Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Parenting The Christ

We just returned from a great but brief visit with my folks down in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. The plan for the trip was quickly put together in early December when we realized that none of our four kids and their respective families would not be joining us at our house on Christmas day. In order to “share” them with their growing families we had elected to get together as a family on the 24th. This would be the first time that none of the kids were home on Christmas day, it would be just the two of us. Not that there is anything wrong with spending Christmas day alone with the person you love the most, it’s just that this would have been a first for us.

However, my folks have been spending Christmas together ,alone, for a long time. It made perfect since and worked out wonderfully to jump on a plane and fly down on Christmas morning and spend a few days with them.

While in Myrtle Beach we attended a Christmas show at the Alabama Theater. The three hour show was outstanding. It had it all, singing, dancing, Santa, and some very enjoyable comedy filled the first half. The second half was devoted to the true reason for Christmas, Christ’s birth. Honestly, I have never seen such a moving Christian celebration of the birth of the Lord. The fact that it took place not in a church but in a public theater made it all the more special. In the event that someone connected to the Alabama Theater reads this, My Hat is Off to You! Great Job!

During that show a young lady recited part of the Christmas story recounting the virgin birth and I was touched by the idea of Jesus being, in the flesh, the actual son of God. I have known this fact for many years and I don’t recall it ever being significant to me. I knew it, I believed it. It just didn’t seem to hold any special place in my relationship to God.

A couple days later, while attending Timberlake Baptist Church with my folks I was again struck with the significance of the conception of the Lord. Even though the speaker that morning was very good my mind kept darting around memories of the Book of Luke relating to the conception, birth and childhood of Jesus. In particular the section below kept coming to mind.

Luke 2: 41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

I scribbled myself a note and looked it up later when we went back to my parents place.
Along with the scripture above a question had formed. “Who told Jesus he had to be in his Father’s house? For that mater who told Jesus he was The Christ? Ask some believers and the normal response to that question will be that he was thought all things by the Holy Spirit. That would have been my answer as well.
The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove when he was baptized by John the Baptist. This took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, when he was about 30 years old, Luke 3:21-22. After he was baptized and the Holy Spirit filled him we went off into the desert for 40 days, Luke 4:1.
So back to the original questions. “Who told Jesus he had to be in his Father’s house? Who told Jesus he was The Christ? The Bible is actually silent on this subject. We do know though that Joseph and Mary were Godly people. We also know that they were both visited by angles and that they witnessed great and wonderful prophesies about their son.
This does not qualify as a doctrine of faith and it surly has no impact on salvation but I am betting that Jesus was told everything, by his parents (Joseph parented Jesus). The virgin conception, the angelic visitations, the Prophecies of the mother of John, the miraculous conception and birth of John. I am also betting that Mary and Joseph spent many hours teaching Jesus, along with his brothers and sisters about the word of God. That they did their best to raise him as a godly man. In short I am convinced that Mary and Joseph played a vital role in educating and training The Christ.
It’s mind boggling to me to consider that God, the Creator of all Heaven and Earth trusted a man and woman to raise, feed, cloth, protect, and educate the Savior of all mankind. That he had confidence in mortals to allow their influence in the personality and life of the fulfillment of all prophecy and His eternal plan.
Parenting never ends. From the time our children are born and as long as there is breath in our lungs we have the opportunity and obligation to educate, care and love them. Regardless of how old our children are we continue to influence their lives and through them the lives of others. Consider the children we have been blessed with and the magnitude of the responsibility we are entrusted with to help mold them into Godly men and women. Mary and Joseph played a role in the salvation of all of mankind and in doing so changed the world. We, as parents, share with Mary and Joseph the chance to change the world through the examples we set for our children.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Removing Splinters

Removing Splinters

The following article from the New Your Times was forwarded to me from my Dad in Myrtle Beach. One of Dad’s friends has some “history” with military aircraft and he forwards a regular flow of pictures and information about military aircraft and sometimes military life to Dad. Dad then sends it along to me.

Resisting the urge to commentate on the article before you read it I’ll hold my comments on why I decided to post this until the bottom of the article.

This appeared in the New York Times

What is there in the experience of a naval carrier pilot that would help prepare a person to be president? Beneath the derring-do that is part of the successful aviator's image are many fine qualities - some natural, some learned.

Above all, you must be true to yourself. Delusional people rarely survive the harsh demands of carrier flying. You cannot cheat your way through a carrier landing, or ignore the reality of a dark night and a pitching deck.

You must be absolutely committed to a cause greater than yourself, because your life is what you wager each time you take off on a mission . And you must be a team player. Many other team members are needed to operate both the ship and your aircraft, and you need to provide leadership.

A carrier pilot must also learn to accept criticism of his or her own performance, from both peers and overseers. The landing signal officer on an aircraft carrier administers a public debriefing and critique of every landing, and a grade is assigned to every pass the pilot makes at the deck. These grades and the pilot's performance ranking are displayed publicly for all to praise or ridicule. The psychological pressure of this culture is the whetstone that successful carrier pilots use to sharpen their skills -and the grinder that drives some from the profession.

The Navy considers its pilots to be officers first and aviators second. Most carrier pilots lead divisions of perhaps 20 sailors, so they must learn to balance the pressures of flying with the demands of leading. And this is just during peacetime. In times of combat, the pressures are increased exponentially.

So what do we have that could enhance a presidential resume.? Honesty, integrity, courage, commitment, love of country, leadership, capacity for self-criticism, ability to multitask and grace under pressure. These are great qualities indeed for anyone who aspires to become the leader of the free world.

- STEPHEN R. GRAY, author of "Rampant Raider: An A-4 Skyhawk Pilot in Vietnam"

I posted this not to make a point about who you should vote for to become our next President, although that would be a good reason. I posted it because parts of speak to my
Quest to understand my purpose.

Like many Christian leaders, workers and writers I hear a different drum beat, we dance to music others do not hear. Because of this we sometimes feel somewhat alone. After all, who does a Prophet turn to for advice?

Mr. Gray’s article hits the nail on the head. Although I don’t think it was not his intention to do so he has laid out some of the Keys to discovering one’s place in the Kingdom.

“You must be true to yourself”, the yourself that is committed to and following Christ.

“You must be a team player” perhaps the hardest pill for me and possibly you to swallow. Christianity is not a solo sport. To be a Christian and to live a Christian life our spirits need to be connected with others of like mind.

“Learn to accept criticism” we must be humble.

“The pilot's performance ranking are displayed publicly for all to praise or ridicule.” We must be transparent, the truth will always show through any facade we attempt to hide behind.

