What Do You Think About God???

What’s your theological worldview?
You scored as a Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God’s grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
86%
Emergent/Postmodern
71%
Fundamentalist
57%
Charismatic/Pentecostal
54%
Classical Liberal
43%
Neo orthodox
43%
Reformed Evangelical
39%
Roman Catholic
39%
Modern Liberal
25%

Okay, You guys I have just finished my Theological worldview quiz. http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=7095N

Dude, that was one of the most intense tests I have ever taken. You have to make hard and fast decisions about the significance of Mary in Christian Theology and how important worship is in comparison to Preaching and community. This is the most important test anyone could take. I believe by this tool we can find out who the goats are and who are the sheep. We really should find out more ways to divide. Maybe in each of our churches we could create smaller denominations based on our theological understanding. Maybe we could find out who the liberals are and the catholics around us and persecute them for there ignorant beliefs… What do you say?? Are you in???

Okay, I’m sorry for that, but really it was kind of a rush to be asked such poignant and difficult questions. Historically I have been pessimistic towards Theology as a whole. I have come out of a tradition that leaves the thinking up to God, and our hearts are what leads us. And to a curtain extent I am still in that camp. But I believe if you don’t know what you stand for you will fall for anything. So take the test… Think long and hard about the way “your” Christianity has been unfolded. If you never take time to stop and gain perspective of life you may end up where you don’t want to go. 

   

God is.

Have you ever been talking to someone and they couldn’t seem to focus on you there eyes were drifting everywhere but on you. You could of said that “I really love pink elephants the way they swim in the ocean”, and they would never of noticed. Or maybe you have been the person who was not able to pay attention. You were doing your best to listen but a billion other things were running through your head. Maybe you even yawned while someone was explaining something to you. Well let’s look a little deeper at this… maybe we were not compassionate towards the other person’s thoughts and feelings or maybe we were not patient enough to stop and listen to someone else’s life.

Well as recently discovered, through a Nouwen essay Compassion, the Latin word “Pati” is the same word used in patience and compassion. The Latin word “pati’ means suffering or feeling or enduring. 

In my world patience is a topic that is rarely addressed and the only reference I have with patience is “Don’t pray for patience”. Like that is true wisdom or something. I am geared to be anticipating the future or to look back at the successes from the past in hopes that they will offer enough encouragement to make it to tomorrow. This is a sad place to live but I believe that to begin to understand “Pati” is the key.

The God of the Bible presents himself as the one who was and is and is to come. This is the description he gives to those who want to know His name. He just briefly says “I AM”. In a curtain manner I believe that this is God attempt to maintain superiority over man. For example God give Adam the opportunity to name the animals and He gave him dominion over them. But when asked what God’s name is, man cannot give Him a name or even say it. God gives him a description of his name. For example, what does your name mean? I’ll bet that you have wanted to know in the past. Mine means “healer”. But the meaning of God’s name is, I was……I am…… and I always will be. 

God always was and always will be. If you can just read over that and not think for a moment maybe your a little too wise to be reading this blog. So God chose to create things including man from the middle of infinity. And for some reason he has chose to live in linear time with us, yet he is there tomorrow and will be there the next day and I can’t understand it, but he already is. Now if you can just read over that and not think, maybe your not taking me seriously and maybe you should find someone else’s blog to read because that is deep. So this God who exist…. is the one who we have living inside of us (us being confessing, life submited Christians).  This is another way that the kingdom has come to earth.

We are able from his infinitiveness to gain a perspective, through prayer and connectedness, to live outside of anxiousness and eagerness and serve the world. We have been redeemed for good works that the Father has prepared for us (Ephesians). He gives us the life to live and the spirit to achieve all that is set before us. He is the God that is forever present and has given us authority as His sons and daughters. With all that being said, we do not live to the same drum beat as the world. We can rest in the peace that he has given us and serve with all attention and patience. 

So pray for patience… and spend quality time with the Lord. Get away from a clock and spend time reading and praying. Allow yourself to enter into to rest that God has. He is not punching a clock, accumulating interest, accrueing vacation time, or watching the stock market.

God is love. God is patient. God is.   

   

On Earth as It is in The Heavens

In the warmth of our car, my wife and I, are riding to my relatives for lunch. It’s fall and the highway is walled in by beautiful trees that are changing colors. The trees range in color from bright orange to brown to green. As we ride I reflect upon the many good and perfect gifts that the Lord has given us. Gifts that are not fiscal, but gifts of friendships, love, and good health.

