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Friday, March 22, 2013

A Letter to my Pastor

Dear  Pastor ,

First of all, I want to thank you. You have been a light to me in so many ways. I can't tell you how many times I have prayed for specific answers to specific questions. There were times when I was sitting in church and the message that you delivered pin pointed my exact problem.

There have been times when Christ has put a verse in my heart. I would go to church the next day, and, out of the entire Bible, the verse in which Christ revealed Himself, would be the central point of your message.

I Know that Christ speaks to you. I've seen it countless times. It is unquestionable.

I thank you for the freedom that we have to speak. I love how you give us a voice to share what Christ is doing in our lives and in our hearts. That is a freedom that a lot of churches do not have.

Are we perfect?

No. But, this I can say. We have love for one another, and I can see and sense your love for the lost and the "least of these."

Why I am writing this letter?

I have sat silent on too many occasions. While others were sharing their testimonies, I should've spoken. But, speaking is not my virtue, I am a writer.
I was born to write. Writing is the reason that God created me.

I have spoken numerous times about my encounters with the darkness. One night I was sleeping. I could feel a darkness enter my room. My head was held down and I could not move. Truthfully, I don't know if I was awake or dreaming, but I felt a pain in my belly that was unfathomable and excrutiating. I felt as if every demon in Hell was trying to rip apart my insides. I was asleep, but the pain was more suffocating and real. I dreamt that I walked downstairs to my mom's computer and I started writing.
I wrote, as I wrote.. the lies of the enemy were exposed.

A few days later, I was in church. Mrs. Mitzi looked at me and told me that God was going to use me in my writing. You spoke the very same thing. I had not told a single soul, at that point, about my dream.

God is moving among us.
The one thing that He showed me is that in order to build something new, we must first tear down the old.
We do that with the Truth. The Truth tears down the lies. I have found that we are so engulfed in centuries of lies, that we aren't even aware of how deeply we are affected.
As a Body of Believers, we are hurting. Church is not what it is designed to be.

Christ showed me something in the Book of Acts. The early church. The one that was unstained by demoniationalism and religous hatred. The one where the Believers used their gifts and functioned as whole...The ones who didn't look at sharing as a "hippie" concept that left with the 60's. The one's who were so engulfed with Christ and others that were willing to give up every single thing they owned.
Miracles abounded. The numbers being saved increased daily.

I once read that people are so disallusioned with the institutionalized church that many will return. And think of the disciples. They took Christ with them everywhere. They didn't confine Christ to a building. Instead, they took Him and His message of the Cross wherever their feet would take them.

We are those disciples.
I once had a vision. I saw thousands of people walking on rough terrain. They were marching towards something. The climb was laborious, and the journey was difficult. There was immense darkness, but each person was walking in unision.  Each one was carrying a lampstand, containing the very light of Christ. It lit up the darkness and made for something beautiful and extraordinary. They were the city on a Hill, and the place that they were marching was the Cross.

The world is dying and the message of the Cross has been diluted amongst today's false teachings.
We need to bring it back.
Christ is calling us out of our comfort zones.
So many churches look alike today, and very few represent the real Jesus.

I once heard that church is not a building, but about the Body of Believers acting in one mind and in one accord. I read that we are the living stones, not carved by human hands. I believe that.
I am going to share some things I have learned with you over the course of the next few weeks and months.
They will be hard to hear and hard to read, but the one thing that Christ has been showing what is wrong with our churches today. There have been times when I have wept over the things that I have seen. There have been times when I have spoken against things that I thought were wrong, only to be shoved to the side and told that I don't matter. I have been called names because I dared to write about what is wrong in our churches.
Christ said that He is coming for a spotless Bride, and we are anything but...

I am in a humbling place. I can only hope that the things that I present to you don't offend. That is not my purpose or intent. I simply want to see us grow. I want to see us walk in the miracles that Christ has promised. I want us to be more unified, each using our gifts in the capacity that Christ has called us to use them.
I want to see the lost seeing the light of Christ in us and through us..
I want to see the world begin to see that hyprocrital Christians and a loving Christ are not one in the  same.
I want to feed, to clothe, to care for the least of these and show the world that faith without works is dead.
I want to remind the world that God prospers us, but the prospering comes through sharing. When Jesus shared the loaves and fishes, He taught us that when we do the will of the Father, when we share, He multiplies..

anyhow, I want to thank you for all that you have done. My prayers are with you, and every Christian in every denomination. My prayers are with every man, woman, and child in this dark world.
If the Christians would realize that we are all family and begin to treat the lost and the unsaved like family also, then Christ's glory would be revealed.

On another note, as I reveal to you the things that Christ has shown me..over the course of the next few week and months, I encourage you to let me know if there is anything that doesn't line up with the Word and the Spirit of Christ. We are to test all things. I am humble enough to admit that I can and do make mistakes, and that, as a Body of Believers, we all need one another.

Love and God Bless

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Apology to the World

Apology To The World - Doug Perry PDF Print E-mail
Open Letter of Apology to The World

Please bear with me, this is long overdue and there's lots of ground to cover. I want to make sure that I get it all out. Not just for me, but because I think you need to hear it. Maybe there are other Christians out there as well that need to make apologies and will find courage here. I appreciate your time, I know it's valuable.

Dear Members of the World,

I'm just a guy, nobody really. Son of a preacher and missionary. Years and years of Vacation Bible Schools, summer camps, youth ski trips, puppet shows, revivals, choir trips - you name it. Even went to a Christian college and got a degree in religion. I ended up in the business world, but I spent two decades tithing, sitting on committees, teaching Sunday School, going to seminars and conferences, etc. I even met my wife in the single's class at church. I'm not a bad guy, I've been mostly behaving myself and everybody seems to like me. I do some good stuff here and there.

But lately I've been trying to understand Jesus more and stuff I never noticed before has really started to bug me. I've been taking a look around and I'm having a hard time making sense of what it is we've built here. So, it just seemed like, whether anybody else says it or not, I need to take responsibility for the part I played and say what I have to say.

Here we go ...

I know you think that Christians are a big bunch of hypocrites. We say we're more "religious" and we're going to heaven and you're not, and then we drive our big shiny cars with little fishies on the trunk and cut you off in traffic as we race by the homeless guy on the corner. We average just 2% of our money to church and charity, despite that we say the Bible is the word of God and it says we're supposed to give everything. On average, we buy just as many big screen TVs and bass boats and fur coats and makeup and baseball cards and online porn as anybody else. Maybe more. You've seen leader after leader end up in jail or court or a sex scandal of one sort or another.

Well ... you're right. We're guilty of all of it. We've done it all. And, I'm really sorry.

You see our cheesy TV shows and slick guys begging for money and you get that there's something seriously sneaky and wrong here. A high-pressure call for money so they can stay on the air? Were we supposed to use Jesus as just another form of entertainment? Who do we think we're kidding? Where's Jesus in all this? Aren't we supposed to rely on him? Isn't He going to meet our needs if we're inside His will?

