Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Higher Form of Faith? (a theological question)

This is my last post until next Tuesday. I'm going to a Redlin Reunion in Watertown SD. I'm hoping to see Terry Redlin as well. So, until then, sayonara

I have experienced and been taught by Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and Pentecostals in how to pray in faith.

The reformist branches don't reach very far. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. So, pray God's will. That's a good thing if we understand the will of God. Many people pray thy will be done as a cop out and if nothing happens it's God's will. I soon found that to be a pretty insipid way to reach out in faith.

Then there is talisman faith. Baptists and Methodists use this a great deal. They tag a holy talisman on the end of every prayer and hope if they tag it on with enough gusto God would think enough of them to respond. The talisman? In Jesus Name. Not a bad thing to do. In fact it's scriptural. It's just that we tag it on the end of the prayer like putting a stamp on an envelope hoping it will get thru the heavenly post office. Our faith is in the talisman.

Now, to be absolutely clear. When I pray, I always pray in Jesus name. It's the right thing to do. It increases my faith. I also pray according to the revealed will of God. Jesus told us to do so. The problem is it has become very formulaic and automatic for much of the body of Christ to invoke those two methodologies. Not much faith goes into a prayer that prays if it be thy will and in Jesus name without the consideration of what that really means. You could just as well read from a prayer book and expect the same results.

That's the Catholic way. They invoke rote prayers with lots of repetition, appealing to saints and Mary the mother of Jesus. No power just activity. I'm not upset with all that. I can listen to the rosary and get something out of it. When I'm traveling and listen to Catholic radio I do find it soothing and engaging when they pray the rosary. I'm just not convinced how much faith is involved.

There is a story in the Bible which I think is instructive. Jesus had just given a teaching on forgiveness of sin and an admonition regarding the treatment of little children. The apostles were obviously staggered and perhaps a bit fearful of what was just said. They implore Jesus in Luke 17 verses 5-10:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

What does this mean? When they ask Jesus for a higher level of faith he tells them to talk to the tree to be planted in the sea. He doesn't tell them to pray that God would plant it in the sea, he doesn't tell them to see if it's God's will for it to be planted in the sea, he tells them to speak to the tree. In faith, their words.

An aside, a tree can't be planted in the sea and prosper. It will die, I say that as a plant guy. Even if it's not a salty sea like the sea of Galilee the plant cannot thrive in the water in the natural. Yet, IF we speak to the tree and it is planted in the sea it must prosper. That means impossible circumstances are made possible when we speak the very creative power of God (WORDS like He created the universe with) to the situation.

He said to them in Matthew 17:21 amp This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
This isn't the first time Jesus tells them to talk to situations and it should respond. There are two confirming scriptural passages with identical admonitions:

MARK 11:23 NKJ "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.

Matthew 17:20 (New International Version)
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
What about you, are YOU supposed to speak to your mountains or just pray about it which it the usual admonition you hear on Christian talk shows. Maybe we are not telling you the truth according to the revealed word of God. Let's look a little further.

Jesus talked to things, and taught that “whoever” could also speak to mountains. A mountain is primarily any obstacle that stands in your way. Faced with obstacles, most Christians pray to God. But Jesus told us to speak directly to the obstacle and tell it to be removed.

There is nothing wrong with discussing things with God. You should. But when something is blocking your progress — Jesus said YOU should tell it to get out of the way.

Most Christians just speak to God about the mountain, instead of following Jesus’ directions and speaking directly to the mountain. Are you just talking to God about the problems in your life, instead of talking directly to the problems and telling them to be removed?

According to Jesus, unbelief keeps us from speaking to our mountains. We need a higher form of faith.

What is the mountain in your life? What stands in the way of your progress? What holds you back from going forward and fulfilling God’s plan?

Speak God’s Word to that mountain! Speak to the devil and his forces and tell them to get out of your affairs. Speak to sickness and tell it that it can’t stay in your body. Speak to debt and financial lack and tell them to be removed from your life. Speak to doubt, fear, and worry and tell them to be gone.

If you say, "I just can’t believe it would do any good for me to talk to problems," that’s why you still have them.

Read what Jesus said again, and again.

When you come up against it Jesus said nothing said about praying in Jesus name, nothing about will of God. It's about speaking to situations, circumstances, diseases, finance and whatever other mountain, tree or weed is in our lives that stands between us and the destiny we carry in our being. It's an increased level of faith.

Of course we should pray. We must pray and have our faith built up, then we must speak in faith and confidence that the situation will be resolved because we speak in faith.

When Jesus came down from the mount of transfiguration there was a demon possessed boy. The disciples had been praying for him, they had been saying what Jesus said to others in mimicry. They had been tentative. The demon wouldn't come out. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. He did that a great deal. He said to them in essence there is a higher level of faith when you finish praying and start commanding things to be as you say them to be. Most of us never get out of the first stage of faith and to the next level which Jesus admonished us to reach. Speak to it.

