of His Glory.

    Paul spoke of those faithful in Ephesus as the “praise of His Glory”. So as Paul hears of their faith in turn gives thanks to God for their faith, even stating they are mentioned in his prayers. Paul prays that the may also receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Jesus]. Sadly, many traditions today have cut believers off from revelation and reduce it to experientialism (as if experiencing God is a bad thing) or worse claim it to be some sort of occult majick  or Gnosticism. Yet, Paul (who is writing scripture knowingly or not) teaches this as a good thing as he himself prays the believers receive these things. Paul prays “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”. Enlightenment is given that you may know gain understanding in relation to revelation that leads to hope. This enlightenment that leads us to hope can only come by revelation from God through the Holy Spirit.

    To grasp the flow to this one might chart it out like this

    1. Understanding the calling that was heard at salvation leads to
    2. Enlightenment unto hope leads to…
    3. The Hope in you were called to… leads to…
    4. Stronger belief in Jesus which leads you to…
    5. The Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead…

    This power also raised you! It made you a new creation… yet also power in that the Kingdom of God has and is coming down to us. All authority and power is not Jesus as he rules over His Body… the Church. However, this rule and authority is different that just a king to his kingdom. This is a King to His own Body… it is relational… and in His Body, which is the Church the fullness of Christ fills everything… that includes you who are “in Christ”.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    A question to consider

    What if the people we believe do not fit into our theology, do in fact fit into God's theology?
    I am looking at this question as what we hold may be true but not complete... so being open to the possibility that God has more than what we now believe that pulls us ever deeper into Who God is, and who we are in Christ. To close off God with a sealed theology turns faith into religion that keeps God at bay and only allows hope in appeasing His anger. That is not growing in Love, but perishing in fear.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Ephesians supplemental: Understanding “In Christ”

    Ephesians supplemental: Understanding “In Christ”

    The first thing one must comprehend in reading Ephesians is to understand what the phrase “in Christ” means. This phrase comes in a few different variants such as, “in Him”. “in Christ appears six times with variants “in Him” used four times. As you can see just in the 23 verses in the first chapter this phrase is used so often it must contain some significance.

    To begin to understand the significance we must go to Genesis chapter seven and the creation of Adam. We see Adam is created/formed from the dust of the earth and that being the finiteness of creation itself as there is nothing as fleeting as dust. Dust can be moved by the wind yet in itself cannot even hold a seed to grow anything properly. Then, God breathes His Life giving Breath (which can be translated also as Spirit) into Adam. Note it never states an animal is “breathed into” though they contain the life giving breath, but Adam is more than a mere creature creation. It appears significance is placed on the idea that Adam was not only breathed into the Spirit of Life, but also that Adam became a living “being”.

    We humans have a sense of being that may not be experience n the animal kingdom. We have a clear sense of self beyond the physical needs. We have a keen sense to ask questions beyond survival questions. We ask higher questions such as our purpose, - a monkey knows his purpose! Eat, poop, procreate, fight and die. I doubt they ask, “Why me?” when they die, or that they ponder their existence as having purpose as they gasp their last breath… but humans consider their “being” as they live as well as when they die.

    Now in Genesis 2:8 it states; “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.” If one takes note they will notice that God placed Adam in the garden. The Garden is symbolic of Jesus Christ. So, we see a picture of Adam, the newly created man, placed in the Garden the idea of the New Man being placed “in Christ” at his birth.

    Romans 6: 3.  Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death

    We see in this verse the idea that we were “baptized into Christ Jesus”. Now, we can thank good ole King James for creating a bit of confusion by imposing his phobia of bathing into our translations in English. Baptism simply means “immerse”. While I cannot find a credible source, I understand that King James had a phobia of water, so bathing was terrifying to him. So, in deference to King James the translators used the transliteration or “baptizmo” when they simply could have used “immersed”. So the phrase “baptized into Christ Jesus simply means we are immersed/placed into Christ Jesus as Adam was immersed/placed into the Garden. I have always found it strange that even today, most translators use a transliteration of a word that can be translated…, but I digress. If one simply reads this verse as “immersed into Christ Jesus” much of the confusion of ritual drops off and the meaning becomes easier to grasp. Another verse states this concept as “put on the new self” (Ephesians 4: 32) as well as being “clothed in your heavenly dwelling (2 Corinthians 5:2) or that those “who were baptized (immersed) into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3: 27).

