Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Kingdom of God - A Word Study

I have been immersed in Kingdom Dominion theology over the past 20 years or so. I am now just starting to decide what I believe about it. In so many ways I keep surprising myself with Truth that is new to me. I feel like a 2 year old who has just discovered that they have a belly button and are simply amazed by this fact. Everyone else around them is underwhelmed at the discovery but the 2 year old is simply astounded by this great fact.

I am especially feeling that way as I am reading through RobbyMac’s new book, "Post-Charismatic?. " I kept interrupting the Steelers Game last night as I read with amazement to my husband how all of what we were taught as ‘new truth’ was being taught years and years ago. Boy, was I dumb to have not picked up a church history book all these years. - (To his credit Marshall had always said, “Honey, this stuff is really not new.” See, he likes history and actually learned something in Seminary.) (Seminary training was never really valued in our CLB - which by the way is a mark of a toxic group.)

But the other night I was wide awake for some reason so I decided to use my Parsons Quick Verse program and list all the times that the word “kingdom” is used in the New Testament (and one Old Test. verse) – just to see what really is there. (side note: Quick Verse is sooo easy. you just type in a word and it lists all the times it is used. Then you can check out what it means in the Greek or Hebrew)

Below is a brief overview of what I found. It is long so if you just want what I gathered out of the verses – just scroll through the highlighted parts. I’m sorry, but I don’t see ANYTHING that would clearly support the idea that the Church is to be active bringing in the Kingdom of God with the government of Apostles and Prophets? You can read through it and see what you think. What is there though, regarding what the Kingdom of God is, was really good.

This Old Testament verse was the most famous verse taught to back up the whole apostolic/governmental movement.

(Isa 9:6 , 7 NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

But wait a minute: Notice that it says the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this. Not Apostles, not gifts, not the Church.

Then in the New Testament the first mention of the Kingdom says it must start with repentance.
Jesus and John (Mat 3:2 NIV) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Mat 4:17 NIV) From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

On to the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5:3 NIV) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..and vs. 10: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus made it clear that we would never make it on our own: (Mat 5:20 NIV) For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

So Jesus decided to show us how: (Mat 6:10 NIV) your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are to seek it: (Mat 6:33 NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

There are those who will be blocked: (Mat 7:20, 21 NIV) Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

When Jesus preached about the kingdom signs and wonders accompanied him; (Mat 9:35 NIV) Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

His disciples were to proclaim it: (Mat 10:7, 8 NIV) As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

The Kingdom is upside down from the way you would imagine: (Mat 11:11 NIV) I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

I’m honestly not sure what this one means but it was preached about A LOT:
(Mat 11:12 NIV) From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
I think you have to read this through the upside down lens of Jesus’ life. Forceful men who look like servants maybe?

Then lots of parables - some easily understood - some harder:

1) Matt 13:24 like a man who sowed seed and an enemy sowed weeds. The master said to let both grow together until the end. Then the harvesters would sort them out

2) Mtt 13:33 It is like the mustard seed. A small thing produces a huge thing

3) Matt 13:33 It is like yeast -- a little bit changes the whole thing
vs. 44 like a treasure that a man finds, buries it again and sells all he has to buy it

4) vs. 45 like a pearl

5) vs. 47 like a net for a fisherman - gathers good and bad fish that need to be sorted

When Peter believed and proclaimed that Jesus was the Son God the keys of the kingdom were given him. (Whatever that means)

The disciples saw the kingdom come (Mat 16:28 NIV) I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Upside down kingdom (Mat 18:1-3 NIV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Belongs to the children: (Mat 19:14 NIV) Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Hard for the rich (Mat 19:24 NIV) Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

The Kingdom does not look fair: (Mat 20:1 NIV) "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. (didn’t pay everyone the same)

Values obedience: Won’t see who you were expecting: (Mat 21:31 NIV) "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

Jesus’ prophesy about the Kingdom: (Mat 24:14 NIV) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Need to be prepared: (Mat 25:1 NIV) "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

About those who get to enter the final kingdom: (Mat 25:34, 35, 36 NIV) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

There will be wine!! (Mat 26:29 NIV) I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

It happens with little effort from us (Mark 4:26-29 NIV) He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

My favorite: (Luke 17:20, 21 NIV) Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

Jesus said his kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD (John 18:36 NIV) Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Even till the very end his disciples did not get it - just before he disappeared out of sight they were asking when he was going to bring it in: (John 18:36 NIV) Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

Maybe they started to get it here: (Acts 8:12 NIV) But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

And the kingdom is (drum roll please....): (Rom 14:17 NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

hmmm????(1 Cor 4:20 NIV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

(1 Cor 15:50 NIV) I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Lots of passages like this one on those who will not inherit the Kingdom: (Eph 5:5 NIV) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

So that's what I learned. I just failed to find the whole "next generation of really amazing, gifted glow in the dark kind of people that are governed by truly amazing apostles with words directly from God who will usher in the coming of the Kingdom of God in the final days after a great harvest. Maybe I need to keep reading but it was certainly not here - that is for sure.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Kingdom of God is Not For Sale

And sometimes I really do wonder if it is all about the Money! (I could give you more links but then my blood pressure goes so high)

It takes only a brief glimpse of the websites of the men and women from the Apostolic streams before you find yourself consistently hitting your head against the same thing.