When I minister to the sick, I pray first, I prepare myself and the person I'm praying for. I want their faith and mine to be a full power before I speak to the sickness. Then at the kairos moment I speak the word of Faith. I expect people to be healed. I expect finances to come in. I expect family members to be protected. It's our destiny.

Today in a conversation with Pastor Barry Kolb he told a story which exactly demonstrates this teaching. He said:
"I was on a bus in winter in Russia. Russian and American pastors. The bus ran off the road into the ditch. It was stuck pretty well. We all got off the bus. The American Pastors were all on one side of the bus trying to figure out how to dig themselves out, what could be put under the tires, what might make it all work. They were putting their minds to it. On the other side of the bus the Russian Pastors were praying up a storm. They were getting their faith built up. Then at one moment they all got behind the bus and with one fell swoop the big old bus was pushed up on the road. Of course it was impossible. The American pastors spent the next little while measuring the depth of the rut the bus had just come out of. The Russian Pastors were raising their hands and praising God".

Some years ago I was transporting the Bishop and some other pastors back from the airport. We stopped at my house. They needed some stuff from the trunk of the car. But we had packed the trunk so tightly the trunk was stuck shut. We were all frustrated and I thought I was going to have to take it to the dealership to get the trunk to open. A young ministers wife (20 years old) said, "Let's pray and ask Jesus to open the trunk". We pastors and ministers looked at each other and said, "you go ahead". She prayed a simple prayer of faith and then said, "Trunk open". Of course you already know what happened. The trunk popped right open. I have tell this story to humiliate myself that I was one of the ministers that told that young woman to "go ahead". I didn't enter in. Lack of faith. No wait, that's not true, I had faith, in the car dealership to open that trunk.

IF (and I'm preaching to myself here too) you want a thing to happen or move in your life you must speak to the thing. Pray first, be built up by praying in the Holy Ghost then speak in faith believing. Even if you don't see it right away, believe. We need to walk by faith and not by sight. Jude 20 admonition Jude 1:20 (New King James Version) But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

The last part of Jesus' instruction, Do what you do as a servant and don't expect to get any thanks or blame for what you do. Just DO IT. When I pray for a sick or distressed person and speak words of faith over them, if they are healed all glory goes to God. If they are not healed I carry no blame. It's up to the Father in heaven. I do what I'm told. That's why you must read this last part of what Jesus said once again:

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

When I speak to a mountain, when I speak to a mulberry tree in faith believing I'm just doing my duty. You go do yours and speak to those mountains in your life. When they move take no credit. Just have joy that they responded to you.

The disciples have just had the opportunity to test their faith in speaking. They come back and this dialog takes place:

Luke 10:17-23 (with my commentary)

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." (THEY TRIED IT AND THEY LIKED THE RESULTS, KIND OF PROUD OF IT ALL)

He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (HE IS SAYING AGAIN, YOU ARE DOING WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO, REJOICE THAT YOU ARE A CALLED SERVANT OF GOD)

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. (IT GIVES JESUS GREAT JOY TO SEE YOU AND ME OPERATE IN THIS HIGHER FORM OF FAITH)

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (THIS REVELATION IS ONLY BY THE CHOICE OF JESUS, IT MUST BE CAPTURED BY FAITH)

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

They will. I've seen it. I'll see it again. So can YOU!


I have been following the whole biofuel development for a long time. I know President Bush has taken a position on the technology that will solve all the problems of the world of fuels. That is his Hydrogen and fuel cell ideas and the push toward ethanol. That is a mistake. We need to allow the marketplace to solve the whole thing. There are a couple of bright spots on the horizon. Here's a review:

Ethanol. Finally, it has come fully to light by anyone with common sense that the whole ethanol headlong push is a farce when we use corn or grains as feedstocks. Cellulosic conversion doesn't work, YET. I'm not sure it will. In the end the chemistry
doesn't hold up (I'm pretty deep in Organic Chemistry, I had Jungle Jim as a professor at NDSU) . Perhaps a feedstock genetically developed to yield more sugars like Sugar Cane or High Fructose Corn would be a good intermediate step. What's happening now is a joke and a travesty. Welfare for farmers is all it is.

Biodiesel from Grain like Soybeans. Same deal as Ethanol. You can't grow and crush enough oil to make it work. It's a scam. Plus you are mono-cropping and mining the soils and taking land out of production that would be better used for food and forage production rather than hammering the earth for a few beans to drive the diesel pickup around on. Again if it's possible to develop genetically a plant that produces huge volumes of oil MAYBE there might be some sense to it. I doubt it very seriously.