    In Christ, we have been equipped to do all God has prepared for you to do (Hebrews 13:21-22)!  In fact, 2 Peter 1: 3 states, “His 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.” The point being, that everything we need is in the Person of Jesus Christ. We come to Jesus with nothing, and God gives us everything “in Christ” and we gain all! Jesus becomes our very all. Jesus becomes our very life, for He is Life eternal. Jesus becomes our dwelling place in which we live out this life eternal. One way to understand this idea is we have died to this world’s reality at the Cross and are born into the New Reality at the Resurrection. While we maintain a citizenship in this world we are no longer of it, but born of the heavenlies. Still another way to express this idea is the idea of the Kingdom. We die to our own kingdom and now live in God’s Kingdom that is eternal. To be “in Christ” means we live in the total dependency and trust in all Jesus has done and is now doing. As Major Ian Thomas often stated, “He who gave His Life for you, gave His Life to you to Live His Life Through you.” If one begins to understand this concept, one realizes it is all Jesus and none of me. One should soon realize that there is no hierarchical idea here... it is very much relational and this relationship is very much one sided.

    Reference: All translations are NIV

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Ephesians 1: 1-8 Grace and Peace and being ‘in Him”

    Ephesians 1

     1.  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,   To the saints in Ephesus,  the faithful  in Christ Jesus:
     2.  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
     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. (NIV)
    Ephesians 1: Grace and Peace and being ‘in Him”

    One must never underestimate the wisdom of Paul as he opens with what seems to be a rather plain opening. Most might read over or even skip the greetings as it seems nothing is really being taught. However, Paul first establishes that he is indeed more than some self appointed teacher. In fact the first thing Paul establishes is not only is he “an apostle of Jesus Christ” but also “by the will of God” to show that this letter is not written by Paul’s authority, but by the will of God through the authority of Jesus Christ. One should note that a seemingly simple opening statement sets this letter apart in authority than the letters of Ignatius or Polycarp. Paul then continues with whom he is addressing and that being the “the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus.” I want to draw your attention the simple but profound phrase, “in Christ Jesus.” This phrase will appear over and over in this letter in different forms mostly being “in Christ”. In my opinion, this is the main thought Paul is addressing as he unfolds many attributes of what being “in Christ” is about. While many focus on some sort of pre-existing plan of God where God chooses some for salvation and other for damnation, I see that instead, the plan was Jesus Christ Himself and all creation to be “in Christ” and returned to its original glory, yet not just that, beyond that Glory, and into an all new glory. We will continue with this thought a bit more as we address other versus to come.

    “Grace and peace” states Paul, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” sounds again like a mere and rather inornate greeting, yet here Paul address again that this letter is not coming from just his own self interest, but “from God our Father and Jesus Christ.” Not only is this no mere greeting but Paul states that Jesus “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessings in Christ.” Again, notice that phrase “in Christ”.