"We need more of it. We need to find the roadblocks in our lives that are hindering the wealth transfer that is supposed to come into the ‘kingdom.’ The gates need to be opened. You seed needs to be sowed (here of course.) The kingdom needs both kings and priests. The Kingdom of God needs money to finance it. You need to partner with us." They have MARKETPLACE APOSTLES!!!

thinking to herself in true Jim Gaffigan style......I wonder if James or John was one of those. Maybe Lazarus - he was wealthy enough to have a home where his sisters lived with him....I know!!!! - Zacchaeus, when he got saved become one. Yes that is it. I should write a book and go on tour)

Money, Money, Money.

If they don’t state it upfront you can be sure they always get around to it.

They have the gall to quote Paul. Paul, who never lived the good life, who thanked people for their offerings while he was in prison. Paul who commended churches for their giving out of their significant need themselves. They make Paul their spokesman. How dare they?

I hate to border on bitterness - but when it comes to this subject I boil.

This is a deal breaker with me. I instantly distrust a ministry that participates in this crap. Oh, I have heard all the excuses. I know all the rationale and reasoning. Remember, I lived in thier camp.

So don’t try to tell me that you are raising money for the Kingdom of God and then spend it on yourself. Why not be real? Tell the truth.

Try this as an example of honesty:

I want to do this service for you. I want to teach you this, provide you with this or offer this. You won’t get a better seat at my conferences. I won’t pray for your family. I won’t give you special prophetic words. If you give me money I will tell you exactly what I am going to spend it on. I won’t change my mind without asking your permission. If you gave it for one purpose and I decide to do something else, I will give it back to you.

If the Kingdom of God sprouts out of this transaction - then all the better but I am not going to offer the Kingdom of God for sale here. The Kingdom of God is not to be purchased, bought, bartered, or bribed. It is not to be coerced, threatened, manipulated or begged for. The Kingdom of God is not a commodity. I will not offer it for sale and you will promise not to try to purchase it from me.

If you want to put seed into the Kingdom of God, take the money and go and DO something yourself. Love someone. Feed someone. Give to those who have nothing.

There ends my rant for this evening.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rescue Parade - Please Participate!!

Rescue Parade – Please Add Your Announcement

Tracy at The Best Parts the other day wrote of a Rescue Parade that someone hosted for the pugs (a type of dog) that have been rescued and claimed by owners who are now taking care of them. Some have been restored to perfect health and others still bear the scars of their horrible lives. As each one comes out they get a thunderous round of applause as they walk or in some cases are carried by their loving owners.

She says this about the experience of watching this and what the Father quickened in her spirit:

“I think the reason that both The Rescue Parade and the movie trailer touch me so deeply is because they are both shadows of a far greater spiritual reality. I love Acts 3:20-21 which talks about the restoration of all things. All. I believe in the end even the trees shall be fully restored (see Isaiah 55:12). Nothing will escape the love of God in His plan to restore all things.

It got me to thinking: I wonder if God will have a Rescue Parade at the end of time? Can you hear the thunderous applause, both for the created ones as well as for the Creator, as every created being circles the throne? The contrast of our former lives, filled with limping, blindness, poverty, oppression, and destroyed relationships compared to our new lives of joy unspeakable where every tear has been wiped away forever will cause all of us to come undone in a celebration like we cannot even imagine.”

As I read this post from somewhere deep in my spirit I could hear the Heavenly Rescue Parade that I would someday be a part of. I penned this which I left as a comment at Tracy’s site:

I wrote:

And this next woman is named Barbara. She was rescued from a life of Religion. She thought her God was mean, angry and demanding but when introduced to the Real Me, she was wonderfully saved and delivered. She went on to love those around her with compassion and beauty the rest of her life.

Abmo spontaneously added his:

And the next guy is Nestus. He was rescued from a small dark room where he chose to hide. He kept his distance because he thought God only loved others. He was introduced to The Father who knows him inside and out and suddenly he began to see others who hide in small dark rooms. He went on to love those around him and became a rescuer of others in dark places. When asked about it he said, "Hu? I only did what I saw my Father doing."

Then Tracy herself wrote:

And here comes Tracy, who formerly thought she had to do it all alone with complete independence. Because of this, it took her awhile to learn total dependence on Papa and on His Son's life within her, but she grew in these areas with every passing year.

And then Karen (SoCal) Wrote:

Here's Karen...... my precious one, who I loved from the beginning, but she didn't know it. So she lived in self-doubt, afraid to trust herself, seeking approval and validation from others. When she saw a glimpse of the real me she thought it was too good to be true and was afraid to believe. But she did believe and she did receive and she discovered that the truth is truly much more wonderful than she ever imagined.

Co-heir added his:

And here's Fred, who was stuck in a system where he had to have all the right answers all the time. I taught him to question and through the questions I slowly changed him into someone who looks like Jesus.

And next our friend Jeff McQ:

...and here's Jeff, who grew up with a Messiah complex, somehow believing he needed to be perfect, weighed down with the expectations of performance and a drive to somehow fulfill his great calling instead of trusting Me with his destiny. This pressure used to weigh on him so heavily that it drove him to compulsive behaviors. That weight is being removed from his shoulders as he realizes that he is free to be a human being, the same as everyone else--and is no less loved for it. He enjoys his life much more now.

Place of Grace (Annette) is delightfully next:

...and here is Anette, whom I loved all along. Even while she thought she should deserve my love by saving everyone else all by herself. I am so glad she eventually caught on and accepted that I do not want anything she can give, only what I have made in any case - herself!!

Tyler Dawn is brought on by her Maker who says:

Next comes Tyler Dawn, who used to love to have her religious owners praise her whenever she sang for them. She thought they loved her so much until she stopped and they said, "Bad girl!" She found herself out on the street and thought she was an orphan until she met her new daddy who picked her up and hasn't stopped saying "Good girl" ever since.

