Sunday, October 2, 2016

Memberships, Life Groups and Church

2 Corinthians 3:1
Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

Luke 16:10
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

I have had much research looking for reason of the above, and none is worth much value except what you place in it.  

First, membership.  It is amazing how much merit is placed on people to become a "member" of a local assembly of believers.  I hear pastors and leaders put so much emphasis, but why?  In some mysterious cloud, many believe you will become more active and willing to serve within a body of believers.  Also, the view of democracy fits right in with America.  But how does a democratic view piece itself within the confines of a monarchy?  Doesn't Jesus pick the pastors (Ephesians 4:11)?
I know some will use the "elect" mentality for the elders and deacons.  If this is true, the word "elect" and "predetermined" is used by Paul in his epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and the church in Galatia.  We can't use the same study for these words.  It would then appear the God holds a "vote" to see how is approved as a believer.  Also, nowhere in the Word of God does it say to hold a congregational vote to determine leadership in the church.  It is picked accordingly by the leaders.  The only "vote" is when there is sin among the leaders and there better be accountability.  If there is none, it is best for you to find another assembly of honor.
Jesus called us to be faithful stewards.  We are to be faithful to HIS work and glory, not to your respective place of assembly.  ALL believers are called to glorify Christ, not the church we attend.  It is good we do this among our brethren but leaders restrict many to their own flock.  We are ALL part of the Body of Christ, not just a limb or even a finger.  
What membership did Paul have?  What about Peter?   James?  Timothy?  Philip?  Did all of these need letters of commendation to prove who they are in Christ?  Well before our current forms of instant communication, these men's reputations went before them.  It wasn't membership that approved them, it was their faithfulness to glory Christ.  Paul took beatings, even among the Jews, to prove what he went through for the gospel.  Simply, when believers die, they will not hear Jesus pronounce their membership to XYZ Church.  The words "good and faithful servant" will echo out from the words of their Savior.  This should be the importance.  If you are faithful, no membership is needed.  These people are there to serve Christ, not XYZ Church.
Life groups are today's church method of keeping it as simple and superficial as they can.  It actually takes the calling of teacher out of play.  Here's why.
Most Life group leaders are not trained to study and teach the Word.  Just get a study guide or book (other than the Bible) and let the author do it for you.  You can take as long as you want, and there is a good chance the leadership will approve it, since it takes the individual out of play.  It also takes the Holy Spirit out of his ministry.  How do I say?
His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).  I am not saying all of this wrong, it is many are now going the way where it is easy to follow along to another author's steps in becoming a better Christian.  This may fit well in some areas but not as a whole, for many do not begin our walk with God from the same starting point.  
Another thing that is not mentioned is to get to know what the author is writing about and to, one of the best forms of acknowledgment is to understand "said author."  If James Doe wrote a book on area restaurants, it will be tailored to his liking and tastes.  He may not approve of a certain type of pizza because of spices, while others may enjoy it.  It all begins with knowing the author.  
There is a very slim chance we can bring James Doe into our restaurants and get a "feel" why he likes and dislikes certain food.  Since the Holy Spirit assisted in the writing of the Bible and Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), we can have the Spirit with us when we study the Word of God.  Bringing this author in with us creates a whole new ability to understand the Word, for He is the guide to all Truth.  
Here is another difference that many leaders will either disagree or despise.  Many do not trust in these leaders' ability to teach straight from the Word of God.  One former pastor held to others as no problem.  God even admonished to him that if you teach the Word righteously, they will teach it correctly as well.  Once you begin to lose confidence in those underneath you, it may be the leader that needs to see this need of change.
Many pastors cannot rely on those leading life groups to teach the Word righteously.  Many of these pastors themselves are not teaching the Word with a depth and a strong desire for their congregation to be good Bereans.  They rather have them follow them and trust them rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit.  So what do they do?  They want Life Groups to keep it on the surface where they can oversee them.  In fear, these Life Group leaders pick something they believe the pastor will support, so instead of letting the Holy Spirit guide them through the Word, they pick a study guide with questions - where even a monkey can follow the steps.  Easy, neat and clean - but very superficial.  
Western churches have become so fearful of people leaving and keeping their chairs filled than filling their hearts with the Truth.  We severely lack living water, and we have been taught and fed the same bowl of cereal the congregation expects nothing more.  With such superficial ways, we go home and there isn't enough nourishment to where many want more meat, so they will read and study at home.  
We need to be more zealous of being with God, but also acknowledging it will require getting burned with getting close to the all consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28).  Our sin will be exposed as well as our pride, and any worthiness we feel will be of Him and not of us.  We are being taught to take our rowboat and go great lengths to cross the ocean.  If we are taught our gifts and act in the same accord to cross the ocean, we can all build a ship and carry as many as we can.  Only if you are willing to work together and know God's will for us, then we can attain the ultimate prize.