    Here we come on the idea predestination. While many seem to focus on the idea that “we were chosen” I have seen over the years a lack of the understanding or insight on the phrase “in Him” which is another restatement of “in Christ”. We see in verse 4, that the Father has chosen us “in Him” (Jesus) before creation. I hold out the idea that it was not at that time God chose Tommy to inherit the Kingdom and Bill to burn in hell, rather that the eternal plan of salvation was set in plan before creation. In a sense God knew that humanity might fall and choose his own path apart from God, yet also set in motion the plan to teach and redeem humanity “in Christ.” Meaning; Jesus Christ was THE PLAN before creation for the redemption of creation. Part of this reasoning is based on the idea that we are not mentioned as “sons”; meaning the Elect being already saved before creation because they were already chosen, rather that we were planned to be “adopted as sons”. If we were created to be saved, then there would be no need for adoption. We would only retain what was there all along. However, our own sonship was lost in the Garden and in our own desire to be like God and decide what is good and what is evil without God. Again, to assume one was already saved before creation as some present assumes that one was not truly lost or in need of salvation. The assumption that we were sons apart fro adoption also usurps the singular and important position of Jesus being the Only Begotten Son. My point to be clear is that no one is saved before creation; only the potential for salvation was set in the Person of Jesus before creation. That “in Christ” we are predestined, yet if we are not “in Christ” we will not fulfill our predestination of salvation. For a person to claim they were saved before creation in my opinion seems presumptuous and rather overlooking the importance of being in “the Only Begotten Son”. To begin to grasp “in Christ” helps one regain the perspective that apart from Jesus there is no salvation and that only “in Christ” we have salvation.

    Next we see “in Him we have the redemption of through His blood and forgiveness of sins. We see repeatedly Paul speaking of the “glorious grace of God” to emphasize that it is by grace we are saved, not by works, or by even some pre-existing pre-salvation. It is only by the “blood of Jesus” we are saved. This was the eternal plan that was before creation. This salvation as Paul re-emphasized, “has been freely given us in the One He loves.” To rephrase that as the grace of God has been freely given “in Christ” because God loves Jesus Christ His Son. While it is true that God loves you and me, God’s sight is on His Son more than on us. God’s sight is on us only as we are “in Christ.”

    On point I would like to draw out is a phrase that if translated one way emphasizes on thing one way and another thing if translated slightly differently. The phrase in verse 7 a phrase is translated as “we have”. This translation emphasized the human side of the equation which is there, yet as I look at alternatives in how this could be translated I see a better rendering might be, “conceived”. The verse in my estimation should read; “In him was conceived redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace…” While we do have redemption, I see that this better brings out the eternal plan as being in Jesus Christ before creation and not about what “we have”. The idea of salvation was “in Christ”. The idea of salvation was conceived “in Christ” and out of that we received salvation by His Blood which brought forgiveness of sins which opens the door to eternal Life by the power of the Resurrected life of Jesus Christ.  The idea being brought forth is that salvation and redemption were present as ideas in the Person of Jesus Christ even before the creation of all things.

    To be continued:

    Introduction to Ephesians

    Introduction to Ephesians:

    I have been sorting through ideas for new blog posts and have come to realize that maybe I should start a new installment on a book of the bible. Ephesians has been calling out to me for some time though as I read chapter one and two I find myself overwhelmed with the thoughts. Ephesians is a book that reminds me of wading through a NT Wright book. NT Wright can write one sentence with more content than most writers can introduce in a whole book! In a real way I look at what Paul has done with Ephesians as something that might take more time to unpack than Romans and Galatians combined. For me though, Ephesians is a book that contains more powerful truth than some of Paul’s other letters. That is not to say the truth contained in Paul’s other letters are lesser in truth, only that what Paul is teaching in Ephesians seems to reach deeper in to revelation and relational teaching that most realize. In some ways other writings of Paul are more practical while Ephesians seems to reach into Heaven and bring down bits and pieces of truth that may find some readers to feel the ideas are rather intangible if not out of reach of mere mortals. I hope to bring out points that I have been blessed with understanding and as we (the read and myself) humble push forward, that God may bless us both with something new to us, yet ancient in truth.

