Saturday, December 18, 2004

Kind of weird thoughts

"Eternal life as defined in the New Testament isn’t primarily about living forever, it’s about having a new kind of life, a new quality of life so distinct that those without it can, in a real sense, be called dead. It’s life lived the way we were made to function, a life of virtue, character and well being lived for the Lord Jesus." - J.P. Moreland


"It’s critical that we understand the nature of Jesus’ assertion that we only gain our lives when we lose them for His sake. Jesus isn’t commanding us to do anything. He’s simply describing reality. He’s accurately characterizing the way we’re made, telling us how we prosper (or perish) as image-bearers of God. His assertion is like saying “If you want to be fit, you’ve got to exercise.” This isn’t a recommendation; exercise isn’t one among many ways to get in shape. This is an accurate description of fitness. Being rooted in reality, it describes the path you have to take if you want to be fit.

"If you want to be a fit person, exercise isn’t optional; if you want to be a happy person, denying yourself for Christ isn’t optional. And this isn’t true simply for believers. It’s true for all of us, whether we believe it or not. As secular scholar Richard Gardner acknowledged, “Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.”3 If you want to flourish as a friend, you need to concentrate on others. You’ll be lonely if you spend all your time trying to convince people that you’re really cool, worthy of their focused attention. Similarly, if you want to flourish as a person, you must deny yourself for Christ’s sake. Only by taking this path — only by rejecting the contemporary notion of happiness — will you find true happiness." - J.P. Moreland

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pretty Please by Brett Westervelt

I sometimes wonder why Jesus likes kids.

I’m hanging out at Borders trying to read and be contemplative, and there’s this young girl hanging out at Borders trying to be loud and annoying. I’m not sure exactly how old this girl is, maybe 6 or 10. In any case, she’s doing a much better job of ignoring what I’m trying to do here, than I am of ignoring whatever it is she’s doing.

First she’s walking around drinking an empty glass of milk and ice. Empty. Not empty as in suck-on-the-straw-a-little-harder-and-maybe-something-will-come-out, but empty as in nothing left to drink.

Next she went into question mode. Someone she knows named Vanessa just walked in. “Hey, Vanessa … What are you doing? ... Why? ... What is that? ... Why? ... Where are you going, Vanessa?”

Now she has a magazine and is sitting down at a table by mine. She’s somehow figured out how to make this really loud noise just by turning the pages. It kind of sounds like ripping off a band-aid, over and over and over. There’s no method to this madness, but definitely a devotion. Now she’s back to work on the still empty glass of ice, continuing to ignore my furrowed-brow looks. She just doesn’t get proper social protocol.

I’m pretty sure it’s not just this one. I know lots of other kids that do the same wrong-time, wrong-place things. They pick the most important part of the game to ask what a first down is. They spit-up/throw-up during the three minutes you’re holding them. They don’t realize that when you laugh or cry you’re supposed to have some semblance of a reason.

I could see why Jesus would like kids—in a Kids Say the Darndest Things sort of way. I just don’t get why He would say something like, “Let the Children come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” And even, “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Mark 10:14,15).

I realized earlier today that I’ve hit a wall with prayer. At least the in the area of asking God to do things. I get bored with the monotony of asking over and over again. I get disappointed when my earnest requests don’t get quickly resolved. I find myself trusting more and more in God’s sovereignty and “fate” and see less of a point in actually asking Him to do things. Throw in my attempts to counterbalance books like The Prayer of Jabez, where prayer is sold more as a means for getting what you want than as a chance to have a conversation with the God of the universe, and my prayers are often a bunch of wishy-washy idle chatter. Hey God, how’s it going? It sure is a nice day today. Thanks for that …

Sure God’s not some big vending machine in the sky, giving me things if I have exact change and shake Him a bit. But there are important things in my life that I need to talk about with God if I want to really have relationship with Him. And these are things like how to help a friend who’s depressed or seeing how empty life can be for people at the University of Texas or my current dating status (single). These are all things I can’t honestly talk to God about without wanting them to change.

I often avoid praying about these things, because I’ve prayed about them 15 times already and I’m just not sure that number 16 will produce anything different. Other times I don’t ask God for things because I feel like that’s not the responsible adult thing to do; maybe I need to have more of my own initiative or maybe I just want the credit instead of the help.

This is where I think kids have it figured out. They don’t know how to just be realistic. Kids are okay with needing help with things. Not only that, but it also takes them a while to accept a no for an answer.

I think I know what it takes to be socially acceptable, and for some reason I’ve tried to be like that in my relationship with God—prim and proper. Forgetting that before Him I really am just a kid (no matter how old I may dress), in need of His loving help and grace, to the point that maybe I should be quicker and more persistent to ask for it. I’m not pretending to really understand prayer or what it does, but I think it probably involves being more kid-like, even if it annoys me.


[ relevantmagazine.com ]

Hypocrisy

Do the gods of different nations
talk to each other?
Do the gods of Chinese cities
speak to the ancestors of the Japanese?
To the lords of Xibalba?
To Allah? Yahweh? Vishnu?
Is there some annual get-together
where they compare each other's worshippers?
Mine will bow their faces to the floor
and trace woodgrain lines for me, says one.
Mine will sacrifice animals, says another.
Mine will kill anyone who insults me, says a third.
Here is the question I think of most often:
Are there any who can honestly boast,
My worshippers obey my good laws,
and treat each other kindly,
and live simple generous lives?


1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[1] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

What is revival

“Today the word Revival has largely lost its real meaning. Our present generation, never having witnessed the mighty movings of God in nationwide spiritual awakening such as has taken place in past generations, has little conception of the magnitude of such a “visitation”. “Heaven-sent revival is not religious entertainment, where crowds gather to hear outstanding preachers and musical programs: neither is it the result of sensational advertising – in a God-sent revival you don’t spend money on advertising; people come because Revival is there. Revival is an “awareness of God” that grips the whole community, and the roadside. The tavern, as well as the church, become the places where men find Christ. Here is the vast difference between our modern evangelistic campaigns and true revival. In the former, hundreds may be brought to a knowledge of Christ and churches experience seasons of blessings, but as far as the community is concerned little impact is made... In revival, the Spirit of God, like a cleansing flame, sweeps through the community, divine conviction grips people everywhere; the strongholds of the devil tremble, and many close their doors, while multitudes turn to Christ.”

All Decays Begin in the Closet

QUOTE: "All decays begin in the [prayer] closet; no heart thrives without much secret converse with God, and nothing will make amends for the want of it." - Berridge.
********************************************

JOHN G. LAKE (-1920):

Reaching for the Bible, he opened to the book of Acts, ran his finger down over the second page, that portion where the Spirit of God came down from heaven. Proceeding through the Book of Acts to its great outstanding revelations and phenomena, he said. . .

"This is Pentecost as God gave it through the heart of Jesus. STRIVE for this. CONTEND for this. Teach the people to PRAY FOR THIS. For this, and this alone, will meet the necessity of the human heart, and this alone will have the power to overcome the forces of darkness.' When the Angel was departing he said, 'Pray. Pray. Pray. Teach the people to pray. Prayer and prayer alone, much prayer, persistent prayer, is the door of entrance into the heart of God."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Obligatory Seasonal Relationship Post

...except this time, its not by me.

Just some thoughts I ran across. No hidden meanings and suggestions here. Been definitely hearing a whole bunch about marriage and etc though....he has some interesting things to say, and in a quite articulate manner.

SOURCE:

So I've been thinking a lot lately ( I usually avoid that kinda thing, but I've been slipping up lately...). Being that I am who I am, my thoughts revolve around one of my favorite things usually... girls (big suprise, I know). The thing I've been thinking about most lately has been the whole "we want what we can't have" concept...

Y'know, there is a lot of truth packed into that little aphorism...

First off, I think that relationships are great, and that a guy that wants a relationship, and finds an exceptional woman to have a relationship with, is a very fortunate guy, and that relationship can be a very fulfilling part of life.

I believe that there's a search involved in finding all the right pieces to make that sort of a situation happen (I mean, c'mon now, God doesn't just leave your groceries on your doorstep every morning--you have to go get them). You can call it dating, courting... whatever, basically it comes down to a searching process.

I think most guys wonder if they should do something different when they'd like to pursue a relationship with a woman as opposed to the process of dating her as a way of determining compatibility and if it'll work.

I've also noticed a pattern: When a guy starts to "like" a girl and feel the "I'd like to be in a long-term relationship with this girl" feelings, this can be a powerful emotional influence. Guys often start acting differently without even realizing it, and then we justify our new behavior with the good reasoning of "I really like this one."

But what does this really do? I mean, should we really do anything different if we'd like this to turn into a relationship...?

I have an idea... let's look at this from a few different perspectives... Think about some of the related questions... Maybe by working through them, there's an answer...

Here are a few that come to mind for me:

"If I act like I'm not interested in a relationship, how does that effect a woman's interest in me?"

"Are women automatically deterred by guys who don't come across as being interested in relationships?"

"Are there clues or hints that women look for to see whether a guy is interested in a "short term" or "long term" relationship (maybe as a way of filtering out guys who are out for a one-night stand)?"

"Will a woman who thinks a guy is interested in a "relationship" act differently towards him if she doesn't know what his intentions are?"

"Is it "ok" to be not interested in a relationship, but still want to meet and date a woman?"

"How do women know when men are pursuing them for a relationship? And how do women typically respond to this?"

"What is the attitude towards this whole subject that not only works best, but is also the healthiest?"

The great thing about questions like this is that when you consider them and ask yourself these kinds of things on a regular basis, they make you think about things in a different way. The ability to think about things from different perspectives can help give you a much clearer understanding of what you're dealing with in a situation like this one.

Now, here's my wandering thoughts on those questions...

I personally think that there's something inside us... a basic program you might call it... that when it comes to someone who is a potential romantic interests this thing says "If he/she chases me, run. If he/she doesn't chase me, chase him/her."

Of course, this is a huge generalization, and it doesn't always hold true... but it's true enough in most situations

Consider, for example, if a guy calls a woman all the time, she'll probably not call him. If a guy takes a woman to dinner 4 times in a week, she probably won't be inviting him over for dinner anytime soon... if this keeps up, soon she'll actually be avoiding him.

On the other hand, if a guy goes out with a woman and she has a great time, then he doesn't call for a couple of days, or maybe he calls once for 3 minutes to tell her that he's busy but wants to make plans for a few days later, she ends up thinking about him all the time.

Essentially I think this comes down to communicating whether or not a person is insecure and needy/clingy, or if they are self-confident and have lives which they are active and responsible participants in... And I think these things are extensions of respect for a person's self and also the person they are interested in.

I also think that when it comes to relationships, women have little hints that they look for to determine what a guy's interests/intentions are.

Does he talk about having kids? Does he ask her about her family and relationships with them? Does he answer her questions about these things in a serious way, as if he's being interviewed? Is he acting stilted and nervous, as if something huge is depending on her
liking him? Does he call a lot and get her gifts? Does he check up to see how she's doing all the time, even though he doesn't know her that well?

All of these things are hints that women use to tell how "relationship minded" a guy is with her...

If a guy seems like he's after a significant relationship, then a woman has a much bigger decision to make, and will be taking all kinds of things into consideration... little gestures will suddenly take on new meaning...

If a guy's only looking for a "relationship", then this will come across in all his interactions with that girl. He'll be asking different questions, answering questions differently, and playing to the long term.

From experience, I think that this can create all kinds of problems when done "too much too soon."

My personal experience is that women will act much more "real" when you don't put unnecessary pressure on the situation. Acting like a friendship has to either end in "marriage or we're breaking up," right from the beginning is asking for big trouble.