What happened to sacrifice and suffering and helping the poor? I'm just sick about this. I mean, the church leaders, they're not all bad guys, there are lots and lots of really hard-working well-meaning folks who love and care and are meeting real needs in the community. Some of them understand and love Jesus - but I'm just real sure those pastors don't drive Bentley's, have multi-million dollar homes and their own lear jets! I mean, what "god" are we worshipping? Money? Ego? Power?

You see our massive shiny new buildings all over the place. Heck, maybe we even kicked you out of your house so we could expand our parking lots. You can't figure out why we need four different Christian churches on four corners of the same intersection. We've got playgrounds and bowling alleys and basketball leagues. We've got Starbucks coffee in the sanctuary. We've got orchestras and giant chandeliers and fountains out front. We've got bookstores full of "jesus junk" with every imaginable style and flavor of religious knick-knack. But where's Jesus? Is this what HE wanted?

Oh, sure, there are good folks all over and not every church is such a mess, but Christians are the ones that say we're supposed to be "One Body." So even the good ones are guilty of not putting a stop to it sooner. We were supposed to keep each other in line and not tolerate factions and dissensions and greed and idolatry and all this other bad stuff. Man, we really blew it! We've got 33,000 denominations and most of them won't talk to the other ones. We lose over $5 million a day to fraud from "trusted" people inside the church! We spend 95% of all our money on our own comforts and programs and happy family fun time shows and we let 250 MILLION Christians in other countries live on the very edge of starvation. Not to mention the billion or so that have never even once heard of Jesus - or the homeless guy downtown we almost ran over when we cut you off.

We're as guilty as we can be. All of us. Nobody is exempt. We should have put a stop to it a lot sooner. But I can't apologize on behalf of anyone else. This is about me.

I know that you might have gone to church as a kid and stopped going as soon as you could. I know that you might even have been abused by somebody in the church! Maybe we got you all fired up and then just let you drift off like we didn't really care. Maybe you just don't fit our "profile." You might have piercings and purple hair or tattoos or been in jail -- and somewhere inside you just know that even if you wanted to go to church one Sunday, it would not go well. I'm sorry for that. Jesus loves you. He always hung out with the most unexpected people. He had the biggest heart for the folks everybody else tried to ignore. What have we done? We've told you to put on a sweater and some loafers or you can't go to heaven. I just want to throw up.

Look, I know you're mad. And you have a right to be. We've done you wrong for a LONG time now. There's some things about Jesus that people need to hear, but we've buried a beautiful masterpiece under hundreds of layers of soft pink latex paint. If you have a Bible handy, look up Matthew 23. (If you don't, you can look it up here - .) Find it? Read it carefully, the Pharisees were the "religious" people of the day, the leaders of the faith. In this chapter Jesus SEVEN times says how pitiful and wretched and cursed they are for what they're doing to the people they're supposed to be leading. He even calls them "white washed tombs of dead mens bones" and a "brood of vipers"! I don't have time here, but read it and see if we're not doing EVERY single one of those things. Jesus can't possibly be happy about what we've done to you.

Sure, we like to kid ourselves and pretend everything is OK - but it's not. We're hated. Now, please understand, Jesus was hated, too. But that was because he said hard things and sometimes people don't like hearing the Truth. And he promised we would be hated if we were like him. But that's not why we're hated at the moment. We're hated right now because we're a giant pack of lying hypocrites that say one thing and do something else altogether. If we were hated because we were like Jesus, that would be one thing, but that's not it at all. You see right through our happy music and fluffy services and you can tell there's something desperately wrong here. We're no different than anybody else - except that we say we're better than you.

It was never supposed to be like this. Jesus asked us to care for the widows and orphans, to feed the hungry, care for the sick, visit those in prison, reach the lost. He wanted us to love our enemies and pray for them. He cared about human justice and suffering, the lost and lonely.  But I don't think He would have marched on a picket line - He had His mind on much bigger problems. He wanted us to focus on the eternal things, not the everyday. He never once said to go into all the world and build big buildings and divide up into factions and buy Bentleys. Just the opposite! I get that you're mad at us and I think you have a right to be, but please understand, you're mad at what we've made under our own power, you're mad at "Churchianity." That's different than Christ and what he wanted. Don't be mad at Jesus! This mess wasn't His idea!

Look, I'm really sorry. I accept responsibility for my part in having hurt you. But I'm committing to you all, dear Members of the World, that I'm not going to do it any more. Not a single penny more. I'm not going to put my faith in "Churchianity" or any leader or program or TV show -- but in Christ Jesus and His salvation. That's when I was set free and began to see that God wants and expects more of us than this. And I'm not helping anybody that's not fully committed to the same thing.

It took centuries to build this monster, so it's not like it's going to just turn around overnight. But the times are changing and we're way overdue for something new. Big bad things are happening - like the tsunami in Asia - and I think more are coming. I don't want any more time to go by without having said this. I'm sorry for all the time and money I've wasted. But Jesus saves. Really. The church itself isn't even the point. Jesus is the real deal. He lived and He died for my sins and He rose again. He is who He said He was and He cares about me - and you. He's our only hope. We need places you can go that will only teach Jesus and will not be swayed or tempted or distracted by anything else. God willing, that's coming.

Please don't think all Christians are just posers. Some of them really mean it when they say they belong to Christ. The problem is mostly in the West where we're all comfy and complacent and seem to like it that way. The Christians in China and other places are deadly serious. There's no room for anything but Jesus when you're on the run from the government. They are dying every day for their faith and doing crazy hard things because they're absolutely committed to Christ. These are martyrs. People willing to crucify little pieces of themselves every day to be more like Christ. People willing to set aside everything they want to do what Christ wants. People willing to rot in prison or take a beating or die if that's what it's going to take. People that act in pure love and never back down. I'm not worthy to tie their shoes. And there are some like that here, too, and I hope we can get a lot more people to start living that way. It's way overdue.

If you're talking to someone and they tell you they're a Christian, ask them if they're the kind of Christian that really means it all the time or the kind that just means it on Sunday. The Bible says we'll know them by their "fruits" - by the faith and purity and love in their deeds and words. When you find one that proves Christ is in them by how much they love you, ask them to tell you all about Jesus. If you know one of those fearless martyrs that speaks nothing but pure, clean, hard Truth - ask lots of questions. Truth is a lot more rare than you would think. But don't settle for soft, fluffy and comfortable anymore - that's not in the Bible.

As for me and my house, we're really sorry. From now on, we're going to serve the Lord, not "Churchianity." We're going to try to call together as many of those martyrs as we can and start doing what Christ wanted. If I run into you someday, please give me a chance to shake your hand and apologize in person. I'm going to try harder from now on, I promise. I think there are lots of others feeling the same way, so don't be surprised if you start hearing stuff like this more often.

