Saturday, February 06, 2010


(1131) Nehemiah 8- This is really a key chapter. After the walls are built the process of reviving the community can move ahead. Nehemiah already gave the ‘charge’ of the city to two men who he could trust [last chapter] sort of like a Timothy, Titus deal with Paul. Now he lets Ezra do the pulpit preaching! Ezra begins reading straight from the law and gives the understanding, read this chapter and see how many times it says ‘they gave the understanding, the people were very attentive’ it reminds you of the description of the people who heard Jesus! I want to emphasize that Ezra and the teachers [Levites] were simply giving the people Gods word in context! There is a trend going on right now where some of the ‘flashy, young’ pastors are returning to the historic gospel and preaching the word IN CONTEXT! These past few years many of the mega churches focused on a ‘be all you can be’ type message, but there is a new focus going back to the ‘old word’ and simply teaching it in context. You don’t need Paul’s ‘new perspective’ on justification to make it interesting, while some of these viewpoints have stuff to add to our learning [I like N.T. Wright personally] yet the classic Pauline doctrine of justification by faith is more than enough to satisfy the hungry heart! Ezra gave the ‘sense’ and meaning of the law, and the people soaked it in. They are all gathered together at the ‘water gate’ [too much typology to do it all] and the people as ‘one man’ receive the word. Let me quickly quote a bunch of scattered verses ‘the people will come up like a river who overflows her banks and pour out into Judah’ ‘the people will be like fountains dispersed abroad’ ‘out of our bellies shall flow rivers of living water’ ‘pour out your Spirit on our seed’ ‘let your doctrine drop down like rain, your speech distill like dew’. God pours and flows his Spirit thru his people to the nations. The fact that Ezra is pouring Gods word into the people, before the temple [building] is even rebuilt is important. In this picture Gods people are the temple! A few points; Nehemiah willingly functioned as the governor [a type of an apostle] when it came time to hand over the leadership to others, he did it! Often times in modern church scenarios we don’t practice this part well, we feel like ‘geez, I spent my time building this thing, I deserve to be the main person’! In the New Testament churches there were no ‘main persons’, that is the communities that Paul was building were not ‘local churches’ that were providing him with long term income. These communities were the people of God who had the ability to function on their own after Paul left. The local leaders [elders/pastors] were simply men who had a stable grasp of doctrine that the local believers knew they could look to for support. Elders were more like facilitators of the corporate/communal experience, they were not professional speakers that the people listened to week after week! So this distinction is important to see. To all you ‘church planters’ out there [we have a lot of contacts from Kenya, some from Pakistan] understand that the apostles/governors played an important role in setting doctrine, letting the elders and people know what was true and what was false, but the apostle/church planter doesn’t have to be ‘the weekly’ speaker to any specific group of people. It’s okay to have a routine forum in which you can communicate on a regular basis to the communities that your are planting [I use this blog and radio] but don’t think you personally have to ‘be there’ every week! Nehemiah had the self security to hand the daily functions over to trusted men and allow them to ‘get the glory’. I find it interesting that after many years of church planting the apostle Paul wound up living in a rented room in Rome and preaching to those who would listen. Was poor Paul ‘devaluing himself’ by not setting a high salary! [silly things that preachers fall into by using the standards of modern business as opposed to the New Testament] Paul purposefully told us time and again why he did not set up for himself a steady ‘cash flow’ from the communities he was establishing [read Acts 20]. Leaders today need to re evaluate what their doing and why their doing it. Leaders need the self confidence to be able to ‘walk away’ from the communities they are building and to allow the saints themselves to learn how to become dependant/interdependent. Governors [apostles] need to have the self assurance to let the Ezra’s [scribes/teachers] come in and ‘get the glory’ leaders need a basic overhaul in why they do the things they do.

(1129) I am somewhat hesitant about sharing this, but will do it anyway. This morning I had a dream, I was back at the fire house and we had a major wreck. Somehow I found myself preserving the severed hands of a victim. Either his hands were purposefully amputated to save the limb, or maybe just severed. My job was to preserve the hands [to be honest, I think I also might have been used to remove them?] I wasn’t sure if this had any meaning at all. Then I read Nehemiah chapter 6 and he says ‘oh God, strengthen my hands for the work’. I also felt like the words of Jesus ‘if your hand offends you, cut it off’ applied. While we know the Lord doesn’t mean this literally, it does speak of removing the things that are in the way, getting rid of the trash, so to speak. One of the verses in Nehemiah says ‘the workers are tired and there is much rubbish’ speaking of the hindrances to the work. In this chapter the critics are trying to get a message to Nehemiah, they keep sending signals, but he won’t bite. They want him to come to them and justify his work. He says no way ‘I am doing a great work, I don’t have time to set it aside and go justify it to my critics!’ The critics went out on a limb already, they publicly prophesied of failure, now they have a personal reason to make their prediction come true! In this chapter we also read of a bunch of ‘prophets’ and a prophetess who tried to hinder Gods work. Let me make a note here, in Gods work in general you will always have people who feel that they are personally called to be ‘your prophet’ that is they become consumed with how you personally respond to their views. Some of these people mean well, others do not. In Nehemiah’s case the men who publicly reproved him were trying hard to stop him. They finally send an open letter accusing him of wanting to build the wall so he could become the new king! The charge was ‘he’s in this for himself, self gain’ now be careful here, Nehemiah thwarts this charge by actually not ‘being in charge for good’! there are many contemporary challenges to present church structures that do say ‘the modern view of church leadership is geared towards the promotion of the talented leader’ in many cases this reproof is accurate. In order for this charge ‘not to be accurate’ you must ultimately do the John the Baptist thing and decrease! John said ‘he must increase and I must decrease’ so here we see that Nehemiah had no problem using his skill and position to accomplish Gods work, but he will eventually walk away and leave the city in the hands of the people, he is not building the wall and city so he could have some permanent type of leadership position, he was not trying to ‘become the king’. Nehemiah finishes the wall in 52 days, quite a feat. He faces accusations, false prophets and much criticism, if you read the one liners from Nehemiah, you get the sense that he was so occupied with the work that he didn’t take a lot of ‘down time’ to think things out. He just shoots up a quick prayer ‘strengthen my hands’ or ‘look upon the critics and help us’ he simply rolls along and finishes the work as God ordained. He listens to good advice, but manages to discern between the good and bad. He refuses self preservation, one of the schemers tries to get him to hide in the temple [use Gods work for self preservation] and he refuses to do it! It would have taken away from his radical reputation as someone who was not seeking self gain. He asked God to strengthen his hands, to help him have the sufficient skills to complete the task. He, like the apostle Paul, will eventually walk away from the work, he will not create a ‘church/ministry’ that will become a lifetime financial source of income or personal prestige, he will simply build Gods work and then move on, how bout you? [note- this does not mean all Pastors have to eventually leave town! You did have elders who stayed in the communities of the new testament, but as an apostle, Paul functioned in an itinerant way. He was not looking to the churches as a permanent source of income or position]

(1128) yesterday I got with a few homeless buddies, found out that Eddy got arrested and sent back to San Antonio, some sort of serial killer charge, KIDDING! A child support thing, it is funny, the guys have picked up my morbid sense of humor. One time I had Tim with me, a good friend who has been homeless for years. We picked up my daughter from school, they know my friends and all, sometimes as they were growing up they would drive by them with their high school friends and all, see them at the corners. They would be like ‘oh, those are my dad’s friends’. So when I had Tim in the truck as we were picking up my daughter, I tell her ‘this is my friend Tim, he has spent many years in prison [she looks at me like ‘are you kidding me dad, picking me up from school with these bums in the truck!’] Tim tells her ‘yes, I had some serial killer charges that I was dealing with at the time’ he was kidding too! But anyway Eddy got sent to San Antonio, and the cops have been harassing some of the guys. I also wanted to talk a little bit more on Nehemiah chapter 5, Nehemiah really gets on the nobles/elders, he tells them that they were putting too much of a burden on Gods people, some of them were going into debt to simply pay the required taxes to the leaders. Nehemiah rebukes them strongly! He says ‘all the time I was laboring among you as a governor, I turned down the normal pay governors get. I also paid out of my own pocket for the expenses of my team and staff, plus I did not purchase any real estate of my own, but totally dedicated myself to the cause’. The nobles were engaging in the building up of their own financial fortunes, understand this wasn’t forbidden in and of itself, but at the same time the average people were being told to do and give more, to the point where they were actually going in debt as the leaders were increasing in wealth, Nehemiah felt this was wrong. Like the apostle Paul, he would lay down the right to build wealth [purchasing his own land] while working and leading Gods flock. He simply felt it to be a wrong example for him to be gaining in wealth while the people were going into debt; he laid down his own right to prosper for the sake of the people. One of the things Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for was they were putting heavy burdens on the people, but they themselves were not willing to bear the same load. Often times in the world of ‘full time ministry’ we see good men get into scenarios where they unwittingly fall into this mindset, they fall into patterns of becoming wealthy, receiving large salaries at the expense of many low wage supporters, they often see this as a legitimate expression of ‘church/ministry’ while the scripture warns against leaders profiting from the people, while the people themselves are under a burden. I like Nehemiah’s example, he willingly gave up the right to grow his own portfolio while the average church goer was struggling, although he had a right to the governors salary, he saw it to be more noble to donate his time and skills at his own expense, freely he had received, freely he gave back.

(1128) Let me share a few testimonies; I type all this stuff from my laptop, I never work from a desk top. I have 2 laptops that I use, one as a backup if the other goes down [I realized a while back that it disturbs things too much to not type until it gets fixed!] One laptop misses letters as you type, I used to think it was my novice typing skills [I am bad! My daughter caught me doing the one finger thing while looking at the keys and couldn’t believe it] that was the problem, but I actually started looking at the screen while typing and realized certain letters don’t show up, you have to backspace and do it again. The other laptop has a mouse problem, it won’t always respond, this is frustrating for someone who cuts and pastes all over this blog! So when one computer gets me mad, I switch to the other one. Yesterday as I was battling with the mouse problem, out of frustration I said ‘Lord, give me a break! I can’t deal with this’ and it immediately started working, for the first time ever since I got it [it was a used computer when I bought it]. I also prayed about it these past few days while typing, sort of like seriously believing the Lord could fix it, you know you forget stuff like this at times. Then the other day I told you guys how I had an old buddy from prison write me, I had a package of teaching stuff I was going to send him. In the old days I would write the brothers in prison while at the fire house, you have time in to sit around and do this stuff. But it’s really been a while since I regularly wrote any prison buddies [I have written many hundreds of letters in the past, no exaggeration] but I had the letter and stuff in the truck and kept putting it off. Finally the day I sent it was the same day my daughter got hired for a job with the state. My two oldest daughters attend college and have had good jobs. My oldest [24] is now a teacher at the high school she graduated from. My second oldest was a veterinarian assistant, but was looking for something else. She applied for some counselor thing with the state, a job that you usually don’t get unless you have connections. Sure enough the day I sent the packet, she got it! The bible says if you help the poor, reach out to the hurting, spend your time and resources freely for others, that God will reward you. I felt like the Lord returned the favor. As I just read Nehemiah chapter 5, Nehemiah rebukes the leaders for charging interest from the people. The Jews were mortgaging their lands and homes and going into debt trying to accomplish Gods work. The leaders were profiting from the situation. Nehemiah rebuked them, he even sounds like Paul when he says ‘all the time I was with you as governor [type of an apostle] I never took a salary, I provided for myself and my staff’ Paul says the exact same thing to the elders in Acts chapter 20. I think we as leaders need to re think some things. I was thinking the other day how that I have no Christian relationships with anybody in which I ever ask, or receive any financial reward. No offering thing, never speak in ‘a church’ and take an offering. I simply have the freedom to by pass the whole mess. One time the homeless brothers told me ‘brother, if you need your yard cut, or any work done at your house, let us know’ I could tell that they talked about it amongst themselves, sort of like ‘hey, the brother spends a lot on us, lets help him’. I turned down the offer anyway, they are used to local contractors hiring them at slave wages, I wanted them to know I wasn’t trying to get something from them. Although I have kidded about it at times, one time one of them finally got accepted for social security, they were gonna get a big check. I told them ‘you know I sense the Lord telling me that I am supposed to start hanging out with you a little more’! In the long run God will reward you if you really do stuff for free. Leaders, do you have regular friendships with people whom you never bring up money or offerings with? Are the people who know you most always being challenged in a financial way? Always needing to give more? Nehemiah rebuked the nobles because the ‘laity’ were being consumed with having to pay their own bills, plus support the nobles financially, and pay for the structures! Nehemiah said he wouldn’t charge the people, that God would reward him instead, I think he did.

(1125) if you have been paying attention, you’ll notice that I have been reading thru Matthew these last few weeks. Let’s finish this sporatic thing with Jesus final command ‘go into all the world and preach the gospel to every one, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all the things I taught you, I will always be with you, all power is now given to me, I authorize you to go’ [my paraphrase] I wanted to hit on the command of Jesus for us to teach the nations the things he taught us. Over the years you will notice that one of my pet peeves has been the emphasis the modern church puts on the command to tithe found in Malachi, yet the many commands of Jesus about giving to the poor, helping out the down and out; these commands of Jesus seem to take second place in the tier of importance for the average church goer. In a sense we [leaders] have failed to actually teach the nations the things Jesus taught us! We have taught the nations good stuff from Malachi, boy do they have a grasp on Paul! And oh yes, John writes with such love and compassion, doesn’t he? I don’t want to be crude, I understand that as Evangelicals we believe all of Gods word [Malachi, Paul, etc.] the point I am making is all of these writings have to be seen thru the primary ‘constitution’ of Jesus and his gospel. The Old Testament says we should execute homosexuals, kids who curse their parents and women caught cheating! Now, most of us realize that these commands are no longer valid in a literal way [I hope you understand!] So as believers we need to view all of the words of scripture thru the ethos [values] of Jesus. How did he respond when the Pharisees brought the woman taken in adultery to him? They even said ‘Moses in the law said she should be stoned, what do you say’? He forgives the woman, does not condone her sin, and lets the religious leaders know that they were in no position to judge this woman. As the church embarks on the next millennium, we need to re focus our efforts and instructions on the life and purpose of Jesus. I am not advocating rejecting Paul’s teachings [as some advocate!] or doing away with the Old Testament [as others also advocate] but I am saying we need to take seriously the great commission that Jesus gave us. Are we really teaching people the actual things that Jesus made the priority? I know he told the religious leaders ‘you tithe and stuff, but have overlooked the heavier matters of the law; yes, you should have tithed [telling this to Jews under the law sitting in ‘Moses seat’ not to Gentile believers!] and also have shown mercy and love and compassion’ even the law put the emphasis on these things! Lets try and re balance some things these next few years, lets look seriously at the things that Jesus actually taught [the red letters!] and see if these are the same things we are focusing on. He doesn’t say a whole lot about the ‘just war’ doctrine, he seems like he’s always rebuking the wealthy folk! Let’s see the things he actually taught, and then teach those things! Got it?

(1119) yesterday I took a ride to Mathis [a small town in the area] my daughter and her boyfriend invited me to do a BBQ at the lake. As I drove thru town [it was Sunday] I noticed all the church buildings, some had 20-30 cars, others just a few. It was obvious that the city didn’t need any more places for believers to sit on Sunday! Jesus said ‘who is a faithful AND wise servant whom his Lord makes ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season, when the Lord comes he will make him ruler over all his goods’. Recently the church suffered a loss, a very famous church leader passed away. The loss was two-fold, though this man was influential in fostering unity and was helpful in civil rights and other social justice issues, he was surrounded by scandal most of his life. I used to watch him on TV and did enjoy his ministry, but he was plagued with accusations of sexual impropriety. The straw that broke the camels back was the current pastor of this huge mega church [cathedral that’s worth 25 million dollars!] was thought to have been the nephew of the famous pastor, it was found out that he was actually his son, the ‘father’ was really his uncle, tragic indeed. The building is now on the market and the son now preaches ‘the gospel of inclusion’ [a message that accepts all religions as from God]. I remember one time hearing the famous pastor speak on tithing, he actually taught that those who did not tithe were violating Gods covenant and would not be saved! Much more radical than the normal fare. I thought how sad, the 25 million dollar facility was paid for by many innocent believers who were told if they did not put 10% of their money in the basket, they would go to hell. Now all the money will simply fall into the system of a real estate deal. Jesus said the servants who were wise and faithful would be given charge over all his masters goods, is it wise for Gods people to continue building facilities all over the world, at the cost of billions of dollars? Is it wise for any small [or large] city to see ‘church’ thru a lens that has all these buildings sitting empty on any given Sunday? Many good men start their service to the Lord this way, the church meeting thing, I started this way myself. Over time God adds wisdom to ‘our faithfulness’ he shows us smarter ways to apply our efforts. There are currently worldwide church planting movements who pay no salaries, own no buildings, take no tithes, yet they are literally reaching the world. This should cause us to re-think some things. Is it proper to tell Gods people they will be under a curse if they don’t tithe to the old system? Especially when the ‘new system’ [not really new, it was Paul’s system in the book of Acts] does the whole thing for free! Jesus said the servants are to distribute the meat in due season, faithfully and with wisdom. Paul said to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 ‘feed the flock of God over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers’ he is talking to church leaders here, he tells them [the elders!] ‘All the time I was with you [around 3 years] I did not take offerings from you, I did not allow you to fund me or ‘my ministry’ I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who were with me. I did this to give you [leaders!] an example, so you too would see your ministry thru this voluntary lens, not as some type of career!’ [my paraphrase]. Its makes you wonder how ministers can read the bible and not see this stuff! I want to encourage all my Pastor/leader friends who do frequent this site, seek the Lord for wisdom to go along with faithfulness, examine the way you present Gods word to people, don’t say to them ‘I am appealing for money because this is Gods plan’ Paul didn’t think it was Gods plan [in the salary, building way- he did in other ways] Sometimes God gives us time to step back and sharpen the ax, you might feel like it’s your responsibility to keep hacking away at the tree [faithfulness] but wisdom allows you to step back and sharpen the ax, sure it means you might go a week or month or year without the familiar habit of hacking away, but after you sharpen the ax you will accomplish much more.

(1117) Was just reading the chapter where Jesus rebukes the religious leaders for their love of fame and recognition, they loved to be known and recognized. They loved places of honor. It’s the same chapter where Jesus tells his leaders ‘it shall no be this way with you guys’. He is trying to instill a new mindset in this fledging church. The New Testament speaks of godly leadership, but it warns against authoritarian leadership [see 3rd John- Diotrophes] Jesus tells his men ‘he that humbles himself [on purpose!] will be the greatest, have the most effect’. Would you be willing to live a life where you purposely removed your image and persona from those who wanted to exalt you? To purposefully not allow others to become too enamored with your gifts and abilities? Jesus says ‘among you guys, let none of you be called master, rabbi [leader, the main one] for you are all equal’. How do we reconcile this with the obvious portions of scripture that speak about leaders? A careful study of the New Testament will show a type of leadership that was not the predominant voice of any believing community [local church]. Though you see Paul traveling to different regions and having no problem telling them ‘listen to my instruction’ yet you don’t see any office where one person is the main functioning person in the community. Because of lots of reasons we do this in today’s ‘church world’ environment, but it was not this way at the start. I find it interesting that Jesus taught his men about true leadership in the same chapter where he rebuked those who loved the glory of being a successful leader [there is a difference between being fulfilled as a godly leader, and deriving great joy from the recognition of fame and success!] I see Jesus frustration with the religious leaders; he calls them vipers, hypocrites, fools! I know we have a tendency to read these words in King James English, and not realize what he is saying. It would be like basically saying ‘what a bunch of idiots you guys are! You have come to religious understandings that don't even make sense’ they developed an idea that said the gift on he altar was special, but the altar that sanctified the gift wasn’t [they were technical hairsplitters!] Jesus says ‘what's greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies/makes the gift what it is’? Well, I guess the altar? All leaders and gifted people face the temptation to exalt the gift to a place of honor that God never intended. All we have and accomplish in life is simply a gift that comes thru Christ’s Cross [the altar that sanctifies the gift] when we put the Cross first, ahead of the things it can give us, then we will do well.

(1115) I have been driving around the past few days with a package of materials that I needed to send off to my buddy in prison. I kept putting it off, then I got a message on my cell from his brother in Kingsville, he wants to know if I can send his bother a bible too. So I will stick a bible in the package in a little while, it saved me the extra mailing. Just read the parable of the vineyard owner who leases out his land to caretakers. When the owner sends his servants for the produce, they beat the brothers up! The owner sends his son [Jesus] and they say ‘here’s the son, if we kill him we can have the inheritance [worldly wealth] to ourselves’. I have seen ‘an evil done under the sun’ it’s virtually impossible to preach a materialistic gospel with the Jesus of the New Testament in it. I mean he rails time and again against wealth ‘what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loses his soul’ I can go on forever quoting him. But some have ‘killed the son’ [eliminated his true image] from the vineyard, and now they can cease upon the inheritance! OUCH! [By ‘eliminate’ I mean they have refashioned his image and message and have presented him in a different light than what the scripture portrays]. I have been reading a little on the church fathers, these are the brothers during the post apostolic period up until around the 4th century. Many Anglicans/Protestants have converted back to Catholicism because of the reading of these men. These church leaders shared a sort of general view of conversion and Christian living. Evangelicals often have difficulty reading them, they don’t teach a strong ‘one time’ ask Jesus into your heart type conversion, more along the lines of ‘believe the gospel, obey Gods commands, get baptized in water and become a member of the church universal’. I love studying the brothers! Cyprian, the 3rd century bishop from Carthage, North Africa was embroiled in the ‘lapsed’ controversy. During one of persecutions many of the believers forsook Christ and burned incense to the cult of the emperor. After the persecution ceased, some wanted back in to the church. Those who did not reject Christ said ‘no way, you guys walked away, it’s all over’. But Cyprian would say that Jesus told Peter that even if your brother sins seventy times seven, you are to forgive. Cyprian erred on the side of mercy [a good way to err!] he would ultimately be killed in the year 259 for the faith. Though these church fathers were not doctrinally perfect, and they also weren’t the only expression of the Christian church in the first few centuries, yet they supply a wealth of knowledge and experience that we can all learn from, these are ‘part of the vineyard’ if you will. When you have a broad range of reading and study from all the various Christian communions, then it’s easy to spot the false, these might try to ‘kill the son’ but wisdom won’t allow it.

(1114) Jesus makes his entry into Jerusalem and the Pharisees are mad, the people and children are praising him. He overturns the prosperity preacher’s tables and whips them! He rebukes the Pharisees ‘the whores and tax collectors are entering the kingdom ahead of you!’ WOW, talk about rough speech! He tells them that the sinners listened to John the Baptist, they came to hear what he had to say and changed their lifestyles, but the religious leaders were too hung up on their own agendas. And after they saw the results of John’s ministry, they responded out of jealousy and still didn’t re-think their views. Who were the Pharisees, how did thy come to represent hypocrisy and religious vanity? A few hundred years before Christ you had the nation of Israel taken captive and living under foreign occupation [like Rome was doing during Jesus day] it was in this environment that the Synagogues were established, they were meeting places where the Jews could gather and practice their religion while in exile. This was when the Pharisees and Sadducees were introduced. They regulated the religious worship of Israel while in exile. The Sadducees were less of a religious order than the Pharisees. The Sadducees were more of a political class that traced their natural bloodline to the priest Zadok [sort of like a Holy Grail thing, the DaVinci code type stuff]. Eventually the Pharisees turned into a class of professional ‘pains’. They knew all the rules and traditions surrounding their religious office and often laid these rules as burdens upon the people, rules that went against Gods commands. It is real important not to underestimate the common themes found in synagogue worship and the ‘church service’. I have written much on what the New Testament church is and how she should function; I have also traced the modern day practice of church to Constantine and the 4th century. But I have also taught that it is very possible that much of modern-day ‘church practice’ might also have come from the practice of Jewish synagogue worship. They bear a striking resemblance to say the least! It is a common mistake to think that Jewish-Christian worship ceased as a distinct practice after the destruction of the temple in a.d. 70 under Titus, but the synagogue made it all the way into the 2nd century, I believe it was the Roman emperor Hadrian who finally put an end to it. Some historians will tell you that there remained a Jewish church all the way up to the 5th century! If so, then it would be a major historical mistake to discount the possible role that the synagogue played in the ideas of Christian worship. Well anyway, these are the same religious leaders that Jesus rebuked in his day, they had their own ideas of what true worship meant, and they would not receive correction! Jesus said the whores and tax collectors had more spiritual discernment than them, sad thing.

(1112) I was just reading Matthew 19 and the story of the rich guy. He asks Jesus ‘what GOOD THING must I do to be saved’ reminds me a lot of Evangelicalism, many sincere believers are hung up on ‘the good thing you must do’ or the singular act of conversion. While it is true that regeneration/conversion takes place in an instant, yet oftentimes believers can’t pin point that instant! Like Paul told the Galatians ‘I travail with you again in the birthing process, until Christ be formed in you’. So sometimes it’s more of a process than a singular act [or better- conversion has both of these aspects present]. Now Jesus tells the brother ‘keep the law’ ah, now were getting somewhere! He’s pinpointing Jesus down to a yes or no answer on conversion; the man asks ‘which one’? Again, back to the ‘one thing’. So Jesus quotes a few of them, the man says ‘great, I have kept these ever since I was a kid’. Jesus says ‘one more thing, go sell your stuff and give it to the poor, and come follow me’. The man left sad, because he was rich. Then Jesus gives the famous statement that I have explained many times on this site, it’s harder for a camel to pass thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom [for an explanation go to my ‘prosperity/word of faith’ section]. The disciples are shocked ‘who then will ever make it’ Jesus says not to worry, with God all things are possible. Peter says ‘we left all, what do we get’ Jesus says those who have forsaken things for him will receive back a 100 fold and in the world to come eternal life. I have taught this before as well, how did Peter get more ‘houses and mothers and brothers’ in this life? In the book of Acts they all shared and helped each other, their conversion brought them into a big family who had ‘all things common’ [common purse] and that’s how this was fulfilled, it is obvious Peter did not become rich [silver and gold have I none- remember?] But we see an interesting thing here, the rich young man prospered according to the laws of the old covenant, which many prosperity believers will rightfully tell you brings prosperity. The verses in Deuteronomy that speak of God giving us the power/ability to obtain wealth so his covenant might be established [chapter 8?] But Jesus is doing more here, he is telling the man who did become rich by obeying Gods law, he is saying ‘now it’s time to give it up’. What! I have prospered according to Gods explicit will as revealed thru the prosperity promises in scripture! What kind of preacher are you Jesus? Don’t you know that it’s mans tradition to tell the rich to give up their wealth? It’s the devil trying to trick us out of our wealth! Jesus says ‘give it up’ you have learned and mastered the basics of Old Testament law and blessing, and now you must master the art of self sacrifice, of laying everything down to follow me. It was my father's will to have prospered you thru your obedience to his law, this was necessary, how else would I have ever been able to challenge you to lay it down? If you never had something to give up, then you could never have been in a position to show me your sincerity in giving it all away. Jesus was not telling him it was wrong to have attained this status in society, but he was giving him the choice of whether or not he would willingly lay it down for a higher cause. Are you willing?

(1109) Last night my wife plugged in the vacuum and we lost power to part of the house! I have had this problem before, it was a loose outlet. So I started pulling out the outlets that were not working and began tightening the loose connections, of course I’m the type that over reacts so it’s getting late and I moving furniture, outlets hanging out all over the place [with the power on] and my wife is saying ‘are you sure your not going to electrocute yourself?’ ‘What, what do you think I am, some novice’! [To be honest I am the type that would electrocute myself]. So anyway I think I found the outlet that’s bad [they run in series, so if one goes out you loose the rest down the line] and hopefully will get to it soon [it’s 4:30am, too early to be waking everybody up- you know ‘where’s the screwdriver! Quick, go turn this breaker on and off!’ Somewhat of taskmaster!] It actually reminds me of a funny story, one year at the fire dept. me and one of the guys to the fire truck to some pre school church thing; you know, shoot some water, do a little safety class. So as we are doing our thing, I see out of the corner of my eye that one of the kids is grabbing on to what he thinks is a power line. It’s simply a cable going to the power line, but it’s still a bad thing to do! I hear the kid telling his buddy ‘see, it wont shock you to DEATH’! Geez, I’m like ‘hey, cut that out’! I could just see the story in the paper ‘Fire dept. electrocutes two church pre schoolers while giving a safety class’ that would have been an early retirement for sure. Okay, I was reading Matthew 16 and the famous confession of Peter; Jesus asks ‘who do men say that I am’ and Peter responds ‘thou art the Christ, the Son of God’ Jesus says ‘blessed are you Peter, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. And upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’. Our Catholic friends focus on Peter, they see Jesus giving special authority to Peter [by the way, he does!] and have developed the Papacy from this. Our Protestant brothers see little about Peter, they say Jesus was saying ‘you Peter, your just a pebble [a play on the Greek wording] and I Jesus, am the rock’ true enough. Our Word of Faith friends have said Jesus was speaking about ‘revelation knowledge’ [a type of prophetic thing] that Jesus was saying he would establish his church on the gift of being able to receive spiritual knowledge directly from God. To be honest about it, I think there is some truth to each one of these views. I primarily think Jesus was saying ‘Peter, this confession of me as Gods Son is the foundation of the spiritual temple that my father is building’ Peter referred to us a ‘living stones’ in his letter. We are called a spiritual temple that God is building out of spiritual stones, so we qualify as building stones in this temple, as ‘stones’ we are ‘chips off of the rock’ so to speak, so we are the corporate expression of Jesus in the earth ‘the Body of Christ’ and therefore Jesus is the rock, and as he ‘grows thru us’ we show forth his glory to the nations. But I also sensed the lord telling me ‘John, the things you build out of a response of hearing and ‘seeing’ me are the things that will last, the gates of hell will not prevail against these things’ [communities, reached people groups]. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would ‘take of mine and show it unto you’ God reveals his Son to us, Jesus told Peter that’s how he knew who Jesus was, when we live out our lives as a response of the revelation of God to us thru Christ, then these are the things that will last, the eternal riches if you will. When we live our lives based on our own priorities and desires, these are the things that fade away. I want Jesus to see me as one who is blessed because the father has revealed his Son to me, someone who is living and teaching and acting out of divine revelation, not out of human desires.

(1108) got up early today, did one of those 2-5am prayer things, happens every now and then. Here in my office I can see my old sea bag from the Navy, I still have it! I remember getting it around 30 years ago in Great Lakes IL. My boot camp city, I actually live right next to the base in Corpus Christi, the spot where they kicked me out 20 something years ago! Though I was stationed in Kingsville, I attended my ‘captains mast’ [court thing] in Corpus. It reminds me of a funny story, one of the guys went to his hearing and the judge says ‘salute’ so he puts his hand up and salutes, then the judge says ‘to’ which means put your hand down. Instead, he saluted with the second hand! [two- get it?] and we are the guys protecting you! Okay, I was thinking of sharing the verse where Jesus says ‘every scribe taught about the kingdom brings forth both new and old things from his treasure [teaching]’. Over the years I have noticed the different dynamics at work amongst various strains of Christianity. The danger with the strong independent churches is you can go thru stages where you are never taught ‘things new and old’. I used to read the prophetic type sites [Elijah list] but haven’t been there in quite a while. There is a tendency for various groups to overdose on one particular slant and to never ‘bring forth the old’ [sound, stable teaching on the scripture and foundational truths of Christianity]. You can spend years feeding at the trough of well meaning ‘prophets’ but the message never seems to move on, how many thousand of words about ‘rebuke the spirit of poverty’ ‘this is the year of increase’ ‘now is a season of suddenlies’ I mean all well meaning people, but the poor saints are overdosing on stuff that might be simple repetition of what people feel like saying! We need both new and old [sound doctrine]. The same can be said of the prosperity groups, or any other Christian group that has no real connection to historic Christianity. A good Pastor may get a hold of the truth of prosperity, then you might spend a few years simply talking about finances, every thing will be seen thru that lens. New Christians entering that environment may never learn the reality of justification by faith, or other foundational truths [things old!] that are vital for a strong walk with the Lord. So anyway I felt the Lord simply wanted to challenge us to bring forth both new and old. It’s okay if people focus on different areas for a short season, but avoid spending all your time and energy in one doctrinal ‘room’ we all need both new and old stuff to stay healthy.

(1104) was watching one of those ‘prophecy conference’ things last night, you know, the brothers with the charts on the wall and all. Kind of funny, as they were being introduced the moderator shared their backgrounds ‘he belongs to the pre-trib study group for advanced stuff’ and then mentions the books and all the brothers wrote. ‘In the 1990’s he wrote the best seller THE END IS NOW UPON US, THERE IS NO TIME LEFT!’ [something to that effect] it does seems strange that it is now 2009 and he’s still around to talk about it! Don’t get me wrong, these are all fine believers, it’s just we need to take a second look at the persona/image that we are projecting out to society at large. As I have been reading the gospels I like the mindset of Jesus ‘the Kingdom of God is now here/coming’ to be sure the historic church has had battles over these concepts, and I don't want to re-do it all here, you can read more on it under my end times section. But I want to look at the scope of Jesus teaching/outreach ‘ministry’. Even though he limits himself physically to a small region of the world, he had no desire to travel the globe, but yet he sees his purpose thru a much broader paradigm ‘the kingdom of God is here!’ How could such a limited charitable ministry make such bold claims? He was giving himself for ‘the least of these’ and the Father would recompense him for it ‘the gentiles shall come to your light, kings and nations shall be influenced by you’ declared the prophets. Now, in the current day we often see ‘ministry’ as going to a town/area and establishing some type of meeting environment where people will attend every week and hear preaching. While this is okay to a degree, it is fundamentally disconnected from the kingdom mindset of Jesus. He believed that he was starting a word-wide movement that would shake the foundations of all mankind! Quite a bold mission statement from such a seemingly insignificant life ‘Come on Jesus, you have never even studied in the upper-class schools of the day’ but that didn’t stop him. These followers of his are not the primary focus of his calling; understand that in today’s ‘church mindset’ everything is focused on getting so many people to attend/join/partner up [money!] we measure our self worth by these things. Jesus told us ‘cast the seed on the ground; sure some will be eaten by birds, others will spring up quickly and have no root. But some will take root, these will change the world!’ He didn’t spend a whole lotta time trying to convince the unproductive seed/plants to ‘re-dedicate’ give it one more shot ‘please attend my meetings’ type of a thing, he had no time for that sort of silly stuff, he was changing the world for heavens sake! I want to challenge you today, God does have a great purpose and destiny for you, you do not exist simply for the purpose of helping people ‘get saved’ while the rest of the planet goes to hell in a hand basket! Jesus started a world wide revolutionary movement that has competed with all the major world philosophies of the last 2 thousand years, the church has been the greatest influence in society for good, more than any other single institution [despite what Christopher Hitchens says!] we are truly the people of God. See yourself as a citizen of this movement, as Christians we are members of the city that is set on a hill; our purpose isn’t just to ‘be the city’ but it is to shine to all of those that see us on the hill and affect the planet for good. It’s time to tear down the silly prophecy charts and get to business, don't you think?

(1101) Jesus was telling the disciples that they were going to go thru some stuff ‘you think that I am come to bring peace? No, but a sword! Families will be divided, they will deliver each other up to death!’ he said we would be brought before kings and governors for his sake. How? By some type of presidential invitation to give the inaugural prayer? I don’t think so! We would be brought before authorities as a witness, just like Peter said, that Jesus gave a good testimony before Pilate, he certainly wasn’t on the way to a prayer breakfast! So Jesus is preparing his men, he is telling them that they too will have cross’s to bear, they will suffer and sacrifice for the greater purpose, they will die to their own desires and dreams, it’s not about us or what we can get or accomplish in life. This is what’s so insidious about the American gospel, it's basically a cross-less message. We go to church and live our lives for self attainment ‘what can I get out this’ type of mentality, Jesus told us those who seek to save/preserve their lives will lose them. Yet the American church is consumed with building our portfolios for heavens sake! We need to hear Jesus words, there most definitely will be times of difficulty and suffering for a higher purpose, don’t try and get around the cross [your weaknesses] don’t cover them up [cross’s entail public humiliation] simply recognize the reality of them being part of the Christian life, when you get to the point where you can embrace it, allow it to take it’s full course, full impact if you will, then you can embrace the death experience and come out on the other side. That’s the only place where truth and life exist, every thing ‘pre-cross’ is simply mans agenda.

(1100) Yesterday I went to my P.O. box and had a bunch of mail. My prosperity friend wrote again, he writes every so often. He’s the older brother I mentioned before, kind of ‘corrects’ me every now and then, recently he has simply thanked me for the messages [long letters!] I also had a package from Jackson, Mississippi. It was a book by a brother who emailed me about a month ago. He is a reformed elder [minister] and must have found out about my site. He kindly asked if I would review a book he wrote last year. I really don’t have time to do a full book review; but Jack, if your reading this here are a few comments. I read the book yesterday, the title is ‘Corinthian elders’ by Jack Fortenberry, put out by bridgepoint publishing co. Brandon MS. I liked and agreed with 90% of the book, much like the themes I teach on organic church life. Jack lays out a good case for unpaid elders, but also makes the case for ‘paid’ apostles [not salary, just worthy of the hire type thing] I have heard and am familiar with this distinction. I believe the New Testament leaves room for the monetary support of elders/leaders, whether apostles, pastors or whomever. I also believe strongly in the ‘do it at your own expense’ mentality of Paul [I receive no money, ever!] But this would be about the only disagreement I would have. I do recommend the book to our readers. Okay, just read a little more from Matthew, Jesus healing and doing good, teaching in ‘their’ synagogues and going thru the cities and villages. I just like his style! Freewheeling, couldn’t care less about what the religious class were saying, his disciples said once ‘don’t you know your offending the leaders’? He said every plant that his Father didn’t plant would be rooted up. He had no time to present a phony image of himself to people, he knew he was losing support amongst the religious class, but he also knew that system was on it’s last leg [Judaism apart from Christ] so he said ‘let them be offended, who cares!’ Ah, what a preacher. The blind men come, he says ‘do you really believe I can do this’? He heals them, but he wanted to know that they were becoming convinced. They had to be willing to go out on a limb for him. After all, Jesus healed people who did not fully believe in him before. They asked once ‘who healed you’ and the man said ‘I don’t know, all I know is I was once blind but now I can see’ [Johns gospel] but this time it’s different ‘do you believe or not’! It was time to be willing to lay it on the line for Jesus. ‘Yes, we have been sick for too long, we need help! To hell with our damn pride, please help us’! Okay, they walked away seeing. No one did this stuff like Jesus! How could you not hear his teaching, the religious leaders were telling the people ‘he doesn’t fit our mold, stop listening to him!’ They were being eaten up by jealousy, the same thing that haunted Cain. He killed his brother Abel because his brothers works were accepted, his weren’t. The religious leaders could not stand the fact that Jesus was being accepted by the common folk, he was moving in on their place of authority. They fed off of the limelight, the prestige of position. Jesus would have none of it, he tells the people he’s healing ‘Don’t spread the word about this, okay’ and sure enough they go out and tell everybody! Jesus fame spread abroad thru the whole country, but he was heading to the Cross for heavens sake! No time to gloat in the honor of men. Yes Jesus was truly one of a kind, people were fascinated by him ‘isn’t he the carpenters son? Isn’t this the kid we played stick ball in the street with’? They couldn’t connect this Divine destiny with the boy they grew up with, he had them all wondering. But don’t forget, he told Peter and Andrew ‘follow me guys, I will teach you how to catch men’. He knew the way to ‘catch them’ wasn’t the route of the religious class, they just spouted their doctrinal positions all day long, told the people how bad they were, the average folk saw right thru the hypocrisy. Jesus had a different style, it would take him all the way to Golgotha, the ‘place of the skull’ [death].

(1096) I had one of those weird prophetic experiences yesterday, I was reviewing a radio tape that I made a while back [6 months to a year?] though I don’t listen to myself on the radio, I review the tape one time before airing, and I will be surprised how many times the thing I just wrote on the blog matches what I said a year ago! I mean the exact words. So yesterday as I am listening to the tape while cleaning the house, I am saying to myself ‘wow, this is exactly what I just taught’ and then on the tape I say ‘you know, sometimes people hear these messages years later and say “wow, that’s exactly what I just went thru”’ weird, isn’t it? Okay, being we have been talking somewhat about Jesus and his movement, let’s do a little about style/procedure. A few weeks back we had a busy day around the mission where I hang out; various Christians/ministers donating time to help out. I met a new brother who introduced himself and we both shared about our various ministries, I told him how I have made many homeless friends and we get together and do stuff. Sometimes we travel to another town and ‘see how the brothers are doing in all the towns where I have preached the gospel’ [Paul does this in the book of Acts] But most of the time we are just friends. During this day as the other Christians were chipping in, fixing things and stuff, my other ‘ministry friend’ kind of wanted to talk ‘ministry’ he saw me sitting with my friends and kind of couldn’t understand what I was doing [just being friends!] sort of like ‘when are you going to do the preaching/teaching thing and then talk ministry?’ He was well meaning, but he just didn’t get the whole point. I do not see/have a ‘ministry’ thing that takes place outside of the confines of simply trying to live out the kingdom of God as a real person with other real people. These people ARE REALLY my friends, I don’t wrap things up and then ‘talk serious ministry’ this is serious ministry! It took some of my preacher friends some time to really see this, sort of like ‘gee, John has some ability to teach and all, if he would only get his act together and start a ‘church/ministry’ he could really be successful’! I have heard/felt this mindset many times. I believe we need to live as real people in society, the great need isn’t for more ‘ministries/businesses/churches’ to stir people up to give more money in order to carry out another endless series of projects! The need is for us to return to the ethos of Jesus as seen in the gospels and try to emulate [by the Spirits power] the things he did and taught. Jesus spent much time among the hopeless; he was teaching and doing good deeds. At the same time you had the religious class of professionals living as some type of upper-class clergy. Jesus style works a lot better.

(1093) woke up too early today, around 1 a.m. The first sound I heard was Dick Van Dyke singing ‘put on a happy face’ from some classic movie on the AMC channel. I never really listened to the words before, but he sings ‘don’t use the word tragic/tragedy in your vocabulary’ I must admit I have been using those words a bit too much. It sounded like a Joel Osteen sermon in stereo for heavens sake! I guess the Lord knew I wouldn’t have received it from a prosperity preacher. But how could I brush off Van Dyke? I know ‘who does Van Dyke think he is! Mr. big shot, big screen actor who stooped so low that he made the Dick Van Dyke show, no REAL actor would do a TV series’ yea, that makes me feel better. I was at the homeless hangout the other day [will be there today as well] now there are also a bunch of gang kids who hang out there, in Corpus we have somewhat of a gang problem, kids shooting every week and all, deaths every so often. I was walking with one of the homeless brothers passed a few of them, I mean you can tell by the way they look, I could never wear my pants half way down my backside! What the heck kind of cool look is that, I think it makes you look like an idiot! Well anyway one of them said something as we walked passed, I of course had to stop and give them one of those ‘are you talking to me’ type looks, to be honest I think the kid got a little scared, just being honest. Okay, I never listen to myself on the radio [maybe 5 times total in 13 years] and the other day I put the station on, seeing who’s new in the area and all. Sure enough I hear this brother, can’t really recognize the voice, but he sounds pretty good. It took me a minute to realize it was me! I quickly turned it off. Remember the Jeff Foxworthy thing? You might be going thru some stuff if you hear yourself on the radio and don’t know it’s you. Thought it fit in good here. My wife got an email from an old friend, she lives in Germany with her ‘new’ husband. We were friends with the lady years ago, I was friends with her first husband. She was the secretary at a Baptist church and yes, she ran off with the Pastor! She divorced my friend and married the Pastor. He left his family and they have been together for around 10 years now. I know people are human, they fall into stuff [I really know!] But I can’t see how the ex pastor can try and get things right and stay in the marriage, over the years I have had ups and owns, yes even times where me and my wife were separated but after getting things right, any side relationships had to go! I mean even stuff like ‘maybe God is in this’ being said by the other person [talking years ago by the way!] wouldn’t even register in my mind! I don’t know how pastors/ex pastors can continue in these types of relationships, God forgives, but the relationships just can’t go on like that. And I am not judging, been there done that, just when things are over you have to do your best to make things right. Just read ‘blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God. Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy’ I have learned in my life that there are times where I can ‘see’ God. Days when I know if I stay on course I will hear him, I am the type that if I backslid into drugs and bought a bunch of stuff, that I would not be able to keep the stuff overnight, I would have to throw it out. Or if I woke up and thought ‘later on I will mess up, but for now let me do the prayer/teaching thing’ I wouldn’t be able to do it. Now, if later on wound up being bad, that’s another story, but to actually premeditate the thing doesn’t happen with me, I know I ‘cant see God’ when not truly desiring a pure heart! Now, I have had Christian friends who could do stuff like that, i.e.; staying in the new marriage after leaving your former family, I know I could never do this. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are divorced people who move on with their lives and God forgives them, but the above situation is much worse than that. God says ‘if you regard iniquity in your heart, the Lord will not hear you’ to live with the conscious, ongoing acceptance of sin in your life will cut you off from the presence of God! Blessed are the pure [not perfect!] in heart, for these are the ones who get to see God.

(1083) Let me do a compilation of various readings. In Isaiah we read the famous verse ‘I have laid a cornerstone in Zion, a rock of offence and stumbling; those who believe will not make haste’ [somewhere in Isaiah?] Paul quotes it in Romans. If you go read the chapter [look it up] you will see that the reason God raises up this ‘cornerstone/rock of offence’ is because the leadership of Israel became wicked, they were fulfilling roles in the community, but they left the intent of God behind. So God raises up prophetic voices at certain seasons for the purpose of creating a divine tension in the community. Voices that will be a stumbling stone and offensive to others; this is part of the process. In Zechariah/Revelation you have the witnesses who also ‘devour those that speak against them by the words of their mouth’. The adversaries really cannot refute what the prophets are speaking; Jesus also metes out justice with the Sword coming from his mouth [the word of God]. The lord speaks to Joshua the high priest [Zechariah] and he is standing before God and making intercession with dirty clothes. Like Hebrews says ‘every priest taken from among men is compassed about with infirmity’ this is so the priest can identify with those he is interceding for. Then the Lord removes the dirty clothes and puts a clean garment on him [robes of white/righteousness- revelation] and does this divine act of cleansing. The lord also says he will remove the sin of the land in ‘a day’. All these images speak of the purposes of God, he allows people to speak into his community at set seasons for the purpose of a corporate work. These voices often cause turmoil, they shake things around; Pastors wish they never heard some of the stuff! Why? Because then they realize they have to reform also, a tough process indeed. As you follow along on this blog, you see how I ‘dwell’ in different camps at different times. Whole seasons of doing prophetic stuff, or history, or traditional church stuff. I believe the Lord wants all of us to come out of our secluded shells, our ‘peculiar’ doctrinal slants, and to embrace the broader context of what he’s doing in the nations. We need to quit viewing ‘ministry’ thru the lens of starting a business, raising money for the business [church/para church] to carry out certain functions, and then living our lives in the context of ‘God wants us all to be happy and have a good time, and whatever happens in the rest of the world is none of my concern’. Jesus challenges us with a kingdom message, he told us that we would need to lay down our lives/agendas for a higher, more noble purpose. He constantly challenged those on the edge to jump in and forsake all to follow him. As I read the prophets, I see that God uses them to directly challenge leadership, he raises them up as a result of leadership going off track. Jesus was the cornerstone/rock of offence that made the religious leaders very uncomfortable. The New Testament says they feared they would lose their positions of status if Jesus kept gaining a following. You see, the things he was saying were a direct offence to their way of life, the way they perceived their service to God. Those who believed [Nicodemus] would enter into the beginning of a new worldwide movement that would never end, those who stayed offended would wind up crucifying ‘their rock of offence’.

(1082) ‘For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth. For they are the messengers of the Lord’ Malachi 2:7. I remember a few years back, I was listening to the various teachings that were on the radio station that I broadcast on. Some brother out of the Fort Worth area used to buy air time and all. One time the focus was ‘what is Gods essential character?’ if there were only one word to describe who god is, what his essential makeup was, what would that word be? And of course the answer was ‘abundance’ specifically ‘financial increase’. I know of know other way to describe stuff like this, it falls under the category of ministerial malpractice! God commands leaders/teachers to seek the truth coming from him, we are responsible to at least get the most basic things right! What would be the most obvious answer to the question of how to define God in a word? Surely every preacher should know the answer. It would be ‘God is love’. While there are many attributes of God [omnipotence, omniscience, etc.] yet the ‘one’ word definition, if you had to give one, would be love [yes, he is Spirit too]. The last word you should use to describe God would be ‘much money’. Paul said the false teacher’s god is their belly; their appetites, they live to satisfy their desires. Jesus taught us one of the greatest desires of man is acquiring great wealth. He said you can’t serve God and money [mammon]. Why people still send their offerings to ministries like this is beyond me. The challenge to wealth and oppressive wealthy nations/peoples is sown all thru out human history; Homers Iliad revealed the monster 12 centuries before Christ in his writings on the Trojan War. Adam Smith penned his famous book ‘wealth of nations’ in 1776. Challenges to oppressive govt's. of men who use wealth and power to come against the poor in society are noble themes that all great prophetic voices have hit on [Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.]. Who was thee singular greatest prophetic voice who engaged in this type of polemic? Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Most know him as the carpenter, but the actual word used to describe his trade in the Greek means ‘hand laborer’ [or day laborer] you know, those poor brothers we see waiting for a job on the corners of streets, going to ‘labor ready’ [a local place to find daily work]. It is quite possible that Jesus was ‘less’ than a carpenter/tradesmen, but more of an odd jobs worker. Willing to take any job he could get. Well, once he entered his teaching ministry, boy did he speak to power and wealth. If you read all the actual words of Jesus [yes, the red ones!] and try and come up with a singular theme thru out his writings, it could very well be his contrast of the rich and poor. The powerful oppression of wealth and unjust govt. against the poor and weak in society. His incessant condemnation of the wealthy and affluent, I mean you can’t possibly miss this! Unless you are not seeking the ‘law’ [words] that actually were coming from his MOUTH! Malachi rebuked the priests of his day, they were functioning and active and everyone knew they were priests, yet they were not really listening to the words of God himself, I think we need to all give heed to what the brother said.

(1081) Was thinking earlier what we should talk about today, I have been jumping around thru some of the prophetic books [Revelation, Zechariah, etc.] but then I remembered I got a letter yesterday from my buddy in the New Jersey jail [I have some in the city jail, some in the state prison system of Jersey]. So I thought I should read the letter and mention it. Sure enough they didn’t take the check, I sent him a 25.00 dollar check and they sent it back; it needs to be a money order. The guys need money to get stuff from the commissary and stuff, I have done this plenty of times [by ‘done this’ I mean sent the money!] I realize now that the Lord is going to have me do a little more writing than I expected. Nothing wrong with it, for some reason I didn’t expect my buddy to write back and want to keep in touch. That’s fine. He also told me he was reading the stuff I copied from my blog; he says ‘it’s strange I can hear your voice when I read your stuff’. Just a few weeks back I was ‘thinking’ about the dynamic of hearing someone’s voice when you read their books, I mean it was a conscious thought that I couldn’t shake. Now I realize it was one of those prophetic moments, basically the Lord was telling me ‘people will hear your voice when they read your stuff’. My buddy handed out a few of the ministry cards I sent, he told me some of the other brothers might write. It’s strange, I felt the Lord was telling me a few years ago that he was going to expand my territory and I would once again have contact with New Jersey, and at the same time some of the Texas contacts would wane [the prison stuff- I still have a bunch of cities we speak into]. So it seems like some of this is coming to pass. To be honest with you guys, I have had some tough times these past few weeks. I can’t be ‘too real’ on a public blog like this! But take my word for it, I have struggled somewhat. You know what's funny [or sad?] I have preacher ‘acquaintances’ who preach great, they always have an excellent public persona. Some think I am too ‘worldly’ [possibly so!] but they mean my open sharing and stuff on the blog. Sort of like we should always be in a preaching mode and ‘God’ forbid we should ever be real. I know some of these men personally, some of them have had more ‘private’ problems than you could ever imagine. Now, I am not judging them, but if all we ever see/know about people are their platform image, then we are seeing an unrealistic picture of the Christian life. Our preaching [American Christianity] is consumed with self-help techniques and psycho babble. We present an unreal picture to the world. Then I hear preachers say that this real life style, being open and not perfect, is wrong. I think the American church needs an overhaul in general. I got an email from the news paper that messed up my bill last month, this paper [Jersey Journal] is the only one I put my name in with the ad, the purpose is for any old friends to see it and maybe read the site. In the other papers I just run the blog ad. But the Journal always treats me right, the poor brother who handles my account always profusely apologizes when something goes wrong ‘please forgive us for the mistake’ and stuff like that. So this time I just couldn’t resist it, I emailed him back ‘NO, I CAN NOT FORGIVE YOU GUYS THIS TIME!’ of course I was kidding, but I would have loved to have seen the look on his face when he read it. So anyway, today we learned that we are all in the same boat, we all struggle with things in life, but during this life we are also called upon by God to give ourselves away for others. To transcend our own weaknesses and give of our time and money for the benefit of others. People who live in the real world need others who live in the real world to reach out and help. One of my favorite movies is Donnie Brascoe [yes, I watch the mafia stuff]. It’s the true story of an undercover F.B.I. agent who infiltrates the mob, he made it further in than any other agent in history. The danger was he identified so much with the brothers, that he had a difficult time differentiating between which world he was in. There is always a danger when living in the real world, we are to be in the world, not of it. But for mere mortals this can be difficult, surely Jesus would never identify too much with such sinful creatures! Oh wait, there is this little doctrine that just popped into my head, I think they call it THE INCARNATION.

(1078) I’m getting ready to email one of our news papers [the ones I run the blog ad in] they double billed me again! I have these papers do direct withdrawals from my account, when a few of them over bill in one month it puts me in a bind. Sometimes it bugs the ‘heck’ out of me, but then I calm down and try and correct it the next day. I believe the Lord allows you to have influence, to ‘go far’, by his sovereign will. Not too long ago I emailed a national radio/prison ministry. He’s based out of Washington, famous brother. Sure enough as I heard his 5 minute radio program one morning, he used a rare example that I have taught on our site. I thought ‘geez, he must be reading our stuff’. It was one of those teachings that is hardly ever heard, a short thing on Jesus words about ‘the camel going thru the eye of a needle’. I refuted the silly teaching that used to say ‘the eye of the needle’ was the name of a ‘low gate’ in the city wall, thus- the poor camel can make it thru, but he has to crouch! OUCH! So any way this brother used the example, good for him [and me]. So if the Lord wants a person to have influence that goes far, he will do it. But there are also times where the Lord holds us back, that is he is simply waiting for our maturity to catch up with our ability. What I mean by this is it is all too common for preachers/ministries to master the art of bringing in the finances, getting things together, then expanding their message way beyond the borders of their maturity. That’s why there is so much unbalanced teaching in the church today, the American church spends exorbitant amounts of money on teaching stuff that is ‘less than perfect’ if you get my drift. So let the Lord lead you in how far your voice should go. He might be saying ‘look son, I have great purposes and plans for you, I have given you a gift and talents that are going to be used in a great way in my kingdom. But for the present time this does not include a national/world-wide audience’.

(1074) Yesterday I met Edward; he is a homeless brother from San Antonio. He located to Corpus a few months ago. As I was helping him out during the day I realized he had a situation with another brother who owns a ‘church building’. The building is not being used so they worked out a deal with my friend, he would live in it and kinda be a caretaker while they are trying to sell it. Well after being with the brother most of the day I ‘discerned’ how he is in great strife with the owners. They have told him to leave and all, he is telling me about his ‘legal rights’ to stay [you do run into brothers like this. I have had buddies tell me stuff like this before ‘squatter’s rights’ and stuff. When one of my friends refused to get his motorcycle motor out of my garage, he started using the squatters rights ‘provision’ he saw how quickly I began dragging it out to the curb! He got it out.] So this is kind of a funny thing that the guys do at times. But it did get me to thinking about how often we mix ‘business’ with ‘church’ [charity]. I have a policy, whenever someone asks to borrow money, I NEVER do it, but I will GIVE them some, with the explicit directions to ‘not pay me back’. A few posts back I mentioned how I used to do the real estate thing; buying a cheap rental [some were not cheap] and renting it out until I could sell it. It’s not wrong for believers to do stuff like this, but Jesus also taught us that the pursuit of wealth can affect you in a bad way. At the time I was reading and learning about all types of money investments, consuming my thoughts and energies with this stuff. Then my bible reading/teaching would inevitably become ‘affected’ with this paradigm. I would just naturally gravitate towards the money portions of scripture, when coming across the classic ‘you cannot serve God and money’ verses; I would unconsciously stick it in the category of ‘church tradition’ even though Jesus was the one who said it! So its a popular trend for believers to get into the whole ‘God has called me into the ministry of teaching believers how to become financially independent, so lets spend our time building wealth for my business and at the same time helping other believers build wealth’ sounds noble, but it usually winds up focusing on the money stuff most of the time. It gets your focus on the wrong thing. So anyway I think we need to refocus our thoughts on the New Testament priorities, sure you can be a responsible business investor, nothing wrong with it. But don’t go down the road of ‘my ministry is to bring in the wealth’ you wont be the first [or last] person that has ‘felt this calling’.