Butanol. I had high hopes for this technology and perhaps at some point someone will make a breakthrough. It depends on a direct conversion of unfermented sugars processed at high heats and fractions extracted from the precipitates. A shaky low output program. While at first glance it might seem to be a good plan since the promise of being able to use any sugars containing feedstuff (even lawn grass) would be great. The issue gets to be how do you get it captured before it converts to pure cellulose (drys out). My faith is much less on all this.

Garbage conversion: The whole idea of mass fermentation and reduction of garbage into energy makes a great deal of sense if it's combined with the recapture of metals, plastics, and glass for recycling. And, if the deitrus after the conversion is incinerated is used for energy for pyrolysis the system would be a closed loop. The net energy output from this would be less than the cost to do it. BUT, we already artificially support Ethanol. Wouldn't it make more sense to support this and get the energy from the process. Besides, even post consumer plastics can be converted to crude by a pyrolitic process. The water bottle you drank from was made from oil and using pyrolitics the oil can be recovered. As technology continues to find ways to do organic conversions perhaps the oil could be more efficiently recovered. All I know is we throw away masses of latent energy every day and recovering that makes sense.

Hydrogen. NOPE. Just Nope. Nothing about all that makes any sense at all.

Power from Sea Water. Sure. Sort of. I think there may be a way we will use sea water but this may not be it. Fractioning it electrolytically is a poor answer. The power needed to do this is more than the power generated. So we burn coal, oil and natural gas to generate electricity to split water into h2 and o. Dumb

Wind and Solar. Be sure to wear your hemp shirt. It's a bogus zero sum game. No energy is ever actually generated on the plus side by wind when all the inputs are measured. It's a phony program with feel good press releases. Solar has more promise as solar cells continue to improve and they are getting better every day. The problem is like flying to the sun. If you go during the day you will be burned up. You can only fly to the sun when it's night out. (Norwegian Joke). You only generate electricity when the sun shines. It doesn't always shine. Sometimes it's dark. We always need electricity. Putting power back into the grid is a shell game. Pittsburgh never gets a shot at solar power generated in New Mexico. It never makes the trip whole. Line losses and all. But for the earth mother crowd this is a solution that makes everyone feel good but doesn't work.

There are a couple of promising technologies that make real sense on the horizon.

Oil from Coal. It's like oil from Shale Sand. Same technologies. I think this makes sense if we can just get the global warming scam put to bed. If you want to take a simple 10 question test to see if you really understand the whole human caused global warming issue, here's a link for you to look at.

Nuclear Energy. Always made sense. Still does. We need to come up with a better way to dispose of used radioactive wastes. There are technologies that make some sense. If we do this right there is a lot of weapons grade nuclear material that could power the globe for a very very long time.

Algae that is 50% biofuel when crushed from sea water and dirty water like sewage to me holds the greatest promise. I have been high on this low tech way of capturing the sun's energy and converting it to liquid fuel for a long time. I think I am about to be vindicated. It's crude but functional and makes more sense than anything else I have seen. You can read all about it here.

I have been a fan of plug in electric cars my whole life and they have a place. Hybrids are a phony baloney technology. There is hybrid technology that makes sense. It's just not the one we have now. Current hybrids are still hula hoops. Hip to own but not sensible.

We are not going to overthrow a whole liquid fuel powered industry and economic system for some non-working one. We will figure out how to create fuels that can one for one go directly into our fuel tanks and work in our 57 Chevys and diesel trucks. We will. The internal combustion engine isn't going away any time soon. Nor should it.

The good news is in the short run there is no global shortage of oil. There's lots of it. Easy oil is not as easy to find as it once was. Oklahoma gushers are rare. I would rather not dig up the tundra of Alaska. I would rather not drill in the arctic. Siberia is still largely untapped. The Bering strait is full of oil and untapped. South America has lots of undiscovered oil and Africa is loaded, Kenya, Nigeria, and others. The middle east can still pump as much as they ever did.

Much of the issues with oil shortages are political. The good news is I would like to tell the criminals that hold the world's oil to kiss my pitute. I want the USA free of the stranglehold those places have on us.

I believe that day is coming. SOON!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The permanent weaker brother

