Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Hope that drew you in. Big attention getting title like that for a post, I know it'd get me.
After my last post, a friend of mine asked me to write a post on "The Name of The Savior."
( Cue cherubs with banners ala Monty Python style.) Considering that I do occasionally take requests for posts when I get them, and there is a little bit to be said off the cuff on that subject in my head already... I told him I would consider it ( at least I think I did, I'm not sure if that text sent).
A few days later, everyone A moderately sized group of Christians got themselves all worked up over Starbucks not going all in on Christmas cups. You might be asking, "what does one have to do with the other?" Well, I'll get to that. Ready, here we go.

The most famous man in history is known by the name Jesus Christ. Some people know Him as the Savior of humanity, others as a Hebrew heretic, some as a swear word when you grab something out of the oven without an oven mitt, even though you knew full well that it was going to burn you and that you do NOT have super human burn resistance powers. If you read pretty much any English Bible the name in the story is going to be Jesus Christ.  Fun fact (and part 1 of this post): Jesus is not His actual name. He didn't get held up at Ellis Island, give his name and the guy behind the counter was all, "Eh, not today buddy... its Jesus from now on. NEXT!!" That isn't how it went down.
Don't get mad when I say that His name isn't Jesus because:
1. He's Hebrew, Jewish specifically.
2. There is no J in Hebrew.
Yeah, those guys weren't named those names either.
We get Jesus from transliteration (No, that isn't the Catholic thing where you eat the wafer and then magic happens and turns it into guts)  The best I can explain transliteration is that it is an ancient google translate. You're close, but not the same.  This happens when going from Hebrew to Greek to English. It gets tricky.

Them little squiggles are a big deal.

All the disciples have Hebrew names. The name "John," for example equates to Yochanan. The Bible actually outlines Paul's name depending on the language. Paul is Saul of Tarsus. That is where the Jesus part comes from. What about the rest, you ask? You didn't, but I'll tell you anyway.

Christ isn't a name, it is actually a title in Greek that means the Anointed One. When people talk about the anointed one, you get a sense of who they're talking about. Especially since Jesus' real actual Hebrew name is Yeshua... His Name LITTERALLY means God's Salvation. His name, coupled with His title give us "God's Salvation, the Anointed one"  There is no H, that part is made up. I guess it could stand for Holy if you really wanted it to. I like to pretend it stands for Herbert because that is funny to me. Not Horacio, Jesus Horacio Christ would make Him exclusively Catholic. That might be racist to say so, please note that was a joke.

Yeah, Yeshua. He has one of those tenseless one- word names like Sting or Prince... but you know, He doesn't suck. God's real name ( if you read the fine print in the front of your bibles that everyone most people ignore explains this) is Yah, or YHVH. Which brings me to the 2nd part of my post: Ignorant Jerks.

Now the world has no shortage of people who get all high horsed, haughty, and like to bully people with their intellect.  Allow me to emphasize that again, THE WORLD has no shortage of high horsed, haughty, intellectual bullies. For this reason, I find it particularly frustrating when believers, instead of demonstrating the attitude of the Christ, are instead some of the loudest voices in the crowd of obnoxiousness. Allow me to elaborate.

There are people who come to a deeper understanding of God/Yah, His ways, and the Name of the Savior. The information swells in the brain and in many cases can cause a spiritual blindness. With study ( which is great and encouraged to grow stronger in a relationship with God/Yah), there are many who then begin to attack other people who do not hold their enlightened view of God/Yah (which is bad). I know this first and second hand. I've perpetuated and been the recipient of such things. There are even some people ( not me) who go so far to say that believers are worshipping a false god because they do not call Him Yah or Yeshua. That, my friends gets me worked up. That is like a freshman in high school walking into a 1st grade class and calling all the kids morons and idiots, threatening their lives because they don't understand algebra. Never mind the fact that the 1st grade class is focusing on sharing, and learning how to listen to the teacher and foundational precepts that we must NEVER abandon.

Now granted, there is truth and there are things that we learn in some Churches from tutors that are contrary to what the Teacher is teaching. I get that. Truth is important. I try to think of Truth as an anti-biotic. If I were a doctor and I was treating an infection of lies, administering an overdose could kill the patient. But, If I fight the infection treating accordingly and am gentle in waiting for recovery, the infection is cured..
I wasn't serving a false god when I first came to  know Him as Jesus. When I called on Jesus for my Salvation, I was calling on my Savior and Yah who is great enough and strong enough to know that I mean Him, and who would lead me into a deeper understanding, the same way you call your mom 'mom' until one day you learn that mom isn't her name.

There is what is true and foundational. There is what is true that is important, but not pressing. Then there are things that seem true but aren't. The fact that people get riled up in a "war on Christmas" for example is something that seems like an important truth but isn't.  IF you were looking for the biblical truth of the matter, the practices of Christmas are steeped in pagan traditions and they aren't Holy ( I hope I didn't lose you there). Would I go up to someone who does Christmas stuff and tell them that they aren't saved because they decorated a tree? No, I would not. This is truth that is important but not pressing, in my opinion. That is something for them to work out with God by conviction through the Holy Spirit. It IS worth mentioning the point of the sons of Aaron who decided that they were just going to offer God whatever they saw fit, even though that is NOT what God had instructed. They got smoked for that.

When a person comes to God, they aren't thrown in the role of a priest or pastor. Why? Because you need time to for the Grace of God to work in renewing your mind and heart, tempering you and working out a lot of the sin. Just as I would not tell someone that didn't say Yeshua that they are worshipping a false god because it is not a reflection of what the Bible reflects...
People should not be getting up in arms about a war on Christmas when Christmas isn't even in the bible that those people say that they're following. If you want to go there, Hanukkah has more scriptural support with one verse in John 10:22. It's a bit of a paradox that people of faith are trying to hold the feet of a coffee chain to the fire whose logo is a pagan goddess, yet they don't wish people a good Sukkot, Yom Teruah or Hanukkah.

People that call Yeshua- Jesus or Christ are no less saved, and people that get outraged over non-Christian stuff not being Christian stuff should probably read their bibles a little bit more.
.... Happy Holidays people.
 Psh, I said it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

F Words

Facebook has this feature where you can look back on old memories and see what you posted on that day years prior. Forgetting the fact that they blatantly ripped off Time Hop, I think that it's generally a good feature to have. That is, until you stumble over some posts from the hard times.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the loss of one of my best friends. We had gotten into a fight over my birthday of all things. I had been going through a rough patch. My leg was giving me problems so that I could barely walk, my back had gone out when I was working the field at the college, My church had gone through a major split and I was trying to explain to my best friend that I needed something from him. He had moved out and was getting ready to get married and I was really excited and wanted to help him. I was always in his corner. We had worked several jobs together, lived together and hung out nearly every day for years because we had an honest to god Chandler Joey thing.  I was in a bad place. It seemed that every normal and constant thing in my life had suddenly taken a cannon ball to center mass. I was feeling low, and I had asked my best friend for one thing. 1 text a week to check up on me. 1 text, once every 7 days was the only thing that I asked him for.
Over the previous years, I'd hired him at a job, got him on board at 2 other places. When he was living with his old roommate he'd over draft every month and just dig himself deeper in debt, so I loaned him money to help him get ahead. I sold this guy his first car and I taught him how to drive. I took him to church with me. I sprang for more beers and pizza than I can even count because this guy was my friend. I was there for him when he was having girl problems. I listened when he was having emotional issues. I'd bounce things off of him because I trusted him. He was my friend.
We had a David and Johnathan friendship. We had it until we didn't.

