Monday, December 30, 2002

CD's of Desire:
Phil Joel - Bring It On (He does great pop music ... but his CD's are maddeningly short .. I can fit both of his CD's on one CD...)
Sanctus Real - Say It Loud
Rock N' Roll Worship Circus - Welcome to the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus
The Benjamin Gate - Contact
The Benjamin Gate - Untitled
Bleach - Again, For The First Time


CD's of Desire which I cannot get because its not in stores yet:
Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown
Jars Of Clay - Furthermore
So...I returned last night with four nails painted and my Super Smash Brothers Ego a bit bruised and tarnished .... grr ... I need to practice.

It was great hanging out with y'all ... you're an awesome bunch.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Wanting a blog make-over. This layout is getting old. Any ideas?

I know! I'll invert the colors and change the font!
Most anticipated album of the year: Switchfoot's Beatiful Letdown

So this'll be a really random entry.

Third Day does really good renditions of Christmas songs. I wanna hear Christmas Switchfoot style though.

Current song in the "winamp-player-inside-benson's head": Switchfoot's "Meant to Live" (of course, Switchfoot). and Matt Redman's 'Lord Let Your Glory Fall"

There are some people whom I just cannot resist making sarcastic comments to. I just can't be serious with them ... just have to poke fun at them or be silly. Why? "Out of the abundance of the heart ...."

This has had to be one of the best breaks I've had. I've had good times. Movies, friends, music, family, God ... just all around blessed silly here. I really don't deserve this goodness. Do I ever? :) God's dopelicious!!

Hrm. Ever do something and while you're doing it, you just want to be doing something else? You're doing something you like too ...

Everything inside screams for second life....

I really miss worship. Like just me, my guitar, and God alone in a room. I didn't realize it until I was at worship practice today. I may not have the calling/anointing for a worship leader ... but that doesn't mean I can't worship God by myself.

I want/need to update my tab site. I didn't know so many people were using it. Ever since I've stopped leading worship ... I've neglected exploring how others are "singing a new song unto the Lord." Hrm.

I resolve to interact with people more on a face-to-face basis .... I've been using AIM extensively for like ... six or seven years. Wow. That's got to have had some effect on my interactions with people face to face. People skills y'all. Online you can prepare and rethink your response ... don't really have to think of your toes. Thinking about getting offline or at least chatting a lot less next quarter.

We were meant to live for so much more...

Does that statement bother you? I guess I'm speaking specifically about you/me being Christian. Y'know I've mastered the art of playing church. I can play it well. And yes, I'm bragging. Its not a good thing ... being able to "play" church. People lose passion for Christianity so fast these days ... why? I don't have passion for Christianity. I don't even have passion for Christ. What's the point? I look around me and I see a bunch of Christians trying to wade and barely treading water in this thing called life. Didn't Jesus tell us that we would have life and that abundantly? I mean ... this isn't abundant life. Me, waking up and going to school every day studying and hanging out with friends. That isn't abundant life. Doesn't that bother you?

We've lost ourselves.

I need to think of a New Year's Resolution. Or resolutions.

Jesus, what can I bring?

Friday, December 27, 2002

Man ... after reading last night's 1 AM entries ... I am so glad I don't tell everyone about this blog .... dude ... I am so weird.

Fumbling his confidence and wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he's meant for more than arguments and failed attempts to fly


We were meant to live for so much more.
We've lost ourselves
Somewhere we live inside.


Dreaming about providence and whether mice and men have second tries
Maybe we can live with our eyes half open maybe we're bent and broken


We were meant to live for so much more.
We've lost ourselves
Somewhere we live inside.


We want more than this world has to offer.
We want more than this world has to offer.
We want more than the wars of our fathers and everything inside screams for second life.


Get a taste of the goodness that is known as Switchfoot's four studio album, The Beautiful Letdown at http://www.redmusic.com/streams/MeantToLive.asx.
Hrm. Yeah I think after talking to Daniel ... I don't think I want a girlfriend. I want a wife.

Saaaaay what?

Yeah. I know weird how these things seem to pop up.

Note: its 1:05 AM ... I wouldn't recommend disseminating these thoughts....

Thursday, December 26, 2002

"God of redemption, break our routine
There's a new way to be human, its nothing we've ever been."

So. Lots of thinking done. Long drive (four hours ... not as long as the trip to SD .. but long enough). Been reading "Surprised by the Power of the Holy Spirit" by Jack Deere ... and if there were ever a kairos book ... this would be it. Dang man. My head is still reeling from the stuff in there. Topics of interest: relationships (EVERYTHING comes back to this), love and what role emotions play in that (whether in relating to God or other people), and Jesus.
Monday found me on my knees again
Breathing You in
To blur the lines that mark where I begin
And where You end
No use in trying to pretend
Come take me again
'Cause rumor has it I'm not who I've been

Relationships. Can't live with out them. Can't live with them. I've given up being in denial about wanting to be in relationship. Because God's put the desire in me ... its just a matter of whom I'm directing that desire towards. So yes, I'd like a girlfriend. But... Jesus roxors my boxors at the moment (that was for you k2). Haha no really ... I'll be honest, I've been interested (<- NOTICE THE PAST TENSE YOU GOSSIPER MONGERERS!!!!!) in some certain females. We'll leave it at that. But EVERY single time its come down to: is entering in this relationship going to draw me closer to God? Am I even at that point? I mean, after thinking about it .. its not even about financial stability (you're never gonna be ready if this is your criteria .. has anyone checked the economy lately?). For me at least. Its different for different people. I'm not bashing on the girls (or guys) who're looking for that ... because yeah, that's legitimate. But how many of your parents got together when one of the spouses was "financially stable." Yes, I think a husband should provide for his wife ... that's God-given mandate. But it also says that God will provide. So out with financial stability. Interference with studies? Well I sure HOPE a relationship isn't going to kill my grades. A healthy relationship shouldn't. Sure there's the pre-req of 6 months of ga-ga and go-go for each other ... which isn't bad .. but that shouldn't kill the things you're responsible for. A more suitable question is whether you can handle the relationships that you're in right now in addition to your studies and other relationships. If you can't even BARELY juggle that ... there's no way you can throw in a relationship (with a big R) into that mix. You just can't. Can you even handle your relationship with God?

And ... something that finally hit me amidst my mom asking about my "special friend" (seriously, she said that). How am I preparing to be a good father? a good husband? someone to talk to? a good boyfriend? So often i like to think, when is "my" girl coming along? I forget that she's not mine's ... she's God's. And moreoever, I have the responsibility to LOVE her like Christ loves the church. Oye now. I'm so not freaking capable for that job? Schh......NAPS man ... Knowing that... knowing that I am preparing, learning how to do that ... is scary. I almost don't WANT a girlfriend knowing that. Its a big responsibility. And not only that ... even though I'd like someone who is autotonomous ... not like clingy and dependent 24/7 ... I am no longer just responsibile for my own life. I'm responsible for hers. Yes, I can't watch her 24/7 ... but its my responsibility to watch out for her. To look out for HER interests (not my own), to make her interest mine's. (I suppose that applies to our relationship with Christ too .. oooh .. deep thought)

Furthermore ... along the lines of relationships. I'm talking about the opposite sex. I think I've mentioned this before ... but yeah. I've come to the conclusion that for myself. Muah. Me. That I need to watch out for the relationships I have with certain ladies. Notice I said certain. For the most part, I have some great friends that happen to girls. Can talk to them about anything, can just have a jolly good ol' time. And there's the ones with that WEIRD, FUNKY, spark in ADDITIION to the good friends. I'm talking about the a-word ... attraction. Whoa now .. that definitely messes up the dynamics of a relationship (Ya think? Why do you think that guys are so preturbed by gays? Because the one place they don' have to worry about that funky attraction has been invaded! That's why!)

Anyway. My point. Shoot. What was my point. Oh yes. Although its awesome that I have sisters that oh-so-rock, I am lacking in the brothers that oh so rock. I dunno what's with guys and intimacy .. but we suck at it! I suppose there's an aspect of homophobia to it ... (ahh two close guys!) but even so .. what the heck? I love how in the Lord of the Rings ... Samwise and Frodo are tight like this: |. And Legolas and Gimli become that way too. Man ... companionship and friendship like that ROCKS. Jonathan and David in the Bible. Not just that though .. like just having male friends to lean on and to bounce ideas off of. Yeah, you need the female perspective every so often ... its refreshing and its awesome. But when you get married, are you going to be really be able to say "Honey, I'm gonna go talk hang out with [insert female name here]." You so aren't! And even if you could .. you're ASKING for infedility to visit your door. You won't be able to have good-female friends for the rest of your life. AFter the rash of sexual immorality with the tv preachers and stuff, Billy Graham and his staff made a rule that you can't be in a room aone with any woman other than your wife. Wow. Sounds extreme? Can't play with fire. But yeah, you can't just ask your wife to do that. And once people start dating, your weekly get togethers with some of your opposite sex friends isn't going to work anymore. When it comes down to it ... you just have your bros.

Don't get me wrong, I treasure the relationships with opposite sex, I think that's the awesome part of college ... I think "iron sharpening iron" is very applicable to a lot of those relationships. But that's what it comes down to.