Another perspective I have is that a LOT of relationship problems are the result of people who don't know each other getting involved too deeply and too quickly. This is another great thing to mention from the get-go...

Something else I've realized is that just because I really want or don't want a relationship at one moment, doesn't necessarily mean I'll feel that way the next.

I've had times in my life when I've been single and thinking "I'm not into a relationship right now", and then I met a fantastic woman that changed my mind.

I've also had times when I've wanted a relationship, but didn't pursue one.

Ok, after all that introspection, here's my conclusion: Approach the whole topic with the attitude of "I'm open to whatever great opportunities lie ahead."

When you're with an interest that you've just met, don't put the pressure on. Lean back, take it easy. (especially if they're unusually attractive... attractive people are used to having other people falling for them too quickly, and this is a quick turn-off)

If the topic comes up, say "Well, I'm single now, and if I meet a woman that I really like, then we'll see what happens." A lot of guys don't want to come across as being "afraid of commitment". But don't go overboard to prove that you're not... because you'll come across as needy and insecure if you try too hard. A woman won't run away from you if you're not calling her 10 times a day, rather, she'll probably run if you do call her too often...

Ok, too much thinking for today... that should last me til at least next February.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I'm right.

We're only as balanced as our news sources...people who claim to "know" the facts for either side of politics, they're only as truthful as their sources. And in the midst of the deception in all the media today, do you really know how truthful that is?

We must stop wielding our knowledge as a form of superiority and learn to submit it in prayer instead. Mind of Christ, thinking and considering by the Spirit instead of the fleshly considerations of this world. All the logic and facts in the world still pale in comparison to the "foolishness" of God.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Post Election Hysteria

In response to all anti-Bush and pro-Bush hysteria post election...

"Vote for Pedro. He'll make your wildest dreams come true."

As I was sharing with several friends yesterday...I'm glad that Bush won.

Yes, I voted for him.

Some thoughts:

>> The thing that's bothering me is the utter polarization of the body of Christ on this issue of elections. I expressed to another friend the night of the elections, is that I can see why a Christian can vote for Kerry. I think Bush did as good as a job as he could have of these past four years; I admire his faith, I admire his strong decision making. To some conservatives, they make it seem that Bush is without fault, the best president we've ever had. History will bear on the validity of a statement like that, but to say that Bush has done a fantastic job in his first term is to turn a blind eye to all the shortcomings of this administration.

>> I truly believe that Bush was re-elected because of the prayers of the saints. The amount of prayer into these elections was tremendous, and I think that there was much grace over the selection of Bush. Now I'm not saying prayer in the sense of "God, bring Bush back into office." But the prayers and cries for 1 Tim 2:1-2; for righteous and just government. In some sense, we got who "we" wanted. But now that God has put Bush into office (he very well could have put Kerry in there), he is God's man. I'm thankful that Bush has a vibrant personal faith...but it is imperative that we as believers continue to pray for our congress and the president. There is immense potential for much righteous and just legislation to be passed this year, but so much of that is dependent on Christians not suddenly falling into complacency and thinking that everything is "okay" now that Bush in office.

>> Folks, America is sick. The fact that we are the point where homosexual marriage, the basic unit of society, is being challenged...indicates to me how much the standards of righteousness have been eroded in our nation. Our blatant and utter disregard for the poor and disenfranchised will bring the judgments of Sodom and Gommorah upon our nation (check Ezekiel, they were destroyed for their lack of concern for the poor...not just their immorality). It is disturbing that it is taking us this late into the game to wake up.

>> I'm sick of the Christian posturing the Republican Party has so patently abused in these elections. The reason why people don't believe you when you do all this Christian jargon is because your actions fail to reflect what Jesus preached. Yes, you are concerned about morality. But morality in itself is death, and is essentially Pharisical legalism.

Democrats are generally more lax on issues of morality: " Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. " Proverbs 29:18 Our government desperately needs the righteousness that the GOP espouses and the justice that the Democrats push for. These two things ought not to be mutually exclusive.

>> I voted for Bush personally because I am more concerned about the foundation of our society being eroded than any other issue. Research by anthropologists and sociologists all suggest that once a society moves beyond the basic family unit, that it moves into a slipperly slope that can only get worse. That for me is the most pressing concern.

Second is on the issue of abortion. I can't for the life of me, comprehend why people are making qualitative comparisons between the war on Iraq and the abortion of babies. Do you realize that 1/3 of our generation has been aborted? How many million innocent deaths is that? Yes, the war on Iraq has many innocent casualities; but at least we are there with the INTENT of bringing order to chaos. Are we doing a good job? No, not necessarily. Abortion is PRIMARILY an outlet of Western convenience of not bearing the consequences of our actions. You don't "accidentally" have a baby. You had a sex. Sperm, egg. No mystery here.

>> It's unfortunate that we have to "rank" the problems in our nature as what to deal with first. Its really lame, really.

Anyway, I'm going to cut this ranting short. In the end, our government desperately needs the mind and wisdom of God. Especially in Bush's second term...there is a potential for so much good to be done...all across the board.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Why Don't I Bring A Bucket?

If tweaking is what you are worried about, then rest easy. God doesn’t want to tweak you, or adjust you. God wants to completely transform you. According to C.S. Lewis, God says, “I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down.”

But He promises a good result. God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), promises a good result:

Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The question I face is this: Do I really want to be able to test and know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will? Do I want it enough to be changed? It may be that the “loss” I am so afraid of facing, will only occur if I remain where I am. Perhaps author Nancy Spiegelberg puts it best: "Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You with an empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known You better I'd have come running with a bucket."

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Show You Love

Interesting trailer I watched: Spanglish.

The soundtrack caught my ear towards the end; it was Jars of Clay song, Show You Love.

Speak- say the words that no one else will ever say
Love- love like the world we know is over in a day

I'm gonna show you a love in every language
I'm gonna speak with the words that need no form

I'm gonna give you what you never had before

You're beautiful and I am weakened by the force of your eyes
So shine bright to separate the truth from the lies
I'm gonna show you love


It's a pretty cool trailer. I think there are going to be some quality movies coming out in the next month or so.

Things have been going well, I'm feeling a bit on the dangerous side emotionally...meaning I think I might break in way or the other at some point. However, I think I am doing well...God's been good...just leave it up to the devil to point out the little things that have fallen short in the past couple days.

I sometimes ask the question if God's goodness is enough to save me from myself :)

God's been doing a lot with the prayer meetings; I think the topic of intimacy has been brought back as the core of what we are doing. It's really cool, I think inevitably as we focus on the first commandment, the second will naturally follow. I'm finding how true it is when we seek God's kingdom first in our lives, everything else follows. Still learning of course.

I'm in the middle of a fast with my church....its been kind of difficult to consistently stick it. I'm finding that much of what I do is more for the benefit of man and not for His audience. It's one of those things that you thought would not be there, and would hope isn't...but there it is...plain and ugly, in the light of His holiness.

Poo.

That, my friend, is what I call, lame.

It's disappointing to realize that when no one's watching; there are things that I start doing that aren't consistent with the things that I say. I guess I could plead the fact that I'm at home, and I'm just unwinding from the day...but last time I checked the Holy Spirit didn't say take a day off from obeying the Word.

Sorry for the somewhat somber post, but that's where I'm at emotionally right now. God's still r0x0rs my b0x0rs though :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

When All Around Has Fallen - Delirious?

When all around has fallen your castle has been burned
You used to be a king here now no one knows your name
You live your life for honour, defender of the faith
But you've been crushed to pieces and no one knows your pain

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I'll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, rise with me

When tomorrow has been stolen and you can't lift your head
And summer feels like winter your heart is full of stone
Though all your hopes have fallen your skin is now your only armour
Wear your scars like medals defender of the faith

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I'll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, come lay your faithful head, be still my friend
Come rise with me

Status Symbols

In our time we have all kinds of status symbols in the Christian church--membership, attendance, pastoral staff, missionary offerings. But there is only one status symbol that should make a Christian congregation genuinely glad. That is to know that our Lord is present, walking in our midst!...

No matter the size of the assembly or its other attributes, our Lord wants it to be known by His presence in the midst. I would rather have His presence in the church than anything else in all the wide world.

Hearing the proud manner in which some speak of the high dollar cost of their sanctuaries must lead people to suppose that spirituality can be purchased. But the secret of true spiritual worship is to discern and know the presence of the living Christ in our midst....

The Christian church dares not settle for anything less than the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the presence of our divine Prophet, Priest and King in our midst. Let us never be led into the mistake that so many are making--sighing and saying, 'Oh, if we only had bigger, wiser men in our pulpits! Oh, if we only had more important men in places of Christian leadership!' Jesus Is Victor!, 59-60,63.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Ponderings

I can't stop thinking about ______.

I heard it once said that if you've released something to the Lord, it means that you cease to worry about it or be anxious about it. Yeah, see that's not working out too well now is it.

And yes this is deliberately ambiguous and vague. What do you do when something is constantly at your mind, at every turn, whenever your mind is idle...it always has to pass this thought.

You take it captive, that's what you do.

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I interviewed with Microsoft yesterday, and I am planning to whore myself out to Amazon.com next Monday. I really wonder if this is what God has in store...there are many reasons to stay in San Diego, but the same considerations could be made to move back up north where the family is, or even further up north (where Microsoft & Amazon) are.

Its weird talking, even thinking about the "rest of my life"; also known as post-college.

To be honest, I'm really petrified, scared at the possibilities...the possibilities of failure. Yes, his power is perfected in my goof ups, and yeah, you don't really learn until you mess up. But still!

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God's been teaching me a lot about asking Him more specifically for things...He's been answering my prayers, but the problem is that I'm so general about my requests, I get a general answer. Neh.

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I'm finding school, and perhaps computer science...drains all perspective of the future and focuses on the present. Life is feeling like a race. I have to get to a checkpoint or keep looking to see where I'm running...but I'm constantly bending down to tie my freaking shoelace.

Hopefully I'm learning that the problem is NOT the shoelace, but that I can't freaking tie shoelaces. >_<

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Roll over and let it go.

And just when you think we ought to roll over and just "let it flow":

Failure and Success: Greatness Has Its Price

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this
life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
--2 Timothy 2:3-4

The laws of success operate also in the higher field of the soul--
spiritual greatness has its price. Eminence in the things of the
Spirit demands a devotion to these things more complete than most of
us are willing to give. But the law cannot be escaped. If we would be
holy we know the way; the law of holy living is before us. The
prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles of the New and, more than
all, the sublime teachings of Christ are there to tell us how to
succeed....

The amount of loafing practiced by the average Christian in spiritual
things would ruin a concert pianist if he allowed himself to do the
same thing in the field of music. The idle puttering around that we
see in church circles would end the career of a big league pitcher in
one week. No scientist could solve his exacting problem if he took as
little interest in it as the rank and file of Christians take in the
art of being holy. The nation whose soldiers were as soft and
undisciplined as the soldiers of the churches would be conquered by
the first enemy that attacked it. Triumphs are not won by men in
easy chairs. Success is costly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The unoriginal parade continues...

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one—not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safely in the casket or the coffin of your selfishness. But, in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, unredeemable. The only place outside heaven where you can be safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.”
C.S. Lewis

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EDIT: Perhaps some original content.

Who reads this thing still? This thing slowly becomes less interesting as I get older. I think its because I used to use my blog as my personal sounding board, where I could unreservedly just think out loud. It feels like things have changed, I guess I used to write to a predictable audience...I had a good idea who was reading my blog, and I didn't have to worry about qualifying the things that I said or wrote.

Now that this has been posted on xanga, livejournal, blogger, profiles, email signatures, word of mouth...I have no idea who reads this. Ideally it would be just a small subset of people, which I'm considering...kind of like "official update on how Benson is surviving senior year." I dunno, they'd have to read pointless drivel like this though. :)

Doh, now I forgot what I was going to say.

