Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Comments Not Showing Up

Over the time that I have had this blog I have always posted anyone's comments that they have sent to me. It has come to my attention though that there are people commenting that I do not get the notification of their comment. Blogger must eat it up along with the missing socks in my dryer.


1) If you leave a comment and then don't see it, please try again. So far I have never -not posted - a comment that I have received. If this has happened to you - please don't be offended and quit saying anything.(I have changed the names of a close friend that leaves a link to his/her website but this is all I have the moderation on for.)
2) It seems that if you have a wordpress blog it seems that this is more common. Does anyone know why this is happening?
3) I have taken off the word verification step as a measure to see if this helps any
4) If you have any technical advice, I would appreciate it.
5) If for some reason you ever leave a comment and it does not come through, would you email me and let me know?


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Prophetic Words - The Shaking Continues

Bill Hamon (one the main men in the New Apostolic Reformation movement) just posted a new prophetic word on the Elijah List yesterday. You can read the whole prophecy here.

In the prophecy he gives dates of the start of the third (and final) apostolic reformation. He even uses Daniel and the weeks and years to explain how he ends up at the right year. The year of 2008 is when he believes history will look back and declare the beginning of the Apostolic Reformation Age. Of course he is urging you to come together with him at his conference in March to see how to best align yourselves for this coming move.

The purpose seems chilling to me as he says here: This Reformation will bring about a paradigm shift in the goal and purpose of the Church. Most Evangelical and Pentecostal theologians see no purpose for the Church other than to win more souls to Christ so they are made ready for Heaven. Now we are receiving revolutionary, reformed thinking from the heart and mind of God. The expanded goal and vision of the Third Reformation Church is to co-labor with Christ in His passionate desire for the fulfillment of Revelation 11:15:
"...there were loud voices in Heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!
......It is the time to give all of our life and labor to be co-workers together with Christ in demonstrating and enforcing His Kingdom in all the earth. We will not cease until we can join the voices in Heaven victoriously, declaring that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord Jesus and His anointed one, the Church.

(is it just me or do the words, "enforcing His Kingdom," scare you a little?)

What I want to know is why does something like this still rattle me? I read it today and cannot shake an effect it had on me. I feel that in so many ways, I start at ground zero and begin to question everything I have been through and learned in the past 10 months. I hear voices of, “what if I’m wrong.” “How can so many men be prophesying a false message? What if I’m messing with God’s stuff?” And to my shame I even have to battle the voice that asks if I’m committing the unpardonable sin of ascribing to man or the enemy that which is of God.

I know better. I can go through this prophecy and pick out the parts that scripture at least leaves it completely open to interpretation where there is no final word from itself what it means. I know that not EVERYONE on the planet is thinking this way. I know that even good men can prophesy wrong. I know, I know, I know!!!!

Then why do I not know? What is wrong with me?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Discipleship - Formulas Ditched

What makes a Pharisee a good Pharisee?
A) Following a good set of rules, practices and formulas?
B) Following a bad set of rules, practices and formulas?
C) Either of the above

The idea of discipleship has been on the front screen of my radar in the past two weeks. Backyard Missionary talked about it one day and that started me thinking. I have picked up so much from many of you this past few months.

As I posted in my post last week we had discipleship honed down to a fine art of 7 disciplines, practices and formulas: Journaling, Bible Study, Prayer and Meditation (Scripture Memory), Giving and Tithing, Ministry, Rest and Teaching (taking notes of sermons). It was reasoned that we could quickly take our notebook with these 7 sections and teach someone in a very little time how to do each discipline. These disciplines would produce Disciples.

The other day when Hamo posed a question about what really works in discipleship I looked back at my life and reviewed it and asked myself some questions: When did I grow because of discipleship and where was the fruit in my own life that actually resulted in disciples being made?

The answer was shocking to me. I realized it was only by living life with people that discipleship occurred - Having them in my home - Me being in theirs. - Dealing with situations as they came up. Living in close relationship with someone and talking with them about how being a follower of Jesus impacted their lives as Father was bringing about opportunities to learn something new. For the most part it was actually people that lived with us for a few months or a year or two that I can look back and see discipleship having taken place. There were a few others that did not actually live in our home but even for most of them, our food bill was impacted when they moved away. In other words we lived alongside our 'disciples'. It actually looked a lot more like friendship and not so much like what I envision discipleship.