Thanks for your time. I hope it helps.

Doug Perry -  Liberty, Missouri, USA This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.S. If you would like to help me get this apology to everybody in the world, please forward it on - but please don't make any changes. A PDF file is available on the website if you want to print it off.  Audio, too.  I think this needs to be said.  Thanks!  You can download the entire Apology to the World book that includes lots of writings from this site, plus some new stuff here - Download full E-Book FREE.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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Deceiving the Very Elect

Deceiving the Very Elect

By Michael Clark

You see it is in harboring deception in our hearts by our unwillingness to believe that we could be wrong, or by thinking that we have everything in these end times figured out, or that we can not sin, that we are made a perfect candidate for the wicked one to set up his throne in our hearts.
There is a line of reasoning that the enemy has sown among Christians that it is NOT possible to deceive the elect. Jesus forewarned:
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. (Matthew 24:24-25, NKJV).
These teachers would reason that the elect can't be deceived because they are the elect! This is what is called circular logic. No, not all the elect will be lost, but many of them will be deceived as Satan is let loose to do His evil in this hour we are in.
Paul warns the Church over and over against being deceived in the epistles as does John. Jesus told the disciples, "Take heed that no one deceives you." (Mark 13:5, NKJV).
Yes, dear ones, if you believe that you can't be deceived, then the enemy has already deceived you! Paul warned of this kind of arrogance when he said:
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV).
It is in our own self assured arrogance and wisdom that we deceive ourselves. John warned:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8, NKJV).
You see it is in harboring deception in our hearts by our unwillingness to believe that we could be wrong, or by thinking that we have everything in these end times figured out, or that we can not sin, that we are made a perfect candidate for the wicked one to set up his throne in our hearts.
Tell me this. Where according to the New Testament is the temple of God? In our hearts, right? Paul wrote:
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." (2 Corinthians 6:16, NKJV).
Then if the temple of God is in the hearts of all who make up the Church, why are we looking toward Jerusalem and waiting to see the Antichrist sit on a throne in the temple over there? Could there not be a "great falling away" due to the displacing of Christ in the hearts of the believers by the enemy himself? Antichrist not only means "against Christ," but "instead of Christ."
  • We displace Jesus with men when we look to them to teach us instead of first seeking our guidance from His Spirit. (John 14:26 &1 John 2:27)
  • We displace Jesus when we harbor sin in our hearts. (Matt. 6:23)
  • We displace Jesus when we seek honor from men. (John 5:44)
  • We displace Jesus when the things of this world take His place. (Matt. 6:24)
  • We displace Jesus when we love our families or people more than Him. (Luke 14:26)
John wrote in one of his letters:
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (1 John 2:18-19, NKJV).
Yes, they were once part of US!!! Part of you! Part of me! Repentance dislodges them out of our hearts. If we don't repent we will eventually leave the fellowship of true believers and follow this spirit. Some who have this spirit resident in them, take a following when they leave. This is how cults are formed.
What is our safeguard? Jesus said of Himself,
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30, NKJV).
This should be our constant prayer that Jesus would so refine our hearts that we too could stand in THIS holy place where He stood. We, too, should pray that the Prince of this world could come and find nothing in us.
Isn't this the very thing that Paul foretold when he warned of the enemy coming with great "dunamis" power to deceive?
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, NKJV).
He continues:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, NKJV).
You see it is one thing to sin, but it is another thing to sin and block out the convicting power of God that strives to bring you to repentance. This is known as hardening your heart. If you dare to harbor your sin and continue to "have pleasure in unrighteousness" God will be forced to send you a "strong delusion" that you should continue to believe your lie. This is not a time to be playing games with God and presuming on His grace to keep you while you continue in sin. He is separating the sheep from the goats even now. David prayed:
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalms 19:12-14, NKJV).
I was deceived for over a year that a particular sin that I was engaged in was really "spiritual." I won't go into details but the enemy is very good at what he does and there were even other Christians that agreed with him. But the one thing I could not do was block out the guilt. I would repent, then fall for this sin again and the guilt came back. I also had been given many words of prophesy and warnings from various folks that what I was doing was NOT spiritual. Finally, the word of the Lord came to me through a brother in such a way, naming the deceiving spirit, that the power of the delusion was broken and I once and for all repented and cut myself off from any further opportunity for this sin. Paul told Timothy, "You are a strong man in Christ. You can handle any temptation." NO!!! He said to Timothy, "Flee those youthful lusts!" If a temptation comes your way, don't play around with it, RUN!
So, dear brothers and sisters, I hope that you can learn from my bad example and the things that I have learned in the process of recovery and not "think more highly of yourselves than you ought to think." This is the first step to deception. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. When He lifts you up you will hardly notice it happening and you will less likely be tempted to leave your humility behind, or trade it for a false humility and more deception.
Heed Daniel's warning and watch out for flattering words, for these spirits seek to captivate and plunder you.
"Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:32-35, NKJV).
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13, NKJV).
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8, NKJV).
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are we to follow men or Christ?

Are We to Follow Men or Follow Christ?

By Michael Clark

Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, because you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances [teachings] as I delivered them to you. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. (1 Corinthians 10:31 to 11:4 KJ2000- emphasis added)

Paul admonishes us to follow him, but how are we to do it? Are we to follow him and those in church leadership like so many blind sheep? Are we to follow a man just because he claims a church title or has an "office"? Did Jesus set up a "divine right of kings" among men and give the church's leaders a blank check to write whatever they will? Contrary to what we see around us, Jesus did not give His authority over to a dynasty of successors and then die as some men teach, but rather He remains the Head of the church (Greek ekklesia- called-out assembly), and abides in all those He has called out of the world system unto Himself. Before going to the cross He assured the disciples:
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world [kosmos - world system] sees me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. (John 14:18-20 KJ2000)
Jesus still lives in us who are His! Earthly kings delegate authority and determine who takes their place when they die, but Jesus is still the Head of the church and has never given that place to anyone. He is still the Chief Shepherd over His flock and all members of His body still answer first to Him and His Spirit (See Act 5:29-32; also 1 Corinthians 3). When men like Diotrephes try for church preeminence--that place which belongs to Jesus alone--they are antichrist in their very natures. They are trying to displace Christ of His rightful place among the saints of God. John wrote to the assembly:
Beloved, you do faithfully whatsoever you do for the brethren, and for strangers; Who have borne witness of your love before the church: whom if you send forward on their journey in a godly manner, you shall do well: Because for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. Therefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, speaking against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:5-11 KJ2000)
Notice how John believes this over-lording man did evil because he resisted those who were sent out by John to this body of believers he had established. Also notice that these same sent-out ones took nothing from the Gentiles, but were truly walking by faith in Christ. It is these men that John holds up as godly examples of Jesus, not the ones who has preeminence among the saints.