(1073) 1st KINGS 22- Well, this study went fast! I basically write a chapter a day and it fly’s by. Ahab consults with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He convinces him to fight against Syria and take back Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoshaphat asks Ahab ‘are there any prophets we can get advice from?’ Ahab brings out the troops, these were 400 PAID prophet’s who were ‘on staff’. Sure enough these brothers know how to ‘prophesy’. They all with one voice [unity] prophesy a great victory ‘surely you will prosper’ is the mantra. One brother even makes these iron horns and says ‘just like these horns you will push the enemy back’ they put on quite a show. But wait, Jehoshaphat wants to play it safe, he asks ‘are there any more prophets that we need to hear from’? Sure enough Ahab says ‘well, I have this guy, but he is so negative! He never agrees with these other fine brothers, but what the heck, lets get him’. So they send a servant to retrieve Micaiah. On the way back to the king, the poor messenger says ‘Now look, all the other brothers are on board, they know how to toe the party line. Please give your reformation preaching a rest’. So they arrive at the designated spot, and Micaiah prophesies good stuff. He gave into the pressure. Ahab says ‘how many times do I have to tell you to speak what’s really on your heart’ then he gives the true prophecy ‘I saw Israel like scattered sheep across the terrain’ basically he was saying ‘don’t go to battle’. Ahab says ‘see, what did I tell you! This brother is bad news’ they lock him up and go to battle. Sure enough Ahab gets killed ‘by chance’ [a stray arrow] and the battle goes bad. Also, a story is told how the host of heaven appeared before God and the lord said ‘how will we convince Ahab to go to battle’? And the story says that God allowed a lying spirit to be in all the prophets. It was Gods judgment on Ahab to let him hear what he wanted to hear! Paul says that people will ‘heap to themselves teachers, wanting the ears tickled’ we live in a day where church attendance is ‘seeker friendly’ people want their ‘felt needs’ met. Sometimes the Lord gives people what they want, even if it’s not good for them! [Remember King Saul?] So we end 1st Kings with judgment falling on Ahab, the dogs ‘licked the blood’ from his chariot in Samaria as a fulfillment of Gods judgment on him. We also see the possibility of ‘prophetic ministers’ looking really good, putting on a show, if you will, and yet being dead wrong! In today’s internet environment we live in a day where multiple prophecies go forth on a regular basis, we need to be wary of listening to the ‘many prophets’. I have found a few good prophetic words thru this venue, but for the most part the ‘prophets’ have a tendency to go with the flow. This is not to say that all prophecy needs to be doom and gloom, but we often give voice to the image of Jesus that suits us best. We like a rich, successful, wealthy Jesus, a real go getter if you will. We then speak words that are coming from our distorted image of him. In essence we prophesy [speak] words that are in agreement with the image of Jesus that we choose to hold on to. Ahab had a bunch of prophets who were looking real good, surely they all couldn’t be wrong! God let them prophesy the things that they wanted to prophesy.

(1072) I was gonna cover Jezebel today, but lets save it for later. I have a package sitting here, getting ready to send it off to a New Jersey prison. One of my buddies is in prison and it’s a good chance to get him to read some stuff. I copied a bunch of stuff from this blog and added a few notes. He is the friend we prayed for that almost died around a year ago. His name is Patrick, he had a bad overdose on drugs, but the Lord healed him in a miraculous way. You can read about it under the prayer request section. But he was not healed of everything. One of the ongoing problems is he did permanent nerve damage to his leg. One of the problems is ‘it kills you to go to the bathroom’ if you get my drift. Well anyway as it was being explained to me, I really couldn’t empathize that much. I of course would continue praying for him, but couldn’t totally relate. Then after my most recent bout with severe back pain, I too had the problem! I notice that after the severe pain finally goes away, there will be an increased loss of feeling to my right side. Well that affects the nerves in the leg as well, now I can empathize! When one of my homeless buddies came by last week, he asked if his brother could send me some money for him thru the internet. I told him I didn’t have an account like that. He believed me and all, but I explained to him that other ministries are set up like that, they receive offerings that way. But I don’t do anything like that, I don’t take offerings. So as we talked a little I let him know that I also don’t deduct any giving from my taxes [to be honest, now it’s cheaper for me to do the standard deduction. But when I first started doing this it was not for that reason]. Well anyway he said how it’s not wrong to at least benefit in some way thru the ministry stuff I do. I told him that I do realize that many good ministries do use these advantages, yet I have seen over the years that many unbelievers use this single excuse to reject the gospel. So I personally take that excuse away when it comes to us. The bible says Jesus suffered so he might have compassion and be able to identify with our struggles [Hebrews]. Paul told the Corinthians that the suffering he endured enabled him to better empathize with others. If I stopped spending the money on the ministry, or tried to set up an income stream from it, then I could probably afford health insurance. But I’d rather suffer a little now, and build up some eternal rewards for later. We need to understand the biblical doctrine of sacrifice a little bit more, for I trust that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us’ [Paul].

(1071)1ST KINGS 20- Benhadad, king of Syria, besieges Israel and threatens Ahab ‘give me your gold, wives and kids’. Ahab was a demoralized man, his wife was already running the show, he relinquished any remnant of nobility years ago. He responds ‘sure, take it all. What do I care?’ So all goes well, Not! Benhadad says ‘one more thing, tomorrow my men will come and inspect your stuff, if they see anything else of value, they taking that too!’ So Ahab consults with his men, he tells them the situation and they decide to reject the final offer. The fight is on. Notice how the Lord sends Ahab true prophets who give him guidance along the way, it’s like the Lord was willing to allow Ahab some time to get things right. The false prophets are dead, Elijah rebuilt the altar, who knows, maybe God was giving Ahab a real chance at reform. So Ahab does okay, he has a few battles with Syria, and at the end he LETS THE WICKED ENEMY GO! God rebukes him for this thru a prophet. God basically says ‘look, I gave you a second chance. I had a task for you, your job was to recognize and eliminate the threats to my people’ what happened? I have noticed thru the years that leaders, good men, will often fall into mindsets that say ‘well, after all our goal is to succeed and be happy. Have good church attendance, good income. Why even bother dealing with stuff that’s wrong?’ There are times in church history where God is looking for reformers, men and women who are willing to take a stand and say ‘enough, this stuff has be going on for too long, we will have no more of it’ [doctrines and stuff that lead Gods people astray]. It seems as if Ahab was living for the day, willing to let the wicked king live another day. After all, what harm can it do? He disobeyed God, he was given a mandate to execute justice, he didn’t. God chose him to complete the task, not just survive. Ahab blew it big time.

(1068) 1ST KINGS 17- This chapter is pretty famous among Christians, not like the others we have looked at. God’s word comes to Elijah and he enters the scene as a significant Old Testament figure. Jesus will refer to John the Baptist as one who came in ‘the spirit and power of Elijah’. The religious people of Jesus day held on to the prophecy of Malachi that ‘before the great day of the Lords coming, Elijah would appear’ [Jesus applied this to John the Baptist] so the brother has good credentials. He comes out of the shoot like a rocket; he confronts Ahab, the wicked king of Israel and prophesies no rain in the land. God directs him to go into hiding/obscurity and live by a brook. The Ravens bring him food and he drinks from the brook. The drought causes the brook to dry up and God instructs him to go to a city and be cared for by a widow woman. He goes and asks the woman to provide for him, she fears she won’t have enough for both him and her small family [a son]. He encourages her not to fear and take care of him, she does and God provides supernaturally for the woman. Eventually her son dies and she blames God ‘did God bring you hear to show me what a sinner I am? Now my son dies!’ She was feeling condemned/guilty. Elijah takes the child and lays on him and God raises the boy from the dead, one of the greatest miracles that God does with men. A few things; Elijah was not there to instill fear into the average ‘church folk’. Last night I again made the mistake of channel surfing the Christian channels during ‘praise athon month’ [Double ouch!!] One channel had a brother telling the people ‘God is not moved unless your giving is sacrificial, it must hurt you to please God’ [in so many words] The other channel had a brother saying ‘God said if you hear preaching and benefit, and you don’t give money in return, you are sowing to the corruption of the flesh’ I am familiar with this passage, it is found in Corinthians. The tone and overall ‘sense’ of these appeals was wrong. It seemed to leave a feeling of fear and condemnation to the average channel surfer who might be looking for answers. Elijah told the widow woman ‘don’t fear’. Elijah also had the capacity to live in obscurity, though God spoke highly of him, yet he recognized that there would be seasons of obscurity; times when you simply serve the Lord thru simple tasks and go unrecognized for many years. I cant stress enough the contradiction between Jesus ethos of Christian leadership and what the average Christian is taught in our day. We connect Christian success in ministry with the tools of corporate growth and we simply set young ministers on a purpose driven course that often by passes the teachings and character of New Testament leadership. Elijah will eventually appear again on the scene, but he spent an awful lotta time by the brook!

(1064) 1st KINGS 14- Jeroboam’s son gets sick, he tells his wife ‘disguise yourself and go to the prophet Ahijah, he will tell you what will happen to the boy’. She goes and the Lord reveals the identity of the wife to Ahijah, he is old and blind. As soon as she gets to the house he gives her a strong rebuke, tells her the child will die and that her husband was wicked. Sure enough she takes the message back to Jeroboam and these things come to pass. Why did Jeroboam disguise his wife? Ahijah was the original prophet who told Jeroboam that he would be king, Jeroboam knew that he was doing wrong by instituting idolatrous practices into the nation; so why did he do it? Basically he trusted in the arm of the flesh to maintain would God gave him. He did it so he wouldn’t lose the kingdom. He obviously avoided the prophet for as long as he could, he thought he would send his wife incognito and who would know? The Lord knew. God has ways of getting information to you [and me!] whether we want to hear it or not. Also Ahijah was a prophet, another name for prophet is ‘Seer’ [some feel seers are totally different gifts/offices, for the sake of this basic teaching they are closely related] but yet he couldn’t ‘see’ for himself. I find it interesting that many of Gods greatest gifted people can’t seem to find help for themselves. There is a prophecy about Jesus that says ‘physician, heal thyself’, Paul had a thorn in the flesh that wouldn’t go away! Many people that are used by God to pray for healing and get results, they themselves struggle with sickness. Ahijah had a word; not only about Jeroboams son [a localized situation] but also a national word ‘Israel will be shaken like a reed in the water’ the Lord used the local situation to speak to the broader community. The people would ‘be shaken’ because they permitted idolatry into their lives. Understand, we see the idolatry of Israel as blatant [actual idols and stuff] but they really thought that the forms of idolatry that they were practicing were pleasing to God! I often find that well intentioned believers have a difficult time ‘seeing’ idolatry [covetousness, greed]. The American church has incorporated ‘success/abundance’ so deeply into the minds of the saints that we view our worship of God thru this skewed lens. ‘If God wants me to have an abundant life, then what’s wrong with me centering my church life around being successful, confessing and thinking about abundance/money all day long’? Well, what’s wrong with it is Jesus told the church that he didn’t want us ‘thinking’ about these things all the time, he said the ‘gentiles [unbelievers] are always thinking about the stuff, it shall not be so with you’. So it takes time for Christians to see these things, Jeroboam instituted a form of idolatry into Gods nation, the people sincerely went along for the ride. God said they were going to be shaken ‘like a reed in the water’.

(1063) Yesterday I took my daughter and her friends to help out with a school sports program, they volunteered to help. On the way home I checked my P.O. box and sure enough one of my regular radio listeners sent me 10 bucks cash. I hate when people do this. Why? Because I have a policy of taking no money, ever! So it costs me 25 cents [or whatever stamps cost now] to mail it back. This brother has listened and written me ever since I’ve been on radio [1996-2009]. He used to rebuke me for teaching against the prosperity gospel; his letters reveal that he is an older guy who is an ‘expert’ in that doctrine. But he also compliments me about our program, times where he really agrees and says ‘wow, that was real meat’ [good teaching] this week! So anyway I put up with him. So as I get home I write a short thank you note, stick the money in an envelope and put a stamp on it, figure I’ll mail it out later. Than one of my homeless buddies stops by, I haven’t seen them in a few weeks, been feeling bad with my back and all. Also, just a note to my old buddies, I am still in good shape, hey I used to hold the arm wrestling title at the fire house! It was funny beating the young jocks, the point is I am not out of shape or overweight or anything like that, it’s just my back really hurts at times. I don’t carry health insurance on myself [only the kids] because it’s too much, so I don’t ever go to doctors [only when first injured] so I deal with it by overdosing on Advil’s and stuff. But anyway my buddy came by and I decided to change plans for the day [I was going to do some reading] and had a B.B.Q instead. I also ripped open the envelope and gave my friend the 10 bucks; I felt I wasn’t violating my policy of ‘no offerings’ by passing it along to a friend in need. We had a good fellowship and my daughters came over thru out the day, they help out at the church [Bay Area fellowship] on Saturdays with the child care. So they have been asking me questions and stuff about the bible, my second oldest, Rebecca, does not have the internet at her ranch yet. She owns a few acres out in the country and hasn’t set up wireless yet, so she can’t read this site and learn the stuff. I have been passing books along and stuff to her, I do lend my books out- sometimes they never make it back, but I see this as ministry of sorts, who knows where the books will end up someday. Also I have a tendency to ‘correct’ the stuff I don’t agree with by adding notes to the books, so it gives a better balance [in my view] than jut passing stuff along without doing a little teaching myself. But the ‘dynamic’ of the day was interesting, I have been praying that ‘all my children would be taught of the Lord’ [both natural and spiritual kids] and that ‘God would pour out his Spirit on our seed, our young men would see visions, old men dream dreams. Our handmaidens [ladies!] would prophesy’ [Acts 2] so this was a good interaction of spiritual ‘sons’ and my natural daughters all getting excited about the things of the Lord. Also one of my Christian neighbors who I have known for years stopped by while walking his dog out in the front. He knows I do radio and stuff, but he has never visited this site! He does some teaching on a local basis thru a Christian publication, I like the paper. But the sister who runs it must not like me [probably because of our stance against the prosperity gospel] I have mailed her a few checks over the years and asked for a subscription, not only do they rip the checks up [I guess?] but they don’t respond at all, I just leave it alone [I know she gets the checks, but does not agree with my teaching. To be honest it’s just bad business to not even respond, plus your paid advertisers are getting the short end of the stick as well]. But anyway I gave my neighbor the blog address and hope he learns from it. It’s funny, we have friends all over the world who regularly follow the journey with us, yet brothers right down the block might be ‘out of the loop’ that’s fine, we don’t have to be ‘known’ by everyone. So anyway I just thought I’d share a little today, was going to do the next chapter of Kings, but will get to that tomorrow, God bless till next time.

(1062) 1st KINGS 13- Jeroboam is confronted by a prophet as he is worshiping at the idol/altar in Bethel. The prophet gives a significant word, he mentions by name a future king [Josiah] who God is going to raise up to institute reform in the nation. When someone’s name is prophesied before their birth, that is a special anointing. Both Jesus and John the Baptist had stuff like this surrounding their births. Now Jeroboam stretches out his hand against the prophet, God curses his hand and the prophet prays for him and he gets healed. Jeroboam invites him to stay for a meal and the young prophet says ‘no, God told me not to stay and eat here’. On his way home an older prophet invites him to come back and eat with him, he tells the young prophet ‘I too am a prophet and the Lord told me for you to “eat and sit at my table’” [a type of fellowship]. Now, the old prophet lied, why? It seems as if he did not do this on purpose, he heard the story about the young man, possibly remembered the glory days of old and simply wanted the fellowship. As the young prophet ‘sits at the table of deceit’ the word of the Lord comes to the old prophet and says ‘because you disobeyed and stayed and ate, you will die’. The old prophet gave a true word and the young prophet leaves and is killed by a lion. His ‘movement’ died prematurely because he ‘sat’ at the table of deceit and disobeyed God. A few things; many years ago as I saw certain things going off track with certain movements [prosperity] I saw things that seemed to be fake, brothers sharing dreams and prophetic words that seemed false. Yet I felt these brothers weren’t doing this on purpose, that in some way they fell into a trap of wanting to be involved and accepted by their peers. And when confronted by real reproofs, they simply retreated into their own groups and refused the reproof. There are things like this happening now with certain elements of the modern prophetic movement. In the above story, the older prophet meant no harm, but yet harm was done! The younger prophet wasn’t there [in Bethel] to rebuke the old man, he was simply carrying the torch of prophetic rebukes that were needed at times. The mistake the younger generation made was being too willing to ‘sit and eat’ at the old mans table. I believe that certain elements of the older ‘prophetic’ movements need to be abandoned and left alone to die [false doctrines, not people!]. Those who walk in wisdom and obedience will reuse to ‘sit and eat at the old mans table’ and those who decide to stay at the table will die prematurely [that is their ministries and movements will be cut short] which group are you in?

(1061) 1ST KINGS 12- At the end of the last chapter Solomon died, Rehoboam his son will now ascend to the throne. Rehoboam is confronted by the nation, they tell him ‘your father was a slave driver! He made it hard on us, we were tools that were being used for his own self advancement’ [my paraphrase] they plead with Rehoboam to go easy on them. I find it interesting that Solomon’s reputation outside of Israel was great, he excelled and the kings of the earth knew it [image building]. But amongst his own people, those who knew him best, he was driven by ambition. Though hey liked the man and he was a great leader, yet they associated him with always putting a yoke/burden on them to build. ‘More and more’ was the logo. The people were tired, they wanted to simply exist as Gods people. They weren’t asking Rehoboam to totally put them on welfare, they just wanted a break from viewing their lives thru the unrelenting pressure of ambition. So Rehoboam consults with two groups; he asks the elders of the land for advice, they advise him to ‘become a servant of the people, go easy on them’ What! A servant, are you kidding me man. Sounds like the teaching of Jesus ‘he that wants to be greatest must serve’. He then consults the young guys, peers in his own age group, they tell him ‘go for it, tell them you aint seen nothing yet! You think daddy was tough, my little finger will be heavier than his leg!’ Rehoboam listens to both groups and chooses the bad advice of the younger generation. So the people [with Jeroboam as the head speaker] come back on the 3rd day for the response, they don’t like what they hear and mount a revolt. The kingdom becomes divided under Jeroboam as the new king of Israel [ten tribes-northern] and Rehoboam as the king over Judah [and Benjamin] the southern tribe. Now Jeroboam realizes that he will lose control of the people if they keep their religious feasts at Jerusalem every year. Jerusalem is the capital where his adversary Rehoboam is at, so he sets up two golden calves [just like what happened in the wilderness in Moses day] and he places them in the city of Dan and Bethel. He also sets up a new class of priests, in violation of Gods law, and he makes up his own religious calendar. This single action of rebellion introduces false religion on a large scale to Gods people. Rehoboam gets together an army and is about to fight and regain his rightful place, God sends a prophet to him and tells him ‘leave it alone, the thing is from me’. God allowed for the split, Rehoboam had the chance to humble himself and instill a new mindset into Gods people. Yet he went for ‘the glory’. There are obviously a lot of lessons here, I don’t have to show them all to you, they are plain enough to see. To all the leaders/pastors who follow us, how are you viewed by those closest to you? Do outsiders see you as a successful leader, ambitious and able to get stuff done? Do those closest to you seem to be saying ‘lets take a break, we have had many years of never being able to sacrifice enough, building things. Okay things, but the job has been tough, we need a break’. Be sensitive to the real purpose of God, for him to be fully glorified and expressed thru is church, the community of God. Solomon reigned over a great people, but he was too ambitious, ambitious in the area of image building. The people themselves should have been the important thing, not the amount of stuff they could produce! In the end Rehoboam lost more than he would have ever gained by choosing the hard route. Allow God to lead you in the paths that he has set before you, the people you lead are the thing of value, not the things that they can produce [financially or any other way].

(1058) 1ST KINGS 10- The queen of Sheba hears about the wisdom and wealth of Solomon and makes a trip to check it out, she says ‘the half has not been told’. Solomon established an impressive economic and military system for the nation; he knew how to accomplish stuff. Wisdom [Solomon’s gift] allows for there to be action along with knowledge. Jesus knew how to use wisdom, scripture says he ‘is the wisdom of God’. The book of Proverbs [written by Solomon] personifies wisdom as Gods firstborn, God possessed him before all things. Scripture says ‘wisdom sends out her servants/ships’ remember when Jesus ‘sent the word’ and healed people? Or when the Leper was told to ‘go wash’ [by Elijah] he almost didn’t follow through because he was expecting some big show. Wisdom does not need you to personally ‘be there’ for all the action. I get frustrated at times when the modern church implies to the average saint that they really cant effect society ‘on their own’ but it is said in a way that makes the average ‘churchgoer’ think that the only way they can have a part of the action is in if they give exorbitant amounts of money ‘to the church’. And then ‘the church’ will send their money to other professional ministers who will carry out the job. Or the church will send their minister all over the world and he will do the job for them! This mindset ‘de-claws’ the average saint, it makes him think his main contribution is ‘the collection plate’! Use wisdom to impact society, you don’t always have to ‘be there’ [physically] to have an impact, but you are not limited to simply giving money to others who will act on your behalf. The believer’s greatest tool is his/her ability to make disciples wherever you are. Of course you can use modern tools like the internet. These things can be done for little or no cost and you can have a worldwide impact. The point is wisdom allows you to get things done by establishing systems of communication and ‘sending’ that can reach far and wide. In this chapter we read of Solomon’s navy, a previous chapter said ‘Hiram [and Solomon] made rafts and floated the trees to Solomon, there they were discharged for the work’. God can give you ‘divine rafts’ systems of delivery and discharge where you can impact large regions with little effort! All in all the wisdom of Solomon put in place systems that could carry the workload, without having to use actual manpower to get everything done by hand [can you imagine the manpower that would have been needed to hand carry all the trees!] To all my readers, you can impact ‘your world’ by listening to God and responding as he directs. Solomon said [in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes] that there was a poor wise man who delivered a city [and no one remembered him- non famous!] yet his wisdom gave him great influence ‘with the elders of the land’. Paul established the greatest ‘church planting movement’ known to man, and he did it on a shoestring budget! Don’t let man tell you that you can’t really accomplish much without being rich, you are a child of God and he that is in you is greater than he that is in the world! [note- as an aside, I was listening to a testimony of a minister who said how he thought it was sad that in the ‘ministerial’ environment there were times when the pastors would gather and the church members as well. But in these scenarios there seemed to be a distinction that was unbiblical; sort of like the ministers were fellowshipping amongst themselves, being excited over the plans and activities of ‘their church’ while the average saints were also fellowshipping amongst themselves and sharing about their lives and stories. In actuality the New Testament communities did not have these types of divisions. You did not have a separate class of ‘minister’ who ‘ran the church’ as a separate business enterprise. All the people [Elders and Saints] were of one community and their stories and lives commingled in a more communal way. There was no separation between the ‘classes’.]

(1051) 1st KINGS 3: 16-28 Now to the famous story. Two women [harlots] come to Solomon with a problem. They both had children within a few days of each other, and one night one of the babies died. The other woman woke up and had the dead baby with her, but after she looked at it she realized it wasn’t hers. The real mother of the dead child did a swap at night. So as they are pleading their case to the king, they both claim that the living child is theirs. So Solomon calls for a sword, they bring him the sword and he tells his men ‘take the baby and divide it in two, give half to each mom’ sounds fair enough. Of course the real mom says ‘no, don’t divide it. Give the baby to her’ and the fake mom says ‘no, divide it!’ Ahh! Got ya. Solomon says ‘give the child to the one who did not want to divide it, the child belongs to her’. A few things, it just so happened that the last book we studied was Ecclesiastes, I didn’t plan it like that, it just ‘happened’. Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon. One of the verses I didn’t cover says Solomon wrote on all types of subjects and put together three thousand proverbs. Proverbs are short, concise bits/nuggets of wisdom that get the point across in a nutshell. While there are times when you need to read large volumes and stuff, yet wisdom allows you to cover a lot of content in a little space. In this case Solomon used his wisdom to quickly come to a conclusion that could not be refuted; Jesus did stuff like this with his parables. Notice also that after the judgment was made, there really was no ‘if, ands or buts’ about it. He was right and that settled it. I still have old preacher friends who can’t discern the most basic stuff. Now, I don't want to be mean or condescending, but there comes a time where things are right or wrong. Many years ago I taught how leaders were making a serious mistake when they grasped on to the prosperity interpretation of Jesus parable of the sower [read the chapter ‘twisting the parable of the sower’ in the book ‘house of prayer or den of thieves’ on this site]. Basically many preachers, good men, were going around and teaching that Jesus was speaking about getting a huge harvest of cash. In the parable Jesus says one of the things that hinders the full harvest is ‘the deceitfulness of riches’, so I taught how Jesus was not saying ‘the deceitfulness of riches is holding back the cash’. Now, this is really elementary stuff, but some preachers still can’t discern this, after 20years! There comes a time when Solomon [Jesus] sends a judgment forth, and we ultimately become responsible for what we do with it. In this case, one of the ladies was right the other wrong. Solomon plainly told us who was telling the truth. [note- the other day as I was flipping channels, I stopped at a ‘prophetic’ brother who I haven’t watched in a while. In the past he has had some good words that were right on. But I felt that too many ‘prophecies’ were going forth on a yearly basis that were not really accomplishing anything ‘this year is the year of increase, Rebuke the demon of poverty’ stuff that was being repeated over and over hundreds of times, and yet the word of God was not being taught. Well on the program I tuned in on, the brother was saying how all the media complaints about Sarah Palin's expensive wardrobe were ridiculous [I agree] but then he said that it was nothing but a ‘spirit of poverty’ that needed to be rebuked. Are there ‘spirits/demons of poverty’ no. At least we see no cases of Jesus casting out spirits of poverty in scripture. There comes a time when preachers/media outlets need to return to a sober message of the Cross. I believe in prophecy and miracles and have experienced many of these types of things over the years, but we need to stop being silly with some of this stuff.

(1033)‘DON’T SAY “WHY IS IT THAT THINGS WERE BETTER IN THE PAST THAN NOW” [GOOD OLD DAYS] FOR YOU ARE NOT ASKING A WISE QUESTION WHEN YOU DO THIS’ Ecclesiastes 7:10 [my paraphrase] Is God telling us never to examine our selves? Or our nation? No. But this question speaks of the journey of life. Lets see if I can come up with an original way to state this, I know! How bout we say ‘life is like a box of cherries’ [Okay, I pulled a Biden]. Let’s just say life is like a train/plane trip. Part of the trip entails some turbulence, there are spots along the way where the scenery is great, but also spots where it doesn’t look so good. Many years ago me and the family took the train from San Antonio to New Jersey, the kids were young and it was too long. But I love trains. Anyway when the train finally made it to my home state, my young daughter innocently says ‘why does everything look dirty’ [Ouch!] Trips have ‘built in’ obstacles, times where things don’t go as smooth as before. Why is it not wise to ask ‘why are things not as good during this phase’? It’s because the goal isn’t to continually have a great ride! The goal is to complete the course and finish the race put before you. I know American Christianity has for the most part rejected this, but it is without a doubt biblical. The apostle Paul ended his life in a rented room in Rome, Nero finally took his head off [Peters too]. Now, I am not saying we should all lose our heads, but we need to realize that God has a purpose for the bad spots in the tracks. This chapter speaks of the riches that we get in ‘the house of mourning’ the great things we obtain when the ride is rough. Are you asking the Lord ‘why is this happening to me, why was it better in days gone by’ try and retool your questions to ‘what do you want to teach me during this time? What kind of character development do you have for me during this phase of my life?’ these are the questions that should be asked. The American church spends way too much time trying to ‘beautify the journey’ learning tricks and confessions to make things ‘go away’, God says some of these things are here for a purpose.

(1032)‘A GIFT DESTROYETH THE HEART’ Ecclesiastes 7:7b Over the last few years I have read testimonies from Pastors who said they felt like they were unconsciously being manipulated to look good or perform for the community. Though they were well meaning, and the people they were ‘pastoring’ were also good people, yet the system of being a paid clergyman caused there to be a degree of inauthenticity. A famous quote of a quote [Frank Viola quotes another person in the book ‘Pagan Christianity’] says it’s hard to convince someone about something when their salary depends on them not being convinced! [paraphrase] So the actual position of being dependent on the offerings/tithes of people can put pressure on leaders to not deal with certain subjects. I have had fellow ministers over the years reject what I was saying simply because they felt it would affect their income. Their priority was on surviving. These men are not bad people, they mean well and don’t purposely want their message to be shaped by their dependence on a job/position. But in many cases the temptation is too great. Solomon said a ‘gift’ can corrupt the motives of people. While it is fine for ministers to receive financial help out of respect for their labor, yet we need to examine whether or not the salaried position of the fulltime minister is in keeping with New Testament ecclesiology. Are you tailoring your message by the support you bring in? Do you view success from the standpoint of material assets? Do you see ‘your ministry’ as a career choice? Lets all examine our hearts and motives, we might not be taking bribes in the classic ‘Mafia’ sense, but if we are allowing our financial support to effect the way we live and teach, then we are allowing our hearts to become ‘corrupted’.

(1031)ECCLESIASTES 7:19 ‘WISDOM STRENGTHENS A WISE MAN MORE THAN TEN MIGHTY MEN IN A CITY’- this chapter has a few good verses in it. It says it’s better to go thru some stuff than to live in continual ‘abundance’. Wise men have increased in the ‘house of mourning’. I watched some stuff on Lincoln the other day, it’s obvious that he grew in wisdom and stature as he battled depression and difficulty. His life’s motto was not ‘discover the champion in you’! When I went to Kingsville the other day I noticed our blog ad was not only running in the Kingsville Record, but also the Kingsville Journal. I am not sure how it got in there. I also have a bunch of papers lying around my office, papers from New Jersey and Houston and stuff. I have been getting some contacts from ‘former’ church members of years ago, they are on fire for the Lord. I kinda think they have friends who learned about us on their own and then they realized that they were talking about us. These old buddies see themselves as part of us, but many of them are not on-line geeks. So they run into other locals who follow us on-line and then they realize they are following our story. The point being ‘wisdom strengthens wise men more than ten mighty men in a city’. A few years ago I felt the lord said to start the blog and put the ad in regional papers. The ‘effort’ to do this was not as much as the various outreach projects I have been involved in over the years, but the results have gone much further. If you gave me ‘ten mighty men’ [employees/staff] and I sent them all over to effect the region, I don’t think they could equal the simple effect of me hearing and responding to the Lord in these simple ways. Now, we most certainly have ‘ten mighty men’ a group of both leaders and ‘regular saints’ [ouch!] who follow the journey, but they are a result of hearing and responding. The wisdom [ideas] from God have a greater effect than the efforts of men. Remember, the battle is not to the strong or swift, the victory comes from the Spirit of God. When we learn to listen and respond, the things we do will go far. When we put a lot of money and effort into stuff, without really listening, we get stuck with Ishmaels [something our govt. should learn!] Also, it is often in the ‘house of mourning’ [seasons of extreme difficulty] that God deposits the wisdom into you. Padre Pio [Catholic Priest] said ‘souls come with a cost, somebody has to pay the price’ are you willing to pay the price?

(1023)ECCLESIASTES- I PLAYED THE GAME AND WON! Solomon was in a position where he could do and try anything. I recently read how a very famous Christian singer has come out of the closet and began living the gay lifestyle. He is married and has kids, he is in his fifties. He simply said he woke up one day and told the Lord that he was tired of fighting the desire and gave in. Solomon said he gave in to pleasure, he decided that trying to restrain himself was unfulfilling and he gave in to every pleasure his heart desired. Did it fulfill him? No, he said it was folly. He became the most successful business man in Jerusalem. No one before him was able to achieve the success and prominence in this city where he resided, yet at the end it meant nothing. In essence he played the game, by the rules, and it still wasn’t worth it. Yesterday I was helping out some homeless friends, a sincere older lady asked me if I had a few dollars, I actually didn’t. But I went to the store and bought a few things and took out an extra 20.00. I split it between 4 people; friends that I knew weren’t going to get drunk. They were so happy and grateful, I still can’t get over what a simple 20 dollar bill can do for people. In ‘this game’ that we are in [called life!] God is the scorekeeper, I realize that many modern ‘theologies’ have turned the tables. Some teach that God does keep score by how much material success we achieve before we die, they sincerely think this is right. I watched an exposé on U- TUBE that showed a CNN reporter interviewing one of the prosperity ministers who has come under fire. The reporter got smart, she actually read from scripture the passage where Jesus challenges the young rich man to sell all he has and give to the poor. She quoted the passage where it says it’s harder for a rich man to go to heaven than for a camel to pass thru a needle. The preacher defended his pursuit of wealth by saying ‘if you read the rest of the story, he sold his wealth and God gave him a hundred fold back.’ He said ‘God was telling the man to worship him with his wealth’. I actually was surprised that this minister said this, he does know scripture. He definitely was wrong about this, the rich man went away sad because he had ‘much wealth’ and did not want to depart from it! God keeps score differently than the world. Solomon tried all the options, he was way ahead on points. He was so far ahead that no one was going to catch up, he then realized that ‘being ahead’ wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

(1020)CORINTHIANS CONCLUSION- Paul concludes this long letter with a bunch of personal notes. He tells them that the Lord has opened up a great effective door for him at Ephesus and there are many adversaries. He wanted Apollos to make a visit but he did not want to at this time. He told them to go easy on Timothy because he was a fellow worker in the Lord. Overall Paul’s message to this church was one of true grace. I want to emphasize again [like we did when studying Romans and the other epistles so far] that one of the main themes of the first century apostles was belief in the gospel. Paul told these believers that it was believing in the message of the Cross that saves them. He defined the gospel as Jesus death, burial and resurrection. He encouraged them to live free as Gods community and to help each other out. Paul did not lay on them some type of guilt trip to become some high powered institution in order to ‘change their world’. He believed that the simple lifestyle of love and purity would be able to do the job. I see a contrast from the first century church and its simple gospel and today’s idea of church. Also notice how Paul was ‘planting’ these churches. He visited them, spent time with them, LEFT THEM, and continued corresponding with them thru letters and friends. In essence, first century church planting was simply establishing groups of people on the foundation of Christ. They were not organizing under some type of 501c3 model [I do realize they didn’t have this back then!] they didn’t see ‘church’ as some type of social group that you joined [Elks lodge type thing]. They actually were the church! I want to stress this theme as we continue teaching thru out the New Testament. Many times believers hold on to and embrace ideas that seem to be biblical [you can find a verse here and there type thing- proof texting] but when you see the whole story you get a better picture of what’s going on. Well I hope you guys got something out of this brief study, try and keep in mind the things that challenged you as we read thru this book. Did you see some things differently than before? Did some stuff get you mad? Did we challenge your belief system in some way? My goal is to encourage reformation in the church, not disorder! Take the new things you might have seen and implement them in Gods time. Those of your starting from scratch [first time church planters] can start with a clean slate and implement many of these ideas from day one, others who are already in ministry will have to take a more measured approach. Do all things as God leads and in his time. To all you ‘church members’ don’t take the stuff that you learned and use it to come against your ‘church’. Let God lead you on your journey and reform as God directs. It’s easy for some young rebels [or old!] to take the stuff on tithing and use it against your current church, that’s not our goal. Be patient with your pastors and leaders and allow God to use you as a force for change, not destruction. Well that's it for now; I am not sure what study we will jump into next. Recently got some good emails and phone calls from some of our friends laboring in other towns, people I did not even know of, but who follow the ministry. Those of you out there who are following along, send me an email every now and then so I can see what type of growth we are having, the different regions we are impacting. Those of you who have launched home groups, let me know how things are going. God bless till next time, John.

(1018)JAMES AND THE RICH- as James encourages the saints he also rebukes the ‘well to do’. He tells them they have heaped treasure together for the last days and the rust of it will testify against them. He tells the poor believers that the rich blaspheme Gods name and oppress the poor. He tells the poor that God has chosen them to be heirs of the kingdom. One of the main themes of James is that God is on the side of the oppressed person, the down and out. God defends those who have ‘no voice’. They lack the finances and influence to speak up for themselves. Martin Luther King said the New Jerusalem is both a present reality breaking into our current lives ‘New York’ ‘New Chicago’ etc. He spoke of it as the beloved community. He understood that God was not only concerned with the after life, but with society here and now as well. One of the main purposes of prophetic ministry is to bring Gods people back into alignment and to speak out against injustice and materialism. I find it interesting that one of the main themes of James is defending the poor while rebuking the rich. Like we said before James was the half brother of Jesus, he grew up in the same home with the Lord. He experienced the tremendous ministry of Jesus for three years. He heard him speak the parables on rich men in hell and Lazarus in ‘Abraham’s bosom’. He saw the young rich man go away sad because he had lots of stuff and was not willing to give it up for a higher purpose. He heard the parable of the rich guy who wanted to build more storage for his stuff and feel secure by thinking he had abundance for years to come, but then Jesus said he would die that night. James picked up some themes from Jesus, one of them was that those who focused on material wealth were not focused on spiritual things. They seemed to spend most of their time thinking about their stuff. James was one of the lead apostles at the Jerusalem church, their were many poor saints living there. He was not preaching a prosperity gospel to them, he told them their present suffering was only for a short time. They would be rewarded by God for the difficulties they faced, the comfortable would have some stuff to answer for as well.

(1004)CORINTHIANS 13:11-13 WHEN I WAS A CHILD I UNDERSTOOD AND THOUGHT AND SPOKE LIKE A CHILD, BUT WHEN I GREW UP I PUT THOSE THINGS BEHIND ME- Paul shows us that we presently see and understand things thru ‘a glass’. God gives us insight and glimpses into Divine truth, but we need mercy because we all have limited sight. Over the years I know I have ruffled some feathers. Whether it be our teaching on what the church is, tithing, end times stuff. How New Testament believers should view the nationalistic promises made to Israel under the Old Covenant. I have found that the problem usually isn’t solved by simply proving something from scripture. For instance someone might become convinced by an ‘avalanche’ of information, they might actually see what I am saying. They can even articulate it to a degree [sometimes better than me!] but at the end of the day the answer to the problem is we all need to ‘grow up’. We need an overall change in the way we view things thru a legalistic lens. For instance, the tithe issue. Over the years I have taught the concept that believers are not under this law. Those of you who have read this site for any length of time know this. But I have also taught that it is fine to put 10% of your money into the offering on Sunday. It’s okay to support those who ‘labor among us’. But there are also many examples in the New Testament warning Gods leaders to not be in it for the money. Now, if we took seriously the mandate in Malachi to tithe. If we want to actually bind the believer’s conscience in this way ‘how are you robbing God? By not bringing in the tithes!’ Then we need to also look at the context. Israel as a nation was mandated to ‘tithe’ of their goods [not money] in three ways. They gave to support the Levites, also for the poor, and then they gave a tithe for religious feasts. In essence this ‘tithe’ was a total of around 30 % of their annual income, not 10%! [This by the way is right around what I spend on a monthly basis for the ministry stuff I do]. So, if we were telling people ‘you are going to be cursed if you don’t pay 10%’ we are actually misreading this verse. Also, how many believers think they are going to be cursed if they don’t ‘tithe to the poor’? Most modern preaching on the tithe simply puts it in the category of the Sunday offering. Most of this type of giving goes to support salaries, building upkeep, light bills, insurance for staff. I could go on and on. A very minute portion of this money [in general] goes to the poor. Certainly not a third! Also the portion that went to the Levites could not be used to purchase anything that would be owned by the Levite. They were forbidden to own any type of personal inheritance as Levitical priests. How often does the modern concept of tithing include this? The whole point is if we are going to bind peoples consciences in this way [which we shouldn’t] then we need to make sure we are at least teaching it right! Why bring this up? This is simply a good example of what Paul is saying. ‘When I understood in a limited way, I spoke and acted in a limited way’. The answer to the problem is simply ‘becoming mature in our thinking and speaking’. Recently I read an article from a U.S. congressman, he was speaking about the situation between Israel and Palestine. He sided with a military interpretation of the Old Testament promise to Abraham to ‘posses the land’ and used that to influence his political activism for war. How ‘mature’ is this type of thinking? Did any of the JEWISH apostles do this? No. So instead of trying to ‘crisis manage’ every single doctrinal problem, we really need to mature on an overall basis and view these doctrines thru the paradigm of Jesus and his life and work. Are we imitating his ethos when we do these things? Was this the primary message and life of Jesus when he walked the earth? How did he respond to Roman oppression and unjust govt.? Did he advocate military action in defense of the promises of God made to the nation of Israel? If we as the 21st century church do not ‘rightly divide’ these things, then we are of all men ‘most miserable’ [1st Corinthians 15].

(993)THE BILLIONAIRE SUICIDES- ‘Let the brother of low degree [not rich] rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. … so shall the rich man fade away in his ways’ James 1:9-11. These last few weeks have had a strange thing happen. After the recent fall in the stock market [1-09] there were 3 billionaires who killed themselves. I also watched on the news last night how a stock guy faked his death by crashing his plane, they found out he parachuted out first! Some of the news media said ‘I don’t understand these billionaires killing themselves, sure, they lost billions but they still have money’. This is the deceit of riches. These rich guys were in it for the game, not simply to have enough money to live off of. They fell for the addiction of the game. After losing great sums of money, they weren’t thinking ‘well I still have enough to make it’. No, they were thinking ‘I can never get back to where I was, I will never win the game now’ which to them meant having more than the others ‘in the game’. James said the rich will fade like the grass, they allow their lives to feel secure by the amount they have. When they lose that sense of security they feel all is lost. James was one of the lead elders at the Jerusalem church [Acts 15] he had spiritual oversight to a large group of poor believers. These were the same poor Christians that Paul was taking up offerings for [1st Corinthians 16]. James understood the temporary nature of worldly wealth. I find it notable that James lived and grew up with Jesus, he was his brother. What were the important messages he picked up by living with Jesus most of his life? He understood the shallowness of the rich man. James said ‘they will fade like the flowers on a hot day’. The billionaires took their lives because all that they were living for was gone. The hot sun came up and they were found wanting.

(992)JAMES 1: 2-4 ‘Count it all joy when you fall into various temptations [trials] knowing that the testing of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work [completeness, the end of ‘a thing’] that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing’. When I first started this blog, I was surprised that brothers from Africa quickly found out about us. I kinda thought that all the invites from the continent were part of the scams that go on incessantly on line. I can’t tell you how many ‘Dear brother, I am a Christian millionaire trying to free up my millions in the U.S.’ or something like that type pleas that I get. It usually gives them away when they spell something like ‘Godd blees yeo’. Yes, I admit I have responded at times by saying ‘I hate to inform you but I am an undercover F.B.I. agent, we have traced your computer to its location. YOU WILL BE EXTRADITED TO THE U.S. SOON!’ I quickly ask the Lord to forgive me after I send it off. But the African contacts were legit. The reason I am even mentioning this is because I feel the Lord has a purpose for messages like ours to go out to the nations. Not ‘my message’ per se, but the basic return to a Christ oriented gospel. Africa has gone thru a few decades of becoming ‘Christianized’ by the American gospel. The most prevalent strain of American Protestantism on the continent is the prosperity message. I don’t know if you knew this or not, but it is common to find African churches that are saturated with the prosperity gospel. Now, after all I have written and taught over the years on the abuses of this type of message, yet I do not see this development as totally ‘from the devil’. I believe it to be possible for the Lord to have used the basic message of self reliance, believing God to improve your economy, a basic message of ‘you can do it’ as a foundation for future growth. That is many Africans needed to be told ‘God does have a future and a hope for you and your continent, start believing and trusting God to turn things around’. But after the ‘elementary teachings’ of this type of message are laid, then the ‘more mature’ message of Christ’s calling needs to come in and build upon the basic self help gospel. So, James says ‘count it a blessing when you go thru stuff, God is working things in you, he is bringing you to a point of completeness in your life. Don’t look at all the trials as things from the enemy that must be rebuked, God allows trials for your personal growth and development’. There is a Christian message that teaches us that the Lord brings us to maturity thru difficult things. The basic message of ‘self help’ has an ethos that says ‘Confess, rebuke and apply all the bibles procedures and you will grow’. Much of this message has you rebuking the God ordained tests! Yes, we don’t like the tests. When the big test day comes along [or all the little ones] it can be nerve racking. So modern psychology says ‘lets avoid the pressure that tests put on people. Lets just tell little Tommy ‘you spelled the word the way you felt it should be spelled’ [Ouch!] I want to encourage you today, God has brought you thru some things for your own growth and benefit. You might look back ten years from now and think ‘Thank God I went thru those tough times, they allowed me to avoid going thru years of teaching and believing a limited gospel’. To all my preacher friends who read this site, God wants to ground you guys in some basic Christian truth, things that are foundational to our call in the kingdom. It is all too common for successful ministries to be built on self help principles. After many years go by this self help message can become too self centered, the people need to be taught ‘count it all joy’ once again.

(990)PROVERBS 31: 8-9 ‘Open thy mouth for the dumb [voiceless] in the cause of ALL such as are appointed to destruction [abortion, poor, unjust death sentences]. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy’. This chapter is famous for the second half, the virtuous woman. I have been praying parts of this chapter 3-5 times a week for around 20 years now. I pray the part ‘your wife we be like the merchant ships that bring their goods from afar’ over my wife. I also pray ‘your wife will be like a fruitful vine by the sides of your house, your children like olive plants round about your table’. For some reason the ‘plant’ imagery stuck in my head as a good prayer reminder. The other day, before Shelby passed away [my homeless friend] I was going thru the pictures on my cell phone. I happened to come across a picture I took of Shelby. I have a few pictures from the fellowships and stuff. This one was taken with Shelby and a few other homeless brothers at a park in Kingsville. Sure enough I put the picture as the ‘wallpaper’ [the first picture that shows up as you turn on the phone] on Sunday. He passed away on Wednesday. My daughter says ‘don’t put my picture on your phone’! Actually I kind of see it as a prophetic thing. In some way the Lord was telling me my friend was going to become a ‘memory’ real soon. Also a reminder for prayer. The day I found out about Shelby’s death I took a few homeless people around town to run errands and stuff. We stopped for coffee and one of the brothers insisted on paying this time. He had around 10 bucks and really wanted to. I paid, he left a 2 dollar tip. During the day they were trying to accomplish small tasks that can become real obstacles in their lives. I took one of the guys to the driver’s license place, he got his I.D. but could not get his license. They have a very old charge against him about not appearing for court on some minor thing. He never got the notice, they sent it to his last known address, he hasn’t lived there for years! He simply can’t fix this problem, he has no resources and ability to fix it! I of course helped him with the ride and some money and stuff. But when these guys get into these seemingly small obstacles, when you’re homeless and without a phone and regular transportation, they seem hopeless at times. Now, what do you think happens when the entity they are dealing with decides to mess with them? I canceled a credit card a few years back. I paid the balance and specifically said ‘make sure you cancel the card, I don’t want to keep getting notices that I owe an annual fee and stuff’! Sure enough, a few months go by and they send me a notice that I am delinquent for around 70.00 dollars [not an old balance, but a new annual charge!] and if I don’t pay it the fine will go up. What happened? Someone decided to simply ‘screw me’ [sorry]. The point being, when you are homeless you have very little ability to correct any wrongs done against you, the entity that is messing with you always wins. Society seems to think ‘they got what was coming to them’. The reason God wants us to speak up for all those who are ‘voiceless’ is because this is part of the purpose of Gods anointing. Jesus clearly was anointed for this purpose [Isaiah 11, 61. Luke 4]. There are times when the voiceless are ALWAYS innocent [abortion] and times where they did ‘get what was coming to them’. But Jesus requires us to treat the poor and hopeless with respect and concern. Every now and then I catch a show on E.W.T.N. [the catholic channel] the name of the show is ‘the church and the poor’. It’s the ministry of some priest [Wen Ho Lee? Something like that] who was a Jesuit priest living in the states and having a comfortable life. Then the Lord challenged him to give it all up and move to some foreign land and give his life away for the poor. His message is soul stirring. He often tells the people during the Mass ‘do you think coming to church and going to confession and doing religious things are the main requirements for a Christian’? He then goes on and shares the judgment scenarios that Jesus gave in the gospels. He shows how Jesus couches the judgment of man based on his treatment of the poor and down and out. He sounds like me! God requires us to speak up for those who cannot, he requires us to give our lives away. As you read thru this chapter [Proverbs 31] you will see that kings [leaders] are not supposed to get drunk [like Paul's admonition to elders]. Why? So they don’t forget to do justice and look out for those who are under their care, specifically the down trodden. God wants us clear and sober minded for a divine purpose, to be social activists on the behalf of those who ‘have no voice’.

(983)1ST CORINTHIANS 11:16-34 ‘When you come together IN THE CHURCH’ [king James version] ‘when you come together AS THE CHURCH’ [new king James version]. In this section of scripture we see a real good definition of ‘church’ and also a bad one. The word for church is found over 100 times in the New Testament [114? - if I remember right] in every occasion, bar none, it refers to the people of God. Sometimes it refers to them as ‘coming together’ or simply as ‘the called out people of God’ [that is they are all spiritually gathered as a community in Christ]. The word never refers to a ‘church building’ [there is one reference in James that can seem to indicate a place to meet. James is speaking to Jews, the synagogue [or Jerusalem temple] as a building is different from the term for church in Paul’s letters!]. In the example I just gave you from the king James versions, it shows you how Gods people viewed this term for church [Ecclesia/Ekklesia] as time rolled along. The original translators of the King James saw it as ‘a place you meet in’ the new version saw it ‘as when Gods people come together’. You say ‘what’s the big difference’? Well I am sure the original translators meant well, but in actuality there is a big difference between ‘being an organic family’ or ‘being a building’! As Paul addresses the Corinthians he says ‘your coming together is not for the better, but for the worse’. They were using the gathering as a means of self gratification. ‘What can I get out of this’ type thing. I do see a parallel in much of today’s ‘church meeting’. Do we see Christianity thru the lens of ‘what am I going to hear this Sunday that I can implement in my own personal life for self improvement’? This mindset prevails in today’s church environment. The ethos of Jesus was contrary to this. He challenged his followers to lay down their rights and desires and seek another kingdom, one that was not measured by the standards of this world. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for seeking ‘their own wealth [benefit] and not the other’s’. He also told them to examine their hearts before coming together so they would not be judged. I have heard the new generation of church thinkers [which I am one myself!] kind of mock the old time churches by saying ‘Oh they tell you communion is some dangerous thing that you must approach with a holier than thou attitude’. Most mean well when they level this charge, but the ‘old time churches’ are not without scriptural support for this approach. Paul did say ‘you guys are too flippant in your attitude towards the Lords table, you need to straighten up and take more seriously your corporate call to those around you’. Understand, the celebration of this ‘love feast’ was to ‘show the Lords death till he come’. Who were they ‘showing it to’? The entire ‘unchurched’ community around them! Their selfless lives of being the community of God, loving and sharing of themselves as a spiritual family, was for the intent of having an effective community wide witness. They reminded not only themselves, but those around them ‘of the Lords death’. It was truly a corporate witness! Our Catholic brothers might not be as wrong as most Protestants seem to think. The Catholic Church sees the Eucharist as the central witness and part of their meetings. The Protestants see the preaching of the word from the pulpit. Though the Protestants are sincere in their efforts to teach the word of God, there is a tendency to become ‘pastor/pulpit’ centered, as opposed to being ‘Christ centered’. All in all Paul rebukes and corrects them based on their self centered actions when meeting together. He also sees ‘the gathering’ as ‘the church’. Not the place their meeting at! It’s easy to confuse this when reading ‘when you come together in the church- in one place’ it sure seems like he can be referring to a church building. Take my word for it, he’s not.

(979)PROVERBS 28: 22 and 27- ‘HE THAT HASTETH TO BE RICH HAS AN EVIL EYE AND CONSIDERS NOT THAT POVERTY SHALL COME UPON HIM….HE THAT GIVES TO THE POOR SHALL NOT LACK’. I just finished making a radio program and wanted to share some stuff from my Proverbs reading. I still have the original cheap second hand desk that I bought over 20 years ago in Kingsville. I think I paid 20 bucks for the thing. Though it’s ancient and looks ‘crappy’, it still gets the job done. Over the years I have learned that it can be exciting to amass wealth. Yes even believers can ‘sanctify’ the pursuit of wealth, that is justify it’s pursuit by thinking ‘I am going after money and riches so I can fund kingdom ventures’! While God certainly uses rich people to do his will, the overall ethos of the kingdom is one where you choose not to pursue the wealth of the world, you instead pursue ‘spiritual riches’. This contrast can be found all thru out scripture [read my section on ‘word of faith- prosperity gospel’]. Paul actually tells Timothy ‘those that desire to be rich will fall into a snare’. Notice, Paul doesn’t say ‘unless they desire riches for kingdom things’. He simply says the pursuit of wealth is a deadly game, don’t be ‘wise in your own eyes’ and think that you can tame the monster! Recently the stock market had another one of the worst crashes in history. How many ‘pursuers of wealth’ had ‘poverty come suddenly upon them’? Another verse says ‘don’t set your eyes on wealth, they make themselves wings and fly away’. Ouch! As I sit here and type this entry I will be dropping of 3 months worth of radio messages in a little while. I made them from a cheap recorder purchased from radio shack. I store them in my cheap desk that I bought years ago. I am sitting on used furniture that I bought 25 years ago! I furnished my study/office with it. But yet I have a study filled with excellent books that I purchased over the years. Year’s worth of radio teachings that cost me next to nothing to make. I gave one of my homeless buddies a little money the other day. I take no offerings and spend a little under half my monthly retirement income on ministry stuff. To my amazement the Lord has allowed us to have real impact in a large region, and it’s done on a shoe string budget. ‘He that gives to the poor shall not lack’. Don’t seek to become rich, the scripture forbids it. Give to the down and out, give your life away. Be a servant of people, God will reward you and you will have enough to get the job done.

(975)PROVERBS 27:1 I made some plans to go to Kingsville last week. The morning I woke up I felt the word of the Lord to me [during prayer] was ‘Boast not thyself of the morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth’ [James]. Sure enough I got sidetracked and had to cancel. The next day I read Proverbs chapter 27, the spot where I left off last. I am kinda just reading a chapter at a time over a few month period. The first verse is the same one I just quoted from James! God does speak in stereo. I also read a good article from my January [2009] issue of Christianity Today magazine. It was an excerpt from a new book titled ‘Brand Jesus’. Exposing the dangers of ‘marketing Jesus’ as a product. It was good. I just felt like the word of the Lord today was for us to be careful when we ‘boast of tomorrow’. When we plan great goals [which is not wrong in itself] which seem to be ‘Christian goals’. As I am writing this entry I can hear a Christian song from my TV in the other room. The singer is singing about the temptation of being a singer and glorying in the spotlight! It seems funny that he is sharing this struggle [of self glory] thru this medium. The point being it’s easy to ‘Christianize’ our self motivations. To approach ‘Jesus’ as a brand product that can do something for you. Improve you in some way. Maybe he can carry us to stardom and fame, hey he wants us to fulfill our desires doesn’t he? Well actually not the way the contemporary church preaches it. A main theme of New Testament Christianity is learning to lay down your desires and wants for a greater purpose. Now, this greater purpose will wind up being more fulfilling than what you thought you wanted. That's why ‘your desires’ are not a good measurement of the purpose of God. He that seeks to save his life [get what you think is best] will lose it. He who learns the secret of giving up his life [carrying the Cross, self denial] will find it. What are you ‘boasting about’? Where do you ‘see yourself’ ten years from now? Remember, we as believers do not measure success and fame the way the world does. Our reward is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior. I know this sounds ‘corny’ and old fashioned, but sometimes we need to be reminded about this type of lifestyle. We spend so much time boasting about our dreams and goals, Jesus gets lost in the background as some product who can help me achieve ‘all that I can be’.

(973)1ST CORINTHIANS 10:5-13 Paul warns the Corinthians not to fall for the same temptations that Israel committed in the wilderness. ‘Don't sin sexually, don’t complain about stuff [ouch!] don’t be idolaters [lovers of your cash flow!]’ basic sins that effect us all. He also says something interesting ‘you are now those upon whom the end of the world [age] has come’. Not the ‘end of existence’ but the time period where Gods fullness has come [Galatians 4]. I find this interesting. The first century Apostles saw the breaking in of the Kingdom of God, thru Christ, as the event and ‘moment’ that all human history hinged upon. There was a real sense of ‘this is the special kairos season that all men have been waiting for’. The New Testament teaches that even the angels were waiting to see this day. One of the errors of dispensationalism was the idea that the important, main event was still some future happening [the second coming]. While it is true that this event will happen, and it will be glorious. Yet there was a sense in scripture that said the time of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection was the act of reconciliation that turned the destiny of man. Paul in essence was saying to the Corinthians ‘you don’t understand the full import of all that the Father has called you to. You are part of the most important movement in human history, all humanity has been waiting for this season, the ‘ends of the ages’ have come to this point. Don’t blow it for heavens sake’! Got it? Let’s grasp the fact that we too are part of this ‘time period’ [the new covenant kingdom age] and realize that our forefathers are watching from the stands [Hebrews]. Let’s not blow it [I was going to say ‘like the Cowboys’ but this gets too many locals mad].