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Monday, September 5, 2016

When His Body Separates Among Itself

Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Notice that there is ONE church and it belongs to Jesus.  What burdens me is I hear "churches" request membership to be part of "their church."  I do not believe God intended for believers to literally separate themselves among their own assembly.  

I note how some promote reasons for membership.  I get some significance for it but by doing this, I sincerely restrict any assembly to itself.  It isn't about "ABC church" or XYZ church or First Assembly of MRS of <City or Town>.  It is solely about Jesus and glorifying HIM through His Body.

Granted, I have no idea if He is disheartened over different denominations and beliefs, though some are so out of reach, it would be embarrassing to call it "Christian."  What is heartbreaking is how we seem to be in competition for numbers, regardless of doctrine or salvation.  Churches are forced to make a name for themselves to get anyone who even hears the name Christ into their building.

Membership may give you a right to vote, though even that isn't Scriptural.  We are not called to vote, as a democracy, for leadership, especially pastor.  We cannot mix democratic or republic standards of government with a monarchy of Christianity.  There is to be accountability among leaders and when there is none, you get up and leave.  Let it fall without you in it.

We are all different parts of the Body.  Nowhere in Scripture does it force it to be separate among other parts and work only among its circle of brethren.  Nowhere in Scripture is any part of the Body relegated to those of the same.  Even Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 12 about neglecting other parts of the Body, thinking they might not be needed, even due to size or importance.  All who strive to follow Christ, from the unknown intercessors to the greatest preachers and the apostles of old hold the same ticket of salvation.  We all belong to Him.

This isn't about competition or the size of our ministry.  Many preach Jeremiah 29:11 but take it out of context because of translation.  NIV and ESV talks of the "plans I have for you" and "to prosper" but the KJV speaks of the "thoughts I think toward you" and "having peace and an expected end."  The words that are the most important isn't your boasting of your public ministry, it is how faithful you were with what God called you to be.  

Nothing more, nothing less.

Churches were meant for assembly but not to be separate from other brethren.  We were called as united and minister and pray for each other (James 5:15).  Let's stop looking among four walls and see among the Body and see it all work and function for His glory.  Maybe our mindset will change.

Jeremiah 9:23-24


Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Journal of John Wesley

If you ever want to feel ashamed of being a Christian, don't read the book "the Journal of John Wesley."  What this man did during a small snippet of his lifetime would make the greatest today placed in shame, including Billy Graham.  I am not going to say what Billy Graham, and others, did were not significant, not at all.  What I have read so far (and  made it about 60% at the time of this blog), the effort we put into preaching and witnessing pales to the work of John Wesley.
Most of his travels came by horse, while others were done by either boat or walking.  The weather in England can get nasty at times and it was no different during the 18th century.  He dealt with rain, hail, wind and snowstorms, yet, he traversed through much of this so he could preach all over England and Ireland, with some time sent in the American colonies.  
He was met by mobs and beaten on some occasions.  Quite a few churches he was never invited back, his strong words were threatening enough for the sinners some churches needed to keep.  Even through some of his strong preaching (the majority done in fields, as was George Whitefield, because the churches couldn't contain the size), he ministered to felons and captured French soldiers.  Through this, he collected donations so the soldiers could be kept warm and sleep on decent mattresses while imprisoned.  
During one three week stretch, he preached at six churches, in which he was told by the deacons of five of them he could not return.  Another episode John Wesley spoke of was when a mob riled up a bull and set him loose, only to see the bull run around where the crowd was singing and praising God until it collapsed from exhaustion.   
It is very well possible that in many cases, John Wesley would not approve of the way American churches do services today.  He noted one church would be talking during certain parts of preaching and have no problems in church being loud right after the service.  Another church in Ireland were just plain disrespectful to any church, and he commanded them to be more upright.  He believed the entering and leaving the House of God demanded reverence, wherever the Word of God was being preached.
John Wesley faced much opposition.  In one saying, he mentioned he hated field preaching as much as the devil did.  Today, we want the best of conditions: cozy seats, air conditioning, some won't go to church if the weather becomes bad.  Not so with John Wesley.  He went through it all.  Preached in the wind and the rain, against mobs that would throw stones to break doors and windows where he was staying.  Interestingly, he saw this rebellion as some needing to hear the gospel; which persuaded him further on until his death.
He remembered some unique times where people would be instigators and later apologize.  Other times seeing people what appeared to be trances where God was showing them glory for some and damnation to others.  He strongly believed in fasting as an assembly and spending long times in prayer.  Lastly, from what I read so far, he never kept track of his "converts."  It was never a numbers game for him, it was being faithful for all he had.
We boast of two or three that said the "sinner's prayer," while men like Wesley and George Whitefield went out and just their witness commanded thousands to come to hear their message of sin and salvation.  Both men saw many needed salvation while the church was backsliding and needed to return to her foundation.  Wesley was so strongly convicted in his faith of Jesus Christ, he felt all compelled to preach to all the country. 
How we all should have this amount of faith and fear of God - including me.

