Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One For The Leavers - From Abmo

Abmo at Windblown Hope has been blogging one year today. I started to leave him a comment on how instrumental he has been in our lives and it got so long that I decided to post it here. This will give new readers an idea of why he is on my reader list.

Dear Abmo,

On December 12th of last year I left a comment and asked you to TELL ME HOW TO LIVE THIS LIFE!! I was frustrated, running out of hope and didn't know where to turn. I wanted to know what was next. You emailed me back these 7 questions and said the following:

"It is unfortunate that I cannot "show" you how we live or what we do. On the other side it is fortunate that I cannot "show" you. This is a struggle that is meant for you alone. Like Jacob (Gen 32:24) it is a wrestle with God in the dark. BUT I can give you hints in the form of questions that you can mull over in this time...:-)

1)Who is Jesus FOR YOU? What do you know of His character? What did He struggle with? Is He as fickle as us? Does He change? What is His love like? What can you do in order to make Him love you more?

2)If you were the only person on this planet, what would your relationship with Jesus look like? What would you "do" for Him? Could you do anything for Him? What does your relationship with Him look like?

3)Who are you? Have you made peace with yourself? Are you a loved person?.....by Jesus. Are you a liked person?.....by Jesus. What does surrender look like? I like the word "brokenness". Can you tell me why?

4)Time. Is God in a hurry? Is every moment holy? Is there a thing such as a time away from God? Do you have to meet people once a week to develop a special bond with them?

5)What does your everyday life look like? Mundane/ordinary? Is God present in the mundane/ordinariness of your life? He came to set the captives free. Free from what?

6)What is the church? (What you know of church has to die completely).

7)Our struggle is usually between right and wrong. Is there a third option?

A lot of questions. Some answers take a long time to be born. When it is time. Give yourself time. I will be praying for the scary part.

As I look over these questions today, I realize that only through the Father addressing each of these questions in His own time allows me to be who and where I am today. Thank you for not giving my husband and me a plan to follow or even your journey to emulate. Instead you gave the most important questions I have had posed to me - ever - in my life. They were the questions that seemed to be on the heart of the Father to answer in our lives. They were insightful and prophetic. I kept the email and check back to it almost monthly to see what Father has been teaching me about them.

I am grateful to have been able to read along on the window that you (and your wife) have provided. I have benefited so much from your encouragement. I remain grateful.


Monday, August 25, 2008

I Did Not Want To Be Right

Peter Wagner's newest letter on Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival has just been published. You can google it elsewhere. I'm too saddened by the whole tone of it that I don't even want it here. (The heresy police already have it up - if you can't find it email me and I will forward it.)

Unfortunately, I was right when I told you what they would eventually say about the Apostolic involvement at Lakeland in this post: (Only please don't imagine that I am gleeful. My heart is broken and I say it with tears in my eyes. I did not want to be right.)

To Mr. Wagner and to the people around him,

Please read the following paragraph taken from Mr. Wagner's letter of August 25th and tell me where the heart of a father is to be found:

Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as "crazy!" However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I'm sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect. The point I am making is that I am no stranger to taking risks and living with the fallout. (emphasis mine)

This paragraph made my heart hurt and my eyes tear up. Todd is not a loser. The story is not written yet. But even if it ended here the cross ensures that he is no loser. You all have said over and over that the Apostolic gifting that you hold allows you to "Father" the church. Fathers don't call their kids losers no matter what they go through. Fathers are patient and believe the best. They don't gloss over sin but neither do they declare their sons losers.

And don't get me started on the rest of the letter. Simply read it and then review the videos of the night that Todd was commissioned. You can't re-write history like this. Please stop this.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Mary over at One Thing Is Needed has asked a brilliant question about the idea of asking for favor or expecting favor on our lives because we are believers. Please read it here. I didn’t want to take up all the comment space there so I’ll reply here.

As I said in the comments, Marsh and I discussed this most of last evening after I did a brief study of the words favor and grace in the Old and New Testament. In the New Testament I love that the word favor is actually the word grace. They are interchangeable. As I read all the verses that use the word grace in the New Testament I found that grace means so much more than just God bestowing good things on us. It is totally wrapped up into the Person of Grace. Often it is referred to as the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I love that it is not just a concept anymore but a Person.

