"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'." (John 7:38)

"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

For The Love Of Law

In a battle against spiritual depravity and human immorality, the American Christian church has developed more into an active political and special interest group. As the laws of the land change from the embrace of traditional and conservative guidelines (its mere existence founded and fueled by the values and morals of the Judeo-Christian faith), to a more liberal and government controlled society, the church has engaged its resources against the challenge of liberals by petitioning the political and legal system.

To the average observer, this would be the obvious path to take in which to defend ones rights. The conservative defense that stands out from all others is that this country was founded on Biblical morals and principals; that the constitution itself demands that liberalism is against the law. Their effort is to take the people and the courts back to the time of our founding fathers and remind everyone where we came from. This, in hopes of binding everyone and everything to what has always been; denouncing anything that is contrary to the convictions of our historical society and the church, which, up until of late, has been the overseer of morality and the standard of laws that governed the people.

Any laws pushed forward by the people, reflects only that which lies in their hearts. At the inception of our nation, God was desperately needed and man's livelihood was dependent on Him. Such were the majority of those who ruled the land. As the country became more established and began to benefit from the physical blessings of God, the cares of those hearts changed from the provision of God to the provisions of man. The people eventually became very involved with the state of the nation at hand.

Though they continued to associate themselves to the church, their moral lives decayed into the riches of modern society to be gained. Gradually, their behavior seldom agreed with the morals they commanded. Witnessing this hypocrisy, society began to spurn the land's constitution and the faith associated with it. Dissidents have risen up and challenged the laws they feel have restrained them to another's moral code, claiming they infringe upon their own freedom.

Since it is within the legal courts that challenges to the law takes place, the religious right have decided to meet that challenge, on the world's terms, rather than God's. After all, if you can get the law on your side, you have a very tangible means in which to force God's morals upon society. But this couldn't be further from the heart of what God intends for His people.

When the world witnesses the Christian's battlefield as being in the courts and their protests marched on the streets, it is clear that the desires of their hearts have effectively conformed to the world.

If love is the greatest command for the church, how is it that law has become their greatest effort?


"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him." (2 Timothy 2:3,4)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

God's Will, Or Ours, Be Done

Jesus came into the world to do the will of His Father; to seek and to save that which is lost, to give abundant life, and to bring peace. Jesus came to save sinners and to set the captives free. He did not come for the purpose of changing the world or try to make it a better place to live (though these blessings are certainly the fruit of God's presence through His children). He did not come to conquer lands or rulers of lands, for God Himself establishes all kingdoms and governments. Nor did He come to eradicate evil from the world...yet. God created all things, including the vessels of wrath, that He might reveal His glory to those chosen before the foundation of the world. (Romans 22-24) Evil has its place in God's ultimate scheme and there are seasons which God will call us to confront evil.
The work God has prepared for us occurs in moments within seasons. The spiritual gifts He has given us will be called upon when and where He is working. We have only been commanded to be prepared and available, in and out of season, that He may accomplish a mighty work through us.

When Jesus told us to go, He did not mean for us to pick up our luggage of biblical knowledge and spiritual gifts to venture out and work our own heart's desires. We go when God sends us. That is what Jesus meant by, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.". (Matthew 28:19, 20) We go only when we are empty of ourselves, and equipped with His grace and knowledge so that we, too, can, "...do the work of Him that sent me." (John 4:34, 9:4)

It is God that sends us. Not ourselves. It is God who determines who and what will be brought across our path. How often do we ignore the everyday opportunities around us because we feel our ministry is otherwise? These present circumstances are what God uses to test and refine us so that He can equip us with His spirit at the expense of our own comfort and reasoning.

What, then, does ministry look like when we go it on our own? Stubborn religious traditions, conservative politics, commanded morality, and self righteousness. The church will be found defying and condemning the lost, mocking and protesting civil government, commanding God's will upon those who do not have God's spirit to understand (much less obey), and battling evil we've not been assigned to.

What does God's ministry look like? Being the presence and message of hope among the hopeless. This was Jesus' ministry and we have been called to put on the person of Christ. No hope exists for the lost and unsaved when guilt and condemnation is at the forefront of the church's witness to the world.


"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
(Romans 12:1, 2)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I would like to reveal the spiritual position of minds that indulge in competition. It is one of domination and self exaltation. Competition requires that participants prepare themselves in every way to defeat the opposition, to incite within themselves the mindset of a warrior whose main objective is to overcome their opponent. They must intentionally engage their minds to utilize the vital component of deception, hoping to confuse and misdirect the opponent's strategy. Where there are rules, there is inevitably the temptation to break or at least bend them in order to gain any advantage they can to help accomplish the desired result of winning. And of course there is the inevitable arguing and fighting over questionable tactics of players and judgments of the officials.

