Under Authority

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (Romans 13:1)

God’s will is never in conflict with itself, period. God’s will is never in conflict with His word, period. This presents us with a number of perceived difficulties, and a major perceived difficulty when it comes to authority. The questions always come up “What about Hitler?” Of course we come up with the pat answer (which is true) and say something like... “When a governing authority commands you to contradict a higher authority (God), then you must obey the higher authority.” I think there is some debate that could occur here, but that is not the point of this post.

The primary reason for this post is to speak on authority in your church. Often times when the leadership of a local congregation appears to be going the wrong direction, or something occurs that appears to be in opposition to the will of God, people within that congregation will believe that somehow they are no longer under the authority of the leadership of that congregation. It is as if the authority of the church leaders is established based on their obedience as opposed to God’s placing them in authority. Even in the case of the unconverted church elder, converted or not, they have been given authority and as a congregation member, you are under it. Remember, “There is NO authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” This includes within the church. When you agree to membership within a church, you are recognizing the authority structure within that church to be over you, and are agreeing to fall in line with that authority. Now I want to get to my main point, the power of God upon you to change the direction of your congregation, your work place, your school, etc... will be most manifest when you operate within the established authority. This is really important. Too often people think they need to climb the authority ladder to have impact, or even worse, bypass the authority structure altogether. My work is primarily with youth, and this is a huge struggle for converted youth. God so often will light a fire in a youth, and immediately the flesh will fight back and lead the youth to believe they are now in a position of authority because they have more zeal than the people above them, it seems adults do the same thing. God will not work powerfully in you and produce anything of eternal worth through you unless you function within the authority structure which you exist. Look at the reformation, Luther functioned within and under the authority of the Catholic Church. He went to the Diet of Worms, he functioned as a minister within the church, he submitted to the authorities of the time regardless of his disdain for them. Even his act of defiance with the 95 theses was not so much a blatant disobedience to authority but a proclamation of what he saw to be true. God fired the reformation from within the existing authority structure. Wesley operated under the authority of the Anglican Church until he was removed from it. Over and over again you see this. The fly by night guys that are trying to reform your congregation by gathering people behind leader’s backs, or trying to overpower the existing authorities will never succeed because though they may have grand intentions they have neglected the God ordained authority structure.

I know this all seems passive, and maybe as a reader of this post you disagree and feel that you are called to reform your church or challenge the authority that exists, I would only tell you to tread lightly and carefully. Even Jesus who has all authority subjected Himself to the powers that be, yea even the Pharisees. God will empower your efforts for reform if you trust Him to use you right where you are.

Finally, in the last post I spoke a little on the next great awakening, and I do believe it is begun and happening across this country and world, at the same time I think that the one thing that will stall it, and is stalling it is a lack of submission to, and comprehension of, authority. People from about 30 downward (speaking generally knowing this is not true 100% of the time) have little or no concept of biblical authority. Unfortunately a number of people who could contribute greatly to this awakening will not be given the power of God to do so because they are in ‘hostile takeover’ mode as opposed to humble submission mode. Again it is not a position of power we need, we need the power of God upon our current position.


The 4th generation

Will you be a part of the next great awakening? This is an important question, and you should give it due diligence. God is always in the process of raising up a people who will glorify His Name amongst the people. Are you one of the many He is raising up? If not, why not? If so, what evidence is there that you are one of them?

Maybe the end will come during this season of immorality, where everyone seems to do what is right in their own eyes. It is very possible that we are living in the last of the last days. At the same time there is evidence that we may be on the brink of the next great awakening, and with the nature of communication via internet, mp3s, video broadcasting and so on this great awakening may be much further reaching than any of the past. Wesley had to ride over 200,000 miles on horseback to preach the gospel to New England. Today he could preach to them all in one place, at one time. Communication technology amplifies everything, the good and the bad. Here is what I find interesting, at the time of the 1st great awakening there were a lot of big churches with big congregations that found it fashionable to be Church goers. People mentally ascended to the great doctrines of truth, but there was no reality. Along come the Wesley brothers, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield, Brainerd, and many more... and God shook the church so much with them that they were in many cased kicked out, ridiculed, and scorned. At the same time, many long time church goers came to faith, and many lost were reached. Over time the next generation became used to religious life and embraced it, but saw it as the norm and failed to promote it, or teach the great cost which it came at. Soon the third generation forsook it all together, or only maintaining a form of Godliness which was void of its power. The key then became to get people into church by whatever means possible. What then happened? The Civil war with its tawdry crimes and filthy perversions of the Gospel by both the north and south was the result of the lack of spiritual fortitude from the 3rd generation after the great awakening. But what came next? After the Civil war there was a renewed interest in Christ, and a fresh moving of God amongst the 4th generation. Almost like clockwork the second generation of the second awakening became complacent, and then the third generation produced the Roar twenties which near their completion may have been the most morally decadent time this country has known. The swinging generation was in full swing. Then of course came catastrophe, the great depression, but in the midst of the great depression and world wars arose a generation that would be the men of World War II. These men brought America back to the place she should be. There was a renewal across the land that produced great men and women and a renewed interest in Christ and what His desires were. Of course this was followed by the Boomers who were complacent, and they eventually produced the sexual revolution of the late 60s and early 70s which eventually produce the 3rd generation of the Roaring 90s thru the turn of the century. Gen X would be the third generation and we can see today the results. At the same time, if history continues to repeat that would mean a new generation is rising up, and that we are on the brink of something, something big.
Now it is important to note, this post is not about bashing generations older than mine. There have always been strong men and women of the 2nd and 3rd generations that provide the direction to awakenings. Moreover many in the 2nd and 3rd generations are awakened by and with the next generation. It is a total cop out for people of my generation or any generation to blame the previous generation for their failures. I am simply saying that it appears we are in a cycle of history, and if we are, we may be at a very promising time.

Just as a side note, you can see this 3 generation cycle all the way back in exodus, and playing itself out throughout both ancient and modern history.


but a vapor...

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
(James 4:13-17)

If there is one thing that is tragically ignored in scripture it is the simple fact that you will die. I know this is beyond basic but it is important. Forgetting the simple fact that we are mortal so far as this life is concerned will leave you chasing after all sorts nonsense and falling into all sorts of immorality. Was it not the serpent himself who said... “You surely will not die!” to Eve in the garden as she considered the original sin. It is unthinkable that our focus would be on the past, or even the future heaven, and that our focus is not on Thy kingdom come, thy will be done... now. Yes it is important to consider the glory to come, and yes it is important to remember the foundation which is past, but today is the appointed day, for you do not know if tomorrow will come.
I work with youth, and this is the most difficult truth to set forth to them. Most youth actually plan on wasting their time, thinking they will become ‘religious’ when they get older, and of course by the time they are 20 their heart is case hardened against the Gospel. They see death all around them, in their TV shows, in their Video games, in the news, and everywhere else and yet the simple fact that death is eventually coming their way escapes them. I am only 27 years old, and yet I have already accumulated much wasted time over the 7 years of my Christian life. I have wasted hours on countless things, from internet chess, to mountain bikes, to staring at the ceiling too lazy to get up and do something. Yet if I had any focus on how short lived life was, I would not waste my time. I am not against biking, or chess, or even zoning out and looking at the ceiling, but these trivial things which are of no eternal value slowly begin to take over everything. What was an occasional game of chess becomes continuing to think about chess even during worship, or dinner with your family. What was a healthy bike ride, becomes concerns with having better parts on your bike, where your next big trip is going to be, and if you are ever going to be able to tackle that tricky downhill section of trail. We let so many things and thoughts choke eternity out of our mind, and yet a simple reflection on the brevity of life will clear all that up in an instant. Do you not know that your life is a vapor? We prayed at church this morning for a family who lost their 23 year daughter in a tragic accident. The accident occurred during a Christmas performance at her church when she fell from 20 feet up. As this was being spoken of everyone felt sad for the family and so on as it is proper to do, but I wonder if the brevity of life entered into anyone’s mind.
Redeem the times for the days are evil. With all that said, there appear to be some interesting developments occurring in my life right now. I am not so sure what the Lord has in store, but day to day he seems to be unveiling a plan I could have never dreamed. I will give more info as I am able... Lord willing. Right now I would ask you to consider praying that the Lord would be glorified by my life, and by yours as well.