My birthday was coming up and I had finally gotten him on the phone after a few weeks of him being too busy to text. I mentioned getting people together for my birthday because my life was feeling pretty destroyed My heath wasn't great, my job was gone, my best friend was too busy/apathetic, the couch I was living on was too small, my church imploded and I was feeling a lot like Job. I needed to be around some people who had some love. Like Job's friends, what I got wasn't love or anything near compassion. I was told that I was selfish for wanting to have people around for my birthday. They said I was wrong and that "parties" were something only for little kids. Here's the thing about that. The way I grew up, I never had that. I had tried. I had invited my entire class over for birthday parties when I was a kid. I gave them all cupcakes and everything and no one ever came. The heart of where I was coming from was that I wanted some token  that I mattered as much to others as they mattered to me. A small kernel of that truth. My then best friend told me that was selfish. The irony of it all now is that that guy currently says that people in the church don't love enough or sacrifice enough.

When everything that was my life at that time was burning down around me, I was hurt and angry and probably a little lost. What came out of me wasn't wholesome and uplifting...
It was a lot of F words.. I was feeling pretty broken by life, betrayed by my friend, judged severely by some of my family and I was at a crux where I needed to decide if I wanted to keep going with God or curse him and give up on life. It was that kind of severe. Out of my mouth was a vocal pain... and I'm not saying that it was righteous because it wasn't... but it was honest.

What I got from a small handful of "church" people were cringe worthy responses from having said the F word. Never mind the state of my heart, or the agony that I was struggling with. never mind the battle that was raging in my mind and heart for my soul itself.

I said a bad word and I was deplorable.  I physically nor spiritually could not stand and I was getting a lecture about my choice in diction from people that I barely knew, who didn't bother to know me.
I have said everything else in this post to lead up to this point.  This is one of the things that I believe separates "church" people from "Christ" people. Christ people hear hurts and they do what they can WITH that person. If you look at Job's friends, all of them were jerks with awful advice up until you get to Elijah. A lot of ministry is looking past the pain to the person. This is one reason that I don't cringe when I'm talking to people about God and there is language that is not ideal. I still struggle with my own language some times. I know that I'm not alone in that company. Peter walked with Christ and loved Him. He spent years with him and being there. Then come the night of the Crucifixion, Peter's whole world gets flipped turned upside down. Peter starts swearing at people in his denial. Peter in his pain and hurt and awkwardness wasn't right, neither was I. I wrestled with God. I eventually came back to the conclusion that I wasn't mad at God for anything that had happened because it wasn't His fault. I told Him outright that those two commands " love God, love your neighbor" I could only do the first half because I was in a bad place.  God brought a friend around, my friend Zachariah Lojano. A Christ person that knows hearts. He grieved with me when I was grieving. He sat with me when I needed to just be sat with. He listened. This is ministry. There was Christ in his actions. Because of the Christ in his actions,  I was able to be around a small group bible study. From there I was able to love my neighbors again. From that God brought me to another church and helped heal me up from my life being torn apart.

I had an old pastor that used to say that if there isn't at least one cigarette butt in the parking lot then the "church" probably isn't doing it's job. That is a notion something terrifying to "church" people because often its about perception. It's about dressing a certain way to have the look of superiority.
I can't live that lie very well. I'd like to believe I'm too honest for that.

When you meet a broken person, try not to look at they ways that they're broken. Look at the ways that you can help put them back together. I'm still working on that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

"Difficult Times Will Come"

2 Tim 3
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
  •  For men will be lovers of self, - Check
  • lovers of money, -Check
  • boastful,- check
  • arrogant,- check
  • revilers, -check
  • disobedient to parents, -Check
  • ungrateful, -check
  • unholy,- Check
  • unloving,-check
  • irreconcilable,- check
  • malicious gossips, -check
  • without self-control, - check
  • brutal, - check
  • haters of good, - check
  • treacherous, -check
  • reckless, -check
  • conceited, - check 
  • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, -check

Every month I think of what my post is going to be about. I pray about it and wait most of the times. Some days , there is something boiling over in my heart and it just pours out on the screen in a passionate fervor. This month, It wasn't so easy. I prayed and listened and I didn't get much. I prayed and listened and then got a hint of "pride" I kept praying and I got " humility" and I prayed and I got "atheism"
I've started this post 4 separate times and I've thought about how to word what keeps coming back to me. I've opened with this passage from 2 Tim because this is what is right outside my door, and this is what has killed friends of mine. This is what often drips into my heart.
There have been dozens of days in my life where I have been every part of this list of things not to be. The mind might say that this is a full list of everything to check off to be considered good. That is the tricky part of the brain... It wants to follow lists, check things and rationalize what is good by parameters. I, am not a good man by nature. To be honest, if it were not for the grace and the mercy of God working in my life and covering my shortcomings, I'd be all of these things all of the time. I'd be a killer and thief. I'd be a staggering beast of a man drunk on rage and thirsty for revenge. I am ashamed of  who I would be if it were not for the Grace and Mercy of God.

There are many times that I wrestle with God, and against myself. I can often come across as proud when I'm being sincere. Other times I can come across as proud when I am prideful, don't think that I think I am not aware of that as a flaw. An acquaintance of mine who is fond of giving me grief for my ascription to God tends to ridicule the Bible referring to it as "That book you follow" I think that pride would rise up and seek to justify ones self and say "YES, I DO FOLLOW THIS BOOK" as they launch into a speech about it. I couldn't do that. All I could think, and eventually was able to respond with was "If I followed this book, I would be so much of a better person than I am"  Some areas of my life have triumph, others have war, others are dead but lingering with a hope in the power of resurrection.  I believe that this person feels as though my declarations of truth to be a smug sense of self exaltation, and that I have deemed myself better than those without it. In my witness to my atheist friend, I often fail to accurately represent the Messiah as I know Him.

My pride wants to engage in battle and fight against the slandering of my belief... but I know, I know that I am susceptible to mirroring the attributes of my "enemy" instead of loving them the way that I am supposed to. Loving them the way that I want to. My flesh intermingles in the message and then it is not a "debate" of good vs evil, truth vs a lie... it's just fleshly attitude and the same fleshy attitude polarizing and holding each other in contempt because one will not see it the way the other does.
I do not want to be that man any more.

I hold Atheism in contempt because it has killed several people very close to me.  These men were brothers and father figures who I lived with. Some of their characters reflected generosity, compassion, love, patience, gentleness, kindness and much laughter. They were as brothers to me. We ate together, we lived together, we fed homeless together, we helped people move together. We were about being men who were there for people. One by one, they changed. One by one they rejected conversations, fellowships, they became reclusive. One by one they rejected God and became this people that wasn't happier. They weren't more generous. they were not more patient. They were not more gracious or kind. They became brutal in their words and actions. The became men who loved themselves more than others. Their pride welled up and choked off relationships.
I still mourn for those people. They were my BEST friends whom I would have died for.
Most of them never fully had a relationship with God though. They like being around church people. They liked being a part of a community. They liked the feeling of acceptance and the intellectual stimulation, but as churches are full of broken people... they would find reasons to reject God. One said that they hated the church because the people didn't love enough.  I could write pages on pages of everything that the people had sacrificed for that one man alone. It wouldn't matter, because there was a hole in his soul that could only be filled by God, and no amount of godly people can fill it. Instead of being a part of the solution of a church that loves more, he became ungrateful and conceited. As I tried to love them where they were at, it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to see a movie or get a bite to eat because they hated God, and my proximity to Him so much it was detestable to them.

I look at how far Christ has brought me, how much of the hate He's taken out of my heart, and I am humbled. That isn't to say that one of those men that I mentioned looks to take advantage of someone close to me, that some of that hate doesn't flare back up... because honestly it has. I'm not blind to that area of failure and work that God and I need to take care of. The fact that God is still letting me breath instead of wiping me out by way of some asteroid is a point of His grace. Truthfully, I'd deserve it. I'm not a good dude, but He's living in me. The Bible says that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. I'll tell you, over the past 3 weeks I know that my pride was acting up in a few different areas. God embarrassed me in a certain area and it humbled me, and I thank him from my heart. I don't think that I'm better than anyone else. I see all people as equal, but not all ideas as equal. I don't see all character aspects as equal. Because I hold a view in contempt does not mean that I love those who hold that belief in lower regard. Atheists are human beings made in the image of God

... for any Atheists reading this, I do sincerely apologize that I don't always treat you right.

