Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nailing it to the Door Part 4

Thesis Two: Church meetings must be conducted as shown in 1 Corinthians 14:26-31

"What is truth?" This question defines the current period of American culture. We have become a culture of skeptics and cynics. Everyone seems to have their own truth. Everyone living in their own reality. We have come to a precipice in time where our society is defining whether the very concept of truth is tangible or something of our own design. But in a world of absolutes such as death and gravity, how could the emotional and spiritual side of life function as if they do not follow the same laws that the bodies in which they reside do? Can we really do away with all "traditions" and the "old" way of doing things? Or is what was true 2,000 years ago still true today?

It seems to me, that this would be an easy question for Christians. We do have many different twists on minor theological concepts and I do not think that is a bad thing necessarily. Jesus left somethings unsaid because what works for one person may not work for another as Paul taught in Romans, "...One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." But, somethings are very clear and are given as a command. They are foundation stones upon which the grey areas are built upon. If your foundation is lain properly there is a lot of leeway in how the buildings can be arranged. But, how is it that the people think they can unseat the foundation stones of what makes Christianity what it is by rationalizing it away and manipulating it by man's logic. The very thing that brings us to faith in Jesus is trust in what cannot be proven because He has proven himself faithful in what we do understand. I am not being naive. Modern theologians and philosophers have woven very complex and convincing arguments. They are smart, articulate, and well rehearsed. But they have a gaping flaw that we, as Christians, should be bolstered by because of our faith in Jesus and the way He says life really is.

I feel like I am going down a bit of a rabbit hole here, but stay with me if you will. I'm not real sure how to explain this concept, but I will do my best. Life is like a game. A game that requires twelve dice to play. The world is only playing with three dice. These three are simple and standard. They are dice of the flesh. The world knows these three dice well. They have examined them. They have studied them. They have memorized their every facet and dimple. They are a part of Jesus' creation but only 1/4. The other nine dice are only clearly visible to those who love Jesus. The world senses their existence but cannot grasp them like they do the three fleshly they have and so they logically refute the nine's existence because they cannot define, govern, and prove their existence. These nine dice are brilliant and mysterious in color; boundless in shape and ungoverned in appearance by any laws of nature we know. They are preposterous in form; and we can barely begin to grasp the information that they add to the game, but their presence is undeniable and steadfast. The world is trying to write the rules for this game only using the three dice they see and understand. And in this we gain some understanding of their lack of belief in the concept of truth; truth being the whole game with all it's pieces. This maybe why the world does not believe in truth. They deny the very existence or three-quarters of reality.

So the question that is left for you and I is this, "Do we really believe that the other nine dice actually exist?" Is there really a God who, "chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise"? And how important is it that these other dice effect the way we play the game? Is it enough to play with the three simple dice and just believe in the other nine? Are the simple three even that important and relevant to the game in light of the majestic nine? To answer these questions read Jesus' own prayer to the Father in John 17. Jesus' desire for us and specifically his disciples was that the Father would, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." I have said all of this to show without a doubt that Jesus commands cannot be changed or ignored without sickness and ruin comming upon. Yes, even us who desperately love Jesus as Paul described in 1 Corithians, "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep."  Let's look at this truth in reference to his Church, the Body.

"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace...Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

Now picture in your mind the normal Christian Church service. What would happen if you stood up in the middle of the Church service and corrected or added to the speech that the preacher is giving? Members would be appalled. The clergy would be incensed. You would most likely be escorted out. You might even spend a night in the jail. You who would do this type of thing would be considered crazy and disrespectful. The preacher and staff are said to be the only qualified persons in the Body to teach and instruct. The worship leader, the only one with the right to arrange and decide which songs will be played. Sure, there are guest speakers and guest music, but the messages and songs must be approved through the staff. Where is that found in scripture? These leaders consider themselves gatekeepers of the Body. The Holy Spirit is the gatekeeper. He has proved himself faithful and capable.