The Arrogance of a dumbed down gospel

First let me say that my wife has been a tremendous blessing to me the last few days. I do not say this to get brownie points, she does not read my blog, she does not need to, we talk about the things I write together long before I can ever articulate them in a blog post. If you are the type that spends your time on the internet learning, and posting in discussion groups, and everything else and yet never discusses the things of God with your family… well go out to your shed and find that old sledge hammer and just crush your computer with it, or else that computer will crush you and your family. I have come to realize that so many are trying to witness online, and doing their theology online, and getting everything online, and yet in the real world it is not there. It is as though people are having an online affair with the Lord or something, but they keep it from everyone else, lest they find out about it. Everyone is a big bad theologian in a discussion group, but what are they at home? Realize this, in a sense we are not just the bride of Christ, but we are like a trophy wife that He wants to parade in front of the rest of the world (I apologize if that is a profane metaphor.) Anyway my wife and I have had wonderful conversations the last few days, and the Lord is really upon her, and as a husband I have been tremendously blessed and humbled by it. Husbands, when your wife is being used of the Lord to help you, never one-up her, if she is sharing revelation she has had with you, do not be so quick to add to it, as though you already understand all the things she is saying. It is the Lord using your wife to help you, receive the help graciously. Yes you are the leader, but real leaders will take and hear the council of those under their authority often.

Anyway that was an introduction that was mostly unrelated to the body of this post. I want to speak for a moment on the arrogance of most preachers today. Millions, yea, billions of dollars are spent by congregations across this country and the world each year to determine how to be culturally relevant. We know from scripture that there is no reason to worry about relevance when it takes the power of God to regenerate a soul. Something that I have found fascinating is that I have to stretch with all of my spirit and all of my mind to comprehend the things that the preachers during the Great Awakening preached. Maybe not you, but I struggle when I read the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John Wesley. Even when listening to Spurgeon sermons being read I often have to stop and look something up, or afterwards spend a bit of time processing and trying to understand all his points. It is a difficult thing because of the depth and breadth of their preaching. The reason I bring this up is because when you look at the men and women who were profoundly impacted by these people’s ministries you will find out that they were commoners, publicans, farmers, and people of typically low learning. Especially in the case of the Wesley and Whitefield. The point is this, people are incapable of being converted by the gospel if it is preached in a very simple way, or if it is preached in a very intellectual way… unless of course God opens the unbelievers heart to the message. At the same time, if God is upon the preaching, you can put together a theological masterpiece of a Sermon like Jonathan Edwards was known to do, and yet even the most common of people are granted understanding and conversion. There is no need to dumb down the Gospel because peoples conversion was never dependent on YOUR ability to make the gospel easy to understand. I would go so far as to say that the Lord has often used the most challenging of sermons to develop His people further. In the name of reaching out to the common man, we have forgone the power of God for a ploy. This shows the arrogance of the typical preacher as well. For whatever reason, they feel as though they need to dumb down the truth so that you and I, the common people, can understand it. They are wrong. If the power of God is upon it, the preaching will change your life, even if you cannot understand all the point.

Ok, that was a rant, and probably of little value, I guess I am tired of everything being geared to the unconverted. It has come to the point where the unconverted have more say into what church is going to be like than the true children of God do. I believe strongly in the great commission and make it a goal to live it out, but it is not the only command in the word, and you cannot neglect the rest of the scripture in order to attempt to fulfill that one point, when you do so God will not be in it.

I hope to post again soon about the exciting times we live in. I do believe we are on the brink, maybe even in the midst a great ingathering of new saints.



Leonard Ravenhill used to always say “Christianity is not N-O-T, a sinning religion.” He would also say “It isn’t that it is impossible for a Christian to sin, however it is possible for a Christian not to sin, and that distinction makes all the difference in the world.”

Unfortunately when speaking about the possibility of not sinning the majority of Christians will turn you off immediately. The well versed Christian will quickly point you to 1 John 1:10 which reads: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” Certainly that verse is true, and is in perfect accord with Paul in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The question I have for those who quote 1 John 1:10 is whether or not they have read the next verse?

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
(1 John 2:1)

There is a little 2 letter word in that verse that makes all the difference in the world, IF anyone sins… The normal Christian life is not a life of sin. Read the rest of John’s first epistle, you can not read that honestly and believe that a Christian life can be marked by continuous sin. I am so sick of hearing people talk about human nature, and our wicked free will. If you have been born again, that free will of yours now desires righteousness, and carnality and sin is a very unnatural thing for you. John goes on writing in 1 John…

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
(1 John 2:3-5)

I am not going to commentate on these verses, let them stand as they are. Again I recognize that I personally am not perfect, and I am thankful that I have an Advocate with the Father, but at the same time I do not have a sin nature that runs continually to sin, and continually desires sin, that nature has been crucified. If you cannot honestly say that, well, maybe you ought to heed Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves, or do you not know this about yourselves, that Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test.”

Did Jesus tell the woman caught in adultery to go, and sin less? Of course not, He said “Go and sin no more.” This was before the promised Holy Spirit came… do not believe for a minute that we who are indwelt with
the Spirit of God have an excuse to sin. Again, I think the genuine believer does have a tendency to try to find a place for assurance in the scripture when they have sinned, and there are a few places that we always run. We run to 1 John 1:9-10, Romans 7, and Luke 15 among other places. We do not run to verses like 1 John 2:1-5, or 2 Corinthians 5:17, Jude 24, and others.

Unfortunately the verses we avoid in times of sin are the very verses we need the most. Think of 1 John 2:1… yes it states clearly IF anyone sins, immediately we recognize that sin is not normal in the Christian life… this should bring us joy because when we sin it certainly leaves us feeling abnormal. Do not comfort yourself by saying sin is normal. Moreover we should be comforted because If anyone sins… we have an Advocate with the Father! That is a joyful thing.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,
(Jude 1:24)

So you have sinned, you have an Advocate, and more over He is able to keep you from stumbling the next time!!

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are a new creature… if you were not you could be content in your sin, or make excuses for your sin. However your old nature is gone. The new nature loathes the sin you have committed, and rejoices at the thought that God is able to keep you from stumbling.

This business about the perpetually sinning Christian is a load of garbage. That sounds a lot like sin abounding so that grace can abound even more, to which the apostle Paul would give a resounding... God forbid!! So let’s look practically at this. Again we are not talking about sinless perfection in the sense of never sinning again, but what we are looking at is the power to not sin in the present. In other words you can get up from reading this blog and face the world having faith that He can keep you from stumbling. Do not dare say “No He can’t,” you come close to blaspheming if you say that.

keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
(Jude 1:21)

There is a sense of keeping yourself in the love of God. So long as you keep yourself in the love of God by faith you will not sin. When you do not keep faith, or you disbelieve His promises concerning keeping you from stumbling, that is when you and I fall into sin.

((That was a bit of a ramble, good job to anyone who read this far))



The Sovereignty of God – Practically

Unfortunately the first few paragraphs of this post are spent discussing something fairly divisive and I know a number here may disagree entirely, and I am open to comments and correction. Please know that I do not view myself as above correction, and I welcome any iron sharpening iron. However the last few paragraphs should be read, even if you disagree with the first few.

Does anyone look at the sovereignty of God practically anymore? It really is disturbing how polarizing this issue is. It seems as though many would view the sovereignty of God as meaning virtually nothing, except that God has allowed things to happen therefore He is passively sovereign. Others seem to view God as sovereign over every decision choosing more than just the outcome from each decision or action, but actually choosing the action taken as well. This view the supposed ‘high view of God’ is often espoused around here (that is SA). Unfortunately the first view might as well be deism, because it is not Christianity, and the second view is fatalism, or as some call it hyper-Calvinism and entirely removes the responsibility of man. I understand the hyper-Calvinist can usually find some way to explain that man is still responsible within their theological construct, but it requires some serious explaining.

What is true concerning sovereignty?