That's not much of a formula huh? Vague at best - and in fact no formula at all because it was at the whim of Father as to what part of the Christian life we were to focus on – depending on what he was doing in ours and their lives for the moment. It was all up to Him. Some got a crash course in family life and potty training kids. Others were all about studying the Word. Others got a ‘signs and wonders’ kind of discipleship model. We did heal the sick, cast demons out, teach the word, do what Jesus taught kind of model but not like you would expect. The “heal the sick” could be lived out over a flu bug that ran through the family. The “teach the word” might have been in them helping a 10 year old understand how God could allow bad things to happen to a family pet. And the signs and wonders training may have been in helping someone determine the gifts that God had given them to use in the kingdom. Mostly it was lived out in encouraging those around us to love God and love each other.

And you know what? We were “discipled” right back. It went both ways. Maybe if I were Jesus, I wouldn’t have been discipled by those around me. But I wasn’t. I was just me and these people around me discipled me just as much as I did them.

So you want to hear my Discipleship Formula? Here it is:

Discipleship = Time spent over a period of time between two people, talking about how God was impacting both of our lives and learning how to live as followers of Jesus.

Not very fancy. Not much of a formula or set of rules or practices. But then we want to raise up disciples – not Pharisees. Right?

By the way, I think the answer to my first question is “C”

Two Links for Further Reading

In my exploration of the end time harvest and Dominion theology I happened by Len Hjalmarson's website and read this excellent article, "The Tabernacle of David and the Latter Rain: Hype or Hope?" In it, he explains some of the background of this doctrine that was very helpful to me. Explore around his site a bit as I found some really helpful articles.

The second one was published today at Fake Republic. It is a brilliant article on "A Stalemate in Theology. Brilliant Stuff. Please read it.

Again, it shows me my own heart. I went from one 'set of beliefs' straight into another in my life as a religious person . Both just as rigid. Both had all the answers. Both would not listen to the other's side in a matter. Both had theology - the whole gamut of it - nailed down. I loved that then.

The problem is that I probably still do and therefore need to guard my heart against it in the future. To protect myself and those that I talk to I need to stay in a place of "unsureness."

Now that sounds incredibly dangerous. I can hear Church Lady screaming! But then I like to hear her scream now. It does a body good on a gloomy Monday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Theology of TheEnd Time Harvest and What It Produced in My CLB

Can I just say to begin with that I have NO IDEA what I believe about the end times? Would you allow me that and not throw Heretic Stones at me? I know you will because you are such a forgiving group and you really don’t have to live with me.

The past month I have looked at the subjects of Positive Confessions and Sowing and Reaping. I also have been reading a lot on other’s websites about discipleship. I have found that so much of what I believe was not relational at all. There were so many formulas.

But as I studied, the one teaching that kept croping up in each subject was espoused in our CLB. This teaching actually gave rise to our Discipleship model as well as so many other subsequent changes in our gathering over the years. It was this idea of “An End Time Harvest.”

It went something like this: We didn’t believe in the Rapture (and quite often made great fun of those that did.) We believed instead that Jesus was returning for His spotless Bride – the Church. This church would be spotless but also VERY strong. This church would usher the Kingdom of God into the world. The Bride would establish the government of God in all areas of life, before the return of God, not only spiritual but financial and governmental and social. Along with the ushering in of the rule and reign of the King and his Kingdom was the belief that there was to be a huge end time harvest of people turning to God. Prophecies abounded about this event. For instance, sports arenas that were being built for our pleasure now was a plan of God to have places to hold meetings when this event transpired. Therefore planning and strategies were produced in keeping with this end time scenario. We (those of us who were spiritual enough to pay attention) were going to be good stewards of this event and be prepared, our lamps lit, so to say, for the event of thousands of people being saved. It would be like the great turning to God in Acts – only much bigger. Therefore we needed to get organized. We needed Apostles and Prophets, generals and solders. We needed solid and tight organizations so as to be able to rightly handle all these new converts. The question was always posed, “What would we do if suddenly we had 5,000 new converts show up at our church? Will we be ready? Would our wineskin be able to hold what the Lord had entrusted to us?”