Be blessed.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Drug addict

So I know this kid who is going through a lot. He's addicted to drugs and he's strung out and he's angry at his dad and it breaks my heart. The family used to be really close, tight knit you know. He and his dad used to talk about everything.  His dad used to teach him all kinds of things about the world and hoped that he'd grow up just like him. He taught him about drugs, and that if taken, they were harmful and would kill him.
This kid got older and his dad let him go hang out with his friends, and there was trust there you know, that this kid was responsible and up to that point he'd never really given his dad any reason not to trust him.  Well, He was hanging with these friends and one of them offered him drugs. He started to say no, but they pressured him and he chose to take them.  From the moment he took them they wrecked his life. He tried to hide them from his dad but his family knew, they could tell that the bond and the connection, the closeness they had had been broken. the dude was distant, a dead giveaway. His dad confronted him about the drugs, and this kid blamed everyone else but himself. He blamed his dad, he blamed his friends, he didn't want to take responsibility for his own choice. He was told that he couldn't live under their roof if he was going to keep using.

The kid hated his dad. He blamed him for his predicament, even though he made his own choices. His dad even said, "if you want to get clean, come back to me and I'll get you clean.” He said, "Please, choose life instead of this death you're poisoning yourself with."  He loved his child. He still loves his child, even though the kid doesn't want to accept the fact that he has to want to quit. He has to want to say no to the addiction. He has to want to help before he can get real help.
That kid hangs out with a lot of his other friends that use. They're angry at being where they are, and they look at the pain and misery of the world and they blame their parents. "I have no father", "My father is dead", "I AM my own man now". Their actions increase their hurts. All the while, they blame others for their pain and addiction, and they say it is because there is a lack of love. These "friends" say that it is because they never had love or support, but I know that kid did. He thinks that his dad hates him and that his father is evil for not watching him destroy himself. He thinks that His father who raised him and loved him should have changed everything to fit HIS life and HIS addiction.
He ignores all the times that His father showed him that he loved him. He can't remember all the times that he said he cared about his kid and wished he would just come home, that he isn't mad and that he just wants his son to come home and get well, even though he's said it so many times. He's written letters to his son, begging him to come home, to give up the drugs and come home...but he won’t.

Because he's got hate in his heart.
Because he can’t see the addiction, and it blurs his vision. It distorts his view.

His father tells him, "I've paid for rehab, I know the doctors that can make you well, you just have to want to be well and come home."
"Rehab is for quitters,” he says. “It's full of broken people that failed and have messed up lives and don't have it together."
It doesn't matter to this kid that they're trying to get clean. It doesn't matter that the truth is that life is brighter and bigger and that there is love beyond what he comprehends. He doesn't like the look of the people in the center. They don't fit the image that he's trying to portray.

The kid is all of humanity. Our Father is God. Sin is the drug that we just don't want to give up. Yeshua (Jesus) is the payment for treatment and the doctor that makes us well. The church is rehab, and it isn't perfect but it's trying.

We shouldn't get mad at God for not doing the things that he gave to us to do.

" ...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live" -Deuteronomy 30

Death is not the desire of God. He's not looking forward to the death of the children that he loves.

"... ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” -Ezekiel  33

He's knocking and searching for His child to come home.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev 3

Our Father stands and watches for us 

Return. Choose Life.

Friday, August 28, 2015


I stopped by Safeway tonight because I realized that I forgot to get a couple gallons of water, seeing as how I drink about 1 a day. I grabbed the gallons off the shelf and walked to the check out, trying to decipher which lane would go the fastest as opposed to which one was the shortest. After a moment of assessment, I decided to just go to the line where the lady seems to always know my face and is happy to see me. As I stood there glancing at magazine racks and people, I winced at something drumming up Robin Williams death and the lady in front of me reading the entire magazine as she waited to check out. That is when someone, across the store sneezed.

"GOD BLESS YOU!!!" I yelled after a good 4 second lapse. The guy sneezed and with 30 people around me nobody had even thought to say God bless you to a stranger.

"YEAH, GOD BLESS YOU MAN" The man right behind me added. I smiled as I turned back to the cashier to see how the line was progressing.  "Or Yeshua bless you" He said. This caught my ear and I turned my head to take inventory of the man. He was about 40 to 45 with a younger female, both Caucasian. his weathered eyes poked out under his shaggy sandy brown hair that seemed to blend with his sun beaten skin.  "What was that you said?" I asked intrigued, because it isn't every day you hear someone use the correct name of the Savior.  "Yeshua, " He said, and for a moment I wondered if I just happened to stumble on someone of like mind. But the moment passed as soon as he continued. "Or in Hail Zeus if you want to go with the greek way, the way of the Pagans. It's Yeshua in HEBREW, HIS REAL NAME,"  He went on espousing how the Hebrew name is the only name He should be called and how everyone who calls on Jesus is praising zeus.  I exhaled a heavy sigh.

I've been praying about what to write about this month because I was watching days drop and usually I have something to say by now. One theme kept coming up. Pride.
The subject comes up with conversations that I have had with some young men. The subject comes up with talking about ministry and being an example even when you don't realize it. I'd be the first to admit that I struggle with pride.

One of the things that I think about is an old saying "If you were on trial for being a believer, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"  Is there intent in your life? Is there opportunity? Are their eye witnesses to not only your words of confession but those who can testify that you are guilty of the ACTIONS of being a believer.  Or would the case fall apart because the evidence is circumstantial?

"Yeah, I saw the defendant put money in their hands and they said 'GOD bless you'" But then cross examination shows that the defendant then hounded them for the money, Lorded it over them the fact that they had extended such generosity. When the persecutor says "they have been in church every week, and then help out and can quote some verses" Can that too  be explained away by keeping up appearances because when others tried to relate outside the walls, they were dismissed for being awkward or belittled because it sucks to suck or some other self exalting quip.  At your trial, would it be a short deliberation before you are convicted of being a believer, or would they dismiss the case

Pride is an abomination

Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
Though they join forces,none will go unpunished.- Proverbs 16

Everyone who is going around trying to assert their dominance or superiority over other people, everyone who says that they are of God and are with God and they're doing this... Their way..
People are watching. They see the ego, and as much as the ego is exercised, that may be the only think that they really see.

Pride is poisoning the message. It's poisoning the Gospel.  You don't tamper with the message that you were lost, and you were broken, and you were unable to save yourself , and you were supposed to die, and you were powerless and then God saved you. You don't add to that when you present it. Your efforts, using the Gospel, is not what redeems men. Your efforts, using God, is not where the power of the Almighty and the Holy Spirit reside. You do not save people, The truth of God does that on it's own.  To add yourself to that, in your superfluous knowledge and your Gnostic contextualization, and your understanding of words into that message, and that truth at its very core...
Is usually far more about you and pride than it is about God and advancing His kingdom.

“I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." - Isaiah 42

That idolatry can be self exultation.  It's the character of the adversary.

Think about that trial, Will there be enough evidence to convict you?
The only way that the answer is yes, is if the world sees MORE of CHRIST in you than they do of You in you. It's only by His blood.

And if someone sneezes in a grocery store, 1) don't be one of the 30 people that says nothing. 2) say God bless you. 3) don't go and a huge rant about paganism or souls trying to escape through booger holes and the history of the practice and how smart you, because they wont look at you and think " this person can bring me closer to knowing God"

... They'll probably think, that person is a weirdo and who drinks Steel Reserve anyway.

"It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."
- Augustine

"Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. 'How everything affects me' is the center of all that matters - self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking.
-Ezra Taft Benson
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."
-C. S. Lewis

" Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.Live in harmony with one another.Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited" Romans 12

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I Confess.