First with regard to salvation, it requires the action of God to make a totally depraved heart seek or open itself to Him. (It would surprise many to know this is the Wesleyan position as well as the Calvinist position). This is a sovereign action, and if God does not act, there is no chance for salvation. God is sovereign over salvation… period. However because He is sovereign does not mean He is irresistible. If I am feeding my son and he appears that he is going to throw his food on the floor, I am sovereign over him and can stay his hand, or I can let him let it fly. It is not my will that he fling oatmeal across the dining room, but if I let him throw it so that I may discipline him so he will not do it again, does that make me any less sovereign? Of course not, I chose to allow it, in order that I may discipline him so he would not do it again. Again my will is that he not throw oatmeal, but I will exercise sovereignty by using his disobedience to bring him under proper submission to my will. Nonetheless, his throw was his choice, an act of his free will. At the same time I was entirely sovereign over that action. In fact it could be said that being sovereign over his free will was a greater exertion of power than had I denied him free will and simply stayed his hand. Did I choose what he would do? No he chose, however knowing my son I had foreknowledge that the oatmeal was going to fly, and in my sovereignty I allowed it, for my own purpose in order that I would be able to discipline him and actively change his intentions for the next time he had oatmeal.

I hope that made sense. A high view of God is view that shows His sovereignty over the free will of man. Not that he continually controls the actions of all men, but that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. God is active in creation, sometimes He intervenes and actively controls a situation, and at other times He removes His hand from a situation in order to serve His purposes.

If we, whether we lean toward an Arminian or Calvinistic understanding of sovereignty, believe that God is sovereign over the affairs of man, and that He is active in the causes and effects that make up life then we should look very carefully at some cause and effect scriptures.

For instance:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Looking at 1 John 1:9 and believing that God is sovereign and His word is true, then clearly if sin is confessed, we will be cleansed from unrighteousness. Cleansing meaning, purged, removal of impurity, etc… If God indeed is sovereign the reality of your confession can be determined by the reality of your cleansing. Have you been cleansed? If you believe God’s word to be true, and God to be sovereign then you must look at every cause and effect relationship in the bible in that light. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature… Logically if any many is not a new creature he is not in Christ. This sounds very simple, but begin applying it to all passages and you will find that many of the promised results of obedience are not evident in your life. If God is sovereign, and He is, and the promised results of obedience are not evident, then the only conclusion can be that the cause, or obedience, is not manifest in your life.

This all seems like a big ‘no duh’, and it should. But do not ever dare read the scriptures without examining yourself. Do you have rivers of living water flowing out of you? Are you a new creation? Are you actually cleansed from sin? Is the old man dead? You must answer these questions and see if you are in the faith.

Then again, if God is not sovereign, then you can disregard the cause and effect altogether, but if God is not sovereign then He is no God.

I apologize this may be one of my lamer posts, but I published it anyway.


Where whould you find this?

In doing some preparation for a class I am teaching my research led me to a number of statements. Read them, and while you are reading try to guess where I found them. The answer is at the bottom, but do not cheat. Also I typed this from the sourse so if there is spelling mistakes they are mine.

Hint #1
Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.

Note: I did not add the part in parenthesis, it is original to the document.

Hint #2
We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

Hint #3
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Hint #4
The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshipping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

Hint #5
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.

Final Hint #6
The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are…
[note: all 66 canonical books listed].

Any guesses

These statements were found in ‘The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church year 2000 edition” on pages 59-63.

Why would I bring this up? Well firstly because I work in the United Methodist church. Second, because it seems when someone says they are Arminian, or Methodist, or Wesleyan, that all Calvinists write us off as believing works based salvation, or being Pelagian. Moreover, it is clear that United Methodism has been involved in unbiblical ecumenism, specifically with the Roman Catholics, but that ecumenism is deviant to the stated theology of Methodism. Now it should be noted that the hints quoted have been basically etched in stone and are set in the Discipline in such a way that they cannot be changed. Later in the discipline these things are interpreted sometimes to water them down, or change their meaning, but nonetheless at the outset the firm foundation is laid, and Methodists can be appalled at the direction their church is heading, but can stand firmly on the churches stated doctrine.

Finally, there are many fundamental UMC pastors and laity, don’t let the crackpots you see in the news dissuade you into thinking the entire denomination is out in left field.

If it goes against your conscience to read a blog written by a Methodist, well pretend you never read this post and keep reading as I post more.


Mourning at the White Throne

I will wipe away every tear…

There is much fascination about the end times in the church today, and there is much fascination about heaven as well. This certainly is understandable, because our treasure and our home are in heaven, and we know that in the end Jesus Christ will reign visibly supreme. Clearly these things are the desires of our hearts. Our fascination with heaven and the end however have often caused us to lose sense of the reality of Christ working with us through us, and among us today. Moreover this heavenly fascination has given way to fables and a heaven designed by mankind.

I posted last night concerning the white throne, and judgment, and in speaking with friends on this topic I always hear the question: “will believers face judgment, and will that judgment be painful, sad, or in any way non-blissful?” I have never really had an answer to that question. There are so many references to ALL facing judgment for deeds done in the flesh, including the believer. We know without a doubt that we will stand before the Father with the merit of the Son, and ultimately we will be judged as sons and not enemies. We will still be judged though. Let me quote Revelation 20:12-15.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:12-15)

From a simple reading of this text it appears that the white throne judgment is for all, and the separation to the lake of fire occurs after this judgment. In other words, we will stand judgment according to our deeds. So the concern arises, how can I stand before the throne knowing the deeds I have committed? I know sin will be forgiven, yea sin is forgiven, nonetheless what will it be like to peer into His eyes? The eyes from which heaven and earth flee. Knowing that I will be judged according to my deeds is a frightening and mournful thing. At this point I imagine there is some contention with most readers of this post, and understandably so, I mean, we are going to be judged based on the merit of Christ right? Yes, at least as far as final judgment is concerned, but do not blaspheme the blood of Christ by believing that the blood in some way removes all accountability for your actions.

I came to this down by the Maumee River earlier today, all alone on an island with my mountain bike (when the water is low you can walk to the island). I was sitting in prayer and opened back to Revelation 20 which I posted on last night, and this same question came to my mind. How can heaven be heavenly if we have to face judgment? How can I stand on that day? Certainly there will be some disappointment at the white throne. So I read on past the above quoted scripture. Unfortunately chapter 20 ends at verse 15, so we have a natural tendency to stop there. But the next chapter picks up as follows. (remember the original text would not have had a chapter division here so typically one would have read this all together.)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
(Revelation 21:1-4)

My question changed. Why would God Himself have to wipe away tears from His people? It dawned on me while I was sitting by the river that the judgment of God will come to us who believe, and we will be judged like we are judged by a loving Father. Our sin will be exposed, our wrong doings will be evident, all things will be made known, and we will see the ways we have offended a Holy, Holy, Holy, God. This must occur, because after being exposed and then seeing that God is still gracious and wipes our tears away will be overcome with the eternal gratefulness and reverence that will only increase for all of eternity. God will wipe away the tears we shed at the White Throne. What a terrible and wonderful truth. We will mourn our sin after we die, and yet the king of kings will wipe away the tears and we will enter into eternal grateful ecstasy.

Imagine, we will see all the sin of everyone, and then see that God is still gracious, and we will see the true price Christ paid. After seeing that it is easy to understand why we will spend all of eternity in worship, and serving the most Gracious King!


Judging others

“Judge not, lest ye be judged…” Matthew 7:1

This may be one of the most misunderstood verses in all of scripture. I find that it is the most often quoted by the unbeliever, and yet at the same time I find many believers forgoing all discernment based on this verse. They have allowed this verse to handcuff them from exercising any sort of discipline, or evangelism. Now with that said I think that fundamentalists quickly write this verse off as meaningless. They say ‘look down the page and read the rest of Matthew 7’ of course making reference to ‘…you will know them by their fruits…’ which seems to be a call to make judgment. Moreover those of the fundamental persuasion will tend to take the verses immediately following Matthew 7:1 about the speck in your brother’s eye, and the log in your own, and quickly point out that we are still to remove the speck from our brother’s eye, we just need to judge ourselves first and remove the planks from our own. That is true, but it misses the point of the passage, and in a way creates a loophole. At the very least it eases the conscience of some who are unbiblically judgmental. Remember I am a 'fundamentalist', I write this from experience in talking with others like myself, and from my own struggles with judgement.

