Saturday, March 31, 2007
Rich often prophesies in allegory.
He just did again. He has shown us a vision of what lies ahead if we give in and give up in the battle against the forces of evil in the world.
We must pray for our country, for President Bush and even for congress. We must support the men and women in harms way. This is much too serious to be left without the body of Christ in unity.
I know I have many well meaning Christians who are anti this war. I hope they will read what Rick says and consider it's ramifications.
We could lose everything.
Closed circuit for my friend Harold. Please have your lovely wife read what Rick wrote. It might help her grasp the gravity of the situation. This is a spiritual battle.
One reason that I resigned from the professional ministry was that I discovered that the modern preaching ministry is quite destructive for the church and the minister. The professional minister spends most of his life preparing for his next Sunday performance. His self-esteem depends on how the last past performance went.
This focus on a Sunday performance also tends to encourage passivity among Christians. Their main contribution to the “main event” is to tell the pastor that they enjoyed it. By encouraging passivity, this style of ministry has made the church impotent.
The preaching ministry had a role when large portions of the population were illiterate. They needed someone who could read to explain what the scripture taught. Those days are long gone. Christians now have access to an immense supply of good teaching through television, tapes and the internet. There is no need for average teaching from a local professional, when they can listen to teaching by the best in the world.
Preaching is a very blunt instrument, because the listeners have different needs, experience and circumstances. The best sermon will still bore some, mislead a few and actually hurt one or two.
I actually found that preaching to Christians is a fairly ineffective method for bringing change. It is like water dripping on a stone. It will eventually wear a hole, but it takes a very long, long time. If you are serious about making stone sculptures, you need a more efficient method of shaping stones.
Judging by what people said, I was a very good preacher. People said that they found my content relevant and preaching style entertaining, which made me feel good. However, judging by the changes in their life, my preaching was mostly ineffective. A church activity that has its greatest impact on the ego of the pastor has to be fairly dangerous for the minister and the church.
The New Testament model for changing lives is to take people with you when you are doing the stuff. When they have watched for a while, you let them do it with you. They can soon do the stuff on their own. Not long after, they can take others with them to learn how to do the stuff. This is real multiplication.
A correspondent asked me about the role of professional ministers in a house church setting. This question raises many important issues. My attempt to answer is contained in the following couple of posts.
Our house church does not have a paid pastor. There is simply not enough work to keep one busy as the people look after each other. I can conceive of situations where a house church might support someone in full-time ministry. A church with several new Christians with deep needs might need someone working full time to help them get free. An evangelist working in a challenging situation might need to be supported so they could work full-time. However, house churches generally do not need professional leadership, because the members will care for each other and the meetings are led by the Holy Spirit with all members contributing.
Many years ago, I felt that I was called to be “preach the word” and I spent six years employed as a full-time minister/pastor. However, when I did further study of the New Testament, I found that this ministry of preaching to Christians does not exist, but is a leftover from an Old Testament theology. I realized that my calling was different from what I had thought. I was called more to speak prophetically to the church and the world, but I did not need to be a professional minister in the church to fulfil that calling, so I resigned from my position as a full-time minister.
Some people are able to establish a model of financial support for my type of ministry by selling tapes and books, or getting on the conference circuit and that is good if you can do it.
I have chosen to work as an economist. That has had many benefits for me. It provides financial support for my family. It allows me to produce statistics that expose the dishonesty and disobedience of the government. It also means that I am involved in the real world, rubbing shoulders with people who do not care about God or the church, with people dealing with broken marriages or gay marriages, with people trying to buy a home for their families. I now have a much better understanding and empathy for real life and real people than I did when I most of my work contact was with “church people”. I still see myself as being involved in full-time ministry (service) to the Lord.
When I was the manager of a large division in a public service organisation, I spent my time doing the following tasks:
* Going to meetings
* Organising people
* Dealing with issues
* Resolving problems
* Talking the vision
When I was a pastor, I did these same tasks.
Most pastors are managers or chief executives. If they want to be managers, that’s fine, but they should not call themselves pastors. Words should be used correctly. The people who do the pastoring (shepherding and discipling) should be called pastors.
If Christian leaders want to be regional mangers or management consultants, that’s fine, but we should not call them apostles. The title "apostle" should be used for those who are "sent out", because that it is what it means.
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, so we should be more careful about how we use words.