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Sunday, July 3, 2016

That Refiner's Fire

Someone said that many want the blessings of God but few ever ask for the refiner's fire, and I have made the request twice.  According to my flesh, I was stupid enough to go through this again, and compared to what was left from the former, the latter one is breaking anything I might have had left.
Nowhere in the Bible did Job ever ask to go through what he did.  No where in the Bible can I find anyone make such a "noble request."  It is best to tell you how I feel in the midst of this one, because I have no idea how I will get through this.
No matter what I attempt to step out to appease even my wife, things came crashing back at me, like huge ocean waves hitting the beach and destroying the castle you spend time to build.  It appears anything I have tried to do comes back to bite me. Never have I ever wanted to walk away from everyone.  All my confidence has been annihilated and smashed beyond any hope of recognition.  I don't believe I can get any job, I don't believe that my wife believes in any of my abilities that don't coincide with what her happiness reqiests.  I have lost all confidence in anything, any ability or any talent I had.
It is all gone.  I don't know where to go from here.
I have had two churches reject me, yet, my wife says I should go.  Yes, go where people don't believe in you unless you change for their clique.  Truthfully, I don't know who I am anymore.  I need God to tell me what is wrong.  I just don't know anymore.

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Sunday, June 26, 2016

The American Churches Unfortunate Direction

Leviticus 16:1-2
And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;  And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

It was interesting when my wife went to church and watched a video of someone giving up on attending church, and she mentioned to a colleague that I was definitely like the person in the video.  Though I did not see it, I can relate.  I truly believe that many churches don't give a damn about those like me.  They care more about getting "converts" into the church.  What does the difference make if you can't keep those already established in the faith?

There are many who are truly chasing God but end up chasing another dream brought forth by the leaders of the church.  This may not be entirely wrong, but when it only allows certain people (the "clique) to be permitted in positions of leadership, many of those who have been mentored and seasoned in the Word are locked out, unless they become like the flock.

The problem with the above Scripture was applied when two of Aaron's sons, Nahab and Abihu, went into the Holy of Holies without any reverence toward God.  The same applies today, but we assume that either the tangible presence of God is there at the service or we are worshiping a god that is more manageable.  Worse, no one in these service will ever admit the standards have been lowered to where humanism and being relevant are more soluble.  

Why have some left?  Listed below are some of the reasons.  I don't believe I can list them all, since I am writing from my perspective.  What is sad is many leaders don't listen, don't want to accept that something needs to change.  I will give why I left:

1.  Too much control.
I see so many leaders have been hurt by someone who took advantage of a place, people, or situation, and brought division.  What was done is go completely to the other side and allow the freedom to occur to their decision.  Many only gauge someone by how well they know the person instead of by the fruit.  Which leads to #2.

2.  Relationship over Spirit.

This one seems easy.  My wife and I spent years being mentored and being chosen in leadership at one church.  As the last two churches we attended, the leaders chose how well they know you over the abilities you have in the Spirit.  Why?  Because the Spirit's work isn't fully evident and it cannot be discerned properly through man's work.  Instead of seeing the gifts we have, the leaders chose to attack my character while I waited patiently (almost three years) to watch the Holy Spirit work.  This leads to #3.