“Officers first and aviators second” we are all called to be leaders, regardless of our age or experience in Christ. Every Christian is commissioned to be a light to the world.

“They must learn to balance the pressures of flying with the demands of leading” Perhaps no other task is so difficult as the constant attempt to learn to balance the demands and desires of this life with those of the Spirit. Work ,family, fun, and Service all have a place finding the balance is an art form.

My last point was Mr. Gray’s second. I decided it speaks the most to the Quest so I have placed it last.
“You must be absolutely committed to a cause greater than yourself”. Christ has not called us to a life of spectatorship. Listening to the right music, attending the right church, having a fish bumper-sticker on your car, all have their place but they are just parts of the whole. As Christians our spirits cry out that we devote our lives to something much greater then us. Since my proclamation to discover “the answer” I have been bombarded with needs and opportunities to become part of “things” larger then I. I have also discovered that “becoming part of” is much more then just “joining”. Possibly “becoming part of” is not descriptive enough
grafted better expresses the concept I am expressing. In exploring these opportunities to serve “the answer” begins to come into focus. I don’t truly possess “the answer”, yet, but I am convinced that committing to a work of God that is greater then me is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Groupthink" Sometimes it's a good thing

Writing an article about a suggested topic is always difficult for me. Very recently I joined High Calling Blogs. Although they do not require it they request that you place and article on your blog to tell others about it and why you joined.

The mere request causes me to begin questioning why I did join. Not in a bad or self- doubtful way, more as a curiosity. What caused me to want to join the group, particularly because I’m not a group type person.

The first and most obvious reason is that I am always on the lookout for ways to “grow” my blog readership. It didn’t take long for me to realize that being part of a group helps to draw traffic. However, High Calling’s intention is not primarily to generate readership.

I found my way to High Calling after joining Christian Bloggers Online. After a few clicks on their Blog-Roll I was at The Writing on the Wall who displays a HighCallingBlogs.com badge. With such a cool badge I had to check them out.

I didn’t need to spend much time at HighCallingBlogs.com before I realized I could learn a lot from being here. The quality of writing, the differing voices and viewpoints all called that I spend more time there.

Then this morning I began to wonder, isn’t this like preaching to the choir? If the majority of readers are Christian bloggers (writers), how will being a part of this group help me to reach those who need to hear from Christ the most? The answer to that question came faster then the question itself. We, those who blog for Jesus, need this type of a community and fellowship the most. We, those who attempt to pen Things of the Spirit, need to be fed, schooled, encouraged, challenged, exhorted, and sometimes- to have the hot air let out of our starched white shirts.

Click on the cool badge on the right of my page, it will be worth the read.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Higher Calling

Consider the Missionary
Sitting in a church service on Mission Sunday was never my cup of tea. For some reason I found those who spoke ,,,, well, lets just say they didn’t hold my attention .

I mentioned last week that I recently re-connected with a brother laboring in the mission fields of Columbia. Actually “laboring” doesn’t really fit in some respects. Andrew and Kathy McMillan have been used by the Lord to lead more Souls into The Kingdom then I can image. To use Andrew’s words “there is a great hunger for the Lord”. I asked him to forward me something I could share on the Blog. Below are three of his news letters.

Like many, for many years I was very comfortable thinking to myself, “why go all the way to --------------, when there are so many in need here?” When the mission offering was taken I would give a bit, but I just didn’t get it. Having spoken to Andrew a few times over the last week and hearing about the hunger the people have for the Word of God in Columbia I find myself a bit envious. Not so envious that I’m ready to head off to Columbia. Far be it from me though to challenge the Lord and suggest that “I wouldn’t go if called”.

If you, like me, really don’t “get it” please take a moment and drop me an Email and I’ll forward Andrew’s news letters, with the pictures along to you. stofsoul@gmail

If you are looking for a real blessing, spend a couple minutes chatting with The Lord of the Harvest about the work Andrew, Kathy and their 2 sons are doing in Columbia. ( I have and intend to continue doing so) There are many more working with them there, I dont know their names yet, and literally thousands are coming to the Lord through this work.


The news letters Andrew sent had some wonderful pictures in them but I’m blog challenged and haven’t been able to pull the pictures out of the documents and post them, YET

March 2008

When God told me to come to Colombia 21 years ago, I said I would go for 2 years. He tricked me. Good thing because we are seeing thousands coming to Christ, hundreds of leaders trained and several churches planted.

We have about 6 evangelism teams ready to have crusades throughout the city. We just need sound equipment for them to do the crusades every week. Consuelo, one of our ushers, has started a ministry to hundreds of poor children and their moms in a very dangerous area of town. She put a down payment on piece of property and is living there among the people. Another $12,000 will pay off the mortgage. Theses people are heroes.

The A&C Corner

We really want to expand the TV and Video ministry. The most faithful guy on our team here is Giovanni. He used to work for Pablo Escobar killing people but now he is serving God big time. We seriously need some new cameras. If you know of any church or TV station that is getting rid of their equipment, please put us in touch with them. Please write us at
yodude777@gmail.com. Or call on our Vonage # 561 427 7466. Thanks.
You can see the short video we did on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=miracle+in+medellin&search=Search or just search Miracle in Medellin on youtube.

We are so grateful for your heart caring for people so far away. The light that shines further shines brighter at home. Being partners with us means you have a part with God in all that is happening here. You who gave in 2007 really made a difference.

Good News from Colombia
The McMillan Family
April 2008

God promised, “If you draw close to Me, I will draw close to you.” We have a new hunger to pray, worship and devour His word. We are enjoying the ministry. We are happy missionaries! Heaven’s fire is falling in the church. A young man came for the first time, tackles me and cries out with tears streaming down his face, “I never knew I could feel this way”. An old lady who had been in a legalistic church for 20 years starts punching me hysterically, screaming, “I never have been so happy.” That is a strange way of saying thanks. One touch of God can change people into radical disciples of Jesus.

On March 16, we saw more people in the bullring than ever. We are so proud of the people bringing their friends to Christ. We are following up on 500 decision cards. So far we have a documented case of a man healed of Parkinson disease and a lady healed of cancer. Let us know if you need prayer for healing.

Believe with us for a crusade truck, which would help us have 3-4 crusades throughout the city each week, followed up with new home groups and buses to bring the people to church.

The A&C Corner
Andrew Michael & Christian
God just opened up the main local TV channel for our program! We need some help to upgrade our equipment. Feel free to write us at
yodude777@gmail.com. or call on our Vonage . We are graduating from home school this year; so we now are praying about college or doing a TV internship with Pastor Joel Osteen for 6 months first.
You can see the short video we did on Youtube:
or just search Miracle in Medellin on youtube.

