Category Archives: Others’ stuff

He is Enough!

As I’m sure you have too, I’ve seen people that might be referred to as ‘thrill surfers’; people who go from one Christian event to another in order to ‘get zapped’ by the power of God, or for some other spiritual thrill. But there’s no need for that; everything we need is ours already, in Jesus (2Pet 1:3; Lk 15:31). Here’s Jamie Engelhart on the topic, ‘He is Enough’.


When I was younger and still not clear on my sonship and identity I ran from meeting to meeting, and conference to conference, and author to author, and prayer meeting to prayer meeting, and revival to revival. Also signing up for one charismatic conference promising freedom and wholeness to another looking for the next great revelation or gift or anointing and miracle, and none of it seemed to satisfy or settle me at rest. I was always still searching for the perfect leader, church, anointing, ministry, power and revelation and never really satisfied or settled in Christ.

Now I know much of that was my immaturity and I love when people have a great hunger for the Kingdom of God, but I realize now that it was not as much a hunger for the kingdom, but a lie that I believed that Jesus was not really my all in all, or my life. I was constantly chasing the carrot dangling in front of me believing the lie that there was something that I was deficient of and that I needed one more “breakthrough”, or I had to constantly strive to get to “the next level” and that there was always MORE especially at the beginning of every new year.

Even though I have been (past tense) blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ and been given ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, that it was still not enough. The problem with that way of thinking is that you never then become complete or whole in Him because there is always the allure of there has to be MORE than this. We then come up with our cute cliches and rhymes and our “word” for the year that many times just leads to more frustration, because we are still trying to attain what we have which ends up being unbelief and shipwrecks the faith of many.

This was THE LIE that got Adam and Eve removed from the garden. satan planted a lie in their minds that walking with God in the cool of the day in union and relationship as children with a Father was not enough, and that there was MORE, which produced in them a thought that what God had given them was not enough and that they were deficient in some way. It is also important to realize that what the serpent promised them they already had since they were already “LIKE” God, but the craftiness of the lie was to convince them that they had to become what they already were.

How else could he tempt someone who already had all they would ever need. I see wonderful people walking thru this process all the time, they go from church to church, conference to conference, revival to revival, looking for that experience or the “MORE” and it will continually lead them to frustration until they come to the realization that HE IS ENOUGH.

Now I pray that none of you misunderstand me, are there experiences and wonderful encounters and growth and revelation that God has for us along the way? Of course there are, but it is not about us attaining those things but receiving (greek= Lambano, or to take hold of) those things by faith that He has already blessed us with, but even those are not things that satisfy. I mean how many times are you going to fall on the floor, or shake under the power, or receive a healing, or miracle, or receive 50 prophetic words, or see a vision until you are complete and satisfied?

Signs and wonders are to follow us and anytime we follow them it is backwards and not the Kingdom. “The Lie” of the enemy and his strategy has never changed, and it is to get us always looking for more and never realizing what we already have. Jesus said,” if you drink of the water that I give then you will NEVER thirst again”, for now you are to become the source of supply to other thirsty ones for out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.


Brilliant.

Here’s the link to the original article.

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“You Are Here”

“For centuries, there has a lot of ignorance and damage surrounding the interpretation of the Bible.

“Take Galileo’s conviction for heresy, for example. By his invention of the telescope over 400 years ago, Galileo contradicted religion’s doctrine of the earth as the center of the universe.

“With powerful telescopes today we can see so far into deep space that we can see the stars receding from us at nearly the speed of light itself. Our galaxy alone contains around 250 billion stars, and there are somewhere between 200 billion and 2 trillion galaxies in the part of the universe that we can see… (Counting is hard.)

“The Bible was never intended to be used as a scientific textbook, and attempts to make it one almost guarantee ridiculous conclusions. It never “taught” an earth-centered universe– religion did.

“The cosmos has turned out to be far larger and of greater complexity than anyone in ancient times imagined… and, consequently, so has God. When you read your Bible, try to think of such a vastly incomprehensible Creator becoming one of us on our little planet– just because he loves us and knew we desperately needed to know it… Then, allow the encrusted doctrines, curses, and fears that religion has saddled you with to begin to fall away… all those ideas and beliefs that prevent you from being who your heart says you are and enjoying your God-given life… and freely loving him.