3.  The Holy Spirit has become almost nonessential to the services.

It is a shame to see how we can build such a big church and have emotional services and still have the Holy Spirit absent from our walk and assembly.  He may see one or two that He gets to minister, but when it comes to 1 Corinthians 12, anything of the Spirit is squashed by the control of the leaders.  He has no freedom to work through He wills, only those when and who the leadership allows.  This is not the church Jesus built.

4.  Always looking for new methods to run church.
Instead of following the New Testament doctrine, we implement new ways, we seek new interpretations, we follow new doctrines and believe this is God's will.  We now base what we feel as truth, instead of making Truth or way of worship.  We hear sermons on how to make us a better person but we do it with as little of the Bible as possible.  We no longer seek truth to transform us but seek feelings in hopes that the Truth will be transformed to what we want.  Humanism at its best.  Making God come to our terms instead of us coming to Him on His terms.

These are a few.  In Leviticus 16, the priests were required by law to perform certain things to enter into His presence.  The most intriguing factor is the fear of the Lord they had compared to today, which is almost nothing.  The priests, if they did not follow what they were called to do, would lose their lives, just as Nahab and Abihu did.  We assume by stepping into church, God is there.  His holiness requires much more than what we do and who we are.  He is much more.  

I left because churches choose to remain in their stagnant state.  It wants to remain close to the world but close enough to assume He is happy with us.  We want Him to be pleased?  Leave the world and seek Him with all you have.  How much are we willing to give up to seek Him?  It is easier to chase Him with an empty briefcase of the world. 

The sacrifices are done but His glory has not changed.  If we truly want to get closer to Him, we need to change our view of Him. 

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Done With Church Part Trois

Acts 2:37-41 

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

According to the above verses, Peter speaks to a fairly large crowd, and they were deeply disturbed. in which the crowd asked what must they do?  Peter was simple, by saying repent, be baptized and save yourselves from this unfaithful generation.  About 3000 people came into repentance that day.  

Now you can go to church and hear about some leaders boasting on their two or three that came to church and "know Christ" with the unbiblical sinner's prayer.  Just tell them about heaven and avoid the drastic of sin and hell and shove those sinners without repentance past the gates in the Kingdom of God.  Chalk more up on our little board how many we have brought to Christ.  
Aren't we the evangelists?
We present such a watered down gospel that it takes a watered approach to witness.  I have heard many preachers speak of their own interpretation of Scriptures.  Other more popular ones make dramatic appeals in their own realm to make their version of the Bible become more personal in nature.  Others talk of sin like it belongs to anyone outside their congregation and even their home.  Yes, we are human and fall short.  The bottom line is are we willing to deal with sin as strongly as we demand it outside our little country club?
The answer is blatantly NO.
I have been to a service where the music was so loud it was actually making my heart vibrate.  You may think this is extreme; I assure you, it is not.  I had to walk out of the service just to get my heart back into its normal rhythm.  Many "worship" parts of the service, (remember, worship and music are linked, one cannot be without the other in today's churches) have the music loud enough where the congregation either doesn't need to sing or can't be heard anyways.  It is just like the secular venue; it portrays our feelings more than truth.
After the "excitement," we head over to the announcements and giving, then the sermon.  By this time, many of us drained but hopefully, there is enough adrenaline to make the service plausible until the routine begins again the next week.  
Here is some more things on how the church has strayed away from the original:
1.  Worship is forever linked to music.  It is no longer a way of life.  It is now a form of entertainment.
2.  Prayer is no longer a priority, unless it is for the vision and direction of the church.
Prayer for individuals or families are now relegated to "prayer chains."  

3.  Life groups have replaced Bible studies.  These are done so not to offend.  Many have followed "surveys" suggesting that relationships override truth and witnessing.  
4.  Churches have become business minded.  Hire who they know rather than hiring who the Spirit wants.
5.  Churches are more lethargic than they were fifty years ago.  
6.  We have no reverence for God anymore.  Acceptance is more feared than holiness.  We no longer bow or kneel.  We prefer to be more comfortable than afflicted in our soul.
7.  We chose doctrine than the Holy Ghost.
8.  We are so illiterate concerning the Bible, we accept any good word that comes our way.  As long as there is no condemnation, we are "safe."
We need to return to the way God has called us to be.  We want new ways and every single one of them is man's idea where we attempt to make His will.   Look at all the translations and versions of the Bible.  We have the Queen James version, we have a porn star version, we have the 100 minute Bible, for those with deliberate small attention spans.  Man continually wants to work his way to the throne where God wants to be in our temple.  
We need to return.  More on this later.