Ah, I remember.

On the upside, I believe I have secured a job with Cal-IT^2 doing wireless software development. Which, I think, is pretty cool. Which, I think, makes God pretty cool :).

The twist in the current situation is that I also interviewed for another job that seems to fit my skillset pretty well with the Giesel IT Department. They're into the whole XML/XMSLT infoportal deal and given my interest in web development, it seems to be the wiser choice.

Though I am getting ahead of myself...I haven't been hired yet, but I felt like I rocked the interview pretty hard. *wham* Yup, that hard. Haha, I don't know...this is a predicament I don't want to be in...I'd much rather have one opportunity and have the other shut the door. Choices suck sometimes, but leaders have to learn to make hard choices.

I suck at weighing pros and cons. They all weigh the same sometimes.

Some quotes that stuck out from the "Polar Express" movie trailer:

"One thing about trains; it doesn't matter where they are going. What matters is deciding to get on."

"Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."


Both quotes I agree with. A lot of times I'm asking God for wisdom on decisions...but in his grace and wisdom, He knows that I need to learn how to make decisions on my own as well, so He says "Just pick one, I'll be with you."

Jerk :)

The second has been really true in my life lately. This idea of fixing our eyes on what is unseen, living by faith, living for what is eternal...I dunno, I'm starting to see what Paul meant when he said we would be the greatest fools in the world if Christ didn't rise from the dead. I mean, yeah we live a "moral" life and we do good deeds, that's nice and all...but I'm talking about a life lived in faith...see that's what this world does not understand and cannot grasp. Absolutely everything in the natural realm is saying one thing, but in your spirit...you believe it, and when you pray about it, it grows...and slowly you begin to see it.

It's absolutely insane I tell you.

But as Michael Koh says..."May I suggest to you that..." that unseen world is so much more real and tangible than we realize? I believe there is a reason why Hebrews says that without faith it is impossible to please God. I think most of the time I'm whining to God is because I'm going off my five senses and He's going like...check your spirit dawg. Haha...what is unseen!

Anyway, perhaps more next time...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Hebrew Study of Worship

There are so many words in the bible that help us understand more fully what it means to worship. Below is a short study of some key Hebrew words used to speak of worship:

SHACHAH

Appears 172 times in the Old Testament.
Means - to bow down, revere, fall down, stoop, crouch.

Examples:
- Gen 18:1-2 - "The Lord appeared to Abraham...he looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them he hurried to meet them and bowed low to the ground."

- Gen 24:52 - "When Abraham's servant heard what they said [that Rebekah could go to be the wife of Isaac] he bowed down to the ground before the Lord."

- Ex 4:31 - "And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped."

HALLAL

Appears 99 times in the Old Testament.
Means to praise, laud, boast of, celebrate, to be clamorously foolish.
"Hallelujah" is derived from hallal.

Examples:
- Ps 69:30 - "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

- Jer 20:13 - "Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked."

- 1 Chr 16:4 - "He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel."

YADAH

Root "Yad" means "hand."
Appears over 90 times: 53 times as "praise," 32 times as "give thanks," 16 times as "confess," and 5 times as "thanks."
Means to worship with extended hands, to throw out the hands, to give thanks to God. The use of hands is emphasized.

Examples:
- 2 Chr 20:21 - "After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendour of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying, 'Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever."

- Ps 9:1 - "I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders."

- Ps 52:9 - "I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints."

BARAK

Appears 70 times as praise to God
Appears over 200 times to declare God the origin of power for success.
Denotes blessing or blessings from God, as well as between people. It's emphasis is on blessing.

Examples:
- 1 Chr 29:10 - "David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, 'Praise be to you, O Lord, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting."

- Job 1:21 - "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

- Ps 144:1 - "Praise be to the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hand for war, my fingers for battle."

TEHILLAH

Appears over 50 times in the Old Testament.
Means to sing or laud. The singing of "hallal" (hallelujahs)

Examples:

- Neh 9:5b - "Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise."

- Ps 100:4 - "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name."

- Isa 42:12 - "Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim his praise in the island."

ZAMAR

Appears approximately 40 times in the Old Testament.
Means to pluck the strings of an instrument, to praise with song.
Is seen almost exclusively in the Psalms.

Examples:
- 1 Chr 16:9 - "Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of his wonderful acts."

- Ps 98:4-5 - "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music, make music to the Lord, with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing."

- Ps 104:33 - "I will sing to the Lord all my life; will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

TODAH

Means to extend the hand in a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, offering thanks.

Examples:
- Ps 26:6-7 - "I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds."

- Ps 107:22 - "Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy."

- Isa 51:3 - "The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.:"

Other Hebrew words for praise and worship:

SAMAH - Meaning rejoice, be glad.
HAVAH - Meaning worship, kneel, prostrate
MIZMOR - Psalm
GIL - Shout circle of joy
RANAN - Shout with joy
SHIR - Sing
KAVED - Honour, glorify
ZAKAR - Remember, acknowledge, praise
SAPHAR - Recount, proclaim
RINNAH - Shout of joy
RUA - Shout in triumph
SUS - Rejoice
SHAMA - Proclaim


From passionforyouname.com. Worship has never been, and should hopefully never be, a passive experience where we just get up and read some lyrics off a screen. It is an engaging response to a real and living God who inhabits the genuine praise that is of spirit and of truth. Will you worship?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

If I traded it all

One Thing Music Video

If I traded it all
If I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing


To be single-mindedly devoted to my King, Savior, Love, and & Friend....and ruined for anything less.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Prize of Knowing Him by Mike Bickle

"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I count everything loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I might gain Christ...that I may know Him in the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death." (Phil. 3:7-8, 10)

In Philippians 3, where Paul gave an autobiographical look at what motivated him, we find a very striking example of what it means to be a person of one thing. He sometimes gave a sentence here and there in his other writings, but I don't know any place where he shared his deepest heart so richly. Without apology, Paul pointed us to the necessity of fierce abandonment for the sake of one thing. He confirmed that stunning and fascinating things happen when new discoveries of the God-Man touch our spirit. Verse 8, "Oh the excellencies of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things! I count all of these losses as rubbish that I may experience Him." He was not saying that he suffered these things to earn Jesus' approval but that in forsaking them, he removed what hindered his ability to experience Jesus to the fullest possible degree. He purposefully narrowed his options. He willingly became a man of one thing.

Paul went on in verse 10 to give three foundations of his inner motivation. By the anointing of the Holy Spirit, he put them together in a strategic way.

1. "I want to know Him," speaking of sharing intimacy with Jesus.

2. "I want to know the power of the resurrection," speaking of the ability to operate in the anointing.

3. "I want to know the fellowship of His suffering," portraying his desire to bear the inevitable counterattack of suffering and persecution. Paul understood the paradox that even as the anointing prepares and equips the heart for suffering, it also triggers the counterattack that brings suffering. It starts a chain reaction in the kingdom of darkness. When we operate in new levels of the anointing and plunder Satan's kingdom, we touch new dimensions of counter-attack. Paul actually gloried in the privilege of having intimacy with Jesus in suffering, which is a necessary dimension of the kingdom of God.

Paul revealed the inner activity of his soul in verse 1, "I press on." In other words, he committed himself to experiencing the three things he just spoke of. He said, "I want to lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by God." The Lord Jesus laid hold of each one of us for a very specific reason. God had something in mind for you when you were born and when you were born again. You were "laid hold of by God," handpicked by Him in His creative genius and created with certain passions. But it is so common in the kingdom of God today for people to never lay hold of the thing for which they were born and to never enter into the destiny God prepared for them. This is because we are not yet a people of one thing. We are not people after His heart. We are trying to do business as usual. We don't want fellow Christians thinking we're strange; we don't want discomfort. We want to live like everybody else lives. But we're in danger of not laying hold of what God has for us in this hour of history.

Paul went on to say that he didn't consider himself to have already attained to this. He didn't believe he'd fully apprehended the fullness of what he was created for. Yet he committed himself to one thing: to forget the things that were behind him and press on to what was ahead. Paul was a single-minded man, much like David was. He reached forward to take hold of knowing Christ, of experiencing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. He determined in his heart to spend his entire life doing this. He went out of his way to remove any known hindrances to his destiny in God.

Beloved, we will not accidentally lay hold of the highest things God has called us to. We must press into them knowing that the devil will press back. We must push against our resisting flesh. We must fight as believers and unbelievers alike come against us. We must lay hold of the prize, and the only way to accomplish that is by being individuals and churches of extravagant devotion to Jesus. No other kind of devotion will survive the onslaught of the enemy.

I believe that the "prize" Paul referenced in verse 14 was the experience of intimacy and power spoken of in verse 10. He wanted the dimension of power and fellowship that was found only in suffering for the gospel. His prize was not just eternal, but was meant to be experienced in some measure on the earth. Daniel prophesied about this same reality saying, "...the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits...yet for many days they shall fall by sword, and flame, by captivity and plundering" (Dan. 11:32-33). Daniel spoke of two different time periods in this prophecy. First was the time of Antiochus in 167-175 B.C. which was a type of persecution just before the Second Coming of Jesus. The second time frame is at the end of the age. This tells us the people of God will know their God, will have a mighty spirit and will do great exploits. They will also know suffering and fall by the sword and flame as martyrs. Notice Daniel describes the same three things Paul described, these three dimensions of being a people of one thing.

1. Knowing God.

2. Operating in the anointing.

3. Being equipped to fellowship with Him in suffering.

In this pursuit, we must not apologize for our intensity. We must not accept some idea of "balance" that is not the balance of the Spirit, though it might be the balance of religious man. We want to be balanced Jesus-style, so God says on the last day, "You had a fiery heart. You bore the sufferings. You learned to operate in the anointing. You knew how to worship in the Spirit. You were a person of one thing, after my own heart." That is balance from God's point of view.

What's the point of being a person of one thing? What do we gain? God Himself! God revealed Himself as the primary reward of the human heart in Genesis 15:1 when He stood before Abraham and said, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." Those words amaze me. God reveals Himself as our prize. He is the ultimate satisfaction of our hearts. He gives us secondary rewards, too, and I love them as well. There's the anointing to touch the ends of the earth. There's health, wealth and influence, anointed ministry and favor in significant relationships. God gave all of these to Abraham and promised them to us. But they are all secondary. God Himself was the great reward surpassing all others. He is the prize of the ages.

God demonstrated this truth again with the story of Levi. "At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. Therefore Levi had no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him" (Deut. 10:8-9).

In this passage, the words "to bear the ark of the covenant" symbolized receiving the presence of God. God separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark, or to experience the presence of the Lord. He set them apart to stand before Him and bless the name of God. That was their anointing. Because of this unique blessing, Levi and his brothers received no portion of the land and no inheritance when the other tribes of Israel received their portion. Why? Because the Lord Himself was Levi's inheritance. "I Myself will be your inheritance" (Deut. 18:2). God set this tribe apart to receive the greatest blessing: the reward and the inheritance of Himself. That's a picture of true intimacy with God, when we don't need anything else but Him to make our lives complete.