Wish list: We need a second car to replace our 1986 Mazda. We fixed the frig and joined a gym! Kathy dreams about new furniture but needs a laptop.
Refuge center grows to 84 kids.

Next bullring will be May 3 (The Prophetic Fire Conference) to honor Pastors Randy & Marcela MacMillan and to edify the churches of Medellin. We expect over 12,000 people. We also have started new outreaches for children in the extreme north of the city. More later.

By giving and praying, you are right here with us in God’s eyes. Thank you.
Make checks out to: Mission South America & mail to:
MSA / Pastor Andrew & Kathy McMillan
P.O. Box 12523
Norfolk. VA 23541
To speak to us directly, call 561 427 7466 (Vonage) or write: revival@une.net.co

Peace from Colombia

You are closer than you think
I wish you could stand be at our side during the altar call. This week 200 people came forward to receive Christ. Each one has a story. One man, who committed adultery, finds the surprise of forgiveness from God and from his wife. A youth screams out for freedom from basuca, the cheap street cocaine. A single Mom finds the Man who will never leave her. An old woman who prayed all her life to idols, meets the living God. A witch finds peace.

But you are at our side by supporting us. You get the same reward. David said that they who stay back with the baggage get the same reward as those who go forth into the battle. And we know you have your won battles, too. But by teaming up with us, we believe that the anointing flowing here will flow richly in your lives, too.

2000 kids in a special outreach Girl from the refuge center receives Refuge Center
medical attention
You help this happen:
*Our church plants are growing
*The churches are growing in unity and strength. Kathy trains 500 women of the city for intercession. Andrew is the chairman for a city-wide crusade in October.
*The 3 day retreats for new believers are growing, Our retreat center is jammed every weekend.
*Our Refuge Center for the children is packed with 107 kids; plus a new house just for training the moms how to work with honor and walk free from drugs and prostitution.
*Signs and wonders keep us amazed. Just this week 3 more people were healed of cancer with the proof from doctors.


Believe with us
*To see the whole city ablaze with the fire of God
*We are about to launch a short daily program on the main Medellin channel. Andrew Michael & Christian graduated from high school and are giving one year to the ministry before college. Pray for them for favor & finances.
*To improve the sound quality in the auditorium (Faith comes by hearing).

By giving and praying, you are right here with us in God’s eyes. Thank you.
Make checks out to: Mission South America & mail to:
MSA / Pastor Andrew & Kathy McMillan
P.O. Box 12523
Norfolk. VA 23541
We have a new 7 minute video showing the overall work here. For a free copy, call us 561 427 7466 (Vonage) or write us:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Splinter in your Mind

I ordered the book and the movie today. I have never actually seen the movie or have I read the book. A scene from “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suite” came to mind this morning. The scene I recall seeing very long ago has Gregory Peck, as Tom Rath, walking down a crowded street in Manhattan, NY, USA and you hear, as a voice over, his voice speaking his thoughts. Its been so long I cant recall the exact words, the basic idea being that Gregory Peck’s character is questioning how all the people around him can go on day after day, day in - and out, doing the same meaningless tasks, (OK so maybe I added a bit with meaningless tasks) His character is questioning himself, or so I recall, on “if everyone feels like something is missing or is he missing something they all know.

The same premise is laid out in “The Matrix”. If you haven’t seen it I’ll summarize the part that is important to my point. Keanu Reeves plays the role of Mr. Anderson who’s day job is a computer code writer of some sort. Like many he works in “cube world” When not at work he is Neo, a computer hacker. Mr. Anderson/Neo is plagued by the persistent thought that something isn’t right. He doesn’t know what "it" is but he knows it's there. As the movie progresses you find that his premonition of something out of sort is that the world he perceives is actually an illusion and that the real world is something vastly different then what he thought, and from what the rest of the world think, it is.

Now if you saw “The Matrix” please rest assured I’m not about to begin telling you how the world is controlled by machines and that our lives are actually just bits and bites of code pumped into us so we will produce energy for the new rulers of the world.

My point IS the feeling/ premonition/ fear/knowledge that both of these characters had. Something is amiss, something in them or in the world just isn’t right, and they are troubled by it.

As long as I can remember, much like Tom Rath and Neo, I have known something is missing. As a child I didn’t recognize the question but felt it. As a young man and later an adult I recognized the question but could never find words to express it. I just assumed everyone else in the world “just got it” that they knew some precious secret that I didn’t which allowed them to go on day after day, doing much the same things I did, and being satisfied or fulfilled. As an adult I learned that I could drown out the question , make it go away or mask over it with some new interest or challenge that captured my attention. Horses, motorcycles, fast cars, girls, fishing, hunting, shooting, mirage, having children, business, politics, booze, money the list is almost endless. One thing the distractions have or had in common is they all held my attention, blurring my vision and thought that something was missing, ------ for a season. The season would eventually end and I would again know that I am out of step, something missing.

Just to clarify I’m not taking about happiness, I am happy and in a very natural way content. This is something more then happiness, deeper then contentment.

Before anyone starts to pontificate the “standard” Evangelical, Full Gospel, Born Again, Church Attending mantras please allow me mention a few items of interest.

I have been a Born Again Christian since 1978. I was baptized in water that same year, as well as receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I attended church 3 times a week, participated in outreach ministries, and prayer groups for years.

My wife and I sold all that we owned packed our two babies into an old car and drove half way across the country to attend and for me to graduate from Christ for the Nations Institute.

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and have seen all of them work through me, some many times, some on occasion.

I believe I have met and talked with angels, two times that I know of. Hebrews 13:2

I know I have met and talked with demons, and I’m not speaking in a figurative sense.

For more years then not I have read my Bible almost daily, on the days I don’t read it I normally listen to it on CD in my work truck.

I had my right hand crushed in an industrial accident to the point that the doctors told me I would never regain the use of it. Believers prayed for me and within 2 weeks God fully restored it.

I have been shot at for witnessing to prostitutes in Dallas Texas at point blank range and the Lord stopped the bullets. Where they went I have no idea. They didn’t hit us, the wall behind us or anyone around us. Oh, and the girls did accept Jesus that night.

I was buried alive 27’ underground at 9:05 AM on August 2005. The circumstances were so bad that the 100+ fireman sent there to “rescue” me treated it like a training exercise. Witnesses later told me that my rescuers seemed to have had no real hope of saving me. In fact, they had so little hope that they turned back the helicopter dispatched to rush me to the hospital when they dug me out. I climbed out of the pit, on my own, just 2 hours after the cave in. The Evening News called me “the luckiest man alive”

I’m not a rescue worker or an EMT but God has used me to snatch 5 souls, that I know of, from death. Two from drowning in pools, one who fell through the ice in a reservoir, one who fell off an observation platform over 100 feet above a waterfall and one who stopped breathing from anaphylactic shock. I also know of two I should have saved but lost.