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Monday, June 6, 2016


For all those who have been in my shoes and actually found success, I applaud that God has blessed your efforts.  As for me, I turn 51 next week and I feel less worth than a pile of midget dog poo in the middle of the street.  I have actually reached my limit where I don't give a damn anymore and want to be alone for however breaths I have left.
I ponder why God leaves me in the condition that I am in.  People say they care but their actions speak loudly, and refuse to spend any time with me.  Everyone else is more important.   Why should anyone want to even think of someone like me.  I am back to having no job, God is back to His way of not speaking, at least the beggar was cradled by Abraham for such a miserable life he had to face.  
I cannot take the rejection anymore.  I had spent way much time filling out applications after I graduated tech college.  I had so much expectations only to get the silent treatment from countless employers.  I truly wonder if I fell off the face of the earth, would anyone care, besides my children?
I am no longer convinced that anyone is willing to take a chance on me.  I thought getting married would bring closure to my loneliness; it only brings more despair.  I sit day after day, night after night, lonely on the couch.  Now, whoever reads this is thinking that maybe I will blame someone else for this.  Nope, it has to be me.  All of it.  100%.  It always has been me.
How many times can a man take of getting let down on a consistent basis?  It is obvious that I am the problem and it is understandable that people like me, who have accomplished almost nothing in their life, and can't even get a call for a job interview from a gas station, why should I be on anyone's radar?
I don't regret getting married because of my wife.  I regret getting married because of me.  It appears I make a mess over everything I am part of.  This is the life God gave me.  Not everyone is blessed.  I was meant to be alone and I should have stayed away from anyone else.  For all those who knew me or I was part of the family...I am sorry.  Life would be better if I was not around.  I thought I had the key for my wife.  Her life is only getting worse, so it looks like I opened Pandora's Box.  Again, for all those who knew me, I hope life gets better for you.  If it is because you have stayed away, continue.  Act like you never knew me.  The curse will remain on me.
I am part of the unloveable group.  I no longer believe there is anyone on this earth today who could love me.  That's why I am lonely today. 


Friday, June 3, 2016

We are a Stiff Necked People

I am going to give another reason why I am a "Done" from the church.  Christians have no idea how stiff necked and selfish they are, and this includes me to some degree.  I recently seen a church go through what they deemed "transformations" but, in essence, it becomes the old adage:
"No matter how much things change, they always remain the same."

I watch churches make more determination to change the view of the way church looks than how it acts on the inside.  I have been part where I took some steps to be part of a church but watched them turn me away.  We have no idea how well we turn others off from the Christ that died for them.  
We treat churches like a business more than a family.  We have our favorites and many are willing to oversee much because it will affect what others see in our choices and judgment.  We fail to utilize the ability of the Holy Spirit to guide us corporately.  
Many of us, especially Christians, have hurts and past pains they have trouble getting over.  I have been treated poorly so many times in the past that the few times I have attempted to step up in my calling that the reaction I received has caused me to walk away.  I can trust Christ but I cannot trust the church.
I will not say that all of them are like this.  Somehow, this appears regional.  I truthfully cannot stand feeling purposely left out and lonely.  I am not sure I am not just speaking for myself but I bet there are more in church who wish they could feel more appreciated and part of this "family."  
It is sad that many parts of the leadership tell of reaching out to the community but can't reach out to their own.  It sounds more that these leaders care more about the numbers than what they will do once they get into the doors.  We don't truly see how truly broken the system is for our churches.
It needs a true fasting and praying session to get right down to where God wants His Church to be.  Anything else we do in an attempt to be His will is only making this a lie.