Competition establishes high expectations and sets us up for disappointment should we suffer the loss. One argument I've heard is that this teaches us how to overcome defeat. Doesn't life provide us enough of these opportunities without having to create them ourselves? Jesus seems to think so. (see Matthew 6:34) The reality, though, is that we indulge in sporting events and games to satisfy our carnal desires. Practiced habitually, competition develops a particular character that stands in stark opposition with the Holy Spirit. In as much as you can not serve both God and worldly wealth, it is impossible to have the mind of Christ while exercising a spirit of domination and pride.

The evangelical church has progressively acquiesced to the endeavors of the unbelieving masses. This is nothing less than a compromise of the Holy call on their lives. Becoming all things to all men does not infer that the church participate with the world; only that we become familiar with it that by all means we might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22, 23)

Do you now consider me a killjoy? In the movie "Chariots of Fire", the main character told his sister that when he runs, he feels God. It wasn't the competition he was interested in, it was the exercise of a natural God given gift that made him feel close to heaven. If he sought a race, it was for the fellowship of other runners, not to out run them (though he may). When I write, I feel God. When I read what others have written, I feel God. When we enjoy all the good things that come down from above, from the Father of Heavenly lights, without being involved in beating up the competition, we have tasted and seen how good the Lord is. The natural gifts of a Christ follower should, like the heavens themselves, proclaim His glory and majesty to the world around us.


"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
(1 Corinthians 9:24,25)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Testimony Of God

There comes a time when defending ourselves in the presence of others no longer becomes important. A child of God will come to realize they do not need the opinion of others to confirm their identity, innocence, credibility, or righteousness. Until we have cultivated an intimate friendship with Christ, we will long for the acceptance and affirmation of others, hoping to establish for ourselves a physical witness that we are worthy of our present position with God and man. We still value the word of man over the Word of God.

Persevering in our walk with God, however, will ultimately cause truth and redemption to become our judge, and the Holy Spirit will confirm that Christ has indeed identified us as His own, thereby releasing us from the judgments of man.

"For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."
(2 Corinthians 1:20-22)


"In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me." (John 8:17)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Odor Of The World

"And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."
(Jude 1:22-23)

What is meant by 'the garment stained by the flesh'? This particular garment spoken of was the first layer of clothing worn next to the skin, under the visible outer cloak. Though hidden, it is permeated with the personal perspiration of the one wearing it. The stains are the essence of corruption inherent to those polluted by sin. For believers, it is everything contrary to being Holy and separated to God.

In our passion to reach the lost, in our compassion to help our brothers, there lies in wait the temptations of the world. One of the greatest being the struggle of compromising our own holiness out of fear of what others may think of us.

"Saul said to Samuel, 'I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice." (1 Samuel 15:24)

The cost of compromise is the enabling of rebellion and the staining of our witness. Like the undergarment, the true motives of anyone is concealed, but like the odor given off from soiled garments, their rebellious nature will reveal their spiritual condition, should we be so equipped to discern it. (see Hebrews 5:14) We should commit to nothing contrary to Truth while we serve in the name of Love. Remember, it is better to obey than to sacrifice.


"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Many mainstream churches have had the reputation of being oppressive to the unsaved, minorities, and underprivileged by means of holding such a high standard of morality and prejudice within that seekers and sinners alike met condemnation rather than grace and love through the gospel...and its established faithful congregation ignorantly followed their domineering leaders without even considering how the Bible spoke otherwise.

We are certainly reaping what has been sown during those years of religious churches. I suppose every generation of saints lives within the consequences of its previous generation's errors. In sympathy for that time, we find a new brand of church leaders today that try to over-compensate for these errors of the past by means of compromising the harsher Biblical truths for sake of acceptance, thus having felt they have rendered some form of compensatory justice for the church. The sad reality is that they still remain a form of man's religion.

There is a rise in the number of new 'comfortable churches' whose leaders have caved into the guilt of having been a participant, victim, or at least a witness, of past oppression within the body of Christ. It is in their heart to right the wrong, but they are led by their hearts first, rather than God's Word. Oh yes, the Word is preached, but like the long history of the church, it seldom practices what it preaches.

There has been a recent pursuit against oppression within societies called "Social Justice". It is certainly an appealing temptation to the sentiments of these churches. The natural inclination of sympathetic people toward oppressed victims of society is over-compensation. That is, reward them not only protection, but grant them immunity from any future oppression by creating laws that ironically give them the freedom to behave just like their oppressors did. Without regard to accountability within society, this creates powerful and protected special interest groups with a 'carte blanche' to shape and mold society to conform to their ideals and desires.

Compensation, yes. However, as true justice seeks to compensate for the injustice, it should continue to hold the victims accountable to the mutual respect that everyone else is governed by. It should not separate them from society, nor elevate them above it.