    Ephesus was a city of commerce and a major port in the Mediterranean for trade in the ancient world. Ephesus is located in what we now call Turkey.  There is much history in Ephesus from St. Luke’s grave where companion of Paul and writer of the Gospel of Luke was martyred and burred, to temple to the goddess Artemis (who in Greek mythology was the twin sister of Apollo as well as the daughter of Zeus and Leto). Not to mention this was the place Domitian built a temple to honor himself and accept worship as Caesar. Domitian may be the very person in which much of what the Apostle John wrote about as John spent time in Ephesus and was also exiled from Ephesus the Island of Patmos that is only a little over 60 miles away. If one reads the Book of Revelation, they might see that as John unfolds his vision, John describes such places as the Prytaneion as the place of the 24 elders in which the regional administrators would sit before Domitian. John replaces the earthly lord Domitian with the Heavenly Lord of All in the very seat. Again, if one reads the book of Revelation many scenes in Ephesus such as the decree to take the mark 666 in order to buy or sell in Ephesus may sound familiar. It may be a key to understanding the Book of Revelation as Ephesus is the very first church mentioned in the Book of the Revelation and called out on Ephesus is also the place where John returned after his exile and wrote the Gospel of John. John’s grave is also in Ephesus and in the Middle Ages considered to be a holy structure.

    The Apostle Paul, who also lived in Ephesus for a time wrote about Ephesus, as we will read later, Paul calls out by name the silversmith Demetrius as there was the fear of loss of income by those who made idols as people turned from paganism to Christianity. Another point of interest as the popular cult of Diana seems to have been replaced by the cult of the Virgin Mary.

    The Letter of Paul called the book of Ephesians is considered one of the “prison” letters as Paul was written during his imprisonment. If there be one theme to consider, Charles Rye sums it up as we go through Ephesians, is “God’s eternal purpose to establish and complete His Body the church of Christ.” (Ryrie NIV study Bible) Jon Stott in his book on Ephesians states the basic theme this way. “We are the family of God the Father, the body of Jesus Christ his Son and the temple or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.” (Stott p. 25) Stott also puts forth the main message is “adumbrated in the apostle’s opening salutation: Greece to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. While this may seem like a common greeting, and as Stott points out even a “Christianized” version of the Greek and Hebrew written greetings, there is nothing common about this introduction… for the key word of Ephesians are “Grace” and “Peace” which are found in not only in the concept of being “in Christ” but in the very Person and message of Jesus that was set forth even before creation.


    1. Ring, T., Salkin, R., & La Boda, S. (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe. Available from

    2. R. W. Stott, J., The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Ephesians (Inter Varsity Press, Leicester, England. Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S.A. 1979)

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    I've got to ramble on

    So once again I am taking a few days/weeks between blog posts. I could say I don’t have much to say, however I seem to have tons on my mind. The issue is that I am having problems organizing thoughts to better able write them. Why? Not sure. Could be new job with upside down hours—yet that was happening before then. I am done with school for now, though I want to keep going. I am not sure about the hours of work and being able to adequately do quality work that school demands. So, I am working, sleeping, and trying to regain health, which btw seems to be coming back well, though I still do not have the stamina I hoped to by now. I have lost about 60+ lbs since my gastric bypass surgery so in that way I am very happy. Clothes that were tights now hang loosely on me. I tried on one shirt that actually was tight that now hangs down on the shoulders!

    I finally finished The Shack… I know been a while since it was published. Personally I don’t see the big issue about it… unless one is so boxed into their theology they cannot understand a work of fiction! And I suppose that is what many have going on with them. I found it enchanting and a reflection of my own journey and conversations with God… I can understand those who use their theology to keep God at arms length would have much trouble sorting though the book, however I found many who have found rest and peace in the Grace of God embrace the book and understand what it is about. OK… I admit that this sounds a bit harsh… but sometimes I just want to toss out the truth for people as I see it.

    Sometime I suppose I will write a review on it, but there are many out there… and the negative ones, really… don’t bother…. They are simply unable to release God to be God and seek to use their theology to put people who the book is freeing in bondage to religion. As I realized on my new job when a person called and asked me to fix his account and while I was doing so go angry with me and cursed me and then hung up… you can only help people as much as they let you… you or I cannot control anyone else. In fact if you do, then you are being God in their life and usurping God from doing His job… in fact you are trying to create that other person in YOUR image instead of letting the Holy Spirit transform them into the Image of Jesus… think about that for a while… if you disagree, the really, may God help you realize what you are doing.