Friday, March 30, 2007
WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE LUTHERAN VIKING AIR IS NOW OPERATING IN MINNYSOTA, AND ALSO SERVING VISCONSIN, NORT AND SOUT DAKOTA.
If you are travelin' soon, consider Lutran (Lutheran) Viking Air, da no-frills airline. You're all in da same boat on Lutran Air, where flyin' is a upliftin' experience.
Dere is no First Class on any Lutran Viking Air flight.
Meals are potluck. Rows 1-6, bring rolls; 7-15, bring a salad; 16-21, a main dish, and 22-30, a dessert.
Basses and tenors please sit in da rear of da aircraft.
Everyone is responsible for his or her own baggage.
All fares are by free-will offering and da plane will not land 'til da budget is met.
Pay attention to your flight attendant, who will acquaint you wit da safety system aboard dis Lutran Viking Air 599.
Okay den, listen up. I'm only gonna say dis vonce. In da event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, I am frankly going to be real surprised and so vill Captain Olson, because we fly right around two tousand feet, so loss of cabin pressure would probably mean da Second Coming or someting of dat nature, and I wouldn't bodar wit doze liddle masks on da rubber tubes. You're gonna have bigger tings to worry about den dat. Just stuff doze back up in dair little holes. Probably da masks fell out because of turbulence which, to be honest wit you, we're going to have quite a bit of at two tousand feet, sort a like driving across a plowed field, but after a while you get used to it.
In da event of a water landing, I'd say forget it. Start saying da Lord's Prayer and just hope you get to da part about "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive doze who trespass against us," which some people say "sin against us" which ain't right, but what can you do?
Da use of cell phones on da plane is strictly forbidden, not because day may confuse da plane's navigation system, which is seat of da pants all da way. No, it's because cell phones are a pain in da wazoo, and if God meant you to use a cell phone, He would have put your mout on da side of your head.
We start lunch right about noon and it's buffet style wit da coffee pot up front.
Den we'll have da hymn sing; hymnals are in da seat pocket in front of you. Don't take yours wit you when you go or I am going to be real upset, and I am not kiddin!
Right now I'll say Grace: "Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, And let deze gifts to us be blessed. Fadar, Son, and Holy Ghost, May we land in Dulut or pretty close."
Happy Landin wit da Lutran Viking Airline!
Have a goood day
Tip o the hat to Jan Mehl Martin
The Easter season unveiling of an anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, dubbed "My Sweet Lord" by its creator, has infuriated Catholics preparing to observe some of their holiest days of the year.
The 6-foot sculpture by Cosimo Cavallaro was to debut Monday evening, four days before Christians mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. The final day of the exhibit at the Lab Gallery inside Manhattan's Roger Smith Hotel was planned for Easter Sunday.
"This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever," said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group. "It's not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing - to choose Holy Week is astounding."
The gallery's creative director, Matt Semler, said the Lab and the hotel were overrun with angry telephone calls and e-mails. The gallery was considering its options, he said.
© 2007 Associated Press.
LaShawn Barber expressed exactly how I feel. I thought I would let her say better than I can. Please read what she said and then you will know why more and more I write less and less amusement, entertainment or politcal ranting.
Sometimes I think there are people on the planet who share a brain. That there seem to be a great collective. A Borglike universality. I say that because sometimes I find someone saying exactly what I'm thinking at the moment.
Today that was LaShawn.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
When I say Holy Ghost some people cringe. I prefer that terminology. I’m OK with Holy Spirit but the nomenclature seems to be a little soft. I have always liked the words Holy Ghost because He’s Holy and He comes like a Ghost. Like the Wind. We see the result but not the person. He’s an unseen activator of things and people.
He, the Holy Ghost (I use He in the Royal sense since He has no gender) is God; Has always been God; always will be fully God. The essence of the I AM. He is was and always shall be.
At creation He is the creative force that hovered above the formless and void waters causing order to come into being. Gen 1:2 In people’s lives He still does the same thing. Many lives are formless and void until they become ordered after the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
He has been in action constantly from the beginning of Creation. In Genesis 6:3 He declares that as the Spirit he will not always strive with sin.