Jeremiah 6:15-16


Saturday, May 14, 2016

The ONE Weird Jigsaw piece

1 Cor. 12:11, 24
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

Yesterday, I was compelled to put my two week notice in at my employment.  It wasn't tough at all, for they cut my hours down to the point where a two week stretch I was not working at all.  Zero.  The next thing may be pondering, why am I putting it on blog?  Let me tell you...
I have spent around 40 years of my life trying to please people and be liked.  It didn't matter, at school, at work, around the neighborhood, I tried.  I found out I keep ending up at point A.  More interesting to note.  I find Christians are just as bad as the world when it comes to choosing who they like in their cliques.
I remember "certain friends" would ask me if I finished my homework so they could copy it.  I finally put my foot down and said no, this was the last time I saw them.  Ever.  
I caved in to peer pressure when I was in the Navy.  Began drinking a little more, started smoking, even went to the prostitutes overseas.  I still found myself on the outside.  
About a year ago, I decided to take a step forward and see what I could do about what I know I am called to do and bring it up to the pastor.  What happened made me feel ashamed and there is a good chance I may never again desire to use my gifts within the church walls.  Please note I am not saying "never again" and completely ruling out the possibility of this happening.  
I see more and more churches are building on "who you know" more than "who they are."  I have seen just as much favoring who they know more on who the Spirit wants.  It all depends on how well you can get into the main room of the church and its higher members to use "your talents."
I was at a church where they went out to meet you and get you involved, not to where you post a meeting and get the select few to attend.  I was awestruck that this church, even if it meant to be a greeter at the time, wanted me to serve.  They came out to me.  Later, when I was part of the leadership, I found out how and why.  They kept a list of all those at least semi-regularly attending and got the leaders involved to see what could they do to get the others to part. I find there are usually three types of people going to church: 
  • Those who do not know their gifts.
  • Those who do know their gifts but can't attend meetings.
  • Those who do know their gifts and are not permitted.
The majority who go to church and sit week after week are in the first category.
There are some in the second that want to be part but can't because of schedule conflicts.  Then there is the third, who know what their calling is and there is a rare group within that I will bring up briefly.

I believe there are a select few who are not "normal jigsaw pieces."  There are many pieces that appear to look like others and sometimes the best some do is jam these pieces in and make them fit the best they can.  Then we have some who do not look like that all.  We appear to be the old "Sesame Street" ploy...where out of the four, one is not like the others.  
The Spirit places all the members as HE WILLS.  Today, churches play businesses, we want relational issues to play key roles in our ministries.  I assume this, but nowhere in the Bible does it say this.  We are to judge by the fruit, not our feelings.  It hurts me to see so many people in the church have no part in the church because many have been frozen out.  So many are forced to bury their talents and many don't know what they are.  
I am not a young pup anymore.  I truly do not know whether I will go to heaven first or if Jesus will return, it could be in the next few minutes, tomorrow or a thousand tomorrows from now.  It will be one of the greatest shames to see much of the church squander 75% of the gift and callings in the church for a select few.  Sadly, we are doing it.  
We need to seek God in repentance, humbly on our knees and bring forth all the fruit.  We need to use all members of the Body of Christ, and do it for the glory of God.  Why are churches and leaders willing to waste such a great resource?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Golden Calf

When the Hebrews grew impatient with Moses not returning as they expected from Mount Sinai, the people decided to do what we do - play church.  Out of their restlessness came the golden calf.  God's anger came upon the people, and Moses ground the idol, put the remains in water and made the people drink it.  Pretty cruel, but consider the circumstances they created by kindling God's anger against them.  It could have been much worse.
I believe many Christians have put their view of God in a form of a golden calf.  By doing this, it brings forth two things:
1.  It gives them a more manageable God.
2.  A golden calf will never punish them for their sinful lifestyle.
These idols are everywhere but we don't "see" them.  Technology is everywhere and technology runs much of our life.  Many off us cannot go anywhere or do anything without smartphones and the access to our connections.  We need constant news, we need instant information, we need everything now, and we treat God and prayer requests in the same method.  We just can't wait.  Once our patience runs low, out comes our golden calf.
We seek a god that can do our bidding and keep the old man on his throne.  We demand a god that we are willing to serve that answers at every whim and beckoning.  This is how we like our technology and lifestyle.  We must have things our way.  
We have changed our view of an incorruptible God into a corruptible one (see Romans 1).  We have grown so accustomed to this standard of believing God in this way that we now see Him in this stained glass masquerade.  The Western churches have now effectively lowered the God of Israel to the form of a golden calf.  Even the euphoria we feel when we up the beat in our worship music doesn't constitute His holiness is present.  All it means is we have substituted the adrenaline rush for His presence, but the golden calf doesn't seem to mind.
Remember, the golden calf has no care or power to change us.  All it does is keep the flesh in control and satisfied, while the spiritual man is fooled into worshiping a deity that is more complacent to the flesh than the spirit.
The golden calf loves entertainment.  It loves the affection it endures from the flesh that we enjoy.  As long as it gets its place in our hearts, outside of the hour and a half at church, it is willing to let that time go so it can be praised the rest of the week.  
God demands reverence and a repentant heart.  God demands us to be holy and to hate the world and its lusts.  If thee is no regeneration or willingness to relent of all the world has to offer, maybe the golden calf is resting on the altar of your heart.  The only way to remove him is to remove its food and recognize it as an idol.  God will not share Himself with another god.