An example of one of the plans devised because of this belief was in our Discipleship model. Our discipleship methods were honed down to 7 disciplines. Journaling, Bible Study, Prayer, Giving, Outreach, Rest and Teaching (taking notes of sermons). It was reasoned that we could quickly take our notebook with these 7 sections and teach someone in a very little time how to do each discipline. We could then disciple thousands at a blow – teaching them to feed themselves and they therefore would be able to teach others to feed themselves too. (More on this in my next post)

So we were thrown into a frenzy of preparing for this world wide harvest. If you question the need for hierarchy, they would point to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you questioned the need for our discipleship practices, they would point to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you pointed out that we did not need all the structure in place now for such a small group of people – because we all still knew each other, you were again pointed to the need to be ready for the harvest. If you questioned even the smallest things – like why all of a sudden would we need to refer to our leader as Apostle So and So instead of his first name – we were pointed to the need to be ready for the harvest and therefore titles would allow the new converts to quickly see who were those who were in charge and therefore could be followed.

In other words – you could not question anything. If you did you were an impediment to the preparation for the end time harvest of souls and therefore you were in complete rebellion to the plan of God.

You can talk to anyone in the New Apostolic Reformation or the International Coalition of Apostles and ask why their organization exists or why it is so imperative to have these organizations and their beliefs in operation and this will be the answer that is given. These people are in it for the whole domination of the world – of course for the pristine purpose of the Kingdom of God and his rule and reign – not their own rank in such a movement.

The theology is not to be questioned and therefore any practice that they feel is beneficial to the implementation of the “plan of God” is not to be questioned. Some have even inferred that these new Apostles will come up with new doctrine for this new day that will not be found in Scripture. That was one of the reasons given for titles when it was clear that Jesus taught something different. The sky is the limit, folks!

And again, we are back to the fact that when theology (good or bad, I’m not sure yet) is not allowed to be questioned and the practices that emerge from it also are not allowed to be questioned, you are not in a good place. You are in a dangerous place.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Positive Confession - What I Learned

The other day I was experiencing some rather frustrating emotions concerning one of our children. I sighed as I sat back down on the couch and exclaimed, (I thought just to myself), that I had no idea what to do about this particular situation. My 12 year old son overheard me say this and piped up from behind his book, “Mom, why don’t you ask your blog friends? They might know what you should do.”

I laughed because it is becoming evident that either 1) I am spending way too much time reading and writing and commenting or 2) There is actually a community out there that even my 12 year old understands is important and beneficial to me.

Either way, I want to thank those who took the time to answer my questions about Positive Confessions. If you have not read the comments, please do. I think they nailed it head on.

As I researched it in Scripture there are just some things that you cannot pull away from. There are many times that Paul reminds the churches to remember where they came from, what Jesus did for them and to renew their minds in truth. I had at least 10 scriptures pulled out to reference and then I stupidly closed out the window and didn’t save it. I don’t have the time to research it all again nor do I really need to.

What I did find out was this. There is truth in Scripture. It is good to remind our hearts – especially as they are prone to doubt – what is true. But the minute that this gets reduced to a formula it becomes no more than witchcraft. Formulas are there to control the outcome of something. We use the formula of a recipe for chocolate chip cookies to control the outcome of said cookies so that our family will eat them and look forward to them. But when control is used in any relationship and especially in place of a relationship it becomes manipulative and abusive.

As many of you said, when our formulas start trying to control God and our world – they become twisted and perverted. One of the commenters said it was like expecting God to be a slot machine. We plug in a verse and out pops the right circumstance.

Why do we run to religion to make ourselves feel better?......... Because we are fearful of just the relationship. With no rules that demand and secure a certain outcome, we have to then trust in the relationship. But we know that relationship is so iffy. We understand that true relationship has the power to hurt us. So we come up with a way to relate to a formula instead to try and avoid the pain of the true relationship. Sounds safe huh?

It is not safe though. The problem is that formulas only leave us with Shame and Guilt. Both of these tag at our hearts because the formulas never work. And because they are formulas, we think that somehow we have done it wrong. It is our fault. Thus, Shame and Guilt are our constant companions. And we have enough of their company that it is soooo easy to also foist them off on anyone who will listen and act like we do.

Jesus came to set us free of ANY formula. He hated it. He called it religion. He said that people who practiced it were graveyards. Filthy and stinky while trying to look so good on the outside. It broke his heart.

