Saturday, November 18, 2006

Spectrum Analysis of the Continuum

I love to use big words even I don’t understand. But there is a serious point.

I was in a worship service last night and began asking this question. Where on the spectrum or continuum is this time we are having here? I began to understand that there is capacity to analyze the experience.


Preaching leading to knowledge ------------Prophetic Utterance leading to life changes

Teaching leading to understanding ----------Anointed Impartation of the knowledge of

Worshiptainment, Performance, Music -----First Commandment driven Cries of Love
sung with passion by everyone

Sacraments Administered ------------------God Encountered at a manifest level

Offerings Taken ------------------Joy in Giving and Obedience to Access his Grace

Announcements Made ----------------------A call to action in ministry opportunities

Blessings given -----------------------------Altar Ministry that rebukes the work of the devil

Passing of the Peace ------------------------ Agape Love shared with a brother or sister

Conversations in the Hall After Church

Greeting by the Pastor -----------------------A word of Prophecy and Encouragement

The Bears, Bizness, Health ....................The Wonder of it all, God's goodness and Mercy

The analysis may make some of us uncomfortable. That's OK. We need to ask ourselves the question, how do we move from lukewarm blue to red hot. That's the place I want to be, and I'm betting you do too. We may not get all the way there, but knowing where we can go can move us forward with creative discontent at the way things are and to the way things could be. I'm a confirmed anti-Laodocien.

I know that among the hundred or so who read this you may think this is just about you. Marie, it is about what we talked about last night. I will take that picture. Last night’s meeting was supernatural. It's what motivated me to write this.

But, we must ask ourselves as ministers, are we doing what God expects or have we dumbed down the mission he gave us? Shouldn’t every time we get together be a supernatural encounter?

I believe. I believe we can. I believe we MUST!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Whatever You Believe is Absolutely True (for you)

I have written on this before, but right now am motivated to take another run at it.

William James was the father of a secularist (although James was a Christian) thought movement that has persisted from his time in the around the turn of the 20th century until now. Usually it's called “Positive Thinking”.

One of his contemporaries was James Allen who was an early inspirational writer. His most famous book, “As a Man Thinketh” publshed in 1902 is still read quoted today. It comes from a proverb in the Bible. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

I worked in the “Think and Grow Rich” industry for many years (Dale Carnegie Courses). I believe what was taught IF we understand that there are truths above and beyond those we conjure up.

What is true is:

If you think you can’'t you’'re right.

If you think it’s too hard you are dead on.

If you think you are never going to make it, that’s the truth.

If you think you can'’t make and keep friends, yep.

If you think you are hard to get along with, you are.

If you think you will never have enough money, it’s true.

If you think nothing ever works out for you, it won'’t.

If you think thinking anything other than what you are thinking is daydreaming, it is for you.

I have had to fight against thoughts which have the capacity to keep me down all my life. People have lied to me. Teachers, parental units, friends, customers, employees, even spiritual leaders. If I listened to them too long I too would be convinced that I should give up, nothing’s gonna work out.

That my friends are lies broadcast directly via broadband from the pit of hell.

This has to do with politics, this has to do with marriage, this has to do with business, this has to do with church, this has to do with work, this has to do with everything in my life and yours. Even much of the media today lies to us and works overtime to discourage us from believing.

Here’s the rub: You can think positive thoughts, hopeful thoughts, but if they are outside the word of God, prophetic and published they are useless. Oh, they will get results for a while. But the Devil will use them to trip you up.; Deceitfulness of riches.

Only by knowing what God says to and about you and hearing it and hearing it and hearing it will you ever get a breakthrough.

Even well meaning people will say things to you that are destructive. Peter said such to Jesus and Jesus had to rebuke Satan who was using Peter. Your friends and family didn’t mean to beat you down. They were used. And they abused with their words.

It’s time to take it all back, time to get it all right, time to adjust the words you live by.

Because, in the end, whatever you believe about yourself, your circumstances, your relationships, your work, your life is true for you. You can go on living under the circumstance OR you can begin living in hope and begin thinking like you believe what you hope to be true about your life. Everyone, including myself, who has gone that way, has found themselves better for it. Begin to believe, and you will become. Act as if it already was happening and it will.

What’s the alternative to choosing to live this way? Living like you do now?

Believe! Begin today. Whatever you think you are, you are.