I am a youth minister and typically in a youth ministry setting the youth minister will give a bunch of examples of how when you judge people before you know them a lot of times you are wrong. What they fail to mention is that most of the time you a right. For instance, you see a man frequently going to a bar, you may judge “He is a drunk”, you could be wrong, but likely you are correct. You see a youth dressed in total grunge always looking zoned out, you may judge ‘she is a drug user’, you may be wrong, but are likely correct. If your reason for not judging others is simply because sometimes you judge wrongly than your reason is weak, and moreover when you know you are right beyond a shadow of a doubt you will still be quick to judge. Why then should you not judge… at all.

Start Here:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:11-12)

Do you realize that John the revelator saw you there? You were a part of the crowd. Yes, and you will stand before the great white throne to be judged. This is not up for debate, you will be there and so will I. With that picture in mind, knowing that you will be judged according to your deeds then maybe the following verse will carry more weight in your heart…

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2)

The non-negotiable detail in this whole equation is that you will stand at the white throne and be judged… how harshly do you want to be judged? How mercifully do you want to be judged? “…by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” You see if your focus is on the judgment seat, and you are gazing into eternity knowing you will be judged for your deeds, certainly you will find no room to judge others. I am not saying to be passive, there is a time to discern, but unless you are in a position of authority and need to settle disputes, there is no time to judge. Not because you could be wrong… but because you will be judged in the same way.

Let me give a very practical example: During presidential campaigns people will say things like, “Barack Obama is an idiot when it comes to foreign policy.” Do you realize what you have done in saying that? You, because you know Matthew 7:1-2, have agreed to stand before the judgment seat and be judged based on your wisdom of foreign policy! Which likely you have very little. Now in proper context you could say “His lack of foreign policy experience makes him unqualified for the presidency.” At that point you are not judging the man’s character, you are discerning his qualifications, and there is a big difference.

Be careful the way you judge. Am I saying you cannot say that someone is a gossip, or a liar, or whatever? I am saying use very extreme caution, and only judge out of utter humility having already judged yourself and repented of your own sin. There are many self-righteous fundamentalists out there who are piling judgments upon themselves and will be in for terrible awakening at the White Throne. Will they be saved from the lake of fire? Maybe, but not after feeling the horrible humiliation and judgment by the very standards they set.


My 2008 'Endorsement'

Well the election is fast approaching and this will probably be my last post before heading to the polls. I will say it has been very difficult for me to not use this space as a place to spill forth my political views. So I will divert from my usual avoidance of politics and discuss briefly what is going through my mind this election.

First and foremost we know that God gives authority, and takes authority away, at all levels and in all places. That is an important point to remember. If McCain wins, then it was the Sovereign will of God, if Barack Obama wins the same can be said. Moreover, our call is obedience to the winner, so long as they do not directly and obviously command us to violate the will of God.

The Christian community is called to communism – and yet in churches we find democracy.

The government is called to democracy – and yet in government we find communism.

It is really upside down. It seems that the government has continued to grow regardless of who is in power, and the moral decadence of both parties seems to be ever increasing. People have been hoodwinked by both parties into believing all of their talking points. For instance, ACORN, do you even understand the issue with them? Acorn registers voters, that is all they do. They collect registration forms from ANYONE, even Mickey Mouse. Nonetheless when they find a Mickey Mouse registration they mark it as invalid, and even if they did not the election board would, and even if Mickey Mouse successfully registers, Mickey will still have to show up and vote and have valid ID in most situations. The point is this, the GOP has you scared of ACORN, when the reality is they are afraid of the lower class and minority vote. (Listen I am a conservative, I would never vote for BHO, but I also appreciate truth, and the ACORN nonsense is bogus GOP tactics.) On the other hand, for years the Dems have consistently frightened the elderly into thinking that a the republicans are out to take their social security, health care, etc… it’s not true.

As Christians we have experienced the perfect love that casts our fear, and we are not to be swayed by changing times and seasons, we are to be built on the solid rock of Christ Jesus and put our hope in Him alone. It absolutely sickens me to see Christians flocking to McCain… I mean, have you looked into the moral decadence of his past? No the reason Christians flock to McCain is simple, they fear Obama. The moral majority speaks about the ‘sanctity of marriage’ only with regards to homosexuality, have they looked at their candidate’s marital past? I do not find sanctity. I am not going to spend time here knocking Obama because I realize the vast majority of this audience is already dead set against him, but I do think as a Christian you ought to look real close at McCain.

I say vote for change. Vote a vote that you will be comfortable with at the judgment seat of Christ. Seriously. The scriptures are clear that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bare, and that God always provides a way of escape. That holds true in the voting booth as well. You have the option to write in a candidate, or to vote for a third party candidate. It is not a wasted vote, it is a moral stand. Will you effect the election? well you will probably make it more likely that the greater of two evils (in your eyes) will win, yet at the same time you will be able to walk out of the booth with clean hands and a pure heart knowing that with the choice between the lesser of two evils you chose neither.

So as an Ohioan who may be a pivotal voter in this election, I take my stand, you should too, and if Obama wins because I refused to vote for McCain, is it because of me, or because the party that claims to represent me failed to do so?


What a wonderful evening

Tonight was a wonderful night. I spoke with a dear younger friend of mine about things in his life, specifically what he thinks may be a calling to marry a girl he has met and spent some time with, and spoken extensively with. To see this young man seeking the guidance of the Lord in this, looking to build on firm foundation and heading in a direction of righteousness has truly warmed my heart. It is wonderful to see God glorifying Himself in His children. What a blessing.

The revival conference that was hosted by www.sermonindex.net just concluded, and the preaching and praying was beautiful (I mean to use that word.) It really was, it was hard, and it was wrenching, but God moved and is moving. I am so encouraged. There was a chat room along with it, and the spirit of God was even upon the chat. Normally things spiral out of control in a chat setting with people being divided and arguing… but this was different. We were able to post questions for a panel which included Paul Washer, among others, and the Spirit was so upon it.

My marriage has taken a very sweet turn today and yesterday. The Lord seems to be taking us to yet another level, and it is wonderful. I am very joyous this evening, my wife just left a bible study with Godly women and is off to spend a little time with some other friends, I just got back from what we call eVANgelism, where we take youth to local out door malls, down town, college campuses, etc… and seek people to pray with and talk to. We had a blessed time, and even had the opportunity to be in a circle of prayer with a gentleman right in front of the stores of the outdoor mall we went to. What a blessing to have youth in our midst who do not fear being a testimony for Christ.

My son is growing, and is such a joy. He is learning to love his parents, giving hugs, crawling all over us, laughing, trying to talk, and bringing us much happiness. The Lord is truly upon my family, and to have His blessing is such a joy.

Can you imagine that God would take a man, mired in pot smoking, drinking, fornication, and religious hypocrisy and turn Him unto Himself? Then shower such blessing upon him? He has done it, I do not deserve an ounce of it, but He has done it, and I will praise Him for it. Oh that the love which I have today, would only grow.

I will leave this as it is, and post some more instructional thoughts later.

Just remember, Christianity is a joy, yes it is broken, but it is a joy. Do not spend all your time dividing doctrines, digging deeper, hashing out the details… that has its place… doctrine and theology are VERY important… but sometimes you must rest, and just Love God for who He is, and what He has done.


What has your faith cost?

Has your faith cost you anything?

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
(Romans 12:1)

Free grace costs everything. We have been trained to believe that grace is free, but we have neglected to examine how much it costs. Is it oxymoronic to say that something free can cost a lot? No it really is not. Think of Joseph and how he was favored above his brethren by his father Jacob. Jacob gave him a coat of many colors. As far a Joseph was concerned that coat was a free gift, however it cost him being scorned by his brethren. That coat along with other circumstance caused him to end up a slave in Egypt. There is one of many examples that could be made about a free gift costing much. I did not purchase my wife, she was freely given to me by God nonetheless she has cost me everything. I did not go to the store to buy my son, he was a free gift, yet he has cost me everything. I did nothing to purchase salvation it was a free gift, yet it costs everything!!