I'd like a girlfriend however. (Bring the topic back) The desires are there. There are attractions. But given the circumstances in my life .. I think those desires and attractions would be most suitably and ideally fit with Christ. Sounds weird doesn't it? Love relationship with Christ ... but yeah. As much as I'd like a girlfriend. I think i can say right now that I'd like Jesus a whole lot more. I don't think I could have said that for certain a couple weeks ago ... but at this point .. yeah I can say that. I think hopefully, it stays that way.

Man that didn't have the ooomph I thought it would. Seemed a lot grander in my mind. *shrugs* "tis a brainfart in deed :)
Song from the slopes: "Stanley Climbfall"; Lifehouse

Dude....I am sooooo sore. Hehe ... SKIING ROCKS!! Like dude! Man! Sweet! Ahahahaha! Yeah skiing's pretty dope. *grins* So yeah. I was born in Canada and I've never been skiing or snowboarding. However, went on a tiny family trip yesterday and today and I can say that I've skiied! Wahoo! And boy is it fun! Haha ... beginner skier blowing by all the snowboarding rookies :) *evil grin* Yeah I think skiing is more interesting than snowboarding. Although that's only up until a certain point. It was pretty funny (in retrospect) ... I've never gone skiing before .. so we took the ski lessons. Right afterwards we went on the slopes. It was steep like all the down .. so I was bailing like all the way down (a lot of the times it was preemptive bailing .. like I felt like I was going to fal .. so I fell ... the times I REALLY had to fall? Ouch.). But yeah, needless to say I wasn't particularly happy or dry when I went to eat lunch. Haha .. it didn't help that my siblings were doing better than I was!! *grumble* In any case, came back, tackled the beast of the mountain and again and voila! going down @ high speeds and carving out the beeeeautiful S's ... loving it. The funny part? We apparently started out on the hardest mountain ... not exactly black diamond .. but pretty nuts for beginner. THere were two other lifts for easier slopes. Whoops :)

Man ... my butt is SORE like you wouldn't believe. Hrm. Like my hips, my calves, my quads, my groin, my wrists, my forearms ... yeah and pretty much EVERYTHING else. Ehehe ... its alllll good though because I had a blast. *satisfied grin*


But. Before I go on, just wanted to praise God for the awesome trip. Why? Because, usually our family is pretty miserable on family trips. My dad gets stressed and short fuses ... resulting in everybody just being in a sucky mood. Of course, everybody's in a pretty sucky mood in anticipation of my dad's mood ... so that doesn't help either. I remember moving down to SD freshman year ... aww man I didn't want the rest of my family to go because a) less room in the car b) less room for my STUFF (selfish .. so sue me) c) and everyone's just gonna be in a groucho mood. It didn't help that I kept on expecting it and responding likewise ... self fulfilling prophecy it was.

So. When I heard that our family (a la, Dad says "We're going on a family trip") was going on some sort of trip during break. You can guess I wasn't exactly ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT IT. Hehe .. sorry (yelling a bit much too here). But I dunno, it seems that a lot has changed in the past couple of days ... having a passion for Christ seems to give you a new lease on loving others. I was determined not to contribute to the problem this time around. And as we have returned, I can say that for the most part, I kept to that. Yes, I was a prick some of the time . .. I still have a ways to go ... but it was sweet! We had fun as a family. And yeah, it feels awkward (I mean, if you spent most of your life not looking forward to family get togethers because of the poor atmosphere ... its werid) .. but its fantasmic! Thanks God ... this was a great Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

"Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told." Habbukkuk 1:5


Sometimes I wonder if people think I'm some pretentious/portentious with all this talk of God. But then again, God's the one who's placed this desire and fire in my heart ... He's doing the heavy lifting.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Wow. Must be a worldwide phenomenon among all sophomore males returning from college.

"So do you have a girlfriend yet?" - Mom (or various other parentals)

Wait, so after one year (we were freshman last year mind you) ... it goes from "Do you have a girlfriend" to "do you have a girlfriend yet." Okay, maybe I'm overreacting ... but exactly what magical thing is supposed to happen this past year? Because it was some special pixie dust from cupid, I totally forgot. This should be included in freshman orientation.

Man, get with the program Benson. Get your pixie dust.

o_0

A little reading for y'all Why College Men Aren't Ready To Marry?. If you're a guy ... this is good food for thought. You don't have to agree with it .. but you should be thinking about it. If you're a girl? Uhm. Yeah.

UPDATE: In the Meantime...
Highlights from googlism.com:

benson is johnny
benson is a pretty cool cat
benson is looking for her (<-- yes)
benson is in need of a loving home in calif (<-- no i think i'm ok)
benson is now the new lead singer for legendary christian (<-- i am? legendary too huh? *wide grin*)
benson is a hottie (<-- HECK YA BABY YOU LIKE THAT)
benson is back (<-- baby got back!! *dances)
benson is about 16 years old but sometimes he acts much younger (<-- what? they don't know what they're talking about)
benson is tara amber benson is tara amber benson is tara amber benson is tara amber benson is tara amber benson is tara amber benson is tara (<-- err...somehow i just KNOW this is a porn site ... and yes i know because yeah. >_<)
benson is the person who can best lead new hampshire out of the political doldrums in which it has been becalmed for the past four years (<-- oh yeah? does this mean i live there)
benson is the "home of kartchner caverns state park" and the gateway to historical hwy 80 (<-- yeah.)
benson is nestled in the spectacular san pedro valley and is surrounded by mountains (<-- OH YEAH. I'M NESTLED BABY. SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS. dang i'm weird)
benson is vexed (<-- If we're talking about the fact that I'm hot, then yes I'm vexed)
benson is indeed allowed to rise through the occupational ladder (<-- Yeah that would be nice when I get a job)
benson is crazy (<-- Oooohhh .. veddy true given my oh-so-normal-and-sane commentary)
benson is a banjo (<-- what? how can i be a hottie and a banjo?)
benson is counting on a couple of factors to work in her favor (<-- OOOH. I'm a her now too?)
benson is well aware of (<-- Yeah! Well aware that googlismcom is a MORON).
benson is approximately 3 (<-- I have no comment)
benson is the original master (<-- YEa yea ... represent)
benson is available by phone john benson is available for telephone conferences at $150 per hour (<-- Haha .. yeah pay me the bling to talk to meeeeeee.)
benson is being viciously attacked by his opponents (<-- *runs for cover)
benson is a closet neo (<-- STELLA!! I'M A CLOSET NEO!!)
benson is blessed with a temperate climate characterized by warm summers and mild (<-- winters. yeah i know. don't mess with this temper)
benson is an automated messaging and monitoring system designed to ease the life of a network (<-- talk to me people talk to me)
benson is (<-- ah ... man googlism is deep)
benson is home again
benson is now the new lead singer for legendary christian metal band tempest (<--ooooh .. the full search result. tempest? what's that? legendary?? what??)
benson is the best (<-- *grins*)
benson is a much more insidiously dispassionate evildoer (<-- bwahahahaha)
benson is ready to fall into the role of a student (<-- wait what? i'm not studying enough?)
benson is the sole owner of the information collected on this site (<-- haha ... this was a good way to close it off)


muchos props goes to K2 who had this on his xanga originally.
LOTR ROXORS MY BOXORS!!!

haha ... elves rock. That's all I got to say. And everyone who thinks Aragorn is cooler than Legolas. Go watch Two Towers and then tell me otherwise. Is not Legolas THE man? Yeah, that's what I thought.
It's vital - I dont know how to say this strongly enough - VITAL - that we dont camp at one area in the cycle. When I say "I am going to accept rejection and suffering as my lot" we have missed the point! There will be periods of this - but it's not the whole story! Don’t camp there! Accept it as part of the cycle, and know that, if we respond rightly, we will move through it into a place of favor. When we are in the place of favour we dont need to view everyone and everything with suspicion - favour is part of the plan of God!! When we are walking in it we have the privelige of embracing it - just as we do (less willingly!) the suffering and rejection when it comes. When we walk in fruitfulness we dont become lifted up by our own sucess but aware that it is part of the cycle we are in. And if we are faithful that cycle will end in hiddenness in God

With the holiday season upon us we should all have time to assess where we are in God. What season are you in?

In 1997, when I was in the depth of despair about just about everything, the Lord opened up an understanding of the Scruipure concerning the prophetic in a totally new way. He said "prepare this now - you won't have time later" Well - I didnt do nearly enough! And I dont have time now! If this is what you are hearing get busy and prepare! There is a time of fruitfulness ahead of you which will be so hectic that you wont have time to prepare anything when you get there.


-Alison Papenfus
Well, just checked the grades. Well not "just" checked the grades. More like four hours ago. I've successful dorked around flushed down those hours into the abyss known as "the past." In any case, my grades wee not of say ... armageddon quality ... then again, they really weren't rapture quality either. Just straight in the middle. I got my B in ECE though. That was God's grace. Math. Boo. Physics. More Boo. Grades should be proportional to the amount of effort you invest in them. That way stupidheads cannot slack all quarter and pull off A's by nailing the final. School rarely rewards those who work hard.

There's still next quarter. And the quarter after that.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I didn't realize I would missed Bud Geracie's humor "In the Wake of the Week" and the in-depth coverage of Bay Area Sports in the SJ Mercury. 'Tis good to be back. I'm freaking freezing here though y'all .. somebody get me a heater body suit or something. Brrrr ...