Caring for the Poor by RonMck Part 1

This is a consolidation of posts by Ron McKinzie on the poor. I commend them to you, but I am going to repost them here with little comment from me. I believe that much of what happens in society, government and the church regarding the poor is unscriptural, wasteful and in some cases harmful.

Let's see if Ron agrees.

Poverty is a central issue for Christians. To be credible, we must provide proposals for the cure of poverty.

Many Christians advocate a reduction in taxes and welfare benefits. These things will eventually happen, but we should not even think about these policies, until we have alternative solutions in place and working. Compassion demands nothing less.

Tax the Rich?
The common preference is to help the poor by taxing the rich. The scriptures do not give responsibility for caring for the poor to rich people of society. Rich people are urged not to trust in their wealth. They are warned that their wealth may quickly disappear. They are warned that they may die before they have a chance to enjoy their wealth. However, the Bible is realistic and does not expect the rich to do good to the poor (if they are not Christians).

Furthermore, Jesus is not in the business of forcing rich people to be generous. The modern approach to poverty is to tax the rich and give their money to the poor. The implicit argument goes like this. Rich people are not as good as the rest of us, so they cannot be trusted to be generous of their own accord. They should be forced to be generous. We should tax the rich more, so the money can be used for the poor.

The problem with this approach is that Jesus never forced people be good. He would never force the rich to be generous. The Bible gives responsibility for the poor to Christians, not the rich. Christians who want to tax the rich to bless the poor are passing the buck.

This may seem obvious, but responsibility for providing our material needs is our own personal responsibility. Paul stated this quite bluntly when he said that those who will not work should not eat.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you…. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 Thes
Each person has a responsibility to provide for there own needs. This will generally mean working to earn enough money to pay for all that we need.

Personal provision includes saving enough to deal with the small emergencies that will arise from time to time (Prov 21:20). We do not know the future, but we can be certain that troubles will come; so a wise person will put a little aside to prepare for the unexpected.

Other methods of support only kick in when some unique circumstances prevent a person from providing for himself. For example, sickness or some other impairment may prevent a person from working. They will need support from others by one of the methods described in the Bible.

What About their Family?
The primarily responsibility for supporting those who become poor belongs within families.

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially
for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an
unbeliever (1 Tim 5:8).
Families should provide financial support for each other. The first port of call when someone gets in financial difficulty will be other family members. Family members are in the best position to provide help. They will know the person well, so they will understand their situation. Family members will quickly identify anyone who does not deserve help because they are just being lazy. The recipient may also have opportunities to provide assistance in the future, so help tends to be more reciprocal.

The responsibility to provide care extends to children and grandchildren.

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God (1 Tim 5:4).
Families caring for each other is different from the modern concept, where the state is expected to care for the elderly. The biblical principle is that children and grandchildren should care for the elderly.

The traditional family managed inter-generational wealth transfers very effectively. Parents cared for children when they were young, and children provided for their parents when they grew old. This worked well, because parents have their greatest earning power, when their children need expensive tertiary education. The children have their best earning power, when their parents are old and dependent on them.

The modern social welfare state has created problems by shifting wealth between generations without thought for the consequences. These changes have broken the bonds that held our wider families together. Parents no longer provide for their teenage children, so they have less influence on their lives, just when the need is greatest. Often extended families do no know each other well, so they are not in a position to support each other. Christian community will have to be restored so that families can provide economic support for each other in times of need.

God has given fathers the responsibility for providing for their families and where the father or his family fails to provide, the church is responsible to meet the need. When the state becomes the provider, it takes this responsibility away from the father and he loses his self respect. This weakens family life, making the whole welfare problem worse.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Curses Foiled Again

I heard this story on Paul Harvey. I was amused and bemused. I have been threatened with Voodoo more than once. In fact after a great deal of bragidocio on the part of some mountain residents I looked hard for a black magic practitioner to take on when I was in Jamaica a few years ago. It was all big talk till I told them I wanted a showdown, I even agreed to meet them in a cemetery at midnight. No takers. Oh well. Talk is cheap.

Here's the story:

A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the "potion" and smeared some on his face.

"I don't hate Americans, but I don't like Bush," said Pamungkas, who believed the ritual would succeed as, "the devil is with me today."