“Creation itself is a testament, crafted by God Himself, and observing and learning from it will never be at odds with our faith.”

– Don Francisco

Link to original article on Facebook

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Church Recovery Day

It’s funny, but as an Evangelical, Charismatic, Fundamentalist Christian, I believed that the Sabbath (in my ‘denomination’, that was a Sunday) was supposed to be ‘kept holy’  – whatever that’s supposed to mean (nobody ever really explored the concept, after all!) – but at the very least it should be a day of rest, because that’s what God did on the Sabbath day. Whether it was a Friday, Saturday or Sunday didn’t matter, as long as we had one day a week where we rested.

For me, my Sabbath had to be Saturday, because I was working at Church things all Sunday, what with being a Church musician, worship leader and all. And my leadership didn’t like that; I kept my Saturdays clear rigorously, and of course if that clashed with their timetable (if they  wanted something done on a Saturday) they weren’t keen. But I held fast to my principle; after all, as a lead musician, and bloody good at what I did at the keyboard, there was no way they were going to ‘fire’ me (unless I dropped some doctrinal clanger, of course, which I never did).

But I have to be fair to them. My Church’s meetings were usually filled with the Presence of God, and I have seen people break down in tears just by the sheer sense of that Presence. The people were friendly and helpful, and genuinely cared and ministered to each other and to those outside the Church too. Underneath that surface, yes, there were all the harsh doctrines like hell and judgement, and most of the people there felt entitled to challenge complete strangers if they said something out of line*. And remember that just because God graces a church with His Presence, does not mean that He is affirming all their beliefs. Far from it; usually, He actually turns up despite our beliefs. But for the most part (and probably because I kept to all the doctrinal tenets), the church was a pretty safe place for me and my family.

This isn’t always the case, sadly. Some churches can be traumatic places to be, and to be honest I don’t know why people carry on going to them**. Until I read this piece by legendary Christian musician Don Francisco, in which he describes very clearly why he felt he had to be there every week, and to keep going back to the trauma factory. Over to Don:


“Monday… church recovery day. That’s how it used to be for me, except sometimes it was worse: It could take most of the week for me to heal after hearing what was taught in song and sermon on Sunday.

“Why would I keep going back? Because I’d been taught that going to church was necessary to please God; I’d attended since I was born. The Bible commanded it: “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…”

“So, what exactly did I need to heal from? Fear, guilt, and self-hate… just to name the Big Three. Fear of a god who punished in ways that would appall a sociopath; guilt from every real and imagined sin in recent memory; and knowing that my heart was untrustworthy and “desperately wicked”…

“It didn’t really matter what denomination the church was, or if the preacher was a kind person or not; the bottom line was still this: God was angry at sin, and my only hope was to hide my sinful self behind Jesus.

“For those in varying degrees of recovery today, I have some advice for you: Like Paul the apostle did, consider all that religious stuff dung. Yep, that’s right: Bullshit.

“God is not angry with you; He is love. He became a human to prove it, calling us brothers and friends, forgiving us at our worst when we murdered Him. Today, we can each hear the Spirit speak words of love and support if we’ll listen.

” ‘Come to me, all of you who struggle beneath religion’s heavy load, and I will give you rest. Walk with me and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.’ And freedom from fear, guilt, and self-hate…”

– Don Francisco


Here’s the link to the original post on Don’s Facebook page

Need I add more? If you’re at a church like that, well, my first action would be to get out of there, but that depends on what Father is calling you to do. The loving Heavenly Father, of couse, not the nasty, radgy god that your church may be preaching. But the main thing is to seek Jesus, in whatever way works for you, and find your comfort and acceptance there.

Don’t get me wrong: not all churches are ‘tramua factories’. Far from it. Most of them are places of healing, friendship and, above all, the Presence of God. But the purpose of this blog post is to highlight, for people in such a harmful church, that there are churches out there where good is done, rather than horror. Churches where Jesus is preached, rather than conformity to the leadership’s whims.