In that moment I begin to think upon the creation of Adam, “Then the Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). The Lord created living things and gave Adam dominion over them. God created a mate for him, Eve, and walked in the garden with them in the cool of the day. God created them to have friendship with them, He created them to enjoy life and to enjoy Him.

Last week in one of our “prayer meetings” one of our elders was praying and the words filled his mouth that “the enemy hasn’t any power”. Then another brother prayed and said “the enemy is nothing but an elaborate liar”. In those few moments the deception that plagues the Church was exposed. The truth is that by the blood of the lamb the enemy has been removed from his place of authority over the church and the world. Yet he is the father of lies, and he is a tremendous force in hindering the impact of liberation in the hearts and minds of the Church and the world.

Since the fall of man in Genesis the Devil has had dominion over this world. Yet by the cross the Kingdom of God has come. This is where most doctrine and denominations fail to elaborately teach the truth. Yes, God’s kingdom is coming in fullness as revealed in Revelation to be seen and to redeem the earth, Yet the Kingdom is right here… right now. This is how the Gospel should be preached that there is an immediate and life changing realm to enter into right now. I’m not talking about immediate relief from the struggles of life, but the heavens being brought in our midst where Angels ascend and descend on us changing the atmosphere.

James teaches to “count it all joy when you encounter various trails and tribulations”(James 1:2). Here is where we meet untouchable victory in the kingdom. In the cosmos or “world” any failure or disappointment, any death or heartache, tears down our confidence and makes us sad and distraught. Yet in the cosmos of “the Kingdom” when we encounter heartache we know that the results of these trails is godly character. So in a sense as Paul also teaches that all things work for good (Romans 8:28), the Gospel brings a new cosmos or way of spiritual arrangement. The Lord has dominion in this Kingdom and his pursuit is to redeem those whom he died. the entire world.

Lord,

 May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in the heavens, the heavens that were eternally changed by the cross.                                                    Revelation 5:9                                                                                                                           “You are worthy to take the scrolls and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a Kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”                               Amen

     

My Heart Weeps Inside of Me…

“But so that we may not cause offense…” Matt 17:27 Jesus explains to Peter about payment of a tax. In the Following chapter, Christ preaches about the punishment for causing someone else to stumble (Matt18:6). Then helping a brother out of sin (Matt 18:15) and finally forgiveness towards others (Matt 18:22).

 To live in the light is to live in confession and love and in truth. The truth of who we are and of how we need Christ to cleanse of from all unrighteousness. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8)”.

This is a difficult task to live in humility and open vulnerability, but there are huge implications that these seemingly simple actions imply. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26 “Do not let the sun go down on your anger and give the devil a foothold.”

Recently I was reading an odd book that documents the Carthusian Order Monasteries, An order that was vitually untouched  by anyone until 1962 when the Vatican II came into existence. In revealing some of the hardships of a monastery where most monks went to get away from others. A story one Dom used was (Dom~This is Latin word that describes a monk in this order kind of like Pastor so and so or Elder so and so), One Dom was so upset one week that when he came to to confess his sins that he could not even speak. It took him a long while to even begin to share his frustrations. When he finally opened up he said “Dom Alexander hates me” The elder Dom asked “Why does he hate you?” He responded “Did you see the way he handed me the rope last week to ring the bell?”

You see, in a world where satan is lavished with many gifts and elaborate lies, He attempts to gain dominion over our brains and hearts. The only way to combat His continual attacks is with the cross, with confession, and with community.

 But this is not the reason I write this blog… I write because I am assuming that you know what has been previous stated as a real and true concept that we must embrace if we desire true valiant victory in Christ.

In the first couple verses stated at the beginning of this page, Christ unpacks a different yet related concept. “As to not cause offense..” are his words, In a culture where Christians protest every kind of wrong we see. I don’t know if this teaching has any room. But my heart weeps because I know that when Christ was hanging on the cross he said “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, for a reason.

I believe that the posture Christ presents to us to follow is that of protecting others from sin. If you decide lie to me and to steal from me, I believe the Christ-like thing to do is to forgive you and not “hold” that sin against you. If I don’t allow your actions to offend me then you are not held in the tension of that sin. Christ preached “Go the extra mile… Turn the other cheek… Give the cloak also… Lend and don’t expect anything in return.” To live as a servant or a minister of the gospel is to live non-offensive and non-offended.