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

SOURCE LINKAGE: 7 Questions

I recently had the privilege of traveling to the small Massachusetts town where the famous 19th-century American evangelist D.L. Moody was born, as well as buried. Standing there by his grave, I realized that here was a man greatly used of God around the world and yet was uneducated and with speaking disabilities. Where did this former shoe salesman, who became one of the most spiritually powerful men on the planet, gain this depth of life and purpose? The secret might be revealed in a statement he would often make, ��The world has yet to see what God can do through a man who is totally yielded to Him. I want to be that man.�� Moody sought the source of real power. Do you?

Monday, December 16, 2002

Hmmm...
I once heard a brother preach on the fact that the church should be without spot or wrinkle. To get the wrinkles out of a sack, he said, you fill it. To get a wrinkle out of a rug, you lay it down and walk on it. God sometimes fills us, the preacher continued, but sometimes He just puts us flat down so that everyone can walk on us!
Thoughts from Lou Engle, co-founder and visionary for The Call:

- spiritual promotion will be tested by how you respond to spiritual betrayal of friends; submit to your spiritual authority
- don't curse Babylon (your schools, your work, your mission field), pray for it.
- God's not calling us to a separate subculture, He's calling us to be relevant and holy
- If you trace California's roots, we have a apostolic heritage ... the exportation of the gospel to the nations.
- God marked San Francisco to be a counter-cultural city. St. Francis was the first counter culturalist!
- Dreams are invitations for intercession.
- For every Daniel, there will be a den.
- This is a new perspective .. instead of looking at the problematic (our culture), we are looking at the prophetic.
- This isn't about a conference or about yourselves, its like John the Baptist .. its about your Calling, your royal priesthood.
- God is the greatest script writer ever. He will NOT write a losing script.
- Prayer vs. Intercession; Intercession belongs to those who are willing to lay themselves down so they can be a highway for God to cross.
- The truth you hear, the prophetic, all those things. You are accountable for those thigs.
- Don't be a cynic rather than a prophet.
- Do not MISS the day of visitation!!
SOURCE LINKAGE: The Call California

"I will once more shake the heavens and the earth ... and fill this house with my glory," says the Lord.

Over 500,000 measurable tremors shake California every year.

Wave after wave of revivla has rolled across California, birthing new church movements that spread across the earth.

In 1906, God shook a small prayer meeting in Los Angeles. THis was the start of the Azusa Street Revival. It become the fastest growing spiritual movement ever witnessed. Now, less than a hundred yeas later, over 520 million people can trace their spiritual heritage bak to that humble beginning in California.

1920s: Miraculous healings and ministry to the poor result in tens of thousands saved. Aimee Semple McPherson founds the Foursquare Church.

1946-47: After intense fasting and prayer in San Diego, healing and evanglism revivals break out. Billy Graham and Bill Bright are launched into ministry out of the Hollywood Revival.

1965: Thousands are saved and mass baptisms take plae in the ocean during the Jesus Movement. Chuck Smith starts Calvary Chapel.

1977: John Wimber starts the Vineyard churches, bringing a wave of healing, refreshing and worship to the Body of Christ around the world.

California is the birthplace of breakthrough technologies and global cultural trends, the land of opportunity, where hype and hope live side by side. She has seen more revivals than anywhere else in America in the 20th century.

We have tragically abused our God-given ifluence. Three-quarters of the pornographic movies produced every year are made in the L.A. area. We have opened the gates of hell, unleashing a worldwide flood of defilement unequalled in history.

Only the fire of Pentecost can displace the fire of pornography in the hearts of a nation.

Another sexual revolution must start once again on the campuses of California. Not the Summer of Love's free sex, but a revolution crying "Holiness to the Lord."

It's time for a massive student prayer movement to ignite in our universities and break the stronghold of darkness over California.

Lust and greed go hand in hand. The billion dollar porn industry, corporate scandals and the exploitation of our migrant workers, are all driven by the love of moeny.

The Church must first repent for our own lust and greed bfore we can call the world to change. Before the Golden State sees the windows of heaven open, the church ust first clean the widows of her soul. "If your eye is dark, how great is the darkness."

- 37% of pastors say online porn is a current struggle for them (Christianity Todya, Leadership Surveys, 2001)
- Hollywood makes about 400 films a year. By contrast, the LA porn industry produces 9000 to 11,000 movies a year.
- 720 million porno movies were watched in America alone last year.

"Oh Lord please light the fire, that once burned bright and clear. Replace the lamp of my first love, that burns with holy fear." Keith Green

Though the darkness may seem overwhelming, there is still hope! Less than a generation ago, in the decandence and drug culture of the 70's, the Jesus Movement washed over California. Bars became churches and drug addicts became clean. Jesus seemed to be the topic of conversation of the streets.

When revival comes, whole cities and regions are swept into the Kingdom. The result is a seismic shift in society.

It happened before. It can happen again.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will not come through token prayers, but by wrestling in fasting and prayer gainst sin, apathy, and self-indulgence. At critical moments in Biblical history, united gatherings of fasting and prayer changed the course of the nation.

The hour is later than we realize and if California is to be turned, we must give our selves unreservedly to cry out for her.

We have taught America's children to feast and play. The times demand that they fast and pray. Before a great awakening must come a rude awakening.

The Call California is an urgent summons to humbly pray and fast and cry out to God in the two largest cities in Califronia. Its not by chance that television and the internet--the two most powerful comunications media--were both birthed in these cities, a sign of their God-given mandate to proclam the gospel to the nations. From San Diego to Shasta, the call to pray for California must be heard!

The Call California, Los Angeles
The Ross Bowl, February 22, 2003
Angels are messengers and th calling of the City of Angels is to be a global messenger. As we cry out to God for the entertainment industry, we believe that Hollywood can becoe "Holywood". Like the woman at the well, Hollywood can become a great evangelist to the nations despite her previous impurity. The Los Angeles event will launch forty days of intense prayer and fasting across the state, culminating in The Call California, San Francisco.

The Call California, San Francisco
3 Com, Candlestick Park, April 5, 2003
Unlike Los Angeles, San Francisco has never seen full-blown revival. The same week Los Angeles was shaken by the Azusa St. revival, she was devasted by the great quake of 1906. God's purposes for this great city will be realized by the generation willing to stand in the gap with fasting and prayer, as North and South contend together for our state to see revival once again.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

:: Something I realized today when I was helping my mom with the dishes:

Things like break are that much more enjoyable if you're giving your 100% during times when you need to be studying. If you spend your time at school just slacking ... break isn't going to be that much of a change. But I guess I've been working hard ... because break has never been so good. Hehe, other days I would be annoyed at myself for chatting all day .. but its been good catching up with people on IM and what not. *grins*

Something else: these times are gifts from God. Don't resent them (if you're on vacation away from friends) .. don't abuse them (get some SLEEP people) and don't waste them (get away from the computer ... people people people!) and don't waste precious God time. During the quarter its so hard just to chill with God ... I gotta take advantage of these three weeks. *smiles some more*

Thanks God. This is dope.

:: On an extended note...current roster of soph Harvesters with Xangas/blogs (mostly with Xangas): Chris, Ed, Justin, K2, Lee, Stella, Sabrina, and I. That is a lot. Anyway, since everyone is on everybody's list ... we will probably hear all the unsavory and savory things about each other's lives. Just...if you have issues with anyone ... don't just blog it. Its one thing to vent frustration ... but if you don't resolve it .. you were better off keeping the venting to yourself.

:: I am so excited about Lord Of the Things: Two Towers. You don't even know. *spazzes from excitement*
I am home! And wow ... it is great to be home. So I stayed up 'til like 5 AM watching Leon The Professional. Ended up falling asleep like three-fourths of the way through the film. Hehe ... gotta love break! Woke up at 2 PM too. And better yet, it was pouring rain and windy. Man, this is great weather to start the break. (I love the rain btw). Been getting lots of me-time today. Hopefully will be heading out this week.

*satisfied sigh* Break is good.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Woo some more ... just re-read that previous entry. Can we say rambling? Anyway I apologize. Will do better next time.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Woo. Just ATE that final. Walked in, looked at the test. And walked out So much for that.

Somewhat disappointed in myself. I can never finish. Always the halff-ass job that leaves the strings untied at the end. >_< Not so happy.

In any case, finals are over. Been thinking a lot (seems to be finals thing). Given the time moves @ 1/2 speed during finals week and you're studying 24/7 .. thinking is almost a given. So I've been thinking a lot. I'm no longer coherent though.

So, I was at CLICS the day before yesterday. I see the most gorgeous girl. Like seriously, double, triple-take kind. She was sitting there studying. Looked REALLY REALLY familiar. Then I realized she was a girl that I knew of in high school. I still remember when I first saw her in high school as a young, impressionable freshman. Just kind of stood there and semi-drooled. Yup. That kind of a girl. Haha ... she looks just as, if not even better. It was weird though, it wasn't the animalistic kinda of "oh my gosh she's so hot i want her." (That's no good at all). It was the kind where you just stop and pause and think, "Wow." And that's all that comes out. Y'know it wasn't even like she has a great body. It was her face. Something about her face. Saw her yesterday @ CLICS yesterday too. And then I walk into my final today and she walks in. (Stop stalking me lady!! No just kidding... no really.) I didn't know she was in my class. Hm.
We were fourteen and sitting in a movie
We were almost holding hands
My thumb would venture over for a second or two
Enough for her to understand
I finally got up the nerve
Figured "What did I have to lose?"
It felt good being together
But after the snow, I was walking her home
And I realized I didn't even like her


Its a lonely world
And everybody's grabbing what you can get
And love is wonderful, you've heard
You don't know if you've seen it yet
You can't miss it when it comes
Don't settle for less than love


I was nineteen and hanging out at Denny's
That was where we always went
And this girl I'd seen a couple of times before
It was no accident our eyes met
I went over, said hello, asked her name
And then we talked about our hometowns
She said she'd met her boyfriend there
My buddy asked if I got her number as I sat back down


Its a lonely world
And everybody's grabbing what you can get
And love is wonderful, you've heard
You don't know if you've seen it yet
You can't miss it when it comes
Don't settle for less than love


Almost every girl I've ever kissed has married
That's not a lot of weddings
But it's sure a crazy thought
And though they all seem now like someone else's story
I wonder what we paid for what we got

- "Less Than Love"; The Normals


Beneath the pretty face is a person, a person with feelings, emotions, desires, and hurts. I guess its easier to think something's beautiful when you're only looking at the surface...