So much like me, I was ready to throw out asking for favor or grace at all because we now live IN grace. But then Husband asked, “What about all the verses that make it clear that God wants his children to ask for things. Paul even talks about asking for grace/favor to do things. You can’t throw those out.” (He is always doing this to me…..grrrrr….balance and all that) We then decided that there is a big difference from asking for favor or grace and asking for preference. Preference says “bless me and not them.” Preference says, "Give me the job and don’t give it to the other person.“ Preference says, “Give me the wealth of the Gentiles.“ (See preference was totally understood to the Jewish people in the Old Testament. This is how they saw it. If you obey - you will get favor - preference - from God.) But favor - this New Testament idea - can include just asking for the blessing that Father has already said He wants to give us.

It is kind of like the two sons in the Prodigal Son story. Both sons could have lived in the grace or favor of their father. Neither son did. The wayward son was not living in the grace that was there all the time but we find out that the elder son also was not living in it because he would not ask for anything.

It will probably change my prayer life quite a bit. I really do trust the Father to give me good things. I want to stay as far away from the “name-it-claim-it” “I get preferential treatment because I’m a believer” camp. But I also can’t be shy about asking for things either. I want to ask in a much more humble way though. Not “Give me preference over all the heathen,” or “Me first!!" kind of prayer, but more like, “ Father I would really like this and know that your heart is to give me good gifts, so I’m asking, but I trust You with the giving part.”

Thanks Mary, this was very helpful.
UPDATE: Sara, in the comments gave a link to a blog that mentions a famous preacher in the news lately. It was his sense of ENTITLEMENT that is so off. This is a perfect word to describe the very thing that I am trying to describe above. Favor that becomes entitlement is twisted. Thanks Sara!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Good Step Towards Honesty

You can read Dutch Sheets Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland here. It is at least a very good start.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Call For Honesty

Those who read here are probably familiar with the fact that we left a church that was closely aligned with C. Peter Wagner and the Apostolic group that he leads.

As the events have unfolded this week concerning Todd Bentley and the Apostolic group that commissioned him, I have followed along with a mixture of grief and outrage. Surprisingly, my outrage is not directed at Todd. I believe he is just one who was caught up in exactly what this stream teaches. He is the fruit of the movement. His pleas for money, his pride, his hype, his ability to stretch the truth and his lack of concern to back his claims up with proof is nothing more than his ability to be a good disciple of those who were around him.

The outrage came at the treatment that he got at the hands of the supposed "Father" of the Apostles. At the mention of his divorce Mr. Wagner and his wife issued statements to protect themselves and their movement.

And there starts the spin. Instead of humbling themselves and admitting that they were too hasty in commissioning this man they start to distance themselves, throw flack to keep you off balanced and re-writing history of what actually happened.

As you read the responses or hear them in your churches today, would you please review the following videos of the commissioning of Todd Bentley and what was actually said? Check what was said on that night with what is being said now. See it for yourselves and use it to see if what is said now accurately depicts what happened and was said on that night.

For instance, C. Peter Wagner does issue an apostolic blessing. It is there and holds nothing back. He clearly states that Todd is to be the leader of this revival.

Che Ahn says that he is being called as an Ephesians 4 evangelist "knowing that you have walked in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Jesus in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing in the intimacy and knowledge of God. We as your brothers and friends, having a deep love for you and Shonnah" are here to commission you, ect, ect.

John Arnot says, "We bless you today Todd Bentley, you are a friend, a man of God, a man of prayer, a man of the spirit....we stand with you, we encourage you, we honor you."

Bill Johnson in reference to how Todd welcomes the glory says, "I long to learn from you."

Simply listening to what these men said absolutely confirms the impression that they were wholeheartedly giving Todd the keys to the car and trusting him to the whole revival. Nowhere was there any doubt expressed in these men's words that there was a question in their hearts about Todd, his character or his ministry. Surely, if they had questions, some of that would come through. I have heard people prophesy and bless someone while still being cautious of what they are not sure of.