As I am reading this book God is opening my eyes to what probably is my greatest failing as a believer. It isn't that I do not evangelize enough, or do not read my scriptures enough, or pray enough... which admittedly I believe we most all could do these things more as a body. No, that is not my greatest failure.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that my biggest failure is that when the Savior calls to me in life situations and said "Come deny yourself and follow me, crucify your flesh" in actions I often reply, " I will not yield"
Now this is not something that I could see outright as the flesh of a man has it's own sense of self preservation. Pride will disguise itself as a sense of righteousness, and justification. Wrongs inflicted and injustices will cause men to slander demons and Satan and ego will elevate a man higher in his own eyes to wage wars against them by his own strength. I've been that man a time or two. This is a public confession. I do not embrace pain and crucifixion the way that my Savior did. I do not bear the weight of mockery with the grace that He does. In many of those moments my flesh gets the better of me and I lose the battle before I recognize how to fight.  God has been working on this issue for many years with me, and there has been much progress and much left to be done. There are times, To His Glory more frequently, where the self-defense and heated exchange of insults is mitigated by God having fixed my eyes on compassion for the one I am in the exchange with. I do not want to make them hurt the way they hurt me, I do not want to make them suffer so that they understand not to mess with me, and that I am clever and that I am tactical. I want them to know that I love them because God is changing my heart and when I was one way, it was pain and pride. Giving pride for pride does not heal. It does not love. It does not cure.
It is not the way of self-denial. It is not sacrifice of the Savior.  It is not carrying the Cross.

I am reading this book about healing. In it explains that crucifixion comes from God with a purpose. All those people that you're mad at are just the delivery system for something which God has prescribed.
"Pick up your cross and follow me"
We see the message in churches now days that the thrust of the Christian walk, the apex of the gospels is happiness.
I am not seeing that from the text that says

Matthew 10

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20 For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.

OOOOoooooooh-y does the sound of that tickle you and make you smile ear to ear! Probably not. Do you get overwhelmed with happiness that following the Savior is going to result in being hated, betrayed, beaten, killed, and cause you to flee your homes!!! I doubt it.
I don't really seeing that one making it on the Osteen sermon rolodex.
" Deliverance from a crucifixion is an escape from pain. It is also a deliverance from change... change which God desires. "
-Gene Edwards, Crucified by Christians 
I don't do well with change. I resist it. I often times fight it.  That is one of the revelations that God has allowed me to see. God has authorized difficult situations in my life to 1) get me to focus on him
2) help change something wrong in my behavior or thinking 3) MAKE ME A BETTER PERSON BECAUSE HE LOVES ME

When I think about the goodness of the Savior, and how I want to be like Him, I usually think about His peace and the way He is the epitome of pleasing to the Father. I do not think about His suffering.

When most believers say "God make me more like you" or "Jesus help me follow in your ways" or "God I want your will in my life" they are usually not aware that they have asked God to bring about circumstances that are so very unpleasing to the flesh, in order to help destroy its control.

More excerpts from this book:
" If you embrace a crucifixion? You will lose a great number of enemies and a large number of bitter memories. You will also see the death of a portion of your dark side"- Gene Edwards, Crucified by Christians

Embracing the Crucifixion? In my May post I wrote about an experience that I have had, and certain things to caution people in churches everywhere to be aware of in regards to spiritual abuses. In many of the aspects that I detailed there, it was some of the most painful business of my entire life. In the moments that I was going through them I  wanted to plead my case, but it often didn't get anywhere. The parts that were wrong, I wanted people to understand and the parts where I felt that I was justified, were and honestly in some aspects still feel justified in.... are at their CORE, irrelevant.

"It is not God's intention to allow a crucifixion to become a platform for self defense. A crucifixion has one purpose, to destroy elements in you that need to be crucified"
- Gene Edwards, Crucified by Christians

That is something that brought me to the point of tears....
That one of the most painstaking aspects that I have ever gone through, that brought me to the point where I almost gave up EVERYTHING...
... was now not defined by me, my suffering, my justification.... but INSTEAD it was defined by HIS GLORY AND HIS BEAUTY!!!

God allowed me great suffering because HE loved me enough to GRANT ME PERMISSION to conform my CHARACTER closer to HIS.

Anyone who follows the Messiah is called to Crucifixion, but not all allow the resurrection of a better self from the ashes... more of Christ living in you.

"A crucifixion, properly embraced, will ultimately make you far more than what you were. Improperly embraced, it leaves you less than you were. It is your choice. You will either be spiritually destroyed or you will grow in Christ beyond previous boundaries!"- Gene Edwards, Crucified by Christians

I'm pretty awful at dying, much to my shame. I have a better awareness of an issue here and by God's Holy Spirit I decrease as He increases.

I confess my weakness and that often my ways are not His ways. Forgive me.

Friday, July 3, 2015

It's a Sin my friend.

Unless you've been under a rock or in some sort of secret underground bunker that doesn't get news or reception or something, you know that Gay marriage is the hot button issue right now.
Since the supreme court ruling there were a several things that turned my stomach and grieved me , but it wasn't so much the gay marriage ruling. The ruling disappointed me. It didn't disgust me. It didn't cause hate or bigotry to rise up in me. It was just disappointing to see the way our culture is turning.

 I see people coming out of the woodwork that profess an allegiance to the God of Abraham Issac and Jacob. YHVH, The creator of heaven and earth as revealed  in the Biblical scriptures. They say that they are Christians, and that they support gay marriage. I read an article that took it a step further and stated that the Holy Spirit is for Gay marriage.
1)  Leviticus 20:13 says
If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act (H8441); they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

That "Detestable act", that is the word is the Hebrew word for Abomination. As in:

The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination H8441 to the LORD your God. - Deut 7
Furthermore, all the officials of the priests and the people were very unfaithful following all the abominations H8441 of the nations; and they defiled the house of the LORD which He had sanctified in Jerusalem.- 1 Cron 36

2) God didn't change. He doesn't do that. He hated sin from the start and He hates sin now. He loves people. He cares for people who identify themselves as homosexual.He DID NOT MAKE SIN NOT A SIN.

1 Samuel-15:29
 Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
Psalm 89:34
“My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

To say that God went against His word and changed His mind is to say that God changed His Character. That God, is not the God of the Bible.

I read an article with 40 questions for Christians waving rainbow flags and it's pretty spot on.
To openly endorse a sin is contrary to the call of the Savior when he says in Matthew 16:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

If following the Savior is the continual work to crucify the lusts of the flesh and deny ones self, then one cannot do this while celebrating the things that His unchanging word says are an abomination to Him.
Following Christ is to put to death the flesh.
I am bad at it...
... but I don't pretend that my flaws are Biblically ordained by God.

To preach that God has made a Sin Holy is at it's core telling God that His Son died for nothing and everything that HE is is not what you really want.

It's blasphemy.  Listen to the warning from the Scripture about these things

 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming,defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.
- Jude

John 16:1-3 These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. 2 They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. 3 These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

This is starting to happen. There are fights breaking out just for holding signs. There is hate .

3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. - 2 thes 2

If you struggle with homosexuality, and you're trying to crucify the flesh I commend you.
If you preach that the things that God has said are an abomination are pleasing to Him, I worry for you.
It's a sin my friend.. Repent. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some thoughts on Liberty and God

I'm an American in addition to being a believer in the God and the Biblical text. There was a time when those two things were nearly indistinguishable due to popularity and national patriotism. I support the rule of law and justice. I can see that our legislative model is patterned after Biblical law.
I'd like to consider myself patriotic, but foremost I'd like to consider myself to be follower of God. Those two do not always overlap.

Yesterday 5 judges said that people who classify themselves as homosexual cannot be barred from getting married in all 50 states. I don't know where the separation of church and state was in that one, but that isn't my point here. Facebook was a wash with rainbows and the masses celebrating the court ruling. Many of them mocking people who disagree with the stance on homosexuality. I had a few discussions with an assortment of people, many whom at times seemed to be arguing someone that they assumed I was. I stated that homosexuality is wrong. What I didn't say was that I supported a constitutional ban on same sex marriage, and that I was grieved by the ruling by the court because now it's all ew gay people and people should all adhere to my belief system. I think some people heard that, even though I didn't say it.