The same holds true for the church.


"They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns;
they have tired themselves out but profit nothing.
They shall be ashamed of their harvests
because of the fierce anger of the Lord."

(Jeremiah 12:13)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Non-Essentials Of The Faith

Non-essentials are defined as everything outside the fundamental doctrines of Christianity; doctrines established in creeds and agreed upon by the majority of theologians as the foundation of the Christian faith.

Non-essentials are:

-the wide range of Biblical issues that proceed from the continuous enlightenment a believer will experience as they persevere in their own sanctification.

-teachings in scripture by which the complete or definitive meaning is difficult to interpret.

While non-essentials are not pertinent to one's salvation, they are certainly the meat in the diet of a Christian. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in the church to constrain them as one would constrain a poisonous snake. This guarded effort tends to rely more on personal attitude as the church's sanctity and gives the congregation the impression that they need to be more focused on their moral behavior, rather than pursuing a righteousness that comes by faith. The persistent in-house communication of this category called non-essentials, crafted by theologians and widely exercised by leaders, is an errant solution for keeping peace and unity in the church. But it only causes the people to pretend to be Christ-like for a day. The hypocrisy of the church is their overzealous striving for morality. We are not called to be moral, we are called to be humble before God that He may accomplish His nature within us, denying ourselves for the renewing of the mind, wrought by the processes of non-essentials.

Non-essentials are indeed the vital processes of sanctification. This is iron sharpening iron. To exercise caution in addressing non-essentials is to remain unchallenged, refusing to press in to God for the depths of His life for us. We will fail to form a pure and thorough answer for the faith we claim to have and will remain complacent with a mere knowledge about God, rather than pursuing intimacy with Him. See Oswald Chambers devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, July 22 http://utmost.org/sanctification-1/

Non-essentials will always cause confusion, and temptations will be borne of them, but it should encourage us to search God for the wisdom. Unity takes place when leaders help us to realize we are incomplete in our understanding, yet by the assurance and peace of the Holy Spirit, we press on with the company of others, along with a great cloud of witnesses, that reveal we are not going through anything ourselves found uncommon to man. See Oswald Chambers devotional, My Utmost For His Highest, July 23 http://utmost.org/sanctification-2/

Left relatively unaddressed, non-essentials gradually become inessentials, providing a convenient excuse to keep from picking up one's cross and dying to self, thus diminishing the work of sanctification among the members. This results in churches having a form of godliness, yet deprived of the working power of the Holy Spirit.

There are many who are silently hungry for the non-essentials! I'm quite sure, though, it is the numerical majority of complacent church goers, uncomfortable with being exposed by confrontation, that leadership inevitably cowers to. After all, they are vital in sustaining the enormous and unnecessary overhead churches inevitably create for them. Jesus, however, said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)


"And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
(Matthew 10:38,39)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Society's Church

For centuries past and still prevalent today, most churches model more of a man made religion rather than participating as the body of Christ. They fail to consider the contradiction between what Jesus says and what they actually practice. Those who commit themselves to denominational traditions over the clear Word of Truth are simply more interested in being recognized and accepted by the masses they so familiarly socialize with. As well, a church that has conformed to their culture's present mode of what is popular will be soft about accountability among themselves regarding the Spiritual admonitions of discipleship.

Church leaders fail to do much more than take the sheep to God's green pasture to feed. Basic member participation for most churches consists of faithful Sunday morning attendance, practical areas of serving, Bible studies, attending programs and joining small groups (which is usually more Bible study). This simply keeps them occupied and busy, affording their humanity a sense of religious justification. Members who do not experience much more than this will become content with socializing in lieu of Spiritual fellowship.

There is a tendency among leaders to place functional importance of members based on their social stature, education, and practical abilities; standards and expectations the rest of the world embraces. Few congregants are recognized for their spiritual gifts and thus, the Holy Spirit's guidance and work for them is consistently quenched. The elders of the church should be teaching and encouraging the flock to draw from the Spirit of God in order to bring joy and abundant life to their Biblical knowledge, that the church may attain Spiritual unity, not just social commonality.

For a body to worship in Spirit and Truth, the current structure of many churches will need to be completely dismantled. New seeds must be planted if a different crop is going to be harvested.

Just how far has "the church" strayed from the Lord? If tradition trumps Truth and societal religion takes the place of Spiritual relationship, then it would be wrong to consider that church as the body of Christ.

 "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. "
(Colossians 2:1)

"If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 'Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch' (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23)


"...when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
(Luke 18:8)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pastoral Oppression

An angry response to my recent discovery of yet another effort of the leaders of the church to ensure their despotic position.

The latest wind of doctrine: Multi, or Tri-perspectivalism leadership
While this trend has been recently entertained by the Reformed Church, it has long been an infectious arrogance found in many superficial, man-ruled fellowships and institutions of religion. I address the broad scope of leadership prevalent in today's Christian church.