Concerning matters of faith, I used to say ‘one size doesn’t fit all’. But in the case of Jesus, it actually does. Jesus does indeed fit all, even if His Chirch doesn’t. He loves you right where you are, right as you are, and does not ask you to change except where you want to change.

I think that’s marvellous, don’t you? Now that’s a God I can love!


*For me, many of the people were complete strangers, except for my group of closer friends. This is the way friendship groups work, of course. But the thing with being at the front is that everyone feels they already actually do ‘know’ you, even if they don’t. And in a church of 300 people, most people fall into that latter category 😉


**Go to YouTube and search for ‘Mark Driscoll God Hates You’. I will not stain my blog with a link to that lethal rubbish. Even thinking about that makes my blood boil, and injures my gentle pastor’s heart.

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Susan Cottrell – Why I Chose My Daughter Over the Evangelical Church

To most people, that’s a no-brainer. But for people inside the Church, believe it or not, sometimes they are forced (by those who really should know better) to make a choice between their church and their kids. It’s more overt in the States, but it happens here in the UK as well. Shame on those people who would make it appear that parents have to choose!

Anyway, here’s the terrific Susan Cottrell, whose work I have featured before on my blog. Here’s her story, here’s her passion, here’s her mission.

Be blessed.

 

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Don’t Ever Look Back

Here’s another excellent piece by my friend Dave Carringer. Like me, Dave has passed beyond the confines of restrictive religion, and walks free in the Kingdom of God.


When I woke up to the truth that my Creator never had any desire to be known as “God” over my life, but a Father, nourisher, provider and intimate friend… my vision of everything in life changed. I learned to love me for who He created me to be, and in turn, I began to love others around me from my heart because I saw His treasure in them as well.

When I found out the One who gave me life didn’t require sacrifice or service from me, but ‘sacrifice’ was merely the twisted perceptions of man that had been telling me who ‘God’ was… and that my purpose in this life was never to ‘serve’ Him as man had told me, but to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him in every detail of my life… my passion for the kingdom multiplied as a family reality nurtured in my heart by my Father… rather than some pressured requirement of institutional membership planted in my head by man.

When I saw my Father clearly revealed in Jesus, how HE was the humble one who came to serve, how HE came to be the sacrifice, how HE came to set man free from the distorted idea that we were ever separated from Him to begin with… my love for Him and everything around me exploded in ways I could have never dreamed or imagined.

When you find out none of the things man told you about ‘God’ were true, and we were ‘domesticated’ to serve man’s idea of a ‘God’ created from a warped mindset… everything changes. The freedom we were created for comes! The true life we were meant to live overflows! Lasting fruit begins to flourish in every area of our life because we’ve learned to simply abide in that which was ours all along in Christ! When we finally turn and see ourselves face to face with heaven, the veils of man’s distortion have to all fall away.

Once you realize you can hear your Father’s Spirit for yourself, speaking in a voice you clearly understand… no man or institution can ever control your life again. Run free and enjoy your Father’s love… and don’t be entangled in the yoke of man’s bondage ever again. Wake up to your genesis. You were born free. Live in that freedom… and don’t ever look back.


If I may also add a short commentary of my own, not so much to improve what Dave says, but also to look at some of the ramifications that I can see.

I wouldn’t quite say so categorically that ‘…none of the things man told [me] about ‘God’ were ever true”. Some of it was. Sadly this is because all the best lies contain a grain of truth, but that truth was twisted by people trying to fake things, people with the best of intentions, people with agendas, and the like.

Oh, most of the things I have grandiosely referred to as ‘lies’ were in fact very, very subtle changes. Like calling the Bible the ‘Word of God’ rather than the ‘words of God’ – a subtle but important distinction which supplants the Giver of Life with a book.

Like describing – and limiting – the Grace [free gift] of God to a trite and misleading acronymn standing for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense’ and calling it only that, rather than encouraging people to begin to explore the limitless, vast and spacious realm of its full meaning.