    For me, relationship is what faith in Christ is all about. If a relationship is based on anything but love, then there is no REAL relationship. If someone is bound to another by Law or doctrines or religion and it is all about rules, the it is not about relationship with the Creator, but about relationship with the Law, religion and rules. (Go back and read that a couple of times before you post a comment in anger.)

    Meanwhile I am now reading The Saving Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas… strangely while I have listened to hours of the Major’s preaching, I have yet to finish one of his books. It is not that he is a bad writer, but that it seems whenever I do try to read one, another book is sent for me to read and write a review on. Saying that, expect a review on Jonathan Brinks’ new book (you can listen to the podcast here) Discovering the God Imagination.

    If you want some great new music... try out Robert Plant's Band of Joy album... some great surprises on that release... in fact been listening to it as I wrote this... it may become habit forming. 

    Well, as you can see this is sort of a rambling post… maybe after this one, I can get more focused…

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Book Publishers as part of a Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    New podcasts up!

    Over the last few days I have had the privilege to interview (if you want to call what I do an interview) Connie Waters, Phil Shepherd and Jonathan Brink. So, there you are, you are now officially updated.

    Sunday, September 19, 2010

    Three Views Calvinism, Arminianism and "iggyism": or just some theological riffing

    I am fully aware that this is way over simplified... But for discussion.... any thoughts?

    John CalvinFoundation laid by Augustine
    John WesleyFoundation laid by Arminius
    Foundation laid by Irenaeus and The Bible

    Total Depravity - Human beings are so affected by the negative consequences of original sin that they are incapable of being righteous, and are always and unchangeably sinful; human freedom is totally enslaved by sin so we can only choose evil.
    Deprivation - Human beings are sinful and without God, incapable (deprived) on their own of being righteous; however, they are not irredeemably sinful and can be transformed by God’s grace; God's prevenient grace restores to humanity the freedom of will.
    Innocent until one sins – Man has a predisposition to sin. We have had our eyes open to see the difference between good and evil, given statutes and laws that step by step give us all the mercy and grace and forgiveness and blessings of God, yet have not the moral consistency to live it out.  All men eventually sin thus only by sacrifice of blood can man be forgiven.
    Unconditional Election - Since human beings cannot choose for themselves, God by His eternal decree has chosen or elected some to be counted as righteous, without any conditions being placed on that election.
    Conditional Election - God has chosen that all humanity be righteous by His grace, yet has called us to respond to that grace by exercising our God-restored human freedom as a condition of fulfilling election.
    Conditional Election modified– All have been forgiven once and for all through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Yet, not all are saved. Man must lay down his free will as a living sacrifice and receive the Life of Christ Jesus in order to be saved. Once one has converted, he is predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
    Limited Atonement - The effects of the Atonement, by which God forgave sinful humanity, are limited only to those whom He has chosen.
    Unlimited Atonement - The effects of the Atonement are freely available to all those whom He has chosen, which includes all humanity, "whosoever will."
    Unlimited Atonement – Not only was the whosoever -will atoned for but the whole of creation. Except save the fallen Angels.

    Irresistible Grace - The grace that God extends to human beings to effect their election cannot be refused, since it has been decreed by God.
    Resistible Grace - God’s grace is free and offered without merit; however, human beings have been granted freedom by God and can refuse His grace.
    Sustaining Grace – God’s grace sustains all creation. For if God so willed He could say, “no more” and nothing would exist. This is contrary to the character of God. There is the calling of the Holy Spirit or wooing, then the conversion. Conversion can be instant or may take a lifetime or be denied or forfeited, thus not accepting salvation and being later cast into the Lake of Fire.
    Perseverance of the Saints - Since God has decreed the elect, and they cannot resist grace, they are unconditionally and eternally secure in that election.
    Assurance and Security - There is security in God’s grace that allows assurance of salvation, but that security is in relation to continued faithfulness; we can still defiantly reject God.
    Assurance and Eternal Security – Once one has gone through conversion he is no longer subject to this world, but is now subject to the works of Christ Jesus whose works are final and complete. No man can remove salvation from himself for it is not of himself as it is God’s salvation given to us by His Grace, through Faith in Jesus Christ