(969)1ST CORINTHIANS 9:15-27 I have a letter sitting here from some northern radio station. I guess these guys hear us some how? It’s a great offer to be on 140 stations for next to nothing [$140.00 a month]. I have had radio stations write us before. I choose to stay small so I can be consistent in not taking offerings. I am sure if I took offerings I could easily expand like this, but I think I need to set the example for others. This fits in with the following.
Now Paul will say ‘I would rather die than take money from you’ [and you guys think I’m an over reactor!] and also ‘I don’t take money from you because I want to make the gospel free of charge’. Remember, this is in the same chapter where he says it’s okay to support leaders financially. But yet he also makes these strong statements. Does Paul contradict himself? Some have tried to harmonize these statements by either saying Paul wasn’t really teaching the financial support of elders, or by saying Paul only restricted taking money from the Corinthians. Both of these are not true [Read my Acts 20 study]. Paul was hard on whatever group he was addressing. If he is speaking directly to the local saints, he says ‘you should make sacrifice and support those who labor among you’ but to the elders/leaders he says ‘I worked with my own hands while among you [elders!] to give you an example not to expect the people to support you’ [Acts 20]. He appeals to both sides to lay down their rights and give themselves away freely! He also says he adapts to every type of situation, he ‘becomes all things to all men, that he might save them’. He also brings his body under discipline so that after preaching to others, he himself will not be ‘cast away’. In my Proverbs reading I just came across ‘he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls’. God wants you to succeed and accomplish things, the enemy wants to sidetrack you. Allow God to have the upper hand, let the fruit of ‘self control’ [one of the fruits of the Spirit] abide in you. Now remember, Paul says ‘they do it to obtain a corruptible crown’ [material, temporary stuff. Money included] but we do it [discipline ourselves] for an ‘incorruptible crown’. The scripture is filled with examples that contrast money [material rewards] with true spiritual riches. In these examples the scripture teaches us to expend our time and efforts in building a spiritual heritage as opposed to a financial one. Yet some will even use this scripture ‘running the race’ and apply it to stuff! Ahh, when we do stuff like this we are ‘reading/quoting scripture’ without truly knowing it. Jesus told the religious leaders ‘you search the scriptures because by doing this you think you have eternal life, but you will not come to me that you might have life’. It’s possible to spend your whole life searching scripture [for what you want] and still miss the chief cornerstone! [the main point]

(967)PROVERBS- Up early praying and stuff. A few years back when I started writing this blog I never thought I would write so much! I just took the spot where I was reading thru my yearly schedule and began teaching it. It’s really easy to be honest. Sometimes I just do a brief reading and then sit down and write [actually all the time- note that I always pray/meditate for at least one hour prior to writing. Scripture [actually Proverbs!] says ‘write the commandment on your heart [teachings of your father- Gods Word] and bind the tradition around your neck’ [teaching of your mother- church history and stuff]. When you do this it will ‘keep you when you lay down, guide you when you go out, and speak/talk to you when you wake up’. I am not advocating slack studying before preaching, I am advocating that you fill your mind and spirit continually, then when ‘the spot light hits you’ your ready!]. This keeps me from my old routine of reading and meditating slowly. So I try and read other devotional sections of scripture at the same time. I am doing Proverbs right now, I like the wisdom literature. The Old Testament can be divided into three sections; 1- Wisdom literature 2- The law 3- The Prophets. The ‘keeper’ of the law is the Priest, the Prophets are of course the Prophet. The wisdom literature; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Job and Psalms [James in the New Testament] are associated with the ‘Sage’ or wise man [Apostle]. So Maybe during our ‘down time’ [days where I purposely don’t teach! Because it’s so routine to just get up, pray and teach that it can become a rut. I don’t want to brag, but I am two years ahead of schedule on all our radio broadcasts. I have around 630 individual radio messages already done!] So maybe I will just hit high points from these devotional readings. I recently read ‘LABOR NOT TO BE RICH, CEASE FROM YOUR OWN WISDOM’. I originally felt like just quoting it and saying ‘look! What is he saying now? Hear we go again on his anti prosperity campaign!’ And then responding ‘why brothers, I didn’t say anything, I just quoted scripture’. Well, I guess I just did it. ‘WISDOM BUILDS HER HOUSE, UNDERSTANDING ESTABLISHES IT AND BY KNOWLEDGDE SHALL ITS CHAMBERS BE FILLED WITH ALL PLEASANT AND PRECIOUS RICHES’. Over the years I have had friends who were really knowledgeable, but there knowledge was only available for a short season. Why? They didn’t have the wisdom and understanding to put systems in place that would be the structure that could contain the knowledge. Then you have those who are wise, they can get structures up. But then a year goes by and they are working on another structure! The old ‘house’ is either left for someone else to deal with, or they simply ‘walk away’ from the mortgage [spiritually speaking] and start all over. Then you have those with wisdom, knowledge and understanding. They get things going, they establish systems in place that can maintain and keep things functioning for the long term, and they make sure all these strong systems and ministries are ‘filled with precious riches’. It’s all too common for some very stable ministries to have the structures and systems in place for the long term, but then propagate a message that is ‘less than precious’. Lets ask God today for the grace to function in all three of these divine attributes. When it is all said and done, only God can provide the increase!

(965)1st CORINTHIANS 8- Once again Paul will deal with the issue of what’s clean or unclean, the Christians convictions. Corinth not only had low sexual standards, but also much idolatry. This led to a problem of whether or not believers should purchase the meat sold in the market that was used for idol worship. After the sacrifice was made, whatever good meat was left could be sold on the streets. Now, Paul says the believer knows there is only one true God, so with this knowledge you are not sinning because you know the meat really wasn’t used to worship other gods, because there are no other Gods! But he also says that every man does not have this knowledge. So just like he taught the Romans, he teaches the Corinthians that in all of your freedom, the highest standard is whether you are building others up or tearing them down. If you have a free conscience to eat the meat, then fine, it is no sin to you. But if this liberty is offending the minds of those who are weaker in the faith, then your freedom just became a stumbling block and worked against the main goal of building others up. So the real question isn’t ‘can I do this with a clean conscience’ but ‘does my practice offend or build others up’? Many years ago I had a friend who smoked cigars, he was a believer and simply saw nothing wrong with it. We had a mutual friend who found out about it and bought some cigars and gagged on them. His conscience was emboldened to ‘eat the meat’ and by doing it he sinned. Why was cigar smoking sin to the weaker brother? Because he really wasn’t doing it out of a pure heart with a clean motive. Though the cigar smoker felt he had the freedom to smoke [it wasn’t an every day thing] yet his freedom caused another to fall. So Paul consistently takes this position in his letters. Some day we will get to other verses like ‘the things the gentiles offer to idols are being offered to demons, so don’t partake with them at the same table’ this is dealing with a different thing, I’ll explain it at another time. Paul also says ‘knowledge puffs up, but charity builds up’. One of the side trails believers can easily fall into is thinking the Christian life is simply an exercise is learning things. That is knowledge for knowledge’s sake. While Paul was not advocating ignorance, he was dealing with carnal believers who walked in pride. He was showing them that those who think they stand should be careful lest they fall. Paul was calling them to a higher purpose than just learning scripture and applying it for personal satisfaction, he was calling them to live sacrificially, to take the wrong done to you [legally in court stuff]. To give up the freedom to ‘smoke cigars’ if you will, for the sake of others. Paul was teaching them that it was possible to be right and have the answers to back up your position, but if you are truly not dieing to self, you are simply getting ‘puffed up’.

(959)1ST CORINTHIANS 6: 8-20 Paul paints a ‘canvas’ of those who will not inherit the Kingdom. The list not only includes the big ones, but also the ‘average Joe’. Homosexuals, covetous, straight people who commit sexual sin; just the whole gambit. I do want to stress that Paul is not politically correct, he does categorize homosexuality as sin. He is not simply saying ‘non monogamous homosexuality’ but all types. I know there is an honest effort being made to try as much as possible to be more inclusive of other people’s views and lifestyles. I am for this approach as much as possible, but we also need to be honest about sin, all sin. Now covetous is that strong desire to amass wealth, it is the daily longing and confessing and believing for more material abundance. Yes folks, it’s what many of us have been duped into thru wrong teaching. I had a homeless friend who used to tell me how his dad, who was retired, used to wake up every day and simply consume his day with the stock market and how his retirement was going, he didn’t realize that he made the funding of his retirement [an okay goal] the main thought pattern of his life. I also just saw a story similar to this on some business channel. We need to be ‘ware’ of covetousness. Now Paul makes special mention of the destructive nature of sexual sin, he says ‘it destroys you’. I have been reading Proverbs the last month or so and there are many warnings about sexual sin. It says ‘he that does this destroys his own soul’. A few years back I watched [or read?] a local story of a professor who came down with a disease called Dementia. As they shared his story they described the progressive nature of him slowly losing his mind, and how his family eventually brought him back home [he was not married, his parents took him in] as they shared the sad story, they kinda of tactfully said ‘one of the possible signs of this disease is obsessive compulsive sexual behavior’. They basically were saying part of this mans history included obsessive sexual sin. I wonder if the dementia in some way is a result of the behavior, as opposed to a symptom. There was also as study done years ago that showed the difference in the brain scans of Homosexuals and Heterosexuals, they seemed to have found some real physical brain distinctions. But once again, is it possible that sexually engaging in certain sinful behaviors is actually ‘destroying the soul’, or causing a change in the brain? Paul singled out this sin [not just Homosexual behavior, but all sexual sin!] as causing actual damage to a person’s physical make up in a way that was more damaging than other sins. I think we all need to heed his warning. [note- sexual sin is a common struggle in life. Many believers do struggle and have fallen into this sin. Paul actually is addressing these sins because of the prevalence of the problem. I don’t want to condemn any one who reads this site and struggles this way, Paul is offering hope and forgiveness thru out this letter. He seems to be extra harsh with the Corinthians because of their lax attitude towards this sin].

(936)2ND SAMUEL 19- David sends word to the elders of Judah ‘why are you guys so late in receiving me back to Jerusalem as your king? I am your own kin for heavens sake!’ After the death of the rogue king Absalom, Israel came to her senses and began saying ‘you know, when David was our king things weren’t all that bad, now that Absalom is dead, what are we waiting for, lets call David back’. So David sends word back that he is reuniting with the people again. He also makes some strategic moves; he tells Amasa ‘when I get back, you get Joab’s job’ Ouch! David finally dealt with the talented, yet self willed commander of his men. On the way back one of the first guys that greets him is the same brother that cursed him and threw stones at him earlier. David lived to see the day of Gods vindication. The brother repents and David forgives him. Also the son of Jonathan, Mephibosheth, greets David with great joy. The first thing David says is ‘why didn’t you leave with me at the beginning?’ The earlier slander of Ziba stuck in David’s mind. Mephibosheth swares that Ziba tricked him. David forgives him and says ‘enough! You split the inheritance with Ziba’. Mephibosheth replies ‘Let him keep it, I don’t need the material wealth. I am just glad to be with you again’. The church does not see the reality of this test contained in scripture. There are times where ‘David’ does offer opportunities of self advancement that are simply a test to see what our motives are. In this case David rightfully gave material stuff to Mephibosheth, it was the maturity and character of Mephibosheth to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. The scripture contains many examples of Christ followers forsaking things for his cause. Just because the bible ‘offers opportunities for wealth’ does not mean Gods best is for you to ‘go for the wealth’. Now that David’s back in Jerusalem, the divided tribes [Israel-10 tribes, and Judah] have a squabble. Israel says ‘Judah, who do you think you are in being the first ones to escort the king back, he is our king too’! And Judah replies ‘yeah, but he is our blood kin, David is from our tribe. We hold a ‘special’ relationship with him because of natural heritage’. It’s funny, these guys were on Absalom’s side a few days ago, now they are fighting over him! I kinda see Jesus and natural Israel in this story. The nation of Israel became offended over the fact that they were ‘blood heirs’ of the Jewish Messiah. They held to this ethnic pride that would be destroyed thru the Cross. It offended the natural mind to see this ethnic figure [in the historic mind of Judaism] to be accepted by ‘all the tribes’. They wanted him solely for their own purposes. So here we see Judah and Israel fighting over David, he will unite them both under his rule [Ephesians ‘the 2 are made one, Jew and Gentile, and God hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us] and Jerusalem will once again be called ‘the city of the great king’ [we are the ‘city that comes down from God out of heaven’ the bride, the Lambs wife!

(926)2ND SAMUEL 10- The king of Ammon dies and David sends messengers to show due respect. The son, who is now the new king, receives David’s men. But the princes of the land say ‘what in the heck were you thinking? Surely David has sent these men to spy on us’. Why would the princes say this? Possibly because the king treated David well when he was alive. He sent David materials and workers to help. Sometimes people resent it when they feel others are getting the favor that they really deserve. They poisoned the mind of the new king. Now he takes David’s men and shaves half of their beards off and cuts their robes in half. An act of public humiliation. David hears about it and the fight is on. Ammon requests help from Syria and Syria says ‘sure, why not?’. I’ll tell you why not, because the scripture says don’t get involved with fights and issues that don’t concern you, that’s why! Well David confronts the armies and wins. Syria winds up surrendering and making a treaty with Israel. What happened here? Once again we see the poor decision making of a younger king. He took the advice of the other princes who were speaking out of wrong motives and intentions. Solomon’s future son will do the same and it will lead to another division in Israel. Paul instructs Timothy [or Titus?] to not allow a novice to be an elder. Does this mean young men can’t be spiritual leaders? Not necessarily. Timothy was fairly young at the time of getting this instruction. But new believers [leaders] have a tendency to grasp doctrine and ideas that might not be totally wrong, but they have a tendency to emphasize them in a distorted way. How many times have I heard teaching on the ‘importance of money’, or some other single issue. The preacher will often defend his distortion by saying ‘look how many times this subject is mentioned in scripture’ not realizing that this in itself does not justify the wrong emphasis. For instance many of the times this subject is mentioned it is in the context of warning believers to not become side tracked with seeking wealth! I could start a doctrine on the importance of ‘water’ or ‘bread’. Look how often water is mentioned! We have it in Genesis and Revelation. Jesus speaks of the waters of life. And I could go on and on. But the fact that this subject is found in so many various ways, doesn't mean we should exalt it into an idol. So young [new] believers do have a tendency to lift things out of proportion at times. The new king acted foolishly and the Syrians came along for the ride. Wisdom would have said ‘let the king of Ammon do what he thinks he should, we will sit this one out’.

(914)SAMUEL 30- David returns from the battle lines and finds out his town was sacked by the Amalekites. They took everything and spared the lives of the women and children. David’s men see the disaster and cry bitterly. They have a deacon board meeting and contemplate stoning him to death. Things were bad, David encourages himself in the Lord. He asks the Lord ‘should I go after them and try and recover our families’? The Lord says ‘go, you will recover all’. David pursues and gets his people back and kills the enemy. Four hundred young men escape. The same amount of men that went with David, 200 stayed behind out of weakness. Why did the 400 Amalekites flee? It’s possible that the Lord used these 400 survivors to spread the word about David’s fierceness. This battle was pumped up, David showed no mercy! After they return, the 400 man army of David despises the 200 who stayed behind and say ‘we will give you your families, but no goods!’ They treated them as lesser men. David would have none of it and says ‘we can’t withhold the things the Lord has freely given us [freely you have received, freely give- Jesus] but we will treat everyone alike’. I see the New Testament ministry of giving and sharing as a community here. What happened in this chapter? David experienced a tremendous possible loss this day. His men were at the lowest point of ‘the ministry’. All seemed lost, they even feared the loss of their families. The Lord does restore to David that which seemed gone for good, and David’s men regroup. All this happens at the next to the last chapter of Samuel. In the next chapter Saul dies and David becomes king. Everything seemed hopeless right before the greatest victory of all! David was soon to enter into his prophetic destiny in God. There is a theme in scripture that goes like this ‘right before, and right after great victories there are great trials’ geez, that means there are always trials! Yes, to a degree this is true. I also want you to have a biblical perspective on what it means to ‘recover all’. The church went thru a stage where we learned all the verses on ‘the enemy must repay 7 fold’ and other themes on ‘all the years the locust hath eaten will be restored’. I like and have used these themes in my own life over the years to claim victory. But I want you to see from an eternal perspective. The theme of the New Testament is one of eternal rewards. Not so much focused on ‘what we get here and now’ but on us having a ‘better reward in heaven’ [Hebrews]. Those of you who have lost loved ones, finances [we just had a tremendous stock market crash 10-08]. What if I were to tell you ‘you are not really much worse off than those who haven’t lost all’. In a few short years all our loved ones will be gone. We will have lost control over all of our wealth and riches. We will all be gone [in the natural!]. But yet there awaits a real future resurrection where we will all get our loved ones back. Where we will reap eternal rewards for a life well lived. In the eternal perspective we do ‘recover all’, all isn’t lost! I want to encourage you today to believe God to restore some things in the here and now. Yes, God can bless you and restore to you wealth and health and family and many good things. And for those who have lost some of these things permanently, God will restore to you real soon.

(912)SAMUEL 28- Saul prepares for battle against Achish. The philistine king thinks David is with him. Saul seeks God and doesn’t receive an answer by ‘dreams or prophets’. Saul expected to get some kind of supernatural sign. Samuel is dead, but he released a prophetic mantle/anointing into the community that showed the people that God can reveal himself in these ways. Saul goes to a witch who works with familiar spirits, a thing forbidden for Gods people! I have had friends ask me about reading the horoscope and going to palm readers. God forbids his people to dabble in sorcery and witchcraft, don’t do it! Saul manages to bring back Samuels spirit from the grave and Samuel rebukes Saul and tells him he and his sons will ‘be with me tomorrow’ [dead!]. Saul is reproved for two things. He didn’t fully obey God, and he refused to carry out judgment/justice [when he was supposed to wipe out Amalek]. I have seen many well meaning men in ministry. Good people who mean well. Ministry can be a tough thing. When people feel intimidated they have a tendency to not want to ‘execute judgment’. To only teach and preach good things, never dealing with error or blatant heresy. God wanted Saul to obey AND do judgment. Not judgment in a wrong way, but a willingness to see things that are out of alignment and to deal with them. God wants truth, truth in love, but truth. When Gods leaders get to a point of both obedience and justice, then we will experience his presence in a strong way.

(895)SAMUEL 12- Samuel is getting old. He calls the people together and reviews his life before them. His defense sounds a lot like Paul's defense to the Ephesian elders in the book of Acts [chapter 20]. Samuel tells the people ‘all the time I have been with you, did I ever take your goods to enrich myself? Did I use my authority in a way to advance myself?’ he basically witnesses before the people that he was not in this for self gain. He also reviews the history of Israel. He reminds them of their past and how the Lord delivered them from Egypt. It is important to see that although Samuel was a great prophet who operated in tremendous gifts, yet he saw the need to also ground the people in history and doctrine. He knew the importance of remembering past events. Both the Passover and the Lords Table are Divine instances of ‘remembrance’ that God has ordained for his people. Samuel will once again rebuke them for rejecting God by choosing a king. He will call down thunder and rain during their wheat harvest as a sign of Gods anger. The people see this and fear greatly ‘pray to the Lord for us Samuel, we have sinned’. He encourages them and tells them ‘even though you have done lots of wrong stuff, yet it’s not too late to turn to the Lord from this day forward and make a course correction’. In all reproving and correcting we need to always leave room for repentance. Some will never change the way ‘they think and act’ [message bibles version of repentance] but we need to understand that this is the goal of all correction and judgment. Samuel tells the people he will ‘not cease praying for them’ and continue to teach them well. Jesus told Peter ‘if you love me, feed my sheep’. John says ‘this is how we can tell we love God, when we love his kids and obey his commands’. What is Jesus command? ‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and might. And thy neighbor as thyself’. Samuel realizes that his faithfulness to God is directly related to his treatment of Gods people. Though he is a gifted prophet, yet he prays and teaches and remains consistent in the more mundane areas of ‘the ministry’. I have found that God looks for faithfulness in the mundane things before he honors the more flagrant gifts. It’s good to have the ability to speak or prophesy or sing for the Lord, but the need to be a consistent intercessor for God’s people takes priority. Samuel taught them history. He oversaw the problems and situations they went thru. He did not become wealthy from the people. He served the lord faithfully from his youth. Hannah gave him to the Lord at a very young age, God took what was given and made the most out of it.

(891)SAMUEL 8- Samuel’s sons are appointed as judges over Israel [leaders]. They are wicked, just like the sons of Eli. I find this interesting, Samuel was a product to some degree of his ‘spiritual elder’. Even though Samuel himself was a righteous man, yet he passed on to his kids the same leadership style that he tutored under. The children of Israel come to him and request a king ‘like the other nations’. It is important to see that God states clearly that this is not part of ‘the original plan’. God will tell Samuel that this desire for human leadership, along the lines of other ‘gentile nations’ is rebellion. Jesus will tell the disciples ‘the gentiles exercise lordship over one another, it shall not be like this with you’. Israel wanted to be dominated by a king! God tells Samuel to show them what they are asking for. And then goes thru a long list of things ‘he will take the best of your people and use them for self advancement. He will require a tenth of all you have. He will build a legacy for himself and his name by using you as resources to attain a personal goal of achievement’. In essence the lord is warning them that when you raise up human leadership in a singular way [one king] that violates the plural mindset of scripture, then you inevitably will become a servant to human institutions and purposes. I find it interesting that the Lord mentions the tithe and how this will arise as a result of wrong ideas on what leadership should be. Historically the early church did not practice tithing. As the centuries rolled along tithing was originally instituted as a ‘tax’ from the church/state on the people to support the institutional purposes of the church/state. In essence the tithe/tenth did become a means whereby human government would obtain power and prestige among the gentile nations. The word of the Lord was true! [It’s okay for believers to give 10 % to the church on Sunday, the curse of the law on those who do not do this should not be invoked from Malachi. The appeal should be based on grace giving]. Israel will get her king, God will eventually use the Kings of Israel for his prophetic purposes. David and Solomon will be pictures of Jesus and his future rule. Just like the temple, God will initially tell David ‘who do you think you are trying to build a house for me’? [Thru the prophet Nathan] but will still use the temple as a prophetic type of the people of God being a ‘holy temple’. So the Lord will allow sinful man to obtain things contrary to his original purpose, and yet still be glorified thru these requests. Also the sons of Samuel went astray ‘after lucre’ [verse 3]. Just like Paul and Peters warnings in the New Testament ‘taking the oversight, not for filthy lucre’ ‘some have strayed from the faith while coveting money’ so Samuels boys fell to this temptation. I know it’s popular in today’s circles to simply overlook all these verses from scripture. Many sincere men do not see them because their ‘grid’ of interpretation won’t allow it. I just wanted to note how this theme of covetousness is a scarlet thread that runs thru out the entire body of scripture.

(884)SAMUEL 2- Hannah gives great praise to God for Samuel. This prophetic utterance is a lot like Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ in Luke chapter one. She says ‘God brings low the rich and helps the poor’. This week we had one of the worst financial disasters in U.S. history [9-2008]. It could have been worse, the government took over some major financial [and insurance] institutions. One of them was A.I.G., a major insurer. A day or so before they were taken over I asked my wife ‘did you take out the girls trust money’. We had a lot of money for our girls in the company [lets say between 50 and 100 thousand dollars]. My wife says ‘no, not yet’. I was a little perturbed to say the least. My wife is the trustee for the girl’s accounts, and I have been telling her for about a year to take the money out. So the day she makes the request all the talk on the financial shows is ‘will A.I.G. declare bankruptcy today’? I was upset. Another day went by and they said ‘overnight they will declare’. And we still didn’t get the money. Well the government stepped and basically took the company over and we got our checks. I was talking to my homeless buddies and they were somewhat aware of the crisis, but they could care less. Their lives were not tied up in these systems. They were still going to live the way they were living for most of their lives. Trusting God daily to meet their needs. It made me think of Hannah’s prayer. Also we see the first use of the word ‘Messiah’ [anointed] in the bible. ‘God will strengthen his king and exalt the horn of his anointed’. I read this yesterday and was quoting it all day. It’s appropriate that Mary uses this prophetic utterance while speaking of Jesus, the Messiah. The sons of Eli the priest are wicked. They are robbing the people and sleeping with the women at the tabernacle gate. Scripture says ‘the people abhorred the offering of the Lord’ because of their abuse. For many years I heard ‘if people are offended because the church emphasizes money so much, well let them be offended’. I never really questioned this reasoning. Then I began to see how the majority offence to unbelieving friends and family was the money issue. While most of the pastors were well meaning, they seemed to not realize that we do have a responsibility to not offend in the area of offerings. The apostle Paul adjusted his ministry in such a way that he would not allow the churches to support him while he was with them. [Not just Corinth either, but Thessalonica and Ephesus! Read Thessalonians and the chapter in Acts that deals with the Ephesian elders- 22?] The point being the church bears much responsibility to how the world views us in the area of offerings to God. Eli's sons abused the system to their own benefit and the people began to despise the whole concept of ‘church and money’. A prophet will pronounce judgment on Eli’s household and Samuel will ‘grow in favor with God and men’. Just like Jesus. Samuel is a type of Christ who knew his prophetic/priestly destiny from a young age. Jesus was in the Temple questioning the leaders at the age of 12, Samuel was serving the Lord at an even younger age.

(871)ROMANS 15:1-7 ‘we then that are strong [more mature] ought to bear the infirmities of the weak and not please ourselves’. In Philippians we have the ‘KENOSIS’ the act of Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not something to be used for his own advantage. He did not see his purpose in the kingdom as one of ‘let’s find out our rights in the covenant and posses what’s rightfully ours’. A few years back it was common to hear ‘God told me his people don’t have a problem with giving [oh really?] but they need to learn how to receive’. While their might be a ‘speck’ of truth in this, the overall ethos of the kingdom [according to Jesus and Paul] is ‘we are not here to please ourselves, but give up our rights and blessings for the purpose of pleasing others’ [building them up, edifying them]. Paul makes this statement right after the chapter on Christian convictions. He shows us that even if we are right on a particular issue, it is ‘more right’ to not offend or put a stumbling block in our brother’s path. It is possible to ‘be right’ in a particular doctrine or truth, and yet ‘be wrong’ in that we might have used it in a way that destroyed the purpose of God in building others up. Many in the church [at large!] have unwittingly ‘tore down’ the poor and oppressed by seeking ‘their own pleasure’. Many overseas countries have been hurt by the amount of pleasure seeking doctrines that went into their countries. Many 3rd world Pastors gave sacrificially out of their extreme poverty to rich American ‘pleasure seekers’ and their poor people suffered greatly when they did not get a literal 100 fold return as was promised. Paul said ‘we that are strong ought to help the weak, and not please ourselves’.

(866)ROMANS 12:14-21 Notice how Paul puts such a high priority on the principles of Jesus. He exhorts the saints to live by the precepts of the great ‘sermon on the mount’. Often times believers try and make a division between Paul’s revelation of justification by faith and the ‘liberal moral teachings of Jesus’. I see no division here. Paul actually quotes Jesus ‘if you’re treated badly, respond in love. By not getting even you heap “coals of fire on your enemies head”’. Actually, I remember how a few years back, when everybody was coming up with their ‘new revelation knowledge’ ideas on scripture. Things like ‘the camel going thru the eye of the needle’. Some taught Jesus was not really rebuking wealth, he was simply talking about a ‘low gate’ thru the wall of the city that was called the ‘eye of the needle’ and the camels had to crouch a little to get thru, true silliness! This verse ‘coals on the head’ was taught as saying Jesus was simply saying you were helping your enemy on cold nights by ‘keeping his head warm’! Sad. Jesus said don’t avenge yourselves, God will avenge you. Doesn’t sound like the lord is talking about ‘head warmers’! Look at these verses carefully. Paul incorporates the teachings of Christ as having a very high priority for the believer. We are often inundated with modern concepts of ministry. How to raise funds [or amass wealth]. Paul ‘locates’ the important thing as being centered on Christ. He knew if the churches [believing communities] of the first few centuries would follow this idea, that they would truly turn their world upside down for the cause.

(859)NOTE TO THE PASTORS IN CORPUS CHRISTI- I need to do a little ‘local stuff’. First, when I first came to corpus [1992] there were many areas of ‘lack’ in the preaching. Too much materialistic stuff. After a few years of public teaching [first radio, then the blog- as well as actually publishing books] we made enemies. Some who disliked us later became advocates of what I was teaching. I am speaking of key leaders in our region. They realized the damage that the prosperity message caused abroad [Africa and other nations [though Africa is a continent!]]. There came a strong return back to the message of the Cross. How much effect we have had in other regions, I don’t know for sure. But in our region [Corpus and the surrounding areas] we had an effect. Good. Some felt that I was a little too strong in that I mentioned actual names of other preachers. Let me say this; if a preacher endorses, by name, another teacher from his pulpit. He then later needs to ‘un-endorse’ him ‘from the pulpit’ if he has now come to reject the preachers doctrine. I realize some preachers accept our stand now, but disagree with me because I mentioned names. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to ‘mention names’ if preachers did not publicly endorse these same men? Also, I am glad that many In Corpus Christi are really preaching the biblical gospel in a stronger way than before. This was imperative for the purpose of our city to be carried out. There have been many prophetic words over Corpus Christi stating that we would be a ‘representative city’ to some degree because we bear the name ‘The Body of Christ’. I realize that some who finally came along [after many years!] to seeing things ‘my way’ have now been challenged all over again in other areas. This can cause another ‘rift’ like the first stage. I simply want to commend my ‘fellow elders’ for the great changes that they have made. Don’t feel like ‘geez, we can never please this guy [me!]’. I understand that many of you [key leaders] have made real adjustments as a result of reading/hearing our teaching. I commend you all.

(850)PROPHETIC UPDATE! As of today [8-08] enough has happened in the last few years to kind of encapsulate the state of the church [Gods people] and where we are heading. Whenever you have ‘prophetic people’ and movements make some real obvious mistakes, I always feel tempted to go thru this site and delete everything that deals with ‘prophecies, dreams and visions’. This has happened to me on more than a few occasions. But the Lord kind of stops me. Now, why do I mention this? Because these last few years the charismatic/prosperity churches have gone thru some turmoil. The ‘Emergent’ movement has also struck a nerve with the Reformed defenders of the faith, and they have also had some battles. In the midst of it all you also had a resurgence of Catholic apologists [Scott Hahn] and ‘the defend the fullness of truth’ conferences. First, I felt the Lord was going to deal with the more obvious abuses of the prosperity movement a few years back. I even ‘prophesied’ that this would happen [on this site!]. So this is a legitimate ‘correction’ that is taking place as of this year. Some of the main leaders of the movement have come under some serious ‘judging’. Also, the more theological/mature Emergent movement has come under fire by the Reformed preachers because of some real problems. Some in the Emergent church have espoused ultra liberal ideas on the Atonement, Hell and other basic Christian doctrines. The problem is the older reform minded ‘correctors’ are for the most part absolutely ignorant of their own ‘blind spot’ in the area of Ecclesiology. They seem to think ‘defending the historic faith’ includes defending a ‘limited’ Ecclesiology. It’s too easy to just believe that Edwards, Luther, Calvin and all the other great minds of their eras must have been right on Church government and structure. For the most part they were not. So this part of the ‘emergent church’ have it right [those who challenge limited ideas of ‘church’]. Now, the recent ‘fiasco’ of the Lakeland revival. I believe the whole ‘group’ of Apostles and Prophets [?] that initially gave their approval are very questionable. Some of the men I do like [Rick Joyner], but the whole ‘apostolic network’ that some of these brothers belong to is very questionable [when I say ‘questionable’, I do not mean they are frauds or fakes. I mean the whole idea of having an ‘apostolic network’ seems to be missing the target]. I believe most of Gods true Apostles and Prophets today are men of great humility, they suffer persecution [like Watchmen Nee] and for the most part are serious students of the Word and ‘followers of the way’ [Christ’s example of a servant]. So today [2008] we need to be open to correction in the areas that are off base. We also need to be careful not to reject all ‘prophetic things’ out of a feeling of being embarrassed to even use the same terminology as some of these guys. And we need to recognize that some of the old time defenders of the faith [Sproul, Macarthur, Colson] do have very good points they are making when the emergent brothers reject the very basis of ‘knowable truth’, but they also have a huge blind spot in their ecclesiology [thinking defending the truth includes ‘Sunday Church’]. Also, the Catholic resurgence is important not to discount, some Evangelicals are becoming so frustrated with the Protestant ‘craziness’ and divisions, that they seem to find refuge in joining this ancient expression of Christianity. Let’s have a good vigorous debate, let’s strive for unity. The prophetic movement needs to receive correction. The prosperity movements more extreme elements need to be rejected outright. At the end of the day God is still going to do a great work in the earth. His people will show forth his glory and truly be the glorious temple that he desires.

(847)ROMANS 8: 31-39 ‘What shall we say then to these things? [what things? The fact that God predestined us and has guaranteed completion of the purpose he has designed us for!] If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Paul teaches that Christ is the only one with the ‘right’ or authority to pass judgment. If the only person in existence who can ‘officially’ condemn and pass legal judgment has actually died for us for the purpose of ‘freeing us from a state of condemnation’, then who ‘gives a rip’ about others opinions and views of us? Most of us struggle with how others view us. Paul did teach that Elders should have good character and a fine reputation in the community. But there is another type of ‘persona’ that preachers can fall into. A sort of ‘concern’ about what the critics are saying. In this context Paul says ‘If the opinion of the only person in existence whose opinion really matters, is one of “I accept you unconditionally, I declare you free from what others think, you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Ever since I have known you, you have been pleasing in my sight” [all true scriptures by the way] Then who cares what others think! Paul also teaches that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love ‘not tribulation or distress or famine or persecution’ IN all these things we are more than conquerors thru him who loved us. Most times we view this passage from a ‘Calvinistic’ lens. I want you to see the impact of this statement thru a different lens. In the American church we have taught people ‘would a good father not pay the bills of his kids? Would a good father allow his kids to suffer? If you were really partaking of the New Covenant you would have it made’. While I do realize that many well meaning ministers have taught these viewpoints with honest and sincere hearts, I also have seen how this mindset accuses the saints. It basically tells the struggling believer ‘what kind of father do you have? If he really loved you would you be going thru these things’? In essence we are saying ‘tribulation and distress and persecution’ are all signs that ‘you have been separated from Gods love’! Paul blows this false [materialistic] mindset out of the water. He says it is thru these things that we are more than conquerors. It is the ability to look into the face of Pontius Pilate and say ‘you have no power over me, my father has permitted these things to take place. I am here to lay my life down for his glory’. Paul said all these things we are suffering are opportunities to glorify our father. To look into the face of society and say ‘nay, we are more than conqueror's thru him that loved us’. The early church set the world on fire when they were laying their lives down for the cause, refusing to deny their Lord even at the point of death. They were ‘more than conquerors’.

(845)ROMANS 8:26-28 ‘Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities’ why does Paul say ‘likewise’? He is saying ‘not only does the future hope of the resurrection sustain us, but also Gods Spirit helps us’! He knows how to make intercession for us in ways that we cannot. I just finished an hour prayer time, not an ‘official’ intercession time [which I do a few times a week now]. But an ‘unofficial’ time where I try and hear what the Spirit is speaking. When you are ‘praying in the Spirit’ [which can include the charismatic expression of tongues] you are depending upon the Spirit to transcend your limited ability to articulate what needs to be said. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are ‘the called’ according to his purpose’. A very famous verse indeed. What does it mean? It means what it says! Over the years I have heard so many excuses for trying to get around difficult things. Why do the righteous suffer? Some taught it was because of their ignorance of scripture. Why did the things that happened to Job happen? Some said it was because he ‘feared’ that the things would happen [this group seems to miss the whole underlying reason for the book. Job’s friends are continually looking for a reason thru out the book. The point is, sometimes there is no reasonable explanation. I realize you can pick apart certain statements from Job and come up with ‘reasons’, but the meaning of the book is God is sovereign and we shouldn’t always think we can figure him out or ‘work the system’]. Here Paul says ‘whatever is happening to you right now [even very bad stuff!] will eventually work out for you benefit’. What about Hitler? Did he love God? I don’t believe so. This scripture says ‘to them that love God’. Your only responsibility thru the difficulty is to ‘love God’.

(843)ROMANS 8: 19-25 ‘the sufferings of this present time [are you ‘presently’ suffering?] are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us’. Paul compares the difficulty to the reward. The reward here is the future resurrection. Paul did not see suffering as ‘from the devil’ or the reward as something material [monetary stuff! The resurrection body will be ‘material’ - real]. Paul teaches that the whole creation is waiting for this day. Not only will we get a ‘makeover’ but there will be a new heaven and a new earth! The creation itself longs for this [almost as much as Al Gore!] This resurrection is called ‘the redemption of our body’. The next verse says ‘we are saved by hope’. John also says [1st John] that the future reality of the resurrection ‘causes us to be pure in this life’ [every one that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure]. Why? Because we know God has a purpose for our bodies as well as our spirits! The ‘getting saved by hope’ simply means the future hope of the resurrection ‘encourages’ us to live clean now. Once again ‘saved’ is a neutral term. In can apply to all sorts of things. I always found it funny how when you read certain commentaries, that you see the difficulty Christians have when coming across these types of verses. There’s a verse that says ‘the woman will be saved thru childbearing’ geez, you wouldn’t believe the difficulty some writers have when they come across this stuff. Some teach ‘she will be ‘saved’ thru the birth of a child [Jesus]’ and all sorts of stuff. I think if we simply changed the word ‘saved’ for ‘delivered’ [which are basically the same thing] that maybe this would help. But thank God that we have a future resurrection to look forward to, let this truth ‘deliver’ you from the temptation to think ‘what’s all this suffering worth, why even go thru it?’ Because we have a great promise at the other end!

(841)ROMANS 8: 14-18 ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God’. Many of us are familiar with this verse [I hope!]. We often see it as saying ‘Gods direction in our lives is proof that we are Christians’ true enough. But in context ‘being led by Gods Spirit’ means living the new life thru Christ. The putting to death of the old man and being ‘made alive’ thru Christ is what this is saying. Paul agrees with John [1st John] ‘those that do what is right [led by the Spirit] are of God’. Paul says ‘we have received the Spirit and a natural result of this is crying “Abba, Father”. I don’t want to do too much here, but Paul sees the ‘confession’ and heart cry of the believer as proof, a result of being ‘a habitation of the Spirit’. A sign, if you will, of being born of God is confessing/ praying to the Father. Paul quoted David in chapter 4 ‘for this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found’ [Psalms 32]. Paul knew the reality of ‘the godly calling upon God’ they have an inner cry of ‘Abba, father’. ‘We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ’. For many years this has been a popular verse among many believers, often times it is used to say ‘God owns the cattle on a thousand hills’ [which he does] therefore if we are heirs ‘give me some cattle’! [stuff]. Here Paul uses this term in speaking of our identification with Christ’s sufferings. ‘If we suffer with him, we too shall share [joint heir!] in his glory’ [future glorification at the resurrection- we shall see him and be changed in a moment, at the twinkling of an eye. This mortal shall put on immortality]. It’s a symptom of modern American Christianity to view all these scriptures thru a materialistic lens, Paul held to the promise of a future reward [at the resurrection] that enabled him to go thru great difficulty and suffering in this present life. He counted the suffering as a privilege that he shared with Christ.

(829)Romans 5:1-9 ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God thru out Lord Jesus Christ’. There are certain benefits ‘results’ of being ‘made righteous by faith’, peace being one of them. Paul goes on and says we glory in hope and also trials, because we realize that thru the difficulties we gain experience and patience. Things that are needed for the journey, we can’t substitute talent and motivation and ‘success principles’ for them. We need maturity and God produces it this way. Those who teach otherwise have a ‘self inflicted wound’ their teachings are very immature! That is there was a ‘strain’ of teaching in the church that said ‘we don’t learn thru difficulty and suffering, we learn only thru Gods word!’ [that is reading it]. Those who grasped onto this false idea have produced some of the most unbalanced teaching in the church, stuff that even the younger generation is saying ‘what in the heck are these guys preaching’? If you by pass the difficult road, you will be shallow. Now Paul says ‘God commended his love toward us, that when we were sinners Christ died for us’ ‘being now justified by his death, we shall be saved thru his life’ [saved from wrath thru him]. Once again this theme pops up; ‘since we are justified, made righteous by believing with the heart, we shall be saved [continual, future deliverance] from wrath thru him’. I don’t know if you ever realized what a major theme this is in Romans? The ongoing, future ‘being saved’ is a result of ‘being made righteous’. Later on in chapter 10, when we read that the righteous call for salvation, we need to understand this context. Remember, when the two are linked together in the same verse, it is not saying ‘saved’ in the sense of some sinner’s prayer. It is speaking of the ongoing, promised deliverance [from many things, not just wrath!] to the ‘justified caller’. We have access ‘by faith into this grace wherein we stand’. Wow! That's some good stuff, Jesus ever lives so that those who come to him are ‘being saved’ to the uttermost. This grace we are in is available to us all of the time, are we availing ourselves of it?

(819)THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS- Let’s try to get a few more parables in before we start the book of Romans. In Luke 16 we have the Rich Man and Lazarus. First, some say this is not a parable, but a true story. Why? Well in all the parables Jesus never uses proper names, here he uses the name ‘Lazarus’ so this cant be a parable! Let’s see, if this is a parable [which I believe it is] then Jesus does use proper names in parables! I realize that many well meaning believers hear things thru out their lives, we all want to do our best in life. We grasp on to certain things out of good intentions, it’s just we need to allow our minds to be ‘molded’ by Gods Word. Now Jesus says there was a rich man who had it made, he ‘fared sumptuously every day’ [he had more than enough all the time!] and a poor man at his gate [border]. The poor man begged for help and was desperate. The rich man, by law, had no responsibility to help. He didn’t! The poor man dies and goes to ‘Abrahams Bosom’ [I really don’t want to do the whole thing to be honest. I believe this is simply a figure of speech. He is in ‘Paradise- Heaven’ I know some have really built some doctrines from this parable]. The rich man dies and ends up in Hell. The rich man asks Father Abraham if he can send Lazarus to give him some water. Abraham replies he can’t, there is an impassible gulf between them. Plus the rich man was rewarded in life and now he is suffering. Lazarus suffered in life and is now rewarded. The rich man asks ‘well, at least send Lazarus back [raise him! –note, I do find it interesting that Jesus is the one ‘making up the names’ in this story. He picks the name ‘Lazarus’ a real name of one of his friends, Mary and Martha’s brother. Jesus also chooses to speak about him being ‘sent back’ [raised from the dead] in this story. Of course Jesus actually does raise Lazarus from the dead, and some Jews- i.e.; the rich mans ‘5 brothers’ still don’t believe!]. Jesus says let the 5 brothers hear Moses and the Prophets [the law for Jews, Jesus showed here that eternal judgment was a foundation of the Old Testament law -Hebrews 6]. The rich man says ‘no, they will believe if one comes back from the dead’. Jesus says ‘if they don’t believe the testimony from scripture, they will not believe even if one comes back from the dead’! This could be one of the most prophetic statements Jesus ever made in a parable. This chapter [Luke 16] also has Jesus famous saying ‘you cannot serve God and Money’ and right after he says it the next verse says the Pharisees, who were covetous, heard him. Jesus once again is dealing with the responsibility that ‘wealthy people, nations’ have towards ‘poor neighbors’ [at your gate- border]. This was one of the fundamental violations of the religious development of Judaism. The Pharisees loved the technicality of scripture and religion, but they found ways to justify not ‘caring for their neighbors’ [or families- Corban!]. This parable warns the rich not to allow himself to become arrogant and uncompassionate. Even though Lazarus [Mexico- illegal aliens] did not have the legal right or power to get the food from the rich man, yet this did not excuse the rich man from the fundamental ‘take care of your neighbor’ ethos. He should have still treated his neighbor with respect and compassion. Though legally it was not required, yet ethically it was. And Jesus once again portrays material wealth in a negative light. Now, I didn’t say he condemned the rich man because he was rich! But he was held to a higher standard because ‘to whom much is given, much is required’. Paul and James will use this same mindset in their letters [Timothy and James]. They will warn the rich to not be ‘high minded’ but to be willing to ‘communicate’ [distribute what they have] to help others. You never see a teaching from the Apostles that says ‘seek to become wealthy so you can use your wealth to advance the Kingdom’. Sorry, it just isn’t there! The principle of God using wealth is found in scripture ‘The Lord gives you the power to get wealth so he can establish his covenant in the earth’ [Deuteronomy]. In context God is speaking to Israel as a nation and is telling them he is going to economically bless them for his purposes. But Paul will actually teach that ‘they that desire to become rich will fall into a snare’ 1st Timothy 6. The point is Jesus often used wealth in a negative way in his parables. His teachings affected the writings of the Apostles. They never praised wealth! [Also the earliest ‘Apostolic’ writings apart from scripture are called the Didache, if you want a real negative view of ‘filthy lucre’ read this!]

(811)HE SPENT HIS MONEY ON PROSTITUTES AND GOD THREW HIM A PARTY! In Luke 15 we have the famous parable of the Prodigal Son. The chapter begins with the religious leaders becoming offended that Jesus was receiving sinners. This is the backdrop to why Jesus gives the story. He starts with 2 other brief parables of lost sheep and coins. The themes of these are ‘just like a man rejoices over finding something that was lost, so likewise God rejoices ‘throws a party’ when a sinner comes home’. This begins the story. Jesus says a man had 2 sons [Jew/Gentile] and one son said ‘Father, give me the inheritance that is rightfully mine’ [the immature son learned the truth of ‘requesting his inheritance’ –money, and getting it rightfully. This did not mean that he was mature or correct in doing what he did. Even though the father had prepared it for him, the son was preoccupied with getting it NOW!] The father divides the inheritance to both boys. The young son goes off and lives it up. He spends all his money and ends up eating pig food. He comes to his senses and says ‘I will return home, my father has servants living better than this! I will request a job from dad’. As the boy nears the house the father runs and grabs the boy. He tells his servants ‘go, kill the calf and let’s have a party!’ He puts a robe on him and gives him a ring. Now the older son [Israel- she has been struggling for centuries to try and please God. Sure she has failed, but heck these other nations weren’t even trying!] hears the uproar and says ‘what’s going on?’ They tell him ‘your brother returned and your father has thrown him a party’. He sulks in his room. The father asks what's wrong and the older son says ‘I have tried my best to live up to your standards [Law] and yet my younger brother spent all his money rebelling against you. Where was he when things got rough? I was here to give you a hand, not him! And as soon as he shows up you are overjoyed about it. What about me?’ Remember, Jesus is giving this story in response to the offence that the Jewish leaders had at the beginning of this chapter. The father says ‘son, you have always been with me [God made his covenant available to Israel for many years. Just because he was opening it up to the ‘sinning nations’ didn’t mean that he cared less about them]. The father tells the son ‘you have always had access to my covenant, this other son [gentile nations] went astray for many years. Don’t take it wrong that I am happy over his return. He was lost and now he’s home’. Jesus challenged the mindset of Israel in this parable. It was only natural for the nation of Israel to have been offended. Jesus even taught ‘offenses must happen’. But they were going to reject their Messiah because of this offense. They couldn’t believe how Jesus treated the outcasts ‘they wasted your money on harlots’! was the corporate cry of Israel. ‘How could you even think of eating with them’. Often times we get offended because God is merciful. Jesus gives other parables along these lines. The hired workers who worked all day felt like they got cheated when the master paid them all the same. In that parable Jesus has the master saying ‘are you mad because I did what I wanted with what was mine? I didn’t cheat you , I gave you what I agreed to pay you’ once again they were offended that Jesus was offering equal access to those who were deemed ‘less worthy’. Jesus did tell the older son ‘all that I have ever had has been made available, don’t let your offense keep you from enjoying the party’.

(809)GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? Jesus said when you have a feast, don’t invite your friends, neighbors or rich people. For they can benefit you in some way, you can get ‘repaid’. But instead invite the down and out, because they can’t repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection and return of Christ. Once again Jesus precepts are so contrary to the engrained mindset of ‘getting a reward’. We have an endemic problem in the American church. We do most everything with ‘repayment in mind’. We want it, we want it now and we want an overabundance of it! Heck, didn’t Jesus teach this? Well yes he did ‘give and it will be given unto you….’ Hebrews says ‘those who come after God must believe that he is and that he rewards us’. The point is a great body of Jesus teachings show us that this life and all it can afford are temporary riches. Paul said in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 1 that God will repay us at the appearing of Jesus. We need to re- tool our motivations for ‘ministry’ [service] and understand that our real reward is at the end [or beginning!]. Do we really live like this? Do we give and serve with the expectation of getting our rewards soon? Do we ‘sow seed’ [give money] with this very understanding as the primary motive for giving? Jesus said ‘when you do charitable deeds [note- he is not addressing this responsibility to the mission outreach of ‘the church’ or the barrio ministry!] do it with the mindset of not receiving a reward until I return’. Well brother, what’s the use of doing good stuff then? Well its service to our King, its part of counting the cost. It’s part of taking up our cross daily. Make no bones about it, there is an aspect of service to Jesus that says ‘we do not live for present rewards, but our lives show thru word and deed that there is an afterlife. We fully expect to be rewarded then’. I realize that we have focused and gone way overboard on the reality of God blessing us in this life. I understand why people do not like to hear this stuff. But the time has come for the American church to repent of our idolatry and get on board with the rest of the Body of Christ. Our brothers and sisters worldwide have learned to live [and die!] for the cause of Christ, and we can’t even hold a free B.B.Q!

(808)PLANT THOSE SEEDS! - Jesus uses the idea of seeds again. The kingdom is like casting seed into the ground. You plant it and go to bed and get up and live a consistent life, before you know it the seed grows. The earth brings forth fruit OF ITSELF. You ‘knoweth not how’ this is happening. Much of kingdom living is simply trusting in God to produce after you obey. Our natural minds say ‘well, it will take so much money and resource to do this. How in the world can we expect the ‘seed to grow’ unless we all become millionaires’ there goes that ‘stinkin thinkin’ again! Hey, the thing will grow while you are sleeping! Our natural talents and abilities [even to raise funds!] has nothing to do with it. Now, after the process of natural [supernatural] growth takes place, you then can harvest it. The seed goes thru growth stages. The blade, ear and ‘full corn’. Here in South Texas we have these beautiful wild flowers that grow every year. In the wild they grow great, but it’s hard to get them going in your yard! The reason is the flowers need to make it to ‘full growth stage’ and then the seedlings die and fall. If you mow them down before full seed stage they don’t reproduce. There are things in your life that God wants to bring to ‘full harvest stage’ [or dying stage!] A place where you don’t know or even care how the thing will grow, you simply cast the seed because you have learned if you ‘don’t cast it, you will be miserable’ in essence you are obeying out of sheer experience! [Paul- woe is me if I preach not the gospel]. Jesus said ‘I have given them the words that you gave me’ [John 17]. There are so many ‘seeds’ that you have been entrusted with. Some have more than others [30,60,100 fold]. God is not holding you accountable for the ‘size of the harvest’ he is holding you accountable for what you did with the handful of seeds he gave you. When Jesus returns he asks 'what did you do with the talent I gave you’? Some times we fail to plant out of fear ‘I need the land, then some equipment. How much money will it take to plant the first field?’ Just simply plant what you have right now! Jesus said ‘he knoweth not how it is growing, the earth brings forth fruit of itself’. Once you reach the ‘full harvest stage’ the thing looks like its dead [it is] but what do you know, next year you have a yard full of the stuff!

(807)THE WEDDING SEAT- Jesus said when someone invites you to a wedding, don’t sit in the place of promotion/honor. But sit in a low place. If you seek power and position the man who invited you will come and say ‘please give up your place for this man’ and you will be humbled and lose significance. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but he that humbles himself will be exalted. Once again Jesus contrasts the idea of ‘being all you can be’ ‘being the most motivated person in the room’. All natural tendencies that well meaning people fall into when they fail to follow the actual precepts that Jesus gave us for the Christian life. It’s only natural for up and coming ‘ministers’ or believers who feel called to ministry to begin to seek position and prominence. Now most of the time we don’t realize this is happening, it can be a tricky balance to keep. Sometimes it happens, not out of pride but insecurity. People want to be affirmed. If I feel like my position and success are indicators of God being pleased with me, or outward signs of Gods vindication ‘wow, wait until my enemies see me now!’ This can become a trap. The fundamental truth of our acceptance with God is proven by the death and resurrection of his Son. ‘God loved us and he gave his Son to prove this’. Now Jesus showed us the process of being a child of God. His ultimate act of emptying himself [Kenosis] would seem to be contrary to completing his mission. If you possessed all the attributes of God and were given a task of supreme importance [redeeming man] the last thing you would want to do is give up the position and power that you have. It seems contrary to fulfilling the mission! Jesus would ask ‘father, if this is the path to completing the mission, then so be it. But if there is any other way possible, besides me drinking the cup, show me’. It’s only natural for us to want to hold on to power and prestige, to go for ‘the chief seat’. Now in the parable Jesus said the man who invited you will come and say ‘give this man place’ [position]. When the Father exalted the Son and seated him at his right hand, it was after extreme humility. The man who Jesus takes by the hand and says ‘come, sit here in the front’ isn’t jumping up and down and saying ‘I was waiting for this my whole life. I knew if I waited my turn I would be exalted’. He is simply fulfilling the course that was his destiny. He already has learned the futility of trying to gain acceptance and honor from other men. He simply allows the master to move him from a place of insignificance to one of influence. This process is played out time and again in God’s kingdom. We rarely see the practical aspect of truly being Christ like. We think things like ‘God has great plans for me. I am the head and not the tail’ while these things are true, we often mistake the values of the world while seeking ‘headship’. Being the ‘head and not the tail’ means growing up into ‘him’ who is the head! [Jesus]. It is using his own kingdom values as a measuring rod. It means facing the most important decision of your life and saying ‘if you want me Father to give up my position and glory, if you tell me that this path is the one to fulfilling ‘my dreams’. Then even though it seems contrary to all that I see and understand, yet I will do it. Father, your will, not mine be done’.

(801)TREASURE IN A FIELD- Jesus said the Kingdom is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man finds it, he hides it and goes and sells all that he has and buys the field. One of the main values of the kingdom is having a willingness to ‘sell all that you have’ make sacrifices and give priority to God’s purpose. In the history of Christianity you have had famous stories of people who felt like the Lord was requiring them to actually do this. They would take vows of poverty and forsake a life filled with the pursuits of things and self, and would make Gods calling number one. We need to be more in tune with this mindset than we are presently at. It is common to read all the statements from Jesus on forsaking all to follow him, and to say ‘well, in so and so’s case [rich man stories and stuff] money was his idol. But Jesus really isn’t talking about money, he is showing us that you can’t put other things ahead of God’. I think we are missing stuff when we do this. In many of these stories the reason Jesus says ‘he sells what he has’ or ‘leave your nets and follow me’ was because he was showing the natural tension that arises between living ‘our dream’ or fulfilling his purpose. A big part of ‘our dream’ is imbedded with ‘stuff’ ‘more stuff’ ‘more stuff than you could ever imagine’! Jesus taught a mindset that said ‘give and it will be given to you, pressed down shaken together and running over’ but along with this he teaches ‘the world is pre occupied with stuff [what should you wear and eat] and I don’t want my followers to be pre occupied with stuff’. The value of the Kingdom is so great, that Jesus said this man sold all that he had to purchase the true riches. Sometimes it is our unwillingness to ‘sell all that we have’ that keeps us from the true riches.

(800)PARABLE OF THE LEAVEN- I guess we need to do a little more ‘teaching’ than I planned on. I am using the parables from Matthew’s gospel. Matthew uses ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ instead of ‘Kingdom of God’. I have heard different ideas on why Matthew said ‘heaven’ instead of ‘God’. The idea that I need to correct is that Matthew was speaking of something totally different than ‘The Kingdom of God’. This belief rose up among the 19th century Dispensationalists, it basically says ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ means the world of Christendom [all religions that make up Christianity] and the Kingdom of God is that future thing that happens some day. Well, both of these are not real good. Most of all you should reject the first idea. The simple reason is that the other Gospels have these same parables with the term ‘God’ in place of ‘Heaven’. For this interpretation to be true [the Christendom one] you would have to believe that Jesus spoke about an entirely different thing, at an entirely different time and setting in Matthews gospel. When believers interpret stuff like this, it is simply not in keeping with ANY of the previous ways believers saw these verses in 1800 years. Plus it seems odd that Matthew would be the only writer who recorded the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ parables while the other writers recorded the Kingdom of God ones. So for whatever reason you think Matthew said ‘Heaven’ and not ‘God’ you should at least understand that he was not speaking of different parables. Now ‘the Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened’. Most of the brothers who believe the ‘heaven-Christendom’ idea teach that Jesus was speaking of sin and wickedness invading the world of Christendom. They get this idea from the fact that leaven does describe sin in most [if not all?] of the other pictures of leaven in scripture. First, leaven [yeast] is something that God created. In and of itself it isn’t ‘wicked’. Second, Jesus can use any physical thing he wants to use in any way he wills to use it in his teachings, he is God after all! And third, I think it fitting that Jesus would take a term used to describe sin and turn it around and ‘redeem’ its use to describe righteousness. After all ‘where sin abounded, grace did much more abound’. Now to the meaning. Jesus values ‘least ness’ in his teachings. He absolutely challenges the present idea of Christianity in many of the American churches. He time and again lets his followers know that they must die to their own agendas and ideas. They must put priority on eternal versus material riches. They must seek to become small and last in order to be first. In all of these teachings he also rewards those who follow his ideals with great influence. The things they do ‘will go far’. Their children will impact society [Genesis 12 and 15- Abrahams seed touching nations]. Jesus calls for carrying our cross daily, dying to our own desires and dreams so his purpose thru us can reach all nations. The ‘hiddeness’ of the yeast speaks of this aspect of kingdom living. You don’t take yeast and ‘spread it all over the outside of everything’ [modern ideas of ministry- ‘get our name out, have everyone know about us’. Hire an image consultant!] Jesus says ‘hide the yeast inside of stuff’ package the gift and talents in such a way that they will ‘secretly’ be in many places. You will hardly even know its there, it’s hidden! Than after a while the effect of the yeast will be so hard to stop you will have a revolution on your hands! ‘Who in the heck started this ball rolling?’ The effect will be great, the fame and recognition will be minimal. Now Jesus taught in all of the parables that his kingdom would be like this. It would be silly to apply the yeast here as wickedness taking over Christendom, he doesn’t use these explosive images to describe sin in his other parables. They speak of small things becoming large in righteous ways [note- the tares are an exception, they are the full harvest of unbelievers along with believers. But the kingdom images [seed and stuff] speak of the radical explosive nature of the kingdom of God in the earth]. So lets look for ways to ‘hide the leaven’ in stuff. Is the most effective way to either write a book? Start a blog? What do you think it is for you? I feel many talented Pastors limit their voice by spending the majority of their teaching efforts on preaching to a room full of people and never even recording [in writing or by voice] the teaching. Make it available in various forms. If you saw some great insights from your study time, why have it taught in a forum where only a limited amount of people will hear it one time? We read of Jesus and Paul and think that they taught a form of ‘local church’ that says ‘give priority to the Sunday pulpit’. Now Paul did say ‘how can they hear without a preacher’ [Romans]. But this applies to hearing Paul’s letters as they were ‘re read’ in the churches. We are right now reading the recorded parables of Jesus that millions upon millions of people read every year! Be wise in putting leaven [good leaven!] in places where it can multiply good things. NOTE- leaven represented sin during the Passover feast. That’s why they couldn’t have it their meals. But it was permitted during Pentecost. Why? Pentecost would come to represent the outpouring of the Spirit and the intended growth of Christianity, at Pentecost God wanted a massive explosion. Leaven was allowed!