He manifests himself from time to time before Pentecost by filling various people for certain tasks. There was a builder of temples in Exodus 31:3 who by the Holy Ghost was enabled to great works. Kings, Prophets and others captured a glimpse of Heaven, said or did something they couldn’t do in the flesh. That is the Anointing of the Holy Ghost. Even a Pagan King was moved on by the Holy Ghost to action in 2 Chronicles 36:22.
Sometimes there was an action of the Holy Ghost that seemed at the time to be destructive. There was a confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel. Who caused that? The Devil? That confusion was resolved at Pentecost when we all spoke the same tongues again. Then there was the confusion of the Midianite hoards when Gideon attacked. Who did that? Or, how about Ananias and Sapphira. Killed by the Holy Ghost. He’s not to be trifled with. Not to be dismissed. But he is by much of the Modern Church.
Saul the King by the anointing of the Holy Ghost became a different Man. He prophesied. He walked with new confidence. But then one day the Holy Ghost left him after his rejection and disobedience. Same with Sampson. He knew NOT that the Spirit had left him.
David from time to time was overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. He wrote Psalms. He prophesied. He knew God. In Psalm 139:7-10 he spoke of the omnipresence of the Holy Ghost.
Isaiah prophesied the effect of His outpouring. In Chapter 61 the description of the Anointing was rehearsed later by Jesus when he said “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is Upon Me. He has anointed me to bring GOOD NEWS.” That’s the work of the Spirit of God.
Like Jesus and The Father, God the Holy Spirit is not different in the Old Testament from the new. He’s the same yesterday today and forever. When we sing the song, “Jesus Never Changes” we could sing the same about the Spirit of God. I have often said that to truly understand the unchanging character of God in all his manifestations and character you have to put the words of God in Red in the “Old Testament” and treat them as reverentially as you do the Words of Jesus in the flesh in the New Testament. Same God - Same Person – Same Red Letters.
The creative Power of The Holy Ghost was manifested on not only Saul and David but on Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Jeremiah, Balaam, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and all the prophets. They couldn’t prophesy unless the Holy Ghost had come upon them. They couldn’t do any mighty works except by the power of the Holy Ghost. Look at every Miracle manifested by the Prophets Elijah and Elisha. Who did that?
This empowerment only happened from time to time as the Spirit came on them. There was no consistent infilling. Only short term anointing as God enabled the word or action as needed. When the Anointing of God came upon Men they did great and mighty works. That was true then, it’s true now.
His voice is consistent, correcting, encouraging and forward looking. He hasn’t changed. It still is. If you hear a prophetic word it will harmonize with the word of God from Genesis to Maps. There is no turning at all.
His voice was silenced for a time due to a rejection of his word by a religious system that would rather have predictability than hear his voice. Those are the silent years between Malachi and Matthew. It happens when religious systems reject the Holy Ghost. We have just come out of this period of silent years. Thank God they are passing away and again the power of the Word of Prophecy is alive again.
Zechariah said: It’s not by power or by might but by my Spirit says the Lord God of Hosts.
We can trust that He the Spirit will be faithful to perform it.
Joel said: In those days I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and my sons and daughters will prophesy and dream dreams.
That religious system that silenced the prophets looked backwards to tradition not forward to the promise. It was inconsistent and unteachable. It was unable to be corrected. Just like today. That’s why I write this essay.
Some people during the silence of God heard the voice of God and tried to bring it out but they were silenced. The silencing of the prophets is nothing new. In fact most prophets are killed or ridiculed. Nothing is new under that sun. The prophetic is still feared and ridiculed.
When the promised Messiah shows up on the scene the Glorious Manifestation of the Holy Ghost is displayed:
- Mary has a visitation
- Joseph confirms the vision
- Elizabeth hears and conceives
- Zechariah hears and goes dumb
- John the Baptist full of the Holy Ghost leaps in the womb of his mother
- Simeon stands on a prophetic promise fulfilled
- Anna trusts God who rewards her for her faithfulness
The word of the Lord begins to rumble. The Spirit Begins to speak. Jesus is Born. The Spirit of the Living God celebrates. He points all men to Jesus even at his birth.