... It was one good looking surface though.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

"I've seen it all and it's never enough
It keeps leaving me needing you..."

- Take Me Away; Lifehouse


I am loving this song. Praise God for a productive night at CLICS. Thank God for the gracious allottment of time I have to study for this final. Thank God for the companionship of friends to study with. Thank God for the comprehension of difficult material. Thank God that my parents have released me from needing to get an A in this class. Thank God that I'm not stressing about performance, but more about effort. Thank God that even though its 3:30 AM in the morning, I'm content. Thank God for all the people I saw tonight, the smiles on their faces, despite the frustration. Thanks God for blessing me through those people. Thanks God for loving me ... and taking me away to that place where there is grace, peace, and joy. And thanks God for just a good finals week. Not because I've done well (because I haven't), but You've walked with me every step of the way.

God, I ask you would be with those who are studying hard. To even be with those who aren't :). God, You love your children so much. You want the best for us. May we see the beauty in studying, in the mundane. May we find you in the things that seem like drudgery, that seem like routine or difficult. For you are not just the God of miracles and of supernatural phenomena, but you are a God of a good talk, of studying, of eating, of doing chores. You are a God of everything. God, would you invade our lives .. invade our space. May we seek Your kingdom on this earth. God I ask for your Holy Spirit to fill us up to the measure of Christ. I don't even know what that means, Father. I'm just repeating the blessing that Paul wrote. God, saturate our lives....

You said its all or nothing,
I'm saying, "'Jesus, have it all'
Be the King, of this heart again
Be the King of this life...

- King Of This Heart; Matt Redman

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Well finals week is rolling around; and to be honest, I'm not exactly a stressball. Which is a good thing. But its a bad thing because I'm not one bit worried about my finals. Hrm. Bad sign.

Anyway, I was hoping to blog a bit and lay down some deep thoughts and rumblings and grumblings. So much for that. Almost like opening your mouth to say something really witty or profound and the only thing that comes out is the most boring thing in the world. Come to think of it, I've been doing that quite often as of late. Yeah, so hopefully after finals I will be able to be witty and profound again. Wait, I mean, I will gain the ability to be witty or profound. I never had the ability before. >_<

G'luck on all your finals people, don't hurt yourselves :) And remember, don't stress ... just take it an hour of studying @ a time. Don't study in large groups @ CLICS, find a little hole next to somebody else's hole and get some stuff done.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Job 40
1 The LORD said to Job:

2 "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!"

3 Then Job answered the LORD :

4 "I am unworthy-how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer-
twice, but I will say no more."

6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

7 "Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

8 "Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God's,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at every proud man and bring him low,
12 look at every proud man and humble him,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Uhh ... yeah. I'll take a one day raincheck on that substance and original post thing.

Monday, December 02, 2002

More substantive (and original) posts later :)
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful;
nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of
righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
--Hebrews 12:11

If God has singled you out to be a special object of His grace you
may expect Him to honor you with stricter discipline and greater
suffering than less favored ones are called upon to endure....

If God sets out to make you an unusual Christian He is not likely
to be as gentle as He is usually pictured by the popular teachers.
A sculptor does not use a manicure set to reduce the rude,
unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the
chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must
remain forever formless and unbeautiful.

To do His supreme work of grace within you He will take from your
heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go
from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious
treasures used to be. That Incredible Christian, 122-124.

"Lord, give me the grace to withstand 'the saw, the hammer and the
chisel.' I want the finished product; I often chafe under the
process. I submit myself today to Your working. Amen."
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide
Your face from me?
--Psalm 13:1

Some of you know something of that which has been called "the dark
night of the soul." Some of you have spiritual desire and deep
longing for victory but it seems to you that your efforts to go on
with God have only brought you more bumps and more testings and more
discouragement. You are tempted to ask, "How long can this go on?"...

Yes, there is a dark night of the soul. There are few Christians
willing to go into this dark night and that is why there are so few
who enter into the light. It is impossible for them ever to know the
morning because they will not endure the night. I Talk Back to the
Devil, 80-81.

"Lord, You know the dark night that I endured for a number of years--
and I know I'm not alone. I pray for any who are suffering today and
struggling. Bring Your deep-seated peace and the assurance that the
morning is coming. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient. Amen."

Monday, November 25, 2002

From the Almighty Rubbissssh bin:

"Thanks to the Wonderful shooting stars, and to a passionate talk about how guys should shape up, shut up, look up and live up the life so that the ladies won't have to come up with an alternative for Men of God."

0_o

*woopah*

Gentlemen, are we worth pursuing? Live a life WORTHY of the gospel.

Better think about what that means.

Y'know. The whole loving your neighborbor deal.

Male and females alike?

Yup.

Oh yeah, to love your sisters like Christ loves the church.

Oh.

Yes, that.

Oh.

Yup.

Ouch.

Uh-huh.

We gotta a lot to learn about this "loving our sisters" thing don't we?

Oh yeah. OH yeah.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Haha ... God's great .. from devos this morning:

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchment stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late -- for he grants sleep to those he loves." Psalm 127:1-2

LORD, you will always provide for your children. Forgive me for getting that.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

*ding ding*

ECE. You win.

Until the final. In which you will be systematically dismantled. Circuit component by component.

No. The vengeance is the Lord's. (Beware of the messenger though. K, no .. don't beware...)

*sigh* God you win this one too. I got nothing on you. I can't do anything more to get better grades, to be a better friend, to be a better Bible Study leader, or to be a better brother in Christ. I got nothing here. It hurt like mad today God. It really did. I really don't like planning out my day and still not being in control. God its frustrating to study hard, to set aside time to do all those things, and not get the results I want. And see there, there's the problem God. The results I want. What ever happened to doing everything for the glory of God? What happened to me doing the hardwork, and allowing you to take care of the rest? Good or bad results. God I feel pretty worthless without my grades. Its pretty easy to give up my grades to you when I'm doing well ... but its so much harder when they're not. Because God. .. I don't want to go back and face the parents. Its hard to say that my involvement in Crusade, Harvest, and work don't affect my grades. 'Cuz I can handle it God. Ack. There I go again. I. Lord, you're going to have to show me which things I'm going to keep and which things I'm going to have to leave behind. Lord I want you to be the Lord of my life. And if that means giving up Harvest, work, my grades, or Crusade. Then so be it. Please don't let me do anything stupid which will end up doing me more harm then good. I wish I wasn't so dense, God. Ack ... me and my thick skull. Time and again ... I need to be whacked around. Gosh it hurts. But thanks God. Its worth it in the long run. I can't see it now. But God you've placed me in a situation for a reason. I can't see 5 feet in front of me .. but You can see infinitely further.

*sigh* ... I'll be okay y'all. It wasn't even that big of deal .. just a culmination of things. I'd appreciate if you kept me in your prayers.

/me collapses in bed.
K I just reread the last entry and I realize that it made no grammatical sense, no train of coherent thought.

Haha .. my apologies =P.
Its 1 AM and I really should be sleeping...but yeah. Got stuff on my mind to blog. Hrm. I don't think I'll put it down.

Anyway, been struggling with just being not disciplined at all. I came back from my internet fast more out of control than before ... seriously getting my fix. *shakes head* We need to work on that. Been sleeping in too much ... which is bad b/c I need to go to Math lecture to dominate the upcoming midterm. I've been more conscious of the time I have available though. Which is good in that I do have time ... but bad because I'm wasting it all. I'm creating a "Lies I Tell Myself List" ... I don't think I'll be posting that =P, but it helps too know how I keep trying to fool myself. Yes, it sounds stupid ... but lies don't stand up to the truth too well. Hopefully we'll see some progress in some of these areas.

Hrm ... seems like a whole bunch of people were here today. Missed them all. That was disappointing. Praise God I got to talk with a lot of people I haven't seen in awhile though. Answered prayer ... hopefully getting out of my Christian bubble. Gotta find the balance though.

That's about it ... so many meetings, socials, and whatnot going on this weekend. Just gotta pick and choose... Nah ... there's so many people I want to ask "how's life been treating ya" and just have a good chat. *sigh* But God's grace is sufficient. It is.
IS JESUS ENOUGH?
by Chip Brogden

http://www.watchman.net/articles/enough.html

"After they had eaten, Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these other things?'" (John 21:15).

If Jesus was all you had, would Jesus be enough for you?

Many precious believers are in love with the things of the Lord, but they are not in love with the Lord Himself.