Other people began posting about liberty and the united states being the land of the free. People have the right to sin, that is even afforded in the biblical text:
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. - Deuteronomy 30


God did not set before us only life and prosperity and demand that we walk in it. He gave a cross roads and said one of these are right and good and the other is rough and wrong, you choose.
There are people that would want to dictate that saying that something is wrong is hate speech, bigotry or intolerance. It is not imposing views on people to tell them a way is wrong.
What many believers fail at here is how to state a truth without invoking anger or contempt.
Paul says:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth - 1 cor 13

 How we express truth is often as important as the truth itself.
If you read the story of the woman at the well in John 4 there are a few major points that stand out.
1) The Messiah is waiting for the woman, not all super jerk like demanding that she repent and come clean and then set up a meeting with the disciples in order to come and meet with Him.
2) He strikes up a conversation with the woman. he doesn't come right out and scream at her for sleeping around. He has a conversation with her about the truth.
3)" At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?”"
This woman, a sinner, who has the liberty to sin or not, and may not believe that there is anything wrong with her sin was graciously approached by the Son of God, who had a conversation with her, even though any one of them probably would have scared her away from the truth by their actions. He did not impose His will on her. He told her the truth. He didn't hate her, but He told her the truth.
4) Because He told her the truth, many people were saved.

Many people do not want the things of God and when the get them in their fullness, and they taste the pain of sin, they blame God for some reason for not impeding their liberty.
I'm not one of the people that is going to sit here and tell everyone that they are going to hell for any one specific sin. I will say the uncomfortable truth that Sin results in consequence, and consequence and judgment is not pleasurable. There is a way that seems right to a man but it's end is the way of death ( proverbs 14). That doesn't mean that I hate sinners, that means that I care about what happens to them.  I tell people that eating things that God has said aren't food is sin. I love the people, but I don't pretend that isn't wrong. It isn't my job to get people to repent, it is my job to tell them the truth.
Pride is the same level of sin as homosexuality, and there are some very proud people who hate people who call themselves homosexuals. I find that point pretty ironic actually. I've wrestled with pride my own self, that doesn't make it okay. I still wrestle with pride, that still doesn't mean that other sins are acceptable based on popularity.

yeah, I guess that will suffice for this months post.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cult of Personality

Perspective often comes with a little bit of distance and a lot of time. Often, a person cannot see clearly the totality of a situation until they take a few steps back and put some miles between themselves and the circumstance. I've come to believe that I was once part of a cult, of sorts. A personality cult or cult of personality is a system in which a leader is able to control a group of people through the sheer force of his or her personality and is often portrayed as a god-like figure. These circumstances foster various abuses, usually spiritual, implemented through double standards and hypocrisies. What I experienced personally was that when I brought an issue to leadership that I asked for help with, instead of help, I was viewed as an enemy of the community because I had an issue I was bringing into the camp. This resulted in isolation, intimidation, and all manner of things that should not come from a spiritual leader who is in a position to help or guide someone who came to them in humility, asking for assistance. During my years in this place there were a great many things that were off that I rationalized. I dismissed them because if there were two ways of looking at an issue, I generally gave the benefit of the doubt to the men and women who were running the congregation. Sometimes issues would arise where I did not agree with what, for the sake of this blog, we'll call the “matriarch” or the “patriarch”. I brought what I saw as scriptural discrepancies to their attention, and again, I was met with hostile resistance. However, this time it was not from the hierarchy. No, it was from a selection of their influence that they had set in place to ensure that accountability could be swayed by those who wished to garner favor with the "leaders". They do this in order to be perceived as "holy". I was told that I had no right to come to the leadership to address actions or inaction that I saw that were not in line with scripture. I was told that I was being arrogant and lifting my hand “against the Lord’s anointed”. Here are these men with no training in any form of counseling, with no formal submission to any greater body, saying that a man has no accountability except for them, and they have no accountability except through him. Yet, both were intending to neglect the parts of scripture they swore to uphold before a community for the sake of expedience. I cannot tell you how much I was scarred from the events where I was vulnerable before these men and I was treated with contempt because my questions conflicted with their sanctimony and pride. That is not to say that the many of them were or are not well-meaning or well-intending. No, they are flawed, and many of them oblivious to their faults and not in a place where they'd be able to receive awareness of their blindness.
Look at how I'm still sitting here defending these people because I love them. I love them, but that does not change the fact that there is a deep, unspoken sickness in their structure and body that they ignore because they want to believe that everything is wonderful and happy. A friend of mine brought something to my attention the other day regarding an earthquake that was supposed to devastate the west coast. He did not present it as prophecy, he just asked that I pray about its possibility. That man is a good man whom I love dearly, and he stated outright that this is very possibly nothing, but it would not hurt to pray about it. Cut and dry. However, there were others who purport that they are wise and gifted with an abundance of discernment. They have boasted in this gift as a sense of identity and have spoken of mystical dreams that they had in relation to this major quake. Nothing happened. There was no quake. What then of their mystical dream? I joked with someone close to me that I survived yet another Messianic doomsday. They asked for clarification of my comment and I went through a short list of failed prophecies about wormwood hitting in 2009, or again in 2010, or all the people living in FEMA camps in 2011, or the devastating financial collapse that should have happened in 2013 that would have imposed martial law. These were just some of the many predictions that swirl and swarmed around this place. Even people in the leadership had failed predictions, and I recall one specific time a leader actually specifically stated that God had told him something that did not come to pass. He stated exactly that God had told him within the next two years, there was going to be a massive influx of people into that specific church of a certain age group. It didn't happen. It was a false prophecy, and this leader had said "thus saith the Lord", when the Lord had not spoken. I dismissed that fact and pushed it aside because of my love for this man and his family. He appeared so godly. I felt that he was so trustworthy at the time that even when spiritual abuses and neglects happened, that I believed that I was explicitly to blame and that he bore no responsibility. I was a wretch and he was a righteous man. I had talked with two separate friends of mine that were older and had used to be in leadership at that same place about the same time. They both had left and they both had cautioned me about the shape the congregation was taking. One pointed out the same objection that I had about the false prophecy, and how that meant that I should disregard the things that the leader was teaching, according to scripture. I made an excuse for him, that he was just mistaken and had probably misspoken. We both had casually laughed it off, but I knew that he was right. The other had cautioned me about the growing unhealthiness that was taking root, but my own sense of duty would not let me leave. I would tell myself that I could bear the discomfort and the pain and hold on, because eventually, they would see how they were hurting people. Eventually, they would see that they've got nothing for outreach and they've missed the point of ministry. Surely if I hung on a little longer, they would eventually see that they were replacing the example of the Messiah and the practical application of HIS life-changing explanations of the word, with idols of intellect that were Savior adjacent. I believed that I was stronger than I was. I was proud. I was blind.
Issues of disagreement were met with hostility. A person couldn't just disagree with how things were handled, because again, they were coming against the Lord’s anointed, and all their authority comes from God. I was often encouraged to ignore what I believed to be discernment, and instead defer to the people who boasted about their position, their spiritual gifts of discernment, and their accountability. So the issues would often not get resolved or the patriarch and matriarch would drag resolution out for so painstakingly long that other more pressing matters would arise that required their attention. This would result in some things being swept under the rug. Control is a major issue in these atmospheres. If they do not like what you have to say, they will do what they need to do to try and keep you from saying it. I wrote a post back in November where I spoke of some things that I had seen and took issue with. This caused a flurry. Instead of a phone call from one person who the section could or could not have been about to me to ask me person to person if there was ought or grievance, there was a set of phone calls made about how to "deal with this blog situation". Several people were called, and meetings were set up to discuss the fact that I had said something that was beyond the scope of their control. I voiced an opinion that was not subject to their censorship, that poised questions, and you are not to question leadership. You're to submit and follow them, and if you do not, you are an enemy of the congregation of whom it is to be guarded against. I was told that there were people who were cautioned to not read what I had written. I had friends delete me off of Facebook without explanation. I've had texts to friends be ignored repeatedly, because I believe that I am now "outside of the camp". In places like these cult congregations, they say that grace is not something earned, yet you have to do something to be eligible for it. They'll say that repentance means turning from an action, but then you still must be punished and suffer consequences. They hold these standards to the community, but they do not hold them to the leadership. I used to teach and I was terrified with the responsibility that teaching holds, but I made a mistake and I was told that I could never teach again. They deemed me unqualified for ministry because of my mistake, which I repented for. That was my punishment. The patriarch once acknowledged publicly that he had wronged me, but he never said why or how, and I extended to him forgiveness and mercy by not calling for his punishment in the ways that he had punished me. He did not hold himself to the same standard of requiring any sort of sacrifice for restoration. He did not hold himself to the same standard of really requiring confession. The people that he put in place around himself to insulate him from accountability did not require that he adhere to his own standards, and therefore were complicit in the perversion of their execution of justice. They like to tout the moniker of "protecting the community", but many times, they're protecting those who do not need protection FROM the community. I know a story of an isolated and lonely young man who was troubled and told someone about issues he was facing. It also came to light an area that he had stumbled in. The response of the leadership was to confront the young man, to ask him if he was a danger to the community and if he should be kept away from the people because he represented a threat to them. The leadership didn't come alongside to help the young man in his areas of weakness. They reaffirmed the position of isolation and segregation, implying that the solitude the young man experienced was justified because he deserves to be disconnected. "We love justice greatly , but mercy only a little." - Paraphrasing Joseph Roux In my time at that place, I saw a good many faces of people in the Bible. I have seen the faces of people who would free Barabbas over Jesus, I saw Pilots who would wash their hands, I saw Jonathans and Davids, a Moses, an Absalom, a Saul. I keep in touch with a few of the Peters, who I love tremendously and who give me hope for the situation. My heart hurts for all the good people in that system who were and are hurt by the abuses, and I pray that something is done to keep it from happening again.