You can not have a child without cost, you can not have a spouse without cost… you cannot have faith without cost! Understand that buying diapers and baby food did not give me a son, the son was freely given to me, I did not earn him he was free, but he cost an awful lot for a free gift!! Let’s get real here, your faith if it is real and living will cost you everything, if your faith has cost you little or nothing, then you have little or no faith. So what has your faith cost you?

One thing I find absolutely fascinating is how much the Apostle Paul’s faith cost him, and yet he, more than any other writer, expressed with utter clarity that the grace of God is free. Let me ask this question to you: “Why did Jesus warn potential disciples to count the cost before following Him if grace is free?” Do you see the paradox? The Christian life is not easy, if the life you live is easy, it is not Christian! Sometimes people get into talking about money, and those who tithe sit back all smug like they are in total compliance with the will of God. Yet they make no sacrifice, the merely give of their excess, they cannot point to sacrifice they have made in order to give their tithe. The call is not 10%, the call is sacrifice. A tenth of your day is 2hrs and 24minutes, have you given that to the Lord? Your car has 100,000 miles on it, were 10,000 of those miles driven for the Lord, your mind has thought millions of thoughts this year, were hundreds of thousands of those thoughts given to the Lord? Come on… what has it cost you?

Now to the non-Christian this cost is great bummer, but to the true Christian, there is conviction and maybe some disappointment and reservation about the cost, but at the same time there is excitement and a desire to pay it. The true Christian desires and seeks to lay down their life for the Lord. That is the amazing thing about true biblical salvation. Yes it costs everything, but the desire of the heart (because God has recreated the believer’s heart) is to give everything. The great cost of salvation is overshadowed by the great desire to pay full price.

Do not be lulled to sleep by some ‘best life now’ easy believism. Do not enter into some faith designed to boost your self-esteem, find the most costly faith seek it, and be assured that God will freely give you grace, and your heart will long to pay full price. The regenerated heart will then move the body to be a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God.

Be careful to never forget, the free gift will cost you everything.


Financial Markets... who cares

People’s unhealthy anger toward government, CEOs, bosses, unions, and other corrupt authorities exposes their spiritually depravity and unbelief.

Ok that is a harsh statement, but it is true. We heard this past week of the CEO of Lehman Bros chastised by congress and the American public for making 300 million dollars over the last 8 years. We hear Americans getting upset about the 700 billion dollar bailout that we will have to fund. People are upset with the labor unions that have driven up the cost of goods, people get angry with their lazy bosses who get paid much more than they do. So many people worship mammon that they fail to see what is ahead for them. Jesus tried to free the rich young ruler from this, He toled him ‘sell it all’. What was the ruler's response? He went away disappointed. What is our response when we read Jesus' command to sell it all? We say, “That is an exaggeration” or “That does not apply to me”. The first thing you do is to write off those words of our Lord as not for you, before you examine them to see if indeed they are for you. Let me ask this, if you had sold everything and given to the poor, and were on virtually nothing right now, how would have the market crash affected you? How much stress would you feel right now? None, you would be free.

People are too worried about someone else’s golden parachute, they fail to realize that a gold parachute is going to drop like a rock straight to the pit of hell. When Jesus saw the rich young ruler was He angry? No!! If you recall the scripture says, “He had compassion on him”. Maybe you just know better than Jesus, and that is why you are angry with the rich rulers of the day, as opposed to having compassion on them like He did. Jesus showed the ruler more compassion than the religous hypocrite, maybe that should sober us a little bit. Lets go back to that 300 million dollar CEO. How much gold could you buy with that? Answer: 21,114 pounds of gold at $888 per ounce. That equates to 10 tons of gold! That is quite a retirement is it not? It is a pathetic retirement, you could not even pave your driveway with 10 tons of gold, let alone all your streets. Do you not know that your retirement community will be far more extravagant than that man’s. But, who even cares about that, do you not know that you will live in the very presence of the King of the Universe, the Lord of Lords? Your anger at earthly kings and their prosperity shows your own depravity and lack of belief in the inheritance that is reserved for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Come on, do not be tossed to and fro by changing markets, wealthy politicians, and nonsense that are only vapor that will pass away in a short time. Seek Christ, get firmly rooted in Him and rest. There is no need for fear, what is the worst that could happen? Pain, starvation, loneliness, death… but for how long? You are here for but a short time.

Then again, maybe getting so bent out of shape about current events only shows that you still have doubt about the everafter.


Peter's Lost Salvation

Did Peter lose salvation? In this post I will argue that in some sense He did. It is important to state at the outset that salvation is not by works or a performance based reward, especially as it pertains to deliverance from eternal punishment. At the same time it is important to reiterate as we have in past posts, that salvation is not just a future tense heaven because of a past tense deliverance for committed sins. Salvation is a present tense walking in the Spirit with a deepening relationship and intimacy with Christ, and an increasing power over sin.

In the following passage we find Simon receiving his new name from Jesus:

Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
(Matthew 16:16-18)

After Simon makes this confession of faith, Jesus says “You are Peter”. You will find that this is the first time that Jesus gives Him the name Peter. Of course the Gospel writers called him Simon Peter before this in their narration of Gospel, but they were writing in hindsight. Before this moment you will not find Simon being called Peter verbally anywhere. In a very real sense this name change is a form of salvation, or sanctification for Peter. He has been renamed according to his new purpose. He is now Peter, the rock, the one whom God is going to use to lead the young Church. He is saved from mediocrity, and brought into a ‘higher life’ set apart for the purposes of God. Though we do not receive new names at conversion, this new life occurs in believers when they are called to a specific purpose for the Most High God. When they are made more than mere converts, but become missionaries, preachers, husbands, wives, teachers, nursery workers, custodians, etc… believers become more than just believers, but members of His body with a specific function to carry out. If you are called specifically to bring comfort to believers in need you may no longer be merely Bill Smith, but Bill Smith, comforter of the Saints. When you are called to minister in a specific way you are no longer recognized by your mere name, but by your calling. Simon Peter, was not merely Simon, but now Rock, a leader and one Christ would use as a founder of His Church.

After Peter receives his new name we find him making a number of mistakes. He denies Christ three times on the night of His trial. He is rebuked as Satan when he rebukes Christ for saying that He would suffer under the high priests and scribes. Yes Jesus called him ‘Peter’ but He certainly did not function as a rock. The question we must ask is could Simon lose his standing as ‘Peter’ based on his failure? Could he fall back into mediocrity and lose his calling based on his failure to live into it?

We know Peter denied Christ three times as Christ predicted he would. We know that Peter went out and wept bitterly after He did this. Then we do not here much about Peter until after the resurrection. The Gospel of John gives us a little bit more insight as to how Peter reemerged as the leader of the Church after his threefold denial of Christ.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep.
(John 21:15-17)

In reading this passage do you see what Jesus calls Peter? He calls him not by his new name of Peter, but instead Simon son of John. We know that at the second birth we become sons of God, so what is the implication of Christ calling Simon the son of John? In a very real sense this shows that Peter had lost salvation in the present tense. Of course this line of questioning by Jesus was His way of reinstating Peter to the call which He had originally called him to. It also was Jesus telling Peter that he had fallen out of the calling and thus needed to be reinstated or recalled to Christ’s purpose.

What is the application of all of this? Well it is important to understand that the calling of God to a particular purpose, say a teacher, or an encourager, or a pastor, or so on is first and foremost a privilege and a grace afforded to you by God. Moreover it is not a permanent decree based on his calling you at a given time, and in some sense God’s calling for you can be revoked. Does this mean you can lose justification, or glorification? That is not the argument I am making. However as God calls you to be sanctified for His purposes, and employs you for His kingdom, and saves you presently for His purposes, you must know that present tense salvation (sanctification) is not something you can presume upon, because it can be lost. If it is lost, it will take Christ to reinstate it, just as He did with Peter.

Are you failing miserably in your sanctification? Falling deeper and deeper into sin which you once had victory over? Were you at one time employed in the spreading of the Gospel, the teaching of His word, the encouragement of the saints, the humble service of those in need, and so on, but are no longer? Are you trying to live out something you know you were called to at one time, but no longer sense God’s power upon yourself in that calling? Maybe you have lost your salvation in the present tense, maybe you are with Simon on the side of that lake hearing Jesus call you by your birth name, and calling you the son of your human father. Maybe He needs to ask you three times if you love Him, maybe He need to ask you more times than that. Maybe your heart needs to be broken like Peter’s until you cry out to Him, “Jesus you know I love you!” then you will be reinstated to ministry for Him, and empowered once again.



Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

This is the basic test for all behavior, and we must apply it to all areas of life. Paul is speaking on traditions of eating and drinking and so on, but he then goes on to qualify the entire argument saying this: “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This maybe the most simple precept in all of scripture, and it can be applied to every situation of life. For instance when you purchase clothing, do you make that purchase to the glory of God? or is it to your own glory. When you do your yard work, is it to the glory of God, or to bring yourself glory? The way you raise your children, is it to the glory of God, or is it merely to have your household in order so you can have glory as a legitimate leader in the Church. You understand, it is all about the glory of God, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do. Do you love your wife to the glory of God, or because you desire something in return. Do you submit to husband for the glory of God, or just because it makes life easier. Do you do ministry for the glory of God, or is it merely to grow a church or group?

Now I want to apply this topic to one hot issue right now, which is politics. With the US presidential election fast approaching it seems to be this all consuming issue of who to vote for, and what the issues are, and which candidate is really Christian, and which ones are liars, and so on. The question I ask is this: Has the political landscape distracted you from the glory of God? Do you sit in front of Fox News and CNN until your blood boils? Do you do that for the glory of God? I know when I fall into that trap it has nothing to do with the glory of God. I will sit and watch just to be angry, and then feel self righteous when I contend that everyone who disagrees with me is an ignorant fool. Whatsoever you do, do unto the Glory of God. That includes your debating, and argument. I know this will sound liberal, maybe even ‘postmodern’ but it is not, taking the time to minister to your ‘opponent’ for the glory of God will do far more for the kingdom than arguing over a political system which the Lord will ultimately manipulate for the good of those who love Him. (see romans 8) I find people get more upset over the medias treatment of Sarah Palin than they are over lostness of their own congregation. I find more people concerned with the ‘Messiahship’ of Barack Obama, than they are with their own sin and perceived lordship over their own lives. I find Christians laboring over the comments of Joe Biden, more than the scriptures themselves. Every 4 years professing Christians, even genuine Christians, take a break from their Christianity to defend earthly lords.

What will bring Christ glory and save a man’s soul? A candidate, a debate, or the gospel? You know the answer, yet you and I can articulate politics till we are blue in the face while our bible stays in our back pocket, and even if you do win a political debate and convince a man to vote your side what have you accomplished that is of eternal worth? Nothing.

Next time you find yourself in political debate ask the question honestly: “Is this to the glory of God?” Yes you can use the current political situation as a platform from which to communicate the Gospel, but don’t you dare use the Gospel to communicate your platform. You see it is all about the glory of God. Personally I do not care who you vote for, I really do not… what I want to know is, “Is it well with your soul?” Is Christ getting the glory He deserves from you?




This post is a little different from what I normally do, but hopefully it will help someone.

Often times foolish boys ranging from 18-60 years old, maybe older, will make comments to other men saying they are ‘whipped’ with regard to the way they interact with their wives. I too have been on the receiving end of this criticism and never realized the damage it causes. For any man who desires to love his wife please hear these words. In recent times a man approached me telling me that I do far too much in my home, from cooking meals, to cleaning up, and helping with my son and so on. He never used the term ‘whipped’ but the intent was there. Now I am very content in my marriage, and I understand that true love is to lay down your life for another, and especially your wife. So my reaction to this was a little bit angry, and a little bit sad, and ultimately disappointed because the man who offered this criticism is a very discontent man. (He is not a reader of this blog and I do not expect he will be, or I would not post this.) So I left this conversation and went on with my life, unaware of how that conversation affected me. When I arrived at home and began cleaning up some of the mess in the house my mind went back to the conversation and I began to think “I should not have to do this” and as I cleaned the couple dishes I saw in the sink I thought, “This is not my job.” Going downstairs and seeing that laundry needed done, I just looked at it, and was upset. None of the circumstances of my life that day were any different than the day before, but I was now discontent. Somehow this man who was trying to help me find contentment by trying to get me to get my wife to do more did nothing more than create discontent in my heart. A bitterness took root, because while I was content before, now I was concerned about fairness, and making sure I got what I thought I deserved, and in these brief moments my life was no longer laid down for my wife. This conversation with this man led me to a point, without me even knowing it, of expecting my wife to lay down her life for me, before I would lay mine down in return. Fortunately the Lord taught me very quickly in this matter and it only lasted about 30 hours before the Lord brought conviction and repentance. Here is what I learned.

First, the attack was at my pride.
Basically getting me to think I deserved more. I became bitter because I was concerned with fairness, and not with unconditionally seeking to do good for my wife which is another way to say loving my wife. It is interesting that boys (old enough to be men) want to attack men by questioning their authority at home based on what their wives do for them. It is really backwards. Was it not Christ who had all authority, and yet died cursed for His bride, washing her feet, praying for her, and constantly in service to her? He is the model of authority, not some man who can get his wife to make him dinner on command.

The second thing I recognized is that this discontent was the original sin of mankind. Was it not the serpent who said to Eve, ‘surely you may eat.’ You see Adam and Eve had no reason for discontentment, but the serpent came in and insisted that they were ‘whipped’ by God and deserved more, i.e. the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is the same thing that drives all of politics today, convincing people they deserve more, and then promising to be the fulfillment of what people think they deserve. It is a wicked wicked process designed to breed discontent and the masses bite into it hook line and sinker.

So what is the point of all this. Well the ultimate display of love and authority was Jesus Christ, who was whipped for, and by His bride. That is precedent enough for me to do all in my power to serve my wife regardless of what I receive in return. My wife is a tremendous woman, who honors her husband and has a beautiful sweet spirit about her, most people who know her would testify to that. The powers of darkness will always attack what is good, and this recent encounter was no different.

I will leave it at that. I know this is a different sort of post, but in some way I hope it helped someone.


Practical Holiness

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)

I have really struggled to communicate this, and I hope it is clear. The truths here are simple; the problem is that I am lacking the skill to communicate them simply. Before reading you must recognize that faith and belief are one in the same. If ones faith and belief differ then they are a “double minded man and unstable in all their ways.” So as far as this post is concerned faith and belief are interchangeable. Hopefully you will see why as you read.

There is an important truth that every reader of this post must recognize, and that truth is that EVERYONE EVERYWHERE ALWAYS LIVES WHAT THEY BELIEVE without exception. If this sounds ‘out there’ to you it is because your theology is not practical and it only exists in a vacuum. For example: Do you believe that God rewards those who diligently seek Him, and moreover that God’s rewards are far greater than any that man can offer, and that when you seek God with your whole heart you will not be disappointed? You WILL diligently seek Him if you actually believe that, and if you are not diligently seeking Him, it is obvious that you do not believe these truths. Does that make sense? The only other option is that you do believe, you are just insane, literally. For the most part people are sane, they simply do not believe. For the most part I am sane, yet there are times, often, when unbelief sinks in and leads me to sin. There is a tendency for us to believe that we need to start living into the faith we hold, but that is absolutely untrue. The fact is that we ARE living the faith that we hold to, and if our actions are out of line with the faith we profess to hold, then the truth is that our profession of faith is quite different from our faith itself. This is the case for most of us, the author of this post included.

Now people will take exception with what is said above because it appears that if we all sin then we are all unbelievers. That is not what is being said. The truth is that we have areas or moments of unbelief, unless you are perfect (something I personally struggle to believe is attainable, but I will not accept that God is unable to perform that in someone). Unfortunately because our soteriology (doctrine of salvation) is based on a mental ascension to biblical truths as opposed to an actual belief that regenerates (or recreates, and changes) a person, we have come to refuse acceptance of the obvious truth that all sin in some manner results from unbelief. We then throw in even more confusion when we begin to speak of Sovereignty, free will, sanctification and more.