Many Christian workers and ministers are in love with the Lord's work. Almost without realizing it, the work of the Lord becomes more important than the Lord of the work.

There are prophets and teachers who hold words from God in higher esteem than the God Who speaks the words they attribute as being from Him. People seek these words and teachings. The more they receive, the more they want. Before one word is digested they are craving another. Are seeking "things" - words, prophecies, teachings, visions, dreams - but they are not seeking the Lord Himself.

Is Jesus enough?

When the saints gather together most of the activity is focused on "one another". This is important, but it is not the most important thing. Fellowship is good: but is Jesus enough? Gatherings are good: but is Jesus enough? Meetings are good: but is Jesus enough? Special speakers and special music are good: but is Jesus enough?

Even with praise and worship it is possible to sing "about" Jesus and not truly worship Jesus. With preaching and teaching it is possible to talk "about" Jesus and not truly meet Jesus in what is shared. In prayer it is possible to talk "about" our needs and never actually commune with Jesus Himself.

Among Christians I have discovered something. There is Jesus, and then there are all the things ABOUT Jesus that are NOT Jesus. Jesus Himself occupies only a small portion of what is said and done in Christian circles. Most of what is said and done is merely ABOUT Jesus, but it is NOT Jesus.

I have learned that stress, strife, disillusionment, dissatisfaction, bitterness, anger, hurt, misunderstanding, and confusion comes from everything said and done by religious people ABOUT the Lord, and IN THE NAME of the Lord, that does not, in fact, have anything to do with Jesus Himself.

How much of your focus is directed to the things of God, and not to God Himself? How much of your discussion centers on things about Jesus, and not Jesus Himself?

Just look around. This brother is focused on end-time events, and that sister is devoted to inner healing. This brother is primarily concerned with prophetic things, while another sister is keenly interested in spiritual warfare. That brother is deeply involved with theological discussions, while that sister is in love with Christian music. One movement emphasizes this particular thing, and another group stands for another thing.

There may be diversities of gifts and callings. There may be various and sundry things to be involved with. There may be many topics to study and discuss. Many things compete
for our time, attention, affection, energy, and money.

But there is only one Lord Jesus.

Just as some people cannot see the forest for the trees, I believe most sinners cannot see Jesus for the Christians. And I believe most Christians cannot see Jesus for the "church".

Is Jesus enough?

Whenever I am ministering to pastors, whatever they think their calling is, I always have them turn to Mark 3:14:

"And he ordained twelve, that they should BE WITH HIM, and that He might send them forth to preach."

You are called to be with Jesus. That is your calling. That is the primary thing, the highest ministry. Going forth to preach or do anything else is of secondary importance. We should be with Jesus; after that, He might send us forth to preach. But before Jesus said, "Go into all the world" He said, "Be with Me."

The call of the Lord is not more important than the Lord of the call. The work of the Lord must not replace the Lord of the work. No amount of ministering FOR the Lord will make up for a lack of ministering TO the Lord. And knowing the Word of God does not necessarily mean that we know the God of the Word.

Everyone wants to go and do something for God, but few people are willing to stay and do "nothing" for Him.

Jesus asked Peter, "Am I enough for You? Do you love Me more than everything else? Do you love Me more than you love the things about Me?"

A few weeks later, when Peter stood with John before the religious rulers to explain the healing of a man who had never walked, "...they marveled; and they took knowledge of [Peter and John], that THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS" (Acts 4:13b).

If we will be with Jesus, then Jesus will be with us.

The reason the New Testament church had power was not because they spoke in tongues, or held meetings in their living rooms, or had a certain system for planting churches.
The secret was they had been with Jesus.

But some Christians are more in love with methods and ministries than they are in love with the Man.

The prophets and teachers in the church of Antioch were gathered together: not to have a house church conference, not to begin a new ministry, not to discuss the latest prophetic word or the newest teaching, not to exchange ideas on how to grow the church, not to fellowship, not to share a meal, not to minister to one another. But "as they ministered TO THE LORD, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said..." (Acts 13:2a).

Paul and his fellow workers had many souls to save, many disciples to make, many churches to plant, many places to visit, many messages to deliver, many letters to write. There were many needs to be met, many doors of opportunity before them.

But the work was suspended. Activity ceased. Ministry came to a standstill. Fellowship and food were forgotten. The prophets were there, but the prophets did not prophesy. The teachers were there, but the teachers did not teach.

Instead, they ministered to the Lord. The focus shifted from horizontal to vertical. The emphasis was directed away from man and man's needs, and onto the Lord and His Need. They were busy being with Jesus. They were at His feet.

So when the Holy Ghost finally spoke, they were ready to go forth. Thus began the first missionary journey of Paul.

When apostles love church planting and mission work more than Jesus, then they are saying that Jesus is not enough.

When prophets love their prophecies, dreams, and visions more than they love Jesus, then they are saying that Jesus is not enough.

When evangelists love traveling, preaching, and holding meetings more than they love Jesus, then they are saying that Jesus is not enough.

When pastors love their church services and building programs more than they love Jesus, then they are saying that Jesus is not enough....

And when the simplest disciples grow tired of "just" being with Jesus, and begin to long for something bigger, something better, something greater, something more powerful, something other than what they have in Jesus already, then they are saying that Jesus is not enough.

If Jesus was all you had, would Jesus be enough for you? Or do you have to have all the "trappings" of Christianity, all the bells and whistles, all the toys and trinkets?

May I speak candidly? If you are dissatisfied and disappointed with your Christian walk today, it is only because of one thing: Jesus is not enough for you. Somewhere along the line, something else became more important than Jesus. Maybe you have become focused on the things ABOUT Jesus that are NOT Jesus.

There is only one solution. You do not need more of the Lord, because He has already given Himself completely to you already. You just need less of everything else.

Remember.

Remember what it was like to hear His Voice, to be so filled with passion and love for Him, that you wanted nothing more than to sit at His feet, and hear His Word.

Remember when you were so infatuated with Him that you did not want to do anything else.

Remember what it was like to just be with Jesus.

Go back to when Jesus first called you to be with Him.

Go back to the time when all you had was Him.

Go back to the time before you were planting churches, speaking prophetic words, preaching to the unsaved, pastoring the congregation, teaching the people, or leading worship.

Go back to the time when there was no work, no ministry, no vision, no special calling - except Jesus calling you to be with Him.

Remember when you said, "He's all I need!"

So what happened?

I pray the Lord will draw us after Himself and make us thoroughly sick and tired of things - especially the things that are ABOUT Him, but are NOT Him.

God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, Jesus.

Well... is Jesus enough?

Chip Brogden
http://www.watchman.net

Sunday, November 17, 2002

On a random note .. Chris is talking trash to his Xanga.

^_- This is my roomate. Love him anyway I suppose. ;)
HSD, Sunday Morning, November 17, 2002
Speaker: John Zimmerman

> Evangelism isn't so much about fitting into the in-your-face evangelist protype, but doing what God has equipped us to do. There are different means of evangelizing ... some people are gifited in more ways than others.

- confrontational: Peter in Acts. Its all up in there in your face.
- intellectual: Christian worldview and reasoning, cultural basis; Paul is a good example of this (He didn't always go in for the kill, i.e. demand conversion). The key in this gifiting is being Spirit-led. This isn't about winning an argument or doing this out of the flesh, nor is it about us intellectually beating someone to salvation. Evangelizing is being used as an instrument by God to bring someone into the saving knowledge of love and grace.
- testimonial: Everyone has a testimony, but some people have more "smashing" God-stories. If this is all you got .. use it.
- interpersonal: consisting watering of souls. Reaching through the building of relationships.
- invitational: similar to interpersonal, but these peope can just instantly relate with others and invite them to put them in a God-situation.
- service: plain enough, evangelism through gifts of service to others.

>> It comes down to this, not everyone is gifted with a confrontational evangelistic style ... what abilities has God blessed you with? Part of maturity is recognizing what we're anointed in, doing it well.

>> We are ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors don't change governments, they represent them.

>> Not from the sermon, but if you allow God to set you on fire, people will come from all over to watch you burn.
Y'know if we keep on having super-enlightening discussions like this at sophomore fellowship .. there will no way I'll be able to get any work done on Sunday nights.

In any case, a quick rundown of events as of late ...

>> I haven't been online for a week. Well, been online a couple of times at night to change something in the buddy list or IM someone I couldnt' reach by phone .. but for the most part ... the logs have been empty and silent for the past week. Haha, someone im'ed and said they hadn't seen me online like forever. LOL. My reason for not going on was simple ... we all know that AIM kills productivity. I guess more importantly, I was more or less addicted to AIM. So yeah, just slapping myself around to make sure I'm not "really" addicted. I've lasted a week ... I'm still contemplating on how much longer I want to go. *shrugs* Its good not to be dependent on AIM. It also helped that my computer more or less started dying on me this week; culminating with a reformat on Thursday night. Everything's fine now though. I think I'll keep on going with the "computer-usage-in-moderation" deal until something happens. I don't know what that something is .. but we'll see. I guess on an extended note, your most reliable means of getting a hold of me would be giving me a call. I'd really like to get together with some of you guys .. but I have no idea what your schedules are. I'm free for some sort of lunch/dinner/fooding everyday but wednesday (and maybe thursday). So yeah, holla back y'all.

