Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jesus is just good math

Math is the best. Try and argue with me and I'll give you a theorem to prove it! Seriously though, I love math more than any intellectual subject for one reason: There is only one right answer. It may be hard to get to that answer, but once it is found there is no debate about. It doesn't matter how you feel about it or what you want to be right or even what some expert says about it. It is either right or wrong. Also, there are concrete rules that guide how you do math. All you have to do is follow the rules and you will find the right answer.

          When I became a Christian I was eleven years old and had never picked up a Bible for more than a few seconds at a time and didn't do much more than flip through it. I didn't have parents that were grounded in the Word. As a matter of fact, my father thinks that reading the Bible makes you a worse Christian. I didn't have any personal drive for it either and then I was given the one of the biggest blessings and trials of my life to date. I was sent to Pinehaven Christian's Children's Ranch. The Ranch is a program for seriously troubled kids. It is located in the middle of nowhere in Montana and is completely isolated from the world. I was there from thirteen to eighteen years old. Their rules and punishments were very strict. I wasn't an outwardly rebellious kid, but I was a know-it-all and that didn't fly well there. I was grounded for basically the first two years I was there. Grounded there means no sugar, no laughing, no talking. You can't even include yourself in others conversations. You basically have to act like you don't exist. The only book you are allowed to read is the Bible.

         I love to read, so I spent two years sitting in a corner reading the Bible for about eight hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year front to back and everything in between. At first it was just a reading exercise for me. I didn't really grasp what I was reading. But the more and more I read, the more and more I understood and was able to see how it was all interconnected. But the most flabbergasting thing I found was the requirements of a Christian and the requirements of the Church, it's function, and organization. The things I read did not at all match up to the 'Christians' I was being instructed by everyday or the church I attended twice a week. Though I was vocal about it at the time I wasn't fired up with righteous indignation. I figured that they were just isolated, this wasn't how the rest of the Church was, and it wasn't really a big deal anyway. I would just love my Lord with all I had and be ready and willing when I was released back into the world.

         Once I was back in the real world I found more lively churches and thought the problem was solved. But my love of math started causing problems for my spiritual life. The more I 'worked' this equation of life and Jesus the more things were not adding up. I didn't have a final answer to check my work with but, as anyone seasoned in a field would know, I knew this wasn't going the right way. But I still held my tongue. I was still fairly new to the 'real' world and knew and realized I had a very limited view on life. Jesus has poured mercy on me for my ignorance, so who was I to judge others for what I didn't fully understand myself?

        I moved to Arkansas in 2004 a little before my 20th birthday. The next two years were unstable and wavering years for me. I felt I had missed out on a lot of fun and indulged myself to the fullest. I didn't take long for me to realize how unfulfilling  a self-serving life was. I went back to the only life and happiness I had ever know, Jesus. And go back I did. I rehashed and brought back the massive scriptural knowledge I had amassed as a teenager and truly devoted my heart, soul, mind, and strength to my Lord. In 2006 I enrolled in Applied Life Christian College and was attending Christian Ministries Church that it was attached to. It seemed I had found what I had been looking for. This church was full of people of all ages and people that seemed very excited and passionate about Jesus. The college was centered around hashing out the scripture and learning what it means to be a disciple. Their motto was "Doers of the Word" based on James 1:22. But, something still just didn't seem quite right. It seemed... forced.  Just before the spring semester started I attended the One Thing conference at the International House Of Prayer or IHOP in Kansas City, MO.

        I liked what they had going on at the church and college, but IHOP. Wow. The premise of IHOP is how David had 2,000 men and women who's sole job was to pray and worship before the Lord 24 hours a day without ceasing. And these people have capital P Passion. This had to be the life that Jesus was talking about. I encountered Jesus in a way I had never thought possible. I had always had a check in my spirit about the churches I attended and christians I met because their lives did not match up with the faith and power that the Apostles and early christians basked in. But now it all felt possible. I came back to Arkansas and did one semester at ALCC. By the time summer of 2007 came around the fire for the church and college had died down and the shine had worn off of what they had going on. After spending six months with them I could tell this was the same institutional, religious spirit I had been seeing all along.

         At this point I thought the only answer was to get back to IHOP. They were the only people I had ever been around that seemed to be actually living the Word as it was written. Their leader Mike Bickle is an excellent speaker and very insightful with a commanding knowledge of scripture. He has spent the last 30 years devoted to prayer. The worship is the most real and heartfelt I have ever experienced. It all seemed to be spot on from a distance. I wanted to be there more than anything but the Lord seemed to be shutting every door that would lead me to Kansas City. I was able to return to the One Thing conference at the end of 2009. Something was different. I don't know if it was there the first time I was there or if something changed, but something was wrong, very wrong.