Beloved, this prize will not automatically fall at our feet. There is a pressing in. We reach for the one thing, the exceedingly great reward. There is a forgetting of what came before, both success and failure. In Phil. 3:13 Paul said, "One thing I do, I forget the things which are behind." Part of our offering to the Lord is forgetting our dedication and personal sacrifice. Paul counted them as nothing. We do not stand before the Lord and calculate how much we have given Him in prayer, fasting, finances and persecution. We forget all of that because our glory is not found in anything we can give. Our glory is in being loved by Him and in the anointing to love Him. That alone gives us value. When we become preoccupied with our sacrifice, religious pride steals in and our motives become corrupt. We also should forget our accomplishments. God doesn't look at spiritual risumis. The great revivals we lead, the Bible schools we started, the ministries we ran; these are not our offering. No matter how many people we lead to the Lord or how many sermons we preach or how many people grow to spiritual maturity under our leadership, these mean nothing when compared to the privilege of knowing Christ. We should discount them, let them go. God will reckon them in proper balance when we get to heaven, but for us there is nothing so valuable as simply knowing God. For this reason we should also let our failures go. These can distract us more than our accomplishments. Paul tells us to forget all of that and to press in to God's heart with a spiritual violence, reaching toward the prize with all the energy we have. That's how we want to live. We want to be a people of one thing, forgetting what is behind and pressing to what is ahead. That's how we become men and women after God's own heart.

Born After Midnight - A.W. Tozer

No, there is no merit in late hour prayers, but it requires a serious mind and a determined heart to pray past the ordinary into the unusual.

Most Christians never do. And it is more than possible that the rare soul who presses on into the unusual experience reaches there after midnight.

Friday, August 27, 2004

"DEEP calls unto DEEP"
-Vickie Johnson.

In this past month God has shown me a lot of things concerning our choosing to go right to His heart. One of the things He showed me was a vision. The vision was of people, masses of people, all coming out of a wilderness. The words I was given when I saw this was 'it's a mass exodus out of the wilderness.' But I also saw that it was the forerunners who were coming out. As we came out we looked around much like someone would if they just woke up in unfamiliar surroundings. When we looked around we noticed the thers that were also coming out.

When I saw the others I instantly knew that each of us had been totally alone with the Lord yet we had been alone all together. It was a Hosea 2:14 wilderness time for masses of people whom God has chosen to be forerunners. This wilderness was a time for each of us to create our own personal history walk with our Beloved. And that walk enabled us to come out on the other side leaning on our Beloved. We are coming out and we are leaning on our Beloved, but we are not yet ready. While I saw us coming out, I also notice we were not dressed in Bridal clothes. What I saw was that it is the beginning of the beginning of our coming out and I saw that it was Jesus personally taking us to meet His Daddy.

I feel it is time for us to go to the place of meeting Daddy. That place is where the deep that calls to deep meets. When the Deep in us, which is the Holy Spirit, calls out to the Deep of God, and the Deep of God calls out to the Deep in us, the place where these calls meet also will be violent. But it will be the Lord's violence, His violence of love for us. This is the place where Jesus is now taking those who are coming out of the wilderness.

I hope I am explaining it to you ok and that you understand. I have been so calling out from the depths of my being that all else in my life dims in comparison. A vision I saw on this was of me running down a dark path, crying out in lovesick pain to the very core of His heart. On both my left and right sides things of my life were trying to get my attention. But I just swam right past them as if they were made of dust. They mattered not. All that mattered was to get to the secret place of His heart....
Because Audrey set out a challenge, I am distracted, and I feel somehow guilty for not posting lately:

we were meant to live for so much more
have we lost ourselves?
somewhere we live inside
somewhere we live inside...


for me it means taking hold of what God has in store for myself everyday. its kind of like seize the day, except seizing the day is more selfish. it's about seizing the moment based on your desires and impulses, not what God has in store. its a seemingly minor distinction, but it makes all the difference in the world. what God has in store for me is so much more than my puny little mind can comprehend or process. when i look at my day, i can only see to the horizon (figuratively speaking). when God looks at my day, he sees past the horizon. he sees the day and the evening. every little thing. i'm reminded by the c.s. lewis quote about settling for playing with sandcastles in the mud and not knowing what it means to have a holiday by the sea. man, we settle so easily! and God in his infinite goodness and awesomeness is telling us daily. "my child, i have so much more in store for you." SO MUCH MORE.

but in order to grasp this more, we have to take up our cross. i think that's what it means to live. in order to live for so much more, we must die to ourselves, our desires, our wants, and impulses, our instincts, our rights, our privileges...and lay them at the cross. its funny because believe it our not, the natural is incompatible with the supernatural. somehow we manage to convince ourselves that we can have what God has to offer and eat our own cake too. God can only do as much as you allow him to in your life. if you yield everything, he will take everything.

these lyrics speak to the God-magnet in all of us. it is a sad thing not have that yearning, that magnetic pull to live out everything that was written about us in the book of life. we were meant for so much more in life.

i believe God's speaking that to a generation...will this be the generation that rises to the call? God's singing it over us... "You were meant to live for so much more..."

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Hotness

Things have been a little less busy in my mind...which means more pondering...

Haha no...the past couple weeks have been God...and in another word, good. I'm finding that I don't update much because I feel like i have to have something to say whenever I write here. And I honestly try...but I don't feel like dragging out the words if I'm not feeling it at the moment y'know? Every say, month or so...I kind of hit an epiphany about life, God, relationships, and reality and what God. Things come out easy then, but everything in between is somewhat of a fuzz, blur, and mass confusion.

I tend to prefer clarity.

Well you say, why don't you just blog about what's been confusing you or considering? See, most of the time i don't even have clarity on my confusion, so that just throws a wrench in the whole thing. People who ask me how I'm doing often get this response..."hmm....i dunno" in the midst of a bunch of "well, i've been thinking about this" or "this has been wierd."

In other words, I don't have a clue.

Anyways, I don't know what I always bust out with these entries after a long period of silence....I guess I feel the need to justify my absence to the anonymous world wide web.

--

I believe I am missing out on opportunities, everyday, to be iron that sharpens iron.

In a community, there are the thermometers and the heaters/coolers. The thermometers are the ones that just go with the flow. If people are laughing with something, they'll laugh along. If the conversation is relatively on the surface...they stay on the surface; if the conversation gets deep, they get deep. The go wherever everyone else goes.

The heaters/coolerse are people who direct the conversation. They can direct wherever they want to go.

The thermometers...people who are just kind of there. You know what happens when you get a room full of thermometers? Nothing. But what happens if you get in a community where people are heaters...there are people that change the atmosphere that they are in, they don't conform to room temperature. The room gets HOT HOT HOT. What this world needs is not more thermometers...it needs more heaters. People who walk out the reality of Acts in their daily lives. People who walk with outrageous humility and ridiculous power. People who dispense grace and overflow with love and joy.

I find myself always trying to "fit in" and to be platable to whatever community I'm in. I think there is something to be said about being relevant. Sometimes Christians can get so weird that the weirdness overshadows the message...ok, relevance is good. But I think most of us are too busy being relevant that we have become thermometers. We're indistinguishable from the world. We watch, say, and do all the same things. And on select days we bust out our Christian sub-culture.

I'm being unfair and over-generalized. Ok. Perhaps.

But let me ask you something. When Jesus walked into the room, I can guarantee you He was the hottest thing in there. And I'm not referring to physical appearance. Whether I'm a guy or girl, when I walk into a room...the last thing I want people to be saying is "wow, he/she is kind of cute...I should check them out." What do you think it was a like being a room where Jesus walked in? What do you think it's like when you walk in the room? I want people to experience what it was like when Jesus walked in the room when I walk into a room. I want them to be so aware of the presence of God.

In Acts, people in Peter's shadow were healed. Is that a heater or thermometer? Believers are supposed to CHANGE the atmosphere b/c we carry the life and death of Jesus Christ and his presence with us wherever we go. The Word says that we were to do GREATER things than Jesus and the apostles did!

If this doesn't blow your mind, I'm not sure what does. This blows my mind.

I'm looking at my life and at the church and I'm thinking...hmmm, there's a slight inconsistency between this reality and the reality of God that is found in Acts. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow...so I'm thinking ...maybe, maybe there's something wrong with what I'm doing with my life.

Monday, July 12, 2004

You shook me allllll niiiiiiight looooonnnggg

- God's awesome.
- Holy Spirit action.
- Grace to walk in obedience.
- Love, the most exxxxxxxxxxcellent way. duuuuude. :-D
- the Word.
- Answered prayer. Shaun, Tim, and Sharon
- Holy Spirit. Man. Two times on the list because he be doubly cool.
- No broken strings.
- Awkward moments that stretch you.
- Hope.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

hey folks, welcome to the cross

Hey folks...this is a cross link from Tim's website ... He's currently in Korea getting his socks rocked. :)

Today I finally checked out Yoido Full Gospel Church - the largest church in the world! It was so awesome! Revival is continually happening in Seoul, Korea. A revival sustained by prayer, and penetrating into society! The worship during the service was amazing, although I don't think i engaged fully due to taking pictures. = P Thousands of people worshiping together, the presence of God was there touching those open to receive. The message was good. I liked how Dr. Cho's able to relate to seekers, new believers and even mature believers through his message. He sprinkled it with miraculous testimonies. I especially liked how explained how one can become a Christian and had an open altar call at the end of the service. From what I could see, about 70 or so people stood up in the service I was in. The service was about an hour and a half, which was just right. They had a nice choir and a full-mini worship orchestra as well.

After the service we went to the English briefing session to learn more about Dr. Cho and the church. Here are the things I remember and wrote down: (I apologize if my notes are all over the place)



The church has 800,000+ registered members and about 5000 are reported to come to know Jesus Christ as their savoir each month! 12,000+ people can fit in the main sanctuary. They have 9 services a week, 5 on Sunday, 3 on Wednesday. Each service has 5 other over-flow buildings that seat a couple thousand which are nearby. They have 150 satellite churches in Seoul where the messages are broadcast either live or by the internet. If i remember correctly, pastors used to rush to 9 other churches to deliver the tapes so that the congregation can hear Dr. Cho's message. Dr. Cho preaches 3 of the 5 services on Sunday, the other services are given by video tape or by other pastors. The worship team is different at each service, (500+ members on each team). Haha I heard that just to prepare communion, it takes a week to prepare it in advance!



Dr. Cho tells his staff to learn to pray through the flesh. Persevere. He himself prays at least 3 hours a day, sometimes 5 hours. He says that the first hour is just to break through the flesh and then enter into the spirit. When he first started this in his church, people didn't want to do that with him. They told him that it was for the pastor, not regular members. Now, things are different. People see the importance and power of prayer. The pastors are required to pray at least 3 hours a day, one hour before they come to work so that the full armor of God is on. Registered members are required to pray at least one hour a day, straight prayer btw.... not with devotional time or worship. Just prayer.



In the church, not everybody receives the same vision at first. Dr. Cho's visions are slowly accepted by his staff and leadership. He says that as you grow spiritually, God will reveal more. They also own a prayer mountain where thousands-Thousands of people spend their days praying all day on the mountain. They built small rooms so two people can go in on the mountain side to pray. At night people just sleep in the sanctuary (which holds 9000) on the mountain and other overflow buildings that they have. People here are hardcore intercessors. They have 13 buses going from the church to the prayer mountain at every hour and they're usually packed. They also have prayer everyday or something at 5 AM? Fri night prayer goes all night. I'm going to have to check these out. The elder that presented this chuckled when sharing this: when foreigners come, the interpreters leave at 12 AM in the morning only because that's when the foreigners leave. Most members stay till 4 or 5 AM. (Yea we're weak sauce. I'll try to show them that UCSD intercessors aren't that weak sauce! hehe. We'll see.)

The church also owns the 4th largest newspaper, and its office is situated in the 5th largest building in Korea.

As 3 legs hold up a stool, so do these things hold up the church: 1. Prayer, 2. Home cells, 3. Give all the Glory to God.

Elders are mostly business men. I think there are a couple thousand elders, and they come up with the resources to fund whatever God's revealed to Dr. Cho to start.