God- the Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit are and have always been deeply involved in my life. Even at those times when I drifted or willfully walked away.

I am very happily married for over 35 years, to the same woman. We love each other more each day.

I have 4 great children who are grown, 3 married now. All are successful and we have wonderful relationships with them.

I have 2.95 (at the time of this posting) grandchildren, all bundles of joy.

I own a small but successful construction company and God, despite the present economy, has blessed us with a flow of business and customers.

In short I have just about everything I could want or of dream of. Against all odds we have become an embodiment of the American Dream.

On the other side of the coin, I have needed Gods cleansing, forgiveness and restoration more times then I care to remember. Take it from me, if there is a way to mess up as a Christian I have probably done it. The Holy Spirit has been faithful to convict me and the Father to forgive me through the Lord Jesus Christ each and every time.

“No brag, just fact” , (Walter Brennan, “The Guns of Will Sonnett”)

I have come to realize that the rest of the world does not know “a secret” to fulfillment and satisfaction that I somehow have missed. In fact I am now certain that “the secret”, is that some of us know something is wrong or missing and the masses do not. Romans 11:8

I and other Christians have talked about this and they understand the existence of the question. This fact suggests that the prompting is of and from God. My Spirit tells me “the secret” needs to be revealed.

This post is The Proclamation of my intention to seek God to answer the question , to uncover, understand it and then share the answer “the secret”.

These scriptures are my anchor, my assurance that I will find the answer.
2 Corinthians 9
8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever." 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Matthew 7
7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Do you understand this yearning? Do you hear the question? Please take a moment and share your thoughts with me on this. Please drop me a post at STofSoul@gmail.com.

More importantly, the quest for this prize will be traveled primarily in prayer.
Please, while your thinking about it, mention this to God.

It will only be prayer, by his Word and through The Holy Spirit that the answer will come.

Footnote, I received a call from a dear brother in Christ doing the Lords work in Columbia this evening. I believe God is anxious to answer "the question". Tonight’s call might very well have been His notice to me that the answer has already been dispatched.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Born to Die

I “borrowed” this from a Blog called SanctiFusion. If you click on the title you’ll be taken to the Blog I found it posted on. Robert, who posted it, notes at the bottom that he “borrowed” it from another site. This posting really spoke to my heart and spotlighted what I feel to most true about the condition on the Christian Church here in the North East USA. It speaks so loud that I thought it worth posting for you as well.

Hoping you have a Great day In the Kingdom of God,


One of my beefs with contemporary Western Christianity is the way it often reduces the Gospel to only one domain, fire insurance. The Good News is apparently only applicable to something totally unfalsifiable, the afterlife. To quote Dr. John Macarthur, Jesus "didn't come to fix life here. He didn't come to eliminate poverty. He didn't come to eliminate slavery." I remember hearing some of my pastors saying that Jesus was “born to die” and that his only purpose was to die for our sins that we might be saved. In short, apparently Jesus didn't come to change anything that can actually be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or felt. He only came to save us from Hell, which none of us has ever seen, and send us to Heaven, which none of us has ever seen.

Here's where my skeptical brain kicks in. How do we know we're not just being sold a bill of goods? Snake Oil? Do we just trust those that tell us we can be “saved” while life, our life, their life, goes on otherwise unchanged? We still go to the same job, eat the same things, dress the same way, spend our leisure time on the same activities, but now we've got a really killer retirement package that we “receive by grace through faith”?

If this is only thing that the “Gospel” is about, doesn't that kind of make a good deal of Jesus' teaching kind of pointless filler? If the Gospel, in it's totality, is about going to Heaven by appropriating God's grace by belief in Jesus' death and resurrection what the heck is the point of the parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matt 25:31-46)? Why worry about most of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) if I've already got all the Gospel has to offer? Apparently, being a peacemaker (Matt 5:9) doesn't actually make you a child of God. (To be fair, the text does say “Shall be called” not “Shall be”. I guess you can be called one and not be one. I wish Jesus was less confusing on this issue). Are all the interpersonal, social, and moral aspects of the New Testament like optional equipment on a new car, nice to have but not necessary to get you from point A to point B?

I'm thinking this is where I kick platonic assumptions about the nature of reality to the curb. I do believe that Jesus saves us from our sins, but I think He intends to do so in the here and now as well as the sweet by and by. I believe he intends for us to be free from the bondage and consequences of our addiction to consumerism, noise, drugs, lust, the mindless consumption of electronic media, the economic ease and privilege of living at the center of the Empire, etc. now, as well as later.

I refuse to serve a neutered Jesus that has been made in our image and is safe for mass consumption. I don't need a smarmy platitude-spewing Lord that is simply there to give me an eternal pass on all my instances of wrath, greed, apathy, or elitism. I want Him to be fierce in my life. Like Aslan in Narnia, I pray that Jesus is good, but not "safe" for me to spend time with. I want Him to destroy my apathy and self-deception to reveal what His Kingdom, what His Gospel is truly about. I want to see the Gospel, the declaration of the ascendancy of a new King, turn the world upside down again, to save people here and now. I want to see Jesus set addicts free, mend broken families, reconcile communities, and bring peace to nations. I just pray that I have the courage to walk into that new land when I'm given a glimpse of it. Then, after a long hard fight, I'll take that retirement plan.

(Shamelessly stolen from a recent page at The Ooze!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Really smart believers make mistakes too!

For the past 3 weeks I have been trying to reach out to a few old Christian friends. These are men I haven’t seen or spoken with in a very long time. I was hoping somehow we could re-connect because I need some good Christian advice. I located a couple of them on the internet and sent them emails but as of yet they have not responded. I’m not seeking any great confirmations or revelations I would just like to bounce some ideas off them.

I believe it’s always a good idea to bounce ideas off well grounded Christians. If you can’t tell a fellow believer what you think God is leading you to do, then there is a good chance the leading is not coming from God. In spite of how your idea is received there is still is no guarantee that the idea came from God.

In Chapter 7 of 2 Samuel, King David decides it would be a good idea to build a house for God. He tells Nathan the prophet about his idea and Nathan responds in vs. 3 “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

Later that same night God speaks to Nathan and tells him to tell David NOT to build God a house.
2 Samuel 7:4 –17
That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:
5 "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" '
8 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. " 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' "
17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

Apparently Nathan didn’t bother to seek God’s direction on the subject before sharing his advise with David.