Like in one breath saying that God is limited to acting only within the strict confines of a set of rules written by humans over a 4,000-year period, while in the next breath saying that God can do what He likes because, well, He’s God.

Like the need for someone to go into the presence of God on our behalf, once again, just as in the days of Moses, where that someone has to be a highly-theologically-trained human rather than the One Who has already gone into the Holy of Holies on our behalf and has come out with a free pass to allow everyone to go in there.

Like allowing the ‘trained men’ to go in on our behalf and come out wanting to control others like their predecessor on whom they model their methods, who is held up as a greater standard of leadership as the One Whom the rulebook was actually pointing to; the man who came down from the mountains after learning that ‘thou shalt not kill’, only to get his thugs to murder 3,000 people because ‘god told him to do it’.

Like the subtle twisting of writings in that 4,000 year old ‘rulebook’ to make it the sole authority in the lives of those who would choose to follow that particular set of rules, while at the same time labelling every other human who ever lived as being degenerate and wicked and in fact somehow sufficiently ‘untermensch’ to be gassed forever with sulfur dioxide in a supposedly divine Auschwitz clone.

Like ignoring huge parts of the ‘rulebook’, which refer to fearlessness, to love, to mercy, and all by simply giving more weight to the people in that rulebook who got it wrong.

Like being so lazy and in fact unmotivated to going into that Presence, so much as to allow others to tell us what we are and are not allowed to hear for ourselves from the One Who is the Centre of that Presence. And then giving those people the power to hurt us and control us, based on concepts alien to the Person Who told us that we do not need such people to lead us.

Like preferring to remain in ignorance, and to follow ideas based solely on that ignorance, rather than to follow the One Who said ‘Follow Me’ and then showed us what that looks like.

Like not trusting the Most Trustworthy One to hold us up in the bottomless ocean of life and adventure, but instead allowing others to make us feel ‘safe’ by constructing fake ‘harbours’ of safety that are nothing more than prisons.

I will not go back into that cage.

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It Has to Stop

I’ll follow on from my last post with this one by Mike Douglas. This piece gives another slant on how people who should know better tarnish the image of God for others.


Here we go again… and again and again.

Last weekend we visited with dear friends and the discussion started, sadly, like so many [too many] others I have had in my years of ministry. ‘Mike, here is why I’m never going back to church…’

The particulars are not important. But they are very familiar. Good people, who love Jesus become completely turned off church because of the actions of those who claim to be followers of Jesus but who act nothing like Him.

Our friends love Jesus but are just tired of many in the church. They love Jesus, but I worry about how many more of these incidents they will see before they reject Him too. I also worry about all of those who don’t know Jesus but are getting their image of Him from His followers. As I’ve wrote many times, people are not rejecting Jesus they are rejecting us.

There is another reason why this hurts me so much. I love God the Father, God the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. I love Him with all my heart. He loves me with an unconditional, sacrificial love. He is beautiful to me. He has done great things for me. He thinks I’m amazing!

But now I must endure those who He has done so much for as well routinely and repeatedly hurting His reputation and thereby keeping others away from the wonderful love I cherish. If you love someone, I am sure you can relate to the pain you would feel if that person’s reputation was attacked through no fault of their own by people who should and do know better.

They would not get away with it if they were attacking my wife and I can’t let them get away with it when they attack my Father.

IT HAS TO STOP!

If modern culture were a hockey game, Christianity wouldn’t quite have lost the game yet, but the clock is running down, we are way behind on points and we keep shooting on our own net. For those of you not from Canada, insert your own sports metaphor. Tackling your own quarterback. You get the idea.

It’s no secret that people are leaving the Church, and although they are not all rejecting Jesus, they are surely saying no to the faith that bears His name. And many will never know Jesus and His Father’s love for them for the same reasons. It breaks my heart.

I spend a great deal of my time listening to many of these folks, and they educate me. Based on what I’ve learned, here are some ways Christians are hurting God’s reputation and hurting people:

1. Hating Non-Christians

In response to a dying church, many Christians respond with attack language and war rhetoric against those deemed outsiders (those who don’t fit within a narrow framework of appearance, conduct and belief).