He said the jinx would sent spirits to posses Secret Service personnel guarding Bush and left them in a trance, leading them into falsely thinking the President was under attack, thus eventually causing chaos in Bogor Presidential Palace, where the American leader was scheduled to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday.

Indonesia the world's most populous Muslim country, however many still practicing animist rituals, including black magic, that predate Islam's arrival in the archipelago.

"I am doing voodoo, because other ritual would not work," he told reporters after he conducted the gory ritual about 1 kilometers from the palace.

Just in case anyone thinks there's anything to this, In the name of Jesus I rebuke and revoke any curse against President Bush or his secret service agents. Amen.

That'll do it. It always does. Always will.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am Human (more or less)

Julie posted this very clever Red Dot thingy which I enjoyed more than I think I was supposed to.

I reccomend it.

I am so weird, I went round twice.

I'm easily entertained.

I am NOT an Evangelical (them's fight'en words) UPDATED SEE BELOW

I have NOT read Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life”. I don’t think it’s bad, I just think it represents a humanist attempt at redemption. Always a bad way to go.

That’s my argument against evangelicalism. They as a group somehow believe that you can mix intellectual analysis and reason with faith. Sorry, if I read my scriptures right, that aint’a gonna work.

Reason doesn’t have to be, but can be the enemy of faith. Trying too hard to reason things out will cause apostasy. The anti-christ will depend on peoples human reason to deceive them.

I was riding to a funeral with my Friend Harold Hein today. During the drive I was expounding on why the church of today is so inept. They don’t believe or accept the empowerment of the Holy Ghost. That is particularly true in the evangelical community.

I am on this bandwagon because I saw this article today in the news. Rick Warren is in the Middle East and says to our enemies that 80% of American people are against the war in Iraq. That simply isn’t true. He is doing what many well-meaning evangelicals do. They think by appearing “moderate” they can appeal to a wider realm. Sorry, you only appear weak and impotent. And stupid.

Here's what he said:
Pastor Warren expressed admiration of Syria and the coexistence he saw between Muslims and Christians, stressing that he will convey this image to his church and country."

Rick Warren also is quoted as saying that 80 percent of the American people oppose what the Administration is doing in Iraq.
I live close to Wheaton, the center of evangelicalism. Or, better said, the center of weak theology and poor ministry. I feel sorry for those who graduate from these evangelical schools today. Unless the power of the Holy Ghost comes on them, they will shrivel up and blow away.

Blown away by every wind of doctrine as Rick Warren has just been blown by. I know he’s a big shot author, I know he pastors a 30,000 member church in California. I know he’s considered by most to be some kind of Guru. Color me really really really unimpressed. If you don’t know who you are as a man of God and you get pushed around by the zeitgeist of the middle east, you should be displaced by someone with actual spiritual gonads.

So, you can call me: Pentecostal, tongue talker, Holy Roller, charismatic, radical nutcase for Jesus and even Lutheran (Mo or Wi synod). You just doesn’t has to call me Evangelical. I ain’t one.

UPDATE: Rick Warren denies having said any such thing. OK. I will apologise and recant what I have said if in fact this rebuttel from Rick Warren turns out to be true. I was going on what appeared to be correct news reporting from Syria and not from bloggers.

But, in fairness, Rick Warren has responded
here. I don't yet know who to believe. I think in the bad old cold war days we used to call them "Tools" of the enemy. I think Warren was blindsided.

I'm still not an evangelical. To the anonymus writer who I percieve was RonMak, I think your appelation of Evangelical in New Zealand is different from what it is in the USA. To be called an evangelical is not a badge of spiritual courage in the USA. And, I said I had NOT read Warren's book. I do own it. I have tried to read it a couple times and stopped because I found it wanting so. My wife read it and yawned. I don't get it, we must be a very needy people for this to have had such an impact.

IDOLS in The Church

I have from time to time published things that Pastor Omidiran sends me from Nigeria. I find his insight so rich and pure. I hope if you consider yourself a Christian you will read and heed his prophetic warning. It is worth the time it will take you to read this. I can only say 3 things to such a word, OUCH, YES, AMEN.

"Little children,keep yourselves from idols".1John 5:21

"Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god....."Psalm 16:4

"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy".Jonah 2:8

We want to look at a very serious issue in the mordern Church today. It is a subject that sounds 'unchurchly' and yet is so much evident in the midst of those who profess a saving faith in Christ Jesus.The subject is "IDOLATORY".God is ever greived by it and yet we celebrate it so much without any recourse to the Master's heart.