Jump forward in time, and the Bible to 1Kings 5. King Solomon is beginning his preparation to build a house, temple, for God.

Verse 5 “I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, 'Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.'

Now Solomon was pretty smart, in fact the Bible tells us he was the smartest man who ever lived!

Kings 3:12, “I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.”
In spite of how smart Solomon was he neglected to seek Gods advice about building the temple. We now know that God was referring Jesus, when he spoke through Nathan to David regarding David’s plan to build a house for God. “'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

Solomon thought that he, as the son of David, was the one to fulfill the prophecy and he built the Temple. Why God didn’t send a prophet to dissuade him ? The Bible does not answer that question but God did address the Temple when it was finished.

1 Kings 6:11-13 The word of the LORD came to Solomon: 12 "As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, carry out my regulations and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel."

Notice that God refers to the Temple “As for this temple you are building” and that’s all he said about it. He tells Solomon that if he follows and obeys His regulations and commands that He will fulfill the promise he gave to David. What promise?
Go back to
2 Samuel 7: 11-13 'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

It seems to me that God was not impressed with the Temple. Why should he be? He created the very rocks and trees used to build it. Is there anything we can do, build or say that would impress God? I don’t think so.

God’s anointed King David, his prophet Nathan and the smartest man in the world, King Solomon all were mistaken about building a house for God. God had sent word to David to re-direct his efforts because David had asked Nathan’s advice. The scriptures don’t tell us that Solomon sought out any advise or that he inquired of God. Go back to verse 5 Solomon said " I intend" He didn’t ask God, he didnt ask a prophet, he didnt ask anyone, and consequently he wasted all that effort, time, manpower and money. He even conscripted, (forced labor) 400,000 men of Israel to build it. The Bible doesn’t tell us but I would imagine the people of Israel might have had some less then positive things to say about King Solomon’s Temple.

It occurs to me while I write this that Solomon’s Temple actually became a hindrance to Israel. Just the fact that they called it Solomon’s Temple suggests it took their eyes off of God and onto a work a man. It was such a hindrance that the Temple had to be destroyed to make way for the Christ to come.

Is God leading you to do something?

Make sure you spend some quality time on your knees and make sure that what you are about to do is really directed by Him.

Double check His Word to be sure your direction is in accordance with the Bible. Be sure it lines up with the “full council” of the Bible, not just some verse taken out of context to justify something. This is one reason why it is so important that we read His Word, all of it. God will never direct you to do anything that contradicts or violates His Word.

Then bounce the idea off a few brothers or sisters in the Lord, remembering that even Solomon was capable of a mistake. Ask them to pray about it as well so that like Nathan, God has a chance to speak to them on the subject.

Then, and only then, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”

“ Lord, help me today that through my life someone will be touched by you. Help me to walk in your Spirit. Mostly Lord, help me to be more like Jesus”


Friday, October 3, 2008

A man after God’s own heart

I have, in my Truck a CD set, the Word of Promise, New Testament. It’s the entire New Testament very professionally read by a long list of actors. I don’t recall exactly where on the internet I purchased it from but I enjoy it so much I have bought 4 more sets and given them away. This is the official web address, www.thewordofpromise.com/wp1/ .

Whenever I am in the Truck, and not on the phone, one of these CDs is playing. Normally I spend at least 2 hours a day in the truck so I hear a lot of the New Testament. For this reason I spend most of my reading time in the Old Testament.

I just finished up reading 2 Samuel and started 1 Kings this morning. While reading the adventures of king David a thought began to grow. David, like us, made some big mistakes. Those mistakes cost him, many of his mistakes cost the lives of many in Israel. However, when the lights came on and David realized his mistake or sin he repented and God forgave him. Consider this, God called him (David) a man after his own heart 1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22.

This is very good news for you and I. David was under the Law and despite his failures and weaknesses God considered him a man after his own heart. How much more can depend on God now that the Law has been fulfilled through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are under Grace, having the Risen Christ as our savior.

“Lord God , help us every day to remember that it is by your Grace and Power that we have access to you through your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to hold fast to Jesus knowing that He is faithful and able to deliver us through this day. Open our Eyes that we may see Your Kingdom clearly. Open our ears that we may hear Your voice and the direction of the Holy Spirit. Heal our crippled bodies that we can walk daily with You.

I ask this in the name of and under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Waiting for Gods direction

I don’t think I am much different from most Christians. I think most of us try, among other things, to be good Christians, to read our Bibles, pray for those in need and be good witnesses for Christ. I also think most us spend a lot of time seeking the Lords guidance.

I feel I have reached a cross road in my life, well maybe a fork in the road, possibly you feel the same way. Something deep inside, the Holy Spirit, is me prompting me. To or for what I am not sure.

In my mind and heart I know that God, the Author and Creator of all that is, has the ability, authority and power to do anything, including making his will known to you and I.

His ability to make his will know to me can not be hindered by me. I can choose to ignore his direction but I can not choose to not hear it.

If necessary God can speak through a dumb animal.
Numbers 22:28-30
Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"
29 Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."
30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?"

I KNOW God can, has and will speak to me as sure as I know anything . (This is one of those cases where my use of language fails me. KNOW seems too weak a word to convey this reality) Yet, I do not yet hear the guidance that I long for.

While I seek answers to questions I am unable to verbalize I’ll place my trust in His Power and Faithfulness.

Psalm 25
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, O LORD,
your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, O LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
13 He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
18 Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

May our Lord and Father in Heven help us all to hear his voice clearly ,understand his direction and be willing to follow his guidance.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What I believe to be Unchangeable truths

This list is in no way intended to THE entire embodiment of the Truths of God. Its more a condensed version. I started this list for my own purposes to distill what I believe out from all of the background noise.

Having committed it to paper, so to speak, I decided to go ahead and post it. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

What I believe to be Unchangeable truths

God created all that there is.

God exists as One in the three persons on the Trinity; The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit

That it is by Gods will and his will alone all that there is exists.

God created man (and women) beings in his own image; as such God gave man free will

God gave the earth and everything in and on it to man and gave man **stewardship over it **(8/20/11 revision was dominion)

Through the exercising of man’s free will, man brought sin into the world.

Because of man’s sin man became subject to the power of sin, (Satan) . Thus subjecting all creation, all that man had **Stewardship over, to Satan’s control.

Through sin the world and all of mankind became subject to evil, Satan. (subject = slaves)

God, because he is all knowing and exists in all time, knew from the beginning (before creation) that this would happen and planned a way to free the world and mankind.