This anger is something people see a mile away and are rejecting. Who would want to be part of that? Who would want to be attacked like that? Quit hurting and speaking poorly of my Father!

People want and deserve a Christianity that is known for love and kindness, not violence. One that reflects Jesus. Now, that’s attractive.

2. Making Jesus a Conservative Politician

Nothing has hurt the church more nor the reputation of my Father more than Christianity wanting to become a political lobby group and force their nation to follow their narrow, restrictive idea of what is right. NOTHING.

People rightly want a Jesus that can’t fit comfortably within any political platform or voting block. I have written about this often so won’t elaborate here.

If God is as be as big as we say He is, He must transcend political systems in the minds of His followers. Again, Jesus didn’t come to take sides, He came to take over. The answers to what is wrong in our society are not found by looking to Ottawa, Washington or London. They are found by looking up.

3. Defending Our Bad Actions While Destroying Others for Theirs

Time and again it is revealed that not only are those Christians who crusade most vocally on “morality issues” often the most broken, but that we are lousy about accepting responsibility when we fail—especially when we do so sexually.

In response to revealed indiscretions, we invariably see disgraced followers of Jesus blaming everything from pornography to the media to immodest dress to the Devil himself, instead of simply admitting that we too are messes, and we fail too.

One sentence could change so much but we so often refuse to use it: ‘It’s my fault, and I’m sorry.’

4. Misusing the Bible

When it comes to the amount of damage Christians have done in the world, the Bible is sadly the deadliest weapon of choice. We use it to justify wars and gun violence and to perpetuate injustice and attack those we disagree with.

We’ve ripped it from context, used it for our own political agendas, selectively enforced it and brutally bashed people over the head with it—and people have grown weary of it.

We must stop using the Bible like a hammer, unless it is to build something useful.

How have we gotten so far away from a Book that is all about the love God has for people such that He would sacrifice His own Son to be reunited with us? And use it to keep people away from Him.

Church is Broken

Sadly, must Christians don’t even want to admit this. But, unless we fix it, people are going to keep saying No.

But take heart. They are a growing number of Followers of Jesus who can no longer stand by and see the reputation of the One they love damaged by people who should know better. I’m part of that group. I believe there is a huge shakeup coming. And I can’t wait.

You don’t have to agree with me, but these views are held by many who have grown weary of a church that has lost its way. I still believe when someone encounters Jesus that he or she is changed forever, yet, that is not who they are encountering when they walk through church doors.

Jesus himself is a model of love, acceptance, forgiveness, peace and hope.May we look in the mirror and get rid of any arrogance and pride and fear that keeps us from allowing ourselves to be changed, until the true image of Jesus is revealed in us.


Here’s the link to the original article

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God is Not a Judge!

One gentleman I have had some great discussions with, both face-to-face and on the Internet, is my friend Martin Fell. Martin lives hundreds of miles away from me (I do sometimes go up to see him in Yorkshire where he lives) and yet we agree on so much that the Spirit is doing in these days. Martin is a passionate man, with a huge love for Jesus and a vast revelation of the Father’s Love for him and for others. It’s no surprise, then, that Martin writes passionately to defend the reputation of God the Father, in the light of how Jesus revealed Him to us. Not that God needs us to ‘stick up for Him’, of course, but most people have not heard the GREAT news of just how good He is. In fact, they have heard quite the opposite from those (the church) who really should know better. Here, Martin writes about how the idea of God being a nasty judge is actually a flawed concept, and in so doing, he reveals the loving nature of the God he knows so well. Over to Martin:

Jesus spent the whole of His ministry telling us and showing us that God was not a judge but a Father, why oh why are you trying to make Him a judge again! As soon as you put salvation and God in judicial terms you miss what Jesus taught and the heart of the gospel.We are children lost in our false beliefs about our Father and ourselves who need showing our true identity and worth. We are NOT criminals who need acquitting!