Lord,                                                                                                                                          Show us what it means to serve the world. Not to make others sins multiply but to love them and cover the multitude of sins. Lord these words seem like they wrote themselves and I don’t really understand them . Lord reveal your truth despite my ignorance.

In Jesus Name…     

Authors Note:     As mentioned in John 3 the world is born into condemnation. It is my belief that to show the world the GOSPEL or GOOD NEWS it is our job to show them Grace and Truth that is embodied in Christ. He came to save the world not to condemn it. So may we live in love and truth in a way that draws others to the cross and to confession not to condemnation and judgement.

The Otherness of God

“The Lord’s voice is always accompanied by His presence” David Wilkerson once preached. It has been a great pursuit in my life to hear the voice of the Lord. The things I have heard Him say have shaped my life. Once I heard him say that he “Loved more than I can imagine”; I admit It doesn’t seem all that exciting because it isn’t like scripture doest reveal that to us. But to hear those words from the mouth of the Father… To be affirmed by God himself, it tore me up inside, I wept and wept over those simple words, words that my heart longed to hear.

As a part of my calling to the world is to teach prayer, I lead a small group of selected saints in prayer. We get together and faithfully the Lord shows up and reveals himself. I believe that a lot takes place in that room that we may or may not be inclined to understand. For example, Our faith is built by hearing others pray, Our prayers are heard and responded to by God, Our connection to one another is strengthened, and Our ability to know Gods voice is developed.

In the prayer room today I made a connection that I had not made before and thought that you could benefit from it. But first I wanted to lay some ground work.

Have you ever noticed how a blind person uses a stick to tap on the ground. They use it to feel whats around them, but they more importantly use it to hear the sound bounce off of whats around them to get a mental “image” of there surroundings. You may have watched the movie “Ray” about Ray Charles, He used wooden souls on his shoes for this purpose to more clearly hear whats around him. Or maybe you’ve seen “Dare Devil” with Ben Affleck, He loses his sight as a young man and has to rely on his hearing ability to understand and interpret his surroundings. What he hears allows him to “see” his surroundings , not see them with his eyes but know them.

Well a few months ago I realized this is a lot like how we hear God’s voice. God has not spoken to me audibly, But He has spoken to me in a way that I have “heard” it. It was like my heart and mind understood what God was saying but there was not an audible sound. Maybe you have said or heard it said that “God laid something on your heart.” Or “God has impressed this on my heart.” 

So today in the prayer room I was given a vision for someone there. I shared it with that person and the effects and presence of the Lord validated it. But, I learned something today, I have had other visions , yet never really realized that they were not really visual. I beleive that in the same way that hearing God’s voice isn’t “audible” as in the traditional since, so are visions not “visual” in the same since.

This is very helpful to me because all of us are opinionated about the gifts of the spirit. And I believe that it is important not to disregard them or teach contrary to the gifts. I believe that if we read about Christ and all that he did we can see the gifts of the spirit flowing from His ministry. I believe that they are not ever to become primary to any ministry but they are evidence that the same Holy Spirit that functioned in Christ while he was alive and the same Spirit that resurrected Him from the grave is the same spirit that resides in is church.

In conclusion I believe we who seek the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and strength are probably more experiential of the gifts of the spirit that we have given our self credit for.  I pray that you would become more familiar with the evidence of the otherness of God. That our hunger and curiosity for God would not limited to our understanding, but that our understanding would grow in God.

1 John 2:6  Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.  

By Bread Alone?

While Re-reading Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard this week I ran across a scripture that we are all familar with. Man Shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedth from the mouth of God (Note the KJV in there). And like all scripture there are multiple depths of meaning to be extracted as the Holy Spirit reveals them to us.

While Willard was speaking of the influence Christ Jesus has on our internal lives.  I begin to think about the beginning of that verse “Man shall not live by bread alone…“. It seems that we are born into a culture that trys to survive on bread alone. Until I knew God I was living in the gym, I was seeking the next party, I was going to buy some more cigarettes, I was seeking to fulfil the desire of the flesh. These things only fulfilled my stomach, my temporary need. There was no depth to my life, only the next “fix”.