Edited by Audrey Edits 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Empires of Dirt

You know that Johnny cash cover of the Nine inch nails song, Hurt? There is that one line that stands out to me every time I hear it and it rings a little louder then all the rest

" you could have it, all My empire of dirt, I will let you down, I will make you hurt"

I had a conversation with a brother recently about the subject of vanity and ego. Perhaps I am not the man to be writing about this because I know sometimes I probably come across as egocentric. In myself I generally see that more as a long running joke than anything else because it is somewhat contrary to my efforts to be less of "me" and more godly. I fully acknowledge that there are days, sometimes weeks, Hell, even months where my efforts are less than emphatic... or... evident.
Pride is the drug that is killing the young, and apathy the old. Ego propels men to be hustlers for that money to get them rims and all those hunnys. ... I honestly didn't intend for that to rhyme, I just got half way through the sentence and went with it.  I digress.  

He said "The ego is there for a reason , yes i know money is vanity, but people tend to listen to successful people more than broke people, yes it can lead you astray from the word, unless you do everything through him, so I'm saying the confidence and all that i have is going to make me become successful, i want to speak in front of thousands of people and share the wisdom of the word. I'm saying all of that correlates with confidence and thats whats going to strongly impact my success, if its his will. my success will bring audiences."

"“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."- Matt 19:21
"it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."- Matt 19:2
"Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." - Matt 23:10-12

Hard work is great, and I already shared with my friend in previous conversations 1 Tim 6:7-11

" For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness."

However,  what was seeing him say is that you need ego and image to amass an audience so you can preach the gospel but that sounds strongly like compromising the gospels that teaches denial to self, instead  forsaking humility which is the thrust of the word in its entirety.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God" Micah 6:8

Be humble.  Focus fully on God and His ways... doing it his way will bring an audience without the conflicting message of hypocrisy.

Lets look at some of the greatest leaders of all time:

"Then Moses said to the LORD, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."

God made that guy a leader, in HIS way because he was humble.
"Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth."

Anyway back to me.

I can tell you first hand that Francis of Assisi  was right when he said "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." When I was younger I had this mindset, this Take the world by storm mindset that I was going to go out and just gather all the people and pack the churches... we were going to fill the churches and they they were going to hear some scriptures if we get them to the churches and once they hear those scriptures in church, that is what is going to save them. The more churches we fill, the more people get saved, the more our team wins.

I'll remind you that the definition of discernment is differentiating between right, and almost right.
This, was almost right. Because that plan of attack, and salvation for the globe.. in my mind.. It had a lot to do with me, and my strength and my power and what I was going to do for GOD and how holy I was going to be because of all the STUFF that I did for GOD and yeah that is for sure going to punch my heaven ticket... because it was for GOD.
... and it didn't work.
There was a fleshy-ness to my thinking. A carnality.

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,  for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?" -1 cor 3

When I was of this mindset I had maybe 1-2 people ever come to church with me and they didn't stay because it wasn't right. There was too much of my vanity in the process. Too much of my Ego. I was going to be a badass for Christ and I was going to help get everyone saved and then we were all going to chill in cool chairs like on a stage or something, Jesus and ME and then the crowd of people all looking at me up there in a giant chair that is smaller than Jesus' giant chair...

"“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another,Nor My praise to graven images."

My empire is dirt.

God, by his mercy, showed me what was going on with me. He showed me that I needed to change and remove the ME
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

The more I did this, The more I sought less of me, and more of him the more my friends and family could see Him changing my life. They began to hear the message. They began to come to church and they began to see less hypocrites lining the rows and more people genuinely serving one another and not trying to be better than everyone else.
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." - Phil 2:3-4

So I'm starting to hear the sound of morning birds outside my window which means that I should probably get to bed.

I'll leave you with this, everyone is building an empire...

 "According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 1 cor 3

... make sure you're not building on dirt. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Make You Better

Our lives have been comprised of choices and circumstances that have shaped our characters, leading us to right here. Each of us have made decisions and fought battles. Every one of us has reacted poorly to situations or triumphed when the moment came.

We're human.

We're the battle ground between light and darkness.

That is what is on my mind tonight...

Do you know what most unbelievers that I have invited to come to church with me have said?
"God will probably cause me to burst into flames the second I walk through the doors"

I've invited a lot of people to church over the years, ranging from Atheists to Zodiac astrologists. People tend to know that we've sinned, that much is inherent. We know that God exists even when sometimes we don't want to. We know something is broken, and we are guilty.
I've seen many of these people come to church. Some stayed for a few minutes, some stayed for a few years but not one of them ever burst into flames at the wrath of an angry God who could have just as easily had them slip in the shower to break their neck
People have problems, all people, and problems need to be solved.

I was sitting with my brother in our apartment one day as his feet were draped over the loveseat across from the couch. He was distressed and distraught and he stared up at the bumps on the ceiling with a semi-vacant glare. I asked him, " What's wrong? Talk to me about it" He sighed a deep breath and said " That's not how it works. Crap only rolls uphill"  He spoke of it behind a few closed doors to a pastor and he didn't seem to mind me overhearing on the phone what was going on, but he didn't want to tarnish a perception that He had it mostly together. That is what I took away from the exchange. Though we all sin, Though we all suffer, some feel a need to hide it to try and save face or pride or they aren't ready to fully confront it or whatever. I sat there and felt like there was a lesson that I had learned, but it wasn't the one that was being intended.
My brother has gotten past a lot of this in varying degrees as lessons come around and around.

There it is... do you see it? The connection between the two?

 A party that is afraid to set foot in a church because they believe that one must already have won the war against darkness to be be saved... and another that shows that he is not comfortable with the notion that he has sin for how it would appear to people he's deemed in his mind underlings.