Jesus was clear ‘the Father judges no one’ that doesn’t mean that God judged in the Old Testament, is taking a break, and will judge again in the future. It’s a stand alone statement. It means God has never judged anyone in the past, doesn’t now, and never will in the future. Lovingly corrects, yes; judges, no; not even once has God judged a person.

That means God didn’t judge mankind with a flood, didn’t judge Israel by letting armies defeat them and exile them, didn’t use Israel to judge other nations, didn’t order genocide, didn’t rain fire down on cities, didn’t send a death angel to kill the firstborn, didn’t drown thousands in the Red Sea, didn’t open up a sink hole, didn’t send snakes to bite people , didn’t kill a guy for touching the Ark of the Covenant. He won’t judge anyone in the future either by sending them or ‘allowing’ them to go to Eternal Conscious Torment in ‘Hell’.

Judges false beliefs and identities yes; judges people never, not once in the whole of human history or in the future. ‘The Father judges no one’, period, full stop.

It really is about time you guys starting believing Jesus. 😃


Here’s the link to Martin’s original post


Hehe, I love how he opens his essay by hinting at the tendency of Christians to take the Good News (God actually likes you!) and turn it into bad (…ah but He’s also a stern Judge!) Sadly, that’s what Religion does…

I have deliberately placed this piece directly after the one with Don Francisco’s essay on the modification of belief, because here, once again, is another clear example of how our beliefs about God can be modified, yet without going ‘against’ the Scripture, or at least only going against certain people’s interpretation of Scripture.

Anyway, in closing, let me remind you that the ‘Judgement of God’ that the Bible speaks of is actually a Heavenly judgement of restoration and relationship, not one of wrath and punishment. God is into true Heavenly justice, not a justice that’s a poor reflection of our own, flawed, earthly justice. Martin and I have a good handle on that concept, and it is also deeply rooted in our own personal revelations of who God is to us, and who we are to Him. Can I encourage you to look again at ‘divine judgement’ in that light, and see what a marvellous and reassuring concept it really is 🙂

Be blessed!

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How Beliefs are Modified

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series The Stages of Spiritual Growth

…and what it looks like in practice

It’s quite funny, really. I know I said that the previous piece in this series on Spiritual Growth was to be the last one. But I’ve been wrong before 😉

And since examples are an excellent form of teaching aid, I figured, ‘What the heck’ and I have indeed added it to the series.

Probably the most important underlying question I have been tackling repeatedly in my earlier articles is this: ‘What does spiritual growth look like?’ And so, today, I would like to give you an actual visual instance of this from real life. This is a great example of what the reappraisal of one’s personal beliefs actually looks like in practice. This is a very relevant piece, from the legendary Christian musician Don Francisco, and I just had to include it precisely because it is such a good illustration. Here we go:


I’ve had several supernatural revelations in my seventy-plus years. They first showed me, and then re-confirmed, the reality of Jesus/God and His love; they have become the foundations of my life.

Making an all-too-common error, however, I interpreted those undeniable experiences with God according to modern evangelical dogma, having no other context. It didn’t take long for those interpretations to mix with the revelations themselves, and together they hardened into intellectual barriers… I began to confuse defending those composite walls with defending the revelations themselves– which needed no defense. It took years for me to realize this had occurred…

Religious dogma would assert that such a realization is actually a spiritual attack that requires resistance – and the building of a higher, more extensive, and more impenetrable mental wall. Experience is deemed invalid (being identified with “the sinful flesh”), and doctrine is elevated to the place of prime importance.

Recently, I found myself surveying the damage after the wrecking ball of reason had swung full-force into those dogmatic walls. To continue the metaphor: All that I knew experientially of God was now buried under tons of intellectual rubble. (This is a place people find themselves after escaping from religious cults– doubting everything they’ve believed, not just the cults’ lies and half-truths.)

Removing the rubble and reclaiming my violated experiences was the task before me– all the more difficult because I still lacked a context: Evangelical doctrine was the only one I’d ever known for interpreting those revelations, and I needed a fresh perspective. I eventually found one that works for me; I realize it’s sort of cobbled together…

My interpretive wall had been built of the following common evangelical principles. (The list is not exhaustive, but nearly so…)

1) At the Fall in the Garden of Eden, the human race became evil at its core, and every child born since contains and is predisposed to express that evil. All of us were born separated from God by this misdeed of our ancestors.