In our study we want to see how manifest it is in the midst of God's people. Please ponder the subject carefully and see where you are. Then make ammend without delay!


-Heroe worship.When a man is instituted, celebrated and deified as the all-in-all, father of all, never to be corrected.

-Messianic complex.When a man is taken for Christ.This is actually an anti-christ spirit. In Gk.antichristos (antichrist) means 'in place of Christ or instead of Christ').

-In actual fact, many modern-day 'Men of God' are striving ardently to place themselves in the place of Christ.The Living God will have none of this anymore!

-Money worship and love of money.

-Exaltation of denominational doctrines, tradition and practices above the Word of God. Men now use God's Word as a means of supporting their selfish, sectarian ideas.

-Undue exaltation of Satan and his works, extreme demon-consciousness. This is another side of the extreme! While we are not to to be careless about the devil and his works, we are in danger if we are advertizing them.

-Spiritism, the use of clandestine formulae and occult. Gimmicks of men do not complement the righteous God.

-Setting worldly standards as the yardstick for success.

-Ascribing the works of the Holy Ghost to the prowess, expertise or talents of a supposed 'man of GOD'.

-When 'men of GOD'are actually men of GOG, who are evidently carving out empires for themselves.The unrighteous Gog and Magog will surely receive their due recompence before the Righteous God.(Rev.20:8,9).

-When it seems no more dangerous to use the name of CHRIST to pursue and acheive selfish, man-made agenda.

-Christless Christianity. Here everything is important except Christ and His will."In Jesus' name" only becomes a means of appending and presuming divine signature to selfish and carnal prayers.

-Political tussles among those who aim to gain more importance prominence than others.

-Fights for positions.

-Subjugation of the poor and the less privileged in the local Church


-Inability of Church leaders to speak the whole truth that makes whole.

- Hopeless importation or copying of foreign, strange and unprofitable traditions to the detriment of men's souls.

-Lack of credible leadership succession: difficulty in raising genuine men of credibility in the face of leadership scarcity.

-Selfish religiosity, prayers and programmes.

-Division and disunity.

-Church leaders weakened, and spiritually paralyzed by reason of secret sins.

-Lack of genuine interest in evangelism and missions.

-When there is no more vision and encounter with God.

-When prayers meet brick-walls and are hindered.

-When men seek God as a means to an end and nothing more.

-When giving to God becomes a bribe or a bait given to appease the unwilling Almighty.

- When God is presented as the Offering Collector who must pay back by gratifying the giver's desire.

-When there seems to be no more danger in seeking money from abominable sinners and haters of God in order to do God's work. Many Pastors may finally end in hell because they make no difference.

-When preachings come from the pulpit to while away the time. At such a time the Preacher is only an anti-anointed professional who simply sees himself as a performer for a fee. He himself is a lost soul .

-When men's hearts are too dull to be moved by messages of eternal life, being past feelings.

-When a whole majority of congregations keep seeing and saying the same thing (just like Ahab and his prophets)when they are off the Bible way and no one seems to see differently. Do we still have faithful Michaiahs in our city? (1Kin.22:1-28).

-When Holy Ghost activities have been replaced by excessive emotionalism, propaganda and self-centered gimmicks.

-When men have lost confidence in the simplicity of God's Word and they keep looking for some other 'experience'

-When the Person of the Holy Spirit has been carelessly substituted with olive oil, handkerchiefs, so that vain-minded men might be drawn into their doom. Truly, the Lord in His sovereignty could choose to move in any unusual way; howbeit, men are too inadequte to predict a way for Him!

-Hopeless pursuit of false expectations by carnal believers.

-When the Church makes itself a specialist in one side of the truth while other truths are grossly neglected, misplaced or discountenanced.

-When a supposed 'Man of God' only builds arround himself sycophants or 'Yes men' who are forbidden to question his misdemeanour.

-Christless pentecost and charismatic recklessness.

-When assorted Church programmes and activities serve as a means of keeping Church members busy or captive.

-Competitions and envy among ministers of God.

-Increased sugar-coating of messages in order to keep the crowds.

-When the name of Christ is being misused by men as a means of livelihood.