Brad enters with:

… and here’s Brad. I found him in what looked like the near-terminal stage of Nice Disease. Insidious spiritual autoimmune disease that it is, Niceness sends one searching externally for meaning in friendships, activism, and occasional grandiose acts of public pseudo-kindness – yet all the while attacking internally with self-inflicted guilt and shame. As in all forms of fear, Nice Disease eventually leads to panic or, as in his case, the coldness of depression. But now that he’s been rescued, he’s gradually warming up to the love of the Father, the leading of the Spirit, and joy in the Son. These give him reason to get up each morning to greet the dawn, not just face another day of pretense. Through restoration of soul and installation of hope, his imagination has been unlocked at last to foresee a bright and redemptive future … and each day, that helps melt a bit more of the “ice” in the Nice, and what’s underneath is revealed as “real.”

Next may I introduce Dave Aldrich?

So here's Dave A. He sees much of what other folks have written here about their journeys in his own. Most of his life he believed he had to be perfect because he figured that most others were except for him. He gave up trying a long time ago but the scars of insecurity, pessimism and a self-loathing spirit remained... until Father began to lift the veil from his eyes. Then he began to see his true identity and the immeasurable love Papa has for him. Now he is understanding true love, true purpose, and the only real and worthy identity is Christ in us as us.

And lovingly He introduces vestaoikos:

I would like to introduce My fair child. I found her crumpled in severe rejection and had to softly cleanse her from the brine of unforgiveness. If only she could see the beauty that I see in her. I cleansed her soft dove eyes from the slimes of distrust and held her repeatedly against My bosom, letting My Spirit enfold every fibre of her. My light cracked her cast of 'I'll do whatever to be accepted'. This woman, fellow children, is My fair child of whom I am proud.

Getting There, a new friend of Barb's who is still reeling from some wounds, comes next with:

Here is one who was somewhat like the lady in the kitchen always serving instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus. She served at the church with all her heart only to find false teaching, control and manipulation within the church she loved so dearly. After sharing her concerns, she has been excommunicated, no one has contacted her and these were her friends for years. She am in detox phase.. scared of church to some extent but she wants to go to church. So she is a process of re evaluating things and leaning on Me, the bible and the power of the cross to get her through this time.

Kathyescobar joyfully enters with:

oh and there's kathy. had it not been for the love of some dear friends who took her in and begin to teach her that she really was valuable and loved, she would have spent her life believing that she was nothing more than her past behavior and she deserved to be beaten. she'd try hard to please but never could seem to. it was exhausting. after being rescued from the confines of legalism & shame, she's learned how to rely on her Master, and trust that he really does love her just how she is. we've seen a lot of shifts in her the past few years and she's finally learning that she's safe. she's secure. she's loved.

And here is Sarah, whom I love next"

..who was running fast and hard down a path of total self-destruction. I snatched her up just in time and held her until her wounds of childhood abuse and spiritual abuse were healed. I spoke softly to her with words of kindness. I made her a friend, and she learned that I could be trusted. I have steadily been at work to continue to free her from tainted worldviews, cultural grids, and other misperceptions. We are getting closer as I show her Who I really am, how I see things, and what I am *really* like. I have taught her to enjoy asking me many, many questions!

Next, is a woman that to you, will remain Anonymous, but to me she is known and loved dearly:

When I found her, she was so desperate and grateful to be rescued. It took many years of persistent gentleness before she trusted My love for her and no longer shrank back from Me. As she was restored, she became eager to help in rescuing others. Before her dreams were realized, she became broken in ways that won't allow her to be a rescuer. I hope that she will trust my love and faithfulness in her dependence and suffering.

Here is Joe, known and loved:

Then there's Joe, a drunk and a problem with love for himself and others. He meets Jesus but then transfers his old feelings onto his image of God. So God hates a lot of people and excludes a lot of people. Then Joe has a revelation...God is Love. Joe begins to love. He loves people. He loves himself. He is given love from Father to do this. It's no longer about whose 'in' or 'out', its about love, unconditional, unmotivated, unquenchable love.God is love.

Larry comes next with:

...and then there is Larry. Larry would tell you he was saved by Grace, but he acted like he was saved by works. It took this thick-headed child many years to understand the true ramifications of Grace. It took him even longer to stop judging others in his mind. He's getting much more healthy and mature now. He finally realizes that he doesn't know everything and is learning to truly believe Me.

Oh, and have you met Ruth?

and then there's me, Ruth. Saved by grace '95, then utterly confused by religion and religious happenings thereafter. Gently restored by the Father to the Son's embrace; kept there by His tender love ! Childlike, I forsook the cloak of religion & jumped out of the comfort and insanity of religion. Now I just look for the beauty of Jesus in those I am privileged to meet up with each & every day! The one thing I can count on is Love, His Love, it will abide forever !

And please welcome Old Pete!

As I've said, I don't know where to start. I guess what I'm really saying is that this is my story, I have no idea how this might be helpful to others - or even who it might be helpful to - maybe as a sounding board for some in the earlier stages of detox?I am finding it more and more difficult to remember what I have said and written over the years. I seem to have this knack of asking the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers. Is that what some people need?I remember seeing the suggestion that the ultimate vision is to have no vision of our own - perhaps I'm getting close to that!

And here is Tera Rose, I know her as Jane.