2) God could not associate with humanity after the Fall because of His holiness and righteous anger toward our sins and sinful nature. His anger had to be satisfied, and our nature needed to be changed.

3) In the evangelical view, the Old Testament [OT] describes how God made a covenant with the nation of Israel via Moses; Israel continually failed to keep their part of the bargain, incurring God’s wrath and judgment. It’s presented as a model of God’s dealings with humanity outside of Jesus…

4) God sent His only, beloved, and perfect Son to become the human known as Jesus on earth so that He could die to pay the debt for our sins and to change our inner nature– if we ask him. When we do, we are included in the New Covenant, living forever in harmony with God.

5) Three days after His crucifixion and death, Jesus rose bodily from the dead, ascending back to God some time later. Pentecost occurred, followed by centuries of arguments about what it means…

6) Everyone who does not believe in Jesus’ deity and resurrection, repenting of their sins and asking Him to be their Lord and Savior, will be consigned by God to an eternal fiery torment.

7) All believers therefore have a duty to convince non-believers of the above, so that they, too, will receive natures acceptable to God and no longer be destined for hell-fire.

8) The Bible is the Word of God, a God-breathed, inerrant and infallible guide to understanding all these things. It is the sole authority in spiritual matters.

 

I can no longer believe that most of these things are true. Here are my beliefs today; you should work out your own, but feel free to cherry-pick from mine…

1) The Genesis story of the Fall was not intended by its writer(s) as a factual account of the first man and woman. It’s a metaphor meant to describe humanity when we decide that we know how to live without God. We are not born evil, but in the image of God– we’re like him. Some of us choose evil, but most just blunder through life on our own…

2) God never stopped associating with us– because of our ‘sins’ or for any other reason. Jesus, for one, proved it, preferring the company of practically anyone over that of religious leaders. (The Israelites’ idea of an angry god who needed appeasement by blood had been assimilated from neighboring cultures; to their credit, they usually used animal rather than human sacrifices.)

3) The Old Covenant scriptures are a human record of a nation groping after God but ultimately failing to understand Him. Some of the OT writers heard Him better than others, but it’s a mixed bag. Trying to build a theology from the OT won’t work.

4) Jesus did come because of God’s great love for us; he didn’t come to die as payment for our sins. He came to show us what God is really like because we had it all wrong: He’s not angry– He is Love, a love that understands and forgives, even when we murder Him; His love is also independent of our response to it. The Spirit of God is real, has always been present and has never turned from anyone. He would dearly love for you to welcome him into your life; he’s always felt that way… Jesus also came to show us what it looks like to be truly and fully human…

5) I believe Jesus rose bodily from the dead, proving his deity, his love for us, and God’s eternal identification with the human race. When He said, “It is finished” on the cross, He meant it: There is nothing left for us to do but live in the reality of His accomplishment. (The Spirit of God helps us to do that, but the assertion in Acts that he had not yet been “given” makes little sense to me; he is, and always has been omnipresent. Perhaps humanity’s previous lack of comprehension kept him out…) My own initial experience of being filled with him occurred without any “laying on of hands”. What is described as Jesus’ “ascension” was simply a dimensional relocation…

6) For various reasons, the idea of eternal conscious torment for unbelievers has been inserted into Jesus’ teachings and other places in the New Testament [NT]. Assigning anyone to such a place is completely incompatible with Jesus’/God’s character– even the OT writers didn’t threaten people with it… and there really is no such thing as “hell” in the NT.

7) Most of humanity’s hurtful, destructive, and evil actions are motivated by fear. By telling others of God’s love in Jesus– and demonstrating it by how we live– we can introduce them to Him and to reality– a universe governed by love. We can show them that God has always loved them, never condemned them, and not to fear death: It’s not the end, and there is no hell to be avoided by kissing up to an angry god.