-Whenever men can manage through their sermons without any recourse to God's clearly stated truth, without opening the idol is most likeely in focus!

-When the preacher lays emphasis on everything, remembers everyhing, preaches everything and focuses on everything, except Heaven and Eternity.........

Then an idol is in the house, men's heart have failed them.

Ponder on these and don't forget to share them with your neighbours!

Your fellow pilgrim & heir of the Kingdom,

Ibidan, Nigeria

Seven Kernels of Wheat from the CHAFF

National Review Online’s Rich Lowery has laid down seven lies we conservatives tell ourselves and the media tells us as a result of last week’s election outcome. I like them because they even publish my meager submissions from time to time. It’s worth reading.

In quick summary here are the 7 lies you have heard. Remember these are LIES. Lies you have told yourself and lies the media tells you. Check it out:

1 Republican losses were in keeping with typical setbacks for a party holding the White House in the sixth year of a presidency.
NO, we got out butts kicked in the house. The senate not so much. In fact if Lieberman breaks R we are back to 2000.

2 The conservative base, discouraged by the GOP’s doctrinal impurity, didn’t show up at the polls.
The full conservative base showed up, It’s the independents that didn’t break right

3 Republicans lost because they weren’t fiscally conservative enough.
Other than the prescription drug plan that didn’t lose any votes, what else could anyone have cut? They spent, but mostly on war. The mullahs aren’t going to overthrow themselves.

4 The GOP was too socially conservative for voters.
Really? Nearly all anti gay marriage amendments passed. Nearly all pro traditional marriage amendments, passed. And the efforts to legalize marijuana failed. We are a socially conservative country.

5 The election was a great victory for conservative and moderate Democrats.
Only 5 of the 29 new house democrats are conservative socially. Not a very large conservative demo caucus is it.

6 The election was a decisive ideological rejection of conservatism.
See above, what lost the war was a drumbeat of Katrina, Corruption, Scandal, and frankly some incompetence in leaders President Bush put in place. Not a rejection of conservatism. If the Democrats whole strategy is to depend on the Republicans to continue to associate themselves with these things they will be out of power quickly just as the Republicans (including this Republican) has depended on the Democrats to “Blow” every election. They just didn’t.

7 President Bush now must give up on the Iraq War.
Oh, Sure, there’s a great deal of huffing and puffing by the usual suspects about bringing home the troops, but even the treasonous New York Times has published their own poll that shows the US electorate want to send even MORE troops in to finish the job. 55% polled said so. Even the editorial board of the TNYT now endorses this. So, behind all the airplay is the truth. Unless John Murtha is given too much sway, we are going to finish this war.

75 years from now the much-pilloried President Bush will be seen as one of the most decisive effective leaders of the last 100 years. Bill Clinton will be a blip on the radar screen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Elliot Ness was an Occupying Army

You’ve seen the Untouchables. I live in Chicagoland. Less than 3 miles from where I live is a famous hideout that Al Capone used during the gang wars of the 30’s. It’s all very real here.

If we are to understand those Democrats who are now getting ready in full blown retreat we must understand the “Failed” strategy of Elliot Ness.

He came into Chicago from an outside government (Washington) and took on the evil and corruption that was Chicago then. He had no business doing that. Chicago gangsters didn’t do anything to Washington DC. There was no reason to go in. There were no WMD’s.

And, after all, if they had just pulled all the cops out of Chicago during the gangster Chicago days and those of us who live there would have been so much better off today. Right?

Of course, that would have meant that once the gangsters carved up Chicago there was Gary, Milwaukee, Rockford, Madison, Indianapolis…. you get the picture.

But, the blind left doesn’t understand the lessons of history. It only reacts with emotion and knee-jerk. What happens in Chicago doesn’t stay in Chicago. It’s like a cancer. If it’s not stopped here, it will spread to the whole country. But the new Democratic pansies in leadership today will kick the can forward for the next generation to deal with. My grandchildren will have to fight this battle in the future but with one hand behind their back. Thanks idiots. We could have won this here and now but your cowardice will condemn future generations.

The gangsters in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and those who secretly root for them in Europe and other Muslim countries want to convince the spineless left that getting out is the best thing for all. And like a bunch of rubes they say “EEYUP”. They don’t understand history at all.