....always knowing that she belonged to the Father at a young age, loving Jesus and believing in his goodness....until she tried to figure out how she could be good enough for him and searched...and found herself in places that appeared to be beautiful and holy...and trusted in shepherds that well, you know, turned out to be wolves in sheeps clothing...and now sits beneath the apple tree wondering, not if God exists, but What God is...and Who she is...and aching to have the infantlike trust...but grateful for the growing up process..believing in God...but not the church...wanting to walk like Him..but not with his people...wondering if it all amounts to the fact that she is simple of two minds; sitting on the fence; straddling two worlds...to be spit out in the end.

Next we have Deacon & Usher

Committed since the Jesus movement, strong worship musicians (truly believing we were not performing - not)for 30 years, loyal to a fault - all believing that ordination would signal arrival - it didn't - had to shut down a church as a layman to keep leaders from continuing abuse of the people - sought out a less "cultish" environment only to find the same results. Left the modern church when covenants, egalitarianism and academia became the most important issues and not grace or God. We threw off the clothes, dumped the titles, resorted to living day-to-day and are enjoying being what God made us - buzzards under grace.

Our latest entry is made by Dr. Paul, who joins the line saying:

here - a recovering pastor who has been rediscovering the grace of God after wandering in the wilderness of graceless religion for far too long.

Discovered the significant impact of internalized-shame on relationships and spirituality as well as its power to resist grace and healing. We all carry "original shame" that lies to us about our worth and God's love. Not only is it not addressed in most churches, it is actually used to activate people to do more (to be enough) and to conform (to not be shamed by the community/leaders).

Carolyn enters with this from her Father:

And now...here's Carolyn. She's very tender right now, so she is still a bit timid and shy with others...but she is coming along...she's healing slowly but surely.

Next is Ruth!! Welcome her with this:

And then comes another Ruth who got an e-mail several years ago from her senior pastor, telling her to step down from heading the music ministry "until you can respect the leadership of the church."

Which was wonderful, because on reading it, she realized that was just never going to happen.

Which meant she was free.

She hardly ever gets angry about the whole thing these days and is genuinely glad to not be there anymore.

And here is Fiona!

...Father opened my eyes maybe 18 months ago, when I pulled one thread and found the whole garment of the church unraveled. At first I was grief stricken, and angry, realizing some of the travesties that are taught in Jesus name, and how they hurt people. But now I am so much more joyful in my faith; understanding freedom in a way I didn't before; no longer attending an organized church, but walking the journey Father has for me, learning as I go, and having been blessed by the company of some others on a similar path that were led there independently. I truly desire others to enjoy the true freedom we have in Christ, but I know only Father can lead them there, in His time, working in their hearts. So I talk and write to those who are interested, as I feel led, and trust that Father will grow His real Kingdom - not the man-made imitation, though sometimes both are present in the one place. Still have stuff to work through - the internal things I took on board even subconsciously through 20 odd years in Pentecostal megachurches. But I trust that Father knows what He is doing in Me!

These made me weep as I read them. Our lives as believers do have Hope! If you would like to participate in our Bloggers Rescue Parade and write what you think could be said about your life, please leave it in the comments section and I will put it on the main page as it comes in.

Blessings to all of you this weekend. May the Spirit of God whisper into your ear how very much he longs for this day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where Dominionist Theology Gets Off Track

I caught a bit of a sermon on You Tube this morning that caused me to pause and go, “Ahhhhhh, that's the problem!”

The 10 minute clip is from October 16, 2005 at Wasilla Assembly of God Church, where Sarah Palin is being prayed for on by a man with the last name of Muthee. He gives a quick explanation of a dominionist theology agenda and then prays for her. (Wow, this took me back to my CLB)

(Now, I don’t believe all the reports of Sarah Palin being the secret operative for the New Apostolic Reformation or any other garbage. I think she is a woman who may attend these churches and may even ascribe to their theology but it stops there. Read what Grace says here.)

What was so interesting to me was this: The man describing dominionism theology did not think that salvation alone was enough for the world! Look at what he says:

When we talk about transformation of a community we are talking about God invading 7 areas of our society…… It is where we see God’s kingdom infiltrate and influence 7 areas in our society. Number one is the spiritual aspect of our society. Namely, the church for a long time has just concentrated on that dimension.. We want people saved, we want them to go to heaven, we want them delivered and that is it. But I tell you something if all we do is to come to the church, get people saved and then they go…I don’t think much will happen in our society. So the second area whereby God wants to penetrate in our society is in the economic area……" (emphasis mine)

He then begins to talk of how he believes the Kingdom of God will come to earth. He briefly covers economic (The wealth of the gentiles are store up for the righteous, we need bankers, yada, yada, yada…), politics, (did you know that the people that split churches have the gift of politics?), education, (“if we had them {christian educators} the 10 commandments would not have been kicked out of the schools.” - as a side note….can I ask a question here? Why do Christians even want the LAW returned to the schools? Don‘t we believe in Grace now?) media, the arts and government.

I finally understood why this was and is so important to these Churches and their congregations. I finally found someone willing to admit that they don’t think the gospel - the simple gospel - will work. They are tired of doing it the hard way. They don’t see immediate fruit of nations being changed. They don’t believe the gospel is enough. One life radically changed for God is not enough. They need to add to the gospel all this other stuff so they can see it happen, now - today. After all if we wait for each person to get saved then it will take forever to see change take place in a nation.

Oh my God! This makes so much sense to me.

Instead of adding to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love - instead of that being enough - we are to add kingdom strategies of wealth building, spiritual warfare, binding and loosing, breaking open hidden gates of the kingdom, education reform, apostolic alignment and whatever else they devise will help God out in his bid for this world.

Their God is weak! He needs us!