>> I'm slightly sick. But I am getting better. Just wanted to note that because I was so happy I missed the last wave of sickness. *shrugs* Praise God we're not dying of syphillis or bronchitis right? (wait, syphillis!?)

>> I went on a downloading spree and found all the Wallace and Gromit stuff I could find. Next to Calvin Hobbes, Wallace and Gromit are the coolest in the world.

>> Natalie let me borrow "Love Languages" by Gary Chapman (a certain mr. chao's favorite thing to talk about .. well not really, it just seems that way) and "Men are from Mars and Women from Venus." The first one being alright and the second one just being just painful to read. I don't know why, I just couldn't keep on reading. Now gonna re-read "Intercessory Prayer." Oh. Deep topic. Haha .. maybe some C.S. Lewis. Anyone have a good book to recommend? I'm starving for some meat here.

>> That's pretty much it as far as much my week is concerned. I had several moments where I wanted to blog last week. But when I actually sat down to do something about it, what do we get? Farts. I guess that's poetic justice given my blog title .. but I digress. So tonight was sophomore fellowship, where a bunch of sophomores from Harvest get together to fellowship and eat. Eat food and John Piper's Desiring God that is. Tonight's topic: Suffering. New to the anniversary edition.

(Man, I feel matter-of-fact right now. Contrast that to my brooding and contemplative attitude like an hour ago.)

The key in this concept of Christian suffering? "To magnify Christ as a Superior Satisfaction." I'm not going into crazy detail about what its all about ... but this what Piper says ... and what strikes me the most.
"We do not choose suffering simply because we are told to, but because the one who tells us to describe it as the path to everlasting joy. he beckons us into the boedience of suffering not to demonstrate the strength of our devotion to duty, nor to reveal the vigor of our moral resolve, nor to prove the heights of our tolerance for pain; but rather to manifest, in childlike faith, the infinite preciousness of his all-satisfying promises."

Its weird, everything is tying together. For me, the essence of suffering isn't so much how much pain you're going to endure or whatnot .. but it comes down whether God is who He says he is. I wasn't thinking that initially...but after reflecting on it a bit .. God just showed me it was the same struggle that I was going through during retreat. I'm still looking for my own fleece ... I still have that faith block. I can accept God creating the universe in 7 days and Him parting the Red Sea. I can even accept that He raised Jesus Christ from dead to life. God could seriously do a bunch of stuff in other people's lives ... but I want to see His reality in mine's. Its seems stupid, even selfish ... but this is the mental block I'm at. I can't progress past this place I'm in right now because I don't trust God to be reality in my own life. I mean sure here and there I accept it ... but when rubber hits the road ... I lack the faith to take that full step of trust. Like, let's equate it to leaning back and trusting God to catch me... I'm leaning back but turning around breaking my own fall just before its too late. You follow what I'm getting at here?

I dunno, maybe my idealism of what faith is ... all my "church-head-knowledge" is getting in the way. I can't say for sure. All I know is that beyond this point lies two paths in which I can choose to follow. On one path I have my comfortable, safe, Christianity. Let's be honest here people, that's not difficult to achieve. Go to church on Sunday, youth group on Friday, and Bible study on Wednesday. "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (I Corinthians 15:19) On the other path we have a life which, given that the reality of God is what He says it is, is truly living life on the edge. People, God's words will have to penetrate everything we say and do! If God is real, His promises sure ... we must love our neighbors. Those people you always joke around with in class? the people you see on a day to day basis who don't know him? We are called to be AMBASSADORS. Not just some lame-ass (pardon the language) mirage of Jesus Christ. What I'm living is not "this life," its hardly life at all. I'm attempting to straddle between the the pleasures of this world and the pleasures of God and folks ... we simply can't mix pink lemonade and chocolate milk. I think I have a taste (no pun intended) of what is so repulsive of a lukewarm Christian. We know the truth and yet we do not act.

*sigh* Okay I'm getting too abstract here. So the question comes down to whether or not I can make it past this faith-block. Is it my selfishness? My doubt? Regardless of all these things ... I dont' think I'm questioning the existence and truth of God. God has placed people in my life to be an ambassador to (see following entry for John Zimmerman's message). Concretely?
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:34-40

All the law and the prophets hang on these commandments.

The Kevin Baba challenge for this week: Obey every prompting of the Holy Spirit. Walk in the Spirit right? Because we're in the light right? Show me the money.
"I have heard many proclaim that the movie and book series, Lord of the Rings, is a prophetic allegory representing God and His Kingdom in a power conflict with the devil and his kingdom.

I personally, strongly believe that there is a deception behind this assessment. Please consider the following insights:

1. God in His Word, absolutely forbids the practice of sorcery and witchcraft. He has some very strong feelings in regards to these practices....so strong, that in the old testament, the scripture says, "suffer not a witch to live'" (see Exodus 22:18). This strong conviction of the Lord concerning this abomination is carried throughout the new testament where the scripture says that the sorcerer's portion will be in the lake of fire (see Revelation 21:8)

The movie, Lord of the Rings, is basically a story involving the power of "good" sorcery/sorcerers warring against the "bad" sorcery/sorcerers. Believers who have embraced the movie often claim that the "good sorcerer" and his company represents the Lord and his Kingdom. They see it as a "prophetic allegory".

On the basis of the authority of the Word of God, this is a false and deceptive interpretation. God would NOT in any way inspire someone to write an allegory representing Himself as a sorcerer, nor represent His Kingdom through sorcery. God would never violate His own Word and use an act that He labels as sin to represent Himself or His Kingdom in any way.

The claim that Lord of the Rings is a prophetic allegory, picturing the war of God and His Kingdom against the devil and his kingdom is a false claim according to the authority of the Word of God.

3. The author of Lord of the Rings was known to be a confessing Christian. Many believers feel that "Lord of the Rings" should be validated as a prophetically inspired allegory due to it's "Christian authorship".

Christians must never exalt a person or their proclaimed doctrine or expressions above the counsel of the Word of God. There have been many well meaning and good-hearted Christians over the years who have been terribly deceived and have led many believers into false teachings.

4. Some have testified that "Lord of the Rings" has had a profound and positive influence upon their walk with the Lord and therefore believe that the movie should be endorsed as an anointed tool.

Please understand that the end does not necessarily justify the means. All deception has the appearance of some benefits in it. For example, a heroin addict might say in the beginning of his affair with the drug, "this is the best thing that has ever happened to me......this high makes me feel so peaceful, so free from worldly care,...awakens my spirit...etc" Well, just because the drug has some enjoyable benefits doesn't make it good for you. Time will reveal the true fruit of it's effect.

I WAS INVOLVED WITH WITCHCRAFT BEFORE I BECAME A CHRISTIAN

Before I became a Christian, I was involved in witchcraft and the new age. I was on a spiritual journey and my heart was in a sincere place of searching for truth. I was looking for God and for spiritual awakening. I was not a "bad witch"....oh no, I was a "good one". I wasn't involved in destruction rituals. I did not desire to harm anyone. I was attempting to help people...fighting against sickness with health potions; warring against hate with love potions, "blessing" garden seed for better crops, and making spiritual confessions/spells to get the lumps out of gravy, telling people good things about their future through the use of new age prophetic tools. What could be wrong with that? And you know what? It all worked! I found it to be very spiritually fulfilling in a particular way at the time. Although it appeared helpful and loving; although it worked....and was personally fulfilling......it was wrong.......why? because the "All-Wise God" said so in His Word!

People would never serve a deception if it didn't work. People serve deceptions and false religions because they do work....but it doesn't make the practices right!!! Destruction rituals in satanic covens really do work!!! But they are not right! If God forbids a practice then it is wrong whether it works or not.

Most false religions have some great morals and operate in good principles and sometimes scriptural principles, but we are not to imbibe. This is clear in the scriptures. God's people were always commanded by Him to keep separate from the beliefs of other nations that surrounded them. When they conquered their lands they had to remain separated and were commanded to destroy all the high places.

If we think in our mind, "the Lord of the Rings must be approved by God because it is a picture of good versus evil", then we are evaluating it in our mind but not according to the Word of God. This is called "eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"......this is a forbidden tree.

DO WE EVALUATE BASED ON OUR OWN MINDS??

The entire fall of man came as a result of Adam and Eve, evaluating in their own minds whether the decision to eat of the forbidden tree was a good idea or not. If they had turned back to the simplicity of the uncompromised Word that God had spoken, we all would have been spared the horrific consequences that followed.
God can use anything at any time to teach His people lessons but it doesn't mean He has authored the means. When I was studying the new age practice of astrology (forbidden in the scriptures) before I became saved, we reviewed a chart which displayed the life of Christ. The new age researchers had studied the planetary alignment that was present at the time of Jesus' birth and confirmed through the astrological prophetic interpretations the virgin birth, Jesus' two fathers -- one earthly, one heavenly; Christ's death and resurrection; and His miracle working ministry. I was very amazed as we studied it and was drawn towards this wonderful Man who had such an unusual chart. My heart was truly stirred and faith began to surface towards the reality of Christ's Deity.

The Lord used this practice to reveal Himself to my hungry heart, but it doesn't mean He endorsed the practice or authored it to bring me revelation. His own Word actually forbids the practice of astrology. God can use anything and intervene with truth in the midst of any deception in order to fulfill His purposes....He can even use the devil's own weaponry and turn it against him.