As I recall from the movie, Al Capone told Elliot Ness, “Let us handle it, we can take care of our own business”. In other words: Elliot, Cut and Run. Get out. This isn’t your fight.

I’m glad he didn’t because living here now would be so much worse if Vito was coming to collect my taxes, running the court system, and controlling traffic.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The First Commandment is First for a Reason

Sunday Pastor Phil preached a sermon and I scolded him.  I told him he just stole my thunder.  I was preparing a post which I was calling
"Sermons the Devil Hates".
I got this thread from Todd Beery in a Monday night teaching.  I thought it was really good.
So in honor of both of these Godly men here is the teaching:
The devil doesn't much mind if you preach on why revival isn't happening in the church.  He doesn't mind if you preach on sin. It reinforces his condemnation program.  He doesn't mind if you teach on avoiding sexual sin, against homosexuality, against coveting your neighbors wife or stuff, against lying, against almost anything regarding commandments 4-10. 
It's ok with the devil if you want to preach against Liberalism.  I certainly do that a great deal.  The devil likes it when you tell people they are going to hell and that they need to come to the altar for the umpteenth time. 
Honestly he really doesn't mind so much if we preach on why we need to love our neighbor and give to the poor.  I mean, who does either of those things enough?  Guilt is the devils favorite tool.
That means the devil is all smiles in most churches most of the time. 
The only time he frowns and the sermon he opposes most of all is when we preach on keeping the first commandment first.  The reason is, a person can keep all of the commandments perfectly from 2-10 and go straight to hell.  I have known such people.  Good people, give to the poor, don't swear, take care of their parents, don't have graven images, don't kill, don't lie and couldn't care less what their neighbors have.  Good moral lost souls.
They are passive towards God.  They love their neighbor but don't love God with all their heart, mind, soul, being.  They are godless humanitarians headed for hell.
I know that seems harsh, but without the first commandment first all the others are meaningless.  A young rich ruler came to Jesus and asked what he must do to be saved.  Jesus rehearsed the "commandments".  The young rich ruler said, "That's me, I've done all that".  Then Jesus put an acid test in his way.  "Sell everything and follow me".  Nope.  I can follow 2-10 but not 1. 
Most of us in the church are like that today.  That's not  condemnation.  But not understanding the power of making the first commandment first in our lives has caused the church to become a powerless house of good works.  The nature of passionate intimacy can only happen if we first love God with everything that is in us.
Intimacy, embarrassing intimacy, passionate intimacy, integral intimacy will empower the weakest Christian to wonderful places in God.  Intimacy will cause us to touch a deeper place in God that will allow us to go higher.  As a nurseryman I know that a tree with shallow roots can't go very high before it blows over from some wind or another.  To go higher you have to go deeper. 
We put the responsibility on our worship leaders to take us higher and yet without people willing to go deeper that task is made triply difficult, perhaps impossible.  You can't go any higher than you have gone deeper. 
As a Jesus addict for a long time I can tell you that the holy addiction is worse / better than any drug you could take.  I find myself at a new place in Jesus and it only makes me want to go deeper.  I'm never satisfied.  I'm always seeking more.  I want to get a deeper depth so I can get a higher high.  Not experientially always, but spiritually.  I am spiritually most satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time.  This is the deep calling unto deep place I live my life.  The more I get the more I want and the more I want the more I get and so it goes.  He draws me to him deeper and deeper and it's so wonderful.
Oh, there have been times where I have drifted away and sought comfort in worldly things that used to satisfy.  Now when I do those things or indulge in those things I feel cheated.  The old high isn't there anymore.  It causes a dissatisfaction that can only be satisfied by a touch from God. 
That is how the first commandment manifests in my life.  It is not enough to just say "I Love you Lord and I lift my voice".   It is another thing to be so passionate that nothing less than his touch will keep me alive.  
I remember well when I met my wife and fell head over heels in love.  Seeing her, hearing her voice, her touch, her kiss was all I thought about.  I would do almost anything to get to her.  I was in love.  I was addicted. 
I still am.  But I now see how that same passion for intimacy I have for my wife manifests itself in my passion for Jesus. 
I would do anything for my wife.  I will do anything for Jesus.  Anything.  Lovers of God are better givers, workers, worshippers, pastors, worship leaders, prophets.  Better Christians in every way. We try to cajole them into being better Christians as Preachers.  But without love we end up with congregations of clanging cymbals without love.
We read 1 Corinthians 13 and assume it's about horizontal love for one another.  While that's an OK interpretation, it's really more about the first commandment.  It's saying that even if I gave everything I had to the poor, my body burned at the stake and I did it without love (first commandment first) it's all for naught.  2-10 obedience without #1.  1 Corinthians 13 is more about the vertical first commandment love than about the humanistic love.  If we get the vertical right, the horizontal will follow.  It must.
Here's what really irritates the devil.  God looks at the intentions of our heart, and even though we fail, as we get up and press on he counts it as righteousness.  The books of Romans and Hebrews has references to this.  How our intentions, or first failing steps, our set coutentince is reckoned to us as righteousness.  There is a passage in the book of Zechariah 4:10 where Zerrubable takes out a plumbline and holds it up to begin the building of the temple.  God in that one verse of prophecy rejoices over that intention as if the temple were already complete because in the spirit it is.  As the temple of the Holy Ghost when we hold up a plumb line in holding our heart of intimacy toward God he rejoices in the same way.  The intention of our heart is to God counted as if it were already done.  We can't ever really get there this side of the veil.  But turning from coldness toward intimacy holds a plumbline up that moves the heart of God.
That's keeping the first commandment first.  The intention.  We fail, but we press on. Of all the things we could or do preach on, the devil will oppose that single sermon more than almost anything we could say.  He doesn't want us to know that in this area we will never arrive but the process, the journey is accounted unto us as righteousness.  There is no guilt associated with that he can accuse us of as long as we continue to seek to go deeper with a holy dissatisfaction.
So, brothers Phil and Todd, keep preaching on the first commandment.  Everything else (2-10) will flow out of that if we get that one right.
Besides it irritates the Devil so much.  And that's just fine with me.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Barbarians at the Gate