           They had given themselves over to a spirit of possession. During their corporate prayer sessions people were acting drunk, having seizures, jerking their bodies and heads in repetitive violent motions and were crediting this all to the Holy Spirit. This behavior is seen commonly in another place, the Hindu religion.  I have seen all kinds of manifestation and signs that have been attributed to the Holy Spirit. There is no Biblical evidence or precedent for this behavior, but the most solid evidence against this is my own testimony. Not that I can prove it to you, but I love Jesus with everything that I am. I want nothing but to know Him, honor Him, and to be found faithful to what He has charged me with. I went to One Thing with an open heart to receive. I don't care how ridiculous or unpopular being a christian makes me. I have often said, "If to be saved Jesus said I had to make love to chickens, I would be a chicken lover." When these manifestations began they had no power over me. I felt no pull to participate. Any time the Holy Spirit has shown up in the Bible the consequences were not optional. The presence of God floors people across the board, not just those who want to be floored. But I did want to be floored. I wanted to be over whelmed. But this was not of the Holy Spirit and it literally made me sick to be in the room with these people.

         I have said all this to say this: "By their fruit you will recognize them."   Some other quotes of Jesus are, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." and "He who is not with me is against me." What are these things that Jesus requires of us? I have a compiled a list that I will leave a link to at the end of this.This is not the end all of commands. You are not guaranteed a place at the wedding feast if you follow all of these. But these are the guidelines by which we do the 'math' of Jesus. The right answer will be found inside these commands. Read carefully through these commands of Jesus. First, forget everything you have ever know or been taught about Christianity or the Church. Clear your mind as if you were from another planet and were hearing everything for the first time.  It will shock you how the church has been spitting in their Lord's face. The reason I started with the math analogy is because their is an enormous difference between failing in what the Lord requires and reasoning away why we don't have to follow what Jesus clearly commanded. Between not doing the math properly and trying to create your own system or rules. One is a matter of mercy, the other a matter of rebellion.

         I was discussing this with my wife and she said, "Most people don't know that they are following something wrong." and it does seem like ignorance would be a good excuse. But it is not an excuse at all because our source of information and wisdom does not come from man. It doesn't matter who is controlling the flow of information because we don't receive from man. If your heart, mind, eyes and ears are tuned to Jesus you cannot be fooled. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." and "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit , whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things  and will remind you of everything I have said to you." I am not a scholar. The greatest claim I have is that I have read the Bible thoroughly and have prayed and prayed for knowledge and discernment. I am just an average guy that has read the truth and sees the truth. Anyone who opens their heart to the Lord will see the same thing I see, because it comes from the same Spirit. I have nothing to gain from this. I not an anti-establishment guy. I am a legalist if anything. But the church is either deathly sick or dead already and obviously so to anyone that wants to open their eyes. That Day is fast approaching and many will stand before the Lord and say, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?"and He will say, "I never knew you."

        I'm not going to tell you what a Godly Church or Christian looks like because I don't have to. Just like Nebuchadnezzar didn't have to tell Daniel his dream, so you will receive the truth from the same Spirit that I did. He meant what He said and if you do not take it upon yourself to seek the truth regardless of the cost there will not be mercy.  There is no way of interpreting, rationalizing, or reasoning it away. I'm not here to convince you. I'm here to call you out. Be holy, set apart, for He is Holy. What many call the Church is not holy. It is indulgent and self serving. Not obeying the Lord isn't harmless or inconsequential. It's monumental and will determine your fate in the next life. There will not be any mercy for rebellion, whether it be passive or aggressive. There is only one model, one right answer that Jesus meant for His Church to be. Will we fail the test? There is no retake.

Feel free to comment or ask questions!


  1. Wow Babe! I know we talked about this but reading it again just drills it deeper. Its amazing what the "church" has become. And everyone is just playing along as if nothing is wrong. "It can't be wrong, its church." Great post. i think this is the best one your written yet.

  2. You don't know me, but I found your post through your wife's facebook. I completely relate to this post. I was actually really interested in IHOP a couple years ago until I saw how much demonic and prideful spirits have infiltrated them. I usually hated church growing up, although I never really doubted that God and His word were true.

    I am so happy with my church now, though. I am part of a "simple" church that centers on Jesus Christ, meets in homes, has no paid staff, no denomination and knows each other deeply. Everyone is encouraged to use their gifts as the Spirit leads. We take care of each others needs even to the point of sharing and giving cars and letting people move in. We are certainly not perfect but God is leading us and transforming us every day. I thank God so much for my church!

  3. April, it sounds as if you guys are pursing Christ in the way the early church did. Above all, always let your guidance and teaching come from the Holy Spirit as He is the only source of truth.