(798)JUDGES 21- We end the book of Judges with the nation of Israel mourning over the fact that they had to deal with one of their own tribes who left the true path of God. They vowed ‘not to give their daughters any more to them’. They made a determination ‘no matter how much we personally like them, the many good memories of days gone by. The good old stories of our past heritage together. The actual good things that we all shared over the years’. Yet they decided this was the generation that would make the break. By not giving their daughters unto them they were in essence saying ‘we will no longer allow your tribe to effect the whole nation’. Tough stuff, Paul does this with the Corinthians; he says ‘remove the wicked from among you’. Now, Israel does not want the total destruction of the erring tribe! [nor Paul, read 2nd Corinthians]. They work out a deal where the ‘virgins’ of the tribe that did not show up for the initial battle [Jabesh Gilead] would become the wives of the surviving Benjamites. They allowed the tribe to survive, post judgment day! I see lots of spiritual meaning to this stuff. Often times we as believers do not want to deal with ‘errant tribes’. We prefer to think ‘well, we all believe in Jesus. Lets just love each other’. Hey, I am all for love. I have come to realize many well meaning Christians really don’t like dealing with stuff because it gets rough. Jesus said ‘do you think I have come to bring peace? No, I tell you I have come to bring division. Homes will be divided. Brother against brother and family member against family member’. Now, we know Jesus is the prince of Peace. The angels would say ‘peace on earth and good will towards men’. But Jesus was speaking of the reality of having to take sides at certain times. The inevitable conflict that comes with saying ‘this is true, this is false’. Israel dealt severely with a brother tribe, it would not have been ‘love’ for them to have ignored the problem! Lets end Judges with a brief overview. Why did we see all the problems in his book? Time after time God would deliver them and time after time they would fall back into sin. God knew all along that this would happen. The intent of the law was to reveal to man his inability to ‘self reform’. The season of judges was simply a foreshadowing of a future day [now] where there would be a ‘judge’ [Jesus] who would be able to continually save the people because he would have a rule that would not end. Israel did fine as long as the judge was alive, after his death they would fall. So today we have Jesus, the Great High Priest who is able ‘to save to the uttermost, those who come to God by him. For he ever liveth to make intercession for them’ [Hebrews].

(795)JUDGES 20- The nation of Israel gather together as ‘one man’ to figure out what is going on. They all received the body pieces of the concubine as a sign of judgment. Remember, the law [Levite] can not give life to that which is ‘dead in trespasses and sin’ [the dead wife!] but the law can only reveal sin and call for justice. So the tribes are gathered to meet out judgment! They decide to get an army together, 400,000 men. They go to the town of Gibeah, where Benjamin [the tribe] lives. They tell the people ‘you have done wickedly, give to us the men who have infected this whole tribe [denomination/whole groups of believers who have been affected in a wrong way by certain teachers who have ‘crept in unawares’]. Benjamin says no! There is a strange dynamic that takes place in the Body of Christ. Whenever the Lord moves in a big way to correct or reform wrong doctrine, very rarely do the victims of the wrong doctrine want to admit that they were wrongly influenced. The sin of pride says ‘are you telling me that I was duped’? Benjamin actually goes into this protection mode and defends the wicked doers in their midst! So Israel encamps against Benjamin and they fight. Sure enough Benjamin wins! Wow, they must have thought ‘see, we were correct in refusing to deal with the wrong stuff in our community’ [whole groups of believers who harbor false things]. Israel is distraught, were they wrong in going against Benjamin? You honestly have to ask yourself this question at times. God might really have raised you up to deal with some stuff. You might actually lose a battle or two! The Lord tells them ‘No, you weren’t wrong in dealing with the false stuff in the tribe of Benjamin, go back and give it another shot’. The next day Israel attacks again, and again they lose! They ask the Lord about it and he says keep trying. On day three they adjust their procedure; they set an ambush and eventually overthrow Benjamin. Now, this is no great victory, God actually called the rest of the people of God to deal with an aberrant tribe. The church goes thru reformation seasons where she needs to deal with wrong stuff on a global scale. The history of Christianity shows us the great ecumenical councils of the church. Times where the whole Body of Christ had to agree that certain things were right or wrong. It is only natural for those being rebuked to fight back and not admit their fault. This process is very difficult. Paul wrote the Galatians and told them if a brother is in a fault, that the more mature [spiritual] ones should correct it in love. Over the years I have been involved with trying to explain to sincere believers, some of them who hold positions of leadership, how we can’t keep teaching things that have been shown to be blatantly wrong. Often times the ‘tribes’ [groups] will fight back, and win a war or two! Understand, Benjamin was running their tribe as an efficient unit to a degree. Even though they had ‘bad seed’ in their group, yet the fact that they did exist as a functioning unit allowed them to successfully resist a few previous challenges to their tribe [belief system]. But ultimately there came a challenge that was too hard to resist, the rest of the nation joined as ‘one man’ to say ‘enough is enough, we love you as a brother tribe, but this stuff has gone on way too long’. It was the radical act of the Levite that brought the attention to the rest of the tribes of what was going on. It was the responsibility of the nation as a whole to deal with the ‘lost tribe’.

(791)JUDGES 18- The tribe of Dan sends 5 spies to check out the land of Laish, it was supposed to be part of their inheritance. On the way they pass Mount Ephraim, where Micah and the ‘hired priest’ live. They enquire in the house of Micah about their journey. They are assured God is with them. They see Laish and return with the good report. Laish is a land where the people are ‘isolated’ they do no business with any other tribes. Too sectarian in their little community [ouch!]. So the tribe of Dan hears the report and arms 600 men for battle. As they go to get their land, they once again stop at the idolatrous house of Micah. They make a ‘job offer’ to the ‘hired priest’ and appeal to success and status among clergy ‘do you want to come and be our hired priest? Wouldn’t you rather be priest of a whole tribe instead of one household’? He takes the job promotion and on their way out Micah tries to stop them from taking his priest but doesn’t have the manpower to do it. Dan introduces this false priesthood on a large scale to the people of God. Scripture says while they were involving themselves in this false worship, the House of God was still in Shiloh. Now we have covered a lot of ground here. I want to be careful but truthful about wrong worship in the church. First, I do find it amazing that the Lord did not cut Micah off originally when he got into his stuff! The history of Israel includes a time period where they thought the high places in their land were a sign of true religion. When some of the kings institute a return to the Lord, they leave the high places alone. Although these high places were idolatrous, yet in their ignorance they really thought they were honoring God. I see a degree of this here. Now the hired priest continues to represent the mentality of the hired offices of the clergy. All good people, but often operating in systems that lend themselves to the co dependency of Gods people. It is easy to see the idea of false worship and simply use this to bash Catholics. I prefer to see the false worship of Dan as a mark of all wrong tradition and teaching that come to us from the mind of man. Jesus rebuked the traditions that made void the Word of God, but Paul will tell his spiritual sons ‘hold to the traditions you have been taught by me’. Some traditions are needful. Things that our spiritual fathers have passed down to us. Don’t despise all tradition! Don’t see ‘the ministry’ as a way to gain status and climb the ladder in the corporate world. This priest of Micah took a position based on gentile authority. Something Jesus forbid for the leaders of his church. This priest saw self advancement in moving ‘his ministry’ to oversee the tribe of Dan. This root of pride will cause the limited idolatry at Micah’s house to leaven an entire tribe. Often times well meaning people become part of ‘extending wrong ideas’ thru out the church as they seek fame and recognition. Jesus taught us that true servants will not make decisions based on ‘how will this move promote me, how will I gain a name for myself’ these motivations blind us to the idolatry that exists in the church in our day. The New Testament equivalent of idolatry is covetousness. Leadership often overlooks the blatant abuse in this area as they pursue a name and advancement for ‘their ministries’. It’s easy to not want to hear Paul’s strong words in 1st Timothy 6 concerning leaders. We want to be able to ‘seek fame and fortune’ because it does feel good to be famous! Hebrews says ‘sin does have pleasure for a season’. So I see the whole scenario of Micah’s hired priest in all of us. I see the idolatry of Dan and false worship as leaven that affects all of Gods people [Protestants and Catholics alike]. I see the fact that God still used Micah to be a voice and instrument to the people of God even though he thru ignorance allowed idolatry to be entrenched in Israel. God is merciful and he will put up with our ignorance for a season, but I think that season has already passed. [Though his mercy endures forever!]

(787)JUDGES 16- This is the famous ‘Samson and Delilah’ story. Samson once again falls for some strange woman. The philistines ask her to find out the secret to Samson’s strength. She goes thru this procedure of ‘bugging him to death’ until he spills the beans. Scripture says ‘she pressed him until his soul was vexed unto the point of death’ double ouch! Well she finds out the strength is in his dedication unto God, shown thru the act of not cutting his hair. She shaves his head and he is taken captive. Scripture says he woke up and thought ‘I will fight the enemy as usual and win’ and he didn’t realize the Lord wasn’t with him anymore. Now Samson becomes a source of entertainment for the lost world. They bring him out every now and then and parade him around as a ‘jack ass’. Do you remember how the media and late night comics just couldn’t get over the fact that Christian celeb’s have fallen? Re running the crying videos of Brother Swaggart and Bakker. Parading the ‘lover’ of Ted Haggard on all the shows. The Philistines loved using the ‘big buffoon’ as sport. So one day they take him out of his cell and have him stumble around at some party. Samson has some kid place his hands on the 2 main pillars that are holding up the building. He asks the Lord ‘Lord, please return my strength this one last time’ and he pushes on the pillars and the whole corrupt society around him comes down and they all die as one big happy family! Samson killed more of the enemy in his death than thru out his life. Just a few thoughts; right now in the present ‘media church’ there is another tragic situation of a famous celebrity couple who have divorced. Sad story, God will forgive people for their mistakes. But the problem is the wife feels like she should maintain the whole public persona. Now I like these people. I am not a fan of their teachings at all, but the wife has come a long way from a difficult life. When I first read about these things I always pray for the people. But we [the people of God] need to seriously re evaluate the whole ‘celebrity persona’ that allows good people, who seemingly represent the church to society at large, to do stuff like this. Its like the world tunes us in every now and then ‘for sport’. Also Samson used wisdom in avoiding a direct shot at a few Philistines, and placed himself in a position where he could bring down the whole corrupt group at one time. We need to avoid individual skirmishes with people. God is working in our day like he has in every other generation. There are some serious things that the previous generation wrongfully built into the church. The younger generation sees the absolute absurdity of some of these things. Prophetic voices need to ‘position themselves strategically’ and take out some of these pillars [doctrines, not people!] so we can give the next generation a fresh start.

(776)JUDGES 8- As Gideon routes the enemy, the children of Ephraim got in on it. Were they thankful that Gideon gave them a shot? No. They were mad that he didn’t let them in on it from the start! Gideon appeases their jealousy and says ‘you guys have done more than me. I take no personal glory from this’. Gideon saw his calling as one that would benefit the other ‘tribes’ [denominations]. He knew his purpose was not to start his own tribe! Now as Gideon is pursuing the 2 kings of Midian [Zeba, Zalmunna? In keeping myself honest, I did not just check the spelling] he comes thru 2 cities [Succoth, Penuel?] and asks the men ‘can you help us out? We are pursuing the kings of Midian and the troops need some food’. The men of Succoth say ‘why should we help? We don’t see them in your hands yet’. In essence, they were not sure if Gideon and his personal little ‘vendetta’ was going to prevail. We need to be careful that we don’t judge a prophetic act of God and take things personal. These cities needed to get on board when it counted. Gideon is not going to need their help after the job is done! So he tells them ‘fine, but when I’m done with the job, I will come back and whip your Elders with thorn bushes’. Gideon is treading dangerous territory. He actually is setting his judgment up against the God ordained elders of this city [Romans]. But like the Apostle Paul, his unique calling was unstoppable. They would go against elders or whoever they needed to, in order to complete the mission. So Gideon catches the 2 kings and tells his son ‘fall upon them with the sword’. His son hesitates out of fear. The 2 kings actually rebuke Gideon’s boy and tell him to have courage. Gideon takes the sword and kills the kings. A few interesting notes. The people are so overjoyed with Gideon’s authority that they say ‘Be our king, rule over us as a dynasty’. Gideon refuses and says this would be a rejection of Gods authority. Eventually Saul will become the king that fills this role. Even though God raised up strong authority figures, yet there was a distinction between over doing mans rule and recognizing Gods authority. Paul will teach the concept of God recognized elders in the New Testament church. But will also warn of men wanting to draw away disciples after themselves. Some will fall into the snare of ‘becoming kings’. Also Gideon took all the gold jewelry from the Midianites and made an Ephod [a priestly object] and it became an idol to the people. They fell into the snare of covetousness/idolatry that would become a hallmark of Israel’s rebellion.

(774) JUDGES 5-6 Deborah sings a victors song in chapter 5. I only want to mention one verse, she says ‘the mountains melted before you, even Sinai’. In the beginning of Judges I skipped the part where Judah defeats Jerusalem. This wording sounds strange in a way! Jerusalem of course was inhabited by the Jebusites and Judah took it. Sinai represents the law and Moses, grace and truth come from Jesus. I simply felt these ideas to be prophetic, speaking of a time in the future [Now, the New Covenant] where these natural identities will bow before the King! ‘The law came thru Moses [Sinai] but grace and truth came from Jesus Christ’.
In chapter 6 we see one of the famous stories of a judge, Gideon. At this time in Israel’s history the Midianites were coming up every year during the harvest and wiping them out. It’s not that Israel wasn’t sowing [planting] it’s just they weren’t enjoying the harvest! The enemy left them enough freedom to plant and work the fields, it was just at harvest time when he gave them a hard time. Now Gideon is threshing wheat at ‘the winepress’ which is basically a hole in the ground. You can’t really thresh wheat in a cave! You need a ‘thresingfloor’, an open area where you can throw the wheat in the air and let the wind blow the chaff away. But all the children of Israel were doing this in secret spots to hide from the Midianites. So once again the people call out to God and he does it a little different this time. He sends them a Prophet first who says to them ‘God delivered you from Egypt and bondage, yet you feared the enemy and served false gods’. They were living in fear and permitted idolatry to become part of their worship [covetousness is the New Testament equivalent to idolatry]. Then the Lord sends an angel to Gideon and he tells him ‘you mighty man of valor, God is calling you to lead the people’. Gideon says ‘I come from poverty, I am the least in my family. How can I be the one’? The Lord doesn’t say ‘don’t worry, I will make you rich’ he simply tells Gideon ‘I will go with you’. Jesus used a rag tag team of disciples to turn the world up side down. They would ask ‘how can we feed this multitude, we don’t have the cash’ Jesus was with them! Gideon does this prophetic act and destroys the altar of Baal that was in his city. At night [because he was afraid] he takes 10 guys and they tear it down and erect an altar to God right in the city square. In the morning the men of the city say ‘who in the heck did this’? They are infuriated that someone would disturb the system that they became comfortable with [ouch!] They find out it was Gideon and they go to his house and want to kill him. The dad says ‘hey, if Baal is so offended, then let him do something about it’. Gideon’s dad had a little bit of the Elijah thing going on. Elijah tells the false prophets of Baal ‘where’s Baal? How come he can’t come and consume all this wood? Maybe he’s busy with some other stuff?’ One translation actually says ‘maybe he is on the potty’ these idol destroyers seemed to have no respect for the scared cows of the day. So Baal leaves Gideon alone and Gideon blows the trumpet and sends word to the various tribes. God is raising up Gideon to ‘come upon the enemy as one man’. We will later see the enemy have a dream of Gideon and the people rolling into the enemy’s camp as a Barley loaf. These are prophetic images of the Body of Christ. We are ‘one bread’ so to speak. Notice how the people became accustomed to the altar of Baal in their midst. They were irate that someone came along and shook the apple cart. At first they wanted to kill the guy, but then they recognized [grudgingly!] that Gideon was right. Sometimes the Lord will speak a word into the church that at first seems unbelievable. ‘Who does so and so think he is?’ But if the word is from the Lord, the people will eventually get on board with it and even partake of the benefits from the word. Gideon didn’t turn the troops on the men from his city who wanted to kill him. He simply fulfilled his prophetic destiny and attacked the enemy, not his fellow citizens! He allowed them time to get on the bandwagon, they eventually did.

(771)JUDGES 3- The Lord allows the enemies to remain partly in the land to ‘prove [test] the children who saw not the wars of Canaan’. God allowed the younger generation to learn what it meant to overcome some stuff. We live in a day where many believers are used to sitting in ‘church’ and being passive listeners their whole lives. They are all good people, it’s just they have never really learned how to war. To go out on their own and experience the kingdom. God taught the younger generation how to war. They cried unto the Lord during their oppression and the lord raised up Othniel. [Just a note, the way I do all our teaching (radio/blog) is I read the stuff ahead of time and when I teach I do it from memory. So sometimes you will see a misspelled name!] He is the younger brother of Caleb and he delivers the people. They soon back slide after his death and Eglon, the ‘fat king’ of Moab oppresses them. The Lord raises up Ehud. Notice the Lord is raising these judges up from the community! [Like the elders in Acts]. These judges experienced the same oppression as all the people around them. They lived with the complaints and bitterness of a people oppressed ‘geez, what does Eglon want now!’ The deliverers also didn’t carry all the weight, they simply showed the people that it’s possible to stand up for yourself and fight! Ehud goes to Eglon with ‘a present’ [tribute, the payment for being under him. But Ehud’s present doesn’t end there!] Ehud enters the king’s chamber. He says ‘I have a secret message from God for you’ and Eglon thinks he is going to get a little something extra. He does. Ehud takes his dagger out and shoves it all the way into Eglons fat belly! The handle and all. He escapes thru the porch and locks the doors behind him. He runs back to Israel and blows a trumpet and all the people descend upon Moab and slaughter 10 thousand mighty warriors. God gave them peace for 80 years. The description is graphic. The reason why Eglon is described as ‘fat’ is to show how this rule of lethargy and gluttony was suffocating God’s people. It took a risky, radical act of one man to say ‘I have had enough of this guy, I don’t care if I get killed, I am going to take him down!’ Sometimes it takes radical action to overthrow the spirit of mammon off of Gods people [you fight covetousness, not people!] After the violent [prophetic] act of Ehud, the people gained enough courage to cast the entire ruling nation of Moab off of them. Sometimes God will raise up a singular voice [John the Baptist was a voice in the wilderness] to stir up the people to action. The individual can’t do it alone [he might take down an Eglon] but the people have to cast off the oppressors themselves [or at least finish the job].

(765)ACT 25- Festus hears the Jews at Jerusalem, they want him to bring Paul to Jerusalem. Festus goes back to Caesarea and asks Paul ‘why don’t you go back with me’? Paul appeals to Caesar! Of course going to Rome was part of the plan. Now King Agrippa [another one of the many ruling authorities that Rome had over the people!] comes to Caesarea and Festus tells him about Paul. Agrippa will get a strong word in the next chapter. Also the Jews come down from Jerusalem and accuse Paul of many things. I want to make a note here. In the area of apologetics, which we do a lot of, you need to be careful that you don’t jump on the bandwagon of unfounded accusations. There are and have been real doctrinal heresies that needed to be dealt with, but some of the apologists really get personal. Even calling family members degrading names! In Paul’s case he had accusations that were not true. He does defend himself against the false ones, but also admitted that he believes in Christ’s resurrection and that this is considered heresy among certain Jews. Paul’s main message was Christ and the resurrection! As we get ready to close our study in a few more days, I want to recap the importance of seeing Jesus and his fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets as the main message of the Apostles. This early teaching by the Apostles needs to be the ‘tradition’ if you will, once again. We [believers] have a tendency to delve deeply into all sorts of stuff. Paul will warn his spiritual sons ‘don’t get lost in endless genealogies and debates about the law’ and Hebrews says ‘it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not with meats [legalistic doctrines] which have been unprofitable to those who have gone that route’. Now, you guys know I believe in correct doctrine, and Paul wasn’t advocating ‘no doctrine’. But it is easy to get lost in endless debates that lead to nowhere. Ultimately our goal is to present every man perfect in Christ. Paul will stick with this message all the way to Rome!

(766)ACTS 26- Paul makes his case before Agrippa. Paul says that he is being accused of the hope that all the Jews are waiting for and serving God day and night to receive! It’s funny how all the religious requirements of the law and temple, the whole culture of Judaism. All the symbols that made up their heritage. All the times they would quote Moses or Abraham ‘we have Abraham as our father’ ‘we know God spoke to Moses’ all of these things were for THE SOLE PURPOSE of coming to a point in Jewish history where the Jews would receive their Messiah. Paul states ‘this actual hope and reason for our existence as a Jewish nation is the cause of contention that the Jewish leaders have against me’. What an amazing thing! Now once again Paul will state the basic Christian doctrine of Jesus and his resurrection ‘king Agrippa, why would it be so hard to believe that God can raise the dead’? Did you ever ponder this question? A few years ago you didn’t exist [30-50-70?] since you were born you have been taught that you exist because of certain natural means. You learned the process of birth, and some of you have actually had kids yourselves. During you life you have heard and learned about the universe, planets, the history of man. We have lived thru an industrial and technological revolution. We put men on the moon, we splice genes, we take men’s hearts out of their bodies and put pumps in there place! Plus all these things came from a point in time where there was no thing! Hebrews says God made every thing from nothing! Science actually does agree with this [read my section on Evolution] and after all this experience and knowledge you have attained in your very short life, yet if God were to say ‘I will raise the dead’ people say ‘now, how can you expect me to believe that?’ We do have pea brains at times! Paul also retells his conversion and says how Jesus told him he would be a witness of the historical events of Christ and his resurrection, but Jesus also said ‘and you will testify of the things I will reveal to you in the future’. Now we have to do some stuff. What were the things that Jesus was going to reveal to Paul in the future? We read these things in Paul’s letters. Basically the great reality of our sharing in the divine nature [actually this is Peter] our sonship. The great mystery of God making one new man out of Jew and Gentile. Truths concerning the ascension and the heavenly realities of redemption [Hebrews]. The point is the ‘future revelation’ of Jesus to Paul was not some knowledge outside of the boundaries already laid down in the gospels. The doctrine of the Apostles was already being taught thru out the book of Acts. God simply gave Paul greater insight and revelation into the truths that already existed. The Gnostics [early second century cult of Christianity- the word comes from the Greek term ‘Gnosis’- knowledge]. They taught a type of special knowledge that said the basic Christian who only has the historical truths of Jesus are at a lower level. Once you become a Gnostic, you then have special revelation that can’t be learned thru normal means. A popular Christian teaching comes close to this ‘revelation knowledge’. Many years ago I was a student of E.W. Kenyon and the word of faith movement. Brother Kenyon taught a type of mystical teaching that said God can reveal things to people outside of the 5 senses, and this is ‘revelation knowledge’. Can God do this? To a degree, yes. We actually read how Agabus gave Paul a prophecy about being bound at Jerusalem. Or Paul dreaming about a man in Macedonia asking for help. I see the reality of God being able to reveal things to us supernaturally as a gift of the prophetic. We are born of Gods Spirit and we do receive understanding from God as his Spiritual children. But yet Paul will write ‘study to show yourself approved’. So Jesus told Paul he was going to show him stuff in the future. Paul based his apostolic authority on this fact [Galatians 1-2]. He would say ‘the gospel I preach was not given to me by men, but God revealed it to me’ what gospel is Paul talking about? The gospel [good news] of the grace of God. Jesus revealed the more important stuff to Paul as time went on, Paul was seeing more and more grace!

(757)ACTS 20- Paul travels with some brothers on the journey. This mode of visiting different regions and bringing brothers with him is exciting! They are truly seeing the Kingdom of God becoming established in the earth. Scripture says ‘they broke bread on the first day of the week’ we read later in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that when they met on the ‘first day of the week’ he asked them to take up a collection before he arrived [so he could take the money and meet the needs of the poor saints at Jerusalem]. Do we see here some type of Sunday Sabbath, that is the ‘church day to pay tithes’ so you don’t get cursed? Of course not. You are seeing the simple practical outworking of a people who are becoming the people of God. It’s fine to meet on a Sunday and to ‘break bread’. Hey, the group needs to know when to meet for the meal! But don't develop liturgical/sacramental ideas out of this. You say ‘hooray for John [me], he is really giving it to those Catholics’ well, don’t say hooray yet. Now he calls for the Elders at Ephesus to come to Miletus so he can give them some instructions and a farewell. This address from Paul is one of the best in the New Testament. He covers the basics for leadership and church growth. Now, he tells them ‘all the time I was with you guys I was upright. I taught you publicly and from house to house. I showed you repentance toward God and faith towards Jesus Christ. I worked and did not covet your money. I did this to prove I was not there to gain financially from you. To give you an example as Elders yourselves, so you would not see the responsibility of oversight thru a covetous mindset. Beware! After I leave you there will be an attempt by the enemy to undo the work of the Cross. Some men, even from your own group will rise up and speak twisted doctrines. They will try to become eminent in the group, drawing away disciples after themselves. Don’t become sidetracked and become followers of men! Guard the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Feed them Gods good word’. Paul lays down strong guidelines here. He actually teaches the elders that he worked when he was among them to leave this example of leaders not seeing ministry as a means to get gain. In one of his future letters [Timothy or Thessalonians?] he actually says this ‘working’ that he did was a tradition for them to keep. He said this in context of those who refused to work. Very strong indeed. Peter also will teach the Elders to take oversight of Gods flock ‘not for money, but out of a pure motive’. In the wars that rage over ‘simple church’ versus the modern 501c3 model, both sides have shot at each other wrongfully at times. There are very intelligent brothers who will take this chapter and teach that the modern Pastor has fallen into the trap of ‘making disciples after themselves’. They see the development of the role of Pastor as becoming the fulfillment of this. Now, I do see some merit to this, but I see most pastors [all the ones I know and have known personally over the years] as Elders who are striving to help Gods People. I see a real need for all leadership to see that ministry is not a fulltime clergy type office that has developed over the centuries! Paul is simply addressing the Elders [more mature ones- in the gospel, not necessarily old!] and showing them that their purpose is to help the people of God grow in grace and make it to a place of self sufficiency in Christ. Paul is pretty much laying down the gauntlet that leadership is not some ticket of ‘now that I am in ministry, my income comes from the God ordained tithe’. This is never taught as a means of support for New testament ministers. These ideas have developed out of the Old Testament idea of the tithe supporting the Levitical Priests. In the New Covenant all our Priests and we don’t practice this type of thing. But Paul does teach that it’s good to support materially [financially] those who are feeding you spiritual food. He does teach ‘don’t muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn’ [he called us ox's!] seriously, he lays down the biblical guideline of supporting those who minister the word. But it is important to see he was not establishing some type of clergy system, the fact that he was working while with these Ephesians and actually used this as an example for OTHER ELDERS as well as the believers shows you this. All in all the main point Paul is getting across is he wants the basic truth of the gospel to prevail and he does not want top heavy leadership to come in and draw away disciples after them. That is for strong gifted leaders to become the main focus of these Ephesian believers. So this chapter is important because we see Paul address these elders that he has been ‘ordaining’ in the churches [groups of believers]. We see the basic character and function of these men. We see the warning that cults will arise. In Paul’s day groups did come forth from the basic Christian communities [Gnostics and Docetists] that had a basic understanding of certain Christian things, but would deny the reality of Jesus. Paul bids them Farwell as they all embrace on the shoreline. The Elders were heartbroken over Paul’s words that he will probably see them no more. He wanted to keep the upcoming feast at Jerusalem and eventually preach at Rome. He was on this obsession to carry this gospel to the seat of the empire, even if it means his life.

(756)ACTS 19- Paul runs into some of Apollo’s disciples at Ephesus, he asks them if they received the Spirit ‘since they believed’ [Notice what they were believing!] And they said they have never heard about the Holy Spirit. He questions them on what they are believing in. They answer John’s baptism. They only knew the message of John the Baptist on repentance. The basic preaching from Apollos before he was ‘instructed in the way of the Lord more perfectly’. Paul does not say ‘now, believe in the Holy Spirit and you will have the baptism in the Spirit’. He says ‘John [the Baptist] preached that you should believe on him, that is JESUS, who would come after him’ after hearing THIS [the basic message of Jesus!] they were baptized in Jesus name and Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Spirit. There are lots of things here that different groups use to justify there beliefs. I fully believe in all the gifts and workings of the Spirit, but once again many well meaning pastors [from Pentecostal backgrounds] teach this chapter as saying these disciples were believers in Jesus and did not have the Spirit. This is not true! They were not yet believers in Jesus and the actual person they believed in to get the Spirit was Jesus, not the Spirit! But all in all we see the laying on of hands, prophecy and tongues happen. So these guys are charismatic! But also Calvinist [in my mind- I believe Paul was strong in predestination, but also operated in the gifts]. Now Paul goes and ruins his reputation! Can you believe he is actually sending handkerchiefs to sick people and they are getting healed and delivered from evil Spirits! Old Jonathan Edwards would never do that! [Or Calvin or Luther…or would they?] Paul casts out some demons in Jesus name [that’s it, he is cancelled from speaking at our reformation conference!] and 7 sons from a Jewish family try to cast out a demon from some guy using Jesus name. The demon says ‘Jesus I know, and Paul too! But who in the heck do you think you are’ and the guy who’s possessed beats the hell out of them! Ouch! I find it funny that the demons knew Paul by name. They must have heard how Paul was one of the deadliest enemies to satans agenda. The demons who were showing up for orders were scared they would be assigned to Paul, they knew he had some strong handkerchiefs! Demetrius, a guy who made his living building idols to Dianna, a false goddess, realizes that if Paul keeps preaching about Jesus that his living will be threatened. So he stirs up trouble. He says ‘if we don’t stop these guys, our shrine making business will be in jeopardy, oh, and the great goddess Dianna will also lose her honor’ He couldn’t give a rip about the fake god, he was worried about the bottom line! I find it funny how people will choose which image of ‘God-Jesus’ they believe in based on the bottom line. Some choose to grasp an image of Jesus contrary to the New Testament, if you challenge this belief, they will simply ignore you based on the bottom line. The Jesus of scripture challenges the materialistic gospel that permeates many in today’s church. Some grasp this modern image of Jesus because they can’t let go of the possibility that there ‘trade’ [belief system of profit] is going away!

(748)ACTS 11- Peter recounts his vision and experience he had at Cornelius house. The Jews at Jerusalem were upset that he went and ate with non Jews. He explains that the Lord showed him not to view these gentiles as unclean. They were accepted and made clean thru Christ’s blood. The leadership at Jerusalem agree [for now!] We begin to see the tension that will play out thru the rest of the New Testament. This struggle between Jewish law and grace will become the number one issue of contention in Paul’s letters. In this chapter we see Barnabas go down to Antioch and eventually get Paul from Tarsus to help him establish the fledgling church at Antioch. After Peters experience they began preaching to gentiles and Antioch becomes the counterbalance ‘church’ [community of believers] to Jerusalem. I want you to see something important here. The church at Antioch does not have ‘Temple worship’ along side ‘home meetings’. The believers ‘assembled’ as a brotherhood. They met in homes to be sure, but ‘the church’ was simply a description of a called out group of people who continued in grace and lived as a fellowship community. The reason I emphasize this is because we grasp limited ideas of church and then we try and make others fit our ideas. The church at Antioch [and Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, etc.] will continue to maintain this basic identity all thru out the New Testament and well into the second century. The earliest archeological find of a ‘church building’ is found in the 3rd century. There was an inscription discovered that spoke of the ‘church’ meeting here. The ‘here’ was the home of a believer! [I think the find was ‘Europa/duropa’ or something to that effect]. The point here is I want you to see the original design of the church. Up until this point we see the early church evangelizing large regions by simply being led of the Spirit. The finances are simple, this chapter will end with the believers at Antioch pooling their resources to send relief to the church in Judea. It will be the beginnings of Paul’s ministry of relief that we read about in 1st Corinthians 16. This chapter says Prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. Agabus prophesied of a famine to come, the church made arrangements to send relief to their brothers. One of the main Apostles at Jerusalem, James, will oversee a group of poor saints thru out his life. There is no early doctrine seen of rebuking the poor saints and teaching them how they were redeemed from poverty and the curse of Deuteronomy in a way that poverty was see as a sin. James will actually pen his letter and say ‘God chose the poor of this world [not just ‘poor’ in spirit] rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom’ he will also rake the rich over the coals! The whole point is as we read the bible, we need to read it in context and allow the story to shape our views, not the other way around. This Antioch community received New Testament prophets, they did not view the verse in Hebrews ‘God spoke to us in the past by prophets, but in these last days by his Son’ they didn’t see this as meaning there were no more prophets. These believers were not tithing, they did not have a church building, not ordained clergy or ‘high church’ model. They were a vibrant bunch of grace believers who will be told they don’t have to keep the law to be saved! From this point forward, no New Testament church in scripture will lose this basic idea. Some will struggle [Galatians, Corinth] but the basic truth of ‘the church’ being the people of God justified freely by grace, will remain strong. They are still living a communal type of idea, and giving is still radical, done to meet the real needs of people, and is not a tithe!

(745)ACTS 8- After the death of Stephen the church scatters thru out the region. We see Phillip being used and directed by God. An angel will speak to him, he will be supernaturally translated from one place to another. We see the simple reality of all believers having Gods legitimacy to function. This is important to see! Later on we see the first gentile church at Antioch being told ‘separate me Paul and Barnabus unto the work which I have called them to’[Acts 13]. Some will develop unbiblical restrictions from this verse. The strong ‘local church’ view [the view that sees local church thru the 501c3 Sunday building mindset!] will later teach ‘see, you can’t function on your own. If you are not under a ‘local church covering’ you are an independent rebel out of Gods authority’. Here we see the simple reality of God sending and communicating to Phillip on the basis of him being a child of God. In Acts 13 the Spirit communicated his purpose to an entire group, in this chapter he communicates to an individual. The legitimacy comes from the reality of God being the one who is giving the directions! Now, we see Phillip at Samaria preaching the Kingdom and doing miracles. The sorcerer Simon gets converted. The church at Jerusalem sends Peter and John to see what’s happening and they lay hands on the Samaritan believers and they ‘receive the Holy Ghost’. This is also described as the Holy Spirit falling on them. This chapter is used as a proof text for pro Pentecostal theology and anti! The Pentecostals say ‘see, believers don’t have the Holy Spirit until a separate Baptism takes place’. The anti Charismatics say ‘this is an anomaly. God did this because he didn’t want to have a competing church in Samaria that did not have the approval of the Jerusalem church’. I will agree and disagree with both of these propositions [yes, at the same time!] Paul will teach in his epistles that it is impossible to believe without having the Spirit. He will also teach a doctrine of being filled with the Spirit. The arguments over the terms used can be confusing. The fact is we see both the experiences of believers [who have the Spirit] still experiencing greater empowerments down the road. And we see believers ‘getting it all at once’ [Acts 10]. Theologically, you can’t be born again without having the Spirit. But you can call ‘the Spirit falling on you in a fresh way’ ‘getting the Spirit’. The different expressions people use do confuse the matter. The hard and fast Charismatics will not agree with me. And the old time Calvinists might disagree with me. I believe both sides have things to add to the debate. I want all of us to be open and daily expecting God to renew us with the Spirit on a daily basis. I know one thing for sure, Paul taught we can water and plant all day. But if the Spirit doesn’t do his work we will never see any real increase! Simon the sorcerer sees that thru the laying on of hands the Spirit is given. He asks ‘Hey, I will pay you money for the gift of being able to lay hands on people and have them receive the Spirit’. Peter responds ‘you wicked sinner! How dare you think you can purchase Gods gift with money! You and your filthy money will perish together! You better pray that God forgives you for this’. Simon says ‘can you pray for me’? He didn’t want to get struck down that instant! Peter will later teach in his letters ‘take oversight of Gods flock, not for filthy lucre. But of a ready mind’. James will write in his letter ‘woe to the rich, their day is coming’. John writes in 1st John ‘love not the world neither the things in the world’. Paul will pen ‘The love of money is the root of all evil. Some went coveting after it and have left the faith’. Where in the world did all these first century Apostles get this idea from? Was it the devil tricking them out of the truth of wealth? Were they under the spell of church tradition? Lets see, Jesus said ‘the rich man dies and goes to hell. The poor man to Abrahams bosom’ ‘it’s harder for a rich man to go to heaven than for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle’ ‘the rich man went away very sad because he had much riches’ [after Jesus said go sell all you have and give to the poor] ‘you can not serve God and mammon’ ‘the deceitfulness of riches choke Gods word’ ‘thou fool! This night thy soul shall be required of thee’ [to the rich man who was planning on building more storage for his stuff!] The simple fact is the early church had imbedded in their minds a non materialistic gospel. The modern church seems to read scripture thru the lens of the prosperity promises that you do find thru out scripture. The prosperity promises are true and should be understood, but we need to also see the reality of what I just showed you. The church will eventfully coin the phrase ‘Simony’. It will refer to those who use money to gain influence and official positions in the church. Simons name does becomes famous, but not in the way he wanted!

(736)GENESIS 49- Jacob gathers the boys together to give them a blessing. He realizes the importance of launching them with both blessings and rebukes! Why does he mention the mistakes and failures of the boys? Rueben is unstable like water; he acted spontaneously and out of jealousy. Simeon and Levi have an anger problem. In today’s ‘church world’ we focus and confess the desired outcomes of what we seem to want. We feel it is against a life of faith to even hear or receive reproof. I watched one of the fathers of the prosperity movement the other day. He was overseas doing a convention. I watch now out of prayer and agreeing as much as possible with parts of the meeting. I see this as a function of the prophetic, a willingness to intercede and agree as much as possible with those you have disagreements with. To be honest, you could see a real sense of uneasiness in the audience. It was almost as if these believers were somewhat familiar with this man, but the teachings were really off. During the service the speaker said how people have come up to him and said ‘did you read that book about you’? People who have begun to learn of the errors of this movement. The teacher said he never reads or listens to those who try to rebuke or correct him. This was obvious as to the fact that the meeting ended in the teacher saying ‘satan, get your hands off my money’ in a very aggressive and angry voice. He was leading the people in prayer and said this. The whole thing was very sad. Now Jacob flat out tells the boys where they have done wrong and went off course, he makes no bones about it. These boys heard criticism that was needful. But he also gives some great blessings. I have already internalized and added the blessings from Judah ‘the scepter shall not depart from you’ ‘your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies’ ‘as a young lion you will crouch down and go up from the prey’. To Joseph ‘you are like a bough [vine] by a spring of water, a well. Your branches flow over the wall’ a type of regional influence, reaching beyond your ‘city borders’. The archers hated you and shot at you but did not prevail, but to the contrary your bow has prevailed. The purpose of God for Joseph and his ‘targeting’ of prophetic arrows of destiny would win. These are great promises to these boys. Jacob speaks to his sons as he prepares to die. He wants more than just a successful career during his lifetime, he wants to launch a movement [dynasty] that for generations to come would carry the torch of the original purpose. Jacob tells the boys ‘I am now going to die’ and he instructs them to bury him in the dirt of destiny! He wants to lay in the ground where he first met and learned of the fatherhood of God. He ‘slept’ before in the land and had a true ‘out of body’ experience at Bethel [Not a new age thing, but a real visitation from God]. He will reconnect with this destiny even in death. We still have one chapter left in Genesis, but we have really closed the book for the most part on this entire journey of Jacob and his boys. There is a real sense of this family living and dying with Gods destiny upon them. I want to ‘charge’ all of our readers and ‘family’ to reassess at this point in life. Bring things back into alignment with the true eternal values that count. I know we have rubbed people the wrong way because of our strong stance on a lot of issues. I have been ‘shot at by arrows’ many times, but I feel the Lord has allowed our ‘bow to prevail’ not for the targeting or hurting of people, but for the target that the Lord wants to hit. Children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, when they launch in the right direction they hit the target very time.

(734)GENESIS 46-47- Jacob and the family pack up and head to Egypt. They bring 70 ‘souls’ with them. Remember, Jacob is always thinking ‘dynasty’. He has a track record of worrying about his family getting wiped out. He is still relatively small for a ‘nation’ but getting bigger by the day. He enters Egypt and sees Joseph for the first time. What a reunion! I guess now that Jacob realizes all of his worrying was for naught, all the times he allowed his mind to think the worst about stuff, I guess now he learned his lesson? Not. Pharaoh asks him ‘so, how old are you, aren’t you glad to see Joseph? How has life been treating you?’ Jacob responds ‘my days are 130 years, not even close to my forefathers. And they have been short and evil’. Wow, Pharaoh thinks ‘sorry I asked’. Now as Jacob settles down in Goshen, all the nations are coming to Joseph to be sustained. The years of famine that Pharaoh dreamt about are here. Notice something; all the nations spend all their money and the ‘money fails’. Did you know that the overall theme of money taught by Jesus and the apostles was ‘it will someday fail’? James says ‘the rich mans money will evaporate in the day of judgment and it will be to no avail’. Proverbs says the rich mans wealth can not deliver his soul during trouble. Jesus over and over again used examples of people putting their hopes in riches and forgetting the reality of death and judgment. In this chapter the money failed! Now, the nations sell their cattle and lands and eventually themselves to Pharaoh [Joseph]. Joseph and Jacob as well as Joseph and Pharaoh [this one] are types of Jesus and the father. In this case Joseph ‘purchases’ all the people for Pharaoh. Jesus bought us all by his blood. Now, even though I go hard on the prosperity guys, here’s some practical financial advice. Joseph tells the people ‘take the corn [grain-seed] and use it to feed your families and cattle, but plant some of it in the ground for heavens sake!’ he is teaching the mentality of ‘feed a man a fish and you feed him for the day- teach a man to fish and you feed him for life’. Joseph is trying to break the entitlement mentality. Showing the people that a portion of their increase should be invested. Don’t take all your money every month and spend it all. Give a portion to God, and put some in a savings/investment. If you spend all the money you earn [eat all the seeds] then you will be living form paycheck to paycheck. ‘Well brother, I am trusting in social security’ not if you’re a cessationist [someone who believes miracles don’t happen any more] because it would take a miracle for the government to not bankrupt the thing! So we see balance in this chapter. Good financial advice along with the reality that some day ‘your money will fail’. Good Christians maintain good balance.

(726)GENESIS 40- Joseph is in prison and Pharaohs chief men get thrown in jail. His butler [the guy who tastes the wine before the king drinks it, to make sure it’s OK] and the baker. One day Joseph notices there sad faces ‘what’s wrong guys’? They tell him they both had dreams the previous night. They were troubled that they did not know what the dreams meant. Does Joseph say ‘O, you had too much pizza last night’ or ‘don’t you know we have the books of Moses completed! There are no more prophetic dreams.’ Instead he says ‘God is the one who can give the interpretation of dreams’. It is understood that some dreams have meaning and come from God. You find this all thru out scripture. I’ll be honest, I have recently had some prophetic dreams but have stopped sharing them on the site. Why? These last few years there have been so many prophecies shared and put on line and I feel the consumers of these words are not getting a steady diet of scripture and New Testament Christianity. I just read a ‘prophetic word’ that spoke of ‘why we are not getting the end time harvest of money yet’ it went into ‘targeting the demonic forces holding back the cash’ and other techniques to use to get the money. I have written and even sent some of our teachings to some of these brothers. Could it be the reason all the wealth hasn’t been released is because we are viewing the ‘end time transfer of wealth’ from an unbiblical standpoint? So I too have grown weary of all the ‘prophecies and dreams’ that seem to miss the mark. But here Joseph jumps write into the fray and interprets the dreams. He tells the butler ‘your dream means in 3 days you will be restored and hold the kings wine glass again’. The baker likes the word and asks ‘what about my dream’? ‘In three days Pharaoh will hang you on the gallows’ OUCH. Never mind Joseph, I don’t believe in prophecy any way. The dreams do have prophetic significance. The wine and bread [baker] speak of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The 3rd day speaks of the mighty resurrection of the Son of God. Jesus offered his Body [bread] as a sacrifice for all humanity. He ‘hung’ on the Cross for us, just like the baker hung on the gallows. Jesus also was ‘lifted up’ out of the ‘prison’ the 3rd day and once again was restored to his previous position at the right hand of God. He took ‘the cup of his Blood [wine] and presented it once again to his father’. I think these dreams were prophetic.

(712)GENESIS 26- There is a famine in the land and the Lord warns Isaac not to go down into Egypt. Isaac stays and dwells in Gerar and the surrounding area. He pulls the ‘this is my sister, not my wife’ thing. The king finds out she is Isaacs wife and rebukes him for lying. Isaac is really blessed in the land. Scripture says ‘he sowed and reaped a 100 fold’. Now, let’s do a little stuff. The modern church went thru a whole phase where believers were confessing and believing and doing everything [but working!] in order to get ‘the 100 fold return’. We have previously showed you how when Jesus spoke of ‘the 100 fold return’ in the parable of the sower, he in no way was speaking of money! [Read the chapter ‘twisting the parable of the sower’ the book is ‘HOUSE OF PRAYER OR DEN OF THIEVES’ on this site]. But because the Old Testament is the ‘shadow’ of things to come, and not the true riches. That’s why in this story it is speaking of natural stuff. Now the church went thru this stage of believers doing all they could to ‘reap the financial harvest’. We taught believers to think on money, confess it. Basically consume your thoughts with ‘money thoughts’ [all in violation of Jesus teaching on ‘the gentiles are always thinking about this stuff, let it not be like this with you’!] So we had a whole group of young believers violating the mandate in scripture to work and be diligent. And they often times were doing it by believing a distorted doctrine on the 100 fold return. Well Isaac reaped because HE SOWED. He planted that darn farmland! [To be nice about it]. So today we should teach the believer the responsibility of working and living diligently and being responsible. And we need to teach that the way you reap the 100 fold return is by actually planting that field! Isaac also will re open the wells that his father had dug. They were stopped up out of jealousy by the philistines. Sometimes people ‘who are not doing the work themselves’ [sowing] have a lot of free time. What do they do with this free time? Figuring out ways to stop up other peoples wells! Paul called them busy bodies in the New Testament. These brothers just make more work for those who are in the harvest field! Isaac opens up the wells and honors his fathers heritage. The church goes thru these stages every so often. A re opening of the church fathers. Studying Patristics again [1st 7 centuries of church history]. I think it’s a good thing to honor our spiritual heritage. These wells go deep and have been feeding people for centuries!

(709)GENESIS 23- Sarah is old and dies. Abraham mourns for the loss of the ‘mother of many nations’. She was just as much a recipient of the promise as he was. Abraham offers to BUY a burial spot for Sarah and his family. He tells the people ‘sell me a place to bury my dead’. The sons of Heth say ‘you are a great and influential person. Take any spot you want for free’. Once again Abraham refuses a free gift. He did this earlier with the king of Sodom. Why is this important to see? While in today’s economy we allow for ‘churches’ to be tax free. Yet we need to be very careful about looking like we are freeloaders. I have heard unbelievers in the past say ‘these prosperity preachers are claiming God has prospered them. But they are getting tax free stuff’. While I believe it’s o.k. to use the benefits the government provides for advancing the gospel, we need to be aware of the impression this gives to the unbelieving world. Especially when we use the tax free status and at the same time amass wealth! So here we see Abraham purchase the land for the full price. He buys a field from Ephron and counts the silver in public [open books!] and lets everyone see up front that there are no secret financial dealings. I think Abraham would be a member of the financial accountability groups that oversee the ministries finances!

(706)GENESIS 20- Abraham does it again! He travels to Gerar and tells the king ‘Sarah is my sister, not my wife’. This time the king takes her but before he sleeps with her God appears to him in a dream and tells him not to do it. In this chapter we see dreams, prophets and healing mentioned. All before Pentecost! In the following days we will cover Joseph and his dreams. I want you to see the reality of God communicating and interjecting himself into the human story as he wills. The fact that all thru out scripture AND CHURCH HISTORY we see an ongoing work of God in supernatural things shows us that God is still sovereign and can do all the things he has ever done. One of the big divisions in Christianity today has to do with the Charismatic movement and the more Orthodox/Reformed brothers. While I realize the Reformed brothers do accept the supernatural workings of God, some of them hold to cessationist views of the gifts of the Spirit. The Charismatics will accept the gifts, but often fall short in the simple teaching of scripture. I have been frustrated over the years in trying to tell Charismatic brothers that you can’t teach that Jesus was a very wealthy person who taught a money message. No matter how much proof from scripture or history you give them, they dismiss it as ‘that old tradition’. I can see why the more Reformed guys just avoid the whole deal. But to be honest to scripture we need to see and have a basic belief in a supernatural God who can communicate thru dreams and can use Prophets and does heal miraculously! Now after God appears to Abimilech and tells him ‘don’t do it, she is the mans wife’. The king is also told ‘restore her back to the man and he will pray for you and I will heal you, he is a Prophet’. So Abraham makes it right. Now, the king also gives restitution to Abraham. Lots of stuff. Does this contradict what I taught earlier about Abraham? We showed how he didn’t take free handouts. In this case this is really not a free handout, it is the biblical doctrine of restitution. Jesus taught this in the New Testament. When someone is wronged by you, do what you can to make up for it. So we leave this chapter with Abraham once again coming out on top, even though he messed up! This shows you that it is only by the mercy and favor of God that you are where you are today. You might think ‘you know, I really am a pretty talented guy. If I weren’t with the lord I probably would have succeeded in some other endeavor’ NOT! It is his grace alone that has exalted you to success. If it weren’t for the Lord you would be a big mess!

(700)GENESIS 14- Abraham goes after the kings who took Lot captive. He takes his 318 trained men and gets Lot and the rest of the spoils from the invading armies. When Abraham brings the stuff back to the King of Sodom, the king tells Abraham ‘take all the goods as well’. Abraham refuses and takes only his expenses. You also find Abraham later on paying for the burial site for Sarah and his family. Even though the people wanted to give it as a ‘tax free gift’! It is important to see that although Abraham was rich, he often refused free handouts! The problem with the church today is you have too many Preachers who see the truths on Abraham being rich and they mix it with a message that says ‘sow seed into my ministry, don’t disobey God!’ it is taught in a way that violates the whole character of Abraham. If you want the lord to bless you, reexamine the way your are expecting it. Abraham would not take free stuff! The church needs to teach prosperity in balance with all the other principles of diligence and giving to God and being smart investors and AVOIDING FREE GIFTS! This mode of operation will be found in the life of Abraham more than once!

(699)GENESIS 13- Abraham leaves Egypt and the scripture says HE WAS VERY RICH! One of the things we want to do as we review these chapters is to rightly divide the word of God. The church went thru an ‘immature’ level of thinking and teaching. She [the church!] saw all these truths on God blessing Abraham. The many true verses on ‘the blessing of the Lord, it makes rich and he adds no sorrow to it’ ‘the Lord gives you power to get wealth that he may establish his covenant in the earth’ and all the other truths on God meeting the needs of his kids and blessing them. But the teachers went overboard and taught a doctrine of a rich Jesus who died to make you rich. They would become the false prophets that Paul would warn Timothy about in 1st Timothy 6. So here we want to see and understand that the Lord blessed Abraham and did make him rich. We also want to balance this with all the teachings of Jesus on ‘beware of covetousness, for a mans life consisteth not in the abundance of the things he possesses’ ‘you can not serve God and money’ ‘the love of money is the root of all evil, while some have gone after it they have left the faith’ [Paul]. All of these scriptures are true, not just the ones we like the most! In this chapter Abraham separates from Lot and the lord reaffirms his promise to him. It seems like God was waiting on Abraham to ‘fully leave his family’ like the earlier verse said ‘get thee out of thy country AND FROM THY KINDRED’ here he finally left ‘the kindred’ and God said ‘now lets keep going’! Sometimes the only thing holding us back is full obedience. You don’t need to re do everything! Just bring some stuff back into alignment. Also after the Egypt ‘side trail’ Abraham renews his ‘first love’ and reconnects with God at bethel, but then moves to another spot and builds another altar. This chapter says ‘he went on his journeys’. God didn’t want Abraham to go stagnant, enjoy the area around the first altar and never advance. The purpose for Abraham was to be a father of MANY NATIONS. You can’t do that if your comfortable just settling down on the street corner and ‘pastoring your little flock’ [ouch!]. God wants us to ‘go on journeys’. I am not saying there are not times where ‘Pastoring the flock’ is OK. But the modern church goes to extremes. She either wants to build huge 20 thousand seat auditoriums [which tends to lead to a spectator mentality] or preach to 30 people at a time! God’s purpose is to impact all of society with the gospel. Jesus gospel was bigger than the one we embrace today. Hey, if you really enjoyed God’s presence at ‘Bethel’ just wait until you get to the next altar! Don’t forget Bethel [your first love] but you have a nation [nations!] to inherit!

(696)THOUGHTS FROM GENESIS- Been reading Genesis 12-22. I felt like the Lord wanted me to overview some stuff. Paul will quote the account in Gen: 15 [and 12] a lot. ‘The just shall live by faith’ is oft mentioned in the New Testament. He uses Abraham as an argument for Justification by Faith. Both Romans and Galatians are masterpieces at this. In my first book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ I wrote a chapter titled ‘the Abrahamic Blessing’. I tried to undue a false teaching that arose out of the prosperity movement that taught the ‘Abrahamic Blessing’ was believers being promised material stuff. If you read the chapter [Galatians 3] you will see the Abrahamic blessing to mean Gods promise to Abraham that he would bless the whole world thru his child [seed]. Paul uses this to combat the Judiazers who were teaching you get saved by the law. Paul in essence says ‘God promised Abraham that he would bless [in context, to ‘Justify’ and give the Spirit to those who have faith] the world thru his child [Jesus] long before he gave the law to Moses’. And being God can’t lie, the first promise [to Abraham] is stronger than the second promise to Moses [Law]. Good stuff! But a false teaching twists the ‘promise’ and says ‘see, Paul says we are Abraham’s kids [true] and therefore we get his blessings’ [stuff] false! There are many reasons why it is false, but if your Pastor simply reads scripture in context, he will lead you right. I have grown ‘weary’ over the years in trying to correct this stuff. I have come to the conclusion that many well meaning Pastors/Teachers should have never had the large area of influence [media] due to the ‘basic’ level of thought they were functioning at. I want to be kind, but many of these doctrines are propagated because the mass of teaching going out is by brothers who simply can’t grasp scripture in context. Now, they are not all bad! But if your Pastor can’t see that the same writer of Galatians would also write 1st Timothy 6, and say ‘false teachers will rise in the last days, teaching gain is godliness. Turn away from them’ the fact that Paul connects false prophets to those who connect money with ‘godliness’ shows you that Paul is not teaching the Galatians that they were going to get rich because they had faith! Simple stuff, but the average teacher that can’t see or discern this should not be teaching on TV![or radio]. Because they wind up propagating stuff that is false. That’s why James says ‘don’t all try to be teachers, you will be held to a higher standard’. There seems to be a mindset in Christian ministry that says ‘The goal of our ‘church’ is to raise as much money as possible, expand our influence as far as possible, and have our Pastors message go to the ends of the earth’. This causes there to be a basic violation of ‘not many of you should be teachers’. Or a rush to get your words out! Now, God does ordain certain voices at certain times to have great influence. And it is fine for all ministers to try and get the gospel out as much a possible. But when I hear these national voices teach the most obvious mistakes, I think ‘surely these guys are not supposed to be teaching on this level’! So in Abraham’s story, the Lord tells him ‘I am going to bless the whole planet thru your seed’. God is giving us glimpses of Jesus Christ and his purpose to bring blessing to the whole world thru him. Have you been ‘blessed’ [born again] thru Abrahams seed?

(689)SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall open. Everyone who asks receives, seeks will find…’ I want to credit Brother Hagin/Copeland and the prosperity/word of faith movement for showing us that Jesus doesn’t say ‘ask. And sometimes the answer is ‘no’ sometimes ‘yes’. They did show the truth that in these verses Jesus isn’t saying ‘you always get an answer, sometimes you receive, sometimes not’. They brought out the importance of trusting Jesus to do what he said. The Word is his will, like John Osteen [Joel’s dad] would say ‘this is my bible I can do and have what it says’. The problem comes in when we use these things contrary to the rest of the teachings of Jesus, like say for instance IN THE VERSES SURROUNDING THIS TEXT! James will teach ‘the reason you ask and DON’T RECEIVE [Wow, even James didn’t know this secret formula of always receiving!] is because you ask out of selfishness, wanting to consume things out of lust and covetousness’. So here we see the importance of asking in faith and trusting Gods promises. But we also balance this with Jesus will for us to live above the materialistic pursuits of the flesh. Jesus will meet our needs and even give us material blessings to make us happy. He says ‘if natural fathers give their kids good things, how much more your heavenly father’. God will give you nice stuff, just don’t go overboard with it. I have seen good Pastors actually go down this path and teach their people things that would be considered real heresy. Stuff like ‘Jesus died so you can be rich’ [in money]. Or ‘Jesus wore an expensive coat, owned a fabulous house and preached a message of ‘follow me and you will be rich’. These Pastors have fallen into the warning Paul gave Timothy [1st Timothy chapter 6] they began to teach that gain was godliness, Paul said to ‘turn away from them’. So here we see the good promise of a good God who will give us good things, just stay on course while believing him for good things!

(687)SERMON NO THE MOUNT- Two things before we leave chapter 6. Jesus repeats ‘take no thought’ while dealing with mammon and the material things of life. We all know he didn’t mean ‘don’t be responsible’. But he did mean ‘take no thought’. He did tell us to watch out and be ware of the snare of money. I must say it plain like this because the contemporary church doesn’t believe this any more. The modern success gospel sees any teachings from Jesus against materialism as ‘that old tradition’. There minds are blinded from the fact that this theme of ‘material success versus spiritual riches’ is seen over and over again. Now, the Gnostics and the Docetists [early century Christian cults] taught a type of materialism that said ‘all material things are evil’. The reformers of the 16th century would later correct this [as well as the catholic brothers thru out the centuries! Augustine in particular] the church would show that the bible and tradition do not hold to this wrong view of material things. Matter itself is not inherently evil. The word ‘flesh’ in our English bibles sometimes gives the wrong idea. ‘I know that in me is no good thing, that is in my flesh’ yet Paul would also say ‘present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to the Lord’. So the ‘flesh’ that has no good thing in it is not saying the natural body [material thing] but the sinful nature [carnal-flesh] is absent from any self righteousness. So as the church would correct the false teaching of material things being evil, she would later fall into the snare of seeking material things! It’s like going from one extreme to another. So here Jesus says ‘take no thought’ don’t be consumed with always thinking and meditating and confessing and going to church with the obsession of ‘bringing in my harvest/changing my world’. This inward focus causes us to lose the character of Jesus in giving ourselves away. In forsaking all to gain a true eternal reward. Have you been ‘taking thought’ about these things all the time? Does ministry to you mean ‘finances, buildings, staff, etc..’? All OK things in their proper order, but if you have become consumed with the resources, where it takes up the majority of your thought life, then you are ‘taking thought’ contrary to Jesus commands!