Both situations present that the Church is a gallery where people are displayed like art. One thinking he's worthless, and the other afraid of being appraised. The first things that Adam and Eve did was hide because they were ashamed and naked. I've been in churches where people seem to talk about sin as if it were a disease in Africa that is plaguing some poor impoverished people that they should hold a bake sale to raise awareness for.

I don't think I could ever follow a pastor or a church leader that didn't struggle with sin. If they don't struggle with sin, Our Savior struggled with it and I KNOW they're not better than the best.

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15

He fought sin and won.  He overcame darkness.  Some churches that I have been a part of do seem to have lost some of this... that a Ministry, is to spread the truth ... not that God hates darkness and you must save yourself from bondage and slavery before the Savior can free you from bondage and slavery...   But that God loves, and the Church loves and will be merciful and tolerant. The message that Sin can be beaten isn't accurately portrayed by a people that seems never acknowledge the battle. A doctor doesn't wait for the patient to die before he begins treatment.

I see it in Messianic circles occasionally. We're weird about sin. We generally hate it so much that we pretend that we're without it. We don't understand why other churches don't get our knowledge...  and it's probably because we don't look normal. We talk about sin as a christian disease, As an unsaved disease, instead of a terminal human condition. We'll hide any sense of transparency to curry favor and the illusion of holiness in order to be entrusted with positions of leadership so that people will know how spiritual we are... .... .. but nobody is getting saved.
Because they cannot relate.
unless they pretend to be something they're not.

In that regard, many unbelievers are more honest in their ignorance.

Can you imagine how short the bible would be without the mention of Sin on behalf of the righteous? How minimal the sacrifice of the Messiah would be if everyone pretended to have it all together.
" Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." - James 5

 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.
We can move in that power.
We can only show that Darkness can be overcome, if we admit that we have struggled against it.
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony..." - Rev 12

Sunday, March 29, 2015

John 16 1-3

John 16:1-3
These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.  These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.

I'm reading headlines which is a terrible habit. This week it is all about Indiana and a law that backs religious freedom.  People have been stirred up and people are demanding boycotts and travel bans to Indiana over this.  Why? because they say that this law means that religious institutions can now discriminate against homosexuals.
It doesn't matter to most of these people that there is nothing in the law that says that. It doesn't matter that twenty other states already have this law on their books. IT doesn't even matter the fact that former President Clinton passed a law on a federal level in 1993.

All they hear, is the sound of the mob yelling louder and louder.

What the intent of this law is for is so that government bodies can't dictate what churches can and cannot preach, or as far as a business goes, make it so that they do not have to betray their conscience. 

It brought me back to this passage in John as I read the comments from the mob, about how God loves everyone and people in churches need to embrace practices defined as sin. Discrimination they cry as they violate the freedom of people with convictions, coercing them to participate in acts that the Bible classifies and unacceptable. 

... but most of the comments, those people believed that they were morally justified.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. -2 tim 4

Stick to your convictions Believer. It will get worse, and then it will get much much better. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Cross

Someday, I'll probably write something that's worth really reading.
I have some insights on God and life and man.

Lately I've been talking about  churches, and dancing around the occasional spiritual abuses I've incurred. I was talking to a friend about them tonight. I was tired and I read an article that detailed the same types of things. People who are upset with what you're saying calling everyone but you... some one finally calling you trying to shut up the things that you said. The doomsday focal points.  Running down the line I related to so very much. Standing at a church function defending what I saw to be as scriptural to members of a leadership about an emphasis of mercy, when they confessed that what they were really trying to do was maneuver a man into a decision that they wanted him to come to... and not caring much about how they were losing him in the process.

This friend I was talking to, God bless him, started out with a question in the ball park of numbers 13. Admittedly, I'm tired, and I am also tired. It struck me how often in the Messianic movement that the subject of Nephilim would come around. I remarked, "Why can't people in the messianic movement study how to exemplify mercy to others. .. instead every one wants to talk about nephilim" half tongue in cheek.

I laughed at my own joke for a moment before it dawned on me how unfunny it is. When I am in Christian churches, there is a strong emphasis on the Cross... dying to self, the Grace of God, the Mercy of God... extending that Mercy and Grace to others. In many Messianic atmospheres, People want to talk about Angels doing it with the daughters of men, How many knots to tie on titzit. How a square beard on a mans face can make a pattern of the furnishings of the tabernacle.
When confronted about why so much time is spent on these things rather than the cross and the words of the Savior saying that we must pick it up and die... I have heard more than one person say " I've spent a lot of time studying the new testament and now I want to focus on the old testament"
The most important moment of the theology, the apex of the Savior's purpose for man, marginalized because it does not feed the intellectual "meatiness" of what they're looking for.
The emphasis then, became not on a ministry to help live like the Messiah, but instead a ministry to know things about the Messiah. The head vs heart dynamic is an important one. This isn't to say that these men were not without moments of Grace or Mercy, but the subtext was undeniable.

What is the point of church?

Are you there worship God with the body, and let your soul be bare with the trust and love of other believers? Is it an intellectual fact finding mission that fills them mind with so much informational trivia that even sharing who the Savior is and what he has done for us becomes a convoluted jumble of indecipherable madness? I'll tell you truthfully, that I have both seen and become the latter.
When trying to tell someone about the Sacrifice of Christ, a bunch of other things came spilling out that made me sound like a madman. Instead of the open truth that God has made a way for fellowship with people who have transgressed against him, a bunch of stuff about lambs, lions, threads and color meanings of threads, hyssop, incense, doorposts, the Sabbath, Shrimp and all kinds of things came rushing out.... in the span of only a few sentences. I used to hold a bible study that a friend of mine, a new believer had decided to come to. She had just started getting her life together and she had a zeal to now more about who this God is and how this Jesus fellow saved her soul and she craved his words. I had an older messianic lady show up and started talking about the tribes, linage, the land, the northern and southern kingdoms, revelation, and sticks. I kept trying to get to the structure of the passage in John that we were reading... but the mentality that this was somehow elementary made the information seem blase to this Messianic woman. Though with what I believe was pure hearted intentions, she instead managed to turn the essence of Victory over Sin in your life into some antiquated anecdote.

I've seen some men in every church cry crocodile tears and then stand before crowds and say they've received some deep revelation from God, and then I've seen them go on without their lives changing much. In the Christian church, I felt the power of God move upon me. One day stands out in particular. I do not remember the message of the sermon, I do not remember the songs for praise and worship, but I recall praying and singing. I was fading in and out of attentiveness when the voice that I recognize as God's spoke to me and he called me Son. He said that I was His son, and he is pleased with me. Truthfully, that knocked me on my ass and I wept openly and loudly for hours. I do believe that I took down half a box of tissues on blowing my nose alone. I left that service and I hung out with a few friends as we did every week. We'd hit up taco bell then headed over to someones house before night service when we'd all file back in. There was no message that night. Instead the entire service was going to be prayer. I sat in a seat near the back next to a friend. We were only two minutes in when I heard it again. God spoke as he did before and said " I love you Son, and I in you I am pleased" I didn't tell anyone what God had said, but people started walking up to me and laying hands on me, and began praying over me. I tried to hold back the tears because, you know... crying in public is weird frankly embarrassing. I'd like to have though that I could hold some of it together, until one of the people praying over me spoke up and said the words affirming "Let it out, God loves you and is proud of you" I wept as loudly as before and went through the other half of that box of tissues. By the end of the night I was dehydrated and overcome with a sense of peace.
I still carry that day with me. That day made me stronger.

I wanted to sleep at 4:30 in the morning after I finished talking to my friend about the subject of spiritual abuses but instead I prayed and It was impressed strongly on me to write this all down now before sleep takes my mind, while the words are fresh in my heart.