NOTE: In the mention of spiritual gifts, I by no means attach them to a 'prosperity gospel' or 'name-it, claim-it' religion. It is soundly the means by which the Holy Spirit works in and through the body of Christ, "...for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:12,13)

What causes church leaders to think the greater gifts and functions uniquely rest in their hands? Can there not be a prophet, an evangelist, a teacher, a pastor among the flock without a coronation of some special office? For that matter, why are there such categories as 'ordained' and 'lay'? Are we not all ambassadors of Christ? Consider the following: "As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4,5)

This in no way admonishes men to build a priesthood in order to build a spiritual house. Furthermore, the leaders are not to be the all-containing, all-sustaining spiritual commandant of the church. He is but one member of the body by which the gifts of the Spirit have been shed abroad.

"But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge." (1 John 2:20)

"But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him." (1 John 2:27)

Pastors, elders, priests, deacons, bishops, et al. -is it not enough you have made yourselves over-lords, rather than over those, in the Lord? Or that you have successfully oppressed congregations into a group of ignorant followers, by way of omitting the complete and accurate exercise of spiritual gifts that is designed for the whole body? Do you now have to misinterpret scriptures, concluding that the greater gifts you perhaps once had trouble even believing were prevalent for this age, now actually belong exclusively to your leadership, but not the general congregation? Have you ever invited other gifts within the congregation to participate, that you would become a complete body, nourished, held together by the joints, unified in the Spirit?

"What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." (1 Corinthians 14:26)

"If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35; 10:42-45; Luke 22:26) Have you not as well, disregarded this clear message, in order that you maintain a dictatorship in lieu of the head, which is Christ? Can you not see how the secular ideals of leadership have infiltrated the church? What in the world is an executive pastor? An associate pastor? I hear you say that Jesus is the Lord of the church, the head of the body and the one you worship, but your true desire is to glorify your own position. What you don't see is that you are exalting the realm of leadership to such a deified, educated, untouchable plateau of elders that the congregation can't help but feel subordinate, ineffective, and unworthy of the Spirit of God that you leaders have stolen from them by way of positional intimidation. You have now conjured up yet another scheme of leadership, taking on such endowments as Prophet, Priest, and King, and bestow them upon church leaders. This is nothing less than self glorification.

You say you believe in the all the gifts of the Spirit. But believing and doing belong to true faith. Without calling on the ones you have pressed down, that they may rise up with their spiritual gifts (as is appropriate for a healthy body), but rather allotting practical positions of service to keep them content, your words fall flat with unbelief about spiritual gifts. You are an idol of your own making, built and sustained by nothing more than natural gifts, i.e., natural leadership skills, type-a personalities, excellent oration, a degree from a seminary school, etc. If these were to be accompanied by true Spiritual humility, recognizing you have nothing except what God has given you, you would not spend so much time building up and maintaining such an intricately woven, secular mirrored structure of leadership for the church. Efforts like this occur when we get bored with being empty for the cause of serving the body the way the Lord sees it. It is especially difficult for the intelligent who have been through a rigorous format of formal education. Much like the rich young ruler, most of us have a very powerful, natural gift whereby Jesus says, "You lack one thing..." That one thing is sacrificing our covetousness.

You say the Spirit is present in your church, and so He is; and God longs jealously for the Spirit He has caused to dwell in us. The hierarchical government of today's church, and for some reason established and reserved for intelligent of mind, rather than the Spiritually mature in Christ, can only emulate that of the secular world; humanistic and thus divided...as-it-so-is. Think not? Count the number of different denominations, non denominations, all following some scheme of doctrine devised by man through his own interpretation of scripture. Is the Holy Spirit divided on truth? You say, " We get along. We have agreed to disagree." This is not unity. It is agreeing to find peace while remaining divided. Why then is there so much division? Because church leaders and congregants have not been encouraged how to live by the Spirit. So, rather than asking God for wisdom, man, the label-maker, sets his mind to the task of compiling some parallel scriptures that will satisfy the carnal mind's desire for the rationalization of difficult truths: truths, that if genuinely sought after, would bankrupt the present day religious institutions.

"There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:16)

Here is the bottom line: when strong minded leadership exists, there will inevitably be mindless followers. This natural law is as prevalent as gravity. However, allow the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to lead and you will find the true church. All of the frivolous and superficial functions and activities most churches entertain will be exposed for what they are. Worldliness will be easily recognized and intolerable, leaving only the purity of that which is of the Spirit of God, thereby creating true unity in the body of Christ by which we worship in spirit and truth alone, and apart from the guidance of man made offices.

May there be fear and trembling in all that we work out within our own salvation.


"'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." (Mark 7:7-8)