    To sum it up, Calvinism denies that God is truly sovereign as He is subject to the system and is without a true free will. Armenianism puts too much on mans works to justify a person as only by the blood of Jesus are we justified and kept pure. It is not by works we are saved, nor is it by works our salvation is maintained, as it is God's salvation given to us through His Grace, through faith in His Son. A bit of a disclaimer, I wrote this up about 5 years ago, and re-reading it I am not satisfied with some phrasing or ideas.

    Is infallibility and inerrancy even biblical?

     I realized a couple of things over the years. I admit there was a time my faith demanded a literal/infallibility/inerrant view of the bible. I needed the view to keep faith. However over the many years, I found 1. There is some... major circular reasoning going in the views. 2. Not all denominations or streams of Christianity agree how far infallibility and inerrancy should go. Some say the bible is the Perfect, (A view I find offensive to Jesus) while some concede there are not original manuscripts to prove the view. 3. That translations are not infallible, or without error. Yet, for some reason, I found that the Person of Jesus taught in the bible has grown and shown Himself more and more real to me... and in His Way, proved the bible to be faithfully true. It holds authority in my life because Jesus is my Authority. Jesus gives His authority to the bible so as I trust Jesus; I trust the written word to guide me. I agree it is a confusing and frustrating book at times... it is beauty and grace, yet reveals the evil in all of us... it holds nothing back yet hides our sin... to really find the Bible in its fullness is to find the Living Christ Jesus... To find Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit, then one can begin to learn how to understand the book.

    I see infallibility and inerrancy as man made modernist constructs that are imposed on the bible... These ideas are even opposed to the teachings of Jesus and of course the bible itself as John 5: 39- 41 show. Jesus does not need man's approval... nor does the written word need man's approval. The bible does not need to be proven by the scientific method; in fact I agree with atheist David Hume that using the scientific method is the wrong tool to use to prove God or other things that are faith based. Now, I find my faith allows me to not need these man made tools to prove God for me, in fact I find they get in the way of understanding what the bible teaches. I know that is very hard for some to read and grasp, and recently having watched a few friends lost faith over the years over the view the bible is infallible and inerrant, only seems to prove they are not tools of faith but hinder or destroy faith.

    Romans 14:23 is talking about food, and if a man eats against his conscience, the he sins. “But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Here I see two things in relation to what I am saying. 1. I see that infallibility and inerrancy are built on the foundation of doubt. While these ideas are well intentioned, to even ask if they are true shows doubt as well as it shows that doubt in itself is bad.

    The second thing I see in this verse is that anything not of faith is sin. These views are not based on the pure trust in Jesus at His word, let alone trusting the bible to be what it is. The ideas of infallibility and inerrancy grate against faith. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” In fact if one backs up to chapter 10, they will see the writer of Hebrews building a case for faith… that came out of the peoples experience with the Living Christ Jesus. Their salvation came through faith, and the writer of Hebrews exhorts those he or she is writing to not to base their belief on what they see, but from faith. Then he gives the definition of faith as I already quoted. From this definition the writer launches into a history lesson on faith that sums up with the writer explaining that faith was the ingredient that drove the patriarchs of the faith, even though they did not get to see what those present in the writing had seen. At one point the writer of Hebrews states “6.  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Again, two things I see, 1. Faith is the only thing that pleases God. 2. One must believe that God exist to receive the reward.