Members of the church are eager to help pray for anyone. They believe that it's an opportunity for the Lord to bless them as they pray or help others. Cell groups! Cell groups are only to get 20 large and split in half. They've had problems in the past where people want to stay with other people, but Dr. Cho told the church that you're doing this for the Lord and you might be needed in the other group. So, that solved most things. Rich people in the cell group might spoil members or hold too crazy of a fellowship party (food, drinks, etc.) so they limit the cell group time to just be one hour at each meeting and can only serve one drink and a cookie. Haha that's funny. Having a church so big and generous that that is a problem you have to address. Cell groups are told to reach out to their block, neighbors, etc. Get to know your immediate neighbors! Don't intrude, but help when needed. That's your opportunity to serve them and then invite them to a cell group. You pray for all your neighbors and their needs. Cell groups are also grouped by interest.

I hoped this has stirred your faith and encouraged you to begin or strengthen your prayer life. Without prayer, we won't be going anywhere. Blessings you all!


This is a great example of societal transformation...its amazing how Korea has been turned upside down by this church. The thing about pressing into prayer is convicting...so often, I give up after 15-20 minutes...I just don't have the perseverance to keep on going. But you know what? If we actually prayed like it all depended on God...then we would do that. We have to much to "fall back" on here...its an unfortunate byproduct of blessing.

I have considered everything loss for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord...

Ambiguously vague (redudantly repetitive)

I'm going to be slightly ambiguous here...but so often powerful encounters with God...Satan always comes in with lies and little twists of truth to bring you down from the mountain. This past week has been amazing in that God showed me a little glimpse of my destiny and part of the path to it....it sounds absolutely ridiculous to be honest, and when it does come true, I think it'll be exponentially better than I could ever imagine it ... Either way, it can be discouraging to see how much further I have to go...so much to learn, so much to be crushed and to be remade. Anyway, I was about to wallow in a bit of self-pity when I heard this:

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord'

Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him
how I've proved him over and over
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more


Trust. The main thing that I've been hit with this week and is learning yield to Him more, to be more obedient in all things. It's not about the destination, it's about how cool it is or even how you're going to get there. He just cares that you will go wherever He leads and that you will be willing to be remade in His image. I'm completely terrified, but I trust Jesus more than my own fears. Courage isn't the absence of fear...but it is allowing God to manage your fear instead of letting your fear managing you.

Big words I know...but if it's all for Him, then I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Your love has captured me, oh my God...how can it be?

-----------

- His faithfulness
- Old friends
- His power is perfected in my weakness
- Yielding more, trusting more.
- God speaking.
- Sharon's actions
- Kings and priests
- A love stronger than death, set as a seal over my heart
- Holy Spirit's silent insistence, my reluctant obedience
- Calls from parentals.

Friday, July 02, 2004

a life of highest praise, it's all yours

-- GC (Generation Church, youth group at church) last night was tizzight. To enter in is a choice, you can spend the rest of your life in the outer courts...or you can surrender all with a sacrifice of praise, and enter into the beauty, the awe, and the joy of His presence. Why do we accept mediocrity when we can exchange it for abundance? Why do we settle for a life of struggle when He says we have the victory? Why do we toe the lines of sin instead of fleeing from the evil desires of youth? It is always more costly to disobey for the sake of convenience, comfort, or the pleasure of sin instead bearing the cost of obedience now.

-- Joy at work...last week was tough, but this week has been much better.

-- Meeting with Him in the most unexpected places and times.

-- Good talks, good times.

-- Pondering many things, what will pop out?

-- tree63 this weekend in Carlsbad.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

10 Things, June 29

So I ran across Chris Chu's blog, which is entitled "10 Things I Am Thankful For."

I'm realizing that thankfulness is a discipline...so I'm going to try to put these up everyday. Hopefully it'll encourage me to share a bit more too. You have a no idea how many "blog ideas" run through my head everyday...they rarely make it to the 'net.

1. "He disciplines those he loves."
2. "Now that you're here, everything is different, everything's so different. I know I'm not the same, my life you've changed..."
3. Learning by messing up at work.
4. Crappy days, because they drive me to the throne of grace.
5. Learning by messing up at work. (Yeah, this is up there twice because I messed up a WHOLE lot today.)
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in
weaknesses." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my
weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for
Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in
persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12:9,10

6. Crappy days, and then a swift kick in the pants to get out of my pity party because exactly how HARD is my life in La Jolla, CA in an apartment, with a car, a paid internship, and sun? Yeah, relatively CAKEWALK. SUCK IT UP. God's good. All the time.
7. Timely encouragement. Holy Spirit is cool and he wants to speak.
8. Jesus stepping back and letting me fend for myself...because I'm not going to get strong by watching, but by doing. Challenging books like 'Get the Word Out" by John Teter.
9. Loving on others with service. Like cooking them dinner, even though you originally planned to eat it yourself, but God said, "giiiiiiive it away." Yeah, its much more joyful that way :)
10. Cool people like Audrey (at least most of the time) who are willing to step out in faith and as a result, God gets to be really cool in their life. Thankful that I'm slowly learning that...

Friday, May 07, 2004

The "ONE MAN PASTOR" System is NOT in the Bible
-by Andrew Strom.

Most churches today are run using the 'Senior Pastor'
model, where one man (-almost always with a degree
from Bible College) does most of the ministering and
is looked up to as "the man of God". Few could deny
that pastors are truly the ones who are running the
church today.

But amazingly enough, in the Book of Acts, which is
the history of the first 30 YEARS of the early church,
the word 'Pastor' is NOT EVEN MENTIONED ONCE. In
fact, even in the whole New Testament the word is only
used one time - and that is near the bottom of a list of
ministries in the church: "It was he who gave some to be
apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists,
and some to be pastors and teachers..." (Eph 4:11, NIV).
-This is the only place where the word 'Pastor' can be found.

There were elders and 'overseers' (-these terms are inter-
changeable) in the New Testament church. But that is
totally different from the position of "one man pastor" that
we have today.

So how did Pastors end up running everything? And what
effect does this have on the church?

Well, when you study history it becomes obvious that we
mostly got this concept from Rome - not from the Bible.
As Beckham said (-quoted in one of our previous articles):
"Using a combination of the Roman governmental and
feudal systems, Emporer Constantine developed a church
structure that has lasted for seventeen centuries... People
go to a building (cathedral) on a special day of the week
(Sunday) and someone (a priest, or today, a pastor) does
something to them (teaching, preaching, absolution or
healing) or for them (a ritual or entertainment) for a price (offerings)."

In most cases, what we are seeing today is the
continuation of this "Clergy and Laity" system that
dominated the church during the Dark Ages. There is
very little difference, really. The titles have changed but
apart from that it is basically the old Roman Catholic
system of professional 'Priests' running everything. We
call them 'pastors' but the position is basically the same.

These are people who have gained a degree from Bible
College, and now we pay them to be our "minister". Never
mind the fact that we are ALL supposed to be ministers!

What this results in is two different 'classes' in the church.
-The "ministering" class and the "churchgoing" class
(or 'laity'). -Which is something that God utterly detests.
He cannot stand His people being divided up into 'classes'
like this. It is the doctrine of the "Nicolaitans" (Rev 2).

But is it really that bad? What harm does it really do?

Below are the specific ways that this "one man pastor"
model does enormous harm to the church:
(1) It puts one person on a pedestal - above all others. In
many churches this veneration of the pastor closely
resembles Idolatry. His word is law and the entire
church revolves around this one man.
(2) This leads directly to PRIDE. The position that we
place these men in is terribly dangerous for them and
for the whole church. It is very difficult NOT to develop
Pride when treated in this way. Pride is the most subtle
and spiritually fatal of diseases. It wreaks havoc wherever
it finds a home.
(3) Control, manipulation and spiritual abuse become
common where power is concentrated in the hands of
one 'venerated' figure. Power corrupts. Flattery corrupts.
Veneration corrupts. And before you know it, people
are being terribly damaged and wounded by the control
and the "management techniques" being exerted from the
top. Then new teachings on "covering" and "submission"
are wheeled out, to lend an air of legitemacy to the
oppression that is being visited upon people. Everyone
is told to 'submit' and not to question. The "one man
pastor" system lends itself to this whole scenario like a
hand in a glove. It is virtually made for it.
.
(4) It turns the church into a bunch of "spectators". In
other words, everybody sits around and watches while the
'professionals' do most of the work. It is their "job" after
all. -This is an absolute disaster. For we ALL have gifts
and callings and anointings from God.

(5) The position lends itself to "robes and titles". Jesus
said to his disciples, "You are not to be called 'Rabbi,'
because you have only one Master and you are all
brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you
have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be
called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ."
(See Matt 23:5-12, NIV). -None of this seems to stop
men from taking on "titles" today.

(6) Many pastors by their nature tend to be "play it safe"
types. They don't like the boat being rocked and they
are often resistant to real change. The fact that today's
church is in the hands of pastors, rather than apostles
and prophets (as it should be) who are the "risk-takers"
of the church, means that it is slow to react and is easily
out-manoevred by the enemy. We desperately need
anointed 'risk-takers' and change-oriented leaders today.

(7) Because the position of Pastor is usually the "only job
going" in the church, it forces many who are actually
evangelists or prophets to become Pastors, just so they
can get to minister. Often they are quite out of place, and
many times this leads to disaster.

(8) All of this creates such a load on the shoulders of
the man that is appointed Senior Pastor, that this job
has one of the worst BURNOUT rates in the western
world.

(9) At the end of the day, just like church buildings, the
best reason for rejecting this model of leadership is that
it is simply NOT IN THE BIBLE.

Some people say that having a 'board of elders' who
can hire or fire the pastor keeps all of this in check. Not
so. It may keep the "control" side of things down, but
the mere fact that they feel the need to "appoint a
pastor" just shows how hooked into this system they
really are. It is centuries old, and all we are doing is
perpetuating it.

So how did they do things in the New Testament?

Well, the first thing we need to realize is that the
apostles were not "professionals". Apart from Paul they
had never been to Bible College. (-These were run by
the Pharisees!) Most of the apostles were simple
fishermen and tax-collectors. But they had spent MUCH
TIME WITH JESUS. -That was their qualification.

And it is clear that Pastors were never in charge of the
church. It was the APOSTLES who were given that role.
But they never "lorded it over" the people. And wherever
they went they appointed elders or overseers (plural) to
watch over the church in their absence. Unfortunately,
some translations of the Bible use the word "Bishop",
which gives the impression of a 'hierarchy'. But this was
not in the original. As Greek scholar W.E. Vine states:
"'Presbuteros', an elder, is another term for the same
person as bishop or overseer. See Acts 20:17 with verse 28."
So these were just simple "elders" - that's all.

It was only when the church fell into serious decline and
then into Romanism that the complicated "hierarchies"
began. Before this, it was all very simple. Perhaps one
day it will be so again.

Now, some will want to ask - Does all this information
make me "anti-pastor"? -Not on a personal level. In
fact, I tend to get on with pastors pretty well. I meet
them all the time. But we have to realize that a lot of
them are struggling inside a system that is completely
unscriptural - and change has got to come.

God bless you, my friends!

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

"THE CONVERTING POWER OF TRUE HOLINESS"
By Francis Frangipane
Web: http://www.frangipane.org/ Email: comments@frangipane.org

One of the most common verses in the New Testament reads, "and great multitudes followed Jesus." The gospel of Matthew alone mentions over twenty distinct instances when vast numbers of people traveled great distances to be with Christ. People saw in Jesus meekness, unlimited power, and perfect love. If we would win souls, people must see in us this same Jesus.

When People Saw Jesus

"And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, 'I feel compassion for the multitude, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.'" Matthew 15:32

There were two occasions when Jesus fed the multitudes. The first event occurred in a desolate region of the Judean wilderness, and it lasted one day. During the second event, the multitudes had been with Jesus for three days without food on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee.

