Filed under: Bible study, Christ, culture, faith | Tags: Alcoholics Anonymos, blessing, churches, congregants
There are all Kinds of people who come to Dayspring Bible Chapel where I preach and pastor. The guy above is quite typical. He might not be welcome at a lot of churches. It is true that I end up cleaning up a lot of butts, and I have been told that “good people’ will not stop at our church if they see this type out in the parking lot, I feel even apes with bad habits need to know the Word of the Lord. We are working on civilizing these guys, but smoking, as bad as it is, is better than what a lot of them have left behind. May God help us all to see our bad habits and leave them at the foot of the cross.
The above pictured type church attendee is my personal weak point. Dealing with bratty females has never been easy for me.
This type comes in all ages, and usually does not last in the Dayspring fellowship. The ones who say they are Christian are the hardest to deal with. Those are the ones who feel the Holy Spirit has done His Sanctifying work on their bodies and souls, and are eager to guide others in the process that will make the rest of the church h as perfect as they are themselves. Give me the apes, please, they know they are not much, and see the need for god in their lives. the Bratties always feel God’s work in their lives is complete, and love to praise Him for His wonderful creations, themselves.
We now have a couple of these guys, the Cool Bean Rockers! They are too young to have messed up too much, but old enough to mess up if they do not focus on God. They are talented , intelligent, and just the sort Satan would love to Enlist. Can’t have them ole Slew Foot, we got them first, and we are filling them with the Word so that they will never be of use to you. If we work with these guys now perhaps they will never devolve into Apes!
We have had a few of these pass through. I don’t get them. They seem to live in a different world, speak a different language and are genuinely alien to us. They like the music, or the sermons, or the fellowship, but usually only 1 or 2 out of 3. never the whole package. As they leave we hear.” Beam us up, no intelligent life here.” Whatever, as long as they leave. We think they are going to the mother-ship, but we know they don’t want fellowship with the Father and us.
While most people are accepted here, this is one group that is not. We have many races at Dayspring, and quite a few guys who are bald-headed, but what really counts is what is under the scalp. Our Jesus was a Mediterranean Jew, who would not be allowed in this group. You just can not worship God if you worship your race. Pick one.
This is just not allowed! The holy Spirit is to empower you to do Kingdom work, not to foam at the mouth, or roll around on the floor. I do not know what spirit makes men bark like dogs or laugh uncontrollably. What ever spirit it is that makes people act drunken is the spirit that most at Dayspring seek deliverance from. Sit up nice in church, or go lay on one of the couches, but we praise God that we no longer roll around on the floor, we sobered up.
These guys are rough to get in shape to join the flock. Quite often they have a sickness on Sunday morning that prevents church attendance. They call this sickness a “hang-over” but in reality it is residual poisoning. On Saturday night they have not a problem in the world, and are ready to plunder, fight, mate with women who look attractive through their beer goggles, and ‘ eat drink and be merry for tomorrow they might die’. We have found that alternative fellowship, true friendship, the type that continues when the wallet is empty, combined with the Wisdom of the Word, can affect even these denizens of the alcoholic depths. Real men stay sober in order to serve the Lord. “Take a seat, Think, and be Holy, for someday you shall surely die”.
A few of the guys at Dayspring have worn this fashionable attire. The matching bracelets have secured many of our writs. Quite a few of us have an allergy to alcohol, when we drink we break out…in handcuffs. I love working with people like this. They understand guilt. They know of a Judge. They can admit their sin. These are the people who worship a God who had new mercy every morning. Humility goes well with an orange jump suit.
Well it is time to prepare to meet the church on Sunday. Hopefully I will have smiling faces of repentant people before me, eager to hear the Word of the Lord, and eager to humbly serve the Kingdom. Or maybe this guy…
Whosoever will may come.
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. So we have read it, so we have sung it, so it must be, right? Then how do we explain to those not of the family of Christ, and they always want and need explained to, why there are wars, and why so few truly have peace with God? You can not be at peace with an unknown entity, not be at true peace with One you feel hostility toward. Since the Word is true, why did the Advent of the Christ not bring a new era of peace to the earth, and make the last two thousand years a paradise? Where is this peace of which the angels sang? Something is wrong here.
My journey through faith and reading of the Word has taught me that if there is a fault with the Word, it is on man’s side not God’s. Let us take a look at other translations.
New King James “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
* NU-Text reads toward men of goodwill.