    If the tools of infallibility and inerrancy are contrary to faith, then they are of sin. I see that these two teachings run contrary to my conscience. In that if someone demanded me to believe in those two things now to keep my faith in God, I would lose faith entirely. However, to see them as they are, man-made constructs imposed on the bible, allows me freedom to have faith and to walk in faith. I find it easier to trust Jesus, as I no longer must contend with men to prove what I cannot. I can only be like the blind man in John 9:25 “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" This seems to confound the “wise” (those atheists I run into) as I agree totally with their argument, however must profess my faith so I become the fool for the sake of faith.

    By the way, if I am wrong, I have no issue with that at all either. But for those who will now criticize, allow me to walk in the faith granted to me, as I allow you to hold to your view.

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    A couple of new podcasts are now up

    I have a couple of new podcasts up.
    Interview with John O'Keefe talking about his new book, The Boneyard

    Also an interview with Bobby Masilamani.
    Bobby is a 20 year old Evangelist in India who has taken on 18 street kids, but that's not all. 

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Been a weird but busy couple of weeks

    I have been a little silent on my blog. However, been hard at work in other areas... that as it may be, partly that I am looking for a job. Meanwhile, I am selling books on under the name Saving Faith Books (Yeah there are some books I would not rather sell) as well as changing the name of my radio station to Saving Faith Radio (which includes changing over the blog for the station.) I have been selling books pretty well.

    The idea behind the station name change was this: I decided that iggyROCKS! sounded a bit amateur. I hope to move on and grow the station in a bit of a different direction and thought the name change to Saving Faith Radio might make it sound more interesting. My thinking is that 1. There is a saving faith that leads us to Jesus. 2. There are many out there who are hurting and their faith is fading, and they need a place to help save their faith. 3. It sounded a bit like saving face… Other than that, it just seemed a time for change. I did notice my numbers have changed dramatically as I was in the top 50 in my genre and now popped into the top 100. Mostly I believe is that no one can find me under the new name. It may take a while for the name to register with so for at time if you are still looking for my station, you can find it under iggyrocks. Also, I have started more live shows, and have figured out a way to take live calls. Believe me it is all very low-tech.

    I also plan to add more shows and have been talking to JR Harrison, who is one of the Out Law Preachers to do an audio version of his blog sermons. I hope this will add a bit more spice to the mix.

    While I am writing I might as well point to a few things around the blogosphere. JR Harrison’s blog as he has many great thoughts there… also Brandon Mouser calls out Ken Silva on his version of a picture (Brandon was present for the picture while Ken was sitting in his evil lair thinking of new things to make up.) It is funny reading good ole Ken as he has not changed and begins to sound more and more like Pee Wee Herman “I know you are, but what am I?”

    I have fallen in love with the Out Law Preachers. While some are more radical about Grace than I am, I see God is doing something great with these radicals. So if you are on Twitter as well as on Facebook check them out.

    I had a run in with an old friend. I still consider him a friend though since he has turned agnostic or atheist or whatever, he seems to be angered when I even try to interact with him. In fact his story is that he was a Fundamentalist Baptist, who slowly became a Christian Universalist, then read a book debunking the inerrancy and infallibility of the bible and so, lost his faith in God all together. I mentioned that these terms are not even taught in the bible (yes it is “God breathed” and “inspired” but I see those word often packed with meaning not found in the text itself… so when you find an original text we can talk further on infallibility, you might then have a strong case). He then went into strange rants about what I believe (though he was not even close) as well as telling me I must believe the bible is all Truth! Ummm… I pointed out that Satan is quoted in the Bible and his words are lies, not truth… yet sadly it just turned uglier and uglier… to the point he told me to “F*** off”. Well, I hope he is content… still sad to lose a friend I respected and loved over the years. It seemed that he went full circle in his fundamentalism mindset though. I know that Atheists bristle at the idea of being called a fundy, but you are… you have a belief system which is a “religion” of sorts… Believe me I knew guys whose religion is Harley Davidson so don’t tell me atheism is not a religion. You worship science, and your own knowledge… you worship self ego etc… etc… etc… If I turned atheist I would worship peanut butter and fishing… A friend pointed out this site I think expresses my thoughts in a humorous way about atheistic fundamentalist… check it out. Personally, the one big reason (besides not being able to deny that Jesus entered my life as He did) that I would never become an atheist or agnostic, is the ones I run into are just plain mean people. (Just watch the comments over that one!) BTW, I believe that this person worshiped the bible and Jesus wanted to break him of his idolatry... of course if he ever reads this he will blow a gasket (though he is never angry... haha!)