The Messianic movement is full of truth. In many cases it is the truth that the earth is round, when truth that you really need is that you've been shot, the doctor is prepping for surgery and  you need to hang in there because you're going to pull through. Describing the faucet or how water evaporates and turns into rain is truth, but it does not give drink to those who are dying of thirst.

We need more Christy Andersons. that have the balance of truth.

We need more Cross and empty grave because describing what type of sandals the Savior wore is not the same as bowing at His feet.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fear Not

There is a lot a of fear out there and I'm not only speaking about the world.

The world is full of people who are scared. Some of them are afraid of terrorist that are making a conquest through parts of the world. Some are afraid of a political party losing power, or another party never gaining it. There are people out there who are afraid of losing their jobs and/or not having the money for doctors and medicine. Some people are scared they've wasted time and money on a degree and they'll never get a job to make a good wage and have a part of the American dream as it once was. Some people are afraid that the last relationship that they were in was the best that the could ever do, and nobody could love them, or their partner as well.
This is the world we live in.  This is, the state of affairs.

What is a church to do with a world like this?
How can a church help in these times?

As believers we're called to be in the world but not of the world.
We're called to be a strong example of love whose trust is firmly in God... but we often aren't
Some ministries are terrified of governments coming in and telling them what they can or can't say, so they don't want to get incorporated or become a 501c3 or even have a telephone
Is it wrong? That isn't my call, but I think its strange.
People become afraid of what a person might say, and they tailor messages of condemnation around someone that may just have a differing opinion. Fear.
Churches are supposed to be a hospital for the soul, not contained in any building but a vast reaching body that tends to the wounds and concerned. It laughs with you, It cries with you. It loves you and represents Christ. I was part of one ministry for a great while and for years I fought for lunch with a leader so that I could get to know the man.  I came away knowing more about him by all the things that he refused to open up about and wouldn't say and the questions that he never cared to ask or get answers too than any words that he ever threw out behind a pulpit. I wondered, Is he afraid to let me in?

I read an outstanding post yesterday titled "How to love a psychopath" and in it they spoke about the need for a deep connection in order to facilitate healing and to convey love. I've been a part of several ministries that not only fall short on the connection, but it would seem that they are against it.
Love is a lot of hard work, and it is the thing that is contrary to the atmosphere of fear. In some ministries, every new person is a potential threat and the only people that are really welcomed with open arms and lovingly embraced are those who already believe what the house believes.  A friend touched on this point quite well when he said

"I'm not saying this to bash the church or synagogue. I don't usually go to religious services anymore because I just can't handle it. The way things are done is so opposite to the way I am and to what actually works when it comes to making disciples and personal transformation, I often walk away feeling frustrated and drained. I'll give you a couple examples.
I'm very talkative, relational, and interactive, but in most religious services you can't talk - except for scripted prayers and songs - and there's little relational interaction except for what you squeeze in after the official service.
I'm very active physically - read that hyper haha - but in most religious services I have to mostly sit still and passively go along with whatever is happening.
I'm obsessed with making new disciples and changing the world, so I would rather be out there meeting nonreligious people (the 1) and building friendships with them than spending half the day sitting around with other people who already believe just like me (the 99) acting as if the pinnacle of discipleship was singing songs and 'getting fed'. Yes, some congregations have a strong focus on making disciples, but for many of the ones I've been to, it's not even on the radar. "

I've seen a disproportionate balance in relationships. I heard my own brother teach that the kingdom of God is built on relationships. Some places had no idea that my parents divorced, that I had moved in to help my mom, or that I was moving across the country even though I'd been talking about it for a while. A select few told me that they would miss me and that god would bless me where ever I was but there were others who said that I was making the gravest mistake of my life because of a strong sense of fear and impending doom was upon us all. Some of these same doomsday people thought a meteor was going to hit us last year, the economy was going collapse the year before that, another crisis and before that another crisis.  Don't get me wrong I love these people, and I'd most likely take a bullet for any of them.... but the constant paranoia fostered in an atmosphere of a lacking deep connection while pushing a specific thrust on getting their message out....

It felt as though the doctrine was truth, but I was among a cult. When I spoke out about concerns, the wagons would circle and their would be meetings about "slandering the ministry", because there was not that deep connection, it was easy for some of them to assume the worst and rally groups for secret meetings on how to "deal with the Jay situation" instead of reaching out in a one on one phone call.
On the other hand I once lived with a Pastor. He took me in until I could find my way in a new town. He poured into my life not by forcing scriptures, but by being a light. He listened. He laughed with me and he treated me like a brother or a son. He walked in a way that was comfortable with God, not looking over his shoulder but trusting in Him.

How can we appropriately minister to people with the hard questions if we as a people are afraid of them and their questions. Legitimate doubt in a quest for truth produces a more resolute faith at the other end. When that doubt is met with chastisement, fear and separation then it only reaffirms in the negative. I've been in churches that do not appreciate legitimate questions, because the pastor was afraid of those questions leading to a reevaluation of his doctrine, which contained flaws. It still hurts sometimes knowing that I was rejected because of questions.

We have to overcome our fear or the world. Fear is generally not an attribute of those who have died in the Messiah.
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love - 1 John 4

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. "

I've finally gotten around to watching Dr. Who. I was resistant at first because initially, I didn't care for the campy graphics. I should have gotten over that a while ago, because I've found that I can actually relate to a great deal of it. A story about a troubled man who had a rough isolated upbringing and had to cope with significant loss in regards to family, generally running from problems, actually helps people but is often hated for it and classified as an enemy. He likes to travel, is often very clever but also can be very rude.. is often very sorrowful for a loss of a woman that he loved but is grateful she found someone much like him that makes her happy. Yeah, it rings true. Sometimes painfully so. Sure there are variances such as I wouldn't be so anti- gun, I'm bad with math, and also... I can't fly through space and time but those are minor details in the grand scheme.

Actually, I did sort of do a little time traveling recently. On facebook I've been writing a bit about stuff that has been coming up in the back of my mind. Old memories and hardships. I wrote a little bit about some of the bits of trouble that I had in school, regarding one of the many bullies that used to torment me. I couldn't make a move without this kid making fun of me, and getting others to make fun of me. I couldn't draw pictures alone without him making fun of my drawings. He's make fun of how I dressed, how I talked and just take full advantage of every opportunity to get a jab in. I never forgot his name. I looked him up out of curiosity. I wanted to know, did he stay a monster or did he become something else. I found him and so, I sent him a message and all it said was:

"I remember you."

I wasn't sure what direction that the conversation was going to take, or how I was going to react if he hadn't changed. The conversation started out with confirmations, that he was the right person, and yeah I was that kid with the awful MacGyver haircut ( I don't Exactly fault him for making fun of that).  The conversation developed a little more and there was an apology. A real apology for the way he treated me as a kid. In my heart, it wasn't about me. It wasn't about all the wrong that I endured. The apology opened a door for me to love a little easier as I saw that somewhere along the way, This man acknowledged that the way and manner in which he conducted himself was appalling and he changed. In his apology, I loved him as a reclaimed brother.

There are parallels through out the Bible about forgiveness, and not holding grudges. Passages like "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord."

Joseph looking like an Egyptian after his "regeneration" from "the dead" looked at his brothers and wept and loved them because he knew that they were no longer what they were.
It gives you a birds eye view on repentance and the mercy of God. We're tyrants. We're bullies. We're awful in regards to treating people well, and we're the absolute worst when it comes to how we treat God. He gave me a glimpse of the Joy one can feel when that change is recognized. "You know not to do the thing. You've beaten the thing. You're not going to perpetuate the volumes of cycles of affliction on others because you've turned from the thing. It is not a cause for shame, but of triumph... because you are free from the thing"

An apology is a powerful thing. It isn't wielded by the haughty, it is exemplified in humility. I told this man how happy I am that he has a wife and kids and that life is blessed for him. I even remembered a kid that I used to pick on now and again. I've looked him up to apologize.
Traveling through time, hopefully changing a little of the future.