Jeremiah 9:23-24


Monday, March 28, 2016

Psalm 46:10a

Be still; and now I am God.

It is amazing how many Christians have their lives so filled with "doing" that they have little or no time to wait and be still with God.  We have used so much of our valuable time wanting to be entertained.  Even being busy doing the Lord's work can be so consuming that we lose focus on having communion with the Holy Spirit.  There is very little prayer time for individuals and in groups.  
I read in a book called "Revival! A People Saturated With God" by Brian Edwards, a pastor came back from Jerusalem to his English church in 1859.  What he saw astonished him, as he witnessed close to 40 prayer meetings, eight of them done solely by children up to twelve years of age.  We boast of our monthly fasting and prayer, or our weekly Wednesday night meetings, and many of these are filled with barely 10% of those in regular Sunday attendance.  Worse is some of the prayers are so routine, we couldn't set a dry match on fire.  Yes, I am including myself in this matter; I am no better.
Last year, I went on my normal walk, but this was different.  Most times, I spend giving my concerns and supplications to Him.  That day, I didn't get three words out what He told me not to say a word.  Understand, this wasn't what you'd expect.
He said nothing, nevertheless, the closeness and communication I had through the heart was something I will never forget.  Unfortunately, the best word to describe this communion with the Most High is indescribable, and I believe it is best interpreted only if you could experience it yourself.  
Interestingly, it is the pain caused by leaders of a church that has driven me to this passion to seek Him for answers and a "cure" for these wounds.  It is those times where I am idle (Hebrew word raphah - means to cease work, to be idle) where I have found I am more receptive to the Almighty.  The Scripture verse above literally means, to cease from activity, and let Him show you "I AM."  
I cannot conform this story, for I do not remember where I read it.  There was an preacher from the late 1800s, and he would spend two weeks in a special place in the woods, and he would only tell his wife where he was going, so he could not be distracted from his "be still" time with God.  He would come back with such a refreshing, he made it a practice to this whenever he could.
Reading the Word is good, and the Holy Spirit can speak through this as well.  Sermons, listening to praise music, all are good within their own parameters.  The Bible can lead you to God, and tells you much of Him, but until we spend time with Him, our view of Him will always be limited by how we "read" about Him.
I am longing for the weather to warm up, so I can get away and be with my Father.  Any entertainment can be sacrificed so you may be with Him.  Imagine your spouse ignoring you, watching movies, spending time with friends, going shopping and you feel hurt and rejected because you want them alone - just you and your spouse.  Now think how God feels, even giving Him fifteen minutes is good but is it enough for the One who died for you?  Is that all you give to your idols?  Who truly gets more time and affection - entertainment and friends or God?
I have been married for fifteen years, and there is no one on earth today who knows my wife as I do.  This should never stop me from being intimate with her, and likewise with me.  Once this passion begins to dissipate (and it comes unknowingly), we fall in a routine in our relationship that loses that potency through intimacy, and the same goes with our relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Once a burning flame now scarcely flickers in the dark. 
If this is so, there are other things that is taking away from its source to continue burning to be with our Father.  If you spend more time on Facebook than on your knees, it is an idol.  If you spend more time watching movies and television than in communion, what do you love more?  If your smartphone gets more attention than Him or your spouse, maybe you need to realize you have a golden calf in your heart. 
If God is you All in All, prove it.  Prove He is more than the world has to offer for you.  Give up our idols, and take that time and give it to Him.  You will never regret it, and that fire will burn hot again.