So, while my heart breaks for the whole thing, I encourage you to watch the videos and remind yourself of the truth. Hopefully, these men will own up and apologize to the world of their hasty recommendations of all that was Todd and Lakeland. I am hopeful, but all the while I am so familiar with the re-writing of history that these men and women do. I am so familiar with the "spin" that usually accompanies these kinds of things that I could write the script for it myself.

This is what they have already said or will eventually say.

1) We knew of the problems (otherwise where would be their discernment?)
2) That they were not really putting their full endorsement on Todd
3) That it is a good thing for the body of Christ that they were brought in when they were. That only God knew this was brewing and he wanted to have His men in place to take care of the situation
4) And this is the biggest one: That it was actually their commissioning that allowed the truth of the facts of Todd's life to come out. They will use this to put fear into people that the Apostolic anointing is not to be take lightly and "All will be revealed when alignment is brought into the Kingdom of God." It is their great giftings that are to be revered. They are the heros. They are the leaders.

In my opinion, this will not hurt this new Apostolic movement. It will only strengthen it because the followers of this movement have already been prepped for how to follow the re-writing of history and the spin that they have to believe to belong.

The videos are here. If you are in any position in this whole movement, please hold these men and women to the truth of what was said that night and not what they want you to believe now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Disclaimer Needed

Ok, I’m speaking to all of you who blog that are on my sidebar. Yes, YOU, Brother Maynard, Robbie, Grace, David, Bill, Jeff, Heidi, (both of you), Tracy, Glenn, Michael, Alan, Abmo, Wayne and Darin, Paul, and all the rest. I have decided that you need a disclaimer on your blogs. You need to warn people. You need to understand what you are doing and warn people of the outcome of what you are writing.

Let me explain....... I began reading your sites totally excited to find you. I loved what you wrote and identified closely to your stories. I drank in the new things that the Father was showing you. I learned from you. I felt as if we were friends even.

But I never thought I would end up, here, where I find myself.

I am so far away from being able to walk into another Sunday Morning Club and make myself fit. I totally don’t even speak the same language. I find myself longing for the community but unable to even speak the same language. I might as well be in a foreign country trying to communicate as to try to communicate with the common Christian that I find myself confronted with. I thought our lives would parallel the 'church.' At the juncture of our lives where we left, I now find myself at on a course of what was then a 90 degree angle. Only I had NO IDEA.

See I am thinking now. I am able to spot and smell the tainted smell of control and false teaching. Granted I’m sure - totally sure - I don’t have a corner on truth. I can just smell those who think they do. I have woken up. I have taken the red pill. I am no longer in the world of la-la land.

But I remember that world. I love that world. I can taste the "steak." I remember.
Not the bad parts but the parts that put me into community. I long for community. In some ways I relate to a drug addict where the drugs induced a state of mind that was so easily attainable that real life paled in comparison. Community in the institutional church was like that. Instantaneous and easy to obtain. Instant gratification. Instant friends. Instant community. Instant goals and ideals. We were one.

But we weren’t. When questioned, it disappeared like a vapor. Friendships disappeared. Community vanished.

I miss it so much today.

So to all of you who write in such a subversive fashion, let me say this. You should warn people. WE should warn people. We should say something like this:

Beware all who land on this site. This site may enable you to see truth for the first time. Seeing truth may be just what you are looking for but you need to be careful. Once you have tasted truth you will never be able to stomach lies. You are on dangerous ground if you ever want to fit into the established system. You may lose all your friends. You may not have anyone left to worship with. Your children may be left only to you to raise. God will not be controlled any longer. He will be good but no longer safe in that you will not be able to predict his every move. And as for many of your friends. You will need to be willing to loose them. They may (probably will) shun you, dismiss you and turn away from you despite what you now may think. You need to think long and hard about this because it will affect your life. Please be careful with this site. Only enter at your own risk.

I know that sounds over the top. But today I’m not so sure it is.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"Miss"-Taken Identity - Why Men Don't Want to Hang Around God

Brother Maynard is pondering those who are pondering the reasons why men don’t want to go to church and how to get them into the pews.

Personally I don't think it is a problem with the feminism of the church as much as it is the Feminism of God himself - and not in a good way.