What congregation has two or three prophets that speak at every service? What about members sharing their hymns, words of instruction, or  tongues and interpretation? Find for me the role of a modern all-in-one preacher in this scriptural instruction. Where is the clergy? Where is the staff? This matters! The modern church service is a performance, not a meeting; carefully scripted and rehearsed, literally. It is the three simple dice.  It is how the world would run their church. To take ownership and governance so it doesn't get out of their hands. Robots perform in this manner, organisms do not. A living, organic Church and church meeting are the 9 mystical dice with some of the three simple dice. What is called Church is an abomination against Jesus. He arranged and commanded his Body for a reason and with a purpose. But, it has been hijacked by self-righteous men and women greedy for power, security, recognition, and even money. Everyone can sense something wrong with Church as we know it and some have even attempted to hash out what that is. I am speaking at the Lord's command. How we arrange the body is killing us. The heart is in the head and the liver in the hand and the foot on the neck. It is a grotesque perversion of the beautiful form the Bride is supposed to be.

The deception of the Enemy is so cleaver and so devious. Not only has he convinced many to follow after other gods that our fathers, the early church, did not know, but he has also disarmed those in pursuit of Jesus with social and cultural morals that have no foundation in scripture. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. And yet, we play by it's rules for fear of criticism and ostracization.  The Enemy has convinced the world though constant berating and mudding of the waters of theology that there is no way to be absolutely right about anything. That everything is up for personal interpretation. The Word is true and right. It is not up for discussion or suggestion. No one owns the Church and no one has the right to dictate it, no matter how innocently they smile and throw up their hands in  denial. It is through submission to the Holy Spirit that the Body is governed and disciplined. We must trust Him to teach us truth and that what he teaches is truth no matter what anyone tells us. We must trust Him to sort out the liars and guard the gate of our hearts and homes. And when he does give instruction and warning about a poisonous person we must have the courage to deny them entrance into our body. Remember the caution of Jesus, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees..." Their teaching and their presence is poison to the Body and we are not immune to it. Guard your hearts and minds!

The world uses the scientific method to discover truth. That method says that all truth comes though personal discovery. And this truth is only true until something comes along and disproves it. Therefore you can never be sure anything is true. Their is a universe full of all the things that you do not know.  And because of this, it would be wrong to demand others live according to your theology because you might be wrong and would then be responsible for their failure, spiritual injury, or death. It places every human and their life at the center of their own personal universe and makes personal preservation the ultimate moral. This is where the world derives it's doctrine of "Do not judge anyone else's decisions or beliefs." Though they don't actually live according to it. They mean live according to their theology. But, Paul  gives a much different command.

 "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you.'"

Do not sit back and allow his children to be harassed and abused. I encourage you to bring this to those who call themselves leaders of your church. If they repent and return to the Lord, Amen! But do not be surprised if they quickly throw off their sheep costumes and come after you with their wolf-teeth.

I  do not understand why anyone who loves the man Jesus would either a) read over what the scriptures say, b) invert what it clearly teaches, or c) allow anyone to blaspheme the truth. Where do your affections lie? The pattern and model that has been and is used by almost all churches as services for the last couple of hundreds of years or so is nothing more than man replacing the commands of Jesus with the traditions of men just as Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing in Mark 7. In every church is a thespian, traditionally a man, but now sometimes a woman, who claims scholarship of the Bible and has a piece of paper hanging on their wall that testifies to the notion. There are most likely at least a few in the congregation who hold similar, equivalent, or even greater degrees in the institutional study of Truth. And then there are countless others who have spent many hours of personal study of the Bible and may even boast of it. So tell me scholars: How is it that you conduct your meetings in direct violation of the commands of the Word  you so adamantly insist you are masters of?

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

Feel free to comment or ask questions!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nailing it to the Door Part 3

Thesis 1: A gathering of believers should be no larger than nine to sixteen people.