Ok, I can hear Husband now…..”Temper it a bit, Barb” (not that he ever actually says that to me, I just hear him thinking it)

We do need politicians that are Christians and I love it when my kid has a Christian teacher in his room. I love the fact that my elected officials may be able to call on God for help in a decision and God knows, I wish for some Christian godliness in Wall Street. The difference though, I think, is this. I want people to know my God, be saved from a life of self, be delivered from the enemy’s grip and walk in freedom and Grace. Then, AS THEY GO - I want them to change the world around them. The plan is for their salvation. The result is the change in their world.

I think that men and women who ascribe to the theology of the man in the video have got their priorities backwards. Their plan is the change of society and as a result people will be saved.
Two very different approaches. Two very different outcomes if you ask me.
Unfortunately, I think if they have their way we will be back to legislated religion. And then the witch trials, the dunkings and the burning at the stakes will begin.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Old Winskin - Don't Fear the Label

The other day I listened to a sermon preached by Dutch Sheets regarding Lakeland. You can find it here. (scroll down to under his latest letter to a sermon link given on May 18, 2008) While there is much that I would disagree with Mr. Sheets in issues of theology and practice, I was impressed again by the gentle wisdom that this man displays while still belonging to a group of men and women that I vehemently disagree with. He remains the one voice that I have heard that I can even begin to trust. In his sermon he speaks of the role of wisdom and revelation and how to walk the line keeping both in our lives. He then speaks of Lakeland and what he was seeing as problems. (This was given before the whole thing blew up.) It was a call to get some accountability into the mess that was beginning. I was impressed that he would speak about it while it was going on as that is usually the kiss of death to disagree with something before everyone else does.

I had to sift through the first part of the message but when he begins to address his concerns of Lakeland I fully was with him. The thing that stood out to me though was his comments about being apprehensive of he, himself, becoming an “old wineskin.”

For the uninitiated, the idea of an old wineskin comes from the passages in Scripture (Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5) where the Pharisees and the disciples of John come to Jesus asking why he does not keep the law…why he is eating his fill with sinners and they are observing the law by fasting. Jesus says that his disciples are enjoying having the bridegroom with them and therefore it is party time. Then he speaks the words that every Charismatic follower fears, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”

See, in the charismatic world, being labeled a old wineskin is paramount to being slapped in the face with a glove and called out for a duel. No one ever wanted to be an old wineskin. It meant that you were clinging to the old ways of God and unable to accept what God was doing now. You were now persecuting the new move of God. You were entrenched in religion and not in the flow of the Spirit. You were stuck in the “logos” word and not in the “Rhema.” At its worst, you were now in rebellion to the authority of whatever “new thing” was being issued from the top.

When Husband put his foot down on the simple idea that he believed that the titles of apostle being demanded were not part of the heart of Jesus and his teachings we suddenly found ourselves with the label of “old wineskins.”

It is again, another one of the straw man arguments that keeps men and women of God, men and women of discernment, quiet and in their respective seats.

It saddened me to see Dutch Sheets so hesitant to bring up blatantly deceptive practices within his own camp and be so afraid of stepping into the label of being an old wineskin.

This is not the heart of what Jesus was saying. At the heart of these verses you can say with certainty that the old wineskin was the Law. He was the new wine - not the next idea of some crazed, authority seeking man or woman who refuses to be questioned. Yes, you can extract at teaching from the passage that the Spirit will do unexpected things and we need to be open to His leading, but the slapping of the faces with the glove of “old wineskin” needs to be addressed.

Men and women of this movement need to get over being afraid to speak up. Wrong is wrong. And if your heart picks up greed, or deceit or pride or false teaching, you can be sure it is. Your heart will tell you the truth. Don’t let those who would label you - quiet you.

I have a feeling that there are those reading my blog who are so afraid of this being true of themselves. Let me ask you a question. Do you long to follow the Spirit to the best of your ability? Do you listen closely to the voice of your Father as best as you can and then try to follow his promptings? Do you gladly receive with wisdom things that might be new to your spirit?

Then you are not an old wineskin. Period. Get over it. Don’t be silenced by this accusation any longer - nor fear it another minute.

UPDATE: Husband insisted I watch the greatest glove slap challenge to a duel ever seen in movie history. You can see it
here at about 38 seconds into the clip. Don't blame me for the way his mind works!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Apostle Rat

To see the comic clearly simply click on it.

How Then Should We Raise Our Kids - Part 2 A Letter To My Sons

Part one of How Then Should We Raise Our Kids ended with these questions that I have been asking myself:

How then am I going to raise my children? I have been spoon fed this kind of theology and told to get my children ready for their “destinies” . Now what do I prepare them for? How do I encourage the gifts in them and give them a hope for their future without all the hype. How do I tell them that their lives are important but they may not be able to change the entire world in their lifetimes? How do I give them a sight of the true Kingdom of God while keeping their feet firmly planted in the world.

As I have been pondering the question of what to impart to my children in the wake of all the institutional mindsets and charismatic excesses I have loved the challenge of boiling the gospel down to it’s simplest form. Many of you wrote and added to my thinking and I am grateful. If you read my article, please go back and read those who responded. I am truly grateful to be able to hear the wisdom from their hearts.

Below is the nugget of Truth that I want to use to shape the lives of my children while they are in my home. I want it to be the baseline upon which all decisions are made in their upbringing. I put it in the form of a letter because I actually just wrote this to a dear and very special little boy whom I have had the joy of loving along with his parents. He is not yet one. My boys are 8, 11 and 13.

To My Sons,

This is a letter from your mom to you. In it, I want to tell you a very important thing. I want you to know what I think the most important thing in life is and what you really need to know to be a "Man of God." Here it is in its simplest form:

God is love.