I have friends who see themselves as Christians. They see themselves as good. They see themselves as believing that Church and State don't mix well. I have bad news. They don't understand the nature and mercy of God. They haven't comprehended the books of Isaiah and Ezekial. When with good intentions they try to parse the meaning of the "GOD VOTE" in the last election pontificating as if they understood.

They don't. They are ants in an anthill trying to explain the nature of a skyscraper. It's a hopeless mission.

So, I read this collumn by an editor of World Net Daily. It says much about the drift we have taken in America.

We are losing our soul and those who think they have discovered it have discovered nothing exept the bias of unbelief. We are in trouble and the barbarians are at the gate.


The God vacuum: America and the barbarian hordes

By David Kupelian

In the Old Testament of the Bible, God is shown time after time chastising the House of Israel, His chosen but often disobedient people, by allowing barbarians to invade and plunder their cities and put many of them to the sword.

That is what the Western World, including America, is starting to experience today, having likewise turned away from God.

This raging conflict between Islam and the West, this "clash of civilizations" that many are calling World War III, is at root a spiritual war.

It's been said that it takes a religion to fight a religion. More precisely, it takes true faith to defeat a false one. And by true faith I don't mean a set of rules, rituals and doctrine in a book, any book. I mean a genuine personal relationship with the one true God, and a nation of such people who follow the laws of conscience that same God planted in each of their hearts.

What is the answer to the burgeoning threat of Islamic jihad? The simple and terrifying bottom-line answer is that there is no answer unless America finally awakens and gives up its insane rebellion against its own founding faith and values.

We're fond of praising our World War II-era forbearers who won that terrible conflict with another form of demon-possessed, expansionist fascism. But the "Greatest Generation" was different from this generation. It believed in God.

Come again? You say we also believe in God today? No, we don't – not as a nation.

The World War II generation believed in God. They believed that this God was the God of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. They believed He created us in His image and that human life was therefore sacred, which meant we don't slaughter our offspring in the womb nor kill off our parents when they get old and sick. They believed in biblical morality when it comes to sex, which meant homosexuality, adultery and "shacking up" were sinful and wrong.

And they also believed God had uniquely blessed the United States of America, something Alexis de Tocqueville called "American Exceptionalism" – the conviction that America's enlightened Constitution, industrial and military might, unprecedented standard of living, and most of all its legendary liberty were the direct result of the Almighty's blessing on this special nation. Implicit in that belief was the understanding that, just as with ancient Israel, this divine spigot flowing with undeserved blessings could and would be turned off if we turned away from God.