True spiritual leadership never gets between Christ and His sheep, but rather shows them what being a true follower of Jesus looks like. The lead by their example as lowly servants. So in 1 Corinthians chapters 10 and 11 quoted above (notice that the chapter break improperly disrupts the flow of what Paul is teaching), we see Paul asserting that he does not seek his own advantage, nor exercise his will over others, nor does he live a life that may offend others1. Instead, he follows Jesus Christ alone. Then and only then was anyone to follow his godly example. Of this passage Albert Barnes comments, "It is well when a minister can without ostentation appeal to his own example, and urge others to a life of self-denial and holiness, by his own manner of living, and by what he is [doing] himself in his daily walk and conversation."
Part of the example that Paul gave the church and its leadership was that a man should work with his hands and support himself and not be a burden on the church. Paul did not just preach a sermon on Sunday and kick back and live off the offerings that came in. In fact the only offering he commanded to be taken was for the poor widows in Jerusalem (see Romans 15:25-28), never for himself or those who ministered with him. He wrote this to the Thessalonians:
One further order we must give you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: don't associate with the brother whose life is undisciplined, and who despises the teaching we gave him. You know well that we ourselves are your examples here, and that our lives among you were never undisciplined. We did not eat anyone's food without paying for it. In fact we toiled and laboured night and day to avoid being the slightest expense to any of you. This was not because we had no right to ask our necessities of you, but because we wanted to set you an example. When we were actually with you we gave you this principle to work on: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." Now we hear that you have some among you living quite undisciplined lives, never doing a stroke of work, and busy only in other people's affairs. Our order to such men, indeed our appeal by the Lord Jesus Christ, is to settle down to work and eat the food they have earned themselves. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 ~ Phillips NT)
Many men go into ministry today so they can make a living from it. They see it as a good profession with unlimited possibilities to become famous and rich. That was never in the heart of Paul or the other apostles; in fact, he suffered the loss of all things as He followed Jesus2 and counted it all as rubbish anyway. We need pastors and church leaders that have that attitude today-seeking the welfare of others, tending to the poor and needy first, and working with their own hands to support themselves and others. What an example that would be to a skeptical world that only sees high profile ministries begging constantly for more money, living off the fat of what comes in, and only making a token donation to the poor to be seen of men3.
Paul led by example. But where did he get the idea that he was to not be a burden to the church, but rather a servant to all men and even meet their needs when it was necessary? He got it from Jesus. When a multitude of thousands had followed Jesus out into the wilderness and had no provisions to sustain them, what did He do? Did He have them all sit in groups of fifties and send out the disciples with twelve baskets to take up a great offering, as is the practice today? Not hardly! He fed them all until they were so satisfied that twelve baskets of food were left over! He told the disciples that they should feed the hungry following His own example4.
Jesus later told the disciples what godly leaders do for the household of God when there is need and what will happen to those who don't tend to the needs of the saints.
Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time? Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing. I solemnly declare to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, My master is delayed and is going to be gone a long time, And begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunken, The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware, And will punish him [cut him up by scourging] and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.(Matthew 24:45-51 AMP)

About this Doctrine of Covering

It is interesting that the whole teaching of human submission and covering is brought up by the apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth. Here in chapter eleven, Paul explains that "every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, dishonors his head." He goes on to say, "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God." However, the boldest statement against this false doctrine is in verse three, where Paul says, "But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ...and the head of Christ is God." When we obey men rather than God in our assemblies and submit any word spoken in our gatherings first to the leader, we are prophesying with our heads covered. Christ is our covering we should speak what He puts in our hearts, because the One Mediator between God and mankind is Jesus Christ5.
Religion makes it "rebellion" to relate directly to Christ. In man's opinion, you simply cannot do without a church leader covering you. If you have not yet joined the illustrious fraternity of "heretics" who dare to relate to Christ directly, you are living far below your rightful place as joint heir in Christ.
Neither Jesus nor the apostles taught that any man should be our covering. In fact, Paul and his fellow workers were not demanding at all, but instead appealed to "every man's conscience in the sight of God."6 In this he shows that he in not usurping that unity and bond between the believer and His Lord. Regarding matters of conscience, Paul also wrote that every man should be "fully persuaded in his own mind."7 The essence of faith is every man's connection to God himself without any human interference. Jesus warned, "I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown."8

How About Teachers in the Church?

Many today want to be teachers of Jesus' flock. The early church was inundated with false teachers. First the Judaizers went out among the Gentile church, trying to bring them under the Old Testament law. Then the Gnostics of Alexandria, Egypt,went out among the infant church claiming to be possessors of all truth. These men all had a common goal and that was to draw away saints from Jesus and make them disciples unto themselves and their cult. Paul warned the elders of the Ephesian church about this very thing. "I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears" (Acts 20:29-31 RSVA).
John, speaking about the antichrist spirit as well as the Gnostic heresy among them, also warned about human teachers rising up from among the believers.
Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life. I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. (1 John 2:18-28 RSVA)
These false teachers went out from the common fellowship they had in Christ and set themselves apart over the congregation of the saints, drawing away as many of them as possible under their own influence and over-lording leadership. As we see from Paul's warning in Acts, these antichrist teachers come out from the flock of God and then they rise up over it. Peter admonished the elders of the churches this way:
Now I have something to say to the elders in your group. I also am an elder. I have seen Christ's sufferings, and I will share in the glory that will be shown to us. I beg you to shepherd God's flock, for whom you are responsible. Watch over them because you want to, not because you are forced. That is how God wants it. Do it because you are happy to serve, not because you want money. Do not be like a ruler over people you are responsible for, but be good examples to them. Then when Christ, the Chief Shepherd, comes, you will get a glorious crown that will never lose its beauty. (1 Peter 5:1-4 NCV)
We who are elders, the older ones in the church, are not to lord over Jesus' flock. We are to lead by a godly example and to do so without any thought of getting paid for our servant-hood. Notice also that Peter identifies himself as an elder who has shared in Christ's suffering, not even as an apostle, much less as their pope! He makes it clear that we are never to be ones who rule over the people of God. Jesus also made this very clear to the disciples when He walked among them.
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. (Mark 10:42-44 RSVA)
Notice this part of 1 John, chapter 2 and understand it well: "But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son." The Liar is the devil himself, the father of lies. How does he deny the Father and the Son? Surely he knows that they exist! Jesus overcame the wicked one, breaking all his power except the power of his lies in the gullible. So, with that in mind, who does the devil use to deny the preeminence of Jesus in and over the church? He uses false teachers who live and move in the antichrist spirit. These teachers deny Jesus His rightful place as the Head of every believer and the church. Through this spirit, human leaders and teachers come out from the body of believers, rise up and try to draw devotion away from Jesus to themselves.
What was John's solution to this problem? What did he tell the church to do to keep from being seduced by the many antichrist spirits in this world? He told them to learn to listen to the Unction, the Holy Spirit within them, which God had given them when they came to Christ. The Greek word antichristo not only means "against Christ," but also "in place of Christ," which is the more common form we see today. Men try to displace Jesus and drown out the voice of His Spirit with their own voice, teachings and preeminence.