Why oh why do we continue to try and feed our souls from that well?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Positive Confessions - Research

I am in the middle of researching the subject of Positive Confessions today. (Look at this lady's "My Never Again List" for a good example of what we were taught to say over ourselves. You will find it about half way down the page on the site.)

I am looking at scripture, history, and the different sides.

Would love some input from you all.

What do you believe about Positive Confessions?
Has your faith been strengthened by them?
Have you experienced any hurt from this teaching?
What scriptures do you think apply to this topic?
Any good websites you can point me to? (including a link if you have addressed this already in your own blogs)

You can pick a question to answer from the above list or answer them all. Any input will be appreciated. If you want to devote a post to it on your own blog, please link to it in the comment section.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Power of Words

"We were told words had power and speaking them aloud gave them a foothold into your life and would keep you in bondage." my daughter writing about the Power of Words.

My daughter has just begun blogging. I have been encouraging her to do this for some time now. It has helped me so much to get my thoughts and feelings down on paper where I can see them. In addition, your reading and commenting have made me feel like I am not as crazy as I might have thought.

I have told her that I want her to keep it personal and not give me (or anyone who actually knows her) the website. I think it is really important for her to be able to say anything that she wants to say without wondering what I or others around her will think or say. But, I added, “If you want me to read a particular post, just email me a copy of what you posted.”

She did today and it blew me away. She was writing about the power that words have and how she has noticed that since she has begun actually voicing her emotions and hurts it has allowed her to gain some space and freedom in her head.

You see in our old church, we were told that words have power over you and your heart. You could, “speak things into being,” or “ruin your destiny” by what you spoke over your life. Some, in the church believed in never affirming a diagnosis of a doctor aloud or else, by your words, you would empower the affliction to become even stronger in your body. Even those that did not go that far still preached about how words could either ruin you and your walk with God or empower you to live the "Victorious Christian Life”. (Why can I not say that last line without hearing Sponge Bob Square Pants "hall monitor" voice in my head?)

Now, I know that there is some nugget of truth in the fact that the spoken word does have an effect in our lives. For instance, I believe that someone who is constantly telling themselves that they are a failure has little hope of being a success. Someone who constantly tells themselves that everyone hates them will end up having very few friends. But somehow, in the middle of those truths, some craziness crept in. We were told not to voice dissension or disagreement with the leaders or else it would poison our lives and lead to rebellion. We were discouraged to voice our doubts about why healing did not always work for fear that it would impact our faith for that healing.

Here is how daughter describes it;

Maybe that's why this tactic was used. To further keep the congregation silent, unsure and ashamed of themselves - a brainwashing of sorts so that no one ever spoke against the pastor (because that was giving a spirit of division power over your life). So we were all kept silent and ashamed of even the thoughts that were whirling around in our minds. We ignored them if we could, and if we ever got so frustrated that we did try to confront the leadership about something, we didn't have anything to say. We had never gotten our thoughts in line enough to make a solid argument. We just looked like emotional fools and their points on thoughts and words giving power to the enemy were only reinforced by our behavior. Wow, what an effective lie.The real power of words is that they hold truth. Not truth as in "this is what is good and right" but truth to what is actually going on. If you are feeling hate or rage or are frustrated, or doubtful, or angry, or regretful, it's ok to say so and not be ashamed or afraid of the fact. I think this will take me a while to learn though. So far every blog I've posted has been accompanied by guilt and fear of saying this stuff aloud. I didn't want to write for so long because I was ashamed or afraid that by doing so, it would only strengthen the doubts and fears and weaknesses that I did have. That I would be giving them power over my life and worst of all, I feared that I would be judged for being so messed up.

But the opposite has happened. With every post I feel more real. I feel more at peace. It is like I'm giving my flaws skin, and space to breathe, and they are healing for the first time in my life instead of compounding and burrowing themselves deeper into my body. I admit to them being messy and ugly when I first let them emerge (my mom can attest to that), but the healing that they undergo after that, leaves them unrecognizably ok.