Thus it was the "Greatest Generation's" national unity, based on its widespread cultural and religious fidelity to those core truths – what we call "Judeo-Christian values" – that gave them the confidence to fight and persevere and win the world war that confronted them, whatever sacrifices that effort required.

Today, America and Europe are being transformed by Islam because there is a spiritual vacuum in these once-Christian lands. Especially in Britain and Europe, where the Islamic invasion is already well advanced, analysts concede it's simply a matter of time before some of these nations have Muslim majorities. Then comes Shariah law and the total transformation of these formerly Christian countries into repressive Islamic states.

Think I'm exaggerating? The Netherlands' justice minister, Piet Hein Donner, recently announced he would let Shariah law take over his European nation – already rapidly filling up with Muslims – if the majority votes for it. Just as in other Arab-Muslim countries currently under this strict Islamic legal system, European nations under Shariah might well see amputations – as prescribed in the Quran – as punishment for certain crimes; women publicly flogged and sometimes hanged or stoned to death for adultery or other so-called "crimes against chastity"; and death sentences for leaving the Muslim religion, or even for preaching Christianity, as occurs in Pakistan under its notorious "blasphemy laws."

All the vain, prideful fantasies of the post-Christian, secular, multiculturalism-worshipping Europeans are crashing down around them. The French are so terrified of the Muslims that comprise 10 percent of their population that Parisian police won't even venture into Muslim communities on the outskirts of the capital city. Having traded the Christian faith of their fathers for the smug, self-righteous ecstasy of the socialist welfare state, they have no spiritual strength left with which to fight back the invading hordes.

What about America? Though the percentage of Muslims in this huge nation is much lower than in Europe, radical Islam already has a powerful foothold in many parts of American society. Beyond the obvious signs – like the rapid proliferation within the U.S. of Saudi-funded mosques, Islamic centers and schools teaching discontent and even hatred for America – consider just one of the many less-than-obvious "growth areas": our prison system.

"Muslim chaplains have established an Islamic radical regime over Muslim convicts in the American prisons," writes Stephen Schwartz in "Islam in the Big House." "Radical Muslim chaplains, trained in a foreign ideology, certified in foreign-financed schools, and acting in coordination to impose an extremist agenda have gained a monopoly over Islamic religious activities in American state, federal and city prisons and jails." He adds, chillingly, "Imagine each prison Islamic community as a little Saudi kingdom behind prison walls, without the amenities. They have effectively induced American authorities to establish a form of 'state Islam' or 'government-certified Islam' in correctional systems."

Will this nightmare ever end? It will only end, like all nightmares end, when we wake up.

We need to wake up and remember who we really are. We need to realize the bottom-line reality that man is a spiritual creature, and that he will have faith, one way or the other. If he doesn't embrace true faith, he will embrace false faith. It's not only automatic – it's God-ordained.

The most poignant scene in the film "United 93" – chronicling the events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, crash of the ill-fated jetliner into a Pennsylvania field – came toward the end when both passengers and terrorists were depicted as praying. It was just before the courageous group of passengers launched their revolt against the hijackers, and several were seen quietly, fervently reciting the Lord's Prayer, as though they were asking God for the superhuman strength and focus they would need to overpower the terrorists while facing almost-certain death. At the same time, the terrorist pilot, having been warned that a passenger rebellion was imminent, was also praying to his god, begging Allah for help and strength to prevail against great odds. The image of these two mortal enemies, each praying to his god for victory, was electrifying – a perfect distillation of the conflict into which we have been plunged.

We can't – and won't – win this war without God. He knows when and where the next big terror attack is being planned against America. He knows where bin Laden is hiding. Only He can give us the unearthly wisdom and strength required to be longsuffering and merciful when restraint is called for – and to be merciless when outright, heart-stopping, shock-and-awe devastation is called for to defeat the enemy. Most of all, only genuine fidelity to God will give us the gift of true righteousness – an otherworldly quality that terrifies the wicked, inspires the decent and mysteriously delivers victory into the hands of His people.

When God withheld His protection from ancient Israel because of the disobedience and faithlessness of His people, there was only one possible solution: They had to repent of their pride and folly and come back to Him.

Do we somehow expect the Almighty to grant a different remedy to us?