Luther was one of the main archeologists who dug up the old truth of justification by faith alone, but there was still more digging to be done. (God forbid I say Luther was wrong, he just had a further course to run.) Luther never was able to make the connections between faith and works, in fact he was ready to toss the book of James from the cannon. Luther did the church a great service, and it was a couple hundred years later when Wesley uncovered a little more. Wesley showed that not only was Justification by faith alone, but Sanctification was by faith alone as well. With that truth uncovered clarity is brought to James, and though Paul and James play different notes their message is in perfect harmony. Wesley did not finish the job though. Wesley’s theology on predestination and sovereignty is well, lacking to say the least. Equally the ‘reformed’ theologians have made human responsibility ‘free will’ a mere theory, or worse non-existent. Reformed theology rightly asserts God’s in control, but then takes all instances of cause and effect, and human responsibility and writes them off as God pulling marionette strings to get Himself glory.

Can all of this be reconciled? Maybe, but not by this author. It will take the brilliance of a Luther, Calvin, Wesley, or Edwards, of our own time. What will be said here however is this; faith without works is dead. Faith cannot exist apart from works, and more over lack of works (not busyness) is proof of lacking faith. Sin is the result of unbelief. If you sin, you have unbelief. If your life is one of continual disobedience without repentance, than your life is a life of continual unbelief. Unbelief is lack of faith. Justification, and Sanctification are both by faith alone, if you live in continual sin, you have no Justification, and the proof is your lack of Sanctification. (that was a mouthful)

Now, back to Jude 24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling…” He is able, do you have faith enough for that? You will never obtain faith by works, but by seeking the Father to grant you faith enough to believe. If you do seek for it, you indeed will receive faith. How will you know the measure of faith you have received? How much victory do you have over sin? How will you know you are justified? Are you being sanctified? Ultimately what does faith/belief produce?

You will know them by their fruits…

I apologize, this was pretty much a stream of consciousness ramble.


More on the Issue of Homosexuality

The issue at hand is not so much an issue of sin, it is an issue of repentance. The reason this has become an issue is that the Church as a whole has taken a lax position on sin. Now I understand ultimately Christianity is about grace, and that all who call upon the name of the Lord in brokeness and with a repentant heart will be saved. Now the homosexual community has what appears to be a legitimate beef against the profesing church as a whole, and in a sense they are correct. They ask the question: "What makes us so much different from every other nominal Church member? And why would a church exclude us from Christian service while still allowing unrepentant sinners full access?" The answer to that question in most cases is absolutely nothing! Again I restate that the sexual act between two of the same gender is not the only 'abomination' in the scriptures.

What is the homosexual to think when the unrepentant adulterer or fornicator is allowed full privelege and they are excluded. What about the one who is knowingly sinful in their business practices, why whould that man or woman have full privelege while the other does not? Is not unjust balances (unfair business) also an 'abomination'. You see until the professing church becomes a repentant church they are really in no position to exclude anyone!

This issue within mainline protestant churches be they UMC, PCUSA, ELCA, and so on, serves a major divider, but what happens is that people unite on one issue i.e. abortion, homosexuality, death penalty, and so on, but the majority of those taking are stand are in no position to take a stand. Anytime I am to take a stand on any issue of sin I must first examine myself ask the Lord to expose sin in my life that I may confess and repent. So long as I am harboring sin, and justifying it I cannot take a stand on anything.


Issues of Homosexuality

As I write this post I am at the annual conference of the West Ohio Conference of our denomination, and I am deeply disappointed. In a close vote our conference voted to explore material about homosexuality with an open mind and to seek God’s will concerning inclusiveness. The legislation that passed was not and out and out endorsement of homosexuality as valid and moral expression of human sexuality, however it was a step in that direction. I do not typically post on these issues, because with the primary audience of this blog this is a settled issue, but today I am going to post on this today for various reasons which I will form as questions.

Question #1
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be inclusive?

YES – The Church should be inclusive, actively seeking the lost for the purpose of bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We should indeed bring the gospel invitation to all people of all colors, gender, class, sexual orientation and so on. I do not believe this to be up for debate and my assumption is that all peoples both liberal and fundamental agree with this.

Question #2
Does nature point to the will of God?

YES – Scripture is clear that the glory of God is revealed through nature in many ways. Nature is a means of inspiration to us, and we can draw countless parallels of nature to Godliness and so on. In a sense we can even consider the revelation of nature as authoritative considering that God holds those who have not heard the gospel accountable based on His truth revealed in nature. (You have to be very careful here.)

Question #3
Does homosexuality occur in nature?

YES – It does, and that really is not up for debate. Murder, rape, polygamy, promiscuity, theft, deception, and so on also occur in nature as well as a plethora of other sins. Moreover sin is natural to all unconverted peoples, as original sin is evident in all of humanity. Natural certainly does not mean excusable.

Question #4
Is there any reason to believe that someone who engages in physically homosexual relations is any less a candidate of salvation than anyone else?

NO – It is important as fundamental Christians that we do not segment homosexual behavior into a separate class away from all sin in general. I know that most agree with this in theory, however in discussion and practice typically fundamental individuals will treat homosexuality in a completely different light than they do other sin. Remember, homosexuality is not the only ‘abomination’ in scripture.

Question #5
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be open to the acceptance of homosexuals into their membership, and moreover allow them to preach, teach, and lead?

YES – Under the condition of repentance, genuine conversion, and repudiation of their sin. A homosexual is as much a candidate for membership and Christian service as any other sinful person. The conditions for their membership and employment in Christian service ought to be no different then any other person. Recall the conversion of any genuine Christian and know that they have been brought to a place of loathing sin and desiring righteousness.

So what is the point??
I have posed 5 basic questions answered them with a simple yes or no and then appended an explanation. The explanations and answers are biblical, however if you remove the explanations and leave the questions as a simple yes or no you could see a very different picture emerge. Look at it this way.

Should the church of Jesus Christ be inclusive? – Yes
Does nature point to the will of God – Yes
Does homosexuality occur in nature – Yes
Is there any reason to believe that someone who engages in physically homosexual relations is any less a candidate of salvation than anyone else? – No
Should the Church of Jesus Christ be open to the acceptance of homosexuals into their membership, and moreover allow them to preach, teach, and lead? – Yes

You see if you just take the questions and the yes or no answer to them you can paint a pretty strong picture that tends to embrace what many call the homosexual agenda. These questions are posed over and over in order to get people to come to the logical conclusion that homosexuality within the Church is proper and acceptable. With out any biblical search into why the answers to these questions are yes or no we will not get a true picture of what God’s will is in this issue.

Now, there is another issue at hand here, and I believe that the forces of wickedness behind the homosexual movement are merely using homosexuality as a decoy. Fundamentalists, Focus on the Family, all the end timers, and so on have become so focused and intent on pulling the weeds of homosexuality out of the church that they have allowed giant oak trees of lust, deceit, divorce, pride, and so on grow with out even noticing. The professing church has completely abandoned holiness, and has even come to the point were she does not even have any real expectation of holiness from its ranks. However everyone feels good about themselves as long as they are against something unholy.


Losing Salvation

Can a person lose salvation? First off, when this is debated both sides usually are debating from a very humanistic standpoint and arguing about a very cheap salvation. The debate always seems to center around a very selfish idea, “Can I after believing and begin justified still end up in hell?” Can you see the humanism in this question? The debate that follows will have two sides armed with scriptures being quoted to support the case that you cannot end up in hell if you have truly believed, or to prove that one can still end up in hell even if they have believed unto salvation at some point. Unfortunately the debate is of no value at the outset, and the question of whether or not a person can end up in hell after initially believing is nearly a sinful question to even ask. Since when was salvation all about heaven and hell? In fact is salvation at all about heaven and hell? Certainly the ‘saved’ will end up in heaven, and the ‘unsaved’ will end up in hell, that is a statement of fact, but what is the purpose of salvation?

We must again revisit the three tenses of salvation and examine what the whole purpose of salvation in order to assess whether this point of contention is even worth debating, or if there is even really a point of contention.

There is the past tense of salvation: “I have been saved from the penalty of sins committed in the past.” We call that justification. Some would say at the point of justification we are also forgiven for sins we will commit in the future as well, personally I am ok with that, and even agree to an extent with that.

There is also the future tense of salvation: “I will be saved from the presence of sin in an eternal heaven.” We call this glorification. I think there is little debate on this, and that everyone would agree that the future tense of salvation includes a sinless heaven.