So today I pray for those who are so caught up in their jobs that there is not room or energy for God. I pray for those who are seeking fulfillment in alcohol and drugs. I pray for those whose hobbies replace time with the Father. I pray for a new spark in our relationship with the Father. I pray for a date night where we renew our vows to God. Father I want to live and live more abundantly. I want people to see you over flowing like a fountain from your children, full of life, and love, and peace. May you be lifted high as your children are reuniting to the vine Christ Jesus.

Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone…

Self Reflection (AKA Post Sunday Morning Funk) Part 1

What is motivating you to live for tomorrow?    No, really.      Today I have come to the sobering realization that my motives for life are not pure ones. I would like to honestly say that I live for the glory of God. But something inside me feels convicted when I say that.

Today after a mild disappointment in ministry I find my joy and fulfilment teetering at the helm of a single event.  “Prone to wander oh I feel it Prone to leave the one I love, Here’s my heart oh take and seal it, seal it for thy throne above”. These words resonate so very vibrantly every time I hear the old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. Because it is the most honest thing that I can sing to God. It becomes my confession of my disappointment with myself.       

As mentioned in The Sentry posted earlier last week, The Sentry has a major internal problem that hinders his effectiveness. This is how I feel with my own desire to please God. I feel like my “flesh” is desiring be successful and my “flesh” makes me feel depressed when that doesn’t look like the case.  

So I reflect on a friend of mine who is a Catholic Priest who has been functioning in his own monastery for the last 14 years. He is utterly fulfilled, always kind and loving, and centered in Christ. Very few people know that he even exist. I am reminded of Henri Nouwen who was on of the most successful Christian writers of the past fifty years. Nouwen taught and preached around the world and at the climax of his career he left the world of success for a ministry position at a center for severely handicapped people. Nouwen worked in the facility until his death. He turned down the pleasures of his “flesh” for a pleasure that must of been more fulfilling.   

In Christ’s temptation by the devil it was his recognition that was challenged. Yet as scripture tells us Christ took the road that led to sadness and death. He took the path that would remove his glory and take on flesh. To give up a throne and take up the cross. 

So today I have been exposed to my desire to be successful to be publicly acknowledged. Today I find the filth that remains in this vessel and I pray for forgiveness and cleansing. So here I am… flawed and disgusted at the wickedness that lurks in every mirror.   

These are a sample of the thoughts that run through my head on any given Sunday… welcome to my world.      🙂

A Kingdom Without a King

Yep, its that self hating topic again why I hate the Church… Wow that sounds harsh. Ya know, what ever happened to loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. How easy can it be people. Why must we assess everything we read or see, why must we compare ourselves with each-other.

Tonight I reflect upon the way several of my friends are paralyzed by other Christians ministers. As if they are the ones who are to be commended. It’s like a disease and I find myself fighting to get away from it. It comes in the form of jealousy and envy, covetousness and pride. All running rampant in the Church of God.  Aren’t we suppose to be spotless and blameless. We can’t even receive grace with grace.     

Now it may seem that I am overstating the facts here, but I believe if we postured ourselves correctly, Our world (Work place, School, Neighborhood) would be so much better off. We have to realize that God is the founder and creater of the Church, not us. We have to realize that He has a will for His church and our opinion of it doesn’t really matter to Him.

During a recent conversation A friend of mine who has been recently divorced told me of a comment a neighbor made to her children. “Because your mother has been divorced She’s going to hell”. When My friend approached the other mother, and the woman stood by her statement, that she was going to hell. Now I don’t know about you but you could cuss my grandpa’s grave and not get me any madder.   

Can I reintroduce a concept to you all for reference sake. Its called the “Gospel”, the “Good News”.  You see scripture teaches that we are born into sin, that we are born into condemnation. That is where “the world” stands all by itself, “the world” doesn’t need our arrogance and it doesn’t need our opinion either. The world doesn’t need our “Christian T-Shirts” or our stupid bumper stickers.  You know what the world needs it needs my beautiful Jesus, Who died for the sins of the world. You see Jesus came to free the captives, to preach the kingdom to the outcast, the lame, the sick, and the sinners. You see… the world can do bad all by itself it doesn’t need us to reiterate what it instinctively knows. We have to show love and mercy, kindness and compassion, self sacrifice and humility, faithfulness and long-suffering.