The word "church" means the Bride of Christ; more specifically, all believers. It is not buildings, places, or figureheads. But, a living, breathing  group of people with real connection and interaction. To say, "I'm going to church." is the same as saying, "I'm going to Mexican" You can go to Mexico where you will most likely find Mexicans. But, just because you find someone that looks Mexican in Mexico does not make them Mexican. Nor does simply going to Mexico make you Mexican. It is a matter of heritage.

 To be the Church is the same. It means you are a part of a race of people with lineage and a common ancestor, the Father. Some are the original vine, Jews. Some are grafted in, Gentiles. But inside this ethnicity, there are families. For a family to operate in unity and peace everyone must have a deep understanding of one another and an understanding of their role inside that family and how and when to perform it.

I have been researching the science behind the size a group can be and still operate properly and efficiently. This is called network theory. Network theory requires two conditions:
First, what is the group intimacy required.
Second, what is the individual intimacy required.
Based on these two conditions you can determine an acceptable size of a group or network that can function inside of the parameters and requirements it was designed for.

What group intimacy is required?
How much interaction should I have with individual members of my spiritual family? Is it acceptable to not know and understand anyone in your immediate physical family? Of course not! How ridiculous would it be if someone did not know more than just the name and face of their own brother or sister? In fact, if that was the case I do not think I would believe that those two people were even related. So, if you are a family of the church you must be familiar on a personal level with every person.

What personal intimacy is required? 
Who can you trust? Who's testimony is reliable? It is those very closest to you, your best friends. For the sake of staying on subject, I will just assume that everyone agrees that as a lover of Jesus, your best friend is going to be someone who shares a relationship with the owner of your soul. After all, oil and water will never mix. So how many best friends can one person have? Most people are lucky to have three in their entire life. So I would put the maximum at three to four intimate, closer than a brother people. Three or four people who know everything about you and understand you to the core. So does this mean that the family can only be four people? No. I believe we can trust the testimony of a firsthand witness. I do not have to have the deepest, most personal relationship with everyone in the family. But, I should be friends with one of their best friends so that I can have eyewitness testimony to their life and character. This is where the "network theory" comes in. This is a two node connection. We do not have an immediate connection, but do share a common bond. I can say I am familiar with everyone in my family and know and understand them. Based on these conditions, if everyone has three good friends that evenly intermingle the maximum group size is nine. If four, than sixteen. Anything beyond this size and it would be secondhand information. And we all know how the game of telephone goes.

Jesus said, "Who are my mother, my brothers, and my sisters? It is those who do the will of God." Our individual expressions of the larger ethnicity of Church are to be our families. And for our families to be healthy and strong they can not have room for deception and manipulation. I do not think it is a coincidence that Jesus and his group of disciples numbered thirteen. I believe it is a pattern for us to follow. Our families should be growing in maturity and wisdom. If they exceed sixteen than the group should brake into smaller groups and grow into larger families and on and on. In this way discipleship could actually be accomplished. And we would be safe guarded from the Enemy sneaking in among us like a wolf in sheep's clothing. 

Feel free to comment or ask questions!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nailing it to the Door Part 2

This is not meant to be a cure-all to every problem the Church faces. Rather, a diagnostic for those that don't think there is a problem and a preventative screening for those that see the problem and want to be sure they stay immune to it. Do you passionately desire the Lord above all else? Listen to what the Spirit is saying. The Enemy has invaded our midst and is trying to destroy us from the inside out. The Lord desires us pure and undefiled. But we are allowing anyone to redress the Bride however they like. The world called her self-righteous for her purity. But why would she care what another man thinks of her? Sadly, she is now a slave to the fashions and designs of the very people that call themselves enemies of her Bridegroom. His heart is broken...

    "They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues his own course like a horse charging into battle. Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the   thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord. "

The warning cry has been sounded. The death rattle can be heard in the streets. A somber spirit has settled in the valleys. A cancer has spread and it is the Church that has infected itself. These are the birth pangs before the Trumpets of Judgement are sounded. The Church is divided, weak, delusional, and dizzy. If this age of the Church were a boxing match, our corner-man would be ready to throw in the towel. But, as if that wasn't bad enough, we also have a suicidal level of arrogance and pride about the whole situation. We refuse to see the death blow coming. We refuse to admit our weakness. We have built our life, our hope, our future on man-made stories, lies, and traditions; and are not willing to repent and leave it all so as not to go down with the ship. It's insanity.