NLT “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.*”
- Or and peace on earth for all those pleasing God. Some manuscripts read and peace on earth, goodwill among people.
NIV “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
NASB and RSV “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”*
ESV “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”*
* Some manuscripts peace, good will among men
I see here a huge difference. God did not come at Advent to make nice with the world. God came to give an avenue by which we may please Him, the avenue of Faith in the Messiah. How did the King James translators deal with this verse later in the same book?
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Does that not propose a conflict? The fault is never God’s, it is ours. Would Christmas attitudes be different if the carols sung said, “Peace on earth to all who please Him by Faith?” The unbelievers might feel a bit more left out, and seek to get on board.
Do you have the peace He brought? Are you pleasing to the Lord, not by your inherent goodness or your works, but by your faith that brings the inevitability of good works? May we all praise God for the Gift this season!
There is so much to be thankful for, health, wealth, freedom,friendship. One thing that outshines them all is that Jesus has risen.
|Luk 24:34||Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon|
This is the foundation of the Christian faith, That Christ was born, lead a sin free life, and has, indeed, risen, to eternal life, and not just He, but we too shall rise!
|1Cr 15:20||But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.|
The first fruits of a harvest called to fruition by God himself!
How do I know that He is risen? The bible tells me so, firstly.
|Act 10:40||Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;|
It was no secret!
|Mat 28:16||Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.|
|1Cr 15:6||After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.|
These words were written when living witnesses could collaborate the story!
Secondly I know He as risen for His promise to me has been fulfilled!
|Jhn 14:18||“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.|
|Jhn 14:26||“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.|
Lastly, I know He is risen because I see Him at work! The lives that change in ways only He can accomplish , cleansed from filth and sin. This is His labor still in the world, and to be a servant to Him is great!
|Phl 1:6||Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun agood work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:|
I have several times heard a story of a soviet party speaker on Easter. He called together a crowd in the town t lecture them on the folly of religion, how superstitious it was compared to the truth of the State. He spoke for two hours. when he had finished the Orthodox Priest stood amongst the crowd and said, “He is risen!” The crowd replied, “He is risen indeed!”
The truth can not be suppressed. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Give thanks.
Filed under: blessings, Christ | Tags: bible, denominationalism, Evangelism, factions, God, Jesus, legalism, SBC
Thomas Grunfeld is my favorite taxidermist. He has taken the Jackalope to new heights. I really relate to these images. Quite often I have felt that I too am an assemblage of cast off parts.
In my search for a new career, OK, job, I get the weirdest comments about my resume from interviewers. ” So you were an Electrician for over twenty years, went from being Pa.’s youngest licensed Journeyman electrician, to an Electrical Inspector, then a teacher of robotics at a junior college , yet you have a Psychology degree , spent more time as a volunteer Fire Chief than in any kind of job, worked as a banker for 12 years managing branches, and you say you have been a Pastor since 2004, and now you want a career in with us?” I can’t imagine why they are confused. From this side of the desk it all seems so logical.
At least there is this degree of consistency, my ministry resume is just as odd. For years I did not go to any church planting meetings, as I did not think I was a church planter, as I was in a pulpit of a church that was built 25 years ago. Now I am in a church that is a new plant that started four years ago. It is the same Church building, but a new church was born there. I was just along for the ride. There were no meetings or trainings offered for people serving in a church that was being reinvented. Church Strengthening, yes, church Planting, yes, Church Reinventing or Church Rebirth, not so much.
I have been preaching the Gospel as pulpit supply on and off for 32 years. I never went to seminary, and that was by choice. There is a conservative Baptist dispensational seminary almost in my back yard, and even though we preach from the same book and share so many values, I find an attitude there that repulses me. I have looked back in the history of a few local churches and found that they were doing great, until a preacher from that Seminary was called to serve there. After that church growth would cease and families would be torn apart, all in the name of Jesus. As I looked into other sources of education I found two schools. One so loosey goosey that scripture was a suggestion, the other so sure of their doctrine that they would choose it over Jesus, and in fact I think some of them did. I then judged all seminaries by this one. I am also nonjudgmental.
In most areas of doctrine people say I am quite conservative, but I am comfortable with gays and addicts and criminals, and atheists, many of whom really are nicer than I by any standard. I do not like liberal theology, nor do I like the cocky conservative who is so sure of himself that he would advise the Apostles. I am comfortable with reading conservatives, but would rather associate with liberals. The conservatives think I am aberrant, the liberals think I am conservative.Neither side will buy me lunch.