It is something that you could understand at three years old and something that you will ponder when you are thirty three and ninety three. Those words are the culmination of my life and I hope will be yours.

If you understand that God is love you will be able to navigate this life with a confidence that very few find. A man who knows God is love and allows this love to permeate his very being will be a man who knows God, who knows himself and who knows all those around him. He will be a man of wisdom. He will be a man of greatness. He will be a man of compassion. He will be a man of strength. He will be a man of vision and a man of integrity. He will be a giant among men.

Boys, my desire for you is that you would gaze on the love of God every day of your life. You will be changed. See, you cannot understand God’s love for you and then turn and hate your brother. You cannot embrace his total acceptance of you and then reject another of His children. You cannot peer into the depth of his great love and then live in any fear.

Love - God’s love - will change you.

Remember the words that are written by a man named Paul in a book in the Bible called First Corinthians. He calls us to love as God loves us and here is what he says that looks like:

Love never gives up because it is patient.
Love cares more for others than for self because it is kind.
Love does not want what it doesn’t have. It does not envy.
Love doesn’t strut because it is not boastful.
Love doesn’t have a swelled head. It is never proud
Love doesn’t force itself on others because it is not rude.
Isn’t always “me first,” Love is not self-seeking
Love doesn’t fly off the handle because it is is not easily angered.
Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. You see it keeps no records of wrong.
Love doesn’t revel when others grovel because it does not delight in evil.
Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth because it rejoices in the truth.
Love puts up with anything, it always protects
And Love trusts God always.
Love always looks for the best, it always hopes
Never looks back but keeps going to the end because it always perseveres.
Love never dies and it never fails.

Boys, if your picture of God ever differs from the picture that those words paint in the above statements, you will know that your picture of God is warped. This will cause you to turn away from the life in Him and thus you will not love God in truth and you will not love others. If your picture of God is as sharp as those words then you will love and be loved like few men ever have.

I leave you with the words that Jesus said to his friends. They were written down by a man named John. Jesus said to them, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

With all my love,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How Then Shall We Raise Our Kids? Part 1

Brother Maynard posted the other day about Stacy Campbell’s prophecy at the Commissioning of Todd Bentley and her subsequent non apology. In the midst of his article he gave this side note on the prophetic propensity to talk about the "next generation."

….but I have to say that I’m sick and tired of prophetic words about the “chosen” generation or the “next” generation or things of this ilk. I’ve observed people prophesy it over their own generation, and as they age, marry, have a family, and raise children, they begin to prophesy the same thing over the “next” generation — i.e., their own kids. I don’t know, either we’re all special or none of us are… but either way, it doesn’t seem especially “prophetic” to call it out as though it were something new and not something that’s been said to every generation that has practiced prophetic ministry, bar none. It’s just some kind of misguided prophetic nepotism. How come there aren’t any prophetic words that say to teenagers, “You guys aren’t really the chosen generation, but your job is to work hard and raise good families so that they can grow up sound in the faith and pass it along to that generation, which is especially chosen for revival.”

He elicits a comment from a new blogger gxs who says this:

I no longer count myself in the Nazirite/Elijah/John the Baptist/Revolutionary/Overcoming/Revival/End-time Kick Uber-Ass/Joel’s Army generation ….not as described by the ‘prophetic movement’ anyway.

This started me thinking. I totally resonate with the comments from these two writers. I no longer buy into the thinking that this next generation is more special than the generation that went before it. I doubt this as much as I doubt that because this is 2008 and 8 is the number of God, that 2008 will be the year that God pours out his blessings in an unprecedented way. (sorry I gave up on the links) I have lived through the hype year after year (God was always going to do great things each year) and the men and women who keep this up should be shot on the stage where they stand unabashedly saying the same things year after year with no one questioning why it did not happen last year like they said it would. In the same way, if you read generations gone by they all jumped on the bandwagon of the “new, greater generation that would follow.

BUT here is my question. How then am I going to raise my children? I have been spoon fed this kind of theology and told to get my children ready for their “destinies” . Now what do I prepare them for? How do I encourage the gifts in them and give them a hope for their future without all the hype. How do I tell them that their lives are important but they may not be able to change the entire world in their lifetimes? How do I give them a sight of the true Kingdom of God while keeping their feet firmly planted in the world?

Would love to know what those who have come out of this kind of teaching are doing with your children. I’ll post later what I think. I’m listening to you first.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Cell Phone Purge

My daughter decided to call a very dear friend still in our CLB today. (it actually went very well - thanks)

The only problem was that we no longer had her phone number.

See, we had gone through what I am sure is a oft repeated procedure after leaving a painful church situation. The procedure????
The Cell Phone Purge

The “Purge” is simply the act that you take when you finally go through and delete almost all the names from your caller list. You do this for several reasons.

You Purge it because it is so depressing:

The biggest reason to purge is that you decide that you are tired of having your phone full of people who would rather not talk to you. Each time you scroll through the names to get to the two people that you still call, you end up so depressed that you don’t’ even call that one friend that you picked up the phone for. Cell phones are not happy cell phones when filled to overflowing with tears. Or toilet water.

You Purge it because the phone becomes abusive:

It is the cell phone that screams out to you, “YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS LEFT!” “JUST LOOK AT THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT YOU TO CALL THEM!“ Cell phones can be very abusive when they are filled with X-friends. I don’t blame the phone itself as it is probably wondering why it exists except for your circle of 5 that now contain only your Best Friend, your husband and your kids. Thank God for the Best Friend!