"My Sheep Hear My Voice"

What is a sign that we are among Jesus' sheep? He said that we would know them in this manner: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (John 10:27-30 RSVA). His sheep hear His voice, the voice of His Spirit! Without knowing and hearing that Voice, we cannot follow Him and do His will.
How about all the other voices that try to distract and attract His sheep? Of these Jesus said:
"When he [Jesus] has brought out all his own [sheep], he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. (John 10:4-6 RSVA).
After centuries of assault on the flock of Christ by "strangers," deceivers, false christs, false teachers, false apostles and false prophets, the church has a real problem-His sheep, for the most part, don't know His voice and have come to trust in the voices of strangers who have risen over the flock of God. Our one defense against the antichrist spirit-- hearing Jesus' voice, the voice of the Spirit-- has almost vanished from those who call themselves "Christians."
Is it any wonder that in John's Revelation, the Spirit constantly repeats Himself with this one phrase, "Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches"?
Jesus taught the disciples this way: "Call no man Rabbi, for only one is your Teacher, even Christ and you are all brethren." How far we, as the body of Christ, have fallen from our common unity in His Spirit! We are no longer the flock of His pasture who live as members one of another in Him, having a common Teacher. Instead we have men lusting for preeminence and lording over one another with honorific titles that belong only to Jesus. Even David had the one unifying principle which God desires figured out when he wrote, "The Lord is my Shepherd..." We need to know Jesus alone as our total sufficiency in all things.
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11 NRS)

1 See the rest of chapter ten
2 Philippians 3:8
3 See Matthew 6:1-4
4 See Matthew 14:14-21 and 15: 29-39
5 1 Timothy 2:5
6 2 Corinthians 4:2
7 Romans 14:5
8 Revelation 3:11 RSVA

Friday, March 15, 2013

this will rock the boat

Below, you will find a link. My purpose in posting this link is not to cause offense, but simply to cause us to question how much of what we are doing really looks like Jesus? Are our loyalties misplaced?

The video that you are about to watch contains a few famous faces. I DO NOT speak against any of the people included in the video. However, as you are watching..ask yourself the question.."Is this that the church, the Bride of Christ is meant to be?
This video startled me because I could see a truth behind it. It is not an attack video..simply illustrations. sometimes pictures speak louder than words. Your  thoughts are welcome, but no hate speech of any sort please. agree to disagree but please do so in a Spirit of Love.
Thanks! <3

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

"those who care for the least of these, also cares for me." - JESUS

Monday, March 11, 2013

demonic torment

"we shall overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony"

And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die - revelation 12:11

umm, ok.. so this is going to sound weird. I believe in demons, not because I read about them or because someone told me about them, but because I have experienced them. I posted these videos on youtube a few weeks ago. Jesus told me that they were going to help someone. The next day I checked my inbox and there was message..funny thing is..I already kinda knew it was going to be there.
It was from a young girl. She said that she needed this message because of the things that she has faced. She said that my testimony helped her. For that, I am grateful. For every person that will mock and ridicule and scorn those who believe in the Bible and in the demonic, there are the few that will truly appreciate testimonies like this one. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to make this video. I did it because through all of my experiences, I have learned one thing. God is good. He is real. He is love. And we are more than overcomers through the word of our testimony. Even when they are hard to share and they leave you bare and open for ridicule..

wanna hear another cool story?

a lady on one of my videos pretty much insulted me. She didn't believe in demons and thinks that they are a tool for some sort of "charismatic" fear mongering. I told her that I'm not charismatic, but would never downgrade an entire group of people based upon their beliefs. We started chatting. I was nice to her, and now, we correspond. Love does that. It opens the doors of communication and understanding one another. It's easy to be petty. It's something altogher different to show grace..
so, even if you don't like these videos,  show grace anyway.
love on.
God is good.
P.s. I also have a text version of this if you are interested.

why are all the christians fighting?

everyone wants to have a voice. everyone wants to be heard. everyone wants and needs to feel as if they fit into the Body of Christ.

as Christians, we sometimes long for affirmation. We long to feel as if we matter.

Lately, I have come up against obstacles. I have been fighting an internal battle brought on by others who are quick to push my thoughts aside simply because of small and petty disagreements over secondary (non salvation) issues.  
even presenting topics for discussion, can sometimes bring controversy..because the truth of the matter is that no one likes to be challenged.

If we could grasp how differently church looks today than the church model in the Book of Acts, then we would learn that it IS ok to ask questions.

Asking questions and even disagreeing with someone doesn't make us heretics.

It makes us human. It means that we can see something wrong with  the world and with the church and we simply want it fixed.  Spritual discernment is like detective work. It involves not only testing the spirits around you, but testing teachings against the Word of God..

God told us to "test all things." and yet, it seems that with the testing comes subtle forms of persecution.

case in point.

I have been called names. I have had my salvation called into question simply because I challenged others people way of thinking. during these times, I have been deeply hurt. I have wondered if my prayers even matter. I have wondered if anything I have done or any encouraging word might have been in vain... I have listened to the lies  of the enemy,  but albeit only briefly. When we attack one another, we are being used as weapons of the darkness, and we become agents for spiritual abuse.
Isn't it ironic that even Jesus stirred up controversy during His day. He spoke agains the way things were done in His time. He spoke about the hypocracy of the religious leaders, and called into question their actions. He stirred up their way of doing things so much that they wanted to kill Him. He openly defied their traditions and pointed out their lack of mercy and compassion.

 i don't think our aim should ever be to stir up controversy. we shouldn't rattle things simply just because we can.. but we are living in a time when even asking relevant questions and bringing forth topics for discussion.. brings all sorts of slander and "controversy," especially amongst other Christians.

Jesus said that we will face persecution. It is certain. If we are going to be led by the spirit, then we suffer the same of kind of persecution that Jesus faced. We will be led toward a cross. It's inevitable. Jesus said that we are to die to self. He says that we are to be led by His Spirit. If the Spirit of God, led Jesus toward persecution and self sacrifice, then we have to be aware that we will led in the same direction.
The Spirit of God does not change. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
anyone who preaches different is preaching a wide path message, and being led into a "tickling ear" , "another gospel" type of message.
We subsitute the words of Jesus with whatever self help guru is taking center stage for the day. It's in our nature to choose "easy."
Jesus said the path would be be so difficult, that only a few people were going to actually make it. Jesus said to take up your cross and to follow Him, and yet we follow the easy and convenient fast food teachings of man and ignore the words of Jesus altogether.

I'm not trying to be mean, I'm simply relaying what Jesus had to say about things. Please don't shoot the messenger, and if I am somehow wrong, please throw me a lifeline, and if you love me, please pull me out of the water and pray that God's will (not your will for my life) but that God's will be done. Haven't we yet learned that God's will is perfect and that it involves perfect love. If we can't wish that for others, then we are blinded by the darkness.