I have never been ordained, as the only groups whose ordination I would accept would reject me for some of my beliefs. My head does not fit in the jar. I have sat on ordination councils, but it is not likely I will ever be ordained. There does not seem to be too much of a problem with this in practice, no one really seems to care. When I was an Atheist I was ordained in the Universal Church Of Life, as a professor of mine thought that if a bunch of ministers of this group met at his home , it would be tax exempt. Ordained as an atheist, but not as a believer.
What a misfit!
The people I baptize become Baptists, yet I was baptized Church of Christ. I was dedicated as a Methodist, but was never a dedicated Methodist. I play guitar in a praise band with drums and all, but I personally prefer the old hymns of the faith. I serve communion with Matzo and Welches, and yet think that if there is no Real Presence, something is awfully wrong. I do not believe in divorce, but the best elders I have worked with were divorced men. Divorce ends a marriage, not necessarily a ministry.
I preach out of the Holman, but only because I bought them for $3.00 a piece. I love the King James, but lean on the NASB, study out of the ESV and put up with the NIV. In the 70’s, after King James study and them discovering the NASB I really enjoyed the Good News bible. I taught with a guy who claimed he was saved with the Good News, and soon after his conversion the Holy Ghost told him the only translation was KJV. Go figure .
To me the Catholic church has let down thousands of people, so poorly taught them that the vast majority know very little of the Gospel, and fall into unbelief. A couple weeks ago I sat in Mass at a funeral and had a wonderful time of prayer and worship. I disagreed with a couple points of the homily, but the priest has such a loving attitude it did not bother me. It was all about Jesus and that suits me fine. I’m not turning, but I’m not all that turned off either.
I tell my wife who is of Italian heritage that my Welsh heritage of song is superior to all, yet I listen to this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2SZ-nCBmsU Nice as it is, it can’t compare to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_XJFp5JXpk
So none of the pieces fit together. Well I have been given a great gift of faith, I know that my loving, Father will not allow a sparrow to fall, but that He knows. Even if it is a funny looking sparrow.
I feel myself being put back on the potter’s wheel. My career, my health, my ministry. It is scary, exciting, and rejuvenating. I do not know where I will end up, I do not know what I will end up, but I know whose Hands will shape me. I pray I do not jump or slide from the wheel before He finishes me. Then there will be the fire to harden the new construction. Always the fire, to skim off the dross and to cure the vessel to a usable hardness. Seems to be the finishing stage to a new beginning.
The alternative to being clay on the wheel is to either mud on the ground, or a broken useless vessel. Lord, I would rather be a vase than an ashtray, but you are the Artist, the Divine Potter, I am just the clay. To be molded for Your use by Your hands is more than I could hope for or deserve.
Whee! I feel the spin starting!
Filed under: apostacy, Bible study, Christ, faith, Jesus | Tags: cults, denominationalism, factions, God, Pastors, revelation
It is human nature to explore, to search and to delve into depth and hight never visited before. This personality trait of mankind has motivated us to cover the globe with civilization, exploiting as many of the God given resources as we can find and put to use. Were we not made this way there would be no advancement, no exploration, no progress.In academic and philosophic circles there is a great desire to plow the virgin field, and to stake claim to new grounds as the inventor or discoverer or progenitor of a new theory or school of thought.
It may be this portion of our nature that cause so many people to search for a “deeper” or “hidden meaning” in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am personally convinced that the Holy Bible holds all the information needed to know and please God, though the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Messiah. The Bible has proven itself to me to be authoritative, complete, and truly Holy. There are many translations available to compare and contrast what is said to come to a personal understanding of the meaning presented. It is enjoyable and educational when people bring different translations to a small group study. comments like, “My Bible says,” or “It is said a little differently here” bring open discussion allow varying perspectives to be examined, giving participants the opportunity to voice the sentence in their own words, so as to bring the meaning home.
Finding “hidden” meaning in Scripture is quite another matter. There is a thriving industry, and has been as long as there has been scripture, in having some “enlightened soul” teach the secret meanings, and “unlock” they mysteries of Holy Writ. The new rash of Cabalists tell people that they are skilled at finding the meaning in the white spaces on the page, not in the inked portion. This obvious nonsense satisfies Madonna. Books and websites and cults that brag on finding treasures hidden for centuries in the most read of all books abound. There have been claims for everything from higher levels of awareness, to the location of Atlantis, all placed in the bible, usually KJ 1611, or the original Hebrew, or even in a painting of The Last Supper.