The impact Christ had upon the local Jewish society was unprecedented! Their entire economy stopped. No one picked over or sold vegetables in the marketplaces, goats were not milked, gardens were left untended, and relatives watching little children did not know when the parents would return! For three days nothing at all was normal.

They Left All

These local communities left all when they heard Jesus was near. Without forethought, without packing a donkey, without so much as taking extra food or telling those who remained at home when to expect them, four thousand men, plus additional thousands of women and children, spontaneously followed Christ to a "desolate place." Perhaps ten thousand or more people left their villages, but we read of no one complaining that "the service was too long," or "the weather too hot" or "the message was boring." Whatever they lacked in comfort and convenience was overshadowed by the glory of being
with Jesus!

How wonderful it must have been to be with Jesus! The first time Christ fed the multitudes, the people were so overwhelmed they conspired together to "take Him by force, to make Him king" (John 6:15).

Such was Jesus. But a problem exists among many of us. People who do not really know God's Son seek to represent Him to others. Instead of testifying of His wonderful works, they testify only of their eligion. The unsaved do not see Jesus. They hear about church, they are told sin is wrong, lusts are evil, and drunkenness a terrible shame, but they do not see the wonder of the love of Jesus. Yes, these things are wrong, but people must meet the love of Jesus before they will abandon their love of sin.

Called to Silence

Plainly, Jesus called a number of people to silence concerning Himself. There were some whom He told, "See that you tell no one" (Matt. 8:4, also 9:30, 12:16). Others He outright forbade to speak, even though what they spoke was truth (Mark 3:11-12). Still others He warned would be doing great works, yet He neither sent them nor spoke to them, nor did He ever know them (Matt. 7:22-23). Indeed, there were even those of whom He warned whose zeal for converts took them over "sea and land," yet their proselytes became "twice as much a son of hell" as they themselves were (Matt. 23:15).

It is not our goal to discourage any from witnessing, especially when the need is so great in our society. Still, we must realize that what we are routinely - in attitude and deed - is a living testimony that, without our premeditation, is "known and read by all men" (2 Cor. 3:2). A "witness" is not just that which is "said"; it is that which is seen. If we will draw men to Christ in heaven, they must be eyewitnesses of Christ in us. But, if we have flagrant sin or self-righteousness, our witness is non-effective.

Let Your Light So Shine

Light, in the Scriptures, symbolizes the out-raying purity of the Holy God. When our hearts and subsequent actions are pure, the light of God's Presence shines through us into this world. It is with this in mind that Jesus tells us to let our light shine before men in such a way that they see our good works and glorify the Father (Matt. 5:16).

If good works glorify the Father, then bad works bring Him dishonor. Paul tells us that the "name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles" because of the sins of those who fail to represent Him (Rom. 2:24).

King David was a great witness of the Living God to his generation, but when David sinned his witness became a reproach. In the 51st Psalm, David's prayer reveals the right attitudes necessary to truly witness for God. He prayed, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ...Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee" (Ps. 51:10-13).

You see, the credibility of our witness is lost when sin rules in our lives. The world has heard too many Christians give testimony to a life they are not living. They cause multitudes of people to think Christianity does not work.

How to Know When to Witness

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you...for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15

Many Christians are told to witness for Jesus. Again, we would not discourage your witness for Jesus; rather we seek to encourage you to live for Him as well! Let people see Him in you before you testify. There are Christians who publicly sin in the work place: they lose their tempers and do bad work, they are often late or heard complaining about management and job conditions. Yet, they feel compelled to give their testimony. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him (Titus 1:16). A "voice" in their minds compels them to "witness for Jesus." Sometimes that voice is the Holy Spirit, but more often it is not. Undaunted, they are sure it is from heaven, since they feel "guilty" until they witness and
feel "good" afterward.


There is one sure way to know if the voice urging you to witness is from God: If the voice speaking to you is the audible voice of someone who has seen your good works and is asking about your way of life, that voice has been inspired by God. When people see Christ in you - in your patience when wronged, your peace in adversity, your forgiveness amidst cruelty - they will ask about your hope.

The Seed of Reproduction is in Your Fruit

If your conversion is genuine, you found a love for Jesus that is, in itself, a witness of His life. Unfortunately, we often seek to lead people into our religion instead of to Christ. How often we seek to convert our family and friends into a particular church structure. People must be led to Jesus, not merely to church.

Let us always remember, Jesus wants to reach people, not drive them away. How does God expect us to do that? First, let us make sure our conversion is real, that we have truly given over our lives to Jesus Christ. Then, determine to bear the spiritual fruit of love and humility in your life.

In the Garden of Eden the Lord placed trees with "seed in the fruit." Remember, beloved, the seed that has power to reproduce life is in the fruit. If you would like to see the life of Christ reproduced in your loved ones or friends, walk in the fruit of the Spirit, for the power of reproduction is in the seed and the seed is in your fruit. The fruit we must display comes from the Tree of Life, which brings "healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:2). It is not in the tree of knowledge of good and evil - legalistic laws, judging what is wrong in people.

A Sure Sign

Should you sin or stumble before them, which we all do at times, repent both to God and to those you have sinned against. A sincere repentance to an unsaved person is a sure sign that God is both real and in control of your life!

Parents: do you want your children raised for Christ? Do you want your words to impart eternal life? Walk in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As your children are nourished by the fruit in your life, the seeds within your fruitfulness will reproduce in your family the same qualities. Would you convert your spouse? Your parents? Your friends? Walk in the fruit of the Spirit, in love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Those who know you will find your life veryattractive, for through your life they will see the holy life of Jesus.

Adapted from Holiness, Truth and the Presence of God

By Francis Frangipane
Web: http://www.frangipane.org/ Email: comments@frangipane.org

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I don't normally mass mail...but I sent these articles out. If you have time to read this here, I encourage you to do so.

LIE # 1 - "ASK JESUS into our Heart"
-by Andrew Strom.

One of the most basic things that has amazed me for
many years is the preaching of "Giving your heart to the
Lord" or "Asking Jesus into your life" to become a
Christian. Do we not realize that such a practice is
found NOWHERE in the entire Bible? Is there ANY
example of someone "asking Jesus into their heart"
(or similar) to become a Christian in the book of Acts?
NO - NOT EVEN ONE. The book of Acts is full of literally
thousands of people becoming born-again Christians.
And we are often told exactly what these people did. But
there is no record of any of them doing anything like
"asking Jesus into their heart" to be saved.

Now SURELY, if the church has even remotely got it's
act together, it would have this one thing right. Surely
this has got to be one of the most crucial and basic
points in the whole New Testament:- How exactly are
people supposed to become Christians? What were they
told to do in the New Testament? A very simple and
straight-forward question, you would think. And so vitally important.

But incredibly, it seems that very few of us have even
bothered to ask this question or to take on board the
glaringly obvious answer. Here we have one of the most
vital, fundamental points that it is possible to have in
Christianity:- "What shall we DO TO BE SAVED?" And
generally speaking, our answer today is utterly different
from that of the apostles. Incredible really, isn't it? It's
right there in black-and-white, time after time! But
TRADITION has blinded our eyes to the Truth. And I'm
sure that even many of you reading this will be shocked
at how obvious the truth of this matter is.

Let's start with the day of Pentecost (-a great place to
begin!) As we all know, the Holy Spirit fell on the 120,
and they all began to speak in tongues. This is officially
known by theologians as the birth of the Church - the
beginning of Christianity as we know it. And after Peter
preached his convicting sermon to the gathered crowd
that day, another 3000 people were added to the church.
And we are told exactly what occurred:- "... They were
cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the
apostles, 'Brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO?' And Peter
said to them, 'REPENT, and be BAPTIZED every one of
you in the name of Jesus Christ for the FORGIVENESS
OF YOUR SINS; and you shall receive the gift of the
HOLY SPIRIT'" (Acts 2:37-38 RSV). Notice how different
Peter's reply is to what we tell people today. We might
have said something like, "Just say this little prayer after
me" but Peter said nothing like that at all.

There were three elements to what Peter told them:-
REPENTANCE, WATER-BAPTISM and receiving the
HOLY SPIRIT. We see this pattern repeated again and
again, right through the book of Acts (-in fact, throughout
the New Testament writings) in the most glaringly obvious
way. And yet still we hear, "Just ask Jesus into your
heart" preached throughout Christendom today.

The next significant people-group to be reached by the
early Christians were the Samaritans. In Acts chapter 8
we read how Philip the evangelist saw massive Revival in
Samaria:- "But when they believed Philip as he preached
good news about the kingdom of God and the name of
Jesus Christ, they were BAPTIZED, both men and women...
Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that
they might RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT" (Acts 8:12-17).
Note the identical pattern to the salvations on the day of
Pentecost.

I hope you realize that we have been talking about
THOUSANDS of conversions here. And NOT ONE of
them involved "Giving their heart to the Lord" or "Inviting
Jesus to be their personal savior". If you look up these
Scriptures in Acts, you will see that every time it was
"Repentance, Baptism and Recieiving the Holy Spirit".
-Over and over again.

The next significant people-group to be reached by the
early church were the 'Godly' gentiles (-Acts chapters 10
and 11). Peter was led to preach to Cornelius and his
household. And God suddenly moved even while he was
still preaching!:- "While Peter was still saying this, the
HOLY SPIRIT FELL on all who heard the word... they
heard them SPEAKING IN TONGUES and extolling God.
Then Peter declared, 'Can anyone forbid water for
BAPTIZING these people who have RECEIVED THE HOLY
SPIRIT just as we have?' And he commanded them to
be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:44-48).
Peter later described the scene again: "As I began to
speak, the Holy Spirit FELL ON THEM just as on us at
the beginning" (Acts 11:15). He also referred to it as them
being "Baptized in the Holy Spirit" (Acts 11:16). I hope
you can see from these passages that the Holy Spirit
'FALLING' upon people is the same experience as people
'RECEIVING' or being 'BAPTIZED' in the Holy Spirit.

Thus we see the same pattern as before, in the salvation
experience of Cornelius' household - (1) Repentant hearts,
(2) Receiving the Holy Spirit and (3) Baptism.

Another good example involves some disciples of John
the Baptist whom Paul met at Ephesus:- "And Paul said,
'John baptized with the baptism of REPENTANCE, telling
the people to believe in the one who was to come after
him, that is, Jesus.' On hearing this, they were BAPTIZED
in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid his
hands upon them, the HOLY SPIRIT came on them; and
they SPOKE WITH TONGUES and prophesied" (Acts 19:1-6).
I guess I hardly need to point out the pattern by now?

Notice too that there were no "instructional classes" to
prepare people for baptism. All the way through the book
of Acts, people were baptized STRAIGHT AWAY, as
soon as they were believing and repentant. With the
Phillipian jailer, he and his entire household were
baptized immediately - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
(-Acts 16:32-33). With the Ethiopian eunuch, he was
baptized by Philip straight away, in some water that they
saw while travelling in his chariot (Acts 8:35-38). And
the apostle Paul himself was baptized immediately by the
disciple Ananias, who said something very interesting to
Paul beforehand:- "Rise and be BAPTIZED, and WASH
AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on His name" (Acts 22:16).
This verse would be treated almost like "heresy" by
many in today's church. How shocking to imply that
baptism might have something to do with forgiveness
and cleansing from our past sins! However, there are
many verses like it scattered throughout the New
Testament. Also note that Paul was told this DAYS
AFTER he had had his blinding 'Damascus Road'
experience. Today's Christians might assume that Paul
was "born again" during this blinding encounter with
God. Not so. Not until Paul was to be BAPTIZED was
he to have his sins "washed away". This is clearly
what the Scriptures say. Arguments, anyone?