When will people understand that words hurt. It hurts to be shoved aside and told that you don't matter simply because of a varying viewpoint..

Didn't Jesus tell us to love another unconditionally and work together for the good? Did He tell us to shove one another aside when we disagree or did He tell us to avoid petty arguments and name calling? Didn't he say that those things were divisive and that separating into litte segments (by disagreeing on petty issues) is a work of the flesh?

Why do we dissect one another to the Nth degree. Why do we cut each other up into tiny pieces with hurtful words? Why do we call into question another person's salvation simply because they think differently about money or politics?  Why don't we take the time to listen to what they have to say, and then, try to lovingly pull them out the water if they are, in fact, drowning?

What ever happened to the concept of "unconditionally" loving someone? Why does love and acceptance have to be conditional?

Last night, I kept thinking of the story of the prodigal son. He left home to sow his wild oats.

When he came home, his father didn't reject him. His father threw a huge party and there was a feast.
Why don't we celebrate one another?

Is this why no one wants anything to do with Christianity? Is it because, when people try to come home, we tell them that they aren't good enough, that they are no longer worthy? When we do that don't we realize that we are telling Jesus that His blood wasn't enough?

Do you hold people's pasts against them or crucify them because they interpret a verse of scripture differently than you do ? or because they drink wine instead of grapejuice for communion? or because they believe that women shouldn't  wear pants? or whatever... you get the idea. petty arguments and strife. work of the flesh. who cares?

As Christians, why do we try to judge where a person is spiritually because they interpret something differently than you do?

Didn't Christ say that the litmus test for being able to tell if someone is a Christian or not, comes by identifying a person by their fruits, which include their love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and longsuffering?

who are we when we start telling someone that they aren't saved and then rejecting them  or belittling them because they think differently on a topic or they question the state of the church today?

Isn't that essentially devisive when we judge and condemn others? Didn't Jesus warn against divisivenss and factions and petty arguments that lead to strife?

The truth is that we are all going to come to a point where we disagree. But to try to judge another person and call them a hypocrite if they don't agree with you, is..well, hypocrital.

It's not done in a spirit of love.

We have to be careful not to let our own religious pride steal the love that we are meant to have for one another.

It's so important that we learn to discuss things in a loving manner, rather than with hostility or with bias or condemnation.
The other day, I read a quote. It was profound. " The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or denounce it.. You lay a straight stick right beside it."

We are called to lead by example. We should put aside our differences and start prepping the tables for a feast.

We should put the fire on and gather up the finest ingredients for the best meal ever....
when people see arguing, they won't want to come home, but when they know that they will be loved, then that is something different altogether.

Christ showed us warmth. Isn't it time we heed His example and learn to show that to one another?

I realize that in the past, i may have said harsh words agains people with which I don't agree. I was wrong. It's ok to disagree with a teaching or an idea. But if we are to call ourselves Christlike, it should be done in a spirit of love...
If we love one another, we will try to help one another..and that means that if we see something wrong, we should address it... but  unnecessary rudeness is NEVER ok.

on a side note... during the course of the last several months.. I have emailed several different people in various types of ministires. Each one has ignored me, and for some reason, chose not to respond.
I can't help but feel as if it is because they disagree with me on various topics that I write about on my blog.  But whether or not they agree or disagree, there is still a certain level of rudeness in ignoring another person for any reason.
If we can't unconditionally love and accept one another and talk to one another like human beings, then we aren't like Jesus. Period.  and those aren't my words.. that's in your Bible. who knows, maybe they are just busy...on another thought, who really cares? Christ is the only one I aim to please.

in the past, I was wrong in some cases. It is ok to disagree with others but it should be in a spirit of love. anything else is of the darkness. I apologize for the times I was wrong.


wisdom for the day

Some days I speak out against denominationalism. I am not against people that belong to certain faiths or groups. I simply see everyone as family. I believe that we should all work together. It's really that simple.
Jesus says that divisions are a work of the flesh, and I simply see our denominations as barriers for us getting to know and love one another the way that we should. We argue way too much over things that seem petty. We try to change people's minds by arguing. Jesus said that stirring up strife is pointless. The other day I read a quote that made perfect sense.

“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it” d.l. moody

this quote tells me that ... If we want to make a point about something, then we don't argue about it.. we live our lives with integrity and we stand upright. Then, others are able to recognize the example. there is no point or fruit in condemnation.

the wonderful thing about Jesus is that He led by example. His actions backed his words. He told us to love another, and yet it seems that we always find a reason to push others aside. We divide and a house divided against itself cannot stand. 

The other day I was watching a movie and I saw something in my spirit. The Bible tells us that we can learn a lot by watching nature. Solomon, one of the wisest men in the Old Testament bids, "consider the ants." He learned a lot by watching tiny little creatures, working together.

anyhow, I was watching this movie and a biology teacher begins to explain the nature of cells in the human body.

He said that cells in our body die. When cells die, the body becomes sick. Illness becomes evident, and the result is decay.
he said that when cells work together, amazing things begin to happen. When they move, they form a rhythm. There is unison. As each cell carries the task for which it was designed, we begin to see healing.

The body heals.

Jesus tells us that as Christians we are parts of a body. Each of us has a certain role. He tells us that He is in the Head of the Body (not a man, contrary to what some people may think)
Jesus is the brains behind the operation, we are the parts of the Body, and when we work together, there is healing.

Consider the ants. Consider the cells. Consider the words of Jesus.

and just because someone thinks differently about something, don't toss them aside. lovingly guide them in all of your wisdom.

working together yeilds marvelous results.

I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity…to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.
Paul McCartney
In union there is strength.

It takes two flints to make a fire.
Louisa May Alcott

Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be in the midst of them.. I will be there. - Jesus..
Jesus didn't say where two (insert your denomination here) are gathered....jesus said where there are two BELIeVERS, there He will be..

WHat did Jesus have to say about working together?

12-13 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.
14-18 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
19-24 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?
25-26 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
27-31 You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything. You’re familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his “body”:
miracle workers
those who pray in tongues.
But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christ’s church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called “important” parts.
But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.


we never quote Jesus

sometimes, i notice little things..i pray that no one take offense, because this is literally NOT directed toward anyone in particular..
But, as of late, I have noticed a trend. All too often, I notice that a lot of Christians post status updates from famous preachers. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with that. But, tonight I started wondering why no one ever quotes the words of Jesus?
It was an observation.. I simply noted how I see dozens of feel good and uplifting posts by megapreachers all day, but no one has ever quoted Jesus.
I started thinking's no wonder no one actually quotes Jesus.
He said some pretty hard things. I see people quote verses of scripture, but never the red lettered words of Jesus.