Re-reading some Gnostic literature has fanned the flames of my irritation. I take the words of Paul seriously, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” , and I honestly do not believe that one can be a steward of the mysteries of god, without being a servant of Christ. The conjunctive is binding. Those who claim to have “mysteries” but are not serving Jesus, are quite possibly serving someone else all together. Those who use the very words of the Savior to weave a web of confusion deserve a special place on my list of irritants. Let me share this portion of poison.
Jesus’ Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV
Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus’ logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. “For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold.” [Mark 4:13-20]
The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea.
This discussion of “levels of knowledge or awareness” is quite common among those who seek to find the secret in the open. Perhaps a better “unwrapping” of this parable was given by the author,” 10. And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, [began] asking Him [about] the parables. 11. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12. in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.” 13. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14. “The sower sows the word. 15. “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16. “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky [places], who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17. and they have no [firm] root in themselves, but are [only] temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”
Nothing of levels, but of different reactions differing people have to the gospel, a reaction we have all seen take place. The 8th chapter of Romans is also given a treatment of being divided into levels. It seems anything is used to promote the idea that some people know some facts that others have missed.
Could it be the truth is plainly laid out for us? Hebrews 1
1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2. in these last days has spoken to us in [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
. Joh 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, neither is it far off.
Col. 2: 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Before delving in to supposed mysteries and hidden revelation, we should encourage seekers to contemplate the ultimate Mystery. 1Jo 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.
It must be the preacher in me. So often things in nature, in life, in movies or a show, reach out to me with the Truth of God’s Word. At church, before the sermon, someone may put something in ‘The Mystery Bag” and I am challenged to preach a 4 or 5 minute impromptu sermonette to the children about whatever it is I may find there. The kids seem to love it. The principle is that since God is the Creator, everything created must tell His story. I find that is true in all of life.
This spring there was a high water occurrence do to heavy spring rains. We have been blessed with a small creek in the back yard, running down the middle of the property , normally home to striped minnows, crayfish, and the occasional frog. This spring the high water brought some unexpected guests. From the pond at the top of the hill came some Bluegills. Some of you may know them as blue-gilled Sunfish, or bream. They had been swept down stream, over a 12 foot waterfall past the rocks and downed trees, and ended up in a small dammed area in the back yard.
Blue gills are not native stream dwellers. They live naturally in ponds and lakes, where the water is warmer and still. They are not streamlined like trout, which are designed by the Creator to cut through currents and live in cold moving water. Their color helps them to blend with the weeds and grass of a shoreline, but betrays them in a free stone stream. If my wife and I did not feed them they would never survive, and if we did not protect them the Great White Herons would have had a wonderful meal. I’ll not soon forget the image of a 3 to 4 foot high bird in a larch tree giving my wife dirty bird looks, as she scolded it for trying to get its lunch at stately Willohroots Manor. They have grown on their diet of bread and scrambled eggs. I guess we could eat them, or ignore them and let the high water or ice take them to their doom, but they have given us much pleasure this year, as we have enjoyed watching them through crystal clear water as they fed and swam around. Abandoning them now would be very out of character for Dawn and I. This weekend we are going to scoop them up and give them a car ride back to the pond where they belong, so that they can live with their fellow pond-dwellers in safety and security, safe from the ravages of winter.
Do you see the sermon in this yet?
This world is not our home. It is a cold place where we are buffeted with the currents of the stream of things far beyond our control. We are for a time in a damned place, damned by our disobedience to to merciful God, living in a place where the adversary prowls like a roaring lion waiting to devour us, where ravenous birds of the air prey upon the seeds of the Gospel that have no firm root in good soil.
Were it not for the protection and provision of a kind and loving Creator we would perish. This Creator so loved us that He walked among us, being for a time, a little fish in a great pond, not choosing to rule, but to teach and guide us to repentance and love. We have grown, even in this hostile environment, by his provision, and he who has started a good work in us would never abandon us to the flood and the chilling cold of a time when His warming love is absent from the stream of history. We hope we have given him pleasure with the sacrifice of our Worship, and our feeble attempts to imitate Him. He has promised to gather us up, all of us, the living and the dead, and take us to a place of warmth and eternal provision, where we can be with others of our kind in a place protected from all assault and deprivation. He will not do this because of what we have done, but because that is His Nature, and His promises are sure.
Somehow that fish symbol means a bit more to me today.