God himself, The Son, became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ and was born of a Virgin.

Because of the Virgin birth Jesus, equally the Son of Man, Son of God and God, was born free of the bondage of sin that had controlled mankind from Adam until then.

Jesus, “The Christ” (Christ is the Greek word for Hebrew word Messiah ) was 100% man and 100% God.

Jesus, the man lived a sinless life. However, he was tempted in all ways like all of mankind.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man, God incarnate, offered himself up through crucifixion to pay for all of the sins of mankind.

Because of God’s sacrifice of himself in the Son through crucifixion the barrier between man and God was removed. ** God could always approach man but man, because of sin and guilt could not come to God.

Jesus was raised bodily from the dead through the power of God to conquer the power of death and to redeem the world.

The sacrifice of God, Jesus freed the world from the control of evil. Giving the power and Lordship over the earth back to man through the resurrected man Jesus the Christ.

All men are now called by the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of God, to be reunited to God as Adam was once united.

Access to God is now available to all mankind through the resurrected Jesus Christ.

All mankind are invited to become sons of God, as Adam, through the cleansing of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

To be reunited with God this is what we must do:

Accept that we, on our own, are lost sinners and unworthy to approach God.
Accept Gods own sacrifice, the crucifixion, as payment for our own sins and short comings.
Admit or confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and accept his Lordship over our individual lives.

While at CFNI, Christ for the Nations Institute, www.cfni.org/ I was privileged to hear a lesson that we should learn to separate “Eternal” Truths” from “ temporal truths” The cliff notes version is that some doctrines of faith will pass away with this world and thus are temporal. While other doctrines of faith will last through all eternity.

Examples are:
Jesus is Lord = Eternal Truth He will always be Lord
The laying on of hands= temporal truth in the world to come there will be no need for the laying on of hands because we will be resurrected like Christ in un-corruptible bodies.

All of the above “statements” are supported by scripture. I’ll be back soon to post an updated version with scriptural notations to back them up.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I’m not much on Doom and Gloom but the financial events of the last week combined with my Bible reading this morning have me thinking.

2 Samuel 12:11-14

11 "This is what the LORD says: 'Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.' "
13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." Nathan replied, "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."


This is taken from the account of how King David got the “hots” for Bathsheba. She was married to a soldier, Uriah, fighting in David’s army at the time. David sleeps with Bathsheba and she becomes pregnant. David brings the husband home from the war and tries for 2 days to give Uriah a chance of sleep with his wife.

The plan was to cover up the fact that she is pregnant. It does not work, Uriah is an honorable man and will not go home to or sleep with his wife while the rest of the army is in the field at war.

David than sends a message back to the battle WITH Uriah to arrange for the husband to be killed in battle, You can read the account in 2 Samuel 11: 1-26.

Now that the husband is dead David takes Bathsheba as his wife, thinking he has got over an everyone. However, God knows what has been going on and sends Nathan the prophet to rebuke David.

After the rebuke David confesses his sin 2 Samuel 12:13 “I have sinned against the Lord

God, speaking through Nathan responds "The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

The lesson for us all. God WILL forgive us of our sins if we repent and acknowledge our sin. BUT the sin will have an effect of some sort on our lives and the lives of those around us.

*As a sort of a side note.
I wonder if this wouldn’t have turned out different if David, rather then just admitting his sin had also thrown himself down before God and asked forgiveness? Jump to 2 Samuel 12:18-20.

Consider the plight of the United States today. Depending on who you talked to less then two weeks ago, the economy was in either growing or dwindling. Some would say times are good. Others would say times are bad. Now the news is full of words of fear that our economy is on the verge of collapse. Despite the fact that some have tried for some time to “cry wolf” this has "come on us like a flood."

Consider the sins of our nation. As I have said in previous posts, the President (and our government) act on our behalf and with our full authority. God will not judge our nation for the personnel sins of our leaders. I am sure however, that he will judge our nation for the sins our “Nation” commits. The sins the Nation commits through actions, through tolerance or through indifference.

All eyes are on Washington hoping for a magic pill to heal our nation. You decide for yourself who you will place your hope and trust in. I intend to follow David’s example from vs. 16 “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground."

Please take a moment NOW and pray that the Lord God, the Father of all creation forgive us our sins as a nation and that he heal the effects of our transgression.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Kingdom of God, here and now

I read a comment on the internet the other day regarding Jesus and Christianity. The comment was rather caustic so I’ll not repeat it verbatim but part of it is worth repeating.

The person making the comment said, in a nutshell, that all Jesus wants us to do is go to church and hang around, and that being a Christian is boring.

His comment got me thinking about what I believe are common misconception by non-Christians AND Christians of what it means to be a Christian. I have been dwelling on this for a couple weeks now and late Sunday night a light came on.

As I was preparing myself mentally for the jump from weekend mode to work week mode when that “small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13) http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2019:11-13;&version=31 inside reminded me that I would still be in “The Kingdom” while at work during the week. This got me thinking about all the things people do during the course of a day, work or recreation, and how they lined up with being in The Kingdom. A very simple truth became clear to me. We ARE in the Kingdom of God. Regardless of what we are doing, regardless of our relationship to God, regardless of whether or not you are a believer, we are all IN the KINGDOM OF GOD.

God created it.
John 1:1-3
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

The Kingdom of God exists today.
Hebrews 12:28
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."

Man clouded it up with sin giving man’s right to rule it away to the enemy (Satan)
Genesis 1:28
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Matthew 4:8-10
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." 10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. [** notice Jesus does not argue with Satan’s authority to offer the world, vs. 9, inferring that Satan actually “had” that authority]

Christ Jesus took back man’s authority to rule from Satan
Revelations 1:17-18
17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

In Jesus Name, under his authority, man has been given back the authority to again rule in The Kingdom of God.
Hebrews 2:5-8
5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7You made him a little] lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet."

Matthew 16:19
19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Stay tuned, next stop, Living in The Kingdom
Hint, Luke 18:16 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=49&chapter=18&verse=16&version=31&context=verse

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Jesus Name

Lately a couple subjects have been on my mind.

1. The Kingdom of God. I expect I’ll be spending a good deal of time on this subject. It seems to me that most believers are waiting for the Kingdom of God to come, when actually The Kingdom is already here.

Matthew 12:28
28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Luke 17:20
20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 21 nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

The phase” in Jesus Name”.
The Bible tells us to pray in Jesus Name. Therefore I tend to end most prayer by saying, “In Jesus Name, Amen”. Surly there is more to praying in His name then just tacking that phrase onto the end of a prayer.