Could you imagine scrolling through facebook and reading, "Sell off your possessions and give your money to the poor. Trust in me and I will meet your needs." - Jesus


Narrow is the gate and few will enter. Work hard to get in. - Jesus


"You will be hated, mocked, persecuted, and even killed because you love me"- Jesus

or how about

Love your enemy, turn the other cheek, and if you have two coats, give one of them away - Jesus

I noticed how the quotes that I read are so far from what Jesus actually says, that I wonder if we haven't somehow delved into "another gospel" altogether.

am I alone in my thinking?

I can't help but think that, in many ways, we have pushed Jesus aside.  Sometimes, He seems secondary to whoever is popular in the pulpit at any given moment. It would be interesting to see what would happen if people actually started quoting Jesus...

maybe, I will have to try it.. 

anyhow, good night friends....I'm tired and it's late..

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:14

Sunday, March 10, 2013

last sunday

last sunday, I went to church. I hadn't been in a few weeks. It's kindof a long story, but in between work and some spiritual things that were going on in my life, I was unable to make a few service, and I simply chose to stay home for a  few.

It was lovely. My pastor prayed for my grandfather, and told him of the depth of God's love for him.
People told me that they missed me.

They missed me?  

you mean even though I might think differently about this topic, and even though I ...and ????
you miss me?

I truly think that my eyes started welling up with tears when everyone came up to hug me and tell me that noticed that I was gone.

It meant something.
We ate a meal together. There was a huge smorgaboard of food in the back, and I marveled at the love that was poured out into those dishes.

If only the world could know such a love.

I rail a lot against denominationsim,.. a rail a lot against instutionalized churches..
But the one truth that I have found is that where we are loved, is where our home is..

Our home is the place where we are made to feel welcome and the place where we are accepted unconditionally.
When we have found a people that accepts us with arms wide open..that is our home..That is what most resembles Jesus.
It may not look like a building.. It may simply look like family welcoming you with open arms, no matter where you have been, what you have done, or what differences you may have..
home is where you are loved.

the most misued word in the english language is love

last night, I watched an interesting youtube video.  a man was disallusioned with our misuse of the word "love."

He said that it is a word that is sometimes spoken without thought. It is a word that has often not been backed by our actions. To some, love is simply a word and sometimes, we don't fully grasp it's magnanimaty, it's implications, or what it truly means to love another person.

we say words like, "I love bacon." or  "I love Starbucks." 

We often use the word "love" to describe our love of things.

The man was in tears because his wife was leaving him. He had made some mistakes, but realized how much he truly loved her and didn't want her to leave.

He was going to tell her that he loved her, but he didn't feel that "love" was even a strong enough word to express how he truly felt.

So, he asked God, "Lord, is there any word in the entire English language that would fully express how much I care for this woman? Is there any word that would reveal my love for her in its fullest capacity?

The Lord replied, "Jesus"

Jesus is the only word that anyone could really say that would illicit an image of someone willing to die for them, suffer persecution, be whipped, and mocked, scorned, and spit on.

Jesus is the only word that would reveal the depth and magnitude of unconditional love...
and the only name that would have covered how much someone would be willing to endure and sacrifice for another human being.

So he asked God's permission and told his wife, "I Jesus you." because love didn't seem to be the right word. Only the name Jesus could've covered something so huge and vast and great and expansive.

The man went on to say, that most of should never use those words.. simply because we have no idea or even the slightest inkling of the unconditional nature of the love of Jesus.

I can't help but think it true. We call ourselves Christian, and often, we reject one another, we hurt one another, we can't seem to forgive one another... and we have no concept what unconditional agape love even looks like.. It's not even evident in a lot of our lives..

Can we say that we love in same capacity as Jesus? or even that we resemble Him in our love?
would we be willing to die for another living soul? if we can't even "bless those who curse us" and love those who spitefully use us, then we have no concept of the love that  Christ expemplified..

IF we don't have love for one another, should we even call ourselves, CHrist like? Christians?  If we reject those who disagree with us and toss them to the side because they have a differing viewpoint, is that Christlike?

we dissect

every now and then, things get heated. since I have become a Christian, I often find that when I disagree with others, even peacefully, there is a lot of backlash.

even presenting topics for discussion, can sometimes bring controversy..because the truth of the matter is that no one likes to be challenged.

If we could grasp how differently church looks today than the church model in the Book of Acts, then we would learn that it IS ok to ask questions.

Asking questions and even disagreeing with someone on secondary issues doesn't make us heretics.
It makes us human. It means that we can see something wrong with  the world and with the church and we simply want it fixed.  Spritual discernment is like detective work. It involves not only testing the spirits around you, but testing teachings against the Word of God..
God told us to "test all things." and yet, it seems that with the testing comes subtle forms of persecution.

case in point.

Tonight, someone implied that if you don't have a "pastoral covering" then you aren't truly "walking the walk." You are only "talking the talk."

since, I had a discussion about pastoral coverings with the same person and spoke of how a lot of the teaching has paved the way for spiritual abuse, then I was forced to think that this post was directed toward me.  am I only a talker? maybe I am just full of hot air? maybe my prayers don't matter and the things that I do or say to encourage? maybe none of it matters because I think about something differently? these are the thoughts that ran though my head as I read the posting.

and, I have to say, it stung.
As Christians, why do we try to judge where a person is spiritually because they interpret a verse differently than you do? Didn't Christ say that the litmus test for being able to tell if someone is a Christian or not, comes by identifying a person by their fruits, which include their love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and longsuffering?

who are we when we start telling someone that they aren't saved and then rejecting them  or belittling them because they think differently on a topic or they question the state of the church today?

Isn't that essentially devisive when we judge and condemn others? Didn't Jesus warn against divisivenss and factions and petty arguments that lead to strife? Didn't Jesus question the state of things in His day? Isn't that one of the reasons why they hated him so much?

The truth is that we are all going to come to a point where we disagree. But to try to judge another person and call them a hypocrite if they don't agree with you, is..well, hypocrital.
It's not done in a spirit of love.
We have to be careful not to let our own religious pride steal the love that we are meant to have for one another.

We are all going to think differently about various issues. Some of us think Christ wanted us to serve wine for communion. Others serve grapejuice. Some believe that Jesus wants women to have long hair. Others think that it is ok to have short hair.
Some believe in pastoral coverings. Others don't. Is that meant that we are to judge and call into question who they are in Christ? Or does that mean that we remain an example through love?

We can fingerpoint all the livelong day, but the key message that Jesus came to show us was love.

It's so important that we learn to discuss things in a loving manner, rather than with hostility or with bias or condemnation.  The other day I heard a quote that made sense to me. 
“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it” - L.L. Moody..

If we want to make a point about something, then we don't argue about it.. we live our lives with integrity and we stand upright. Then, others are able to recognize the example. there is no point or fruit in condemnation. We are called to be salt and light to those around us..with all that being said, if I offended anyone, forgive me. I love you. Agree to disagree.