Jeremiah 9:23-24


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Done With Church For Now and 2 Samuel 16:5-13

I am aware that sometimes public places are not a place to air what some seem "dirty laundry."  From my standpoint, anyone who doesn't wash clothes but still hangs them outside to dry, maybe they are doing it with the clothes belonging the other.  I am not doing this for my satisfaction or gratification, I am doing this in hopes that if there are others who have run into the same situation that me and my wife have recently, my prayer is to help you get through it.
Over two years ago, we started attending another church.  My wife thought this would be a good place to go, since the last church had their cliques filled and we watched as many lonely people were avoided like leprosy from these cliques.  As we slowly became acquainted with the process of how it is ran and the people, I was prompted by the LORD to get in touch with the leaders.  They asked me to write them so they can pray about it.  In May, 2014, the meeting was set up, and two elders and I began at the church.
In the letter was a brief description of what I saw, and it was someone sweeping some dust under the rug, but the LORD did not inform me who it was.  The second was what I felt very strongly about bringing, which was praying and practicing to wait on Him. 
The first seventy minutes went well.  The last fifteen or so minutes was an attack on me assuming the role of a prophet over their church.  It got the point where one was demanding when did God call me as a prophet and I refused to make this about me.  I ended up walking out of the meeting, since I knew this was all about getting me angry and defending me more than the other.
Fast forward two and a half years to close to today.  I had walked away from the church for almost eight months, my wife still decided to try to push through the muck.  She set up a meeting with the pastor again (against my wishes) to get to the issues, and it all finally came out.  The leaders, especially the pastor, felt I was prideful, arrogant, also non-submissive.  Every time my wife came up with a rebuttal, he brought new factions against me.  He mentioned that many of the leaders unfollowed us on Facebook because of my strong posts, since they were getting offended.  All this JUST from my Facebook posts.  Remember, I hadn't been in the church in quite a period of time.  Yet, they still held this all against me.  Ironically, the pastor preached a message that they still need to extend grace to those who disagree with them.
My wife was told I was not coming to him (the pastor) about not resolving my issues.  I had met with the elders, submitted a letter to them, I have met with him in his office twice, even invited him over for lunch at our place and our expense.  I humbled myself in this regard several times, but I am still at fault.  Simply, I have been part several ministries within a church that gladly sought believers to serve, and work out all the issues with leaders proceeding over groups.  Somehow, my issues are worse than others, and it is noticeable in what they do.
I am not looking for any retribution or vengeance.  In fact, I am taking David's approach in 2 Samuel 16:5-13.  One of Saul's relatives began cursing David for what he believed he did against Saul.  One of the David's military leaders wanted to smite him, but David responded this might be the LORD and reminding him of his own afflictions.  This was a good way, in David's heart, to remain humble, despite his position of authority. 
All this is actually driving me toward God.  Last year, I asked God to throw me in the refiner's fire.  Very few believers will ever volunteer for this, but I did, and I felt awful but God met me after the trial.   I began to come to a realization that I tried to find him through the church, when I need to find God and let him find the church for me.  We spend so much time believing what churches are doing and that is satisfactory in our relationship with God.  I will tell you honestly, it does not suffice.
If you have been through this, it is very easy to send allegations back to the church, and you may have every right.  Before we need to bring this up, first go to God, and do it not with finding a retaliatory action but come in on honest supplication before Him.  Next is to sit in silence in loneliness of Him and wait as long as it takes for an answer.  Be prepared for a response you will not expect.  We are only righteous because of His Son, and we have faults. 
Is it possible any of the allegations these leaders send about me were true?  For all of 2015, my only prayer was for God to bring up the dross of much that was not good, and I saw it.  It is the most ugly sight my spiritual man could ever want to see.  I would be willing to go through the fire again, for some things will burn in a fire, others with only get purified and not burn at all (see 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). 
As of now, I will be spending more time with the Refuge and my Rock.  He is my only recluse, with all the pain I had to endure, it only makes sense to want the Almighty.  Place your anger on the altar, and give it honestly before Him.  We all have emotions and feelings, we need them, God gave them to us.  Even praying angry to God is well, as long as we humbly admit these shortcomings before our Judge.  Leaving it in His hands is going to be the toughest thing ever to release, and the best option we have, in hopes there may be reconciliation.
Do I hope there can be?  Undoubtedly.  I must hold out for hope, even it may never happen.  I believe God has a place, as He says He places us as He wills (1 Corinthians 12).  We have been searching for so long, and now it gets more "selective."  I want to find an assembly that wants God and nothing else matters.  They will lay aside all just to find Him.  They will empty themselves of the world just to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so He can guide them throughout their lives.  There has to be a remnant somewhere.
I will keep looking.  Until then, my search will continue to find God and Him alone.

Jeremiah 6:16