Many Christians are taught today that Baptism is basic-
ally a 'symbolic' act. In my youth I was raised mainly in
Baptist churches, and they always taught that baptism
is an "outward SYMBOL of an inner change". Thus
baptism is stripped of much of it's significance and
power in Christian thinking. For a "symbol" is never as
important as the real thing, is it? I have studied baptism
extensively in the New Testament. It is NEVER spoken
of as a mere 'SYMBOL'. Rather, it is spoken of as
being a 'circumcision of the heart', a "cutting off", a
"burial" into the DEATH of Christ. And it is also spoken
of as being "for the forgiveness of sins" and to "wash
one's sins away". I am convinced that in the spirit
realm (from God's point of view), baptism is seen as a
LITERAL "burial into death" (-see Romans 6) which has
a profound effect on our hearts and lives. But still we
preach, "Ask Jesus into your heart", and deny many
people one of the most vital keys to living a Christian
life. I am also convinced that baptism MUST be by
'FULL IMMERSION'. Sprinkling little infants is not
enough. This must be baptism for BELIEVERS. And
the original Greek word 'baptizo' actually means "TO DIP
OR IMMERSE". So people must be 'buried' under the
water in baptism, not just sprinkled. (-I'm sure most of
you already agree with this).

Likewise I am convinced that Baptism in the Holy Spirit
(accompanied by 'speaking in tongues') is ESSENTIAL.
It is NOT just an option. As we have seen in the book of
Acts, the way that people became Christians in the New
Testament was to (1) Repent, (2) Be Baptized in water
and (3) Be Baptized in the Holy Spirit (accompanied
by 'tongues' as far as we can tell). What right do we have
to change the fundamental teachings and practices of
the Bible, just so we can make things more "convenient"
for new converts? Unless we are getting people saved
the Bible way, how can we claim to be getting them
saved at all?

We are forever talking about being "born again" in the
church today. But are we truly getting people 'born
again' like they did in Acts? Bearing in mind the
pattern that we have seen in the New Testament, what
exactly do you think Jesus was talking about when He
declared that, "Unless a man is born of WATER and of
THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"?
(Jn 3:5). Born of WATER, born of the SPIRIT.
Hmmmmmm. That's a tough one!

Baptism in water and the Spirit are never regarded as
mere 'options' in the Scriptures. In fact they are clearly
ESSENTIAL experiences to begin to walk in Christ's
kingdom. There are many Scriptures on this that are
often bypassed today or regarded as "inexplicable"
because they do not fit in with current tradition. Please
take the time to look up the following:-
Mark 16:16-18, 1 Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5-6, 1 Cor 10:1-2,
Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 12:13, Heb 6:1-2, Rom 6:2-11,
Rom 8:9, Mt 28:19, etc.

I really mean it. Please do take the time to look at the
above Scriptures if you have any interest in this issue at
all. Many people write to me with their opinions, saying,
"I cannot believe you are teaching this." -And yet they
have never bothered to actually look up the Scriptures
on the subject! PLEASE read Acts and look up the
above Scriptures before sending me your views.

It is my belief that there are a number of important
teachings and practices from the early church that will
be restored during the coming Revival. (-God often
does this in Revivals). I am convinced that the above
teaching will be one of them. (-I have believed this for
many years).

I realize that I have probably shocked and provoked a
number of you with this article. Please believe me, I
myself was very shocked when I first came face-to-face
with these truths some years ago. They really are very
apparent when you study them, but I was blind to them
for many years. I was amongst those who gave out
tracts like 'The Four Spiritual Laws' and led people in
the "sinner's prayer". Like many, I would back this up by
mis-applying Rev 3:20 - "Behold I stand at the door and
knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door I
will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me."
It was only later that I realized that, as Leonard
Ravenhill points out, this Scripture is clearly aimed at
the CHURCH, not at unconverted sinners. It is Jesus
standing outside the 'Laodicean' church, trying to get in!
Please go and read the whole passage - Rev 3:14-21.
You will see what I mean. It is very clear.

I am not ashamed that I used to preach these things.
It was all I knew at the time. But I was certainly shocked
to discover how much of the basic gospel I was leaving
out. Like me, there are a number of you who will have to
"search the Scriptures to see if these things be so" just
as the Bereans did. Believe me, I fought these truths for
months before I simply ran out of corners to back into.
I knew the implications of this were huge and I just did
not want to face it. But there they are in black and white.
And this is not a trivial matter. These are key gospel
truths that we are talking about here.

After writing the first version of this article, many people
wrote to me pointing out that the THIEF ON THE CROSS
was not baptized or Spirit-filled, yet he was clearly saved.
Please believe me, I had all these same objections when
I first came across this teaching. But God annihilated all
my excuses one by one. So let me deal with this "THIEF
ON THE CROSS" thing right here.

The most obvious question is:- When did this event occur -
was it under the OLD Covenant or the NEW Covenant?
When Jesus proffered salvation to the thief, was the Old
Covenant still in place, or had the New begun? For clearly,
it only became possible to become an actual CHRISTIAN
(-born again - a member of Christ's body) AFTER the New
Covenant had started. And for the New Covenant to begin,
Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb had to die and also be RAISED
FROM THE DEAD. The New Covenant could not begin
until this occurred. Surely we all know this? Jesus had to
die and be raised from the dead, and then ascend into
heaven, sending His Holy Spirit, before the Church could
truly begin or people could start becoming born-again
Christians. That is why people in the Old Testament, or
even in Jesus' own day were not "born again" the way we
are today. They simply couldn't be. Remember, Jesus
said that John the Baptist was the greatest born among
men, but even the least in the kingdom was greater than he.
John the Baptist couldn't become a "born-again Christian"
because the New Covenant had not yet begun. I bet he
would have loved the opportunity! Jesus died in agony and
was raised again, to purchase for us this wonderful new
life in Him. Surely we all know this? GLORY TO GOD!!

Now back to the thief. Did he have his conversation with
Jesus and die under the New Covenant or the Old? The
answer, obviously, is:- The OLD Covenant. He was
presumably a Jew - one of God's chosen people (though a
sinner), who received a wonderful pardon from Jesus when
he repented and turned to Him. But those were very
different conditions to those that we live under today. We
now have a NEW Covenant - a NEW "agreement" with
God, very different from the Old. We have a new and living
way in which to walk. How do we enter into it? By being
born again - of water and the Spirit. And this has only
been possible since Pentecost - the day the church
began. I am not saying that "death-bed repentance" is
not possible today. I'm sure that God has reached down
in His mercy many times to people who have turned to
Him when they were close to death. But these are
special cases. They are not the "norm" for New Testament
Christianity. Repentance, Baptism and receiving the Holy
Spirit are ESSENTIAL to enter into the New Covenant, I believe.

As I said, many people offer me their own views and
opinions on all this without truly studying the basic
Scriptures on the matter. It is important to remember that
fundamental doctrines are not about mere opinion. They
are about what the SCRIPTURES SAY. I tell you, I have
put MONTHS of study and prayer into this whole subject.
I could tell that it really was THAT important. I honestly
considered EVERYTHING - every angle I could find.
Please treat this with the seriousness that it is due. This
is a very crucial area. I believe these are SALVATION
issues that are being discussed here. And the case is
enormously strong. Just read the Scriptures. (-It should
take less than an hour to read through the Scriptures
highlighted above). I urge any of you who are the least bit
interested in this to PLEASE read those Scriptures.

I am well aware that 'doctrine' tends to be divisive by it's
very nature. And I know that I am taking a big risk talking
so openly about such a controversial teaching. I try and
keep right away from doctrinal debates in general. It is
only the most fundamental and important issues that
I bother making a fuss about. You will notice that even
though I run a 'Prophetic' site, there are no debates about
the 'Pre-trib'/ Post-trib positions or the exact meaning of
Daniel's 70 weeks, etc. I just find such debates pointless
and utterly dull, to be honest. I heard the arguments many
moons ago, and just cannot stomach any more. I have no
desire for nit-picking arguments. But the BIG issues, like
New Testament salvation and God's plan for His church -
these things I really do care about. For I believe the devil
is robbing us blind in some of these crucial areas. And
God wants to restore these truths to the church.

Just imagine for a moment that I am right, and baptism
and receiving the Holy Spirit are a lot more important
than we have been led to believe. Just think how many
thousands of believers around the world today have
received the Holy Spirit (including 'tongues') but have
simply not bothered getting baptized. After all, it's only
"symbolic", right? Or perhaps they say, "I got sprinkled
as a baby." I myself know many people in this exact
position. I think it's terrible, and I believe God does too.
Not to mention all the believers who still have not been
baptized in the Holy Spirit. Don't you think God's heart
aches over all this? Why do people ignore His commands?
Our church traditions and habitual patterns have a lot to
answer for in this area. This has got to change, my
friends. And I believe it will only change when the
underlying doctrines are challenged. But if I am right,
the devil will fight this all the way. He likes anything
that leaves believers impoverished or still chained up in
any way. This really is crucial doctrine, otherwise I simply
would not bother with it. I have really stuck my neck on
the line and risked my reputation over this. And I do not do so lightly.

I have been accused of being "legalistic" and 'majoring on
minor points' by a couple of readers. I really cannot see
this. As I have said, some doctrine is "straining at gnats"
and some is really crucial. I believe this issue falls into the
second category. Others accused me of being "too literal"!
(I had to laugh over this). Now this is basic Bible doctrine
we are talking about here, isn't it? Too literal? What on
earth else should we be?

Other readers accused me of believing in "baptismal
regeneration". This is not the case. I believe that
(1) Repentance, (2) Water-Baptism and (3) Receiving the
Holy Spirit, are ALL ESSENTIAL. I do not believe in
"baptismal" regeneration. These elements are all equally
important and we need to have all three to be able to call
ourselves 'New Testament Christians', as far as I can see.

Other readers have brought up the verse in Romans that
says "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the
dead you will be saved" (Rom 10:9). Actually, a number
of theologians believe that this statement was used as a
kind of "baptismal confession" in the early church. I
remember a fellowship I was involved with years ago that
used it in exactly this way. To me, this verse "proves" little
doctrinally, either way. It needs to be put into context with
the WHOLE New Testament to gain the proper perspective
on it. I certainly don't see it as proof for 'asking Jesus into
our heart'.

One of the most serious allegations I have faced is that I
am preaching a kind of "justification by works" by saying
that baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are so essential.
And that I am "adding to the gospel" and taking away
people's freedom like the Galatians!! Serious charges,
indeed. But let's look at this carefully. Is baptism a "work"
that I can do to myself? Is receiving the Holy Spirit a "work"?
I don't think so! These are initial experiences that are
'DONE TO US' or given to us - they're not things that we
can "DO" ourselves, as such. Can I baptize myself? No!
And isn't it a brief one-off act of simple faith and obedience
anyway? To me, baptism is no more a "work" than, say,
the act of "praying a sinner's prayer". The act of opening
one's mouth, moving one's jaws and praying is not seen as
a work. And neither should baptism be. They only take an
instant, after all. The real question is:- Is baptism a truly
spiritual act, or is it merely a symbolic ritual? That is the
real question. This also brings up the whole issue of
'convenience'. For we love neat little packages that are
comfortable and easy in this age, don't we? (-"Just asking
Jesus in"). And baptism is so wet and messy, we think.
But at the end of the day, what it boils down to is this:-
We have to make a decision between doing things the
Bible way and doing things the modern 'convenient' way.
It is that simple.