This is strong language. They are harsh words. But who among you can deny the sickness that is evident. "Christians"  justify and rationalize this sickness in every way imaginable; some even celebrate it. But our self-centric theology will not save us in the day of testing; much less the day of judgement. We are living the fulfillment of the words of Jeremiah: "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace."

But there is still hope. The final trumpet has not been blown. We can be restored to the glory the Bride once possessed. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." We must turn our hearts back to Jesus. We cannot be too simple about the situation though. The Body is a living organism and the problems it faces are complex and deep.

Martin Luther was a man who loved Jesus and hated the world. I don't mean he hated the people, but the world's ways, lies, manipulation, and love of power. As his maturity in Christ increased his understanding went deeper and deeper in what Jesus really wants for us and from us. This revelation drove a divide between the Church as he knew it of his day and the reality of the Bride of Christ. He spent years trying to rationalize and reconcile the two, but was never able to justify the injustices and outright evil that were displayed. It began with his issuing of the Ninety-Five Thesis on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences and continued in a life time of culling the truth from the lies.

I have prayed and meditated on this debilitating sickness for years now. And I have gone though many stages of understanding, compassion, anger, and judgement in this process of revelation. The Holy Spirit has been presenting me with the truth little by little as He saw fit. And He has now given me a ninety-five thesis of my own to be nailed to the doors of the Church. Mine does not contain ninety-five though, but only three. Three things that all churches and anyone who claims the name of Christ should do that will remove many of the tumors that plague the Church and get it back on a road of health so that we can spend our energies doing the will of our Bridegroom and not merely gasping for breath.

The contents of this will be hard for many to reconcile with what they know and have been taught their whole lives. Whether you are one who has been raised in the Church or possibly even if you are new to Jesus or do not know the man Jesus at all, this will be a challenging teaching. There are some things that grace covers. And then there are other things that drive a wedge between Jesus and ourselves. Things that give the Enemy a foothold and, eventually a full hold. The Church has opened their flank wide open and now Satan is the lord of the organized church of today. Jesus said, "If you are not for me, you are against me." He always reserves a remnant for Himself as He did in the days of Elijah. But, the organized church is in it's final moment before it's body begins hemorrhaging and dying in spectacular fashion just as Israel was before it's  physical destruction. The organized church has surrendered it's heart and loyalty to it's own self-serving needs. Power, money, titles, and moral justification are the apple of the these church's eye.  They sit under a strong delusion. And we know that lies can only come from one source: The Father of Lies. He truly is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The greatest man who ever lived was Jesus. And as Jesus said, "Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist." Both of these men had a simple and singular message as they walked the Earth, "Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is near!"  As you read these pages I ask you to open your heart to what the Shepherd is saying. His return is very near and He is calling out to His people. I preach the message that my Master and Lover preaches "You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. "

The Holy Spirit has left us with a complete revelation for the operation of the Body just as He gave the Israelites a complete revelation for the operation of their nation. It was a fatal offense to add or subtract from the Law. What the Israelites experienced as a physical truth in the Law and through divine judgement and correction on their physical beings; we experience in spirtual truth and feel the repercussions of our actions in our hearts and souls. To operate outside of the Law would cause death and disease inside the Camp. To operate outside of Jesus' commands for the Body causes spiritual death and disease inside the Church. It is of the utmost importance that we know what Jesus expects of us and how he wants His Bride to operate if we are to be healthy and alive.