8) Idolizing the Bible is foundational to the cult of evangelicalism; human interpretations of a book are thereby elevated to a place of authority above even the audible voice of God Himself. For me, what God says to me in my heart is always held above everything written or spoken by another human.

The Bible exists to lead us to Jesus: He is the Word of God. Hear Him.

This last point (#8), of necessity, affects all the others. If all you know of God is from
books, you are walking in deep darkness…


Here is the link to Don’s original piece on his Facebook page. It might well be worth your looking at some of the comments on there too; there are many people testifying to how the Spirit has been prompting them in the same way. As I’ve said before, I find this fascinating!


There are quite a few pieces planned for my blog in the near future, in which I will be featuring Don’s writings. Keep a good lookout for them! 😀

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This…

Here is a wonderful Christmas story from author Matt Miles. Never mind the glitz, the lights and the frantic spending – this is what Christmas is all about. Shades of Good King Wenceslas and all that…


It was Christmas Eve 1942. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Daddy wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Daddy to get down the old Bible.

I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Daddy didn’t get the Bible instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon he came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now he was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew he was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my coat. Mommy gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Daddy was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Daddy pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.

“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

Then Daddy went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. I asked, “what are you doing?” You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. Mrs.Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” he said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, he called a halt to our loading then we went to the smoke house and he took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked. Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Mrs.Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Daddy was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was he buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Mrs.Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Mrs.Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Daddy said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then he handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at my Daddy like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” he said. Then turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Daddy handed them each a piece of candy and Mrs.Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of my Daddy in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Daddy had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Mommy and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Daddy insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. My Daddy took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Daddy and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door he turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Mrs.Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Daddy turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your Mother and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Mom and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Daddy had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. He had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Mrs. Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside of my Daddy that night. He had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life..
– Matt Miles

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What Makes God God?

More from Phil Drysdale

Here’s a really interesting and profound set of ideas from the brilliant Phil Drysdale.


Do you ever stop to ponder the fact that God became a man?

We all know that when Jesus became a man He was still “fully God.”

But that makes me think…

Was Jesus in all places at once?
(No, He had to travel around and was limited to one body.)

Was Jesus all knowing?
(No: “Who touched Me?” “Only My Father knows the day”)

Was Jesus able to do all things?
(No: “He could only do a few miracles because of their unbelief” “Not My will but Yours, Father”)

The simple fact is Jesus gave up some huge things in becoming a man.

Now I’m not saying that God is not everywhere or He’s not all knowing or that He can’t do all things.

What I am saying is that if Jesus was fully God while on Earth then these things are not what make Him God.

Does God know all things? Sure. But apparently it is not required for Him to be God.

In the same way being all powerful and present everywhere are things God is capable of. But they are apparently not required for Him to be God.

It’s a huge thought. (And you are free to disagree as I’m sure many will. )

If Jesus was still fully God then you have to ask what attributes does God truly care about? What are the non-negotiable God-like qualities that He considers makes Him God?

I think we see them in the fruit of the Spirit.

Jesus doesn’t compromise on any of these attributes when He becomes man.

God is love. God is joyful. God is peaceful. God is patient. God is kind. God is good. God is faithful. God is gentle and God is self-control.

Why do we worship God?

Is it because He knows all things? Or because He is good?

Is it because He is all powerful? Or because He is love?

Is it because He everywhere? Or because He is faithful?

Again I’m not saying God doesn’t have these incredible “omni-” qualities. I’m merely saying they are apparently things that He does not consider essential like He does love, joy, goodness, faithfulness etc.

Can you imagine being Jesus and giving up certain God-like qualities so that you could be in human flesh and do all that He did for us. Talk about humility. Talk about love! (This makes us think of Philippians 2 doesn’t it!)

So today when we consider the God who resides in us… sure we will think about him being everywhere and all powerful. But hopefully we will remember that He values something much more than those things.

They are things that we too are fully able to walk in. Love, peace, joy, patience etc.

Perhaps we are made in His image more than we know.


Now that really is excellent. Ponder it; soak in it; build it in to your ways of thinking if it jives with you.

Be blessed!

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