    I also have been doing fund raising for different ministries in Africa and soon India... you have read a few past posts on this so I will not say much more other than I hope to move forward to start a non-profit organization soon that helps out small ministries that God seems to be bringing to me. 

    Well, that is about it for now. I hope to get back teaching on my blog soon… so beware!

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    A message from my friend Ivan

    Update: Please donate to Afaayo Fundation Uganda just fill in the blank with the amount you want to pay. It is prefered that you go through Google at this time though you can choose PayPal if you cannot use Google.
    Look for the Thermometer on the side bar of the blog and "buy" our ministry DVD. You add the price you want to pay to help support the different ministries I mention on my blog.

    A message from my friend Ivan Andrew Kusasira

    Please help give a Ugandan vulnerable child a future by sponsoring her/his education or giving a one time donations. Schools opened yesterday..... we are looking forward to raising US$1015 more to have them all covered.
    Your donations of at least US$30 will be a great help for a child to attend school this coming school term. If the Lord leads to give more, we will be more than grateful.
    You can give online through Paypal by clicking here and inserting the recipient e-mail address as
    We will be grateful to hear from you.
    God bless

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Randy Alcorn talking about Christoplatonism at Solid Rock Church

    I wrote a bit on Christoplatonism a few years back, and references Randy Alcorn and his book Heaven. Though Plato has much value as a philosopher, I believe that much of the our accepted view of Heaven has been tainted by Plato...

    Monday, August 09, 2010

    Please help Ivan

    Ivan Andrew Kusasira was in a recent car accident and needs medical attention. He is in Africa and needs donations. To donate: use this link. Then use this email address: Please mark "services". When you go the use this email address and then enter your own, then amount donated. You can also scroll down to and look for the donation thermometer and click the donation button. Ivan needs $50 just for x rays to find out if he has internal bleeding. I am not sure of the details, though he hit the steering column rather hard, which has cause him great pain. The money takes time to send so we need donations ASAP. It takes at least 5 days just for Paypal to transfer funds and then I must send the money on to Africa which takes even more days.  

    Saturday, July 31, 2010

    There is no new post

    I must have fried my brain with finals week so there is no new post. However, I have a cute kitty picture for you!

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Travis Mamone interviews me.

    Travis Mamone of Coffee Chats does an interview of me. You will notice I sound a bit weird in the beginning... or weirder than normal, I was tired and just drank some major caffeine... and you sure can tell. Travis is great and you should check out the other interviews on his blog and podcast.

    Tuesday, July 06, 2010

    Is the Tithe an act of worship or bringing on a curse of the Law?

    Romans 12:1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.

    I look at it this way. God supplies my needs, and all I have is His. Out of all the blessings I have I give to others. No obligation other than the desire God put in me to give. I am "obeying the Law that is written on my heart" but not under any legal or covenant obligation.

    I think much of the corruption in the church today is around the tithe as many pastors have burdened their church with this Law and then worry more about money than lifting up Jesus. We cannot serve God and Mammon.... Yet, many of our pastors are doing just that and wonder why they are struggling. Likewise, most often the idea of some blessing is obligated from God once one tithes... what does God owe any man?

    So many are taught they are poor because they do not tithe, yet, they are poor because they are tithing and under the ministry of condemnation which is what the Law is about. (See 2 Corinthians 3: 8-10 for the contrast of the two ministries)