John 14:12-14
12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

John 16:
23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

So, what does this mean?
Consider the President of The United States. When President George W Bush makes a statement, he is speaking for all of America. This is regardless of your feelings about him the position he takes on a subject or what he is saying. He IS THE President and because he holds that office he speaks for us all and acts with our FULL authority.

OK, OK I know his power is somewhat controlled by the checks and balances of the congress the judiciary and that he is confined to what powers the President is granted by Law. He can only go so far but that is because he is a President and not a King. If he were a King then his word would be undisputable.

In places where there are kings and countries where there were kings the Kings word is reality. Kings expanded their authority, because they couldn’t be everywhere at once, by granting trusted “servants” the “authority” to act on their behalf, “in their name”. Because of this the words of those trusted with the Kings authority now carried the same undisputable power as the King himself. In effect what his trusted servant said were as though spoken by the King himself.

As Christians we serve The King of Kings and have been granted the “right” to ask anything as though The King himself has asked it. We have also been commissioned to speak on His behalf, in His Name.

I have know this to be true for a long time but for some reason I am compelled to now to “own” this truth.

“Lord God, please help us to understand the full meaning and power of living In Your Name. Help us to also come to a full understanding of what it means to be a Son of God as your word says in Galatians 3:26 ““You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”. This I ask In Jesus Name.”

This morning I felt impressed to read the book of Haggai. Not exactly one of the books of the Bible that I am normally drawn to.

It’s only a short couple chapters so I thought it worthwhile to post the entire book that God may use it to speak to your heart as he has mine.

1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua [a] son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, 'The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.' "
3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 4 "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD. 9 "You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?" declares the LORD Almighty. "Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands."
And the people feared the LORD.
13 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. 14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.
1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 2 "Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 'Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD. 'Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the LORD, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the LORD Almighty. 5 'This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'
6 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. 8 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. 9 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?' " The priests answered, "No."
13 Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?" "Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled."
14 Then Haggai said, " 'So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,' declares the LORD. 'Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
15 " 'Now give careful thought to this from this day on —consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD's temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,' declares the LORD. 18 'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. " 'From this day on I will bless you.' "
20 The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 "Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
23 " 'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shock and Awe part 2

Perhaps the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step. This journey to learn more about who God is and why we are drawn to him. In the process I hope to discovery why ancient men of the past seemed to have been in awe of the mere concept of God and even more so the perception of the actual existence of a Living God. Apparently they knew something about God that we have lost touch with.

Acts 17: 16-

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols………. 22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
The people of Athens sought and worshiped many gods. Obviously they believed in the existence of gods and of A God.

I’ll assume, because your reading this, that you believe in the existence of God and that you have an understanding that throughout history all peoples have believed in a God and worshiped some form of god.

So where did the name God come from, and why do people search for God and desire to worship Him?

In English we use one word/Name for God. In Hebrew there are many.

I did a quick Google search on “names of God” and the number one response was: http://ldolphin.org/Names.html

The most used Hebrew name for God is Jehovah or Yahweh written as YHWH, a name to sacred to be spoken, thus no vowels.

JEHOVAH: LORD in our English Bibles (all capitals). Yahweh is the covenant name of God. Occurs 6823 times in the OT First use Gen. 2:4 (Jehovah Elohim). From the verb "to be", havah, similar to chavah (to live), "The Self-Existent One," "I AM WHO I AM" or 'I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" as revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Ex.3. The name of God, too sacred to be uttered, abbreviated ( . . . . ) or written "YHWH" without vowel points. The tetragrammaton. Josh., Judges, Sam., and Kings use Jehovah almost exclusively. The love of God is conditioned upon His moral and spiritual attributes. (Dan. 9:14; Ps. 11:7; Lev. 19:2; Hab. 1:12). Note Deut. 6:4, 5 known to Jews as the Sh'ma uses both Jehovah and Elohim to indicate one God with a plurality of persons.

EL: God ("mighty, strong, prominent") used 250 times in the OT See Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5. El is linguistically equivalent to the Moslem "Allah," but the attributes of Allah in Islam are entirely different from those of the God of the Hebrews. ELAH is Aramaic, "god." Elah appears in the Hebrew Bible in Jer. 10:11 (which is in Aramaic, and is plural, "gods"). In Daniel (the Aramaic sections) Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God, also plural. Elah is equivalent to the Hebrew Eloah which some think is dual; Elohim is three or more. The gods of the nations are called "elohim." The origin of Eloah is obscure. Elohim is the more common plural form of El. Eloah is used 41 times in Job between 3:4 and 40:2, but fewer than 15 times elsewhere in the OT.

ELOHIM: God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs); Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the OT, 32 times in Gen. 1. God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. Eccl., Dan. Jonah use Elohim almost exclusively. See Gen. 17:7, 6:18, 9:15, 50:24; I Kings 8:23; Jer. 31:33; Isa. 40:1.

Another interesting study can be found at http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=220 or http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/God

From this very brief exploration into the name/names of God we find that that He is "The Self-Existent One," "I AM WHO I AM" or 'I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" as revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Ex.3.and that the ancients considered His name too Holy, Powerful, and Wonderful to be spoken by man.

“Unfortunately, to many people the names God or Lord convey little more than the designations of a supreme being. It says little to them about God’s character, His ways, and what God means to each of us as human beings. But in Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits and promises. In Scripture, a person’s name identified them, stood for something specific and /or proclaimed what they were to be. For example:

Genesis 17:1-5
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty [El Shaddai] ; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Notice God has renamed Abram , meaning exalted father, to Abraham, meaning father of many. Because he has just pledged to make Abram the father of many nations.

The Lord Jesus did likewise when he re-named Simon to Peter. Mat.6:18.
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Simon meaning “to hear” and Peter meaning a Stone or Rock

Personally I enjoy word studies and could devote too much time and space to the subject. If you’re interested in exploring this fascinating topic the links above will serve as a good starting points.

OK so I have chased that rabbit around the tree long enough and I could easily spend much more of our time trying to find the origin of God and why it “seems” that the ancients were more awestruck then modern man is towards his existence and person.. Sadly history and the scriptures don’t seem to outwardly explain the change in human attitude.
Unless we turn to Romans 1:21-23
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

I’ll end for now with this thought, a question and a request.

According to Romans 1:21 we ALL knew God.

I’ll take that to mean that a part of us has and will always know and be drawn to God. Simply because He made us that way.

“but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Could it be that through all of our progress and learning we/ I have become hard of hearing and our/ my vision blurred towards Him? Remember I started out telling you I am talking about myself and thinking it may apply to you as well.
Have I lost the awe and wonder because we have become so wise? Men now fly, go to the moon and talk around the world on cell phones? I believe this is a large part of the problem, and it is a problem.