Now, onto something else that numerous people raised:-
Where does FAITH come into all this? Aren't we supposed
to be saved by FAITH? Absolutely! And faith is at a
premium right through this whole thing. What happens
when someone hears the gospel and BELIEVES it? (-A
crucially important moment). Are they automatically a
'Christian' now? Just through believing what they have
heard? Or do they have to act on that belief in some way
to become a Christian? Were the Jews who were 'cut to
the heart' when Peter preached at Pentecost automatically
Christians right then at that moment, or did they have to
DO something in FAITH to become Christians? Clearly, they
needed to DO something, because Peter told them, "Repent
and be baptized, and you will receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit." And it is clear that each one of these elements
involves the exercise of faith in Jesus.

However, I believe that when the Bible speaks of the
"faith that saves us", and being "JUSTIFIED BY FAITH",
it is speaking of the LIFE OF FAITH that we undertake
after we have become a Christian. It is 'WALKING IN
FAITH' day by day, moment by moment, after having
become a Christian that justifies us before God. It is the
covering of the blood of Jesus that hides our sin and
makes us clean in God's sight. If we are walking in faith,
covered by the blood, we are saved, and we must
continue to walk in it. And it is clear in the Scriptures
that it is only by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that
we can walk in this kind of saving faith. This faith is a gift
from God -"Not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast..."
Like the love of God, this faith is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us. So how
can we obtain it without RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT?
(-Which brings us back to Repentance, Baptism and
Receiving the Holy Spirit as our ESSENTIAL starting point in the faith).

Actually, a couple of readers mentioned something quite
interesting about baptism in the book of Acts. For it is
noticeable in Acts that everyone was baptized "IN THE
NAME OF THE LORD JESUS" or in the 'NAME OF
JESUS CHRIST'. Now most churches today baptize in
the name of the 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit', and I guess
this is a small point, but I believe that if they felt it was
important in Acts to speak the name of Jesus Christ
over people as they were baptized, then I should do it too.
I am not legalistic about the need for this, but personally
these days I baptize people "in the name of the Father
and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the NAME OF
JESUS CHRIST". (-To make sure all the bases are
covered).

To sum up, it is my belief that God has been slowly
restoring truth to the church over the centuries since the
Dark Ages when so much had been lost. Luther's
Reformation saw the restoration of 'Justification by Faith',
the Anabaptists re-introduced baptism by immersion,
Wesley re-introduced the importance of the 'new birth',
and this century the Pentecostals re-discovered the
infilling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. (There have
been many other things over time also, but this is just a
simple overview). It is my belief that we are now at the
stage where God wishes to restore the church to her
true original glory, with all the basic doctrines and
practices, "church life" and the full original gospel, the
'five-fold' ministries, etc. -Everything. That is what is
about to occur in the coming Revival, I believe. And that
is another reason why I believe basic New Testament
doctrines are so important.

In past centuries, as now, the believers of that time
walked in the light that they had, and God will judge them
according to the light that was available to them. But now
it is time to see the church truly restored to fullness in
many areas. And it is going to be UNCOMFORTABLE,
and it will surely leave much "SHAKEN" in it's wake. A
new Reformation is coming, and it is important that it
leaves nothing undone that needs doing. Otherwise our
children are going to have to have a further Reformation
to correct all that we left undone. Let's make it as
complete as possible this time, shall we? For Christ
cannot return until a glorious Bride is made ready for
Him, without "spot or wrinkle or any such thing".
Surely we live in the days of the 'restoration of all
things' about which the Scriptures speak.

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.


======================================

CHURCH BUILDINGS are NOT in the Bible
-by Andrew Strom.

This is a simple statement of fact: Church buildings are
not in the Bible. Period. They simply do not exist. They
are another invention of man. You can search the entire
New Testament from beginning to end and you will find
no mention of them at all. It was only after two
centuries, when the church was slowly giving way to
apostacy and deception, that church buildings began to
appear. Even then, they were often just two houses
joined together. It was not until after 300AD, when the
church fell into gross Roman apostacy, that "cathedrals"
began to be built.

A lot of people think that us having church buildings
today "doesn't really matter". -They say buildings are
kind-of 'neutral'. -That they don't really affect us. They
are just a building, after all.

But I disagree strongly with this. I believe there is a
whole mindset and a whole pattern of "learnt behaviour"
that goes with church buildings. We find this difficult to
see, because we are so used to them. But I believe
that they are VERY harmful and affect us in all kinds
of ways that we are not even aware of.

Below are some brief quotes from scholars and historians
who have looked into this subject:

"'We have no temples or altars.' This statement, referring
to Christians, comes from the pen of the apologist Minicus
Felix, c 200, and all evidence supports its accuracy.
Throughout at least the first two centuries there were no
church buildings as such" (-J.G. Davies).

"When the church was very young, it had no buildings.
Let us begin with that striking fact. That the church had
no buildings is the most noticeable of the points of
difference between the church of the early days and the
church of today. In the minds of most people today,
"church" means first a building, probably something else
second; but seldom does "the church" stand for anything
other than a building. Yet here is the fact with which we
start: the early church possessed no buildings and
carried on its work for a great many years without
erecting any." (-Ernest Loosley).

"The church�s greatest period of vitality and growth until
recent times was during the first two centuries A.D. In
other words, the church grew fastest when it did not
have the help or hindrance of church buildings."
(-Howard Snyder).

ANDREW STROM again: Isn't this a remarkable thing?
Here we are in the 21st Century, still pouring so much
money and pain and sacrifice into our buildings - and
yet the whole concept is not even in the Bible!

So how did the early believers gather together then? Well,
there are two answers to this. A lot of people in the
"house church" movement will tell you that the early
Christians simply met in homes. They are right, but that
is only half the story. For in the early church in Jerusalem
they not only met in homes, but the apostles also held
massive OPEN-AIR meetings every day. -Huge outdoor
gatherings.

Where did they hold these great open-air meetings? -In
a place called "Solomon's Porch" - which was in the
most crowded and well-travelled part of Jerusalem. In
fact, it was right "in the face" of hundreds and thousands
of people passing by on foot. Solomon's Porch was in
the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' which was a huge open
courtyard (the size of 5 football fields) attached to the
main Temple. In a lot of ways it served as the "town
square" of Jerusalem. Hundreds upon hundreds of
people passed through it every day. And there they
could see the apostles, teaching and healing the sick
right in front of the whole world. What a great place for
Revival meetings!! (-Actually, this is where Jesus
preached when he was in Jerusalem also).

That is why I talk so often about an "outdoor church"
and a "street revival". The fact of the matter is that
the original church WAS an 'outdoor church'. But you
would never know it looking at today's church, would
you? What we do today is hide ourselves away from
the world - behind 'four walls' (which usually cost a
fortune to build). How sad. And how unscriptural.

Jesus' ministry was mostly in the open air. John the
Baptist's ministry was very much in the open air.
The Book of Acts church in Jerusalem was mostly
in the open air. But we are the very opposite. And it
is costing us millions each year to erect more "walls".
No wonder we don't impact the world like we should!

Apart from the huge outdoor gatherings, the only other
place that the early believers seemed to meet was in
homes. There they would gather most days, sharing
their lives with one another. -Eating and taking
communion together, praying, operating spiritual gifts
and teaching new converts. -A whole lifestyle of love
and community. That is what the early church was
like. And no "church buildings" in sight.

Read this carefully (-Acts 2:42-46, NIV):
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and
to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and
miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the
believers were together and had everything in common...
Every day they continued to meet together in the
temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate
together with glad and sincere hearts." (-See also
Acts 4:32-35, Acts 5:12-16, etc).

So now we can see why, all the way through the New
Testament, Paul speaks about the "church that meets
in so-and-so's house":- "To Archippus our fellow soldier
and to the church that meets in YOUR HOME" (Phile v 2);
"Aquila and Priscilla great you warmly in the Lord, and
so does the church that meets at THEIR HOUSE"
(1 Cor 16:19). See also Rom 16:5, Col 4:15, etc.

When you really look into it, you discover that the New
Testament Church was simply one huge network of
house churches - all united "as one". These were not
independent fellowships or denominations. They were
"one church" - one body - under the leadership of the
apostles. No divisions or separations at all. How very
different from today.

The Damage Being Done

So what harm is it doing - for our church life to be so
focused around church buildings today? -I believe it is
doing enormous harm. You cannot stray so far from the
New Testament pattern without it doing tremendous
damage. But we in the church have been living with
church buildings for so many centuries now that we
hardly even notice.

As Beckham wrote concerning the Roman influence
on today's church: "Using a combination of the Roman
governmental and feudal systems, Emporer Constantine
developed a church structure that has lasted for seventeen
centuries.... People go to a building (cathedral) on a
special day of the week (Sunday) and someone (a priest,
or today, a pastor) does something to them (teaching,
preaching, absolution or healing) or for them (a ritual or
entertainment) for a price (offerings)."

-This is the way the church has operated right through
the Dark Ages and up to now. All of the above comes
from Romanism, not from true Christianity. It cannot be
found in the New Testament at all. But today we accept
it as "normal". And it is robbing us blind. How deceived we are.

Here are the specific ways that I believe 'church buildings'
damage and ruin Christianity:
(1) Church buildings lock us "inside" - away from the world that we are called to reach. This one aspect alone is good enough reason to abandon them.

(2) They waste colossal sums of money - literally billions of dollars just in the USA alone. This often puts real "money pressure" on preachers and congregations alike. And it tends to make modern Christianity revolve around "money, money, money".

(3) Church buildings completely scramble our concept of what the "church" is. Many of us start to think of it as a BUILDING - instead of actual PEOPLE. We start to talk about "going to church" instead of realizing that "We ARE the church". This often leads to Christians leading two separate lives - their 'church' life and their "rest of the week" life. What a disaster! It also leads to all kinds of foolishness - such as referring to our building as 'The House of God' and treating it as 'holy', etc. No
end of confusion and deception revolve around all of this.

(4) The building is really the center of an entire mindset of "Religion" and error - dating from the Roman takeover of the church 1700 years ago. It is the CENTERPIECE of the deception.

(5) The very concept of separated, walled-off congregations - each in its own little 'box' - lends itself to denominations and divisions and sects. Separate church buildings are a very big factor in DIVIDING the Body of Christ today. If we can get out of the buildings, there will be far more unity.

(6) Just think of all the committees and boards and fund-raising and loans and accountants that we could get rid of - just by getting RID OF OUR BUILDINGS! This is the 'red tape' and the subtle "money" pressure that ties the church up with the affairs of this world rather than the true work of the kingdom. How clever the devil is.

(7) Instead of "going into all the world making disciples", what often ends up happening today is "going into all the world and erecting monoliths wherever we go." The energy and time and money wasted on these things is staggering.

(8) Above all else, the best argument against church buildings is this: They are NOT IN THE BIBLE.

At this point a lot of people ask questions like, "But what happens when the weather is bad?" or "What do we do during winter?" The answer is pretty simple: We hire a warehouse or a disused carpark or something for 4 months and go out again when the weather improves. We also have our HOMES to gather in, all year round.

Remember, the early church was very PRACTICAL about such things. If you need to hire some place temporarily then DO IT. But please do not get stuck in a church building!

I believe we are about to see a powerful move of God and a great 'SHAKING' in the church - that will bring her into the kind of glorious, united, OUTDOOR Christianity that we have been talking about here. Personally, I can't wait!

God bless you all.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.
____________________
SOURCES:
-Ernest Loosley, "When The Church Was Young".
-J.G. Davies, "Secular Use of Church Buildings".
-Howard Snyder, "The Problem of Wineskins"
-Beckham, "Second Reformation".
- www.churchinfocus.org .
-Darryl M. Erkel, "Church Buildings or House-Churches?"
- www.housechurch.org , "Miscellaneous House Church Quotes".
-M. Brown, "Revolution in the Church".
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