Prior to becoming a Christian, I had a moment of spiritual enlightenment concerning the person of Jesus while I was totally stoned on marijuana. This experience does not validate the use of marijuana as an inspired tool of the Lord to enhance revelation of truth....but He did touch my searching heart during that time. Again, He can use anything that the devil puts in our way to destroy us, but it doesn't mean that He authors or endorses it.

The end does NOT always justify the means.
5. When a Christian opens their soul to deception (like sitting in a movie and "sucking in" the enjoyment of the deceptive content), they become susceptible to receiving a spirit of deception. This is dangerous to a person's spiritual journey and will distort true vision and prophetic discernment in their future walk.

The first plumb line for discernment must be the Word of God. If an act or practice violates the counsel of the Word then it must be disqualified on the basis of the scripture. You need not go further in your discernment processes.

6. We have discovered, through many interviews with those who have been ensnared by the deception behind "Lord of the Rings", that the root of their personal deception was found in a judgment in their heart towards "religion" or "the religious". This became the landing strip for error. Many of the "ensnared" have testified that they were uncomfortable with "religion" and the "restraints" that it brought. In their attempt to be as "free" as possible, they swung into toleration of practices that were forbidden by scripture and therefore lost true discernment.

These have all been very precious people who truly love God, but the critical judgment in their heart, set them up for clouded vision and a fall.

7. Warning for Leaders: Pray for wisdom and discernment concerning doctrines that your flocks are being taught. If leaders endorse or encourage error and deception, there will be grievous consequences for the people.

Ahab was called the most wicked King due his compromise. He led a whole nation astray (save a remnant) through his compromised leadership and encouragement of mixture.
Question: Are we preaching truth or error?"


This is just from an email I received on this mailing list I'm on ... it was concerned Lord of the Rings (the book, movies, etc.). I agree that it might be on the conservative side and there are probably things you don't agree with , but it is something to think about. Here's an article about Harry Potter ... and I know a lot of you reading this will probably dismiss this ... but listen carefully to the objections that the article makes and the response you make. I guess I"m posting this because we talk so much about submitting our lives to the Word of God ... but once we enter into a realm of deciding on complete and utter obedience to Him ... we kind of make excuses. We can't really pick and choose what we want to obey and what not to. If God's calling you to be a holy people, a royal priesthood ... why are we the ones creating the conditions from which we will do so?

Saturday, November 16, 2002

So I'm all motivated to do my math homework and what not ... not doing anything just focusing on math homework. And I don't get it. *grumble* ... off to math group again .. with no freaking clue what is going on ... awww right!
�Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.� Proverbs 25:28
Aw man ... I want a hammock!!

Shazaaam!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

A couple articles which I just read ...
"When I was a university student, I was unsuccessfully
evangelized by almost every Christian group on campus. My
basic response to their preaching was, "How can I believe
when I look at the way the church lives?" They answered,
"Don't look at the church, look at Jesus."

"I now believe that statement is one of the saddest in the
history of Christianity. It puts Jesus on a pedestal apart from
the people who share his name. Belief in him becomes an
abstraction removed from any demonstration of its meaning
in the world. Such thinking is a denial of what is most basic
to the gospel: incarnation. People should be able to look at
the way we live and begin to understand what the gospel is
about. Our life must tell them who Jesus is and what he
cares about."

"The greatest need of our time is not simply the preaching
of the gospel, not diakonia, or service on behalf of justice,
not charisma, the experience of the Spirit's presence, not
even propheteia, the challenging of the king. The greatest
need of our time is for koinonia, the call simply to be the
church, to love one another, and to offer our lives for the
sake of the world."

-Jim Wallis, 'The Call to Conversion'.
"The Touch of God - Moses"
-by David Wilkerson. (July 8, 2002).

As I write this, another bomb has exploded in Israel, killing fourteen people. Thousands of Islamics have lined up to blast themselves into eternity, just to harass the Israelis. Yet Islam has declared war not only on Israel, but on Christianity. America now lives in utter fear. We're afraid of more suicide bombers, germ warfare, even nuclear attack. A pall of death hangs over the nation.

Where is the church in the midst of this chaos? Most of Christianity is in a state of death. The church is full of religious activity, but it's mostly flesh. God's presence is woefully missing during this time of crisis.

That is tragic, because our Lord always has a remedy for a world in chaos. It's a time-tested remedy he has used for generation after generation, to wake up his dead, backslidden church. This remedy hasn't changed since man's creation. It's simply this: God raises up chosen men and women.

In times such as these, our Lord uses individuals to respond to a world in crisis. He touches his servants in a supernatural way. First, he transforms them. Then, he calls them to a life of total submission to his will. These God-touched servants are best described in Psalm 65:4: "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts."

In short, God calls such a servant apart. His Spirit woos him into intimate communion. And there, in the Lord's awesome presence, the servant is given God's mind. He receives a divine call. Suddenly, his soul is filled with an urgency. He emerges from this communion with a God-given word. And he begins to walk with spiritual authority.

Biblical history reveals this pattern again and again. Time after time, God's people rejected him and turned to idols. They adopted heathen practices, with each generation becoming more vile and corrupt. Their wickedness grieved and angered the Lord. Yet, how were they restored? In every case, God raised up a godly servant: a judge, a prophet, a righteous king.

Samuel is one such example. He chided Israel, "When they forgot the Lord their God, he sold them into the hand of (their enemies)...And they cried unto the Lord, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord...And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe" (1 Samuel 12:9-11).

Such God-touched servants became God's instruments of deliverance. They were able to discern the times. And because they knew God's heart, the Lord used them as his oracles. They spoke his word both to his people and to the surrounding nations.

There is no doubting God's touch on someone who has been chosen and called. Such a person stands out from all others. So, why did the Lord touch these particular servants? Why did he raise up Abraham, Moses, David and certain others to bring restoration to his people and to the nations? Did the Lord see something special in them?

No, these figures weren't supermen. Their broken, flawed lives bear this out. Nor were they simply predetermined to do the things they did. Every person has a free will, choosing either to follow or reject God's call.

Consider Saul: he was chosen by God, touched by his hand, filled with his Spirit. The Lord had a marvelous plan for Saul's life. He intended to establish for him an "everlasting" throne. Yet Saul aborted God's call. Despite God's anointing, he rebelled against the Lord. His destiny wasn't determined simply by God's election of him.

When God chooses someone to be set apart for a special, redeeming work, he gives that servant two calls. And how the servant responds to these calls determines the power and intensity of God's touch in his life. First, there is the call to come up. Then, there is the call to come out. Moses' life exemplifies both of these calls.


1. God calls us to come up.

This call summons us out of the busyness of life and into an unshackled pursuit of God's presence. Consider Moses' experience. When Moses became Israel's leader, suddenly he was a very busy man. No congregation in history was ever as large or as needy. God's people numbered in the millions. Moses' life quickly became hectic, as he judged and ministered to the people from morning till night.

Finally, Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, intervened. He warned Moses that he would wear himself out and weary the people. Jethro advised, "Be thou for the people to God-ward...and let (others) judge the people at all seasons...so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee" (Exodus 18:19-22). Jethro was saying, in other words, "You're the pastor, Moses. You need to shut yourself in with God. Assign others the jobs of arbitrating and counseling. Then get alone with God. Seek his presence, get his mind, receive his word. This should be your first priority."

Moses heeded this wise counsel. He appointed others to act as judges and counselors. And he determined to accept God's call to "come up." Scripture says, "Moses went up unto God" (19:3). "The Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up" (Exodus 19:20).

Moses prized the presence of God in his life. And this determined the intensity of God's touch on his life. Note how the Lord singled out Moses from the other Israelites, to approach him: "The people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was" (Exodus 20:21).

Moses represents the blessed man spoken of by David: "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts" (Psalm 65:4). The word for "causeth" here means to be moved upon, to be urged by God to come up.

Many Christians have experienced this call, this divine urge to commune with the Lord. The Holy Spirit calls them to the mount of intimacy often, saying, "I desire to change you, to give you a greater anointing. I want to take you deeper and further in me. I want to reveal my ways to you as never before."

Yet, not all who are called respond. As a result, God doesn't touch them with his fire and unction. At first they may have answered, "Lord, I won't let you down. I'll seek your face continually." And for a season, they shut themselves up in prayer. But they didn'tset their hearts to go all the way in prayer. After a while, they ignored God's voice and went their own way. They cut short his call to come up to where he is.

Most who are called and chosen stop halfway up the mount.

Halfway is where many believers end up. The Bible tells us, "He said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him" (Exodus 24:1-2).

God had chosen a handful of men he wanted to touch. He had wonderful plans for these men, especially for Aaron and his sons. They were to be Israel's priestly leaders. The Lord had told Moses, "I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar; I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office" (29:44). Likewise, the Lord had told the elders, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (19:6).

So, why did God tell these men to their faces, "Worship me afar off. Don't come near to me. Only Moses shall come up to me at the top of the mount" (see 24:1-2)? The fact is, God knew the sins brewing in these men's hearts. And they had to be dealt with. He wanted to touch their lives. But he couldn't do that as long as they were hiding sin.

So, God allowed them to come only halfway up the mount. Yet, even so, he appeared to them supernaturally, as a cloud of darkness: "They saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness" (Exodus 24:10). These men now stood in the incredible, revelatory presence of God. They even ate and drank there, at a table in his presence. But they were still "afar off" from him.