In the past weeks as I have focused on Father and how warped my image is of Him, I have learned something. If my image of Him was correct, why would I ever have wanted to be close to Him? If it weren’t for that whole “burning in hell if I rejected Him“ thing, why would I have ever wanted to have a relationship with Him. I’m wondering today after reading about men not wanting to be in church if this is really the issue.

See, my head knew God was loving, kind, patient and all of that but my heart would have described Him as somewhat of a very pissy, PMS’y and even bitchy female deity. (You can trust me on this - I’ve had 4 daughters….sometimes we should have a sign on the door to warn people) I would have NEVER said this out loud before but here’s how I was viewing God:

My old God was perpetually frustrated with me. My head believed he loved me (after all he did save me from Hell) but my heart believed that he was just waiting for me to get my act together. My head believed I could trust in Him but my heart believed that anytime something bad would happen to me it was Him trying to get my attention to straighten out and do what He wanted me to do. I had to pay him off to get his blessings, worship Him so that he wouldn’t get jealous of all the other stuff that I loved, give him all the glory so that I could not be seen as keeping any of it for myself, and perform “acts of service” (giving, praying, reading my Bible, ect) so that he would be pleased with me. I never knew when His “patience” would run out and he would “Blow.” If I screwed up I was never sure what kind of mood I would find Him in and so I just stayed away for a few days. Mostly I had a schizophrenic God that my head told me was trustworthy and kind but my heart did not believe a word of it. He was like a woman on her “time of the month.”

Now all you out there who have Husbands. Tell me this. If you husband has a close friend, describe him to me. I bet there is not a manipulative bone in your husbands’ friend's body. I bet your husband feels like he can be himself. I bet that this friend is not volatile in temperament. I bet that you husband can always count on his friend to just be “normal.” I bet your husband does not have to “do things” to please his friend. I bet that that person rarely ever makes your husband feel guilty about things he “should be doing.”

See, guys are into relationship despite what we may believe about this. They just are not into relationships that require them to sacrifice their souls for. (I’m not talking about relationships that they might find sex, money or power in it for them - I‘m talking about just pure friendship kind of relationships) They mostly all hate manipulative relationships and they love the security of knowing what that relationship is going to require and the ability to be themselves. This is not a character flaw in a person - it is normal and healthy.

So my advice to those who want men in their pews…..preach the truth about God. Maybe I’m wrong but I think that if men (and truly women too) in our world were shown a God of love and a God of joy they would WANT to hang out with not only Him but with those who love Him too. Remember, Jesus did not have a hard time keeping a bunch of “dumb ol’ boys” hanging around Him.

Who would want to hang around a bitchy, PMS’y God?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The God's Honest Truth - Book Review

As I have said before in the past few posts, I have been reading Darin Hufford's book The God's Honest Truth.

Initially I was a bit put off by just the title. I have heard those words so many times from preachers who would say, "OK, here's the God's honest truth about....." and for almost all of those times we did not hear truth about God but only a spin on what the preacher wanted to get across on his own agenda.

But in reading and pondering this book, I can honestly say that I don't think there has been a book that I have read that contained as much of truth about God as this one. In so many ways it gave me a new lens in which to clearly focus on the character and love of Father. And I as I said in my last post, I am truly being changed.

Darin goes through the passage of 1 Corinthians 13 on love and expounds on each of the attributes of love. Now, I thought I knew about all there was to know about patience or kindness or envy, but I was sorely wrong. The reason I was wrong is because I took what I knew about my own patience, kindness and such and applied it to God. For instance, I am sometimes patient but only because I make myself be patient when I really want to be angry. But God is not like me. He is patient because He is Love and love understands and is not angry. Love has already died to Himself, therefore He does not have to try to be patient, He just is. This makes a HUGE difference in how I see how God views me. All of the other concepts were just as eye opening and earth shattering in how I previously viewed God in a warped and twisted way.

Here is a brief overview of the points that he covers in each chapter of his book. I hope it spurs you into reading it. Let me know what you think.

From page 347-348 (indentions are mine)

God is patient because He understands everything in your heart. He knows why you do what you do and He is never surprised or taken off guard.