Feel free to comment or ask questions! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nailing it to the Door Part 1

I don't know if I have written a more important message in my life. I want to see the Church healthy , joyful, and strong. Personally, I want Jesus and nothing else. I know that many have said that before me. So if you doubt that I don't blame you. But, there is nothing I wouldn't give, do, or a place I wouldn't go if my Jesus required it. If he wanted me to live in the woods as a hermit. I would be there. If a palace, then call me prince. If I am to be celibate, then celibate I will be. If he wants me to have a harem of erotic sheep and chickens than you can call me Old McLover. I have no affection for religion, traditions, intellectualism, or acceptance. You could never know this about me unless you knew me personally. Most will never get to know me this way. It is true though and I welcome any who love Jesus to come share my life and see that he is my hearts only desire.

I said all this because modern "churches" are usually built around some person or small group of persons that have created a doctrine to massage their own insecurities or egos. What you will read here is not that. This is the message the Holy Spirit has given me in these last days. He is calling His True and Faithful out from among them. The world has tarnished our light and brilliance by proximity for too long. He desires us to be in the world, but not of the world. To be a city set on a hill or a lamp on a stand. I know this is also the desire on many of your hearts. We can all sense that something isn't right though. Most of us started out in the Body one way or another as children or teenagers. It probably began for most with passion, faith, and enrapturedness. Then, as we tried more and more to walk out the Gospel as our leaders told us we became disheartened, and disillusioned. The promises of the Word didn't follow though like we were told they should. Our leaders turned out to be no better than their follower, if they even measured up to be their followers.

We are so used to feeling this way that we have created entire new doctrines to cope with the inadequacies of our churches, leaders, and fellow believers. New standards, undefeatable grace, and mental rewriting of the very words that we claim to save us is what it takes to make it work. It is not supposed to be this way. It doesn't have to be. The Lord has shown me a life that bathes in all the power, confidence, and joy that the apostles and their disciples did. There is a life that not only feels true, it's power is evident and addictive. I used to follow the doctrine I was told because I could see that the world was false. That was obvious. The Word didn't quite add up to what it should have though. It seemed flawed at times. Powerless to help me when I needed it most. I convinced myself that these were just the thoughts of a young, immature believer. I saw how confidently the leaders strutted and how loudly they spoke their truth and couldn't bring myself to call them liars and pretenders when I didn't have a better answer to the problem.

But then something happened that change me forever. I spoke with Jesus. I actually spoke with Him. I can not come close to describing how this actually happened or what it was really like. There are no words. It wasn't a vision, a dream, or even in this world. It was with my spirit. I now know that a person's spirit is as much a "body" as the body it resides in; it sees, it hears, it speaks, and it feels. I was deep in worship with friends of mine when he showed up. We had been praying and singing for hours when I felt him approaching. It was like being in the woods when you feel an animal is near. You can not see it or really hear it . You just sense it somewhere deep inside you that your are not alone. That is the closest I can get to the feeling. And then there He was. I saw him, heard him, felt him with my spirit. I communed with him. I can't tell you what he looked like, sounded like, or felt like. Humans sense are to this experience as a pencil sketch is to ascending Mt. Everest. But my spirit knows and testifies to my mind about it if that makes any sense at all.

I have said all this in hopes that you would understand that when I say something isn't genuine that it isn't because I can tell you what is wrong with it, but that I have tasted the genuine and know the difference with a complexity that I am inadequate to describe. But I do know this without a shred of doubt in my heart. The Church is the Bride and Body of Christ. As such, it contains the real Jesus. If I taste of the Church, I taste the Jesus I know. He is surpassingly good and no counterfeit can replace him. If I taste the Church and do not taste the Jesus I know, I know that it is not genuine. The things I am going to say about Church as we know it do not come from a logical exercise or systematic theology. They are not my own ego or vision for the way I want things to be. I have tasted the Lord and he is so, so good. I want everyone of you to feast on him with me. I want you to see the filth the Enemy and his agents have been feeding us for longer than humanity remembers. Jesus have mercy. Open their eyes that they could truly see, open their ears that they would know your voice, open their mouths, rinse and cleanse them, so that they can taste your goodness. Please Savior, save us from ourselves.

Feel free to comment or ask questions!