For those of you who don’t know my daughter or me personally and want to follow along as she writes, please email me at the address at the top of my blog page with your email address and I will forward it on to her and she can give you her blog address. I especially encourage those of you who have had children hurt by the church to follow along or encourage your kids to read too. Beware; it might be very raw and not pretty. But it will be real and hopefully, the words written and spoken will result in healing.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Help Please - Negative Feedback Wanted

UPDATE: I have decided to post the comments that I have recieved. I was not sure at first because I did not want it to look like I was posting because people were backing me up. But as I read the comments this morning I think they are balanced and most of all display a very loving attitude towards Meg. All of us know to an extent what it feels like to have the emotions that she expresses. I hope as she and maybe others read your comments it will let people know that it is ok to be mad but it is also ok to enter into discussion with those who are willing to listen and along the way you may find yourself in a safe and loving place with people who really want to hear you and love you.

I have a question for those who read here. If you could help me, I would appreciate it.

I got my first and only (thus far) negative response to a post that I began this blog with. It is my post The Person Formerly Known as Your Leader. If you scroll down to the end of the comments you will see the last comment is by a person who goes by the name of Meg. In it, she tells me that this post really offended her and why it was so hurtful.

My question is this: Have any of you been hurt by this post or experienced a reaction in any of the same ways that Meg states? When you read it, (if you did indeed read back that far) did you have a bit of a negative reaction but just stuck around anyway out of a desire to love and encourage me?

Most comments, I have found, even on other's blogs tend to be in agreement with the author. Not many seem to have the guts to disagree...they just move on and quit reading. Do you think I am offending many like Meg or is her pain just triggered by what I wrote?

Please be brutally honest with me. I really have no desire to hurt anyone on purpose - especially those who are coming out from being hurt already. I want this to be a safe place for those who visit here.

Please also note that I don't want to hurt Meg (if she would read my blog again) by what you answer me so I may not post every comment that comes in. But I am intensely curious and willing to change some things if I need to.

Thanks for taking the time here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Spiritual Abuse - Another Heartbreaking Story

Yesterday, after I had posted about it being 9 months and still reeling from the sadness that engulfed me, I googled spiritual abuse in the Blog section of Google. Somehow I came accross a story that broke my heart, encouraged me, and somehow strengthened me. Maybe misery really does love company ;)

A man and his wife in Australia are finding their way out of a horribly destructive charismatic authoritarian cult. He writes poignantly about his life over the past year. Husband and I spent the evening reading and crying along. The words on the page - while what we went through was mild in comparison - jumped out at us and resonated in us. This man knew how we felt and we, in a small way, could relate to how he described his feelings.

I encourage you who are climbing out of a hole of being beat up in the church to read their story and hang around them and love on them as you have me. You can find it at

How I wish that all of you were in one place where we could put together a retreat center - free of charge- to just let people come and be with us and heal up a bit in a place where others speak the same language of grace and understanding. Cyber will have to do for now.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nine Months

It has been nine months since we left our CLB.

Funny, but nine months has always been a marker for me of a new life. It was nine months gestating a new human life. I’ve been through it enough times to remember. Nine months of waiting, anticipating, and longing to meet this new person yet it was also nine months of not liking what was going on and the ramifications that it brought to me personally.

I don’t do pregnancy well. Never did. Always dreaded it. The only bright spot was the movement of the new one within me. It broke through the headaches, backaches, constant peeing, nausea, and exhaustion with the wonder of actually growing a new life in my body.

But then there was an end to it. Usually after the final last months of contractions that promised the world but delivered nothing there was that night when we knew that we were going to start a new chapter with this new life. That part was glorious and I remember each dawn with a new baby with such great delight that I endured it seven times.

But these nine months are different. It feels like pregnancy in some ways. For one, it has been long. The headaches and heartaches are reminiscent of those other days. I do feel like there is new life in there somewhere. I feel it kicking as I venture out or contemplate venturing out in the unknown. But it never seems to come. Not really come.

Sometimes it just feels like those nauseous days when I wondered why in the heck I ever got pregnant again in the first place.

Why did we do this again? Can someone remind me? We are not crazy…right?

But then I would remember why I got pregnant and now I remember why we left and it all makes sense for the moment.

I want my friends back. Not the ones who called themselves my friends and then just used my friendship – who ultimately just wanted me to follow them. I want the ones who were genuine friends. The ones I loved in my home. The ones I watched grow up into marriage and being mothers. The ones that we raised our kids together with. The ones that nine months ago had to make a choice between leadership and me.

I just feel that I am in the middle of a pregnancy that is filled with longing and that I do not see an end to. I’m not sure I can do this. I want the new life to start. Something at least.