You Purge it because it is no longer a Ministry Expense:

Now it is the cell phone that you can’t any longer deduct from your taxes as a ministry expense. Now it is just an expense. (No......we never did this - some pastors would though I expect.)

You Purge it because you don’t want to push the wrong button:

Say, you have the pastor and his wife with the last name that is spelled so that it falls next to one of your daughters and you don’t’ want to dial it by mistake. (How awkward would that conversation be? “Um, Hi _________, So….I heard…you..um….bumped into….um…my daughter….the…other day. How was that for you? Soooooo….Ok, bye then.”)

You purge it so that you can make room for all the new friends that you will soon have:

Riiiiigggghhhhhhttttttt. Keep dreaming.

So you go through the purge. Followed closely by a really good cry. Just put the phone down first.

But take heart, one day you may get to add a name back in. Keep a record. You just might need those phone numbers.
It was really fun. The Cell Phone seemed happy too.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On The Subjects of Overcoming Fear and The Filling of the Holy Spirit - My Story

RobbyMac on his site the other day was talking about his first “charismatic” experience or when he sensed the Holy Spirit for the first time.  He challenged those who tend to call themselves post-charismatic to remember the days when it was all right and new.  He asks us for our stories of how we first became acquainted with and eager for the felt presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  I thought I would participate as it is a story that I would like to record for myself and my family.  It is long - sorry.  (I'm breaking my rule believing in short posts.)  If you want to read along, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine :)

In this post I am going to touch on a lot of sensitive subjects.  Dispensationalism, Tongues, Demons, Deliverance and filling of the Holy Spirit.  I do not mean to alienate any one person.  The people who read here a very dear to me.   Today, I barely care what you think of those subjects.  I am more concerned if you love the Father and understand how He loves you.  I want to know if you are loving God with all your heart and soul and loving others.  So please just read the story and don’t get caught up in the theology of what I believed then or now.  It is my story.  I’m not embellishing.  It was real.  I don’t have chapter and verse for everything I just know what happened to me.  I do not wish to debate any of it.  I just hope it gives hope to someone who is tied up in the grips of Fear or wanting to know if the Holy Spirit can be felt in a tangible way.

I was raised in a fundamental Bible church.  We were there Sunday mornings for the gospel message, Sunday nights for the sermons on the End Times and Rapture and Wednesday nights for Choir practice, youth groups and the Old or New Testament Book studies - verse by verse.  It was there that I first heard about the “abuses” of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  Mostly we were taught that He was given at Pentecost with signs and wonders and tongues but God did not do all that stuff today.  We were in another dispensation.  Tongues were of the devil.  We were filled with the Holy Spirit at salvation and that’s all of Him that we would ever get or need.  

I want to mention here that I was raised with Fear.  My mom was fearful of everything.  She instilled early on that really bad things were lurking out there.  Mostly, we were not verbally taught this - we just caught it.  I was fearful as a child.  I would have visions of bad things happening to me, my sister or my parents.  I could “See” these things as if they were playing on TV.  God played into this too.  He was to be feared.  He might come back in the Rapture and I would not be taken.  He would cause me to be sick if I sinned.  My life was played out on a tightrope of trying not to be in his wrath or even bad graces.  I was afraid of hell.  Even though we were taught that we would not loose our salvation the church taught that God was not ever really happy with us. - At least that is my take on it.

Along in my 30’s we had gotten involved in a semi-charismatic expression of church.  We didn’t do all the ‘weird’ stuff but now we believed it existed.  The Vineyard was just coming to prominence and we studied the charismatic teachings of Wimber and Jack Deere.  

One thing our church  did believe in and practice was the ability to cast out demons.  We practiced on each other, cast out anything that sounded like it was of the enemy and generally, in my opinion, went way to far with this.  But it was exciting and every once in a while someone’s life truly seemed to be changed.

One night I was called in to help pray for a girl who had a diagnosed brain tumor.  She had severe vertigo and was going in to see the surgeon the next day.  The cat scan showed the tumor plainly.  The pastor of our little church plant/student work, my husband, and I all gathered that night to pray for this girl.  The pastor was leading the session, I was there for prayer support.  They wrestled with the demon that manifested for most of the evening.  Finally I got impatient with them and frustrated that nothing was happening.  Thinking that I could do a much better job, I broke in, grabbed her hands in mine and firmly commanded the spirit to come out of her in Jesus name.  

My hands tingled like they were shocked with electricity and my world spun.  I was knocked off balance and went to the floor.  She was elated as she felt something leave her.  I was panic stricken.  I had never felt anything remotely like this.  I was nauseous and dizzy from that moment on.  As you can imagine I was frightened out of my wits.  The guys prayed for me but the feelings did not subside.  We left that night and I stayed dizzy.

The story is very long from there.  The girl was healed as she asked the doctors to do one more cat scan before they operated.  The tumor was gone, she was no longer dizzy and even other unrelated symptoms like where she had been severely lactose intolerant before that night she now was completely healed.  We are friends to this day.

I was not ok.  I tried to find anyone who could help me. I called the charismatic churches in the area and no one believed my story.  They believed that Christians could not have a demon oppressing them as I described.  I just knew what had happened to me.  I prayed, I fasted, I asked forgiveness for every sin I ever committed.  I asked forgiveness from everyone I knew.  I was sure that some sin had allowed this to enter my body.  (To this day, I’m still not sure what allowed it  - and other than the Grace of God- probably just plain pride if I were to look at my life then)  I read the Bible during this time like it was a lifeline.  I felt that I was going to lose my mind.  I truly feared that I would end up on a psyche ward.  I refused to take meds for this because I KNEW when it had started and knew it was not a normal sickness.