Anyhow, tonight we had an interesting discussion about pastoral coverings. the first question that I posed was, "are pastoral coverings even biblical? are we supposed to submit to man or to God? what about churches where there is finanical, physical, and spiritual abuse? are we to submit to their leadership? under the covering teaching, the answer would be yes...

I am posting a video and a testimony that anwer my questions about these subjects.. agree to disagree and feel free to message me with your comemnts. It's OK to discuss things peacefully.. - very comprehensive testimony with a solid biblical backing... 

when we dissect too much, we bleed from the inside - rb
let's just love another as the Bible commanded and quit making judgment calls on others. It hurts.

I'd be half tempted to say that I am through with self rightoeous people in general, but that wouldn't be showing unconditional love...
turn the other cheek and keep moving on..

Saturday, March 9, 2013

listening to the sound of their own voices

Tonight, I have a lot of thoughts on various topics. Some could be considered "controversial" and the last thing I want to do is stir up a can of worms.

Some days, I am very disallusioned with my Christian brothers and sisters. Some days it seems that people simply like to hear the sound of their own voices, not really taking time to listen or hear a single person around them. There are too many Christians with megaphones and not enough Christians with ears. Or so, it seems.

I am frustrated. Yesterday, I recalled a excerpt from a book I read called Under the Overpass. The book detailed the lives of two men who gave up everything to live the life of a vagrant for a year. They wanted to forsake everything, so that they could understand and write about the experience of what it truly means to be homeless in America, one of the richest nations in the world.

They spoke of how they experienced real hunger. One passage truly opened my eyes and forced me to look at how hyprocrital we, as Christians, can sometimes be. The men explained how
they  were sitting near the outside of a coffee shop. They were extremely hungry and watched as people threw away their food. The greatest irony came as they watched a group of students hold a Bible study. They wrote about how they were often ignored and sometimes scoffed at, by people who were openly Christian.

Maybe I was reminded of this because today at the coffee shop, I saw a group of students holding a Bible study. I was glad that they were there and not ashamed of their faith in God. I did, however, notice that they only interacted within their own little circle. I tried meeting their eyes a few times, but to no avail. I noticed how they were only seemingly concerned with what was taking place in their own little group. Their voices became loud, and I wondered if they had taken the time to notice a single person around them. I began to wonder how much of what "we" do resembles a click.
Why do we need to feel to shout when we are only talking amongst ourselves?
The thing that I love about Jesus is that He interacted with people of all sorts of various backgrounds, from the prositute to the rich tax collectors.He even interacted with the hypocritial religous people, the Pharisees and Saducess.

The other day I felt like a hypocrite. I was coming home from a meeting and I saw a lady on the side of the street. She clearly needed a ride. There was a part of me that wanted to rush on because I had "better" things to do with my time, and there was a part of me that was simply afraid to pick her up.
I understand the real and perceived dangers of picking up strangers. I understand the need for discernment in some situations, but I am also gravely aware that everytime I ignore the needs of someone who desperately needs help, I am forsaking the call of Jesus to care for the "least of these."

In our quest for safety, we have to ask the vital question, are we so afraid of losing our lives, that perhaps we will never really find it?  are we so enamored by what is convenient for ourselves, that it essentially becomes easy to look right past our noses and ignore the hurting people that are camped round all about us?

are we simply talking just to hear the sound of our own voices?
Jesus has taught me a few things as of late. Often, we think we are helping someone when we throw our money at them. I started thinking of the story of the guys who lived the life of a homeless men. They won't remember the time you  tossed a dime into their buckets, but they will remember the time you took to look them in the eye and ask them about their day.
They told about how, during the course of year, one single person took the time to ask them to dinner. They began to appreciate things like that. They spoke of how they were rejected by churches and kicked off of church premises by pastors afraid of losing paying church memebers. They were made to feel unworthy, but they always recognized Christ in people who took the time to make them feel worthy..and it didn't always come in the shape of a dollar. sometimes, it was as simple as a hand on a shoulder. Or a couple who invitied them into their home for a warm bath and a warm meal.

I'm sad because I feel that if we are missing kindness and gentelness and love, then we are missing the entire gospel. Didn't Jesus say that we can tell if a person belongs to Him by their fruits? Patience, gentlenss, longsuffering, love? Didn't Jesus say that no matter what spritual gift you have, if you don't have love then you are nothing?
are we pushing people aside so that we can be stars in our own show? are we enamored with people with power and loud and boisterous words who have numerous gifts? or are we seeking Christ and walking in the fruit that defines who we should be?
are we walking with megaphones and not really taking time to listen to others around us?

Earlier, I spoke about money. Often, I waste too much money. I don't have too many luxuries, but I eat out more than I should. I am fully aware that I work hard for money and it is my God given right to spend it where and how I please, but there was once a time in my life when I had very very little.
There was a time when I didn't have a lot of food to eat and I would often find myself eating by the gracious hand of my family. During that time, I thought of all of the money that I had wasted in the past.
While it is  true that money is "only" money..Money can be differnce between someone going hungry and someone being warm.
I often think of the countless people in the world who are starving and cold, and suddenly, I begin to rethink my wasteful habits. How much are we willing to sacrifice so that someone else can know warmth? How much comfort are we willing to sacrifice so that someone else can be fed?

Do we care or are we just listening to sound of whoever is sceaming into the megaphone for the day or the week?  Are we truly seeking the face of Christ? In my experience, Christianity has been hard, because Christ has always led me into sacrifice. Perhaps, that's the whole meaning of the verse about the narrow path.. If we aren't willing to give anything up, then can we really say that we love? and if we aren't loving, then do we really belong to or even know Christ?

Today, Christ whispered to me.. When we learn to see Him, and look through His eyes, then we learn to see others.

To truly see another person, is to love that person. Love goes beyond the group think mentality. It looks beyond and is able to recognize another human soul as something beautiful, no matter how different that person may look on the outside.
Christ gives us the ability to love unlikely people. When we look through the eyes of love, then we can see everything.
and the last thing we will see is ourselves..and the last thing we will feel the need to hear the sound of our own voice.
we will be looking to hear the song of others, and somehow, our own voice, won't really matter much anymore...

here's another hard question. can we really say that we love our enemies? Do we understand that the Holy Spirit will not lead us into violence or war, but into love? are we being led by the Spirit? or are we picking out verses that suit our own desires and cater to our own flesh?
how many religious wars have been justified because someone read about a battle in the Bible? haven't we learned that Christ said to love our enemies and do good to those that curse us? or...are we even listening to His voice anymore?  Next time you have a question, find out what Jesus would have to say about it, or are we even willing to do that anymore? we are so caught up in our christian line dances that the true test is if we are still standing when the music stops.
and the music will stop.
and then you will know whose voice it was you were really hearing?

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. -Matthew 16:25

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. -1 John 4:8

The enemy comes as an angel of light