(686)SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up treasure in heaven [why?], because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. Well, here we are again! Over the years as I have rebuked the prosperity messages abuses, I stumble across a verse and it ‘re opens’ the wounds! Not in a bad way, but in a way that causes believers who have overlooked the main body of Jesus teaching in this area, to re examine their ideas. Once again the message of Jesus goes against the grain of the modern success gospel. He isn’t teaching ‘don’t have an emergency account’ or don’t save up. He is challenging the single most important obstacle to the gospel. MAMMON! Jesus says ‘the world [unbelievers] spend their whole thought life obsessing over finances’ [the Gentiles are always thinking about these things!]. You see commercials on ‘I am 70 years old, my wife is 67. Our biggest fear is if one of us should die, who will pay the bills’? Their biggest fear, according to Jesus, should be ‘If one of us dies, we will stand before God and give an account of our lives. We will spend the next trillion, billion, gazillion years in heaven or hell’ who gives a ‘rip’ about the bills! Our society seems to magnify the insignificant and trivialize the significant! Jesus taught being responsible. He taught the principle of counting the cost and looking ahead. He also taught his followers to be warned against the deception of riches. Yes he warned about money and materialistic living. The church today needs to re tool her message back to the agenda of Jesus Christ!

(671)SERMON ON THE MOUNT Gandhi said ‘if Christians lived what they claimed to believe, they would change the world’. He said this in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. He believed and practiced the principles of Jesus in his fight for justice, he saw the law of ‘non resistance’ as taught by Jesus to be key to changing the hearts and minds of men and government. Though Gandhi was not Christian, yet we could learn from the example he left us by changing society thru the deeds of Jesus! Over the next few weeks I will cover ‘glimpses’ from the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7.

Jesus said people went out of their way to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, but a greater than Solomon was here. As we just covered a few weeks in Proverbs, I find it ‘prophetic’ that I accidentally stumbled into the Sermon on the Mount. Of course I knew where it was! But I ‘happened’ to fall upon it and felt the Lord wanted us to do it. The reason it is important to understand that Jesus had greater wisdom than Solomon is because it is a common hobby among Evangelicals/Protestants to ‘search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life [success, fame, fortune- the things that we feel will cause our ‘image/legacy’ to continue!] and these scriptures testify of me’. We often approach scripture with the mindset of ‘let’s find all the wonderful promises and ‘keys’ to success. Let’s look from Genesis to Revelation and find all the stories of men who became rich, of people who had the techniques down. Let’s exhaust scripture to get what we want out of it’. And Jesus comes along and says ‘all the wisdom in scripture, all the ‘Solomon portions’ if you will, are really good verses. I put them there! But I am come as one greater than ‘Solomon’ [all the wonderful success techniques you could ever find- confession, meditation, sowing ‘seed’, etc.] In me you will find life’ [all the answers to your questions]. When Jesus told Peter ‘upon this rock I will build my church’ he wasn’t just telling Peter that the church would be made up of success principles and at the end of the service you would tag his name on to it. He was telling Peter ‘I actually am the foundation stone of this building, all who see and confess me are the living stones’ this meant giving priority to Jesus and his teachings over and above all the great ideas we could ever come up with. Today we build the church on motivational stuff. We can go week after week to the ‘Sunday services’ of the American church and find the same stuff you would hear on the real estate infomercials if you stayed home and watched TV. Jesus is going to show us what it means for him to be the ‘rock on which he builds his church’ a re focusing on him and his purpose as the chief priority of the Kingdom.
‘BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT…BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN…BLESSED ARE THE MEEK’. Jesus right off the bat challenges our present mindset of those who are ‘blessed/successful’. A few years ago I read a great book by John Eldridge ‘Wild at Heart’. John dealt with the idea of the church ‘emasculating’ its male members! He showed how God put in men [and boys] this adventurous nature. And when the traditional church said to men ‘die to yourself, lay your goals down’ that men were being told something contrary to scripture. Is this true? I agreed with most of the book, John seems to be a ‘quasi theologian’ [you can pick this up from some of the statements peppered thru out the book- I guess its just something with these Johns!] But I think part of the book missed what Jesus is teaching us. Paul and Peter and all the followers of Jesus had degrees of success and fortune in their careers. Paul’s career was focused on ‘being in ministry’ he will tell us how he excelled above his peers in the theology of his day. Yet when Jesus called these guys to his Kingdom, they really did lay down there adventurous lives for another calling. Now, was this new calling more adventurous? You bet! But not in the way the American church seems to portray it. Peter and Paul lost a degree of wealth and success that never really came back to them in this life. Though today [after their deaths!] they are famous and respected, yet these things escaped them as they walked the planet! Jesus tells us there is an aspect to being ‘poor in spirit, mourning and being meek’ that causes us to experience his Kingdom. Don’t by pass these characteristics as you pursue Gods purpose for your life. Many flee their place of destiny when they taste failure. They don’t want to face their peers. Often they don’t realize that this feeling comes from a pride and religious arrogance that is rooted in the gentile idea of leadership. You have 2 choices when facing this type of obstacle. You can pack up and go somewhere else and apply all the same principles of success at ‘the new place/church’. Or you can swallow some crow and taste ‘poverty, meekness and mourning’. And you will be surprised at the outcome! Solomon did say ‘before a fall man is proud, but honor comes after humility’.

(669)PROVERBS- A few days ago I woke up and taught Revelation 11. One of the principle ideas of the chapter is ‘after the enemy makes war against you, AND overcomes you. The Spirit of life from God will fill you and you will stand up on your feet’. Whenever I teach a theme like this, it’s like asking for patience! Be assured stuff ‘hits the fan’ [dung- lets stay biblical!] So I just woke up and felt I heard the Lord say ‘If your strength fails in the day of adversity, your strength is small’ [Proverbs]. I then heard on the Christian music station a short testimony from a famous Christian counselor [Steve Arterburn]. He said when growing up his mom had a Christian background that taught temptation and failure will not affect you if you have faith. That true faith will basically safeguard you from bad stuff. I got the sense that he was talking about the Word of faith, Prosperity movement. He then said ‘but then when dad committed suicide’ it made her question her beliefs. And then he said ‘and when my brother died of aids’. I at this point said to myself ‘geez! I hope he doesn’t say ‘and then when the space satellite crashed into the house!’ I don’t want to make light of it, but it was getting weird! The point was he was showing that his mom allowed herself to view faith from an unbiblical standpoint. A few entries back I mentioned how the world news just did an expose on Kenneth Copeland. They quoted Jesus words ‘lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth’ and then showed all the expensive Planes that Brother Copeland has purchased with ministry money. A collection of very expensive Planes that fit more into the category of a collector/investor than a ministry thing. Brother Copeland is an experienced pilot and has a love for flying. I could see how he, thru his own belief system, could justify spending millions on stuff like this. Though Brother Copeland is not extravagant in other areas, it seems like the millions spent on a collection of ‘ministry planes’ from non profit giving is very questionable. The reason ‘churches’ get tax exempt status is for charitable outreach. The idea of meeting the needs of society. To use millions of tax free dollars like this is not right. Now, the verse we begun with. Adversity will come to every believer at one time or another. Jesus told Peter ‘satan hath desired to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy FAITH FAIL NOT. And when you are converted, strengthen thy brethren’. I was thinking the other day how King David could have been so much more successful if it weren’t for the ‘Bathsheba thing’. Or Abraham, what a man of faith! O, except for when he faked that his wife was his sister and she slept with the king. ‘But brother, that’s just one incident’. Your right forgive me! Shall we discuss Hagar? Or Peters denials, hey if the bible is fake, why in the world would these guys be writing such bad stuff on themselves! If you are making it up as you go you can make yourself at least look good! If you think about it God used all these guys despite/because of their humanity. I am not making an excuse for sin! But Jesus actually says that Peters denials and human failure would co exist with ‘his faith failing not’. Faith, in the mind of him WHO GIVES IT, wasn’t some way to by pass failure or discouragement. It was the thing that got you up the next day, after the Bathsheba’s, or the denials. It made you ‘get up seven times’ [Proverbs- a just man will fall 7 times and get up again, a wicked man falls once and stays down for the count. 7 is the number of perfection. Its like God says ‘I will allow you to taste a perfect amount of failure in your life. Just enough to purge you. But be assured ‘after you are converted, after you get back up, you will have this divine ability to strengthen your brethren!’] Do we use our faith to create around us perfect environments? Should we see it as some means to ‘build a fleet of Planes’ [or any other monetary thing]? Faith is being able to keep your eyes on the King. Beholding Jesus in the midst of all the stuff you go thru. Failing in the day of adversity means not being able to see tomorrow. It means you not only ‘denied him 3 times’ but you feel all hope is lost. You want to leave town and start all over. Don’t feel bad if this is you. God is simply showing you that ‘your strength is small’. Hey, when you are weak he is strong. God is just setting you up for some good days ahead! NOTE; I just re watched the story on Kenneth Copeland. You can find it on u tube [or religion news]. They actually show you the offering form from Brother Copeland. It says on the form ‘sow you seed expecting a 100 fold return’. Now, to be fair brother Copeland is not ‘promising’ a 100 times back, like the news reports. But the problem is when Jesus uses this language of the 100 fold return, he actually says ‘the deceitfulness of riches chokes the word’ so you don’t ‘get the full return’ [I taught all this in my FIRST BOOK!]. In essence the ‘100 fold return’ in no way is speaking about CASH! Now, many people like myself have tried to correct this for years. And the fact that many in this movement take it so lightly to actually twist Jesus words like this, it is now being ‘shouted from the rooftops’. [News!]

(668)I am really going to jump around today. Those of you who read this section in order have realized that I still have to finish our study on John’s gospel! I sidetracked and read Proverbs and wound up teaching highlights as an ‘aside’. So yesterday I woke up and felt the Lord wanted me to read Revelation 11. I have been praying for a few years now with a ‘rod’ [stick] in my hand as I walk in many yard [it’s dark so I don’t look too insane]. Let’s read Revelation 11 [by the way it IS NOT SPEAKING ABOUT ME!] ‘And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar and them that worship therein’. This last week I once again had a discussion with a brother who assumed all the language in the New Testament about the Temple was speaking of a future rebuilt one. Some language MIGHT possibly refer to one. But some referred to the ones in the past; some refer to the people of God as the holy Temple [Ephesians]. So God might be telling John that he will wield authority in ‘judging’ the church. That thru John’s prophetic ministry [the actual writing of this vision called ‘the book of Revelation’] he will wield a rod of purging and chastening. ‘But the court that is without the temple leave out’ John’s prophetic vision is specifically designed to ‘line up’ the people of God. The ‘court’ can represent all the gentile nations whom represent those outside of the church. In essence ‘prophesy into the church John, don’t judge the world! I have not come to condemn them; I have come to save them’. The church has gone thru this ‘moral outrage’ stage and has railed against lost man. People who feel they have no hope, who have tried to overcome their addictions and have failed. They then tried to justify them. Why? Because they want to be accepted, they want society to say ‘we affirm you’. Am I saying we should affirm them? No. But we have used the ‘rod’ to condemn them and God is saying ‘leave those in the courtyard alone’. ‘These will tread the holy city [people of God] 42 months’ God was revealing to John that there would be a set time where the world would ‘tread’ on the church. John is actually living at the beginning of the rule of a bunch of demonic Roman rulers who will ‘destroy the people of God’ for a season. We have also seen a season of mocking and outright laughter at the American church. Some of it was deserved. We have allowed our ‘immature’ spokesman to broadcast their images to society as a whole [thru Christian TV] and some of them truly don’t realize how silly they look. I know they don’t mean to look silly, but they have grasped hold of a temptation that Jesus warned against. He told us leadership in the church was not designed to function like ‘gentile leadership’ seeking fame and position. So the American church fell into it and the ‘gentile’s tread us under foot 42 months’. ‘And I will give power unto my 2 witnesses and they will prophesy’ many cults and well meaning believers have erred terribly in thinking their Pastor/Prophet was one of these guys! I have taken this 2 ways in the past. I have seen it as either Israel and the church [2 witnesses in society] or the 2 offices of Apostle and Prophet. The point is after the humiliation and defeat [both in Johns day under the emperors and in every other day] God restores a prophetic voice back into the church. Be assured this voice will not be seen or heard thru many of the mediums being used today to broadcast Christian stuff. ‘Clothed in sackcloth’ part of the price of prophetic ministry includes ‘being clothed in sackcloth’. There just seems to be a principle you find in the Prophets of scripture that at the same time they are prophesying, they are going thru hell! ‘If any man hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours them’ there is this funny dynamic wit prophetic ministry. There critics wind up getting ‘corrected’ by the words of the prophets! ‘And when they finish their testimony the beast makes war against them and kills them’ the reality is/was that there was a real price to pay for their prophetic ministry. I recently wrote on Martin Luther King, there is a real question on whether or not his ‘ministry’ would have took hold in the minds of the public if he were not killed for the cause. John will write thru out this book on the power of the blood of the saints being spilled! Their prayers are like incense to God! ‘And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of THE GREAT CITY WHICH SPIRITUALY IS CALLED SODOM AND EGYPT, WHERE ALSO OUR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED’ Wow, I wonder how well this would have gone over if John preached this at one of those ‘Christians defending Israel’ conventions! All kidding aside, John refused to exalt natural heritage at the expense of the Cross. It is important to see this language in a book that many American preachers use to exalt natural Israel. They will confuse all the imagery of the Ark and the Temple and stuff like this with natural Israel. They truly don’t see what I just showed you! The imagery in a prophetic book like Revelation is IMAGERY! Don’t accuse people of ‘not literally believing the book’ because they interpret this book the way it was meant to be seen. Even the ‘literalists’ will concede that the ‘sword proceeding out of Jesus mouth’ is the word of God. That the ‘lamb on the throne’ is not a real lamb. The one I like is ‘God puts his mark/name on his servants’ and you never see movies being made about Christians getting computer implants in their heads! [Or hands]. ‘And all the nations SAW their dead bodies and refused to bury them [public humiliation] and were so excited over the fall of the believers that they sent gifts to each other’ cant you just see this mindset in the church today. How the late night comedians mock us. They are overjoyed when the church falls openly. They don’t want to ‘bury the mistakes’. They still use Jimmy Swaggart as an example. Even though many of them have secretly been just as guilty as swaggart! ‘After 3 and a half days the Spirit of God entered into them and THEY STOOD ON THEIR FEET and fear fell on them who dwelt on the earth’. God will recover his testimony in the earth. An interesting thing is happening right now with our American political scene. The New York Times announced how the ‘religious right is dieing in influence’. But they don’t seem to realize that Christ’s testimony is not limited to the ‘religious right’. You see the Tony Campolo's and the Jim Wallis’s are just as much ‘filled with Christ's Spirit’ as the Chuck Colson’s. The secret to Jesus kingdom is it starts like leaven. It eventually invades all areas of society. Wont the Times be surprised when they see ‘the Spirit of life enter into them’ from both sides of the aisle! ‘And a great voice said to the 2 witnesses, come up hither’. Funny thing here. This is the exact wording that the rapture guys use in chapter 4 to say ‘Jesus took all the believers off the planet’. Well here God says to 2 prophets ‘come up hither’. According to this reasoning more believers left on this flight! ‘The Kingdoms of the world are become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ’ John is preparing the church for a few centuries of real persecution. He is reassuring them that they will ultimately win! ‘And the nations were angry, and the time of the dead to be judged. And rewards given to the prophets and to those who fear your name’ you have multiple times in Johns Revelation where he sums things up. One of the problems with popular interpretations of this book is they try to teach everything in a ‘Line’. Here John is simply summing up the judgment and nature of all that is to come. Man has been and will continue to be angry at God. The more proof rebellious man sees of the reality of God causes him to hate even more. The church is here to do her best to glorify God and bring people into his Kingdom. But make no mistake about it, the world and her rulers have at times done all they could do to fight against God. John is reminding the early church that the rulers who are setting them on fire and hanging their bodies like lamps along the road have their day coming! ‘And the temple of God was opened in heaven [not a man made Temple! God’s people are ‘the Temple/dwelling place of God’. Heaven is also called ‘the sanctuary’ in Hebrews!] And there was seen in his temple the Ark of his testament [The box with the commandments in them. Not Noah’s Ark- this is for the critics of my theory in entry # 662. Those who say ‘get the boat off the planet’! You will have to read the entry!] and there were lightnings and thunder and earthquakes and hail’. Johns Revelation is a great prophetic encouragement for the church in every generation. When John describes a ruler called ‘the beast’ and the number ‘666’. It is only natural for the early church to have seen this figure as Nero. His nickname was actually ‘the beast’. And one of the numerical spellings of his name and title came to ‘666’. Is it heresy to apply modern interpretations to these figures? No. But it is also ‘immature’ to read a prophetic vision like revelation without a basic understanding of how the church read it for 1900 years! This book has tremendous spiritual significance for all believers. To see it as an exact literal translation of geopolitical events of our time is not being ‘mature in our thinking’. NOTE; I wrote this entry yesterday morning. Later in the day I watched the world news with Katie Couric [to all my conservative friends, forgive me for committing the unpardonable sin!] Katie quoted, to the WORLD! ‘Jesus said, lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth’ and then did and expose on Kenneth Copeland ministries. To update you guys. I prophesied on this site that ‘no mountain will be able to stand against what God is doing. Not even Eagle mountain’. Eagle Mountain church is the name of the church Copeland founded. Then a few months back the U.S. Senate began investigating 6 Prosperity ministries. And last night the ‘world/secular’ media quotes Jesus words in rebuking the money gospel. I do not always agree with the ‘exposes’ of the media. I consider Kenneth Copeland a brother in the Lord. I believe he has been a victim of the enemy’s strategy to sidetrack the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom. The Lord only allows public humiliation/chastening [the bodies were lying in the street 3 and a half days! The above reference from Revelation] for his purpose. Don’t take lightly when the secular media quotes Jesus IN CONTEXT while critiquing a minister!

(666)PROVERBS (watch out for this number! Kidding.] I mentioned a few entries back about a local Pastor who had recently died. When I first came to Corpus I gave him one of our books ‘HOUSE OF PRAYER OR DEN OF THEIVES’. I gave them to lots of Pastors. About a year ago I heard him preach on ‘YOU CAN NOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON’ ‘THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL’. Themes that were very rarely heard from ANY preachers in this city! [Shame]. I don’t know if he preached it because our blog site and radio program are very popular with the local believers. This allows for many pastors who ‘by pass’ us to later hear from their people stuff like ‘why don’t you ever preach on the dangers of mammon’? And there you go! Proverbs says ‘there is that withholds more than is right and it tendeth to poverty. There is that scattereth and yet increases’. I took one of the homeless guys to Wal-Mart and offered to buy him a tent. It’s cold and his is leaking. I also paid for a weeks rent for another friend [not the rent I paid a few entries back]. I told my buddy ‘don’t spend more than 50.oo on the tent’. He came back from the aisle and said he didn’t need one. He admitted the one he needs is 70.oo and he could manage with the one he has. I told him ‘no, go ahead and get it’. I wrote the check over at the register and added it to some cash on hand and paid the rent for another friend. They at times even say ‘brother, we don’t want you to drain too much money’! There is that scatters yet INCREASES! Are you scattering? The friend with the tent looks clean cut and all, you would have no idea he is homeless. He works odd jobs and looks cleaner than me! I met him a few months back, he knows a lot of bible stuff. I gave him all the books and stuff I wrote on disks and after he read our stuff was really excited. Many things were confirmed in his mind. He had massive colon surgery 6 months ago. He has told me he has been in pain and needs to get checked. He is totally trusting God for healing and has refused the Chemo treatments. I dropped him off and walked to his campsite in the middle of a wooded area. It’s been a few years since I have been to the camps. I spent a little time with him and he was real excited about setting up the tent. It was around 35 degrees and raining. He promised to pay me back, I refused. I never let the guys pay me back, I see this as giving a ‘tithe’. Something that is rightfully Gods. While walking back to the truck, and thinking and praying for him over the past few days I thought ‘Father, take care of your son. It’s cold and these guys need your help’. They are great guys, many of them are reaping years of their parent’s broken homes and lives. David said ‘I have been young and now I am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread’.

(655)As I was just praying for all of our people [Gods!] I sensed an outpouring of the Spirit. A sort of tangible anointing. I also remembered a Prosperity preacher’s story and hesitated to share it. The more I felt the anointing I felt the Lord wanted me to share it. Many years ago my father was visiting Corpus and we were driving downtown with KCTA playing on the radio [the Christian station we broadcast on]. At the time teacher was a prosperity preacher teaching on ‘the anointed one and his anointing’. They got into this teaching of Jesus ‘anointing us’ to get wealth. As the teacher was explaining the ‘oil’ [anointing] he was saying ‘picture yourself rubbing it all over you. Head to toe’ and he was applying it to ‘saturating yourself in Jesus anointing to get money’. I was really tempted to shut it off. My dad says ‘wow, you can really tell how much this preacher is enjoying himself’ my dad said it in a nice way. Sort of complimentary. I didn’t say anything. I just found it so offensive to view ‘rubbing Jesus oil all over your body to get wealth’. Peter says ‘we were not redeemed with corruptible things. Filthy lucre. But by the precious blood of Jesus’. Paul says ‘some have erred from the faith. Teaching that gain is godliness. From these teachers turn away’. I am simply amazed at the amount of Pastors who are still defending this stuff to their people.

(648)HURRICANE KATRINA Let me share some prophetic stuff. Over the past few years it has been interesting to see the churches approach to this hurricane. First, God is very merciful. He requires us to mix mercy with judgment. Many believers have said publicly that the hurricane had absolutely nothing to do with judgment. Katrina means ‘cleansing’. The actual week [or day?] it hit was the same day that New Orleans was to celebrate a ‘day of decadence’. After the devastating storm, man in all his efforts said ‘we will rebuild!’ Even President bush took the position ‘nothing will stop us’. Sort of a slap in the face to a judgment from God. The tower of Babel mindset ‘we will build and no one can stop us’. Now I want to share an area of ‘judging’ that might not have been as obvious. During the time of our ‘prophesying’ [radio/blog] against the distorted teachings from the more extreme prosperity movement, there were certain ‘weather events’ that would concur with the words. Now, these ‘words’ were not judgment things. Just strong reproofs that needed to be dealt with. The hurricane practically wiped out one of the main prosperity ministries from Louisiana. I did not rejoice, but felt it was significant. I haven't really followed up on this brother, but last night I put his show on for the first time in a few years. I only caught the last few minutes and heard him testify of how they didn’t know how they could afford to stay on the air. Maybe the lord was ‘cleansing’ this movement from the air waves? In love and mercy it is very possible that this was a part of Gods will. Often times the lord gives people serious down time to re evaluate their message. It’s easy to start moving ahead in ministry and never take time to ‘re tool’ the message. Bring it more into alignment with scripture. Well I feel this is part of what God wanted. Then the brother shared how the owners of this particular TV network paid from the networks money for 5 free years of broadcasting. Now, they meant well I am sure. But this might have actually been circumventing a ‘cleansing’ that God wanted to do. The President of this network is a good Christian man who has fought the critics of the prosperity movement for years. I do see how he might have come to the defense of this brother by feeling sorry for him. But it is not right to take the years of sacrificial giving that people have done and to use it to win your side of the fight. This causes the money that was dedicated to spread the gospel to be used to win in the game that people play. Sometimes we prevent what God wants to do when we interfere like this.

(640)We had a good outreach day yesterday. Just a brotherhood of believers sharing and living like Jesus and the disciples. Ate some good tacos too! Took my buddies to a Mexican restaurant in Kingsville and had good stuff. Let me challenge you ‘money guys’ [or those of you who are victims of this wrong message!]. Did you know Jesus taught that the power of ‘compounding disciples’ trumps ‘compounding interest’? How many times have we been preached at on ‘the power of money’ ‘you can’t reach the world without money’ ‘if you are not believing God to make you rich, you are sinning’ all wrong stuff that the bible doesn’t teach. You know what the Word teaches? Take your measly little few bucks and give yourself away, the simple work of daily ‘making disciples’ will reverberate and ‘your disciples’ will make more! This is the power of ‘compounding disciples’, it puts the power of ‘compounding interest’ to shame!

(638)I want to remind you of a couple of basic principles. The New Testament does give the primary source of funding for the things God requires you to do. Do you know what it is? I have taught it before ‘he who is not working, let him get a job SO HE CAN HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDETH’. This is the basic ‘funding source’ actually taught to the average believer. Now, Paul did say ‘who goes to war at his own expense’ teaching the basic truth to help leaders financially. But this does not trump what I just showed you. Paul is addressing a basic principle in ministry, but we should not view everything from ‘the ministry’ paradigm. The problem with ‘modern church’ is we live in a day where ‘ministry’ means ‘the huge Christian business that needs tons of cash’. The fundamental error of seeing ministry in this way causes many well meaning leaders to ‘search the scriptures to find true stuff on bringing in money’. This leads to tons of overemphasis in the modern church on the few verses where you find Paul asking for financial help. Or going to the popular verses on David/Solomon getting money for the Temple. We see thru the paradigm of funding the business, we don’t really teach the New Testament simplicity of all believers sharing what they have. The main teaching from Jesus on giving was doing it this way. The verses I quote from John/James ‘if you have the ability to meet the needs of your brother and don’t, how does Gods love dwell in you’? Direct instructions on you simply taking money from your own budget and meeting the need. No teaching here on you going out and starting some ministry to collect money for some good purpose! Now, you can find the principle of collecting money for ministry stuff. It’s just what I showed you is direct teaching from Jesus and the Apostles on how you should see ‘giving’ and it is in the context of community. The actual judgment scenes from Jesus teach this. ‘When I was hungry you didn’t feed me, naked you didn’t clothe me’ the whole context is couched in the idea of personal responsibility to act. Not for you to either fund the ‘acting’ of someone else [ministry] or to begin with the mindset of collecting money from others so ‘you could act’. Do you see this? This is why it ‘bugs the hell out of me’ when I see the average believer inundated with a message that says ‘become wealthy to fund ministries’ or ‘if you don’t give a tithe into this church meeting you are cursed’ wrong ideas breed wrong actions. I wonder if some of us will tell Jesus at the judgment ‘the reason I didn’t feed you was because I put it all in the church basket’ Ouch!

(643)BUT YOU CAN REALY HAVE THE CANDIES! In all of our dealings with the money gospel, I often find the attitude to be one of ‘you don’t understand, God wants you to have all the candy you want. God owns the candy store! Don’t you see how our lives are consumed with the truth of getting candy. Jesus died so we could have it. Him and the disciples had lots of it! Church tradition tells us otherwise and anyone who tries to stop us from getting more candy is deceived’. While I understand fully the joy of becoming a believer and learning that God does own the ‘candy store’. Yet Jesus would say things like ‘Don’t be like the unbelievers, they are thinking about candy all the time! They read about it, listen to it. They are consumed with the obtaining of candy’ Jesus even tells stories about the deceitfulness of it, he says ‘I want you to bear fruit, to be productive believers in the world. Productive in the sense of bearing spiritual fruit and making disciples. Don’t be deceived! The pursuit of candy is deadly’. Then you have preachers who love candy say ‘the deceitfulness of candy is that old tradition that says YOU CANT HAVE CANDY’! Well even the most simple ‘candy eater’ can see that this is twisting Jesus words. When you try to correct this, they say ‘you just don’t know how much God wants you to have candy’? I get tired sometimes with this response. I know God owns the candy store and gives us candy. But when I walk in to the store and see a 50 year old Christian consumed with the candy aisle, I feel like saying ‘brother, you are 50 years old, the candy diet has not been healthy, it’s time to graduate to real meat’!

(633)This week I heard 2 good messages. One from the radio and the other from a conference on TV. Both national ministries. They dealt with poverty/wealth and the biblical perspective. They clearly reproved the prosperity gospel and its extremes. One of them [to my surprise, the very famous prophetic brother] mentioned 1st Timothy chapter 6. A very strong reproof of the prosperity message and its abuses [it’s ok to prosper, but the strong money focus is what I am against!]. One of the areas of disagreement I had was one of the brothers taught that he still was believing for God to bring in billions of dollars thru his ministry for the kingdom. Though he did say he wanted to use it for good things and not horde it, he still was teaching the mindset that I have heard before that says ‘God is raising up people/ministries to flow billions thru’. He also shared how he believed God was calling ‘many’ people to become millionaires for the kingdom. Let me share why I don’t really hold to this view. First, I see the answer more in the mindset of releasing all the people of God into new paradigms of actually seeing themselves as ‘employees’ of the ministry of the kingdom. That is we are all directly responsible to function and ‘give’ directly as God shows us needs. Instead of the limited view of God raising up Christian ‘ministries’ to collect and distribute the billions, just show the people of God that God all ready has the billions collected, it’s just in all of our pockets! Instead of trying to find the right Christian organization to funnel the money thru, just see all of Gods people as the actual conduits who already have the money and just need to obey when they see the need! ‘Do you see a brother in need? If you do and don’t directly help him, then how does the love of God dwell in you’ [John]. The divine mandate is to act when you see the need. A different mindset than for God to raise up Christian 501 c3’s who are going to collect it all themselves! Now, there are times in scripture where corporate collections were made [Acts, Corinthians] it’s just we cant lose the mindset of Jesus actually using our 5 loaves and 2 fish [a little] or the widows mite. I disagree with the teaching that says God is calling many [I think some or a few is better] to become millionaires for the kingdom. Let me also show you how the ‘church world’ and the ‘money world’ get confused. I read Stephen Covey before. An excellent success/motivational writer. He is a Mormon but writes from a Christian/moral perspective. Over the years many of these brothers would share how the ‘poverty mentality’ saw there was only so much ‘pie’ to go around. That you really didn’t have enough for everybody. So in a sincere effort by good Pastors you would hear ‘God wants lots of you to live to become wealthy so you could give it into the ministry’ good intention, bad exegesis! You never [when I say never, it means never!] find Jesus nor any of the apostles teaching this! You do find Christian stewardship and finances taught, but not once a doctrine that said ‘seek God for millions so you can finance worthy causes’. Why don’t you see this taught? Well it would be a direct violation of many other verses ‘Be content with what you have. You came into the world without money. When you die you can’t take it with you’ [Timothy 6]. Jesus ‘You cannot serve God and mammon’. There are too many themes in scripture that just don't fit in with the teaching of ‘become a millionaire to finance God’s kingdom’. Now, it is possible for you to be in business, to invest wisely and to see your calling as providing for the Kingdom. I didn’t say you couldn’t do this! I am telling you that in the New Testament you never see an appeal made along these lines! You see appeals to give to Gods work, share with those in need and stuff like that. Never an appeal for people to seek wealth to fund the kingdom. That appeal would contradict the other plain teachings on NOT SEEKING WEALTH. Simply put, that’s the reason you do not see this doctrine taught in the New Testament. So any way I give credit to the 2 brothers for going as far as they did in their teaching. I just thought it was worth reminding you about this.

(636)Recently saw an appeal to give. The teaching [TV] was well meaning. They were showing how the scripture is loaded with the doctrine of ‘first fruits’. All good stuff on the ‘secret’ of first fruits. The teacher was being hailed as an authority on Jewish history and why ‘first fruits’ is so important. The main problem with this whole mindset is they ALWAYS seem to see giving in the context of sending money to ministries. Jesus taught THEE NUMBER ONE priority of GIVNING TO GOD was to be expressed by meeting the real needs of people. Now, you do find the woman giving into ‘the offerings of God’ by giving into the Temple offering. Or giving into Jesus ministry, but the overall main doctrine on giving and how it relates at the final judgment of mankind is ALWAYS based on our treatment of our fellow man. ALWAYS! So, no matter how elaborate we get in finding the real ‘hidden truths’ of money in the Old testament, we do a grave disservice to the Christian community when we equate GIVNG TO GOD with giving money to my ministry! The world sees this and mocks us because of it. Do you not see how foolish we look when we teach GIVE TO GOD and than at the end of the teaching we equate it with GIVE TO MY MINSTRY? Do you not see that the STOREHOUSE OF GOD are the corporate people of God dwelling in the earth? The storehouse IS NOT THE CHURCH BUILDING YOU MEET IN ON SUNDAY! So no human should ever teach ‘if you don’t put 10% of your money in this basket you are under a curse’. Sorry about being riled up, but I get so tired of ministries teaching on the importance of giving to God and then equating that with sending money to them, this is outrageous!

(637)Now that I cooled down a little, let me explain some stuff. Recently I posted our blog on another site of ‘ex Christians’ who left a cult. Good kids, very burned by cultic expressions of Christianity. One of the initial reactions was getting ‘cussed out’ [I used to say ‘cursed’ but in Texas this gives you away as a Yankee!] The kids also accused me of being a money hungry preacher who equates ‘giving to God’ with ‘giving to ME’. I realized how really offensive we are to the world when we do and teach ‘giving to God, test God in this [what?] and he will pour out a blessing’. If you rightfully interpret this verse from Malachi [the only Italian prophet in scripture! Kidding!] The ‘test me’ that God is talking about is testing him in bringing tithes and offerings into the ‘storehouse’. A room in the Old Testament tabernacle/temple where the money went. Now in the New Testament the corporate people of God are the spiritual ‘storehouse’ temple of God. This is a very basic truth. So ‘giving to God’ is really not ‘giving to your ‘church’ or my ministry [though it can include this!] But ‘giving to God’ would be giving directly to meet the real needs of humanity, whether believers or unbelievers. There are tons of verses on this. I have quoted them all over this site! So when we see a TV ministry spend an hour on ‘giving to God’ and then at the end of the show say ‘call this number, don’t test God’ the world LAUGHS AT OUR STUPIDITY! They see right thru this. I am not against giving 10 % of your money. I do [actually more now!] it’s just we need to see this stuff. Recently a Prophetic person got a divorce from her husband. Both Christians that I prayed for. The sister was behind on thousands of dollars of taxes for some business venture property. Another ministry gave her thousands to bail her out. I am sure they all meant well, but the media reported how this church gave tens of thousands to help another Christian business venture. It just seems wrong to take the sacrificial giving of the saints and to use it like this. We need an overhaul in our thinking. Be careful not to equate a message on ‘giving to God’ and then appeal for money for your organization at the close. This is a real stumbling block to the world. Some preachers say ‘well, if the world gets offended over this offering stuff, that’s their fault’. Not really, Paul does teach if taking offerings is becoming a stumbling block to people, then you can adjust your procedure! [Corinthians]. So after the kids on the ex-cult site criticized me as a ‘money grubbing preacher’ they then saw that I don’t take money and read some of our stuff. It worked the way it was supposed to!

(627)JOHN 18 (radio # 601) Jesus is betrayed in the garden. John follows Jesus all the way to the judgment, Peter stops short at the door. Why does John record this? Is he being self serving? He is the only gospel writer that tells you this [If I remember?] I think there is a purpose. Jesus already taught the principle of ‘whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but he that is wiling to give it up will save it’. All the others fled out of self preservation. John stayed. All the others will eventually die martyrs deaths, except for John! He will wind up on some island in his old age writing this tremendous prophetic vision [Revelation]. Truly he that was willing to give his life up outlasted them all! Actually if you read the last chapter of John this becomes an issue. Jesus tells Peter ‘if I will that John lives until I come, what is that to thee’? Then a rumor gets started over John not dieing until the 2nd coming! Hey, I wonder what they thought as they were all getting martyred one by one. Each time another disciple dies, they must have been thinking ‘hey, Johns still here, maybe he will live till Jesus comes’? The high priest asks Jesus of his doctrine AND disciples. Both Paul and Jesus had ‘doctrine and disciples’. Paul was a theologian on the run! Getting let down in baskets from city walls. Being stoned and put in prison. Paul was writing theology under crisis. Jesus and Paul weren’t some ivory tower theologians speculating on the latest fad in theology. They were ‘doing the stuff’. I want to challenge all my preacher friends, do you have doctrine and disciples? Let’s end this chapter in a little controversy. In verse 31 it says ‘the Jews’. Verses 35 ‘thine own nation AND the chief priests’. Verses 36 ‘delivered to the Jews’. Verses 38 ‘unto the Jews’. I want you to see how the scripture makes it clear that BOTH the leaders and the Nation of Israel rejected Messiah! Jesus in this chapter says he IS THE KING OF THE JEWS! Peter’s sermons in the book of Acts accuse the Jews as a whole group of rejecting Jesus, not just a ‘conspiracy of the leaders and Rome’ [as John Hagee is teaching]. I don’t want to be anti Semitic, some have actually accused John’s gospel of being anti Semitic. Hey, John himself was a Jew! The point is God has great plans for Israel as a Nation. Read Romans. But it is also a fact that ‘the Jews’ as a people group missed their Messiah. This chapter makes it pretty clear! Also when Peter cuts off the guys ear, Jesus says ‘stop, we are not here to fight. Shall I not drink the cup which my father gave me’? Paul will later teach that his own sufferings were ‘filling up the sufferings of Christ’s Body’ this would be heretical if it weren’t in the bible! Paul and the other early believers understood the calling to suffer along with the ‘being full’ part. I have heard the ‘being full’ verse used out of context a lot! Paul does says ‘I have learned to be content in any condition [state] both having a lot and a little’. I have heard preachers say ‘see, Paul knew how to be rich as well as broke’ no he didn’t! He was never rich. He knew how to have all his needs met [full] and to lack [times of suffering and imprisonment where he couldn’t get the basic stuff to do what he needed to do to carry on the mission]. Jesus says to Peter ‘shall I avoid the cup’? I think the modern American church has answered ‘yes’. I was reading the voice of the martyrs magazine yesterday. How so many believers are suffering and dieing for the faith. In Revelation it says it was the prayers of the martyrs that carried the day. Boy will we be embarrassed at the judgment when we find out it was the prayers of our martyred brothers and sisters who died in our day who really were changing things. And at the same time we were confessing money verses all the way to the bank!

(614)JOHN 15 [Radio # 598] Jesus tells the disciples they are the branches, he is the vine. If they truncate themselves from him they will perish. In the world of ‘once saved always saved’ and ‘if you walk away you are lost’ a lot of these verses become arguing points. I believe the main context here is sort of like when I taught Hebrews [read chapter 6 of the commentary on this blog]. I see Jesus telling the disciples as a microcosm of the Nation of Israel ‘If you don’t continue in the Old Testament revelation of me as Messiah, then you will be cut off [AD 70] and be destroyed’. Basically Jesus telling Israel ‘you must remain in me [after all you have all come from me! John 1:1] if you want to be fruitful’. Jesus says ‘I want you to have full joy’ in the same context of bearing fruit. God designed all of us to be active participants in the spreading of his kingdom. In many modern scenarios you have the Pastors and staff finding fulfillment, but the average church attendee is simply a funder of the organization. They see everything thru this paradigm. ‘Give sacrificially, we can reach the world!’ It’s good to give sacrificially, but God wants all of us to ‘reach the world’ to be active participants in this thing. You can’t have ‘full joy’ unless you do the stuff! Jesus says ‘If I had not come and spoken unto them [religious leaders] they wouldn’t have known they were wrong’ also ‘if I had not done the works among them that no one else was doing’. Jesus reproved by word and deed. I find it funny how after preaching that you don’t need lots of money to reach the world for Christ, that preachers get really mad at this. Then when we do impact a large region [basically Texas, New York area and all the African preachers who have been reading/listening to us on the internet] with me paying for everything, that this really gets the ‘religious leaders’ mad. Don’t be mad, instill this same concept into your people and you will have a full reward. Tell them like Jesus told his disciples ‘go into the world, don’t think you need a lot of equipment for this, you are the equipment. No special appeals for funds, keep it simple’ [Message Bible] Jesus taught and lived contrary to the professional clergies agenda. They got mad! NOTE; Jesus says ‘ye are clean thru the word that I have spoken unto you’. As I was reading this chapter for a few days, getting ready to write on it. I usually get up early and pray ‘aggressively’ for a while before I write. Sometimes I just wait on the Lord and just listen [for about an hour] and hear what he is saying. All of these entries come from this ‘hearing’ time, not from much ‘head knowledge’. As I was waiting the other day, the Lord spoke to me about this verse ‘ye are clean [set apart for my purpose] thru the word I speak to you, not thru what you speak [pray] to me’. I felt like the Lord was saying there are times in our lives where we simply receive and become the ‘incarnate’ purpose of God. That God desires to reveal himself to people thru us. The purpose of receiving his word is not for didactic teaching only, but for becoming what he says. Sort of like the imagery I taught in John 1 [go back and read it!] we in essence become what he is communicating. We don’t just ‘hear’ it, we experience it. Like the Prophets in the Old Testament, God would communicate thru them, but they also would go thru some strange stuff! Jesus also says ‘if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will and it will be done’. I want to credit the Word of Faith guys for bringing out truth in this area. They popularized the idea of knowing Gods will and purpose by knowing his word. His will is his word, if you will. The problem became an unbalanced teaching thru only seeing the ‘good stuff’ and avoiding the suffering verses. It would become next to impossible to correct these brothers as they went headlong down the path of materialism. Any attempt to reprove them would be seen as ‘don’t listen to the negative naysayer’ and they would develop a mindset that would not receive correction. In the reality of Gods will being his word, we must understand it is his whole word. Even the verses that give warnings about end time teachers who would stray from the faith by becoming money focused! [1st Timothy 6]. So lets give credit where it is due, but also stay on course.

(425) The other day I heard one of the few [only?] prosperity preachers in our city say ‘we don’t have the right to talk about any other preachers’. I got the sense that word has gotten out that we are uprooting this stuff from the church. This level of discernment that teaches we shouldn’t deal with false prophets is extremely lacking in wisdom. I can say this about any cult. Joseph Smith [Mormon] did good things. It would be absolutely irresponsible to say ‘you don’t have the right to deal with Mormonism’. All false doctrine and teachers need to be dealt with by Christian leadership. This doesn’t give anyone the right to be a ‘self proclaimed’ judge of other believers. It’s just a basic guideline that when teachers go way off track [teaching that Jesus was a millionaire, he died to get money to you, and these same preachers seeing their goal as to reap lots of money!] then we as leaders MUST come against this. I didn’t realize how many of these ministries are in Texas. I would say Texas is the main propagator of this stuff. The Lord is dealing with Texas at this time. Corpus Christi bears the name of Christ. I just think it’s prophetic that the Lord would use our city as one of the major places where he will ‘regain’ his image back in the church. Those in this area who do not line up with Gods agenda will have no future in what he is doing at this time. You guys teaching this stuff still. God will remove your candlestick if you don’t stop it. NOTE: Remember what I said about the prophetic ministry of John the Baptist? He not only had the ability to recognize Jesus in a way that others couldn’t see yet. But he also could not remain silent on the obvious ‘sins’ of the day. He spoke out on the King and his adulterous marriage. Many ‘believers’ of his day grew comfortable with an obvious abuse of leadership. They knew in their hearts that what leadership [King] was doing was wrong, but they had other things on their agenda. To deal with the Kings abuse of his authority would bring difficulty and affliction. John simply felt this to be a carrying out of his Prophetic ministry. To John it was like ‘how can we not speak out against this’. John also paid a severe cost. Note: If you use as a ‘measuring rule’ to be ‘how do I feel’ or ‘does this doctrine benefit me financially’ then you have lost your prophetic edge. I have seen many of these obvious abuses go on with the Christian TV networks. Some of these networks are good, some are not. Why the good ones will permit these abuses to be on is beyond me. They either feel that these brothers are paying well, or they feel like they bring in lots of money during the ‘sharathon’. These brothers are using a measuring line that says ‘if it brings in money, then I don’t care whether or not they preach that Jesus was a millionaire who died to make people rich’ they seem to see the bottom line as the criteria of whether or not to allow them to have influence. This IS NOT THE CRITERIA! Jesus is the ‘plumb line’ if things don’t measure up to him they must be abandoned!

(428) I kind of am hesitant to do this, but I felt it was time. I have had a radio listener who is a prosperity guy. He has written me ‘re proofs’ for years. I am surprised he still listens! He recently sent me a few more letters. He actually liked what I was teaching and did thank me. But he usually sends pages of stuff to teach that Jesus was a millionaire [actually the richest man who ever lived]. He basically has been taught an exhaustive doctrine [that goes on forever!] that traces Jesus roots thru King David to Abraham and goes thru these pages of explaining how Jesus was the natural heir of David and therefore truly owned all the wealth of Jerusalem. He has been taught [or taught himself] an intricate bible system that is absolutely consumed with mammon. The simple fact that Jesus was a carpenter’s son and lived that way escapes these guys. The fact that Paul taught ‘you came into the world without material wealth, when you die you will not be able to take wealth with you. Therefore be happy with your needs being met’ [1st Timothy 6]. Why didn’t Paul teach Timothy that he needed to believe for all this wealth so he could reach the Roman world? These poor brothers who are so consumed with wealth have gone to extremes to search the scriptures and come up with unbelievable teachings that are consumed with mammon. I have come to believe these guys are under a ‘spell’ [Paul says this in Galatians- ‘who hath bewitched you’]. I am glad this guy still listens to the program, maybe he will get free someday? Also for the sake of this brothers argument. Jesus was from the line of King David. The fact that he was ‘conceived’ by the Spirit, a major Christian doctrine, shows that Jesus ‘in the natural’ did not come from the line of natural David [the actual ‘seed’ of David, don’t want to get to explicit here!] because of this Jesus would teach things like ‘my Kingdom is not from this world’. Jesus showed us that his actual lineage [really] was from the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit caused Mary to conceive! This isn’t a problem for most Christians, but this guy has sent me these arguments for years and for his sake I thought I would do this. NOTE: this note is for the last 2 entries. Both the idea that the ‘church’ is the actual 501c3 corp. who meets in a building on Sunday, as well as the teaching on lots of money go hand in hand. It is only natural for the Pastor/CEO mindset to fall into the snare of seeing how ‘if we just had more money’ if Gods people were not disobedient in bringing the tithe to the ‘storehouse’ then we could accomplish ‘the ministry’. These well meaning Pastors get allured by this need for money, they then fall into the extremes of the prosperity gospel. They truly feel unless tons of money comes into the ‘local church coffers’ [which they see as the 501c3 machine!] then the world will never be evangelized. Its easy to look to the examples in the New Testament where Paul is receiving support, or where all the believers gave sacrificially and brought the money and laid it at the Apostles feet. In these scenarios you had the concept of communal sacrifice and giving that ‘equaled the playing field’ and fulfilled the Old Testament type of Manna. Those who gathered what was enough for their families [be content with having your needs met] were provided for. Those that gathered much for the greater need had enough. Those that gathered little for their need had enough. God specifically rebuked hoarding and a covetous mindset by showing that those who took too much, the Manna ‘bred worms’. So in these examples of extravagant giving in the book of Acts, we are seeing Gods family voluntarily [no tithe!] give of their wealth to meet the needs of their brothers and sisters. When the modern minister uses these verses to either teach a doctrine of becoming rich, or to bring in ‘the tithes to the storehouse’ he is not rightly dividing the Word! NOTE: Just read an article in the paper on someone starting a ministry. They showed the facility. Talked about the renovations needed. The eventual staff. The need to obtain I.R.S. status. This is typical of the way we ‘see’ ministry. Our mindsets see a project, a facility and the functioning of some type of a ‘service’ that we will provide. The New Testament mindset was taking the message of the Kingdom and simply proclaiming it to people groups. The fact that the message of the gospel has within it the inherent power to change society caused there to be a mindset that said ‘if I can just plant this Word in the hearts of people, I will have been faithful to the task’. You don’t see Paul going to cities and setting up anything! He is presenting the gospel, and the actual act of the gospel being believed becomes the completed task. The communities of people who believe become the ‘Local church’ that is the ‘outpost’ of God in that region. The people are the ‘facility’ that God takes up residence in by his Spirit and this is the work of the Apostle or believer carrying out the great commission. We focus too much on ‘starting something’ instead of ‘declaring him’! NOTE: It is also a common mistake for Christians to ‘attend church’ and debate the fact that ‘everything our church does is scriptural’. They will mistake the function of someone ‘preaching’ bible words [either the Pastor or Evangelist] as ‘being biblical’ even if the entire mindset of ‘the church I am attending’ is absolutely no where to be found in scripture! Now I don’t want to be too ‘iconoclastic’ [a destroyer of idols] here, but I want you to see that many Christians see ‘being scriptural’ as simply ‘speaking from scripture’. To be truly ‘scriptural’ is to function as the New Testament churches [communities of people] functioned. They lived lifestyles of community that did not view the ‘Sunday service’ as the ‘place I attend and put in my tithe’. When we as Christians view ‘church’ in this limited way, we are being UNSCRIPTURAL, even if we preach from scripture while doing it!

(431) Isaiah 56 ‘Keep judgment and do justice, for my salvation is near and my righteousness is ready to be revealed’ God says he is about to do some major things. He wants you to ‘judge right’ actually stand strong in discernment with mercy. It’s easy to give up on the things God has shown you and to fall into the status quo. God says stay true to what I showed you because it’s for a purpose. ‘Blessed is the man that doesn’t pollute my Sabbath and keeps his hand from evil’. Remember what we recently said about the Sabbath? God says ‘blessed are those who remain in my rest. Those who abide in me and allow me to bring forth the fruit’ this is the only way we can keep our selves from ‘doing evil’. In Gods grace! ‘These are the ones I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in MY HOUSE OF PRAYER’ we also just discussed Gods house of prayer. God will gather all those who are in grace and make them ‘joyful’ as they join in intercession for the nations. You are a ‘house of Prayer’ you will only be fulfilled when you are doing what you were created to do! Remember, we are corporately his facility, our ‘use’ is to be a habitation thru whom God intercedes. ‘His watchman are blind, they cant see. They are greedy, they can never have enough wealth. They are all out for personal gain, they look for it to come to their areas. They say ‘tomorrow will be much more abundant’. Here God rebukes the leadership for always wanting more finances. They live day by day with the goal of ‘great material abundance’. They have usurped Gods purpose for his ‘house’ and made it into a den of thieves! [These are the leaders who teach it obsessively, they have made the goal ‘material wealth’ not so much the Pastors who are raising money for unselfish things! Also see the specific rebuke to those who say ‘tomorrow we will have more wealth’ the actual confession and excitement of seeing more wealth as the goal is being rebuked here!]

(444) Today its June 25th, 2007. It’s been 6 months since I started this blog. Today is the day the Supreme Court outlawed prayer in Public Schools, this day in 1962 [the year I was born]. Yesterday I took my youngest daughter to church. My wife and other kids were busy, 2 of my daughters went on their own. After church I took my girl to see ‘Evan Almighty’ a good movie that does a spoof on the story of Noah’s Ark, but it is good. I told you guys once about my study, it is set up like a throw back to the 70’s. I have a lot of old stuff. One thing is I have the original ‘Gumby’ rubber man. I saw it once in a store and bought it as a collector’s thing. This week for some reason I was thinking of taking it out of the plastic that it’s in. I have no idea why I would be thinking of Gumby. Yesterday [the day I went to see the movie] I also was looking in the paper and saw some Dell Laptops, this week I have been thinking of getting one. They had a flyer on them in the paper so I was looking at the prices. Last but not least, as I am praying in my study I keep noticing this poster of John Lennon, it is a real charcoal drawing that someone had made. My wife found it in an abandoned apartment that she manages. I have had it for a few years. I was thinking of maybe taking it down, because as I am praying it kind of was distracting me, it’s got these real looking eyes that seem to pierce your soul. Well how in the world can any of this make sense? As I go to the movie I am looking for some signs or stuff the lord wants to say. The God character [Morgan Freeman] has the first conversation with the ‘Noah’ character [Steve Carell- ‘the 40 year old virgin’] and God convinces ‘Noah’ that it is him speaking to him by bringing up a childhood memory, he mentions ‘Gumby’. As the story moves ahead Noah grows hair and a beard, the son calls him ‘John Lennon’ and they play some Lennon music as well. Steve Carrel is doing all his work on a ‘Dell computer’ [a form of communication, like what I am doing on my laptop right now!] I did feel like the Lord showed me a few things. I have seen in the past certain things from Lennon and Dylan. Lennon was shocked by the effect that his words were having on a generation, Dylan was real uncomfortable about being a ‘prophet’ to his generation. If you read or watch stories on these figures, it was like the Lord was giving exponential ‘influence’ by the simple words they were speaking. On one MTV/VH1 special I saw Lennon confront a fan from an old video. Lennon was trying to tell this fan who was obsessed with the words from his songs ‘I am just a man, I am just writing my thoughts in my songs, don’t be so enamored with it’ it was like the Lord allowed certain ‘prophetic/rock’ voices to have tremendous influence, whether or not the ‘prophet’ wanted this attention or not. In the movie Steve Carell builds the Ark and is waiting for the rain, it rains a little, but the flood comes form a broken damn instead. This didn’t really fit in with the prophetic stuff I have been ‘seeing’ recently. I just dreamed of a huge storm the other day, where’s the storm? As we left the theatre my daughter says ‘look at the sky dad, a huge storm is moving in’ on the way home it was one of those flash flood storms that covers the sky and looks eerie. I got home and started writing this stuff on my mission statement, it was pouring at the time. NOTE: The reason God shows up is that Evan becomes a congressman and promises to ‘change the world’ God teaches him that you can change the world by ‘one random act of kindness at a time’ this fits in with my philosophy on the church and ministry. The biblical idea of church is for all believers everywhere to see themselves as the actual ‘fire starters’ of this Jesus revolution. It’s not the multimillion dollar ‘church organizations’ that are always appealing for money that will ‘change the world’ its all the ‘simple believers’ who have been told their whole lives ‘you cant have any influence yourself, send your money to us’ that are going to do it!

(447) It is difficult for the American church/Pastor to ‘reform’ his understanding of church from one of ‘the 501c3 organization that raises funds to do projects and support ministries’ to that of a free community of people whom Christ’s Spirit dwells in to ‘reform and effect’ society around them. I remember hearing defenses of the ‘Local church’ from the fundamental Baptists that said ‘some people speak of the ‘invisible church/universal church’ well the bible never speaks of a church ‘you cant see’. While there is some truth to this, what these brothers were saying is ‘the local church is this ‘church building’ and all the functions that surround it’! God has his people strategically located all over the earth. When the Bible speaks of ‘local believers’ versus ‘the universal church’ it is not speaking of 2 different things. It is speaking of Christians who reside locally and to the believers who reside ‘universally’. They are the same thing, just in different locations. We have a tendency as Pastors and leaders to want to do some project, complete some goal. This is good. But it becomes ‘not good’ when we view Gods people at large as the primary ‘funders’ of the ‘big project’. This ‘projects’ a mindset into the people of God that is contrary to the function of the church. Moses, Paul and all the other biblical leaders were men with vision and destiny. Moses did ‘collect funds’ for certain godly purposes [the Tabernacle] while leading the people, but the primary thing they were doing, their ‘vision and destiny’ if you will, was bringing the people of God along a journey that led them to a place of self sufficiency/rule under the headship of God [Christ] that released them into a functioning society of people. You never see Paul or the other Apostles primarily relating to the people along the lines of ‘God has given me this vision, if you Galatians, Ephesians, etc. were simply obedient to fund it, then it would happen’ the vision was not some project or thing apart from their own function and growth. They were not following Paul’s leadership to accomplish something apart from them. What Paul [Moses] were doing was bringing them into the reality that God wants to express himself and who he is thru a people that bear his name. The fact that Israel [or the church] were being governed by God and representing him in the earth gave God ‘opportunities’ to act and show himself strong on their behalf. Society around them were not going to be influenced by the great things they were to build [Babel mindset] but they were to be influenced by who they were and their real relationship with God as a nation. So when we ‘see’ the church as ‘this visible 501c3 organization’ and the people as ‘taxpayers’ [tithers] to the projects and goals of the organization, this causes both the Pastors and the people to fall into roles that are not the primary expression of what God really wants. The people are faced, week after week, month after month, year after year, with leadership saying ‘you are not obedient enough in the area of raising funds’ and the primary challenge to the average saint in the pew is ‘I will give more diligently this time’ and his whole function is measured by this rule. Then leadership reinforces the ‘scriptural mandate’ of this dynamic by appealing to the few areas in Paul’s writings that speak on giving. Though Paul was not primarily dealing with it in the same way. We truly ‘see’ the function of the motivated minister to set goals and somehow inspire people to fund these well meaning goals. This is a very small part of what New Testament leadership was doing. In the very verses we use to justify ‘giving on Sunday’ in a legalistic way, Paul actually says ‘take up the collection before I get there [Corinth] because when I get there we have real important things to do, I don’t want to waste time dealing with the money stuff [1 Corinthians 16]’ so we take these verses that are teaching the small role that finances play in the functioning of the church [to support laboring elders/Pastors and to meet the needs of the less fortunate] and we turn these verses around and teach them in a way that giving becomes thee number 1 measurement of a persons faith. We give the mindset to the average believer that his main function is to ‘attend church and give money’ and he measures his faithfulness this way. And he is taught ‘God highly values the ‘local church’ if he loves it so much that he gave his life for it, how much more should you value the local church in your life and give it priority’ But we seem to be telling the poor people that the ‘it/local church’ is the organization and all that surrounds its ‘corporations life’ [versus corporate life]. Yes God does love the 'local church’ [community of believers] and he did give his life for it [them and you!] and this is why you see biblical leadership so unfocused on some ‘vision to accomplish something’ and so focused on ‘seeing the people of God come to maturity’. They were giving their lives for the thing of value, which were the people of God [the LOCAL CHURCH!] NOTE: This is why you can see Paul in prison, writing letters to the churches and being totally fulfilled while doing this. His purpose was not to be in such a ‘state’ of outward self sufficiency and having all the money to accomplish some goal, he was actually doing the purpose of God by building the church, even though his outward man [and all of its expressions] were ‘passing away’. NOTE: the materialistic mindset in the church, along with the confusion on what [who] the church is, causes us to be unable to grasp how Paul could be ‘fulfilled’ even though he was not ‘building’ a ‘ministry or organization’. Paul was the one who said ‘we look not at the things which are seen, but unseen’ also ‘Abraham believed that the things that God said would come true’. We use these verses to bring us to a point of ‘making things seen’ or building outward stuff. In these verses God was defining faith as actually living in such a way that you knew after your departure that your ‘seed/lineage’ of spiritual children would ‘inherit’ the land. In essence ‘faith’ in these stories is the ability to die without actually seeing or possessing the physical promise in this life. The patriarchs are defined this way in Hebrews 11. They died as they blessed their offspring, believing that God would make a great ‘family/dynasty’ from their offspring. So Paul in prison is ‘unstoppable’ because he knew the Word of the Lord would have free course. He knew ‘by faith’ that these outward things were not really where the Kingdom was at. He knew by faith that after his death the ‘everlasting gospel’ would prevail and that by Gods grace his ‘spiritual seed’ would go on forever. That’s why I am writing about him now, and you are listening!