Next; Jesus receives the Fullness of the Spirit and is prepared for his earthly Ministry as a pattern for us to follow. Jesus speaks often while walking this planet about the coming Holy Ghost outpouring which happened at Pentecost. We will look at those passages and what they mean today.
membership, according to the latest annual figures on US church membership
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
But I have trees to tag. To get them ready for digging. So off I go in my trusty little Dodge Picky and drive directly into the nursery. I hop out and trot around. Beautiful day. Nearly 80 degrees. Birds singing, frogs croaking. Forsythia blooming. (Technically Forsythia doesn't bloom, but that's another topic) Witchhazel filling the air with fragrance. Couldn't be nicer.
Then I decide to go down this one lane with Mr. Dodge. I fell into the biggest hole you have ever seen. To the axle. It's the second worst time I have ever been stuck.
So, I called for help. A friend of mine send a tractor. I was tugged out.
I remembered an old saying. You can always tell the difference between a man and a boy. If a man sees a puddle he walks around it. If a boy sees a puddle he walks thru it.
Despite the birthdate annotation of my drivers licence I think I'm still boy at heart.
Oh, and one other thing. I mad dash to another nursery about dusk to look at some trees. After doing so walking back I fell in the largest mud puddle you ever saw. My pants were filthy, so was I.
All in all a glorious day.
1- they see my blog, like something I write, appoint me to their blogroll and all is well.
2- Then after a hearty give and take I say something that offends them or something that shakes their world view.
3- I then am de-blogrolled. I keep track.
It's now 11 different blogrolls I have been on and now off.
I am a fire starter for some people. I will ask a question or pose a hypothesis that rattles the paradigm that they have chosen to live within. I tried to open the little box they occupy. People don't want to be burned. They fear others might. So, they try and put up the de-blogrolling asbestos barrier between the old NG and the people they care about. Somehow pretending I don't exist seems to be a soft comfort. Maybe if they hide their head in the de-blogroll sand it'll all go away. This isn't about you Julie. This is recent.
I just wonder what this really is all about? Who do they think they are protecting? Who do they think there is that is going to NOT read this. What do they think they are NOT endorsing by pulling off the Blogroll my little blog.
Oh, there could be legitimate reasons:
Bad writing. I'm not a great writer, but I do write. And I get notes from people who like what I write so that's not it.
Controversy. As long as I pick topics people are generally in favor of (little puppies are cute) or stay pretty vanilla (How about those Cubbies) I'm on the roll. Step into some area that scares them and I'm off into de-blogroll purgatory.
Personal Attacks. I have been guilty of that. I know better now. If I have a war I will do it by email. (It's not pretty) I have too many people reading this to attack one in particular.
I'm not angry. If I had thin skin I would feel wounded. I don't and I don't.
What do you advise? Should I tone it down? Should I write more Vanilla? Should I avoid all Controversy? Should I skip any topic which others might disagree with?
NAAAAAH. Never gonna happen.
When you hear the sound of hoof beats you think it's horses and then this zebra shows up.
And like the tiger, the stripes are there for good.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Right now we have little Danny upstairs. I'm downstairs working. He is 8 years old. Life to him is an adventure. Nothing is strange. Everything is wonderful. No taint of worldliness in him.
Jesus said, "Unless you come as a little child you will by no means enter the kingdom of God".
That means if I read my Bible right we are to come open, welcoming, happy to learn, not hardened and NOT CYNICAL.
I have such a real hard time with "Christians" who are cynical, seen it all before, been there done that, have all the answers, know all about it and a superior elitist attitude. There is no place for condescension in the Body of Christ.
That description of a Christian above is exactly opposite of what Jesus was talking about when he spoke of the little children. The Pharisees were dismissive and condescending. So were the disciples. Jesus was giving them a once over. They needed it.
We have the Biblical contrast. I am going to go out on a spiritual limb. Being Cynical is Sin. In particular with the things of God.
We are telling God, "I have it all figured out. There's nothing you can show me. Don't mess with the spiritual box I've put you in. Stay where you are."
IF you have been stung a little by what I've just said, if you have drifted into a cynical attitude about the things of God see it for what it is. SIN. Repent.
He forgives the second you do. Then go forth and sin no more.
Come as a Child.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
So naturally springtime means little to me. The only indication that spring has arrived occurs sometime in early March, when suddenly and without warning the live oak trees in my yard purge all their brown leaves and dump tons of disgusting, stringy, moss-like pollen on my driveway. In one glorious day all the new green leaves appear, glistening in the muggy air.
|"Our God made a world that reflects His resurrection power. But it is our choice to embrace this spiritual springtime."|
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.