Today, please take a moment to visit some Wonder of God. Pick something you “think” you have a grasp on and open your mind and heart. You won’t need to dwell on it for long before you’ll see a bit of The Grand Architect in the design of “that” thing.

Make it a practice and you’ll begin to see His presence all around you.

Are you a Christian?
Is Christ the Lord of your Life?
Do you have eternal life?

“If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ IS Lord, you will be saved. Acts 16:31

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John 11:41-42

".... Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

Shock and Awe

Lately I have been reading the Old Testament and I am blown away by the sharp contrast between how pre-modern man reacted to and interacted with God vs. how modern American men and women do.

Please make a special note that I include myself as part of the group of modern American men and women. Therefore, I can use myself as an example and hopefully not offend knowing that I am more or less normal (I hope) and most people may be able to relate to my experiences.
As I read the Bible I detect a reverence towards all things God that I don’t normally see in my life. I am quite comfortable having a brief chat with God while driving or doing any number of the activities that fill up my day. I don’t give a second thought, on most occasions, to “my condition” when I come to God.

As a parallel, I have had the opportunity to meet with Congressman and a State Senators, three Governors and was invited to be at an event when Vice President Dan Quayle flew into McGuire AFB. One each of these occasions I made a point of putting on my best suit, making sure my shoes were polished and my hair combed. I have been on a few to many job interviews over the years as well, each and every time I made sure I was properly attired. On top of how I was dressed I made mental preparations for the meeting. I queued myself to use my best English skills and made a point of having something intelligent to say should the opportunity arrive. In short I prepared myself in dress, body (normally I would bath) and mind for the event. If and when I was granted the chance to speak to whoever I thought important at that time I did so with my best ability, not with common street gibberish or theatrical words and actions.

Why then do I find myself so comfortable approaching God, The Creator of all that is, all Heaven and Earth, every grain of sand and every sun, planet, moon and star and creature or thing that inhabits these places. The author of time, matter and life. THE Supreme Being who always was and always will be. The very Being that holds all that there is order and grants me the next breath I will take…..

Why am I able to casually speak to God while driving my truck to pick up building supplies? And how do I begin my conversations? “Well God.. please guide me on this or that, or help me to…” How about this one” Here we are again Lord…….”

Not long ago I prayed about this question and felt impressed that it’s OK, I’m just that comfortable with God. I am confident that to some extent I, we, should be. After all He made us for His purposes and He made The Way for us to be re-united with Him. That conversation went something like this. “…. Lord? Why is it that some people when they pray are so formal about talking to you?” The Lord responded, “ possibly you “know” me better and are more comfortable being yourself” I was satisfied with that answer, after all I “think” I know God. Then I recalled The Lord Jesus, the night before he was betrayed and how he prayed. This brought to mind other prayers of the Lord , very reverent, very deep, very contrite. “ Lord” I asked “what about how Jesus prayed?” The answer was as clear as a bell. “He KNOWS me”.

It is important I should note that, as He promised, The Lord Jesus has sent The Comforter (Holly Spirit) to us to “guide us”. As a Christian I “should” be walking at all times in a constant state of union with God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit working in us. On a few occasions Jesus prayed purely for the point of making the people around him know that what was about to be done was by Gods hand.

My point is that the quick prayers, and chats with God that we have are OK. In fact they are more then OK as they reflect that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives because no one is drawn to God but by the Holy Spirit. I’m not suggesting that all prayer needs to be done barefooted facing the east. I am questioning if we have become much too comfortable with God and in doing so are missing out on The Glory.

I intend, God willing, to devote the next couple posts to how I think the ancients knew God. To do this we will need to do some word study and to come to some common understanding of the meaning of some words. I’m not sure how far or long it will take but I feel it is important to me and hopefully to you that we regain something that has been lost. IT is the something that should keep us in wonder and awe of the Almighty

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Word of God for Today

Jeremiah 29:11-

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD,miah

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting started

I believe the Bible is the Inherent Word of God. I believe every word of the Bible is Truth and that those truths are as real, meaningful, and applicable today as they were the day they were penned, told and lived.

I believe God is the Creator of all Heaven and earth and that all that is exists because He made it to be. That He is without beginning and end (he exists outside of time) and that He is always everywhere.

I have been a Born Again Christian since 1977. My life in Christ started like a house of fire. Very shortly after my wife and I became Christians we sold just about everything we owned and moved to Dallas Texas to attend Christ for the Nations Inst. in Dallas Texas.

At that time, just prior to our decision to go the CFNI, I believed God was calling me into the ministry. I was very young in the Lord and I wanted to “know” what I believed and why I believed it. To be honest with you it bothered me that most of Christians I knew only seemed to know, for the most part, what they were taught at Sunday and Wednesday services. Like me at the time, if questioned regarding their faith or the doctrines they professed at true they were unable to scripturally and historically defend their faith.

My lack of knowledge became crystal clear one evening at work when I was testifying to a co-worker. I don’t recall the exact subject of the discussion but I do recall his question, “how do you know that?” The only answer I had to his question was unacceptable, because I had been told, in church or from a fellow Christian, whatever I was espousing as truth. At that moment I knew I had to go and learn how to find the Truth and the answers for myself. Within a week my wife and I had decided to move our young family of four from NJ to Dallas. With no thought of turning back we listed the house and began selling off what we would not need or couldn’t afford to take.

Two and a half years later we returned to NJ with 3.5 children, and a wealth of knowledge and experiences. I also knew then that although there were more then one calls on my life. The first being to raise the family God had so richly blessed me with.

Thirty years have passed since we left NJ with all of our belongings in an old Ford station wagon and a U-Haul trailer bound for Dallas Texas. The kids are grown, some married, some with children. The seeds planted way back then took root and grew slowly. Sometimes the weeds grew faster and the good seeds were almost chocked out, but the roots were strong and patiently waited for the spring.

While at Christ for the Nations and for most of years after returning have had the impression - the feeling - or possibly for lack of a better term, a vision… (It’s very hard to explain), that there is always something ahead of me, just beyond my ability to see. Almost like being in thick fog and there is something ahead. Every now and then the fog shifts just enough that I can see that there is something there. Then the fog closes back in before the form is revealed. Then the fog shifts again and another glimpse. Always there, just beyond my ability to distinguish or understand it.

I became so used to “it” that I almost stopped noticing “it”. Now an old stirring and restlessness has returned. The “it is taking form, the fog is lifting. The time has come to do the work my spirit has been prepared for.