(451) I want to put some perspective and balance in here. Many people can’t understand my last entry, and how I also can preach so strongly against materialism. I believe there is a big difference between materialism and responsible Christians in the market place. I wont ‘re preach’ it all, but if you read all the stuff on this site you will see what I mean. I also do struggle with the fact that I have made other believers uncomfortable by my dealing with it, I ‘feel’ for the preachers and their kids, I know that because of certain aspects of my calling these individuals have experienced difficulty. I also believe preachers in general have let certain abuses go on for so long, that the Lord allowed our ‘voice’ to be so strong. I like the movie ‘a river runs thru it’ I catch it every now and then. At the end it shows one of the sons who outlived everyone else. His parents have died, his brother is gone and his wife as well. It shows him old and at the end of the journey. He is back home fly-fishing and he is all alone. It puts into perspective the un importance of material things. We will all depart some day, I hope and pray that I will have truly preached eternal things versus temporary stuff. I heard the late J Vernon Magee [sp?] say ‘Now that I have cancer, stuff doesn’t mean so much to me. I have a new reel for my fishing pole that I bought before I found out about the cancer. I was excited about it. Couldn’t wait to use it. Now I look at it and it doesn’t mean anything anymore’ [I am paraphrasing somewhat]. Jesus taught often about the brevity of life. He spoke of the rich man who pulled down his barns to build greater storehouses and have much goods for many days. The mindset of the rich man was his security was in things. Jesus said he would die that night and who then will get his stuff? His family will probably fight over it in probate court. Jesus often pointed to things like this. The Bible teaches financial responsibility and being involved in financial matters, its just Jesus put it all in perspective. I also have heard preachers say ‘the bible speaks more about money than salvation’ [or some other important subject] and the inference is ‘therefore lets make money our top priority’ well if you use this logic, the bible also speaks more on hell [judgment] than heaven, but that doesn’t mean God wants us all to go there! Well anyway I pray that if I outlive my family and friends and make it to a hundred, that if I find myself standing on the end of the North Jetty [Packery channel] that I will have done more then packed away ‘gobs of cash’. P.S. I haven’t been feeling well lately, not only the leg injury. I just saw the x-ray yesterday, one of the discs in my spine is almost completely gone. I was a little surprised to have seen it was really that bad. As of today I think I will have to retire with 25 years as a firefighter. I will be 45 next month, but I didn’t plan on retiring just yet. I really don’t look bad [I hope!] I mean I still look in shape and athletic, but the limp has been giving me away. I also tried to run and realized I cant anymore. I kinda felt a little depressed about that. If I knew that I wouldn’t run again I probably would have done as much as possible this last year. I would appreciate you guy’s prayers, thanks! NOTE: I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I want to be real with you and get you to pray for me! Because of the way we ‘do church’ it is common to have scenarios where the main leader [Pastor] is overburdened with ‘the pressures of a big ministry/organization’ and the people see this and feel for him. In some more severe situations [where it looks like the Pastor is on the verge of a nervous breakdown!] you can develop really unhealthy environments where week after week the ‘stresses’ are so obvious, and the peoples main relationship with the Pastor is one of ‘I really am trying to do all I can to support you’ even if it means ‘enabling’ situations that are not good. This is an outgrowth of the unnatural environment of the position of ‘the Pastor’ that is not really seen in the New Testament. You did have scenarios of believers [leaders and others] who were struggling and needed prayer. But because there really was no office of a ‘Pastor’ that was the primary speaker [Sunday after Sunday for 30 years in a row] of the local church, therefore you didn’t develop these long scenarios of ‘enabling’ someone and also the co dependency that sometimes can surround the situation. To be sure not all Pastors fall into this category, but I wanted to show how the present model of the Local Church is more prone to allow these things to go on.

(453) I have recently been thinking on the shortness of life. Not only do the toys we have rust [like my 66 Mustang] but our bodies ‘die daily’. I feel sad for some of the teachings in the church that really are obviously wrong. I really don’t know what else I can do to bring to our attention the need to live above ‘stuff’. As I was just outside praying, not feeling too well, I thought of the time I heard it taught that when Jesus said ‘Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where moth doth not corrupt, or thieves break thru and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. I know you guys are tired of hearing me, I am tired too. I really am not in ‘a rebuking’ mode at all right now. I am physically and emotionally drained and tired of the whole thing. It was taught once by the prosperity teaching that this meant ‘when you give by faith, you are actually building up an account in heaven [sort of like a bank book/ledger] and this is what it means to store up treasure in heaven. And then when you have built up a huge account, by faith you can make withdrawals on it here. Your faith is ‘causing the things that are not seen [the account in heaven] to manifest the into things that are seen’. I really feel at times I am at the end of my rope explaining these things. You will be surprised how many intelligent influential people cannot see this as wrong. Do I really need to tell you that this is obviously not what Jesus is teaching. Why do all my prophetic friends not deal with this? Why do you brothers/sisters not give me some help in trying to bring this thing back on track? I don’t think these types of interpretations are funny at all anymore. A lot of my prophetic/pastoral friends will ‘wince’ at stuff like this in private. But in public say things like ‘well, God is happy with all the people who have been won to the Lord thru all the money that the prosperity gospel has brought in’. Just give me some help guys, stuff like what I just showed you is taught en masse thru out this country today [and the world]. I do not want to be an alarmist, I just feel like we need to really build up treasure in heaven, lets not live for this world anymore.

(480) I watched a prophetic conference the other day. I liked it. The brother is a well known ‘Prophet’ in prophetic circles. He did make a statement that I disagree with. He said ‘put behind you all doctrine, theology and creeds and just come to me’. He said this more than once. I do understand that there are times where God says ‘I am God, don’t look to yourselves for help’ I see that there is merit at times in ‘putting all you have learned behind you’ but the overall idea of disregarding theology, doctrine and creeds as ‘old stuff’ is not really biblical. Paul did say ‘hold to the traditions that I have taught you’ it is a funny thing that Paul’s ‘tradition’ in this passage [go and look it up, I forget where it is right now- either 1st or 2nd Thessalonians] is the tradition of ‘getting a job’. He actually is teaching if someone is not working, then he is a troublemaker! The point is ‘all tradition’ is not wrong. Its only when the ‘traditions of men’ usurp the Word of God. This is what you see Jesus rebuking in the Gospels. He says ‘by your traditions you have made void the Word of God’. So anyway I just wanted to clarify that true Christianity doesn’t mean you leave your brain behind you. It does mean that faith in God, even when you don’t understand it, takes priority. The ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ was forbidden to Adam in the garden. This didn’t mean Adam had no wisdom or knowledge, to the contrary he was extremely intelligent. He named all living creatures off the ‘top of his head’. But not eating of the tree meant Adam was not to live his life based on his own moral criteria. His own ability to ‘think things out’. God would be his provider and sustainer. He had full access to the ‘tree of life’. The day Adam made the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ his standard, in that day he died! NOTE: Now look at something prophetic that is going to happen. I just remembered at the end of the above meeting, the Prophet shared a story about Elijah and the woman who was barren. I heard him share this a few times thru the meetings I have caught on God TV this month. The story emphasized ‘making room for the prophet’ at the end of these meetings. This GOOD, WELL MEANING brother is sharing this and saying how the people need to give money into the ‘prophetic’ in order to receive a blessing. This brother is Prophetic, no doubt. He is not a ‘crook’ or ‘fake’, I actually like him. The New Testament leaves NO ROOM for the receiving of money [whether offering/tithe/whatever] directly after the prophetic word. For some reason the early church abhorred doing this. The teaching from Christ about ‘freely you have received, freely give’ is really dealing with the ministry gifts deposited in the people. The earliest writings of the Apostles [early church] that we have today, apart from the bible are called the ‘Didache’ [the teaching of the Apostles]. Though this book is not scripture, it gives us insight into the way the believers dealt with certain things. In the Didache it says ‘if a prophet stays around for more than a few days and is charging money, he is a false prophet’. Now I personally am not that hard. The point is today’s environment of ‘professional minister’ especially as it relates to the prophetic, is not seen in scripture. Though the New Testament leaves room for the financial support of laboring elders [Leaders] it does not permit the direct asking for money right after prophesying. The instance of the guy in Acts, Simon, who thought he could ‘purchase the gift of God’ with money is strongly rebuked by Peter. This guys name later came to represent the abuse of money and Gods gifts and not rightfully dividing the two. The definition of this is called ‘Simony’. The whole point is the above Prophet is a truly gifted brother, he does not see that the direct asking for an offering, and appealing to people to ‘give into the prophets ministry’ is really not scriptural. Though you can use the story of Elijah and others who did get material needs met thru people, the overall teaching that has Prophets actually prophesying and then seeing this as ‘well, I used the gift to build the church, therefore I am worthy of my reward’ and then correlating giving directly into the ministry with ‘giving to God’ is something the first century church would not permit. I am not saying this brother is not a Prophet, or that he is not being used of God. I am saying the Prophets today need to re think what it means to be in ‘Prophetic ministry’ and to bring their gifts more in line with scripture. That is if you ‘didn’t leave doctrine and creeds and theology’ at the door when you came in! NOTE: I have been following the restoration process of Paul Cain. Paul was the Prophet I told you about earlier on this blog. Paul is an older man who is sick and also takes care of some family members who are sick. In following Paul’s restoration I saw how the Christians who are helping him thru this were trying to explain why they feel Paul should start ministering again. Even though others feel he should stay low for a while. One of the reasons was for salary. The team of Christians working with Paul explained that Paul’s only [main] source of income was his prophesying. Therefore he realistically needed to start ministering again. I use this as an example only. I love and pray for Paul Cain. The point is we ‘see’ our gifts as our source of income. This is no where to be found in the New Testament. Again, the actual teaching from JESUS CHRIST was ‘freely you have received, freely give’. The early Christians took this seriously. The teaching from Paul on ‘laborers being worthy of their hire’ was simply showing us that it is all right to support, voluntarily, those who are giving themselves to the word and prayer. There is a big difference between the biblical support of elders [ministers] and seeing our gifts as a means of financial gain. Peter wrote in his letter for elders to not go into ministry for ‘filthy lucre’s sake’. So the idea of a prophetic gift bringing in money, right after the gift was used, is not good. The present church is so inundated with the prosperity gospel that she really doesn’t see or understand this principle yet. When we give, Jesus did say men would give back to us. But these verses must fit in with all the other ones you just saw me quote. Prophets should not ask for money after they prophesy, the New Testament has NO examples of this ever happening. And there is proof that the early church saw it as wrong. It is too common for the modern professional minister to apply ‘sowing into good soil/ giving to God’ to their specific ministry. Over 90 % of New Testament teaching on giving is actually giving to the poor. Meeting the real needs of people. In today’s environment, whether Christian TV or ‘pulpit ministry’ we constantly equate the believer’s faithfulness with giving to US. It is highly irresponsible for so many professional ministries/ministers to continue to do this. We need to redirect our appeal to the church at large and instruct them to give/sow into the needs of the world around us. It is a blatant misuse of scripture for the average believer to hear over and over again that ‘giving to God’ means giving to a ministry or minister. I have tried my best to explain this in the past [the store house being the actual people of God as opposed to the 501c3 church building] but I felt like we needed to be reminded of this.

(482) Last week I watched one of the most famous prosperity preachers do a conference on the west coast. I do not watch to be critical or look for faults. I feel sometimes the lord wants me to watch in order to learn whether or not there are true changes being made. As I watched I kind of felt a little sorry for the brother [for real!] it seemed as if there ministry has taken a toll over these last few years. Many on the west coast have become familiar with the extreme errors of this teaching, and it did look like it was taking a toll. I don’t rejoice over this. I enjoyed the praise and worship part of the meetings. I really felt the presence of God. I also was glad to hear the grandson [?] of the main preacher of this movement. He really preached well and had a greater passion for truth than the leaders of the movement. I watched just long enough to see what the founder of this group [from the Forth Worth area] was going to preach on. There have been times where I have seen brothers truly repent of the more extreme teachings from this camp. Sad to say the brother preached from Corinthians and took a small portion of Paul’s teaching on ‘whoever sows will reap’ and sure enough the whole focus was on getting money. Despite the fact that Paul will later teach Timothy [1st Timothy 6] that in the last days teachers will arise and teach that ‘gain is godliness’ from such turn away. It’s like the most obvious warnings from scripture are consistently overlooked, while we spend entire conferences teaching the side verses of scripture without truly getting to the heart of the matter. I do pray that the next generation coming up will return back to the pure exposition of the Word of God. NOTE: People don’t seem to understand the difficulty of turning from a way you have been taught your whole life and repenting back to the truth. Even when people are faced with indisputable fact, they still will not repent. This is something in man. The root of it is pride. We are all susceptible to this. When Jesus confronted the 1st century religious mind, he did it with absolute undeniable truth. No one could say he was wrong or had a fault. In today’s prophetic environment, you can always find fault with the Prophet. This tends to be the reason why the religious mind today is less open for correction. I have found it utterly amazing that intelligent leaders still dispute the fact that Jesus lived a simple itinerant lifestyle. Some will absolutely teach that Jesus actually was one of the richest men of his day. That he owned an expensive house and bought the most expensive stuff of the day. They will teach that his treasury was so wealthy that he and the disciples were the highest paid ministers of the day. Despite the absolute plain historical, biblical truth to the contrary. The deceitfulness in mans heart is a very hard obstacle to overcome. I do not take it personal when people don’t repent. Paul did instruct us to leave them alone after the 3rd warning of heresy. I still will warn the new believers to avoid it, though I have given up on trying to correct those who have seen the plain error of their doctrine and refuse to repent.

(492) I have a book I was going to read sitting here in my study [I have a few that I have picked up these last few years and haven’t gotten to them yet]. It deals with the story of a large ministry [not in the U.S.] and how by faith the Lord has given them millions of dollars and has truly opened up many doors thru finances for this good work. In today’s environment we often see God thru the lens of ‘you can give me the finances to do this great work’. Many times these are sincere believers whom God does really work in this way on their behalf. We also hear often ‘do you need a financial miracle’ or ‘who needs healing in their finances’ [though Jesus never healed anyone from ‘financial sickness!’] The point is God definitely works in all areas of life. He is our provider and source, the God who is more than enough. It’s just that we really don’t treat him that way. Let me show you what I mean. When the apostle Paul said ‘I have learned in whatever state I am [Texas?] to be content. I have learned to be in need and to be full. I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me’ we often see ‘doing all things’ as the ‘full’ part. We very rarely see it as the ‘being in need’ part. Because God is truly our source, we don’t always need the financial miracle to see something happen. We actually need him! He has done and will do tremendous things with simple people who do not have lots of money. ‘Well brother how can we reach the world unless we all have lots of money’? Well there goes your lack of faith! Jesus said the gospel is so powerful in the hearts and lips of his people, that the world can and has been revolutionized thru the simple saints thru out the ages. Jesus has truly taken ‘the few loaves and fishes’ and has MULTIPLIED the seed to reach the multitudes. We would have been praying ‘Lord, before we go to the 5,000 people we need to raise lots of money for food. It wouldn’t be responsible for us to have all these people come out and hear you preach until we have the great supply in our hands’ We would have been asking Jesus to give us the actual resources ahead of time in order to ‘reach/feed’ the people. We need a financial miracle Jesus! As a matter of fact that is what the disciples tell him when he says ‘have the people sit down and we will feed them’. The disciples are like ‘we don’t have enough money in the treasury to do this [by the way this also reproves those who teach that the treasury/bag that Jesus and the disciples had was really rich. The disciple in this story plainly states that they didn’t have the treasury money to cover it!] Jesus doesn’t give them a financial miracle in the way they expected. What he does do is he takes the very limited resources of a little boys sack lunch and he multiplies it as they give it away. We don’t really need to be ‘healed financially’ we need to begin giving ourselves away, Jesus will multiply our ‘seed/bread’ [the influence of our lives] when we do this.

(503) Isaiah 59- ‘Gods hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear dull that it cannot hear. But our sins have separated us from God acting on our behalf’ one of the themes we will see in this chapter is God wanting us to speak truth and to stand for justice. He will reprove the times we lie and don’t really speak and walk in truth. There are so many issues with the American church at this season. I saw Benny Hinn speaking to a meeting of Pastors. I have sent Benny my books and stuff. I was encouraged to hear him reprove those who teach that Job [in the bible] was making a bad confession and God recorded his words, but didn’t justify Jobs confession. Those of you in the ‘know’ remember how it was [and still is!] taught that Job went thru trials because of a bad confession, and in essence God doesn’t want us reading Job and believing Jobs confession. You just read Job to see what not to do! I have dealt with this error before. But I was glad to see Benny hit on it in such a public way. This is an example of God telling us ‘Church, I love you guys. I have given you time to overcome this. You can’t keep speaking ‘lies’ and think I am going to move in your country [The U.S.]’ So God is dealing with us in mercy, but he is telling all of us ‘I really want to move on your behalf, you must humble yourselves and repent. I want justice, I want truth. You need mercy and love, but they cannot trump my desire for truth and righteous justice’. ‘None calleth for justice, none speak truth. They trust in vanity and speak lies’ There has been a stubbornness on certain parts of the American church that have consistently ‘trusted fake things, and continue to speak fake things’ we are all guilty of this, Gods agenda is for us to seek him and return to a pure biblical gospel. I am so excited about this younger generation. I have been watching the ‘call’ or the ‘cause’. Basically a group of young people on fire for Jesus. The I.H.O.P. meetings with Mike Bickle. The ‘merchant band’ all of these radical kids seeking the face of God. They put me to shame. And in the midst of this there exists an older generation who insist on ‘speaking lies, trusting in vanity’ the older generation needs to listen to these ‘babes’, out of their mouths God is speaking. They sing things like ‘don’t sell out for the stuff of this world’. ‘They hatch eggs, whoever eats their eggs dies. They will not continue to cover themselves with their teachings’ when we steer off course of Christ’s main message, the things we produce [books, blogs, tapes, etc.] only hurt others. We can’t keep ‘feeding rotten eggs’ to Gods kids. These movements who have veered away from the gospel will not continue to ‘cover themselves’ [hide within their groups] because God is calling for repentance and justice. ‘They have made crooked paths, those who go in them will not have peace’ when teachers establish wrong doctrines and teachings in the church, they become ‘crooked paths’ paths that many will go down. It is very hard to undo this. Jesus actually said ‘let them go down these paths. They will all fall into a ditch’ sometimes God allows the wrong paths to exist until both the leaders and followers see the error of their way. I remember reading how Jim Bakker saw how wrong he was. He started reading the gospels while in prison and couldn’t believe that he was a money preacher who taught that Jesus was rich. After reading the gospels he saw how wrong he was. God is going to take those who have made ‘crooked paths’ and he will use them to go straight again.
NOTE: Let me interject a reminder here. All Christians, especially those who feel the Lord has called them to the prophetic ministry, are required to confront [in love] obvious abuses and error in the church. One of the most difficult things about this calling is the majority of people you are called to speak into will reject you at the start. The gift brings with it an ‘inner mechanism’ that causes the messenger to be rejected initially. Why? Be cause to confront and undo mindsets that have existed in certain areas of the people of God is ‘tumultuous’. You go thru a season where you ‘pluck up, root out, tear down’ and then you get to the place where you ‘build and strengthen’ again. I look at these contractors who buy nice homes on prime lots of real estate. They go in and begin to dismantle the house! Even though it is an ‘OK’ structure, it has provided shelter for many years. Lots of kids grew up in that house. Man, what are you doing coming against all my memories! Well the contractor realizes that it served a purpose, but the time has come to realize that the structure is insufficient for the next level of community growth. So I see the temptation for those whom the Lord has called to prophetic things, to go thru this type of rejection. And when these people go thru difficulty it is own natural to say ‘Physician, heal thyself’ those whom the message is directed will have a tendency to say ‘see, that Isaiah fellow, he thought he was such a voice for God, look at him now’ [or Jeremiah or any of the other prophets]. So as we continue thru Isaiah we will eventually get to the ‘building up process’ but first God has to make sure all the debris is truly removed before the next structure can go up. Remember what I said about the prophecy given to the Virgin Mary ‘a sword shall pierce thru your own heart also, that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed’ God allows prophetic people to be ‘pierced’ so he can see the response of those around them. Note; I have found myself at times thinking ‘If I could just overcome this obstacle, if I didn’t have to deal with these difficulties at this time, I would be so much more effective’ I have to remind myself that ‘when I am weak, then God can be glorified thru me’ natural thinking says ‘why the Cross?’ then you learn to say ‘nevertheless not my will, but yours be done’ amen!
‘Therefore we behold obscurity’ I have found one of the worst judgments in my own life is when I ‘behold obscurity’. When I am in sin in some area of my life, Gods mercy is always there, but there is a real sense of the absence of Gods presence. Jesus said ‘the pure in heart see God’ when our hearts are not pure, we ‘see obscurity’. ‘We roar like bears, and mourn like doves’ Have you ever experienced extreme highs and lows. Days where you were ‘roaring like a bear’ and the next day ‘crying like a dove’. When our hearts are not right, these ups and downs are inevitable. Sometimes we even experience this when our hearts are right, but in this context sin is the main reason for it. ‘our transgressions are with us and our iniquities, we know them’ transgressions are the actual breaking of Gods law, the ‘act of sin’ if you will. The ‘iniquity’ is that tendency in us to gravitate towards certain sins. That ‘bent’ that keeps turning us in the wrong direction. You say ‘why brother, I have no idea what you are talking about’. You’re lying! Here God says ‘we know them’. ‘Truth faileth and he that departs from error makes himself a target’ I find it interesting, when people repent from ‘wrong paths’ they then become the target of those who are still on the path! Why? Because if you can do it, make the change, go to the next level. Then there is no more excuse for those who are not changing. This is at the heart of murder and hatred. The bible says ‘for this reason Cain slew Able, because his own works were wicked and his brothers righteous’ Envy and pride are horrible things. They cause us to want the failure of others who are succeeding. We really don’t want ‘that other church to succeed’ in our hearts. If they get 6 thousand people to attend, then all my excuses of why I only have so many attend my church are no longer valid. Those who start going on the better paths than we have been on become a target! ‘And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, those that turn away from transgression in Jacob’ God will come to those who ‘turn away from sin in Jacob’ like Paul says in the New Testament, it is not natural birth that counts. To simply be ‘Jacob’ [Israel] doesn’t cut it. You need to have ‘turned away from sin’ and accepted Gods sacrifice, Jesus! To those [Jew or Gentile] that ‘turn away from transgression’ [this means the actual act of disobedience!] God will reveal himself. ‘This is my promise to you, the word that I have put in your mouth shall not depart out of your mouth, nor out of the mouth of your seed, nor out of the mouth of your seeds seed, from this time forth and forever more’ Yesterday we had a good home meeting in Kingsville. One of the ‘sons’ of the fathers I used to preach to years ago in jail. The son is the ‘seed’ [offspring] of the original person from this family that I preached to. His son [the grandson] lives in Corpus and also is a part of what the Lord is doing. God promises that if you speak his words, they will remain in the mouths of ‘the children’s children’ God is always thinking generationaly /dynastically. Man thinks short term.

(509) Let me make a distinction here between ‘professional clergy/salary’ and New Testament giving. Jesus had a treasury [a collection of money/material goods to meet his needs and the disciples during the 3 year ministry of Christ]. During this time THEY WERE THE ONLY ‘STOREHOUSE’ OF GOD ON THE EARTH. [Apart from the actual one at the Temple, this is a transition stage if you will] They were the fledgling movement of Jesus in the beginning stage. Theologians usually point to Pentecost [Acts 2] as the birthing of the church; I have no real problem with that. Jesus said if you have a disagreement take it to the church [what church? He said this before Acts 2. And scripture speaks of ‘the church in the wilderness with Moses’ the point is you had groups of people following hard after God!] During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry people did voluntarily give of material goods to Jesus and the disciples, this is acceptable in Christian circles. You also had the Pharisees [hired clergy!] operating along a legalistic system of giving that came along with their religion [The Tithe!] so right from the start you are seeing a major difference in the way the New Testament church would function, as opposed to the religious law. During this time of giving to Jesus they simply received whatever was freely given. Sort of like the ‘freewill offerings’ taught in the Old Testament. You find Judas getting upset because the woman poured the expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas wanted to sell it because he was stealing from ‘the bag’ [of cash]. So during Jesus ministry we find a great example of how giving and receiving would be carried out in the church. Pretty simple. This style was keeping true to the actual teachings Jesus taught ‘give freely, freely you have received, freely give’ and all the other things Jesus taught. Later on in the Epistles and the book of Acts you see real examples of this being carried out. The only ‘tithers’ were the Jerusalem church. I have explained this before. Not real hard to see! But if you never ‘saw’ this before now, then it is hard. After God shows it to you, you begin to see it all thru out scripture. This leaves us today with the free grace and duty to give to those in need, which can include ‘laboring elders/pastors’ a major difference between ‘hired clergy’ or ‘using your gift to make money’. Jesus and the disciples used their gifts many times with out taking offerings. They did not see this as wrong. You often hear in today’s world ‘I am only asking you to give to me for your benefit’ now Paul does say this at times, the point is you have the average believer hearing this thru TV, when he ‘goes to church’ and the appeal is endless. There are many times where ministry was carried out with no appeals for an offering. Let’s be attentive to what God is saying. Paul did like me, he basically said to the Corinthians ‘I have not charged you for the gospel’ he also said ‘I had a right to receive support, but I chose to lay this right down’ it seems quite plain to me that it is very scriptural for lots of ‘ministers’ to decide to take this route. Some do [not just me] but we often don’t leave this option on the table when training young men to be Pastors. We teach a form of giving that simply looks at the basic need for upkeep of the building, paying salary and stuff like this. In this environment you can’t really teach it the way I just did. But then you have the rise of ‘home/cell’ churches. The ‘emerging churches’ and all types of free flowing styles of Christians getting together and sharing their faith. Many of these movements do not take money at all, except maybe for the meeting of the real needs of people around them. As you can imagine this can cause a type of insecurity to rise up in the hired clergy. The Pharisees said ‘If Jesus keeps doing his stuff, we will lose our position and place in society’. There is a real fear when someone sees the possibility of ‘loosing his job’. So the old time clergy will fight against this more legitimate expression of ‘church’ by saying ‘they are not a church’. And then you have all the problems you have seen me write about up until now! So in grace give to support the work of God, there definitely are good ‘churches’ and Pastors doing good works. Use discernment, go with Gods leading. Give freely. Pastors, some of you can take Paul’s example and ‘do it for free’. Some already do! NOTE; I have heard it taught like this ‘well, if people get offended and think churches/ministries are asking for too much money, then let them get offended. I am doing it for their own good’. Paul actually said one of the reasons why he didn’t take money from the Corinthians was so people couldn’t use the ‘money excuse’ against him. Paul’s attitude wasn’t ‘well, if they get offended, let them’ Paul said ‘I will go out of my way to not offend people, or give them excuses to speak against the gospel’ so much of today’s ‘offense’ that is given because of the churches money focus is a bad thing. Christians are responsible to remove any barriers that the world has. Even if we a ‘right’ to the offering, sometimes you lay that ‘right’ down for the sake of the gospel.

(510) I read a book years ago on ‘church planting’. It was a good book. I remember one of the stories how a brother came to preach a series of meetings in some church. During the week of meetings they collected thousands of dollars. The type of teaching focused on all the scriptures on ‘giving to get’. After the week was over the ‘evangelist’ took the Pastor and their wives to a jewelry store. The Evangelist bought his wife a diamond [or some other jewelry?] and spent all the money on it. He sincerely told the Pastor ‘this is the reward for my service to God’. Because of the tremendous lack of balance in today’s church, stuff like this happens. I do not see this above brother as a ‘fake’ or false prophet [you might!] I see him as a victim [willingly] of the wrong focus and understanding of all we have taught these past few years. I do wonder what they think when they read 1st Timothy 6, or the verses on ‘watch out for the love of money’ or Peters words on ‘elders, take oversight of Gods flock, not for the sake of filthy money, but out of a pure heart’. They seem to think the other verses on Gods provisions trump these verses. It just isn’t so. We do have a long way to go.

(515) I want to challenge you guys. I have spoken a lot on this blog on your responsibility to ‘bring the Kingdom’ wherever you go. Remember, because we have access to God [Jacobs ladder/the Cross] wherever we go we are ‘setting up that ladder’ [bringing an atmosphere where God and man meet]. I have also shown you how God commands us all to go into the world and preach the gospel. Many times we spend way too much time trying to figure out ‘how will I fund it, where will the money come from’ well I hate to say this, but it comes from YOU! What! Show me scripture! Well just a reminder ‘he that is not working, let him get a job so HE CAN HAVE TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED’ ‘See a brother in need. Feed him’ ‘give to him that asketh of thee’ ‘how can you say you love God, who you don’t see. When you don’t meet the real needs of your brothers, who you do see’. Now, for sure there are verses where Paul asks for others to give financially into the work. I am not saying there is no biblical authority for doing this. I am saying God does expect all believers to share of their own time and resources to spread the Kingdom. You don’t get off the hook just because you gave into the church offering basket! I want to exhort you today to give yourself away somehow for the kingdom. If all you do is sit around and listen to talk radio, or read the papers and are inundated with how the poor and hurting are such a drain on society, you will get a critical spirit. If you begin touching the lost you will see them as real friends and people. Don’t try and figure out how you will fund your ministry, give yourself away instead!

(521) Was listening to T.D. Jakes the other day. He was preaching on empowering people for the next level. He did share good points. One of the examples was ‘you need people to accomplish something. You can’t do it by yourself. You might be able to make a pound cake, but if you are going to run Sara Lee, you need help’. A good point, scripture shows us how even Moses taught delegated authority. Jesus was the Master at it! My teaching has come against the prevailing mindset in the modern church that says ‘you really can’t make a big impact on your own, you need to give money to us, and then you can reach the world’. Now if you said this, I am not talking about you. I have heard this many times over the years. My point is when we tell people ‘your pound cake doesn’t really matter, or have a big impact’ then we are violating the principle of Jesus when he taught us that our ‘little bit of loaves and fishes’ matters. I know bro. Jakes would agree, he was teaching right on the principle of business that he was sharing. I just wanted to show you how your little bit does matter. Jesus delegated all of us to do our little bit. True delegation empowers everyone. In today’s world we make appeals to people based on money ‘give your money and you will have a reward in all the ministries you support’. There is some truth to this, but Jesus really didn’t teach us that we could ‘witness’ vicariously. Or ‘touch the world vicariously’ he actually told us to GO. So to view the principle of partnering in a way that seems to let the people think if they give money they are off the hook, isn’t a viable biblical alternative. At the judgment he says ‘when I was hungry and thirsty and in jail you didn’t come to me’ he doesn’t say ‘you didn’t support financially the programs that were doing it’. So, go ahead and make your pound cake, you would be surprised how far it can go!

(529) The other week I took some homeless friends to the church I attend, as well as to a ‘tent church’ that had around a hundred homeless people show up. My intent in telling this is not to condemn any particular style of church. I want to share the reaction/way my friends saw things. In my church the service was focused on tithing. The church recently built a big building [seats around 3 thousand] and it just so happened that this Sunday the message was on tithing. My friends also saw in the church pamphlet that around 8 million was raised from the 10 million needed for the building campaign. Now all of these scenarios play out all across the world on a regular basis. There are well meaning and good intended brothers/churches that find them selves in these scenarios often. My friends liked the church, I was happy to have them see it for the first time. I was not critical nor did I critique the tithing message. My friends later made comments about how the money could be used to house and feed poor people. And they simply saw the other things that the money could be used for, they were seeing thru their world. Later at the tent church many destitute people came. They all had church and ate donated chili dogs. More of a street ministry. Over the years of teaching on church and trying to change the mindset of believers, I have run across well meaning believers who question ‘well brother, where are all the believers going to meet? If you want to reach 20 thousand people, you will need a 20 thousand seat auditorium!’ This is why I am trying to steer us more towards the New Testament mindset. It is all too common to truly reach between 1 to 5 thousand people. To then see growing as expanding in the size of the meeting place, and then the believers see the next level thru the eyes of ‘bring in the money so the rest of the people can be reached’. All well intended, but it lacks the focus of New Testament evangelism. Paul and all the other first century Apostles and believers practiced a type of ‘church growth’ that simply said ‘preach the gospel, allow all the people in the cities to spread the word to all the other people. Meet in your homes, break bread, share the great message of redemption. Send people out to other places as God leads’ [Acts 13- Paul from Antioch] and keep growing along the lines of spreading a revolutionary message about Christ. This New Testament mindset never appealed for the Galatians or Ephesians or any other city of believers to get into building campaigns to reach the rest of the harvest field. This mindset also allows for the rapid growth of the gospel to go forth. It is empowering all Christians to do their part. You see your responsibility more along the lines of spreading the gospel, than along the lines of raising money. I do believe and understand that their truly are good guys [Pastors] and others who are advancing along the lines of mega churches. And it is hard to write entries like this. I just wanted you to see the perspective of my homeless friends, and also how the contemporary church sees evangelism along the lines of ‘I need so many members in order to have the funds needed to go to the next level’. This mindset sees the amount of people that need to come to church and give so much for the organization to grow. It can become very limited in its appeal to the Sunday church goer. They can begin to see themselves solely along the lines of ‘We need to be faithful to raise so much money’ they begin to see their main measure of faithfulness and sacrifice along these lines. The New Testament believers were seeing faithfulness in different ways. There were appeals to help Paul go to the next city to preach, and appeals to help the needy, but they weren’t seeing the appeals that are common today. Paul wasn’t asking ‘we need to raise lots of money to go to Galatia and build a church’ or to fund a huge ministry to reach Galatia. They were simply needing the money to survive and get their bodies to the next city in order to preach the word. This is real people evangelism, all the people seeing their main responsibility as being involved, not giving money. Well I don’t mean to offend in these entries, I pray for the success of all of us [I really do!] I just wanted to share some input. I also at times feel bad for the young Pastors who can get in over their heads financially. They are doing it for the most part out of a true love of God. I feel they put themselves at times under great financial strain because they see it as what God wants. It might be at certain times, but it also is an out growth of seeing ‘church’ as having the building big enough for everyone to attend. Sometimes God wants the growth to go outward. You didn’t see the Ephesians or other New Testament churches finding places big enough where they could all get together. They grew along the lines of more people meeting across the cities and being a part of one family of believers in the city. No need for one place to all meet. Say if you had 50 thousand in a city turn to Christ. I know some mega churches [Paul Yongi Cho-Korea] do try to simply build bigger places, as well as home church growth. But the New Testament mindset was not seeing it at all along these lines. They were spreading a radical revolutionary message in the hearts of people. This allowed for the people themselves to run with the message. NOTE; I usually don’t give examples that ‘hit this close to home’. I want the church I mentioned above to succeed. Those of you in the Corpus area that read this blog and attend this church, I want you to do all you can to give and support the church. If you are not giving money in other well established Christian avenues on a regular basis, then give all you can to help the church you go to! Give 10 % or more! Our goal is to see the overall transition of Gods people from the normal view of church, back to a radical 1st century view. It is common in revolutionaries to go overboard [I have!] and then want to see the ‘old church model’ fail. This is not what God wants. Don’t take entries like this and then wait for your view to win while the other guy fails. This is not Christian! So to all the local brothers who read this, support the church financially as much as possible, also begin spreading the Kingdom as well.

(536) Isaiah 64 ‘Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou would come down, that the mountains might flow at thy presence’ There are pivotal times in our lives where we have done all the planning we could imagine. We have prayed, read the Word and done all the things that we thought were necessary to see God move. It is often at the end of all of our efforts that we get to a place where we see the futility of it all, apart from God! In the end, like Paul said, some water, some plant, but only God can cause it to grow! Have you seen the need for God to come down and move on your behalf? You’ve done everything else, might as well call on God and believe that he alone can do it. ‘As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causes the waters to boil’ WOW! Jesus said ‘I am come to set fire to the earth, how I wish it were already burning’ [my translation]. We will read in this chapter ‘God is a consuming fire’. Jesus understood the role he was to play. He knew it would end in violence and resurrection. He knew it would be revolutionary in nature. How can you expect to come to a group of people who truly believe in God, and then show them that they have fallen away from the true intent of God and then say ‘God sent me to tell you this’. The role of a Prophet is revolutionary by its very nature. It will ‘burn’ things, things that need to be burnt. Jesus knew the course he was on, he knew he was going to start a fire that would consume everything in its path, he said he wished it were already burning. ‘For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what you have prepared for those who wait for you’ Paul quotes this to the Corinthians. This is not really talking about the great ministries and things that we think, it can include that. But this is speaking of the unbelievable mystery of redemption thru Christ. The things that Angels desire to look into. The story of mans redemption and how God preplanned it before the world began is a tremendous mystery that no man can see unless God reveals it to him. Paul says ‘no man can say Jesus is Lord but by Gods Spirit’ Paul was not saying no one could ‘mouth’ it, he was saying no human understanding can grasp it apart from the revelation of God. ‘Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways’ God instituted things so his people would ‘remember him’. The Passover, the Lords Supper. Often time’s people remember him in these rituals, but forget him in ‘their ways’. This is the main rebuke Isaiah gives to Israel in this book. When religion digresses to a point of ritual, apart from righteous action [justice] then we are not remembering God in his ways. Because his ways are justice and mercy and caring for the downtrodden and oppressed. It is too easy today to associate Christianity with ‘conservatism’. I am neither liberal or conservative, but you will find I hold to beliefs in both of these camps. The danger of aligning Christiantiy with a political cause is then you begin to think the ‘cause’ is Christian. You can fight against the illegal alien, or be against ‘welfare’ and the people on it, and if taken to the extreme you begin to see Christianity thru a lens that says ‘we are moral preachers to a fallen society’ to a point where we no longer practice charity or justice for the oppressed. God says he wants us to remember him in ‘ritual’ as long as we also remember him in deed. ‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our good deeds are as filthy rags’ This verse has been a key verse in many of the revivalist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. They focused on mans inability to please God and be good. Later on the ‘Word of Faith/Prosperity movement’ brought out good points when they emphasized that we are now made the righteousness of God in Christ. The balance here is apart from God, we are absolutely unrighteous and unable to please God. In Christ we are ‘acceptable to God’. God sees us as totally righteous. The caveat is Paul will still refer to himself at times as ‘the worst of sinners’ even after his conversion. I see the balance like this; In God we are accepted and God sees his Sons righteousness as being imputed to us by faith. During our journey we are progressively being made actually righteous. We are being sanctified. There are obvious times in this walk where we totally fail God. We then confess and repent and continue the journey. The closer we get to God, the further we see how far we really are. So Paul [and us] can at times see how ‘we are the worst of sinners’ and at the same time thank God that he doesn’t view us that way! ‘Our iniquities like the wind have taken us away’ Jesus says in John 3 ‘those that are born of the Spirit are like the wind’ Paul also teaches that as we once were controlled by sin, now we are to be controlled by righteousness. The ‘wind’ can describe how either we are led by sin or by God. It is an unseen force that cause’s things to turn in a certain direction. You can look at the wind blowing a tree and say ‘wow, that tree is being bent severely’ and yet you know it is a result of the wind. Often times I have seen [and experienced!] the lifestyle of going down paths that you seem to have no control over, friends who are at the stage of being in the street, robbing everything they can get their hands on for the next fix, and then going off to prison. At these stages they are allowing sin to bend them like the wind. I have also seen these same guys later be controlled by the Spirit and serving God. Paul said the way to ‘not walk in the flesh’ is to ‘walk in the Spirit’. Religion tells people ‘don’t do this or that’ while Gods recovery program is ‘do what the Spirit is saying’. The secret to deliverance is for a person to actively give them selves over to God and to do his works. If you ‘walk in the Spirit, then you will not do the works of the flesh’. ‘Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established’ we need a breakthrough in obedience, in getting out and fulfilling Gods will. Most Christians who are running around from deliverance conference to deliverance conference are not yet ‘delivered’ because they haven’t yet fully given themselves into the active service of the Lord! ‘There is none that calls upon thy name, that stirs himself up to take hold of thee’ Why? Because our sins have separated us from God! In Hebrews it says ‘let us come boldly before the throne with a clear conscience’ it says this in context of the work of Christ in redemption. Because legally God refuses to hold our sins against us, therefore we have confidence. One of the most devastating things about sin is it separates us from God. It keeps us from coming to him. We feel guilty and unworthy and we can’t seem to get thru in prayer. God says ‘come’ and he will heal and forgive and restore. ‘But you are our father, we are the clay, you are the potter, we are the work of your hand. Don’t be really mad, don’t remember our sins, we are your people’ Isaiah uses the same ‘strategy’ as Moses ‘we are yours, we bare your name. For this reason please come and help us. It won’t look good on your record if your people don’t make it!’ We are asking God to help us because all we are is from him. He chose us and fashioned us with a specific destiny in mind. Tell God ‘you made me to do your will, move on my behalf Father, help me at this time. I have come to do thy will O God’ he often will ‘take away the first that he might establish the second’ [Hebrews]. Look for God to allow the first works of ministry to ‘dissolve’ as he transitions you into new things. Sometimes we hold onto our Ishmael’s because we truly have an affinity for them, yet God says ‘let go of Ishmael, I will still bless him, but the promise will be fulfilled in Isaac’. ‘Our holy and our beautiful house is burned up with fire’ interesting, we just read how ‘God is a consuming fire’ and how Jesus said ‘I have come to start a fire’. In the New Testament God transitioned his ‘holy place’ from the natural temple to the spiritual temple [the church/Body of Christ]. Thru out Israel’s history the destruction of the temple always represented Gods judgment. That was the significance of Jesus saying ‘destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up’ this was offensive to the Jewish mind. It was like desecrating the flag [even though Jesus was speaking of his body, the Jews were offended because they took it to mean their temple]. The fact that Israel, as a nation, would not make the full transition into the New Covenant left them with their temple and sacrifices that God already said were an abomination to him [Hebrews]. Ultimately this would lead to the temples final destruction in A.D. 70 under Titus. The destruction of the temple again was Gods way of saying ‘I no longer dwell in temples made with hands, I no longer will accept animal sacrifices. I will dwell in those who accept the sacrifice of my son, and I will receive their sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, this is the temple I will build, the temple of the Body of Christ’.

(612)I got with some homeless friends yesterday. An older brother showed up. He is a friend of mine, I had met him a few years back. He is very strong on Jewish stuff. I actually refer to him as a ‘Messianic Gentile’. A Gentile Christian who is enamored with natural Israel. When we first met I let him know my feelings on this. Those of you who have read this site know what I mean. I am against the exalting of any natural heritage. But this brother has become a reader of my site and has told a mutual friend that he thinks I am ‘very deep’ in Christian understanding. To be honest I don’t see how prosperity guys and ‘Messianic Gentiles’ could even put up with me. But somehow they see things from our teaching that they like. That’s great! During the conversation my friend was telling everyone how Jesus birthday was today [the first day of Hanukah] and my other friend kinda told me he was announcing this to everyone. I told my friend that most Christians think Jesus wasn’t born in winter. You can look at the surroundings of the birth of Jesus in the gospels and it would seem like it wasn’t in winter. I am not dogmatic at all, I celebrate Christmas with a tree and all. I tried to avoid my Messianic friend. So he and another conservative right winger came and sat at my table [outdoor picnic tables] and started their talk. The conservative guy was also Messianic. He was telling the other guy how he went to the local Jewish meeting last night to light the candlestick and all. Then they started talking about some Christian/Jewish prophet who has this world wide ministry. Moved his family to Israel, looks like a true full blown rabbi and all. I really felt like puking up at this point, but I held it in. The conservative guy would actually ask a question and say ‘I am throwing this out on the table for anyone’s in put’ and as soon as I gave some in put, he would cut me off and say ‘lets stay on track here’. I realized I shouldn’t even get into it with these guys. I tried to ignore the whole deal, but hey they came to my table. After a while I spoke up, didn’t let the guy cut me off. Gave them about a ten minute reproof on some stuff. Quoted lots of scripture and all. Reproved the conservative guys teaching on ‘we create things with prophecy’ sort of a mixture of word of faith elements that he was espousing. I taught the biblical view of Old and New Testament prophecy. Also the ‘extra biblical view’ of Christians being little gods who have the power to create with words just like the ‘Big God’. I explained the reality of prophecy and also the reality of decreeing things as believers. But shot down the ‘we create things with our words like God does’ doctrine. Somehow the conservative Jewish guy had this understanding also. Well I rebuked them for a few minutes, didn’t mean to be mean. But you can only swallow so much of this stuff at one sitting. I have noticed I am becoming a little more known around this mission, kinda uncomfortable with it. A few guys have become avid readers of my stuff. Sometimes people will ask ‘oh, you run the radio ministry for ‘Corpus Outreach’ do you help the main speaker?’ They think someone else is doing the talking on the show. I tell them it’s me, they can’t believe some radio guy would be hanging out with homeless guys. I really like the anonymity, but I figured sooner or later people would become more familiar with what I do. I don’t hide the ministry stuff, I need for friends to listen to the show and read our stuff, I just try to avoid the persona of being ‘a preacher’. There are a few times where the persona comes in handy, like when I rebuked the brothers at the table! Did it in full biblical fashion, quoting scripture and all. Man, all you preachers would have liked me at that point!

(583) I just heard on the radio how a famous baseball manager left the Yankees for the Dodgers. The team he was with offered him 5 million a year, he got a better deal somewhere else. I do like the man, Joe Torre. It got me to thinking about some of the mindsets in the corporate/church world. I have heard it taught that if a C.E.O. of a ‘worldly’ business makes 100 million a year, how much more should Gods people value themselves. Now, Paul was the greatest writer of the first century. Though he wasn’t a great speaker, you had others who were [Apollos]. You had the most gifted people in the church in the first century. The writing of the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus have been called the greatest teachings ever. You also had the profession of speaking [rhetoric] and writing books for money that did exist at the time. Why didn’t Paul ‘value’ his letters and get a good price for them? Why didn’t they charge for their ‘value’ in speaking and philosophy? Others did. There was a built in teaching that Jesus left them ‘freely you have received, freely give’. Peter would write leaders in the first century and say ‘take oversight of Gods flock, not for money, but out of a pure heart’. The Old Testament prophets rebuked the shepherds of Israel’s day for ‘fleecing the sheep’, getting gain from the community of God. So, even though it was very possible for Paul and other gifted saints to have made a huge amount of money, they didn’t. We must see this, because the way it is taught today is Christians find the truth out about God blessing Abraham and making him wealthy. They see the many promises of God meeting our needs, and then they go off on this tangent to see nothing wrong about becoming rich off of the people, even though becoming rich off of the people is explicitly forbidden in scripture! If you look at Paul, he was living well below the means that his tremendous gift could have earned him. He is the most well read author today [along with the whole New Testament]. Many people made a good living this way, Paul didn’t. So don’t confuse the times where Paul does speak on contributing to laboring Elders, or where he praises a church [Philippians] for sending him money. He is simply talking about the basic needs being met in these scenarios, it is all too popular for the modern minister to appeal to Paul’s writings on money and then to develop a lifestyle of wealth that Paul himself would warn against [1st Timothy 6]. So today, we do have good men serving the Lord with an honest heart, many are doing good works for the Lord. Some do make a good salary, that’s really not wrong. What I am warning against is the mindset that seems to say ‘if a C.E.O. can make so much, why not Gods leaders’? Well I just showed you why, this is not my idea, it is scripture. That’s the problem, most brothers think an argument like this is simply ‘old tradition wanting to keep Gods people under’ or ‘that old religious spirit again, rearing it’s ugly head’. Sincere people don’t realize the error of this thinking, that’s why we need to be balanced in scripture. I am sure Paul knew the ‘money promises’ in scripture. I know Jesus knew the nature of God as our provider, the God of more than enough. Yet you will find both of them giving many warnings against materialistic mindsets. ‘A mans life doesn’t consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’ ‘it is easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven’ to the man who was experiencing great financial increase in his business ‘thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee, then who will get the things you lived for’ [his kids will fight over it with Anna Nicole Smith!] The point is You can go thru the many warnings in the New Testament against materialism and develop a doctrine that says ‘this is why Paul and the others ‘devalued’ their earnings potential’ they were explicitly taught that their spiritual gifts [whether preaching or writing bestsellers] were freely given to them, and it was on this basis that they didn’t ‘charge’ or require a salary for their services. I know this is hard to deal with if you are already ‘making a killing’ in the ministry, it’s something that we just cant get around. Don’t take all the verses where you find Paul speaking of receiving offerings, and then use them in a way that violates the warnings he gave to Timothy in 1st Timothy 6. You shall know the truth and it will set you free, but first it makes you miserable! NOTE; Over the years I have noticed a progression that takes place. Very often you will find good men who do not see what I just showed you, after seeing it they usually come back to balance [after being mad for a while!]. Others are so busy fighting their critics that they don’t even listen to any reproof in any area, these often ‘fall’ for the proof texts [individual verses] that say Jesus wore an expensive coat, Judas was stealing out of the ‘bag’ [and ‘the bag’ must have contained millions because Jesus didn’t notice the few thousand that Judas took] and then in total ignorance start teaching a doctrine that says Jesus was rich. Once people espouse views publicly, or teach them for many years to generations of people, it is almost impossible to bring them back from the brink of obvious heresy. They cant admit to themselves that what they thought all along was true revelation from God, was really total deception. It is hard to repent after you have put out tons of books and tapes on these things. My goal is to ‘catch’ the average Pastor before he spends 10-15 years teaching this stuff to his people. If a man is warned in the beginning then he can deal with it better. Why have so many fallen for this? Good men, Assemblies of God, Baptists, etc. I think one of the reasons is other ‘good men’ particularly Prophets, have not warned against it like they should have. Jesus flat out said ‘beware of covetousness’ Paul warns Timothy about this doctrine[1st Timothy 6]. Peter plainly tells the Elders of his day ‘don’t go into ministry with money in mind’. Leaders are plainly told that part of the cost is to warn against this stuff. So many didn’t warn, and many fell for it. So now what? Well at least those of you reading this can avoid this path, and as God directs use the tools you have to warn others. Take this whole blog site and send it to others you know who are dealing with this. Print sections that you think are relevant and send them out. My goal is not to build an organization [we have none!] or to get speaking engagements [I don’t do that] or to make money [we do not take offerings!] my goal is to get this thing back on track before some innocent Pastor spends 20 years wasting his life teaching this stuff! NOTE; so am I saying Christian leaders can’t be rich? No! But brother if Joe Torre can make 5 million or more, why not a believer? You can. It’s just a fact that God ordained that believers do not become rich thru the administration of their spiritual gift in a way that has other believers giving money as a direct result of the administration of the gift. The verses I showed you above do say this. Aren’t the natural gifts, say of a baseball manager, also God given? Yes. Then why can’t you get rich off of a spiritual gift, just like a natural ability, God is the giver of both. I don’t know, why don’t you ask God about it? The point is we get into natural thinking and we come to conclusions that violate scripture. Jesus said it’s very possible for the pursuit of wealth to sidetrack you [the deceitfulness of riches choke the word] Paul said those that desire to become rich have sidetracked from the faith [1st Timothy 6]. There are clear restrictions and warnings given, as well as the reality of God being able to supernaturally give millions of dollars. God is God, he has the right to be the God of abundance and also to put the restrictions in place that I just showed you. We simply need to obey all scripture. NOTE; Let me give you an example, years ago I was watching a famous prosperity teacher who still teaches many of the errors I have shown you. He said when he was younger he remembers looking up as a plane flew overhead, and with great joy and expectation said ‘you wait and see, someday I will own one of those’ he then went on to explain that that day has arrived. The years of faith and confession and ‘thinking on abundance’ finally produced this harvest. I can imagine a young Billy Graham, as a boy looking out over the harvest field of people, of reading where Jesus said ‘go into all the world and peach the gospel’ how he must have believed and confessed and ‘obsessed’ over reaching his world for Christ. A time would come where Billy would become known as the greatest evangelist of all time. What’s the difference? Billy also has brought in huge amounts of money over the years, much more than the brother who saw the obtaining of things as the goal. Billy lived and exemplified the words of Jesus ‘seek ye first the Kingdom and all these things [planes and money and stuff] will be added unto you’ one man made souls the priority, the other saw the ‘stuff’ as the goal and message. Now to be fair the prosperity guy does win souls to the Lord to a degree, but if you listen long enough the gospel of wealth is entrenched in his belief system. I share this to warn you guys, many good men do see financial miracles happen all the time. There are real stories of God doing these things with good men. When they happen we should rejoice, praise God and stick with the main message of the gospel. The deception comes in when a good man sees the true financial miracle and then falls into the trap of seeing God and his kingdom thru the lens of abundance and money and always believing and speaking and centering his life around finances. The reason Jesus and Paul said ‘beware’ is because you must BE WARE! If it wasn’t a dangerous and difficult balance to keep, then they wouldn’t have been so strong in their warnings!

(52) The other day I mentioned T.D.Jakes. Let me say that I have made it a habit to contact and send materials to key influential people in the Church over the years. I do this for the sake of the church at large. I recognize that if in some small way I can influence a Kingdom person for good, then they in turn will influence their larger circle of friends and the will of God will prevail I don’t want to ‘name drop’ here too much. I remember sending Benny Hinn [who I believe the Lord uses in a great way] some stuff on the prosperity message. It dealt with modern ministers becoming rich off of the people, and how this is not right. I was surprised to get a handwritten note from one of his staff Pastors and forwarding it on to Benny. A few weeks later some news organization did an expose [not the first one] on Benny Hinn and exposed the lucrative salary and wealth he has gotten thru the ministry. I feel that they gave special attention to the stuff I sent because they knew they were being looked at in a critical way by this organization, and there was no way I could have known this. So the prophetic timing of sending these materials was in some way a message from one brother to another as correction in love. I also have had a good friendship in writing with Jim Bakker. He has personally sent me hand written notes over the years. I want to simply stress that as believers God wants us to help each other walk in truth. I don’t want to just write critical exposes on false doctrine. This is what many modern apologists do. God wants us to personally correct and warn each other in love. The times where I have struggled with impatience is when I see brothers who blatantly teach false stuff to a wide range of people and they are not open to correction. NOTE: Benny started as an ordained Word of Faith minister, he actually walked away from this ‘style’ of ministry as the years went by. He saw many faults with the movement. He said ‘I do not hold to this message any longer’. I find this interesting.

(126)‘Extending your voice beyond the parameter that God has ordained’. This is something that I have meditated on over the years. As ‘ministers’ have learned to ‘professionalize’ ministry, there comes with it a package of trying to ‘get the message out’ to as many people as possible. Is this in and of itself wrong? No! I do this as well. But the result is today you have national level ministries that should not be national! There are Billy Grahams and others who have a great message and testimony. Then you have a whole host of others who are at the ‘3rd’ grade level that are communicating to the entire community. A few years ago one of the most famous prosperity preachers started a church and extension ministry in our city. This was well after I already dealt with this movement on the radio. I kind of felt like some of the prosperity brothers wanted to ‘strike back’ against the strong stance that we took. I remember actually ‘prophesying’ on the radio that some of these brothers were here to see a more accurate picture of Christ and the church. I was a little harsh in that I mentioned the famous guys name, but I felt I needed to. He was famous for spreading the doctrine that Jesus and the disciples were rich. This was a blatant false teaching that spread like wildfire in certain circles. Well this ministry didn’t last very long in our town. Actually there were a couple of well know ‘prosperity’ churches in our area [one well known, the other did a lot of advertising]. They are gone now. This wasn’t my intent to ‘run them off’. But I felt like there needed to be a season where all of the ‘word of faith/prosperity’ churches needed to re-think and re-examine the whole message that they preach. It is unfortunate that many of these ministries have the concept down of getting lots of funds, and then they use these funds to extend there message ‘beyond the borders’ of their level of teaching. Again I don’t want to judge or sound condescending, but many of these movements are at a very immature level of understanding. It has done damage to the church at large to propagate a materialistic mindset in so many young believers. I pray the Lord would give us all grace and humility to limit our voices when he tells us to, and also allow him to ‘exalt our horn like the horn of a unicorn’ when he so desires.