Israel's elders were being exposed to the utter, shattering holiness of God. It was as if he were saying, "Sin has a hold on your heart. And it's keeping you from the full revelation I want to give you. Your besetting lust is robbing you of close communion with me. You can't be intimate with me as long as you have hidden sin."

Try to picture these men as they heard this word:

* Aaron had been told by God, "I'm going to sanctify you as high priest. I'll clothe you in purple and gold. And I'll set you before Israel as an example." Yet Aaron's heart was tainted by jealousy over Moses. He also had a sensual streak, and he feared man more than God.

* God had told Nadab and Abihu he would reveal his holiness to them. Yet these two men were hardened in an addiction to adultery. They didn't possess an ounce of the fear of God. Now the Lord was telling them, "I'm a merciful God. My desire is that when you come into my presence, you'll allow yourselves to be broken."

* God had told the seventy elders he wanted to exalt them before the world. Yet these same men refused to be under anyone's authority. They considered themselves to be as gifted and holy as Moses. (This would later manifest itself in a rebellious uprising.) But God was urging them into his presence. He wanted to deal with their deadly pride.


God was warning these chosen men, giving them a mercy call.

The Lord so desired to use all these men. He wanted them to be broken, so he could bring them higher. So he gave them an incredible mercy call, to come up.

Saul received the same kind of mercy call. This man's heart was bound by demonic strongholds. He had marched into Ramah seeking to kill David. But the Holy Spirit moved on Saul. All night long, the king lay in God's presence, smitten. Yet even this merciful, supernatural intervention didn't change Saul's heart.

Now Israel's leaders were at a similar crossroads. They were halfway up the mount, halfway to God's touch, halfway to his consuming presence. "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel...And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand" (Exodus 24:9-11). Note the last verse: the Lord didn't judge them. In truth, these men deserved to be slain, because of their sin. But God's only desire was to redeem.

Next we read, "Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you" (24:13-14). The elders were to stay and wait for Moses' return. But almost immediately, their hearts were pulled by the Israelite camp below.

Soon they weren't willing to wait on the Lord anymore.

I picture Nadab and Abihu as the first to leave this halfway camp. They itched to get back to the restless crowd and their own lustful ways. So they followed the tug of their flesh. Despite God's appearance to them in the dark cloud, despite being allowed to eat and drink in his presence, they left that place untouched.

These two men represent Christian leaders today who freely indulge in lust, pornography, adultery. They're so hardened by their sin, nothing can reach them. They reject every mercy call from the Holy Spirit, every convicting message from his prophets, every encounter with the Lord himself. They abort all his attempts to deliver them.

The next men to be tempted were Aaron and the other pious leaders. One after another, they whispered, "We don't know what's happened to Moses. He may have abandoned us." Soon the whole body of elders repeated this faithless chant. These were men who had been called by God to a life of prayer and communion. But now, one by one, they left his presence untouched. They didn't repent or yield to his holiness. Instead, they turned back to a religion of abominable flesh.

Yet, further up on the mount, Moses experienced God's touch in full. How? He was obedient to the Lord's voice. He had followed his call to come up: "The Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there" (Exodus 24:12). God was saying, in other words, "Come into my presence. Just be there for me."

For six days, Moses waited outside the glory cloud. I believe it was during these six days that the elders left the halfway camp. They were convinced God had nothing more to say to them. But Moses obeyed the Lord by waiting. Then we read, "The seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud...and Moses went into the midst of the cloud...and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights" (24:16-18).

Moses received an incredible revelation of the Lord during those forty days. And just as God called Moses then, he's calling his servants to the mount today. His Spirit is urging us to come up to a place higher and deeper in him than we've ever known. He's calling us to communion, to intimacy, to talk with him face to
face, as Moses did.

Indeed, the Lord has given us the same commandment to wait on him: "On thee do I wait all the day" (Psalm 25:5). "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isaiah 40:31). "They shall not be ashamed that wait for me" (Isaiah 49:23). Passage after passage calls us to wait on God. Yet, how many of us quickly turn back to our old ways? How many of us are pulled back by our flesh, to a dead form of religion?

The Holy Spirit spoke this to my heart: "David, those who wait in my presence feed me. Their quiet worship, their waiting to hear my voice, are my food." Such God-touched servants have determined, "I'm going to wait on the Lord. I won't settle for anything less than face-to-face communion with him. It doesn't matter what others do in their walk. I want God to take me places in him where others refuse to go."


2. God calls us to come out.

"Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And...every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation" (Exodus 33:7).

This wasn't the wilderness tabernacle; that hadn't been constructed yet. Rather, this tabernacle was the "tent of meeting." It served as Moses' prayer closet when he went to meet with the Lord. So, why did Moses move this tent far off from the camp? He did so because Israel had defiled themselves. They had rejected God's authority. And they'd turned instead to gross wickedness of all kinds: idolatry, sensuality, adultery, nudity.

God finally had to remove his presence from Israel. He declared, "I can't walk in the midst of a defiled people. You're stiff-necked, worthy to be destroyed. Now, take off all your ornaments and stop strutting around proudly. I'm going to decide what to do with you" (see 33:5).

A pall of death hung over the camp. God had removed the pillar of fire, and his presence was nowhere to be found. Likewise today, an atmosphere of death hangs over churches where God has removed his presence. It doesn't matter how loudly the congregation sings, what new method of worship has been introduced, or how hard the pastor tries to work up people's emotions. The place is dead, devoid of God's presence. The sermons are lifeless, lacking conviction. And the sheep are left hungry and wanting.

Moses knew that only God's presence brings life. So he went to the tent of meeting continually, praying, "Lord, only one thing makes Israel different from the other nations: your presence. Without you in our midst, we're no better than the heathen. We're powerless against our enemies. If we don't have your presence, we've got no reason to exist. We might as well quit right now. I won't go on without you."

The Lord told Moses he wouldn't come back into the defiled camp. But he did agree to send an angel to lead Israel: "Go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken...behold, mine Angel shall go before thee" (32:34). Then he promised, "I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out (your enemies)...[and lead you] unto a land flowing with milk and honey: (but) I will not go up in the midst of thee" (33:3).

I had to reread this last verse several times before I understood what God was saying. In short, he was telling his people, "Go ahead, move forward, fight your battles. You'll defeat your enemies. And you'll obtain their houses, vineyards and possessions. I will uphold all my promises to you. But my presence won't be with you."

This passage explains much of what has happened to God's church in our day. Untold numbers of pastors and congregations have moved on without God's presence. They're building huge churches, drawing large numbers, bringing in a wealth of funds. Some even cast out demons or heal the sick. But the Lord himself isn't in their midst. The manifest presence of Christ is nowhere to be found among them.

Jesus predicted such things would happen in the last days. Flesh-driven ministers would do great works, unconcerned whether the Lord is with them. All they care about is that their bills are paid and that thousands flock to their churches. Some pastors actually fear God's presence. They won't allow visiting ministers to preach, afraid that a convicting message will scare away their parishioners.

God is telling them in these passages, "Go ahead, get your prosperity. But be ready for my wrath to break out on you at any time. Your fleshly pursuits and defilement have driven my presence from you."

A true shepherd of God, however, has one overriding concern: "Is the Lord among us? Is his presence here in our midst?"


Moses knew what it would take to bring back God's presence.

God's presence will not return to any congregation until the minister and people leave behind all defilement. They must forsake all lusts and separate themselves to a place of heart-purity.

Israel had been completely defiled, including Aaron and the priesthood. So, Moses left the camp and set himself apart to the Lord. Immediately, God filled the tent of meeting with his presence: "As Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses...and the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33:9-11).

Moses is a shining example of what it takes to bring back Christ's manifest presence to a congregation. First, the minister must separate himself to God and shut himself up in intercession. Then a holy remnant must follow their pastor, leaving behind all defilement. A spirit of repentance will pervade that new camp. Soon pure worship will break forth among them. And the people will know the Lord has returned.

This is the only way to bring back God's presence: to refuse to stay in the place of defilement. You may say, "That's Old Testament theology. You can't apply it in New Testament times." But Paul warns us clearly: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the
temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

In short, God is telling us, "Remove yourself from all lusts: pornography, covetousness, adultery. Get away from the bitterness growing inside you. Separate yourself from the place of defilement." Such talk of separation may not sound like "normal" Christianity. A normal walk with Jesus today means reading a Bible chapter, praying on your way to work, and going to church on Sunday. But, beloved, we aren't living in normal times. God is calling his people today to radical Christianity.

Right now, multiple thousands of Muslims are lined up, begging, "Let me die for my faith." They pray devoutly six times a day. Yet, all the while, tens of thousands of American Christians sit lazily in front of their TV sets, drinking in filth. As I mentioned earlier, our society is sitting on edge, awaiting more destruction. We tremble at the thought of the next terrorist attack. Yet the Christianity that the world sees is weak, powerless, flesh-saturated, prayerless.

It's going to take a supernatural infusion of God's presence for his church to come alive again. And that means radical measures among his people. God isn't asking you to pray six times a day, or to fast for weeks at a time. He simply wants communion.

The Lord is asking you to meet him on the mount. He wants you to come up, to remove yourself from the place of defilement. His great desire is to take you ever deeper and further into his heart. That's how he responds to a world in crisis. He causes his servants to take him more seriously than ever before. And he fills them with his presence. Then the masses of humanity will see and know that Jesus Christ is Lord.
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