Then there is the present tense salvation: “I am being saved from the power of sin right now.” We call this sanctification. Now there is a lot of debate on sanctification, can someone be made perfect and sinless right now, or is sanctification an ongoing process and so on. That is a legitimate debate, I have a hard time believing anyone to be perfected, but at the same time I do not dare make a claim that the Holy Spirit is unable or even unwilling to perfect someone.

So we come back to our question, can someone lose salvation? You need to specify what you mean by salvation. Can someone become ‘unjustified’ and have to pay the penalty for sins they have already been forgiven of? Of course not! Can someone enter into a sinless heaven and sin? Well, it wouldn’t be a sinless heaven if there was still the chance of sinning. Clearly glorification as well as justification cannot be lost. You will not sin when you are glorified, and sins past will not be counted against us at the point of being justified.

So can someone lose salvation? Well in the present tense the answer must, if we are to be honest, be yes. It is clear that men and women are prone to backsliding, even the most devoted of believers backslide, and the sins that at one point we had power over, and were saved from, we at times commit again. We have lost present tense salvation from the power over that particular sin. People then want to ask the question whether or not they can go to hell or not based on that backsliding. That is were the whole debate begins, but why? Who cares about heaven and hell if we are not as close to the Lord right now as we once were, or as we desire to be? Do you not see it? So many people want to know whether or not they still get to go to heaven after they sin and they miss the whole point! Do they not want restored to present tense salvation again? Forget about heaven and hell for a minute, the Kingdom of God is at hand! Maybe the real reason you debate this so much is that you do not have a strong desire for salvation in the present tense. You are too worried about convincing people that you are sealed and that Christ will not let you go to enjoy and long for present tense salvation. Or on the other hand you may be too worried that you have lost salvation to realize that the Lord came to give you present tense salvation. Moreover God gets the most glory when He works present tense salvation in His people, so concern yourself with His glory and seek present tense salvation! Forget the silly once saved always saved debate that you find so important and begin to work out your present tense salvation with fear and trembling, and also with great joy and comfort in the presence of the Lord.

I hope that all made sense.


25 Signs you may be a dead fundamentalist

I rarely post this way, and this is not meant to be angry so do not misunderstand it. Also, many people will view a post like this as some sort of liberalism, it is not. Much of the comments I make in the post cause me to repent for I know my guilt and some of the dead fundamentalism that still unfortunately plagues me.

You will know them by their fruit…
The fruit of the spirit is, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

:::::Warning signs that you may be a dead fundamentalist…:::::::

1. The majority of the time you read the scriptures it is to gather ammunition to prove someone else wrong.

2. Even when you are not intending gather ammo you tend to enter that mode as soon you begin to read.

3. You often find yourself quoting Ephesians 4:26 to justify your anger, without recognition that in the same verse it is clear that it is a sin to take that anger to bed with you.

4. You cling to Jesus’ words that He did not come to bring peace but a sword thinking that truth applies to you as well… even though He instructs His disciples ‘blessed are the peacemakers’.

5. Anytime someone disagrees with you, you assume them to be ignorant and unbiblical before you examine yourself and the basis of their disagreement.

6. You let everyone else know how biblical you are.

7. Even when around your brothers and sisters in the Lord your discussion is always about battle, and never about the mercies and glories of Christ.

8. You get angry every time someone disagrees with you. (That is your dead fundamental pride.)

9. The primary evidence of your faith is your disagreement with those outside of your faith.

10. You spend more time reading fundamentalist (dead or otherwise) blogs than you do in prayer.

11. People do not like you, and you claim it is because of Christ, but underneath it all you know it is you they are rejecting, not Christ that dwells in you.

12. You cling to the last 2 beatitudes without embodying the rest of them.

13. When you read that you are the salt of the earth you take it to mean that you are to sting people and be coarse.

14. You love to do battle and talk about putting on armor, but you go into battle without ever putting it on.

15. You like to remind everyone that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, but fail to realize that perfect love casts out fear.

16. You fear the word unity, and when you hear it you instantly assume the speaker to be a liberal heretic.

17. People fear you more than they fear your God.

18. You define a biblical Christian as one who thinks like you, even though your understanding is ever increasing, and things you once thought biblical you now realize aren’t. You fail to accept that you have some unbiblical theology that you will change as it comes to light.

19. After reading the first 18 points you assume the writer of this is a liberal.

20. You think that someone cannot be both Arminian and Christian

21. You think that someone cannot be both Calvinist and Christian

22. You talk much about saving souls, but rarely get to a point of praying with someone and actually doing soul work because your fundamentalism pushes every one away.

23. You always have a verse or some other way of justifying #22.

24. The fruit of the spirit are conceptual to you, but the reality is that you do not bear that fruit.

25. This post brought you to a point of anger and not self examination.

I only write these things, because they are the very things that have caused great struggle in my life as the Lord continues to sanctify me. Many of follies listed above I have been glorious saved from others I find myself returning to. I will be the very first to admit that there are some significant wretched traces of dead fundamentalism in me, and without the blood of Christ the dead fundamentalism in my heart would send me straight to hell.

I hope in some way this post helps someone. Maybe some day I will post 25 signs you may be a humanist liberal.


Common Words #10 Pray for Me

Contained in Psalm 24 are these words, 'Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord, and who may stand in His holy place, he who has clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn by what is false.'

Do you understand what you are asking someone when you say 'pray for me'? In essence you are say 'Please enter into the most holy place where angels fear to tread and speak to an all powerful God whom the Seraphs in Isaiah 6 covered their faces in fear of. Once you have entered that place bow down and plead my case before Him.'

See prayer is a majestic thing, not a few words you ramble off before eating your meal. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?? Are your hands clean, is your heart pure? Remember as Christians we make some very bold claims, and yet these bold claims seem to produce in most nothing more than some trite cliches and a pat on the back. You wonder why God doesn't answer prayer? He wonders why you come before Him without humility?

At some point we will need to get real, and if revival is ever to come it will come as a result of people who have been on their faces before God, and have set themselves apart for His sake. Prayer is a majestic thing, do not take it lightly.

People pray about ridiculous things, things they do not even actually care about, and they are dilusional to think that they are having communion with God, they are merely satisfying a ritual they feel inclined to do.

Common Words #9 Heart

(I wrote this post over a month ago, I guess I forgot to post it)

Common Words #9 – I know in my Heart

You cannot trust your heart. It is common in Christian circles for people to talk about their hearts. People say ‘it’s a heart thing’ or ‘I am not sure what the scriptures say but I know in my heart that…’ and so on. When did the Christian begin to trust their heart? Is not the vileness of our hearts what we have been delivered from? How many times must we go after what we feel and find ourselves in sin before we come to realize that our feelings cannot be trusted? This is a serious question. Remember what the scriptures say: "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. Now if the heart is desperately wicked why do we put confidence in it? At the end of this post are a number of scriptures that show that the heart indeed can be wicked.

The point that is being made on this post is to not trust your heart. Possibly this is just a terminology issue, and what people mean is they trust the Holy Spirit within them, but in that case maybe they should state it that way. In most cases people who talk a lot about what they are feeling in their heart are merely talking about the emotions they are feeling. You cannot trust emotions! This is really important. Go to a professional sporting event and you will see all types of emotion, even total strangers giving each other hugs and high fives. Can you trust that emotion? Of course not, there is not love their, just a mere common interest for a short time which could quickly turn into hatred if one of the strangers fails to follow traffic rules in the parking garage after the game. Even if a group of people sit around and share their feelings and it seems that the Spirit is present this is not necessarily a move of God, even if it is in a ‘Christian’ setting. This is important to see. If the Spirit of God moves it will bring conviction of sin, as well as joy, and ultimately it will leave people glorifying the Lord.

Genesis 6:5
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Psalm 10:3
For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire,And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.

Psalm 28:3
Do not drag me away with the wickedAnd with those who work iniquity,Who speak peace with their neighbors,While evil is in their hearts.

Psalm 41:6
And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood;His heart gathers wickedness to itself;When he goes outside, he tells it.

Psalm 66:18
If I regard wickedness in my heart,The Lord will not hear;

Acts 8:22
"Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.