(127)Let me model something for you guys. After the last entry [126] I ‘embarked’ on one of those difficult days. You know, you need to get things done and you feel like the whole day was wasted with difficulties and trials. Well this lasted until a few hours ago when I woke up. I don’t want to make too much out of my habit of getting up early, but its 3:45 am as I pen this and some days I feel I accomplish more from 2-8 am than the rest of the day! Also as an aside if you go to sleep at 8pm instead of 10, and then get up at 2 or 3 a.m. you can get a full day of study and prayer in before you go to work. You can maximize your output to that of 2 people by simply sacrificing 2 hours of ‘awake’ time from 8 to 10 pm. Not saying you all should do this, but use your time wisely and you will get much done. Now to the other stuff. The last few days I have heard a lot of stuff on ‘speaking your world into existence’ ‘there is a miracle in your mouth’ ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue’ and so on. All good ‘basic’ principles. Jesus did say ‘if you say to this mountain be cast into the sea, it will obey you’. The main problem with the way we apply these things is we seem to get a vision of how we want our life to be and then apply all these principles to making it happen. In the scenario I gave the other day when Jesus told Peter ‘I am going to Jerusalem to die’ you could see this as a bad confession. You could say ‘see Jesus got what he said’. While it is true he got what he said, yet his saying it isn’t why it happened! The will of God for your life is primarily revealed to you by God. Over your life he ‘speaks’ to you thru various means [bible, prophecy, direction from friends, etc.] As you learn to ‘die’ to your own dreams and visions [what I want mentality] you at the same time awaken to Gods greater purpose. This whole process is a result of hearing Gods word over your life. In essence you really don’t create your world by the words you speak, in as much as your ‘world’ being a result of the words that God speaks. Now the principle of a good confession is still true, but your focus now becomes ‘moving the mountains that stand in the way of Gods purpose’. When Jesus said to Peter ‘get thee behind me satan’ he was ‘speaking’ to the mountain of ‘self-will’ that always stands in the way of ‘Gods will’. Do you see what I am saying? This is the difference between ‘3rd grade’ and ‘university’ level. I encourage you today to take the stance of Job who I mentioned a few days ago. In the midst of your trials ‘pray for your friends’, that is make your confession one of unselfishness and the welfare of others, for as you do this you are ‘laying down your life for the gospel’! NOTE; If you remember in the temptation story of Jesus being tempted 40 days in the desert, after Jesus rebukes the devil scripture says ‘the devil departed from him for a season’ this indicating that Jesus knew he would have to confront him again before he completed his mission. This confrontation with Peter is the beginning of that confrontation. Jesus had to rise above the friendship and care of one of his closest disciples and make the difficult decision to recognize the voice of satan thru one of his closest friends. Over the years during our teaching on these issues I would often find Pastors un-willing to ‘see’ or even accept the fact that they might have been influenced in a wrong way thru the ‘word of faith/prosperity’ movement. It is difficult to admit and recognize that good people can make serious errors in judgment. The issue isn’t how ‘nice’ or ‘good’ the prosperity brothers are. The issue is whether or not the ‘voice’ that has come from this camp is legitimate! It’s hard to look at your ‘Peter’ and recognize that what they’re saying isn’t really from God. NOTE: It is interesting that there were set times or seasons of temptation in the life of Jesus. These seasons didn’t last forever. Though temptation is always a reality to deal with in the Christian life, yet there is a sense of ‘task completed’ in the area of severe trial and testing. A sense of ‘assignment completed’ in a way. Scripture says ‘affliction shall not rise up a second time. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more’ this doesn’t mean you will never go thru hard times again, but a real sense that ‘this thing I have been going thru is finally over, God has brought forth what he wanted and now its time to move on’.

(130)NOTE: [this is the 3rd attempt of trying to write this entry. I tried 24 hours ago at work and the computer messed up and I lost it! I then decided to re write it and we had a big structure fire. I am now up at 2:06 am and giving it another shot, obviously this is for you! Whoever ‘you’ are!] Let me do an overview of some things. The last few weeks I have mentioned the ‘Word of Faith/Prosperity movement’. In the late 1800’s there was a preacher by the name of E.W.Kenyon. Brother Kenyon is the ‘father’ of the modern ‘word of faith’ movement. Brother Kenyon brought out some good things in his teaching. The 1800-1900s were right after the great awakenings in our country, many churches emphasized the sinfulness of man and mans need to confess his sins. Brother Kenyon took hold of the truths in scripture where we are to confess ‘Jesus as Lord’ instead of always confessing sin! The focus of much of this teaching emphasized the things we do to change our circumstances. If you ‘walk’ in the ‘sense realm’ [5 senses] you are walking by sight, but if you walk by faith you are not living by the senses. The way faith was taught was more like ‘you create your world by the things you speak’ and stuff like that. The focus was on ‘acting right’. If you say wrong things or ever admit to any problems or failure you are not in faith. While many of these things sound good, the result was you become self-conscious and begin seeing yourself as the person who is in charge of ‘changing your world’. If ‘your world’ is messed up, well it’s ‘YOUR’ fault. Biblical faith is based more on the ‘person’ of God. You are not trying to say and think positive all the time, in as much as you are depending on God even in the midst of your problems and failures. While many of the Word of Faith brothers focus on Paul’s teaching in Romans on ‘looking not at the things that are seen, but unseen’ they seem to forget that Abraham was the man of faith that these scriptures reference. Abraham did not say or do everything right! His life is not shown as someone who had this perfect impenetrable faith confession. He blew it many times. But he always had the ability to ‘look to the promise of God’ instead of his own failures. This type of faith works for you right now. You don’t see the answer in you becoming this ‘robot’ type person who can never say something wrong or even admit to failure. You simply tell God in the midst of your trials ‘I can’t make it, but you can!’ Now bother Kenyon had a background in the metaphysical cults/groups. These are the groups that believe you change reality thru thought and meditation [Christian science and others]. They believe that reality is not this material world, but what you say and think create ‘your world’. Many modern word of faith brothers don’t realize that the type of faith they espouse is a lot like these groups. I have bought and read many of brother Kenyon’s books over the years, also many of the modern word of faith brothers as well. There was always a sense of ‘mystical’ or ‘strange’ stuff I would run across. These brothers teach that Jesus was ‘born again’. They take the verse that says Jesus is the first begotten from the dead and they see this as ‘being born again’. Most Christians see this as meaning Jesus was the first to rise from the dead with a resurrection body. While others were raised from the dead before Jesus, they all died again. Not Jesus! So this is kind of a strange way to take scripture and ‘twist’ it into a form of faith that has Christian elements in it, but really doesn’t present the Christianity of the New Testament. I remember sharing with a person who was heavily into this movement. They were struggling financially for years. They were always living under this guilt of ‘creating this poverty world’ and constantly focusing on rebuking the devil and trying to ‘create a prosperous world’. I tried to show this person that they weren’t really living by simple faith and trust, but more like under a legalism that you are responsible for not being wealthy and you must do and say everything right or its your fault! I showed them 1st Timothy chapter 6. It says its O.K. to not be wealthy and not feel bad about it. I showed this person that faith was simply being able to thank God that all your needs [not wants!] are being met and if you live the rest of your life without becoming rich it’s O.K. ‘BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, DON’T DESIRE TO BE RICH’ these are actual scriptures! Well this person finally saw the legalism and guilt that their understanding of faith brought upon them. They later sent me a message thru a mutual friend that said ‘tell John thank you, I am now free from the legalism that I was living under’. I do believe that brother Kenyon [and all the others] are Christians who mean well. But we need to recognize that some of our teaching has gotten off track and return to the biblical message. I know some of you are uncomfortable with these things, and I am sorry about this. But I felt it was important to drop this in. God bless! NOTE: Let me add that it was a matter of choosing to believe scripture over and above the teaching of this movement. Its fun to see yourself as rich and happy. Even spending your whole life just thinking about it can be addictive! This is what Jesus meant when he said ‘you can not serve God and money’. Affluence becomes ‘your God’ in many of these groups. I used to watch these weekend realtor infomercials because its fun to strategize and think ‘money thoughts’. In the past I have made money by investing in real estate. But there came a time where I laid that aside for a higher purpose. I am not saying you can’t be in real estate, or that you can’t be rich! Just don’t confuse biblical faith with a ‘get all you can’ mentality!

(181)I felt the Lord wants me to stay on this for a little while. Many sincere ‘word of faith/prosperity believers’ honestly believe that tradition has portrayed Jesus and the disciples as being poor, and they were really rich. These honest believers are already ‘swerving’ from the faith at this point without realizing it. This journey often leads them to a point where they ‘see’ the answer to world evangelism as being ‘if we return to the truth of Jesus being rich, and we become like him as scripture demands, then we will have enough money to finance the end time harvest’. So good Christians at this point don’t realize that they are violating all the other verses I went over in these last few entries. Deception is powerful. I do blame the preachers who continue on this road despite the fact that they have been reproved over and again. It’s difficult to realize you might have spent your life as a false prophet. Few make the break after achieving prominence! Jim Bakker made the break. I remember Jim saying in his book how after the Lord started showing him his faults, that it dawned on him that he was preaching for Christians to become rich. This became his message. A few months back I tuned in to one of the famous prosperity brothers as I was flipping thru the channels. I stopped, not to be critical! I haven’t tuned him in for years. I thought I would give it a shot, maybe he’s preaching the gospel now? You never know. I clicked my remote and could only leave it on for about a minute. He was talking all about money again! The sad thing is that many of the more sincere young believers, who grasp this teaching thinking it will promote end time evangelism, don’t realize that the fact that the message has become money in and of itself is hindering evangelism! If most of the money going to support the prosperity brothers [they do get a lot!] is simply propagating a self help ‘you can be rich’ infomercial type gospel, then this in and of itself is hindering the message. You could be feeding the poor, giving the money to ‘Billy Grahams’ or Larry Jones. The lust for wealth has taken the money and made ‘money’ its God. Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If all your talking and preaching is money, to the point where you doctrine officially has changed the image of Jesus Christ into a contemporary prosperity preacher, then you my friend are in very dangerous territory! I just felt like today there needed to be a ‘strong’ reproof for some of you on the edge of this stuff. Sort of like God saying ‘beware’. Jesus said to ‘BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS, FOR A MANS LIFE CONSISTETH NOT IN THE ABUNDANCE OF THE THINGS THAT HE POSSESSES’ we sometimes need to ‘BE WARE’!

(182)Paul, in dealing with false teachers in the Church said ‘WHOSE MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED, TEACHING THINGS THAT THEY OUGHT NOT FOR GAIN’ I know of good men who feel that addressing this issue head on is not walking in love. Over the years what bothered me was the lack of good preachers who refused to deal with these issues. Paul straight-out recognized that the teachers who were doing harm to the church had to be silenced. Not by passing some law, or thru physical restraint. But by dealing head on with the issue thru scripture! This is primarily the way ‘spiritual warfare’ is carried out. CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS AND EVERY HIGH THING THAT EXALTS ITSELF AGIANST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST It is the accurate presenting of Christ as well as the true knowing of him in Spirit that wars against the false images of him that are presented by the false prophets. There comes a time in the Christian preachers experience where he is commanded to reprove things, with all longsuffering. I hold out hope for the innocent victims of doctrines like this, but I sure am mad against the brothers whose ‘mouths must be stopped!’

(183)Now I want you to see how we are doing battle right now against mindsets. The verse I just showed you is scripture. THOSE THAT DESIRE TO BE RICH WILL FALL INTO A SNARE. Many believers do not realize that scripture commands us to not have this desire. If you were to tell them this, they would say ‘well you believe tradition, and I’ll believe the Word’ not realizing that this is ‘the Word’. But didn’t Jesus come to give us abundant life? Yes he did. And ‘abundant life’ is not measured by material wealth according to scripture! The heroes of the FAITH in Hebrews chapter 11 all had great faith. They were stoned, cut in half, as well as receiving the dead raised again and subduing kingdoms. Well I thought faith meant you always get the desired result. The desired result is the purpose of God. If that purpose happens to be a cross or martyrdom, then you fulfilled your purpose. The fulfilling of your purpose IS ABUNDANT LIFE! I know it takes some time for us to see these things, but for some of you it’s really time! Your SET TIME HAS COME in a way that you weren’t expecting! NOTE: One of the ways the enemy ‘steals’ from us is by convincing us into thinking that life consists ‘of the abundance of the things we possess’. In essence many people have been robbed from the ‘abundant life’ by living their lives for ‘things’ while they missed the true destiny of God.

(184)I am listening right now to a brother preaching a prosperity message. He is quoting James words on the power of the tongue. He is using this as an example to always maintain a positive confession [for wealth, victory, etc.] He is alluding to the fact that the ‘nay sayers’ who don’t believe we should all be rich are not using their ‘tongues’ right. Despite the fact that James will go on to say things like ‘God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith’ ‘the rich despise you and use Gods name in vain’ ‘the rich will have a day of judgment where their riches will be of no value to them’. This brother really doesn’t see the abuse of the Word that this reasoning leads to. If James is teaching in this letter to maintain a positive ‘money confession’ then James himself is failing to live up to his own standard by what he is saying in the rest of the letter! This can be maddening at times! I like the brother who is sharing these things on TV right now, but we seriously need an overhaul in our understanding of scripture.

(215)A few years ago we had a ‘word of faith/prosperity church’ that used to broadcast from our city. I actually liked the program and would tune in from time to time. I remember one week they announced that they were going to have a rich Christian come in and share his faith and how money and riches do not interfere with serving God. The person who sponsored the program then did the interview with this wealthy believer. During the interview it ‘slipped out’ that this rich Christian tried to get out of doing the program because the day before they had some bad weather in their area of Texas and needed to take care of the cattle and couldn’t do the ministry thing. Well the announcer admitted that they twisted his arm to come. It reminded me of the parable of Jesus. How some people couldn’t attend the wedding supper because they had other priorities. Some had to ‘go see their land’ and couldn’t come. Even though this radio program intended to show how riches and other areas of wealth don’t hinder Gods work, they inadvertently showed the opposite. I also remember this broadcaster share at the time that God would never call someone to be a missionary and suffer on the foreign field if they didn’t want to do it. That in essence Gods will is to make us happy, and if we don’t feel we would be happy then God is not going to ask us to do things contrary to our desires. A few weeks later I had the privilege of hearing a missionary family give their testimony. They were on vacation from some 3rd world country and speaking in Corpus. The wife shared all the physical trials that they and their kids suffered. How the medical care is not good where they’re at. She went on and shared that even though in the natural her flesh says ‘why should I suffer’, that when she sees the results of souls saved that the sacrifice is worth it! It’s stuff like this that I have seen over the years that causes me to speak out on these issues.

(258)I am up early at my daughters ranch, walking outside and praying/prophesying. I do realize if someone hears me they will think I am crazy, it wont be the first time! It’s the Saturday right after Good Friday. I will celebrate Easter today. I am working tomorrow. Just remembered something, the religious leaders were always condemning Jesus for ‘working on the Sabbath’. In death he finally shut them up. Can you imagine what they would have said if he rose on the Sabbath day! Well I wanted to share this. There are at this season many Apostles and Prophets who are thoroughly mad at me. I realize why, let me explain. Over the years there have been many ‘cessationists’ that later on saw the truth of the gifts of the Spirit and the ‘5 fold’ ministry. A lot of these brothers cant grasp the fact that even though the Lord has used them to prophesy and even do great miracles [by the Spirit] that he is also tremendously ‘jealous’ for the gospel. God will even allow ‘cessationists’ [I am not one myself] to reprove the more extreme elements of the Charismatic/word of faith movements. It’s like the Prophets feel like ‘hey, I have spoken great words. The Lord has used me to do mighty deeds. Who do you think you are in bringing correction to me’? I don’t care who you are, to be frank about it. Neither does God! Don’t mean to be mean, God is no respecter of persons. When anyone permits really off the wall stuff to slip in to the church, and then not only refuses to ‘prophesy’ against it, but actually defends it. Then at this point God will raise up anybody who is willing to come against it. Listen to the radical contemporary Christian rock of our day. They say things like ‘don’t live for the stuff of this world’ ‘don’t fall for the American dream’. God is using these young kids to prophesy what I have been preaching. Look at the ‘emerging church’ today. The same thing. God is not concerned about defending your Apostolic/Prophetic ministry. If you guys [Prophets who know about us] refuse to speak truth, then it will come from another direction. I just wanted to speak this. The Prophetic/Apostolic pride is preventing the Word of the Lord to have free course.

(263)I want to be careful in sharing this. I had a friend who was either ordained or sponsored by a large regional church [Houston]. Over a period of years I taught this person some of the things I have shown you guys thru this blog. It was difficult for this person to choose scripture over the strong word of faith background that they had. This person even told me ‘well you and Paul [Apostle] can believe your way, I’LL believe mine’. They said this after I simply read 1st Timothy chapter 6 and showed them how the mindset of the New Testament was directly opposed to the peculiar style of belief they were taught. At one point this person began to forsake many of the doctrines they previously held. Then I could tell they went back to their old beliefs and were telling others that I was a false prophet. I do find it strange that someone who preaches a radical message of forsaking all for Christ is a false prophet, but many of the teachers this person listened to routinely distorted the image of Jesus and taught that Jesus and the disciples were some of the wealthiest people of the first century. A total and complete distortion of the New Testament record. Well I am sad to say this person died soon after this. They were in there 40’s and I was not glad to have heard this. I am not saying they died as a direct result of calling me a false prophet. I do believe God allows certain abuses to go on for so long [like the teachings of this movement] before he says ‘enough is enough’ [FOR A LONG TIME I HAVE HELD MY PEACE AND BEEN SILENT, NOW I WILL ROAR LIKE A WOMAN IN TRAVAIL-Isaiah] There was a time where the Lord ‘overlooked men’s ignorance’ and then says ‘I cant let this go on any longer’. I felt the Lord wanted me to share this. The primary job for the preacher of the gospel is to present Jesus, when you blatantly present ‘another Jesus’ [Galatians] God will eventually deal with you. NOTE: I find it amazing that one of these preachers used to regularly come on T.B.N. wearing very expensive jewelry and teach how Jesus was just like this. You can’t be so obviously wrong and spread this stuff to hundreds of thousands of young believers. It’s the devastating effect that these guys have on the new believers that is tragic. This brother eventually tried to start a branch ‘church’ in Corpus Christi. I actually called him out publicly, by name, on radio. I know this was strong, but the amount of blatant heresy had to be confronted. Their church, as far as I know, never made it. NOTE: In the early days I had Pastor friends who heard the stuff we were preaching and without fully realizing the heresy these guys were spreading, would defend them from the pulpit. This directly limited the intended growth of their churches. God is much more concerned with the accurate preaching of his Son, than with the size of a church. Many of these brothers would directly reject our message because they were believing for lots of money at the time. It’s OK to trust God for great resources, the problem was they were believing for the resources and defending the false teachers at the same time. You can believe God for money without defending heretics! NOTE: I remember showing some of these truths to a Pastor in Corpus. He then said ‘the bible speaks of God blessing us financially’ which of course is true. The inability of this leader to be able to distinguish between being blessed and ‘those that teach gain is godliness have swerved from the faith, avoid them’ is a problem in leadership today. The level of discernment is severely lacking.

(264)I saw a good message from Rick Warren, he was speaking at a Hillsong conference in Australia. He basically preached what I preach on money [of course not as strong!] He was quoting Jesus on ‘A MANS LIFE CONSISTS NOT IN THE ABUNDANCE OF THE THINGS THAT HE POSSESSES ’ It was interesting, as they panned thru the front row they showed a major prosperity preacher listening. The message was a great message, but you can tell it didn’t fit in with the usual fare. It’s like you could see that the prosperity crowd would not really ‘draw’ from this message. You kind of get ‘programmed’ to want to ‘receive stuff’ when your in the movement. When someone comes along and preaches the real gospel, it’s ‘strange’ to the prosperity brothers.

(314)CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP DOES NOT EXIST FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELF ADVANCEMENT AND UPWARD MOBLITY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ‘LAITY’ we need to re think our function in this area. Paul and Jesus were not going around promoting what God was doing thru them, nor were they recruiting ‘financial partners’ to simply experience the Kingdom vicariously thru the gifted leader. They were depositing into the people and releasing them to function on their own. You find Paul and Jesus receiving financial support to send them and help them in their traveling ministry, but today’s mindset of the Leader being ‘sent’ all over the world while the saints sit back and wait to hear all the stories was not the normal mode. Paul did share what God was doing, don’t get me wrong. But today’s mindset sees the people as promoters of the leaders lifestyle and gift. This is why you have well meaning Ministry leaders who live in multi million dollar homes while the average supporter of the ministry lives in a $100,ooo dollar one [or rents an apartment]. It’s OK to live in a million dollar home, but it’s hard to appeal to supporters who are on fixed income, and to ask them to give out of their lack while doing this. The leaders have simply become victims of the western mindset of ministry that pools 90 % of the funds from the average person. While many of the leaders do use the majority of the funds for good things [Christian TV] they seem to justify a lifestyle of wealth and happiness at the expense of the sacrificial giver by their reading of the prosperity scriptures. ‘If God wants me to have wealth, then it’s OK’. They truly don’t see the rebukes in scripture to the ‘shepherds’ who have become wealthy at the expense of the sheep. Being wealthy is OK, you are not allowed to do it from the overall aggregate giving of many average income people. Scripture does forbid this in many places. NOTE: If the leaders salary is equal to those who are sending in support then it’s OK. If the leader is more frugal, a better investor and manages thru time to buy a million dollar home then that’s fine. I am speaking of those who run large ministries and their ‘salary’ including all the perks is in the millions. They often have their family members on the payroll at large salaries [500 thousand] while they really don’t do that much. These leaders look at the average CEO of a large company who makes millions more and justifies it this way. The reason you shouldn’t do this is because the non-profit ministry is really not ‘producing a product’ or commodity. The way they are bringing in millions [or billions] is thru outright giving. This is different than a for profit business. So the way to measure salary shouldn’t be thru the abusive CEO pay, but thru what I just showed you. Paul was reaching the entire known world of his day, pretty much single handedly. He found himself making tents at times to support himself. He traveled like the average person and lived in a lifestyle commensurate with those he was reaching. Jesus also. This is why you read Peter saying ‘desire to be an elder, not for filthy lucre’s sake, but of a ready mind’. This is why it is so important for us to have a good understanding of scripture. A friend of mine was attending a local word of faith church. And right from the start the preacher was confessing ‘you wait and see, my faith is going to produce a Cadillac by the end of this year’. Well this brother means well, he just doesn’t see all the things I just showed you. And when you try to correct this stuff, they will not listen! NOTE: What bugs the ‘hell’ out of me is the inability for prophetic people to see this. It’s like when you try to show a ‘prophet’ something he dismisses all the verses and warnings about this because he knows the other verses on prosperity. Heck [Ill’ be nice] I know them too!

(321)AFFLICTION SHALL NOT RISE UP A SECOND TIME, THOUGH I HAVE AFFLICTED THEE, I WILL AFFLICT THEE NO MORE Over the years I remember discussing many of these issues with national ministers who have come to Corpus. I remember at one event there were many ‘word of faith’ people who attended and would absolutely be against the stuff I preach. They really enjoyed the meeting that the minister spoke at. Afterward I had a chance to fellowship with him. I was honest with him about the issues that I deal with thru our ministry. He told me he could sense the ‘word of faith/prosperity’ type teachings as being a real stumbling block to what he felt the Lord was trying to do at the meeting. I have often seen examples of leaders who were beginning to see a lot of this stuff, and I could tell they didn’t know how to deal with it. I remember hearing one of the Fathers of the movement begin backtracking on stuff that he knew was wrong, it was a sense of trying to undo some of the stuff. It was a good effort, but way too late. He has since died. His son now heads up the ministry and I remember hearing his son [a major word of faith figure] telling the people ‘you have all these people going around afraid to make a bad confession, thinking any bad statement will change their world for the worse. It’s a little legalistic’ [in so many words]. Another very famous black prosperity guy said ‘you have those in the ‘ultra faith’ camps’ and he went on and tried to say that he wasn’t one of them. He is one of the WORST! But it was stuff like this that shows me there is a ‘behind the scenes’ reality of the falseness of this whole movement. Many key leaders know this. The ‘laity’ at large do not realize this! Don’t have faith in men and movements, they will fail. Trust in God! For many of you having to re evaluate all this again has been painful. God is saying deal with it this time around and AFFLICTION WILL NOT RISE UP A SECOND TIME.

(322)I am trying to hear God right now. Felt this is for someone. Many people use as a defense ‘well, I know it works brother [prosperity gospel] because it has turned my life around financially’. This very well might be true. Napoleon Hill, one of the original ‘think and grow rich’ teachers taught a highly successful method of making money. I have read and listened to a tape of him speak [I do have a classic cassette tape from him!] I used to be into studying lots of motivational stuff. The things Mr. Hill taught definitely worked. He taught a type of meditation that said if you think money thoughts all the time, eventually you create an atmosphere around you that brings in wealth. This does work. The only problem is many who try to ‘christianize’ this teaching are violating the teachings of Jesus who plainly said ‘seek first [think on] the Kingdom of God and all these other things [money and stuff] will be added unto you’. So the defense that says ‘well you got what you confessed, and I got what I confessed’ isn’t a real defense. You might well have gotten a lot of money by following this movement. Getting a lot of money is not the criteria you use to judge whether a thing is right or wrong. You judge it by Gods Word! NOTE: Felt like the Lord just freed someone from this movement. Sort of like the straw that broke the camels back. Those of you who are not familiar with Napoleon Hill, he was a very successful turn of the century [1800-1900] motivational teacher. Many in the Word of Faith movement know that Mr. Hill was cultic. Mr. Hill had ‘spirit guides’ who brought these ‘teachings’ and stuff to him. Though many of the prosperity brothers will deny that they have his influence in their teachings, they do have many disturbing aspects of it. E.W. Kenyon also has influenced the main Father of the word of faith movement, Kenneth Hagin. Brother Hagin often would deny this. I do think brother Hagin was a good man who became a victim of deception. I never studied any of these guys out of trying to find fault. I was really into this movement at one time and studied it as a student [I know this statement offends people. I don’t know how else I can say that the visions brother Hagin wrote about are false. Did he really see ‘Jesus’ in these visions where Jesus says ‘you can write your own ticket with God’ Brother Hagin might have thought it? He might have seen ‘someone’? But for me or any other ‘preacher’ to not be able to flatly say ‘this was not Jesus Christ’ is being unfaithful to our calling!] It bothers me to hear Pastors that I like quoting ‘I am creating an atmosphere of money around me with my words’. I feel for these guys, I know their headed down a path that is not good. NOTE: If you read this whole passage from Jesus he plainly teaches the disciples to ‘not think money thoughts’. He says ‘the gentiles are always THINKING/WORRYING about the things of life’. Food, Clothes and money/material goods. Jesus says the Christians aren’t supposed to have these things at the forefront of their thoughts and meditations. Now I do realize that Jesus isn’t teaching irresponsibility. It’s fine to invest and have a financial plan. But he is going against the strong prosperity teaching that causes material things to be meditated on all the time. I had a Pastor friend who would come out and defend these guys at the same time the Lord was trying to undo this stuff. He would make statements in defense that would make it hard to undo. I realize they now see a lot of this stuff. At the time they weren’t ‘studied up’ like I was in all of the verses and stuff. To be frank about it, I work full time, do a lot of actual charity work on the streets, don’t take a salary [or even offerings!] and these brothers are like ‘we didn’t have time to study these verses like you’ What! You guys are in ‘full time ministry’ your main job is TO STUDY. Don’t want to be mean, but give me a break. Also if you use the argument that ‘you got what you confessed, and I got what I confessed’ look at Paul. He preached directly against this doctrine [1st Timothy 6] he was not wealthy at all. He suffered a lot. It would be easy to say Paul got what he confessed. The point is Christianity is not about ‘thinking money thoughts’ all the time. Creating some type of ‘financial vacuum’ around yourself. It’s giving your life for eternal rewards. I heard a Pastor say he was being reproved by someone on the dangers of the prosperity gospel, and later the person needed money for bus fare. Therefore the reproof must have been wrong because this person didn’t have money. I guess you could have said this about Paul and the other New Testament Apostles. Peter made a bad confession when he told the cripple guy ‘silver and gold have I none’ but still God used Peter mightily and performed a miracle. This miracle brought as much ‘advertisement’ as a million dollars of ad space! We need to stop judging people or ministries based on the amount of money they have, this is not the criterion!

(323)I have recently noticed some good prophetic people becoming more aware of some of the things we are saying. Some have seemed to respond in a way that might be like ‘we have secretly known of these major problems for years. We have ‘quietly prayed’ and tried to address these concerns. Don’t be so hard’. No one has specifically told me this [actually now that I think about it someone has!]. Let me say, I don’t want to ‘start a war’ among the ‘prophets’. I like the brothers and really receive direction from a few. The main problem with ‘not going public’ and trying to deal with it quietly is the fact that so many new believers are slipping right past the ‘quiet correctors’ and spending 40 years in the wilderness needlessly. Most of the ‘quiet correctors’ never warned any body away from this movement. There are a variety of reasons, and I can’t judge their motives. Suffice it to say that scripture COMMANDS us to confront these things publicly. Paul said WHOSE MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED, THEY DECIEVE ENTIRE HOUSEHOLDS while speaking of the false teachers who were doing it for financial gain. I understand the feelings of the ‘behind the scenes’ reformers. It’s just the ‘reform’ never seems to take place under this strategy!

(324)ISAIAH 48 ‘ hear this O house of Jacob [my people listen] which sware by my name, but not in truth [you say JESUS IS LORD but are denying my image constantly] I have declared these things before, these things went forth out of my mouth many times over your life. I knew you were stubborn and would not listen the first time I warned you. I have now once again showed you ‘hidden things’. I knew you would deal deceitfully, and were called a transgressor from the start. For my sake I will hold back my anger and give you another chance to make it right. I have chosen to correct you in the furnace of affliction. I know it’s hard, but how can I continue to let my name be polluted. [You use my name and say ‘Jesus is Lord’ and I have no idea who this image belongs to that you confess!] I have raised up the ‘spirit of prophecy’ [thru many, not just one voice!] I will make HIS WAY PROSPEROUS. I am the Lord thy God which TEACHETH THEE TO PROFIT [godliness with contentment is very profitable, but they that seek wealth come to confusion] O that thou hast listened to me before, your peace would have been like a river. There is no peace saith God to the wicked [wicked is a word that denotes a ‘twisting’ {wicker} when you twist scripture and the truth of Jesus Christ there is no peace. God knew from the beginning that many would take this path. He chooses to call them to repentance so they will now have peace like a river. True peace in God.] NOTE: I remember when I used to regularly watch the brother from the Forth Worth area. He did a whole week or so on finances, and he would end the prayer by praying to ‘our great Lord and financier’ I thought of the verses where the brothers are fighting over their inheritance and they ask Jesus to settle their financial dispute. Jesus says ‘who made me a judge over you in these matters’. Jesus was saying ‘who taught you to come to me in this way and view me as your financier; I am not here to settle your financial disputes. I am hear to fulfill the purpose of my Father’. No mountain will stand in the way this time, even one who calls himself ‘eagle mountain’. THOU HAST HEARD, SEE ALL THIS. AND WILL NOT YE DECLARE IT. I HAVE CALLED YOU, I HAVE SPOKEN THRU YOU AND I SHALL MAKE YOUR WAY PROSPEROUS.

(332)Man was ‘built’ with the inherent desire to ‘storehouse’. This is a need for man to ‘build up, store up, increase wealth’. This desire was originally intended to manifest itself thru the ‘saving’ of eternal rewards. When God made man in his image, this desire was originally ‘sanctified’ and was to coincide with Gods original intention to give man dominion over all the earth. Man would ‘collect’ if you will, all created things under his dominion, man would ‘corral’ these ‘things’ and provide safety and a hedge around these things for the glory of God. In essence the same mindset is seen in the New Testament with the stories that Jesus tells about God giving his ‘vineyard’ to people to take care of and things like this. It is inherent for man to want to storehouse and build the resources of things. This is why Jesus warned against the strong draw that ‘mammon’ [lust for financial increase] would present to the purpose of God in the church. There are verses in the Old Testament that say men build up their financial fortunes and say to themselves ‘when I die I will pass this legacy on to my kids, and MY NAME will endure thru the heritage of this financial legacy that will continue to operate after I am gone’ [King Ranch]. Now scripture says a good man leaves an inheritance to his kids, so this concept is not wrong in and of itself. It’s just that Jesus new how strong this pursuit of wealth can become and he chose to teach that it is the singular most competitive threat to the purpose of the Kingdom. Many fall into this trap by seeing the purpose of God to invade all areas of society, even financial institutions. They see the ‘surface’ level of teaching on finances in scripture, and then go headlong into this twisted interpretation of scripture that finds ‘proof texts’ that eventually leads them to preach a wealthy Jesus who fits the image of the modern day televangelist. You then find people [like us] who try to bring back into alignment the distorted view that many of these brothers espouse, but those ‘taken captive’ by this insatiable desire for wealth cannot see beyond this strong inherent desire that God originally put in man. You can present plain scripture to them, and they will even argue that Paul and Jesus were not really saying what they said. This is caused by the lure of covetousness that has replaced the original intent of God to ‘storehouse’ with the less noble desire of ‘building wealth’. NOTE; this same mindset can be seen in the desire to ‘build’ a ministry. You begin focusing your energies on using your faith to bring in the finances to operate. You ‘see’ the increase of income as the ‘answer’ to the noble intention of carrying out Gods purpose. But when this desire begins to take precedence over the actual preaching of the gospel [by distorting the image of Christ to fit into the mindset of bringing in the wealth] then the enemy has tricked you into preventing the original purpose of God to manifest thru you. At the end of the day you might bring in the desired income stream, and with this a sense of ‘mission accomplished’ you might even reject guys like me out of hand because of this desire to ‘bring in the resources at all costs’ but when all is said and done, if your not really preaching the biblical gospel, the enemy wins, even if you funded the ministry! NOTE; over the years people have confronted the leaders of Christian TV stations. There are a bunch of brothers who regularly preach covetousness to an extreme. Most of the ‘presidents’ of these stations are not ‘full blown’ money preachers. But they have seen God work in areas of finances, and they have seen the uprightness of many of the prosperity brothers. Some [like the Fort Worth brother] are very good people. They do not ‘splurge’ in outwardly fancy lifestyles. It’s just that somewhere down the line they got ‘hooked’ by the lure of these things. The leaders of the networks have seen how the apologists went after these guys, and out of sympathy the network presidents for the most part decided to air their programs. These presidents are going all over the world, trying to start stations in many countries. Doing noble things for the cause of the gospel. Some of the wives of these great stations actually graduated from Rhema [a major word of faith college]. All these people are good people. The TV leaders see the good heart of those who they have known in the past that were ‘prosperity/word of faith’ teachers. It’s a matter of real humility to see the things that I am trying to say, and to fall on the side of ‘truth in love’. I do believe if these stations continue to run these programs, the Lord will do something about it. But those stations who actually ‘make the hard decisions’ in love, will remain and be much stronger for the gospel.

(333)When Jesus overthrew the moneychangers in the Temple, it was a violent prophetic act. When Paul warned against false prophets he was ‘negative’. When Jude [a bible book in the New Testament] warned against false prophets he spent time dealing with a problem. Some [prophets] believe the way to deal with all the problems in the church is thru praise. That if you simply always say positive things and praise God, that the weapon of praise and a positive confession will correct everything. The New Testament disagrees.

(339)Lets try to undo some stuff. One of the other areas where Christians have been ‘taught wrong’ is the area of suffering and difficulty. I remember the elaborate explanations that the Word of Faith/prosperity preachers would go thru to contradict the plain meaning of verses. I don’t want to harp on this, but thanks to the worldwide voice that these brothers have had thru Christian TV there are lots of people who are taught wrong. First; There is a verse in Corinthians that says ‘I sought the Lord 3 times to take this away from me and the Lord said ‘my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness’. The old time churches teach that Paul was sick and God wouldn’t heal him. Of course the prosperity guys would never go for this so they taught that God was telling Paul ‘I have given you the authority, you rebuke it and make it go away’. First, whatever it was that Paul was asking God to take away, if you read the whole passage you will see that the lesson Paul learned was God was allowing this thing to co exist for the purpose of humility. God was bringing great revelation from Paul and the fact that God would not remove the problem was what happened here. Like I said before, it is almost ‘demonic’ how the word of faith preachers get around every single verse like this. It is amazing. Now what do I think the ‘thorn’ in the flesh was. Paul said he asked God to remove the ‘messenger of satan that was sent to disturb him’ it is possible that the ‘messenger’ was an actual person [maybe the main Pharisee out of the Jerusalem church who was going around infecting Paul’s churches with legalism?] It is possible that an actual ‘messenger’ was really what Paul was talking about. To interpret this passage by saying God was telling Paul to remove the problem ‘with his own faith’ is false. Just wish the Christian networks weren’t letting so much stuff like this ‘slip thru’. The word of faith group also teaches that the Lord would never use actual sickness to chasten ‘discipline’ his children. For the most part I kinda agree with this. The old time churches used to have the attitude ‘if I am sick then God is trying to teach me something’ so the prosperity guys go to the other extreme and say ‘if you are sick, somehow it is your fault. Sooner or later you will see you did something wrong, didn’t have enough faith, etc’ There is an interesting verse in Corinthians that says ‘for this cause many are weak and sick among you, and some have died’ and then ‘if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord so we will not be condemned with the world’. Believe me I am familiar with all the arguments around these verses. To be honest, in this context the word ‘sick’ and God ‘chastening’ go hand in hand. Can I explain how this is true along with the truth that God heals and the enemy kills. I can go thru a few pages on it, but for now simply go check these scriptures out. I am not saying Christians should sit idly by and accept sickness. God’s word says ‘by his stripes I am healed’ and I believe that. I am just saying we don’t have to go thru the bible and find ways to explain away everything that we don’t like or understand. And finally ‘Is it ever Gods will to suffer’ well the word of faith preachers teach no. They say all suffering, chastening and discipline that God does is limited to ‘the word’. To be honest once again they have a real intricate system of ‘theology’ that seems to explain away all the plain verses on suffering. They will take you to the suffering/discipline verses and say ‘the suffering spoken of here is the ‘pain’ you experience when Gods word shows you that you are wrong’ [I guess sort of like what we have been doing!] and then they also extend the ‘suffering’ to the idea that when all Christians are wealthy and healthy and every thing is full and good, that when others talk about them, that in essence this is the ‘persecution’ that arose ‘because of the word’. That is because they have appropriated the word to arrive at this level of ‘fullness in all areas’ that any one who disagrees is actually fulfilling the suffering verse. Well it does get tiring after a while. First, Peter says [in the bible] that Jesus suffered and left us an example on how to suffer also. Did Jesus suffer by everything going well and people just talking about him? I mean heresy is deceitful because it can be believable. I think it was Hitler who said if you tell a lie long enough people will begin to believe it as truth. The New Testament teaches there are Christians who in Gods will suffer. These prosperity guys even explained away the martyrdom of Stephen in the book of Acts. Cant go thru the whole thing, but they taught basically that it was Stephens choice to believe for deliverance or go thru martyrdom. He chose martyrdom. I guess you can say we all choose whether we will be obedient to Gods call or not. And in some cases people do choose to ‘opt out’ of the suffering. But this is not Gods will. Many of these preachers who preach this have actually ‘opted out of Gods will’ by choosing to embrace these things. They have managed to get around the ‘cross experiences’ thru these elaborate schemes and will have to answer to God for teaching this to so many people. So today we learned that sometimes we are called to go thru hard times. We don’t accept everything that happens to us with a fatalistic mindset ‘whatever will be will be’ like the Calvinist who stubbed his toe real bad and said ‘sure glad that’s over’. But we do understand that sometimes the will of God is ‘my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness’.

(340)There are so many things to say right now, I really wanted to take a break. I read an article from a book on business and fulfilling life’s goals. It wasn’t a Christian book, but I liked the principle. The author shared how she learned that one of the major obstacles to doing what matters in life is YOU! That is we have a tendency to become ‘stagnant’ and live our lives in the parameters that we are familiar with, in the same ‘scenery’ we have been looking at for years. When we decide to step out in faith and ‘remove’ ourselves from familiar surroundings, this act in and of itself creates the new ‘route’ and way to see beyond the present [actually a lot of this wasn’t in the article]. Biblically God calls us at times to ‘Abrahamic’ faith. ‘Get out of your country and from your kindred and from your fathers house and I will make of thee a great nation’ this last year my children moved out and bought homes and ‘resettled’ in new land. If you were to ask me at the beginning of the year to have helped them ‘re camp’ and move out and everything, I would have said ‘no way’ you guys are working full time, attending college and stuff, you are biting off more than you can chew! But now I actually enjoy going to my daughters ranch and spending the night. It’s ‘new territory’ that my ‘seed/offspring’ walked into and I am in a sense entering in to their harvest. I read online some stuff on the prosperity brothers. I really cant ‘stay there’ too long. I know you guys think I am hard on them, but there a lot of critics who really personally attack them with name calling. We look ‘tame’ compared to them. I feel like the reason I am not a ‘theologian’ or even a ‘suit and tie’ preacher is because the Lord wants us to reach a lot of the younger generation of kids who are ‘lost’ in this movement. Most people that finally meet me after hearing us for years don’t realize I really look like some throwback ‘hippie’ from the 70’s. I am not purposely doing it; I just am more comfortable with jeans and raggedy clothes then with the whole ‘ I am a preacher’ type look. I feel many of the kids in these movements have not been effectively reached because the ‘reproovers’ have been the old type guys, and some have been way to personal. I was watching an old show from some businessmen who were Christians. The whole time period and persona of these brothers was another time and place. They were sharing on their experiences of coming to faith in Christ. Very successful and well-known business guys. As one of them was sharing on what the Lord showed him in the parable of the sower, he made an off the cuff remark that the parable wasn’t about money ‘30-60-100 fold’ but about spiritual truths. I thought how sad, that this brother is right, but this false interpretation has been going around for so long that it even reached these brothers from ‘another time and place’. I recently read a vision that a prophet had, part of it dealt with God doing a mighty deliverance among his people. There were some other personal things that led me to see our role in this. I pray for you ‘young guys’ God is asking you to step out and re position yourselves spiritually, you are required to ‘leave your fathers house’ [the old stuff you were taught from men you respected] and move to another place.

(363)I was parked down by the bay/gulf the other day. I was listening to Christian radio out of San Antonio. I heard a church from the area. The Pastor was real nice, kinda reminded me of our early days. A little ‘too nice’. A good word, but very apologetic. Sort of like ‘we have a very nice church, very loving people. Our childrens worker is really nice. We have a very loving family’ all of it was good and true. It sounded like the early tapes I recorded the first few years of ministry. I remember going thru them years later and throwing them out. A lot of the stuff was OK, but there was a lot of ‘word of faith’ mixture that I was uncomfortable with [I used to actually say ‘we now know it’s Gods will for us to all be rich’. Ughh!] There was also a lot of ‘good morning everybody, I hope you had a very, very wonderful week. We are going to have so much fun today’. Ughh again! This just reminded me of how we have lost our prophetic voice. We do sound like wimps to the world at times.

(364)‘To obey is better than sacrifice’ at this stage in what we are doing, some people have truly questioned the whole concept of what they have been preaching and believing for years. Some times when we question these things there is a tendency to use as a ‘cover’ ‘my ministry has done good things, we might not be as pure as we should be in the gospel, but we have done good things’. This is thinking to ‘sacrifice’ is better than obedience. I do understand the difficulty that ministries go thru when they do an ‘inventory’ and realize that 99% of their teaching was ‘missing the gospel’. I heard a testimony from a word of faith/prosperity preacher. He was/is pastoring a church. For many years he focused on the prosperity gospel. He was convicted over a period of years by seeing the many things I have shown you. He realized that his library was consumed with the teachers of the movement. That most of his focus was not really the true gospel. It was not easy to admit this to himself. He finally threw out his entire library and got back to focusing on the Bible. Jim Bakker went thru this same thing. A ‘realization’ of ‘what have I been teaching and preaching’. The point is God is happy when we ‘sacrifice’. Do good things. Give money to Christian things. But all the sacrificing doesn’t trump obedience. Get back to the gospel of Jesus, and continue doing ‘the sacrifice’.

(376)Many years ago a preacher visited Corpus. He was speaking here locally. I enjoyed him; you could see that he was going thru difficulty. He even questioned some of his beliefs in an open and honest way. He shared from the book of Romans [bible; p.s. to our Christian friends, you know these are bible books. I realized that a lot of my old friends don’t know this. They already think I am a little ‘unhinged’ by the prophetic things I share on this blog, I don’t need them thinking I am quoting things out of ancient books that nobody knows about!] He spoke on the verse ‘all things work together for good to them that love God’ and he openly challenged his ‘word of faith/prosperity’ roots by saying ‘I know we often teach this to mean that ‘all’ things are not really working for our good [the bad stuff] but I am tired of trying to ‘get around’ all the verses that say stuff like this’ [I am paraphrasing]. His church is ‘covenant church’ in Carrolton, TX. He is a good man, and I don’t think he would describe himself as ‘word of faith’ its just I could tell he has been influenced by this teaching. Anyway this first time he spoke there was a realness about him. A ‘prophetic’ cutting edge that comes along with difficulty and trials [you could tell he was really struggling in his life]. A few years later he came back. Still preached well. But he was different. He even looked ‘sufficient’. Sort of like ‘I am now back to the believers authority and this self sufficiency that you didn’t see last time’. He was not arrogant, it was just you could tell that his ‘return’ to the classic word of faith/prosperity type system drained the ‘reality’ he had the last time he was here. He sort of went back to the interpretation of ‘all things work for good’ doesn’t mean the bad stuff. If I remember right I think he even said this? This just was a lesson to me on how God speaks from our reality and difficulty. When we embrace doctrines that reject these aspects of Christianity we lose the ‘cutting edge’. The brother held a few meetings. He did all right. He never came back to Corpus. I think he was on the verge of ‘reformation’ the first time I heard him. Then when he came back you could kind of sense that he never really made the transition.

(383)When I was a Pastor I had a friend who was a ‘word of faith’ preacher. He would attend some of our services. I also let him preach every now and then. I spoke on prayer once. I used the verse from the book of James that says ‘we ask and do not receive, because we ask amiss that we would consume the things we want out of lust’ [paraphrase]. Basically the verse is saying selfish prayers are not answered. My friend tried to explain to me that this was not what it was saying. He was taught this verse in a way that said ‘the reason you are not obtaining the wealth and things you desire is because your are not aiming your prayers in the right direction’ he told me it was saying to ‘aim’ at the proper trajectory and you will get all you want. This was another one of those examples of how we take verses and make them say the complete opposite of what they are saying. Jesus did say ‘when you pray, believe that the things you are saying will happen, and you will have what you say’ I do believe this verse to be true. You will find Jesus and Paul ‘saying’ things this way. Jesus said to the fig tree ‘dry up and die’ it happened. Paul would say to the person who was possessed ‘you are a hindrance to the gospel, be blind’ and it happened. Basically this teaching from Jesus is to fit in with the whole counsel of God. Paul used this truth to spread the gospel. You never found Paul or Jesus using these things ‘to get what they wanted’ in a self serving way. They ‘had what they said’ because they said things in the will of God, not to ‘consume stuff upon their desires’. Jesus would say ‘I am going to go to Jerusalem to be killed’ Peter didn’t like this confession. It didn’t line up with what Peter wanted. Jesus didn’t ‘get what he said’ simply because he said this. He said this out of the reality of fulfilling Gods purpose. He ‘got what he said’ because what he said was the unselfish will of God concerning the Cross. We as believers need to be at a higher level than where we are currently operating. It’s like I could go thru all these types of verses and debate the real meaning of them. Others will stick with the ‘fake’ meaning. You can spend years trying to undo all this stuff. Until we get to ‘another place’ of putting our lives at the foot of the Cross, we will never really see these things. God will give you good things, don’t get me wrong. Just allow all these truths to be ‘filtered’ thru the Cross.

(392)I spoke a while back on the Pastor friend that used to attend the church I Pastored years ago. Let me share a few things from this experience that serve to illustrate a point. One time this friend was struggling financially [actually all the time] I used to advise him to get a job until he felt like ‘the ministry’ would support him. He seemed to fall into the mistake that sees ‘ministry’ as a trade, and therefore getting a job would be wrong. He would get offended when I told him stuff like this. One time he had put some pens he had made with scripture on them into the offering. He later told me he had no money to give, but by putting the pen in, with scripture on it, he was ‘exalting’ the Word and God would see this ‘seed’ he planted and give him a return. All of this was symptomatic of the way the Word of faith movement would approach scripture. In this case my friend was violating all the verses that speak of being diligent, working and stuff like this. He then felt ‘honoring the Word’ was doing what he did. Many in this movement teach that to be a ‘doer of the Word’ means to ‘speak the Word’. Speaking the Word is a good thing, but being a ‘doer’ is contrasted with being a ‘hearer/speaker’. This actual teaching comes from the book of James and James is saying ‘don’t be a hearer only, but be a doer’. ‘doing’ in this context is not ‘speaking’ it is ‘doing’. James says if someone comes to your door and is in need and you say [confess] ‘be warmed and filled’ but you don’t actually meet the need, then you are only a ‘confessor’ and not a ‘doer’. It’s another one of those strange interpretations where these brothers found a way to teach that ‘doing the word’ means ‘saying the word’ even though ‘saying the word’ is what is being contrasted with ‘doing the word’. Jesus did say ‘say unto this mountain’ and the Word of God teaches the principles of confession and speaking truth, the problem is these things are simply tools to help us along the road. They are not to become the road! To simply learn and put into effect all the biblical ‘techniques’ and watch them work does not mean you are in the will of God. Many people have excelled in finances thru the use of biblical principles. Some of them were called to other things and instead chose to become wealthy. They might have even attained the wealth thru ‘diligence’ [a biblical principal] but if that truly was not Gods purpose for them, they failed. I find the focus on techniques and ‘windfall’ inheritances less than profitable. Many who hold to the ideas that my friend held to will see the truth of God giving the ‘wealth of the heathen/Egyptians into the hands of Israel’ and will use this to justify a lazy lifestyle. The above friend believed that God was going to ‘give him the wealth of the heathen’. Does scripture say the ‘wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous’ you bet! But it continues to say ‘and God will give it into the hands of those who are upright in his sight’. Is being lazy upright? Is sitting around spending your life waiting for some windfall upright? God gave the children of Israel the wealth of Egypt because the children of Israel labored for years as slaves, they were not being compensated justly for their work. They got paid for their work by leaving Egypt with their wealth. God did not give an inheritance to his people who weren’t working! Well the point today is don’t use scripture as a ‘technique book’ that if you master you will get more than the next guy. Scripture is a book that brings us the truth of the gospel. We enter into covenant with God thru this gospel. We become ‘debtors’ to this great God and Father. We seek to serve him all our days. We are not looking for schemes to ‘get rich quick’. NOTE: In Jesus teaching he says ‘why do people confess me as Lord, but do not do what I say’ ‘many people will come to me and say ‘Lord, Lord’ and I will say ‘I never knew you’. I am not saying these brothers are not Christians, they are. I just want you to see that Jesus really put the emphasis on ‘doing the works’ more so than on ‘what you say’. The ‘saying of things’ is a part of it. But this is not the ‘heart of the matter’.

(410)I want to talk about the reality of gifted Prophetic/Apostolic people in church history who had real gifts, but embraced false doctrine. This is an area of stumbling for those who are trying to break away from false movements. The Mormons are good people, whenever they come to my house I have real good talks with them [a little too good, after a few visits they go back to their elders with questions and they never come back!] I actually become real friends with them. I honestly discuss their movement’s history and I give an honest evaluation of the Prophet Joseph Smith [the founder of their church]. I do not demean them in any way. I simply acknowledge that the giftings of Joseph Smith were tremendous in the area of pioneering a religious movement. I also challenge the belief that Joseph was the prophet that the Lord chose to restore the true church. I find agreement that the true church are all those who have come to embrace the sacrifice of Christ [which they believe in] and then I explain how Jesus said the gates of hell would never totally prevail against the church. If Jesus words were true [they were!] then there never was a time since the 1st century that the church didn’t exist in some form. The gates never prevailed against her. Therefore Josephs teaching on him being the restorer of the church to the degree that God supposedly told him there was no true church left, has to be wrong. I do make headway with the younger guys. Once you honestly become true friends with people, you can have influence. My position on all the extra biblical doctrines and visions and other so called supernatural things [finding gold plates in the ground!] I simply ‘compromise’ to the point of saying ‘it is possible that Joseph [or any other leader of any other movement] had visions or experiences that they felt were true. They might have actually saw someone/something’. But we go back to the reality of Jesus being the way to God, and we put these other things at the foot of the Cross. The history of the pioneering Mormons is tremendous. The people are all good people [for the most part] there are strides being made right now to influence certain key leaders of this movement and to bring them back into alignment with historic Christianity [like what happened with the seventh day Adventists on the west coast. A few years back some evangelicals established relationships with key leaders and certain seventh day groups came back to the historic church- The worldwide church of God group [not the Pentecostal church of God] had a total reformation from the top down!] The point is, it is possible for certain religious groups to experience great success. In some strange way the fact that there is a small degree of the gospel present within the system [remember the leaven affecting the whole lump?] enables a certain degree of success until the time comes for true reformation. This approach can be seen with the more extreme word of faith/ prosperity teachers. Many were good men who did good things. We should not allow this to be an open door for the other doctrines and stuff that are wrong. Acknowledge the good, and honestly face up to the things that went off track. God requires all of us to do this at certain times. NOTE: After a few talks with these Mormons they see that I am a Christian; I know the bible and am even aware of their history. I use this fact as an example of God revealing himself to people without them joining or identifying with some religious group or organization. One of their beliefs is God has a true real church in society [true] and therefore which one is it? I try to show them that I too believe there is ‘one true church’ and that this church [society of people- not an organization or denomination] is actually made up of all those who have come to the reality of God thru Christ. They will challenge this view [as do some Christians!] and say that it is wrong. That how could people just come to a true knowledge of God unless they are in the true church [which to them is Mormon] I then bring them back to the fact that we have spent hours discussing and sharing many truths about Jesus. We all know many of the same verses [to be honest I usually know more by memory than them] and we have been discussing all these truths of God and his purposes and redemption thru Christ. And yet I have never met you before. I am not Mormon. How did God break thru to me and show me all these things that we have been sharing? It wasn’t thru some organization; it was the fact that God is revealing himself to mankind thru Christ. All who have come to this reality ARE THE TRUE CHURCH. Therefore everyone who worships the Father thru the Son are the true church. This leaves room for them and all others. I don’t whitewash the many wrong teachings of Mormonism, I simply try to bring them to the reality that even if Joseph Smith never existed that the reality of all of us [I include them] right now believing in God and the sacrifice of his son would qualify us as the ‘true church’ you don’t need Joseph Smith for this!

(157) Just remembered a conversation I had with a ministry leader in our city. At the time we were discussing the prosperity gospel. I was telling him the story of how a very popular prosperity preacher wrote in one of his best selling books that he had a vision and went to heaven, and in heaven he saw King David as well as many others. King David told the prosperity preacher that one of the things he regrets was all the negative confessions he made in the book of Psalms! [To be honest stuff like this still gets me mad!] Well I surely thought the ministry leader would be as upset as I about this. Instead he challenged me in defense of the prosperity preacher and said ‘how do you know the vision is fake’? Now I got upset. How do you know Joseph Smith [the prophet of the Mormon church] didn’t find the ‘gold tablets’ in the earth [or even if he found them, how come I know there not from God?] We know by spiritual discernment. Scripture commands us to ‘test the spirits’ and every spirit that is not from God must be rejected. The simple fact that this ministry leader could not discern and willingly reject the prosperity preacher’s vision was appalling. We cannot ever accept a vision that would have a writer of one of the Canonical books basically say he wished he could take something out of the book [in this case Psalms]. The book of Revelation places a curse on those who ‘take away from the Word of God’. I finally answered the question of ‘how do you know the visions fake?’ with the answer GOD TOLD ME! To my surprise the ministry leader accepted it and seemed to submit to this Word. It was almost like this movement casts a spell on people who defend it. Sometimes it takes a prophetic word spoken in authority to break this spell! Paul told the Galatians ‘who hath bewitched you to not obey the truth?’ I have had friends who were Pastors come out and publicly defend this movement because they visited one of their ministry centers and said they ran an efficient operation. Hey, you can visit the Mormon Temple in Utah and you’ll see efficiency! But God help us if this becomes the criteria that we use to judge a thing. I really have struggled with the leaders who were not learned enough to know what they were defending, but would defend it any way. Sort of like ‘hey, I have been attacked before and I didn’t like it, therefore I will defend any one else who gets attacked’. Well I don’t like being attacked either, but leaders need the ability to see things for what they are and try to bring correction in love. I do believe these prosperity guys are fellow believers, but stuff like I just showed you can’t go unchecked. The popularity of some of these things is a direct result of leaders not taking a stand when they should have. I don’t want to offend you guys, but I felt the Lord wanted me to share this.