So what has gotten into our system that makes us so focused on each-other, or on some pastor in Michigan or LA…..    What is it that has gotten our focus off of evangelism and into being “cool”…..     I’ll tell you what it is, its “the devil” and as long as we keep our heads out of our Bibles and our knees off of the floor we will continue to BELIEVE LIES and our churches will be as powerless as KINGDOM WITHOUT A KING.

THOR and the Kingdom

To all you Marvel fans the new Thor series has begun and has arrived with a bang. As with the character and the plot that has been laid out through the Avengers, its quite strange. A guy who is a god?… a guy who thinks he’s a god?, regardless this is a hard character to grasp in the midst of the Avengers, but this new series by itself is fresh and interesting.

The series begins with Thor being called back to earth to be with the mortals to continue his legacy. His is given the option to help humanity, to return to earth and shape the future of the world or continue outside of our world. In one scene he is talking with a guy in the Void (The middle ground outside of our world) And he asks him about about the city where he was from in the past, Asgard. What about the others? What about the past?  He begins to reflect upon friendships, lovers, and the joys of his past life. And the other character tell Thor that Asgard is inside of you and inside of those who believe in the gods.

In the following book he buys a plot of land in Oklahoma and creates a huge storm where in which the castle of Asgard lands right on the earth. The locals freak out… and on goes the series.

When reflecting on these ideas I can’t help but to be reminded of times where I was upset that weren’t more “Christians” at my job. “Ya know I just hate to be outcast by those sinners.” I found myself being sad and hopeless, wanting “Christian Fellowship.” Then one day I realized that I needed to build the kingdom right here. I needed to convert Christians to fellowship with. I needed to bring the kingdom to earth right where I was.   

You see the strange power and weirdness that is portrayed in Thor is the same strangeness that rest on us as we walk in the Holy Spirit. We are powerful beings not residents of this earth. Longing for the kingdom to come.  

So I resound with Thor today…. Through our faith and posture may the kingdom come from the sky and rest in the middle of our workplaces, in the middle of our neighborhoods, May we see the power we have to change lives by the kingdom that is inside of us.  

Transfiguration (Matt 17)

Revisiting the very mysterious passage in Matthew 17 was a revealing time for me today.  As of late I have been struggling to feel satisfied with my productivity. I have found myself wanting to do  more, wanting to jump the gun on a few things I know God is calling me to. I hope you can relate to what I’m talking about. I have just wanted to pleasing my Father in Heaven.

Well, over the past few days I have been led to read Matthew 17 a few times. And time after time of reading it I have had little insight or revelation…until today.   To recount the story Jesus takes Peter James and John on the mount with Him and He enters into an illuminating conversation with Moses and Elijah. The disciples don’t know what to do, they start talking crazy and the Father speaks to them and says “THIS IS MY SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED,LISTEN TO HIM” Christ walks them back down the Mount and tells them not to tell anyone.

Okay, we have all read the story, but today the Lord showed me something new.    Jesus takes the three guys who are always the closest and most spiritual with Him. These are the guys that are the only ones to pray over some sick people with Him, they are the ones who are most trusted, and they are ones who will come to write scripture that will be forever canonised in the New Testament. So these guys must of thought highly of themselves… they must of thought they were hot stuff.  So He takes them up the mount and they freak out at the sight of the Glorified Christ… I mean freak out like fall to the ground, and if that wasn’t enough the Father speaks to them and says “This is my son in whom I am well pleased..” He doesn’t say “You guys are great I love you your doing my will, keep on working at it.” He doesn’t say “hey Plant my church and I will bless you.”  He says “THIS IS MY SON… IN HIM I AM WELL PLEASED.” You see it is only in Christ that the father can accept us, it is only by the blood. It can not be earned or stressed over, it is given freely because of the love of the Father and the Sons obedience through the Holy Spirit.

You see because we have accepted Christ as our Savior the father sees Him when he looks at us. He sees the one who is well pleasing to Him. He sees the sacrifice. If we ever thought we could earn the Fathers favor and blessing we are mistaken. Christ was brutally beaten… He was crucified and Buried. And do you remember what the Son of God prayed in the Garden. “If there is any other way…”.  So you know what there is no other way. It is only by the blood, only by the Son; the beloved son who is glorious beyond all understanding.      So may you today reflect on the Beauty of Our Lord Jesus. May He get the glory forever and ever.

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