It was during this time that the Spirit of God came to me in a real way that I will never forget.  I was laying on my bed one night.  I had finally gotten to the point where I was tired of being afraid.  I had told the enemy that he might be able to touch my body.  He was certainly able to mess with my life.  My fears of being good enough to win God’s protection had not worked.  So I drew a line in the sand and told the enemy that though he might be able to take everything away from me I was not going to EVER let him have my worship.  I would go down loving God and worshiping Him.  Nothing would deter me.  He could not win this one.  That was my last stand. 

 I then asked the Father to become as real to me as this presence that was tormenting me.  If it was real, then the Holy Spirit had to be just as real.  I told Him I wanted to feel him as real as I felt the dizziness.  

One night  soon after that prayer, I was lying in my bed and suddenly, for no reason at all, I was overcome with joy like I had NEVER experienced.  It was so tangible that it was like liquid honey but with bubbles as light as air.  Joy filled me up and spilled over.  I chose not wake Husband laying by my side.  I just stayed there with joy unspeakable telling Jesus how much I loved him over and over again.  I fell asleep that night in peace.

The next day I was worshiping to music and from out of nowhere a new language bubbled up from deep within me.  I had never heard ‘tongues’ ever spoken in my life.  But here I was joyfully babbling in a language that felt like I was a little girl pretending to speak a different language.  I could start and stop it.  It did not “take me over.”  It was my choice but again I felt that syrupy, bubbly, honey of joy and peace.  This language would become a solid rock for me in a world that was literally swirling in the days to come.

I wish I could say that the dizziness, fear and nausea disappeared that night that the Holy Spirit filled me.  It didn’t.  They were my constant companion.  But little by little I learned that I was not going to choose to be afraid.  In many ways it was like lifting weights.  I could only lift about 2 pounds to begin with and then only do 5 reps.  I could only weakly say to the fear and this thing that I lived with - I won’t be afraid of you.  But slowly, like in lifting weights, I could lift more.  I could command the dizziness to stop and it started to stop.  It would come back and I again would stand against it.  Over the course of a few years I would get so strong in my faith that it became easy.  I would tell it, “GO - GET OUT OF HERE!!”  And it would obey.  It was about a 8 year process.  It does not bother me today except every now and then when I share this story with someone a bit of dizziness threatens to come back.  I now simply scoff at it and throw it out as I would a stray mangy cat that jumped to my dining table.  

I tell this story for a few reasons.  

1) I HATE fear.  Fear of any kind is my personal enemy.  I want to encourage you not to live with it.  Even if it takes years to get its prongs out of you - battle it.  Fear is not normal.  God is bigger - you are stronger!  Peace is possible.  Talk to someone who is hardly ever fearful.  You can be like them.  

2) I truly believe that the enemy wanted to win this one.  BUT God had different plans.  He wanted me delivered from the fear that bound my heart and life.  He wanted me to war against fear.  It was the kindest thing that God has ever allowed me to go through.  It was the worst and best experience of my life.  He could have delivered me with the first persons that prayed for me.  He chose to let me battle this one myself with His help and thus allow me to be strengthened in a way that could not have come otherwise.  I trust His hand in my life with whatever he brings to my life.  God can take the worst of situations and use them for our good.

3)  I tell this story for one other reason.  The enemy played his hand out and to this day I would take a bullet to the head in defense that I KNOW there is a spirit realm.  This is not something taught in my doctrine classes.  This is a real knowledge that I know I know.  I may doubt greater things in my life.  I may doubt sometimes in the very Bible being inspired or infallible (I choose to believe this one).  I may doubt other things that I then choose to have faith to believe but this one thing I do not need faith for.  I know that the enemy is real and the Holy Spirit is just as real.  He is a comforter and he is my peace.  His presence can be felt.  He is real!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Supernatural Words - I'm Sorry, I Was Wrong, Please Forgive Me

Over the past few days my blog has received over 900 page loads. My blog got picked up by a blog and a forum. Someone who was interested in exposing the New Apostolic Reformation landed on my site and started looking around.

I would have expected the pages that they would link to would be the ones where I was ranting about the NAR or calling for Honesty. But no….the page that was linked to and most hit was one of my first posts (The Person Formerly Known As Your Leader) where I publicly repented for my part in the leadership of our group. I wrote it as a response to the posts that were being written as the People Formerly Known as…… (You can see all that were written at the time at Bill Kinnon’s link on his left sidebar.)

As I looked at all the people who were reading my repentance and some of their comments I realized anew that the one thing the world longs for in relationship is someone who will say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Whether it is a husband and wife relationship, a parent to their children or a child to his parent, a governmental official to his constituents or a church leader to his congregation, we long to hear those words.

In the case of a governmental (or parental) role you might think that admitting your “wrongness” would give the impression that you could not be trusted to lead. This is totally opposite of the truth. Admitting you are wrong may at first bring on the, “I told you so’s” but given time, people will realize that you can be trusted more than those who rationalize and explain away their behavior.

The world longs for, “I’m sorry, I was wrong, Please forgive me.” These words bring out humility and put everyone on the same playing field. They cause you to get under someone that you have offended and then lift them up. They heal, they save and they restore relationship.

Those words have done more to repair relationships of Husband and I to our children than all the “parenting” that we have ever done. They have restored relationships of people who had left our church before we did - those whom we shunned and believed lies about.

In the realm of relationships these words are truly miraculous. They are magic. No.....they are supernatural.

Today, if you truly wish to walk in the supernatural, say them to someone. Then stand back and watch a miracle.

Let GodTV air that one.