I try hard to be conscious of the weaker brother (or sister).  I don't want to be a stumbling block.  Where I fall down is the man or woman who refuses out of spiritual pride or a religious spirit to grow in Christ.  They can do nothing in Christ Jesus because they don't know him. 
1st Corinthians 13 is about spiritual maturity.  You can do all kinds of religious things but if they are done for show and not love they are worthless and demonstrate a person's immaturity.  How do I know? I'm an expert at putting on a good show. 
We know that if a little girl of 8 has the head come off her Doll she will cry and run to daddy.  But at 20, or 30?  If every little thing in life is a major catastrophe that's a sign of spiritual immaturity. 
Or little kids can pout for a long time about petty things.  But I know people in their 40's and 50's who are upset and depressed about things they should have got over 20 years ago. 
People who are big babies at 40 never grew up at 12.
Life is tough sometimes.  In Hebrews 11:24-26 it says of Moses (who Jesus revered in the story of Lazarus and the rich man): 
It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God's people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.
HE CHOSE to suffer. 
Being a big baby when you should have grown up already has a name.  It's called SIN.  I must confess, if a weaker brother wants to grow stronger I will do everything I can do to help him.  But, if he doesn't want to step out of his weakness, I will do what I can do to offend him to shock him into reality.  Even Jesus was offended with Peter and Offended Peter by saying "Get thee behind me Satan".  I'll bet when Jesus said at the Last Supper "One of you is a devil" all eyes looked at Peter. 
Peter wasn't offended.  He didn't go off and pout.  He did stupid things but kept pushing in. 
That's my kind of man, weak but trying.
I just have little time for the permanent weaker brother.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fear of Failure

I have been accused of being overly bold sometimes, even foolhardy. That is a strength in my eyes. I have been writing my testimony for the men's retreat. It's mostly about my failures before Jesus.

What I have come to realize is this, when I was born again my spirit man stopped producing any further fear in me. In other words I believed that I could not be anything but successful in Jesus if I just believed, had faith as a mustard seed and could say to the mountain, say to the sycamyne tree and they would respond.

On the other hand, my spirit can be fed fear. Fear from news media, fear from friends, fear from politicians. I then can decide to accept or reject the fear being fed me. One of our presidents of this great country said,
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance".
Yes, that is FDR. He was so correct when it came to fear and the reaction many have to it.

The one thing I have seen in reviewing my life is my point of failure is exactly where my fear point began. Whenever I allow myself to be afraid of taking a step I should take that is the seed of failure.

Fear Stops Faith Steps

I don't know why this is coming up but I wanted to mention what has become obvious to me. When I begin to fear I begin to fail.

If you are gonna be a blogger you gotta blog

I have several friends who after seeing my blog and Julies and a few others decide "I too shall have a blog".

They are easy to start. Easy to begin.

But, if you gonna be a blogger you gotta blog. Every day. If Possible. If you skip you lose readers. People come expecting something and if nothings there they bail.

I have 20 or so blogs on my RSS feeds. You would be surprised how limited peoples blogging really is.

SO, all my good friends who decided to blog because they saw this monkey do, BLOG darn it.

That's why you went to all the trouble. Tell me what you had for lunch. Why the democrats/republicans are all idiots, what your dog did yesterday. Just blog. It's not that hard and it's a good way for those of us who love you to figure out what you are up to.


Red Moon Rising

Last Night coming back from Church we were far out in the country. It was about 8:30PM. The moon was just coming up. As it breached the horizon and took it's place in the sky the color was bright orange with a smiling face on it. Like the Jack-O- Lanterns of youth.

I know that what I was seeing was just dust in the air adding their tinge of color to the full moon face. I know that. But it is really a glorious sight to behold and at the edge of the horizon as it comes up looks like it takes up half the sky. Not really half but it is beautiful.

Men of long ago spoke prophetically about the moon turning red. That was an ominous sign. Sometimes in war so much smoke and dust would be generated that at certain angles looking thru the dust the moon would appear red.

I don't know if there is any sign. I do know that the moon was pumpkin orange last night. That isn't always the color. It was pretty. But there are anniversaries coming up that terrorists like to observe.

So, I'll watch by the light of a Jack-O-Lantern Moon.

Racking up the Hours

For a lot of reasons I spent a total of 8 hours in church or church services yesterday. My couch called me but I couldn't respond. No nap.

In the morning I dressed like SPOCK to engage folks to come to the men's retreat in two weeks. A couple men signed up.

In the afternoon I was part of the first service ever in the new building in Berwyn. I don't think that precious old church building had heard anything like that in decades. The man from the elder board who sat in as an observer really loved what he saw and heard.

I'm convinced that this is going to work. I'm convinced there is much much more to all this than meets the eye.

Then, we were off to Rockford, our normal church night. A man who came to speak as a prophet and teacher was really on. I had to take a short nap before. But, when 5 guitars, 3 drummers, 2 keyboards, 4 singers and a wind section cranked up full blast I woke up.

The man had a word of warning for me. He pointed his finger at me and told me something I needed to hear. It's a bit frightening knowing HE knows. Not Mike, the Lord. I think sometimes I live like no one knows. HE DOES.

If I had been in the Pilgrim churches of early America I would have been considered a piker. They would go 4 hours at a crack twice on Sunday on a wooden bench without air conditioning. I did my 8 with many luxuries. HOWEVER, at the end of 8 hours I settled back for a long summer's nap.