God is kind and He desires to touch you in your heart. The heart is always His aim and He never misses.

God does not envy. He never desires to take for Himself what others have but He longs to give away all that He has and He is never tempted to take things back because He didn't get the attention.

God does not boast or brag about the highest truth about Him, but He willingly lowers Himself beneath you in order to lift you up.

God is not proud of the opinion that He doesn't need anyone. He desires relationship with you and He continuously makes Himself vulnerable for the purpose of making that possible.

God is not rude. He never leaves things unfinished or unspoken. He does not give the silent treatment or play hide and seek, but He makes everything about Himself known and keeps nothing hidden.

God is not self seeking. He is gratified and fulfilled when you are glorified. His eyes are always seeking the best for you and He is never worried about what He gets in return.

God is not easily angered or provoked to any mood other than love. He is not high maintenance and He never wants you to walk in fear of offending or hurting Him.

God keeps no record of wrongs because He refuses to call you by the name of your past. He doesn't hold things over you or against you. He continuously and eternally wipes your record clean so that He can clearly focus on your heart.

God does not delight in evil and He is not tempted by luring lies and fantasies. He does not desire romance because His heart desires the real you. He cannot be enticed with ideas that would benefit His kingdom at the expense of you.

God rejoices in the truth about you because it is so wonderful and meaningful to Him.

God always protects you from caving in in the midst of unbearable pressure and anguish. He provides a strength that holds you up through the storms of life and carries you to your very purpose, which is to be His child.

God always trusts you with His Heart doors open to you at all times; no exceptions.

God always hopes in you because he knows that He knows the end of your story.

God always perseveres and proves Himself to be what He claims to be. He stands through the storm and walks through the fire only to demonstrate the authenticity of His love for you.

God never fails, because he is driven by His very essence; Love. It is the part of Him that sees everything inside of you and knows every inner emotion, thought and feeling. His love for you soaks through every outward thing that stands in its way and saturates your spirit, soul and body forever.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On Forgiveness

As I read the blogs of others and I look back at the leaving of my old church, one subject seems to come up again and again. How is the forgiveness thing going? Have you been able to forgive yet? When you see the people that are shunning you or have spoken badly about you, is there still something there. Do you still want them exposed? Do you want them to pay for their sins?

I know many of us know that we should be “over it” by now. Many of us purpose in our hearts to try to forgive. Many of us have just decided that we will “put on” forgiveness. When we meet up with the offenders we will just treat them as if it is forgiven but deep in our hearts we know we are failing miserably at the whole forgiveness thing.

Well, I’m in the same boat as you. I had just decided that I would treat them as they had not hurt me. I would be kind….nice even. But forgiveness from the heart…..couldn’t do that.
That is until I started re-adjusting how I saw our Father. See, my view of Him was that He was just like me. I was taught, and had taught, that he forgave me of my sins. But somehow that had morphed into the fact that essentially He had just decided to treat me in a way that did not reflect how my sins (I) deserved to be treated. Somehow he still hung onto my sins and yet treated me with grace and mercy.

When reading the God’s Honest Truth, by Darrin Hufford these past few weeks I have a whole new picture of my sins and what Jesus did. He did not just forgive me of my offences. He BECAME my sin. He took it all on himself and then paid the price for it. It was no longer my sin but His. It is gone. Paid for. Obliterated.

And it was odd. I did not set out to be more forgiving as I read this book but the more and more I see of God’s true character and gaze on what is really his face and not just an extension of myself, something radical is happening within me. I am being changed.

I am being changed. I actually cringe at typing that sentence because I have been changed before only to fall back into my own ways. It usually never stays. It never lasts. But this time it is different. I am not trying to change. I am not trying to be more forgiving. I just see it popping out of me and it is strange to me to even see it. It is like, “Whoa,……where did that come from!”

I am convinced today that the more in focus we see our wonderful Father….the more we see Him without the lens of ourselves making the picture fuzzy…. the more we will become like Him.

Being conformed to His image is only as good as the image we have of Him. It has nothing to do with the “shoulds” of life and everything to do with just knowing Him and having a clear picture of Him.