(592) This year I gave a prophetic word about a prosperity ministry ‘no mountain shall be able to stand against what God is doing, not even Eagle mountain’ it’s somewhere on this site [do a word search]. Just recently [11-07] the senate finance committee, for the first time ever, broke past precedent and began investigating 6 large prosperity ministries, one of them is the Eagle mountain ministry I spoke of in the prophecy. Over the years I have seen obvious blatant abuse in the area of Bible teaching from this ministry. I did like them as a young believer, but after a while I saw how the brother simply did not truly understand scripture, in many areas. It wasn’t just a mistake here or there, that any one can make, but a ‘current’ of ‘mistakes’ that ran all thru out their teaching. The struggle to finally speak out on these teachers was overcome when I realized how many young believers they were affecting [not to mention Pastors!] They taught that Jesus was very wealthy, that he died to make us very wealthy, that all the warnings that Jesus gave against money were really teachings about getting money. When Jesus says ‘the deceitfulness of riches choke the word’ he taught ‘the deceitfulness of riches is that old tradition that says ‘you cant have lots of money’. Paul to Timothy ‘those that desire to be rich fall into a snare’ they say this is talking about those who don’t already know and believe the prosperity message, because those who believe it are already rich. Paul in Galatians ‘we are the children of Abraham, so the blessing of Abraham comes on us. We receive the promise of the Spirit by faith’ which really means being justified and receiving the Spirit, the blessing that comes ‘thru faith’ [like Abraham had] as opposed to law. These guys teach the ‘blessing of Abraham’ are his stuff. I could go on for days with this. The point is after seeing this non stop attack on the basic truth of scripture, to the point where Jesus actual warnings against money were translated to say the exact opposite, I finally realized there is something more going on here than just a few bad mistakes. It falls into the category of real heresy. So any way, let’s pray God will restore all of these brothers, but I wanted to update you on the prophecy we gave this year. ‘I have raised up one from the north, from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name. He shall come upon princes as mortar, and the coastlands shall wait for his law’. NOTE; Let me give a little example. Many of these brothers are not obvious ‘crooks’, like the guys who have been caught blatantly robbing churches, or putting microphones in their ears during healing crusades. Many of these men are honest in their dealings. When scripture speaks of ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ we often think ‘outright hucksters’ this is not always the case. Jesus said ‘beware of the deceitfulness of riches’ Jesus taught there is a real deception involved with some of these distorted money doctrines. Over the years I have read books from these brothers [not about them!] and have come to see how they fall into this trap. After you justify a particular doctrine, you begin actually believing it to the point where you see your group as having ‘revelation knowledge’ that the mainline churches don’t have. As time goes by any reproof that is given, even reproof that is backed up from scripture, is seen as ‘that old tradition, they don’t see what we see’ [spiritual pride]. Over time the obvious faults in their doctrine are so obvious, that those who are in this camp think ‘surely we cant be this wrong’ like when someone quotes ‘for the love of money is the root of all evil’ they are trained to say ‘see brother, this doesn’t say money, but the love of it’ and this simple explanation justifies the error in their mind. Not realizing that when you ‘love something’ you are consumed with that thing. They can’t see that the love of money, that they teach, is shown by the fact that they have distorted scriptures for years to justify wealth seeking, to the point where they actually changed the image of Jesus and have taken the words from his mouth and turned them around. They truly have fallen down the path of the love of money, but can’t see it! John the Baptist said to leadership ‘It is unlawful for thee to have thy brothers wife’ for a long time these teachers ‘have had the wife’ that is they ‘cohabitated’ with the Bride, who really belongs to Jesus [Jesus called us his brother’s] it is unlawful for them to have had such influence with ‘their brothers wife’ it is time to let her go.

(525) Isaiah 60 ‘Arise, shine; for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Darkness shall cover thee earth and gross darkness the people, but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee’ Like we said when we spoke on the kingdom of God, though the world is getting darker, the church gets brighter! We are ‘the light of the world’ the world needs us! They don’t want to admit it, but at the end of all atheism, humanism and every other ‘ism’ there is a void. They will be drawn to the light! ‘Gentiles SHALL come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising’ ‘thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side’ though these verses are Messianic in nature [they speak prophetically of Christ] yet they are also fulfilled thru us, because we are ‘extensions of Christ’ in the earth. We ARE his Body! ‘Then thou shalt see, and FLOW TOGETHER, and thy heart shall fear and be enlarged’ When the Lord is magnified, when his will and purpose take precedence, we FEAR him and are enlarged. We also flow together as Gods people. There is a real sense of your success being found in your brothers and sister’s success. We flow together. ‘In my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor I have had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually’ in the ‘New Jerusalem’ [the Church] our gates are ‘open always’ people find access to come in and rest in God. But open gates also allow for there to be exit. Not ‘damnation’ here, but a going into all the world to preach the gospel. The people of God are made to find rest in him and be by still waters. Then there comes this churning, this ‘inner pull’ to go out ‘is it from God’ yes! God allows you to have seasons of rest and refuge, and then he calls you to the example of Christ. He compels you to look at the harvest and say ‘here am I, send me’. ‘The glory of Lebanon shall come to thee, the Fir tree, the Pine tree and the Box tree together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, AND I WILL MAKE THE PLACE OF MY FEET GLORIOUS’ God will bring great diversity [Pine, Box, Fir tree’s] into one corporate function and purpose. We will no more say ‘I am Charismatic’ I am Baptist, I am Catholic, I am this or that. We will truly bring our diversity together and lay them at Christ’s feet. He makes the place of his feet glorious. Jesus washed the disciple’s feet; he was showing that this place of humility and service will be honored in Gods economy. It is the place of value and exaltation. He offers it to all, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of takers. ‘Whereas thou hast been afflicted and hated, I will make thee an eternal excellency; a joy of many generations’ God allows affliction and hatred for a season. Both natural Israel and her Messiah went thru this. We all will partake of it at one time or another; REJOICE when it happens, because God is preparing you for eternal excellency! ‘For brass I will bring gold, for iron silver, for wood brass and for stones iron, I will make thy officers peace’ we often preach and teach ‘for stones you will get gold’ we ‘skip’ the steps! God’s prosperity comes to those who patiently and consistently give and love and work and invest and do many things in stages. These people are not trying to turn stones into gold. They realize you go from stones to iron to silver and to gold. They have realistic expectations on living a consistent life. God will make our ‘officials’ peace. The verse that says let all your requests be known to God and Gods peace will keep your hearts and minds, this speaks of Gods peace being the ‘officiator’ Christians make good decisions when they cast all their care over to God. Gods peace comes in to officiate for us, we don’t have to worry about the next step, we simply need to rest and walk in it as it is revealed. ‘Violence shall be no more in the land, nor destruction in our borders, your walls shall be Salvation and your gates Praise’ this is speaking of a spiritual/heavenly city. God is already showing that his future place of rest, the ‘eternal city’ that needs no light, because the Lamb is the light, God is showing that it is a place where walls and gates are praise and salvation. Not brick and mortar! He will make this place glorious. ‘The Lord shall be the everlasting light, the days of mourning shall be ended Thy people shall all be righteous, they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will do it in my time’ God will extend you and cause all the people you work with to be right. A day is coming where the smallest one [least significant] shall have great influence. He will ‘grow you and your people like a branch thru the earth’ thru the people you bring into the Kingdom, God will allow great influence to go forth. God told Abraham ‘thru your seed shall all nations be blessed’ you are simply the ‘instigator/initiator’ of the thing, it will get carried out thru your spiritual children!

(540) I got with some friends the other day. We were talking about the Lord. One of the guys brought up the verse where Jesus says ‘it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven then for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle’ both of these friends are homeless [or about to be]. They are poor and have struggles. The one friend shared the verse to show how riches are not as important as people think. The other friend shared the interpretation that I have heard before. He said some people teach that the ‘eye of the needle’ was a low gate in the wall of Jerusalem, and that the camels can get thru the gate, but they have to crouch down and that makes it difficult. Now this teaching has been taught publicly by prosperity teachers. It used to be fairly popular in this camp. I find it sad that even this homeless guy was affected by it. I told my friend that I too was familiar with this teaching, and that it is fake. Historically there is no evidence of a gate being the ‘eye of the needle’. Second, the response of the disciples to Jesus saying this was ‘who then can be saved?’ they took Jesus words the way you and I would take it. That he was saying something that was impossible to do, except for God. It’s stuff like this that we need to be warned of. You interpret scripture thru the plain meaning, the fact that the context of the verse shows that the disciples didn’t think he was speaking about a ‘low gate’ in the wall should guide us into the right view of the verse. The word for ‘needle’ in this passage is the word used for a regular sewing needle. False teaching is harmful; Christians should refute it in love.

(586) John 8-9 before I cover this, last night I was watching a preacher from a classic type ministry. Not the flamboyant ‘prosperity’ type with gold hanging off and all. I was a bit surprised [let down] to hear him teach the classic errors of the prosperity movement. He took the verse in Corinthians where it says ‘though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor’ and taught that Jesus died to make you rich financially [ a direct violation of 1st Timothy 6]. He went to Genesis and showed how Abraham was rich, then jumped to Galatians 3 and taught ‘we are Abrahams kids, therefore we get his blessings[stuff]’ a classic mistake in doctrine. I explained this in the book ‘House of Prayer or Den of Thieves’ in the chapter ‘The Abrahamic Blessing’[you can read this book on this site!]. This stuff shouldn’t have been coming from this program, they are not the type that teach this stuff. You could tell from the look on the faces of the audience that they were feeling uncomfortable with what this guy was teaching! Now John 8-9. Jesus says ‘you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth that I heard from God’ often times when people are reproved, they don’t like it. It’s not that what the ‘reprover’ is saying is wrong, it’s just we don’t like being confronted with truth. We usually take it out on the messenger. Jesus says ‘before Abraham was, I AM’ this is the name of God in the Old Testament ‘the I AM’. Jesus is the ‘I AM’ in Johns gospel. I AM the door, I AM the resurrection, I AM the way and the truth and the life. I believe you find 7 different ‘I AM’s’ of Jesus in this gospel. Jesus now heals the man who was blind from birth. They ask him ‘who sinned, this man or his parents’? They had a mentality that always wanted to place blame on someone for sickness, sort of like some in the healing movements of today. Jesus said ‘neither’. He simply said ‘this happened to him so I would heal him and God would get glory’. He heals the man and the leaders are mad. ‘Who healed you’? A man called Jesus. They get the guys parents and say ‘you say he was blind, then how come he can see?’ They say ‘ask him’. They go back and ask again. The healed guy answers ‘how many times do you want to hear it, I told you already’. Though the man still doesn’t know Jesus is the Messiah, yet he starts to defend him, and even prophesy! ‘We know that if any man be a worshipper of God, and does his will, him God hears’ good stuff coming from an ‘unsaved’ guy! Jesus hears that they rejected him, he tells the guy ‘I am messiah’ and the guy believes. Jesus says ‘I come to give sight to those who are blind [admit they need help] and to take away sight from those who see’ [think they know it all]. We often can’t receive correction because of religious pride, we think we ‘see everything’ someone comes along and shakes the cart, our first response is ‘who does he think he is, doesn’t he know that we all know more than him’. Quite often whole groups of leaders have the same blind spot. This is what enforces the belief that they must be right! Jesus told them ‘you guys are blind, if you could just admit you didn’t know it all, then I could show you some good stuff, but because you think you already ‘see’ everything, then you are gonna miss out’. Pride is destructive, it keeps us in the dark spiritually. NOTE; Let me give an example. I remember reading an article on tithing from one of the best Christian historical review magazines in print. They do exhaustive historical research on many subjects. To the surprise of the readers, this well respected historical magazine, read by many theologians, showed that all the historical evidence points to the fact that the churches of the first century did not practice tithing! This seemed to go against the grain of what many of the theologians believed, who regularly read this magazine. But you could have easily come to this same understanding from simply reading the New Testament in context. I have basically taught you guys this for years, from scripture. Yet this ‘blind spot’ was an area where many intelligent ‘religious leaders’ were all wrong. They ‘corporately’ were wrong on this subject. It took a ‘jolt’ from true historical evidence before they could ‘see’ the obvious! It would be too humbling to have seen it from a ‘layman firefighter’ who has a web site. NOTE; Tithing as a practice for Christians developed at the same time as ‘the church building’ and the office of ‘Priest’ and eventually the altar [in the Catholic system] and the mass. The church got away from the family/community mindset and took on more of the ‘church building’ form. Tithing fit in easily into an idea of church that asked ‘how much should we put in the offering basket on Sunday’. The whole language and style of church called for the doctrine of tithing to be taught, sort of like a ‘tax’ on the people of God to support ‘the church’. Now, there are some good things that came out of the ‘dark ages’ of Christianity. The ‘desert fathers’, the Catholic mystics and other good spiritual disciplines. I don’t want to fall into the category of those who see the dark ages as a time of no good whatsoever. But we also need to see how the church during that time was very legalistic in the sense that the Mass and Altar and 'Priest’ presiding over the liturgy were all forms of Christian service that were absent from the churches in Scripture. The tithe was just one added aspect of this legalistic approach that seemed to make it all the way into the Protestant churches of today. All these churches are good Christians in my view, but we need to be open to change and reformation as the Spirit leads.

P.S. Let me also add that there are many prophetic people that I am in contact with in some way. I feel that a lot of them agree with me on prophetic stuff, but get offended by the strong stance we take in other areas of teaching. I realize that just because a person experiences prophetic things, that this doesn’t mean he is correct in everything! It is common to hear things like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and themes like this from highly prophetic people. We just assume because someone is prophetic that their doctrine is correct. I really don’t want to teach here, but let me share this. The scripture does speak about the wealth of the sinner being stored up for the righteous and God ‘gives’ it to the righteous. Also the story of the children of Israel leaving Egypt and how God gave them the wealth of the Egyptians. These verses do not teach some type of windfall that simply falls into the hands of Christians. As church history progressed thru time more and more people in the marketplace and other areas of wealth and influence have become believers. As the church age progresses this phenomenon increases. Today the ‘wealth of the wicked’ has much more become ‘the wealth of the righteous’, not thru some windfall inheritance, but thru the process of God redeeming planet earth! ‘Seeing’ it this way does not violate the principles of scripture that over and over speak about the diligent being blessed and the lazy coming to ruin/poverty. There are many believers who are living in disobedience by not working who cling on to doctrines like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and wrongly believe that they are going to get money while violating biblical standards. Things like this need to be understood and articulated thru prophetic people before God can entrust us with more. I actually feel that the prophetic movements ‘marriage’ to the prosperity gospel has voided certain things that God wanted to do thru the movement. Balaam was a prophetic person who actually heard from God and spoke Gods words, but scripture says his lust for wealth made him a false prophet [who loved the wages of unrighteousness]. If prophets can’t receive correction from each other then God will never let them ‘correct’ [speak into] the church at large. I feel one of the pitfalls of the prophetic is to think that the goal is to ‘simply be prophetic’. I have met brothers who simply wanted to attend church and stand up and speak. God’s chief concern for all of his people [even prophets] is to carry out the great commission, to be salt and light to a lost and dying world!

John Chiarello

(46) I was just sitting outside praying and noticed that the only plants flowering in my yard are the roses from the ‘coat of many colors’ rose bush that I spoke about earlier in this paper. Its December and cold. Many other plants cannot ‘thrive’ in these bitter conditions. Well you get the hint, don’t you? Over the last several years the Church at large has embraced a gospel that focuses on trying to create a ‘pleasing’ environment around us. We have made ‘creature comforts’ the goal. I recently read an article about a preacher [T.D. Jakes] whom I like. He was being criticized for having a high salary and a few luxurious homes and basically being rich. In his defense he quoted the verse where scripture shows that Jesus wore an expensive coat [which he did] and used this to defend the idea that it is not wrong to become rich ‘from the offerings of many average [or poor] believers’ who give thru the TV ministry or thru the Local Church offerings. The main mistake with this thinking is the New and Old testaments actually teach against the concept of ‘shepherds’ becoming wealthy from the flock. The scriptures teach that its okay to financially support those who are giving to you spiritual food, but to become wealthy from peoples offerings is forbidden. I know people today don’t see this, but it is there! Where did Jesus get his expensive coat? Was he taking money from ‘the bag’ [treasury]? More than likely someone gave it to Jesus as an extravagant act of worship. The woman who poured the expensive perfume on Jesus did something of this nature. While I don’t want to be dogmatic about this, it proves the point that we take scriptures and develop doctrines that violate other plain scriptures. The widow woman who gave to Elijah was poor. But so was Elijah at the time! This story simply teaches the great truth of communal sharing which is taught in the New Testament. See a brother in need, meet the need! Too many preachers have taken stuff like this and have taught theologies that contradict plain scripture. Go read 1st Timothy 6. You have a hard time reading this chapter and believing this other stuff. I don’t want to re write our book on the prosperity gospel here, but I do want to emphasize the fact that God wants us to ‘thrive’ in desert and bitter conditions. It’s not wrong to be rich and have a high salary, but it can’t be from the overall aggregate giving of many poor or average saints over a long period of time! Joseph thrived and was rich and influential, but he also spent many years being unjustly accused and in prison for things that were not his fault. God allowed a life of suffering to co-exist with a successful career. He did this for the benefit of those who sold him into slavery. Joseph ‘ruled’ over his brothers at the end, just like he dreamed many years earlier. The ‘rule’ allowed him to forgive and use his wealth and influence to save his family. God will exalt us at certain seasons for the sole benefit of the salvation of others. It’s ok to enjoy the good things in life, but we are here to fulfill a mandate from heaven. Don’t get lost in the pursuits of this life!

(122)Lets go back to the discussion on ‘motivational/prosperity’ teaching and preaching. In the Church there are different ‘levels’ of understanding and thought. All levels serve a purpose at various stages of Christian growth. The 3rd grade is important as well as high school and college. To stop at the 3rd grade is not good! To miss the 3rd grade is also not good. To explain to someone the importance of ‘elementary level’ teaching, while showing them the need to move on is not easy! Over the years I have dealt a lot with the ‘elementary’ stuff. I try to explain the importance of being motivated and having a positive attitude and good things like that. I then try to transition into the mindset of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’. There comes a stage with all of us [university level] where God knows we have the basics down and he then calls us to another place. This ‘other’ place is an attitude of forsaking self and the things of ‘this life’ to attain a higher goal. When Jesus told the disciples he was going to Jerusalem to die, Peter says ‘no way, we wont let this happen!’ and Jesus replies ‘get thee behind me satan, for you are concerned more with the things of man than the things of God’. Jesus [our example] reached a point in his life where he knew the purpose of God was not to be measured by whether ‘I like it or not’. Much motivational preaching uses this at its criteria. ‘Surely God doesn’t want his kids to suffer’ ‘where kings kids’ and things like this. I believe these things are true to a degree, but there at a 3rd grade level! [I don’t want to sound condescending, but I want you to see what I am trying to convey]. Remember, the 3rd grade is good, but not if your 21 years old! Also the university is good, but not if your 9 years old! So everything has its time and purpose. God does command us to ‘think like men’ [Corinthians] and the problem with the Evangelical church is we confuse ‘childlike faith’ with ‘childlike thinking’ [The book ‘the scandal of the evangelical mind’ deals with this]. I believe the more mature aspect of the Christian life is to advance beyond the ‘motivational’ stage to the ‘taking up your cross and following me’ stage. I just saw a verse on this Christian calendar I get from the radio station we broadcast on. It says ‘and the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends’. Its so easy to focus on self and ‘how do I get out of the mess I’m in’ mentality. Job was able to come out of this mindset and pray for others. This denying of self is what turned his situation around.

(169)Many years ago after I first started serving the Lord I took a trip back to Jersey. My dad, a firefighter [retired Captain] got me an invitation to preach at the Chaplains church. He was a good man who was pastoring a ‘Church of God’ church. I simply preached a basic gospel message. Many years later [20?] while back visiting family I thought I would drop by and say hi. I didn’t know if the Pastor was around anymore, he was around 70 when I first met him, he would be close to 90 now. Well I stopped by the church and to my surprise he was still there. I spoke to him for a little while and told him I had preached at his church years ago. He couldn’t remember. After a while he finally remembered. I did look a lot different now. As we were sitting in his nice little apartment located directly behind the church sanctuary, his wife was in the other room mumbling. The old Pastor told me she suffers from Alzheimer’s and to just ignore it. He was polite in saying this. The old pastor was truly enjoying one of the sons [me!] of one of the fire Captains that he was a chaplain to, being able to visit and reminisce. During our conversation he seemed content. He told me though he doesn’t have much materially in this life, he is satisfied that he has built up eternal rewards. He kind of said ‘I don’t know how you feel about the modern prosperity movement, but I feel God doesn’t measure success by outward things’. Well I told him ‘Brother Wilcombs, I kind of wrote a little book on this subject’ and I dropped one off to him before I left Jersey. I received a handwritten note in the mail, he really appreciated the book. I kind of felt like the Lord gave me an opportunity to encourage a man who gave his whole life to the ministry and was feeling ‘defensive’ living in a day that blatantly measures godliness by financial gain. I never saw him again, if he’s still alive he would be nearing 100 years old. I thank God for the elders of the faith who served God so many years with their eyes on eternal rewards versus this present world [I had previously heard that he died and found out later that he was still alive. The book I gave him can be read in it’s entirety on this site]

(171)For the purpose of full disclosure let me mention something. All 4 of my daughters have trust funds set up for them. While I am not rich, my kids are set up fairly well. The reason I share this is the other day when I was up early praying at my daughters ranch I felt the Lord saying he was going to expand us ‘thru our seed’ [spiritual children]. While walking around the ranch I saw hundreds of wildflowers and mesquite trees. I have a few in my yard, but these were a lot! I also realized how my daughter [19 yrs old] owns a $125,000 dollar ranch free and clear. She bid $31,000 for it and used part of her trust fund money [it was a HUD repo and no bank would finance a ‘modular home’ on a ranch, though the original owner paid $85,000 just for the house!] The nice mustang she drives is also free and clear [I bought it for $4,000 a few years ago]. I am not bringing this up for no reason. For many years people [friends/family] would tell me ‘instead of helping bums and addicts, you could work a second job [besides being a firefighter] so your kids can have more’. I have found out if you take care of Gods people [kids] he will take care of yours. To be honest, how many 19yr olds own a $125,000 ranch free and clear? See, I know God does bless people financially; I just feel the church today has blurred the lines of Christianity with gain. We as believers have a mandate to not measure ‘Godliness by gain’. Well I believe scripture says ‘first the natural, then the spiritual’ I am looking forward to hearing from you guys on how God is increasing your spiritual borders! NOTE: This is also another benefit of not taking a salary, can you imagine what people would be saying ‘that preacher went and bought his daughter a ranch, and she drives a mustang too!’ [I own a 66 mustang, it’s got a 289 in it for all you car guys] NOTE: I had an old friend in Kingsville, one of our original group, who use to kid me and say ‘for someone who doesn’t believe in the prosperity message, you do pretty good!’ I would answer back ‘I don’t believe it works for you guys, only for me’ of course I was kidding! NOTE: Let me show you guys something. I don’t ‘think money thoughts’ all the time. I don’t ‘confess money scriptures’ all day. I basically don’t believe in the main tenets of the prosperity gospel, but yet I have prospered! Why? I believe if you give your life away for others, practice giving and being generous, be EMPLOYED for most of your life, simply be a responsible person and even invest wisely. These are the things that ‘produce’ prosperity, not some tricks and gimmicks. I know God blesses his people; its just money shouldn’t be the focus! NOTE: I do find it strange that there are many Christians who are ALWAYS talking, thinking and focusing on material wealth. If I were to tell them ‘you have spent 35 years speaking, thinking and developing your entire Christian experience around money. Many of your teachers teach that Jesus was a millionaire; you have actually changed the image of God into one of your own desires. Many of the sermons you have heard thru out your life have been about money. Don’t you think it strange that someone like myself, who outright rejects and preaches against the movement is blessed’ Many of them would respond by saying ‘well, at least I died with a good confession’ No you didn’t, you died spending your whole life focusing on the things that Jesus said were not the true riches! Thanks to your preachers you spent a lifetime doing what Jesus said not to do! He said seek FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND ALL THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU you my friend were seeking THE THINGS!

(172)A few years back a popular preacher in our region [Houston] was speaking about a guy who got stuck in a freezer [walk in!] He shared how even though the freezer was not plugged in, they found the guy dead in the morning. The brother said he believed the guy froze to death, because in his ‘mind’ he believed the freezer was on. I do like this preacher [Joel Osteen] but this is a type of ‘metaphysical’ belief. The groups ‘Christian Science’ and others hold to these views. The biblical view of ‘renewing the mind’ and meditating on Gods Word is a profitable thing. This type of belief [the freezer guy!] is really not biblical. We don’t ‘create reality’ with our thoughts or words. While it is good to keep a positive confession and to ‘set your mind on things above’ yet these practices don’t actually create reality! They can have an effect on our circumstances and help us in our walk with God, but in and of themselves these are simply ‘window dressing’. The basic tenets of Christian belief put the emphasis on character, faith, trusting in God, being diligent and overall ‘root’ issues. The modern focus on words and thoughts are a superficial approach. Though there is some biblical truth to them, they are not the deep issues of walking with God. What about the brother in the freezer? Well it’s possible he died of a heart attack or something, but he didn’t ‘create’ an environment with his mind that caused him to freeze to death.

(173)In the early church of the first couple of centuries there was a group of ‘Christians’ who were called Gnostics. These people believed in ‘special knowledge’. They felt that God revealed things to them thru spiritual means that the average Christians didn’t access. Today you have the equivalent of this in ‘revelation knowledge’. This is a type of belief among Christians that sometimes contradicts scripture, but slips in as ‘special revelation’. While it is true that God does give us prophetic insight and allows us to see things thru dreams and visions and other means, yet all of these ‘things’ are subservient to biblical authority! When things slip in under the title of ‘revelation knowledge’ we must judge it by scripture. If scripture contradicts the ‘revelation knowledge’ then we go with the Word!

(174)A few years ago we had an Apostle visit our area. He is fairly well known in ‘prophetic’ circles and does have a worldwide ministry. I do like him and his teaching. He was going to hold some meetings in Texas and I called his office to get directions. A few days later he called back at an inopportune time. If I am busy I will not answer my phone unless I recognize the number. I thought I would answer it this day anyway. Sure enough it was this national minister personally calling me. He didn’t know me at all! I think the Lord told him to call. I spoke only a few minutes and shared a prophetic word. I quoted ‘FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG’ he simply said ‘O MY’. I never got in touch with him again. I did send them our books and I feel we might be a little to ‘strong’ for this brother. Many ‘Apostles/Prophets’ are really affected by the prosperity gospel and modern concepts of ‘spiritual warfare’ and I think our teachings in these areas turned them off. I do feel the Lord allowed me to speak this word to him as a precursor to sending our books. It’s like God confirmed ‘the word with signs following [or should I say ‘preceding!’]

(176)I spoke on fasting a few entries back. I remember hearing one of the most prominent leaders of the prosperity movement [he has since gone on to be with the Lord] say that he didn’t fast anymore, but God told him instead to live a ‘fasted life’. This brother was overweight and had heart problems earlier in his life. I felt it strange that he didn’t fast anymore, and the ‘fasted life’ seemed to not truly limit his eating. I don’t want to be mean, I used to listen to this brother in the early years of my Christian experience, but I felt this to be a sign. Covetousness and the more extreme cases of it that were found in this brothers teaching is a form of lust and addiction. Jesus spoke on the power of ‘mammon’ as the only other addiction that directly competes with the kingdom of God for mans affections. ‘YOU CAN NOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON’ I felt the inability to break from the spirit of mammon was seen in this brothers inability to control his eating. Eventually instead of losing the weight, he seemed to develop a ‘belief’ thru a ‘Rhema word’ [God told me not to fast but to live a fasted life] that justified the appetites of the flesh. This same scenario flowed over into the more extreme elements of the prosperity gospel. Visions of Jesus appearing to these brothers telling them ‘YOU CAN WRITE YOUR OWN TICKET WITH GOD’ teachings on commanding Angels to ‘GO FORTH AND BRING TO ME MONEY’ things that I look at now and am amazed that so many Christians cant break from this stuff. I love the brother who I just used as the example, but our allegiance must be to God first and I felt he wanted me to share this.

(177)I remember sharing some of these things with ‘leaders’ of the church in Corpus Christi and they would say ‘oh that criticism is the same stuff that Hank Hanegraaff preaches’ [this brother wrote a critical book on the prosperity movement]. The inability of this particular leader to see the true deception of this movement would later limit his voice. The brother who said this to me went on the radio station that I broadcast on. I do like the brother, I kind of had the feeling he felt like ‘I will show John some things about radio’ sort of like he was going to ‘teach us a lesson’. He lasted a few weeks on the radio [we’ve been on 11 years as of 2007] I don’t want to boast or sound competitive, I simply believe God gives voice to those who are willing to see beyond there own personal survival and speak the truth. This ministry leader was trying to build a financial support base at the time of our discussion and I felt he dismissed out of hand what God was trying to show him [thru me!] because it simply didn’t fit in with the goal of ‘bringing in the money’. If we are truly in ministry to speak what God is saying, then the ‘goal of bringing in the funds’ must be secondary to the prophetic word. We must speak truth, regardless of how it affects our income base. Well I believe the ministry leader lasted a few weeks on the radio because he had his priorities wrong, what about you! NOTE: This is the same ministry leader I spoke on earlier who defended the prosperity preacher. During our conversation he was showing me things the Lord showed him out of the bible. Okay stuff from the Old Testament, little stories about unity and stuff. I found it strange that he would spend time on finding interesting stories from the bible and yet not see all the plain scriptures in the New Testament dealing with the issues of money DON’T DESIRE TO BE RICH, BE CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, TEACHERS WILL ARISE IN THE LAST DAYS WHO WILL TEACH GAIN IS GODLINESS FROM SUCH TURN AWAY, THE LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL THOSE WHO HAVE GONE AFTER IT HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM THE FAITH [shall I go on?] I just think we ‘strain at gnats’ while we don’t realize we are ‘swallowing the camel whole’!

(179)I called the Houston Chronicle and asked them if I can run our blog in the church section, as of now I am still waiting for a response. I was up praying yesterday and heard [not audibly!] ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem’ so I began praying for the brother that I spoke to and also for divine favor. I recognize that if someone who works for these papers attends a prosperity church that they will not want to run the ad. There are obstacles in moving forward, I have given you guys an example on how one person can do great things in God, but there will be tremendous resistance. I gave you the example of my friend being on the radio for a few weeks. Though it doesn’t take a lot of money to impact regions, it does take spiritual courage. We wrestle not against flesh and blood; the adversary will come after you. Don’t want to intimidate you, just want to give you the facts. Also today we come out in the San Antonio paper, my daughter had a friend from high school that moved to San Antonio while they were still in school. He was a boyfriend/friend. I used to drive her midway and the boy’s mom would meet us and we would pick the boy up for a visit in Corpus. I gave the kid one of our books on the prosperity movement. A few weeks later the boy said his mom really liked it and wanted him to tell me. This was a nice Hispanic family. They were from a broken home, the boys ‘mom’ was really his grandmother. She was a nice woman. I kind of got the feeling that she was one of the many who hear the prosperity gospel for many years and feel a sense of guilt about struggling financially. The message has a tendency to say ‘just keep confessing and believing, surely God doesn’t want his kids to suffer and be broke. Look at us we are all rich’ [the preachers!] Many preachers don’t realize the damage their doing to the poor in our midst. James said ‘YOU ARE DESPISING THE POOR AND TREATING THE RICH WITH FAVOR, HATH NOT GOD CHOSEN THE POOR OF THIS WORLD RICH IN FAITH AND HEIRS TO THE KINGDOM WHICH HE HATH PROMISED, WOE TO THE RICH IN THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT, THEIR RICHES WILL DECAY AND HAVE NO EFFECT IN THAT DAY’ Many of the prosperity brothers simply don’t see the overall effect that the message has on people who are poor. James didn’t preach to the poor that if they believe long enough things will turn around. Paul didn’t tell the saints that they can be rich if they believe, he told them YOU CAME INTO THE WORLD WITH NOTHING, WHEN YOU LEAVE YOU WILL LEAVE WITH NOTHING, THEREFORE BE CONTENT TO HAVE YOUR NEEDS MET Now I realize that there are basic principles of believing the Lord for resources to touch the world. George Mueller was a great man of faith who started an orphanage and had miraculous stories of God providing. It’s that we just are blurring the lines too much. Scripture commands us to not show contempt to the poor. How do you think they feel when we say from our pulpits ‘Well our people are doing well, look at all the expensive cars in the parking lot’ now what do you suppose will happen to that innocent grandma raising her grandson for many years, who took the bus to church today? We don’t realize how much damage we have done. Some of you would have benefited to have listened to me 15 years ago when I started preaching this stuff, instead of telling every body ‘Oh that preacher is against the prosperity movement’ No I am FOR THE POOR GRANDMAS THAT JAMES TOLD US NOT TO DESPISE! NOTE: Many of the brothers I have spoken to over the years teach that there needs to be a return of ‘strong Apostolic authority’ like the early church had. It’s funny because when they here or read the stuff we are writing its ‘too strong’ for them! NOTE: Let me add that the preacher who made the statement about all the people doing well because they had nice cars in the parking lot, meant well. He was trying to express the fact that he wasn’t the only one doing well. This preacher is a very humble man in our city. He is more humble than me, and I don’t say this in a demeaning way. I consider him a true friend. Till this day I pray for the church he pastors as well as other area churches [the one I attend!] I consider him an innocent victim of the deception from certain elements of the prosperity movement. He did not realize that he was directly violating the scripture that says ‘DO NOT MEASURE GODLINESS BY GAIN’ Scripture plainly says you are not to use material things as a measure of ones faith. If the people were all poor and had ‘crappy’ cars, they still could have had ‘been doing well’ [spiritually] according to scripture. This innocent statement made by a good man is just one of the casualties of this teaching! Paul warned Timothy that those who would teach that gain was godliness and would make money the focus would ‘swerve from the faith’ that is they would UNCONCIOUSLY make statements and judgments that were outside of biblical parameters. The logic and reasoning of the above statement came from a good man who today realizes many of the things I am showing you, but at the time did not see how he was being affected by those who were ‘swerving from the faith’. We flippantly say things like ‘THE BIBLE DOESN’T SAY MONEY IS EVIL, BUT THE LOVE OF IT IS’ where does it say this? In TIMOTHY, the same book that I have been quoting all these verses from. People don’t realize that to make being rich your goal is forbidden in scripture. Now I didn’t say you can’t be rich, nor did I say you cant try to become rich. But scripture says that those who DESIRE to be rich fall into temptation and a snare. Scripture forbids the desire to be rich to be the motivational force in your life! BUT THOU O MAN OF GOD FLEE THESE THINGS don’t be duped into this stuff, it will cause you to swerve from the faith and God will limit your voice if you do!

(593) John 12- Jesus goes to Bethany, the town where he raised Lazarus. At the house Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas gets mad! ‘We could have sold it and used the money for the poor!’ Judas was the treasurer, he had ‘the bag’. He didn’t care about the poor, but was stealing from the treasury. Some teach that the treasury had millions of dollars in it, if this were so then why would Judas be worried about some perfume worth around $132.00 dollars? You guys teaching this ‘rich Jesus’ stuff need to read your bibles! In the town of Bethany Lazarus is the talk of the town ‘hey, did you see the guy Jesus raised from the dead’? The Pharisees were devising a way to kill Lazarus too! It’s a funny thing, these leaders were sticklers for the law, real legalistic. The number one law out of their 10 commandments was ‘thou shalt not kill’ yet they seemed to be thinking of killing an awful lot! Religion does this to people, it causes you to overlook the obvious while worrying about the details. Jesus called this ‘straining at gnats while swallowing whole Camels’. You see this later on at the Crucifixion, they are all concerned over what day they kill Jesus ‘God forbid we break our rules of purity WHILE KILLING THE SON OF GOD!’ Pathetic bunch of losers. The Greeks come to Jesus disciples and say ‘we want to see Jesus’. They go and tell Jesus ‘these Greeks want to meet you’ Jesus responds in a strange way ‘unless a grain of wheat dies it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth fruit… If any man serves me, where I am they will be’. In essence Jesus says ‘I am not here to present myself to people on some platform, I am here to do the will of my father. If they want to see me they must lay their lives down and die to self and carry the cross also, where I am they can be’. His answer was a call to self sacrifice and denial of self. Today we have an atmosphere of performance ‘lets go watch the great Prophet’. Going to conferences and stuff. Jesus said prophetic gifts function thru sacrifice, if you are laying your life down for the gospel you will interact with all of Gods gifted 5 fold ministers, but they were not designed to be seen on a stage. ‘While you have the light, walk in it. The darkness comes, and no one can function then’ Jesus was showing us to ‘strike when the irons hot’ act when God opens the door. I have found when I ‘go for it’ during seasons of God showing me stuff, then whatever is instituted at the time [some function of ministry] becomes really effective. Then there are times where I don’t go for it when the Lord opens the door, I miss the ‘open window’ and then later try to get something going, it never works! Like the children of Israel not entering the Promised Land on the first try, the next day they thought ‘what the hell, lets do it today’ it didn’t work! Walk while ye have the light [God showing you the next step] because when it gets dark [you missed the window] no one can work.

(227)IS THIS ACCUSING THE BRETHREN? Paul the Apostle dealt harshly with the judiasers of the 1st century. He said very strong things against them. He said ‘whose mouths MUST be stopped’. The judiasers did believe in Jesus! But they added other unbiblical doctrines that were contrary to the gospel. One of the definitions of satan is ‘the accuser of the brethren’. Scripture says ‘God casts him down’. I want you to see a subtle thing. satan is very ‘subtle’. Many of the doctrines that we have exposed actually ‘accused the brethren’ unwittingly. Many poor and struggling saints have been told ‘surely God doesn’t want his kids to suffer’ ‘how can a father not give good gifts to his kids’ and in the more extreme cases I have even heard it taught that the parents of children who have died did something wrong in applying their faith, that the ‘fault’ was on the side of the parents, not God. These forms of doctrine are the most extreme cases of accusation that can ever occur. Especially the last one! What we are actually doing thru our teaching is ‘casting down the accuser of the saints’ at the expense of false prophets. God defends THE POOR and needy. Both Jesus and the Apostles were very hard on the religious leaders, yet very merciful on people who were struggling. I simply wanted to show you that one of the functions of the prophetic is to ‘open eyes’ I hope you see what I just told you. NOTE: by the way we do believe in spiritual warfare, I think what I just showed you about ‘casting down’ the accuser is a good example of it. We accomplish it thru prophetic teaching and preaching, not thru yelling into the sky!

(228)In Isaiah 41 it speaks of ‘God raising up the righteous man from the east and giving nations to him, coming upon princes like mortar, the coastlands shall wait for his law’ [paraphrasing from memory]. Then it says ‘the islands feared and every man strengthened themselves and propped up each others idols’. There have been other significant seasons in the Body of Christ where the Lord dealt with many of these issues. The natural response was for the larger national ministries who propagate these doctrines to ‘prop each other up’. To simply use the tremendous financial store [which they do have!] to defend each other. This was not only a wrong defense of people out of ‘self preservation’ but much of the money that was used to ‘push back’ the reproof actually came from Christians who give sacrificially to these ministries. I couldn’t give in clear conscience to a ministry whose main leaders are making around $500,000 to a million a year from the offerings of many low-income people. But the point is there is a natural response to ‘join hands and strengthen each others idols’ because you know you are all ‘in the same boat’. This response is unfortunate, but it does happen!

(83)Just reading Isaiah 42, it says God anointed Jesus [and the Body of Christ] to bring forth judgment. He shall not cry nor cause his voice to be heard [self promotion]. He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He will open blind eyes and show people aspects of truth that they have never seen before. The ‘coastlands’ shall wait to hear the word the Lord will speak. They will be ‘fascinated’ by the Spirits ministry. The Lord will go forth ‘like a mighty man, he will shout like a woman in labor’. For a long time he held his peace, but finally said ‘it is enough, I cant sit by silently and let this go on’. Those that trust in graven images [idolatry- the old testament equal to covetousness] will be greatly ashamed and distressed. They will see themselves being reproved and corrected like never before. God’s people are like prey, they were ‘preyed upon’ and used as guinea pigs in the laboratories of men’s doctrines. None delivered, none said RESTORE! God will dry up their pools [the polluted sources that were making them sick. The ministries and avenues of ministry that were hurting them] God does all these things with the purpose of restoring and bringing us back to the Cross. God says I will not give my glory to graven images [men’s hearts rejoicing in materialism] but thru this whole process you will feel disoriented. Many of the leaders and sources of the past ‘will dry up’. God will begin to feed you again like the early days. You will hear his voice again, like at the beginning! NOTE: This chapter also says the Lord will roar like a Lion. I have spoken a lot on this blog about the imagery of the ‘Lion of Judah’ there are prophecies I have read this last year that spoke of the Lord roaring thru us, disintegrating obstacles. I feel the ‘roar of the Lion’ can be the prophetic ‘roar’ coming forth from the prophets at this season in the Church.

(236)While reviewing my mission statement I came across a dream that I forgot to mention. In 8-06 I had a dream that I was in a ‘composite’ type city. I wrote ‘Houston/San Antonio/Dallas’ as the cities that I saw. I also saw many friends from different areas and times in life. I saw Navy buddies, New Jersey friends and friends from Texas. I felt this spoke to God giving us open doors to many different people groups. God calls his people ‘the New Jerusalem’ we are called ‘the City of God’ we are the City [that is the people of God] whose builder and maker is God. I thought it was important to share this. I had no idea we would have such an open door to many of you in these cities. The Lord ‘shows you what’s going to happen before it happens’.

(237)A while back I mentioned how the prophet Jeremiah [and others] spoke about ‘tearing down, removing obstacles and building up’. I have been in the ‘demolition stage’ for a while and want to do some ‘building up’. I spoke on the extreme forms of ‘renewing the mind’, things like focusing all your thoughts on money verses, quoting scriptures that seem to focus on what you want out of life. These types of ‘mind renewing’ are not primarily what the New Testament is talking about when it speaks of renewing your mind. Paul the Apostle, who most frequently uses this image, had a basic thrust to his theology JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH Paul was a radical Apostle with a message of God accepting us freely as we believe in his son. Paul knew the terror of legalism and trying to keep Gods commands in order to be saved. The entire Old Testament Jewish law was a complete drain on the human psyche. Man over and over again would attempt to ‘live up to the standard’ to no avail. God allowed the sacrificial system of animals to temporarily ‘cover’ their sins as a future sign of the one sacrifice that would pay for all of mans sin. The Apostle Paul lived under this condemnation for most of his professional life. Paul was a Pharisee who taught Jewish law and was enmeshed deeply into this system. The revelation of being ‘saved’ thru simply believing in the single sacrifice of Christ was a tremendous ‘paradigm’ shift from legalism to grace. It was hard for someone of the Jewish faith to make this transition. It was almost as in if it were too good to be true! This is why Paul says things like ‘If there were a law given that good have made us right with God, then we would be made right by it. But being there is no such law, God has chosen to justify us by faith’. You find this singular theme repeated over and over again in Paul’s writings. Faith in Jesus is not only the way we get into the Kingdom, but it’s also the way we grow and mature once we get in! ‘HAVING BEGUN IN THE SPIRIT ARE WE NOW MADE PERFECT BY THE FLESH [LAW]?’ Galatians. Now with this underlying theme of grace, always warring against the mindset of law, Paul speaks of ‘renewing the mind’. It was a battle to keep at the forefront of the early believers this central reality of the gospel. Paul was continually warring against other religious leaders [judiasers] who did not walk in grace. This is primarily what the New Testament is speaking about in the area of renewing the mind. Some actually teach the renewing of the mind in a legalistic way. They make you think that you have to change your circumstances and ‘world around you’ by some type of mental gymnastics. You fall into this type of ‘mind renewing’ that puts the pressure on you to change things. This is not the biblical image of renewing the mind! The biblical image is seeing all the great things that God has done for us thru the Cross, and living our lives out of this radical gratitude that causes us to lay down all of our agendas for Gods agenda! The fact that this legalistic mindset of trying to live up to some religious standard is now over, this releases us into a radical way of life that makes Gods Kingdom the priority. As Paul teaches this radical good news, he clearly says ‘you are not saved or accepted with God based on your performance. You are accepted because Christ died for you’. Many people in society today don’t know this! They see the ‘church’ as a bunch of ‘moral hypocrites’. They don’t realize that God is not holding things against them. The account has been paid. God is not requiring them to join some church, or convert to some religion. He is simply trying to get this message to them. Why isn’t it getting to them? O that’s right, when they tune in to our TV shows they see us talking about money! [I forgot, I wasn’t going to tear down today]. You see, the thing that should be compelling us to go into all the world with an urgency to preach Christ is a gratitude for what he’s done for us. We don’t have the right anymore to live for ourselves; we have been bought with a price THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, WHICH BELONG TO GOD.

(238)I want to share a few more ‘funny’ stories, but I also have a lot of serious stuff to get to. The last entry is the heart of the gospel message. The radical ‘reconciliation’ of man back to God thru the Cross is the message. The reality of knowing that you, personally, are forgiven and totally accepted is radical. I have friends who read this site who are not Christian. Some are offended at me because of the strong Christian message that we proclaim. We openly say ‘you can only be saved thru Jesus’. I teach that all Jewish people, all Muslim people, all people every where can only be saved thru Christ. This does offend the modern liberal mind, to which some of our blog reader’s posses. The message is as simple as ‘all men need the sun to live’. Well how could you be so arrogant John. There are many opinions on this. Who do you think you are in making such a statement. How could a so called ‘just’ God require all humans to receive ‘sunlight’ to live. Be open-minded! The fact is God has made his sun [Son] available to all humanity. Some live their whole lives under it’s benefits, without ever giving it a second thought. It is not ‘bigoted’ or close-minded to accept the fact that Jesus Christ is the savior of all mankind. God has reconciled the world back to himself thru his Son. This central message is available for all men to receive. There are things in life that all people need to survive [food water, etc.] the simple fact is all men need Jesus. Don’t get mad over this. You don’t have to become a religious conservative [I’m not!]. You can even look like a radical hippie from the 70’s [I do!]. It’s just a matter of truth that you have been forgiven, why wont you accept this!

(266)A few years ago I did a radio series on the book of Exodus. One of the things we brought out was the story of the children of Israel giving freely of their riches and wealth in order to make the calf. The calf represents idolatry/covetousness. I was trying to show how certain forms of ‘giving’ are actually idolatry! For years giving was taught in a way that focused on ‘the act of giving’ as opposed to the ‘actual need being met’. People were only excited about giving, like being excited about investing in a stock or 401 K. The motive for giving was covetousness. There are many people today who ‘give’ willingly to an investment. The excitement is watching it grow. This is not New Testament giving. This is investing. It’s not wrong per se, but it’s not giving out of love. Even though the children of Israel ‘gave’ it wasn’t glorifying God! I remember many years ago being in a restaurant with some friends, preachers and stuff. One of the brothers was a prosperity preacher, he had just finished preaching and we were out fellowshipping. He was so excited about ‘giving’ that at one point he took off an expensive watch and ‘gave’ it to my friend [a prophet]. My friend accepted it, but you could tell the preacher then started regretting that he did it. This is a type of ‘giving’ that glorifies the ‘giving’ part, without actually meeting the true need of a person out of compassion. The New Testament model of giving is based on compassion for your fellow man, not on some investment scheme! NOTE: Just felt like I heard someone say ‘so what’s the point’? The point is when Gods people get free from idolatry [covetousness] we can then move on from our ‘golden calves’ to the true worship of God! NOTE: The prophet friend was one of those types who would ‘butt heads’ with Pastors and leaders. I was challenged this night by him in some way [?] I remember responding, like not letting it get to me and answering whatever challenge he gave me with wisdom. He was familiar with ‘pushing the buttons’ of Pastors and making them feel uneasy and stuff. By this time I had already been thru so much stuff, his little ‘attack’ didn’t produce the desired results. He kind of looked at me and said ‘you’ve been thru this before’ which was correct. NOTE: the ‘calf’ was made out of GOLD and they worshipped it as a god. This is the heart of idolatry, to ‘re fashion’ the image of God into the image of what men desire [Romans 1-2]. Eventually if a person insists on ‘seeing’ the ‘Jesus’ of his own imagination [rich, etc.] then God will ‘give them over’ to that image. In essence their ‘god’ will become a ‘golden calf’ an image of wealth that does disgrace to the true image of Christ! [OUCH!]

(282)Reading Isaiah 44. The Lord says the people made idols out of that which God provided for their sustenance, that is Gods resource to them [trees in Isaiah, money and Gods provision now]. They ‘deck it with gold’ [in Jeremiah?] they worship that which God gave as provision and made it their God. They ‘prayed to it’ and saw it as the answer to their dilemma [if we just had this transference of wealth we could accomplish our mission!] They became just like that which they worshipped. Their idols were blind and deaf and dumb. They became blind [unable to perceive] deaf [unable to hear reproof] and dumb [God took away their voice from society, the church at large]. Because of their worship of the idols they ‘became foolish in their understanding and were ashamed’ their foolishness was seen by all [many even from the secular media have said ‘how can you think Jesus was this money focused mega star, he was a carpenters son!’ Even Larry king, a Jewish talk show host said this about the modern money preachers] HE FEEDETH ON ASHES, A DECIEVED HEART HATH TURNED HIM ASIDE The fact that they ‘fed’ off of their own shallow belief system, caused them to become shallow in their understanding of scripture, unable to see the most obvious things! GOD FRUSTRATED THOSE WHO WERE LYING AND TURNED THESE WISE MEN BACKWARD AND MADE THEIR KNOWLEDGE FOOLISH and at the end God forgave those who were willing to repent and he restored them. First comes strong rebuke, but then a true restoration to the original purpose of God. NOTE: It says they fell down and worshipped THE STOCK OF A TREE paper money is made from the ‘stock of a tree’ the way you worship something is by seeing that thing as your goal, confession, desire. Just thinking about it gives you great satisfaction. You spend a great amount of your thought life strategizing and dreaming about making more of it. It’s a deadly pursuit. Jesus says you don’t have time for God and mammon, the worship of mammon consumes too much time! NOTE It also says that a judgment on those who are held captive by idolatry/covetousness is they are unable to see the most obvious things in scripture. One of the strangest things I have seen from the more extreme prosperity brothers is the inability to read the passages of scripture that PLAINLY deal with covetousness and to SEE what these passages are saying. I heard a brother teach on 1st Timothy 6 [both a local brother and 2 national ones] I guess they were getting some heat from guys like me who tell people that 1st Timothy 6 totally deconstructs the modern prosperity gospel. When they were done trying to teach the chapter they were making it say the exact opposite of the plain meaning of Paul’s words. Paul in Timothy warns Timothy about a ‘coming’ group of preachers who will teach that gain is godliness. At one point Paul says FLEE THESE THINGS AND INSTEAD LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE. The context of this passage was explained by a prosperity guy to mean Paul was telling Timothy to ‘lay hold of abundant material wealth’ he exegetes the word ‘eternal life’ and showed that one of the definitions speaks of ‘wealth in every area’ he then made the conclusion that Paul told Timothy to ‘lay hold of wealth’ This brother didn’t see that when you exegete [study the meaning] of a word you can find many different definitions that apply at different times [Jesus says ‘save a sheep’ or a coin in his parables. This is the same word for ‘save a soul’ in salvation. The text shows you that Jesus isn’t saying ‘save’ in the same way when he talks about sheep and humans] this basic mistake caused the prosperity guy to take the actual warnings in scripture that deal with covetousness and made it teach covetousness. I have seen this twisted interpretation over and over again from many of these guys. This is a judgment from God on those who choose to preach a wealthy Jesus. God says those who distort his Sons image are committing idolatry. One of the judgments on those who commit idolatry is that there wisdom becomes foolishness; they are held captive by their own distorted views. I do pray that these brothers would repent from this stuff. I have personally sent them books and things over the years. It’s just it got to a point where they refuse reproof and we are now at a stage where we are trying to keep a whole new generation of believers from going down this path.

(283)Lets overview a few things. We have covered verses that said ‘the people go out and cut down a tree a make it into the form of a man, they also cover the tree/idol with gold, they worship the image of their mind’ idolatry is forming a ‘man’ into the image that you desire, and blatantly ‘decking him with wealth’ OUCH! [Remember we mentioned in Galatians Paul said some were preaching another Jesus, this ‘other’ Jesus that some preach today is ‘an image of a man’ that is adorned/decked with expensive jewelry and wealth!] Also the image in my mind this morning [its 2:37 am at the fire house] is that of dismembered baby parts all thru out this country. Understand many of these dismemberings took place on the ‘altar of convenience’ i.e.: ‘we can’t AFFORD this child right now’ God have mercy on us as a people. A few scriptures that are coming to mind. I WILL POUR WATER UPON HIM THAT IS THIRSTY [you Pastors and leaders specifically] AND FLOODS UPON THE DRY GROUND. I WILL POUR MY SPIRIT ON YOUR SEED AND MY BLESSING UPON YOUR OFFSRPING Some of our readers have known us forever, and you guys are still getting ‘poured on’ Great! But I want you to start POURING ON OTHERS. God is going to ‘pour’ on key Pastors/Leaders and allow for you to attain great influence and open doors in the nations. Many of the things ‘from this radical guys blog site’ are going to rapidly advance thru the land. GOD IS GOING TO FLOOD THE DRY GROUND There is an individual ‘pouring’ on ‘him’ that is thirsty. You ‘thirsty’ leaders are drinking much from this place/site, but God is also ‘pouring’ regionally. Some who have heard us in the past have thought ‘thank God this brother doesn’t have a lot of influence’ well the Lord seems to have changed that. Not for personalities sake, for his purpose. Be a part of pouring the stuff out that he has poured into you! God pours on individuals that are thirsty, so they can be rejuvenated to help pour out on the seed [corporate community] God pours ‘buckets of water’ on the dry ground. One person can only haul so many buckets. 2 can haul more, but a 3-fold cord is not easily broken. Once a ‘grouping’ of Prophetic/Apostolic brothers start disseminating new/fresh revelation, it becomes very hard to stop it at that point THY SEED AND THY NAME SHALL REMAIN. THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH YOU, MY WORDS THAT I HAVE PUT IN THY MOUTH SHALL NOT DEPART OUT OF THY MOUTH, NOR OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THY SEED FROM THIS TIME FORTH AND FOREVER MORE. Many of our leader friends and ‘regular’ friends for many years, run with the things the Lord has showed you. I have been running myself for a long time with these things, take the baton! BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE, BE NOT AFRAID, NIETHER BE THOU DISMAYED, FOR THE LORD THY GOD IS WITH THEE WITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST Go somewhere! GET OUT OF THE CITY AND DWELL IN THE FIELDS, EVEN BABYLON. THERE I WILL BE WITH YOU AND THERE I WILL DELIVER YOU FROM THE HAND OF THE ENEMY you have to be in enemy territory to be delivered from enemies! THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST THE CHURCH [ecclesia]. We too often read church as the stagnant place. But read it as ecclesia, the mobile force and community of God. When we ‘mobilize’ and ‘take camp’ in enemy territory it becomes an ‘outpost’ for God. We are the ambassadors representing the Kingdom in that place. Before too long the inhabitants of ‘that place’ become citizens of the Kingdom we represent and we have taken ground for the kingdom. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE The concept of one nation taking up residence in another land and then influencing that society for God is seen strongly in the Old Testament nation of Israel. God allowed for ‘proselytes’ and foreigners to come in and be part of Gods society. This is voiced in Ephesians by Paul. Speaking of us being strangers to the covenant, and now thru Christ being adopted in. Also in the book of Acts it speaks of ‘God Fearers’ this wasn’t a reference to people who just ‘feared God’ it was speaking of outsiders who were embracing Judaism but were not fully converted yet. So we see the intent of God to first reveal himself to a group/nation of people. But that nation is not supposed to ‘contain’ him, but reveal him to all the surrounding nations. The light under a bushel and not being on the candlestick were images that Jesus used to reprove the Jews of the 1st century. They took Gods glory that was specifically given to them to share, and they became ‘self righteous’. They chose to ‘separate’ from society in a legalistic way that said ‘we are better than you, stay away’. Jesus would rebuke this mindset over and over again in the parables. Many Christians today, in certain isolated forms of church, practice this kind of legalism. They view ‘church’ as a place to go and stay clean from the world. They miss the original intent of God, which was to influence the world. Get that light out from under the cover; get that salt out into society. It wasn’t given to us so we could ‘dig a whole and bury it in the ground’ [I think I heard a popular speaker say this once?]

(289)Reading Isaiah again, some stuff from chapter 45. God says his anointing subdues nations [large regions] looses Kings [leaders] from captivity [things that they didn’t even know were holding them back]. God goes before his anointed and breaks in pieces the gates and bars that people trusted would protect their borders [territory]. WOE TO THOSE WHO STRIVE WITH THEIR MAKER some will fight back against what God is doing and it will be harmful to them. Pride will cause them to see the reproof as ‘Oh, it's those critics again’ not realizing that this time certain things have come full circle and the Lord will not let certain things stand anymore. Those whom God anoints will LET GO THE CAPTIVES, NOT FOR PRICE OR REWARD there only motivation is to free the people and finish the purpose of God. THEY SHALL GO TO CONFUSION TOGETHER THAT ARE MAKERS OF IDOLS In the past when they were reproved they were able to ‘whether out the storm’ but not this time. They go into confusion together this time; the only hope is to finally truly address these same rebukes they have heard thru out their lives. I HAVE NOT SPOKEN IN SECRET, OR IN A DARK PLACE God says I have made these things plain, the only thing preventing many from changing is spiritual pride. LOOK UNTO ME ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH/ EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS all people involved will find harmony and peace when there is mutual submission to the Lord ship of Christ. All will bow! MEN OF STATURE SHALL COME OVER TO THEE AND THEY SHALL BE THINE Some influential Kingdom leaders will be persuaded this time around. They themselves have questioned many of these things but this time they know for sure which path to take.

(299)Some things from Isaiah 46. THE IDOLS WERE UPON THE BEASTS, THEY ARE A BURDEN TO THE BEAST Idols wear you down, they put the responsibility on you to change your world. Sooner or later they will weigh you down. I HAVE MADE AND I WILL CARRY YOU AND DELIVER YOU True Christianity puts the ‘burden’ on God to pull us thru. HIS YOKE IS EASY AND BURDEN LIGHT THEY TAKE GOLD OUT OF THE BAG, AND WEIGH SILVER IN THE BALANCE. THEY HIRE A GOLDSMITH AND HE MAKES IT INTO A GOD God will not let this stand CALLING A RAVENOUS BIRD FROM THE EAST, THE MAN THAT EXECUTETH MY COUNSEL FROM A FAR COUNTRY. I HAVE SPOKEN IT AND I WILL BRING IT TO PASS. I HAVE PURPOSED IT AND I WILL DO IT HEARKEN UNTO ME YE STUBBORN OF HEART God says this time around I will perform my purpose to bring true reform. Many times you have been reproved and shown the error of idolatry, you have for the most part ignored it and have not allowed for true reformation. This will not stand any longer. The people are tired of the burden it brings and they will flee to God so he can ‘carry them’. NOTE: I have memorized the ‘ravenous bird from the east’ for over 20 yrs. I always took it personal. Coming from the east and all. ‘Blinded by the light’ song says ‘preacher from the east’. American Pie from Don McLean says ‘the 3 Men I admire most, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they took the last train for the coast’ you have the train imagery and the coast. And the image from the gospel of John on ‘in my fathers house are many mansions’ speaks of people groups. Well Springstein says ‘ every body’s out on the road tonight in a last chance power drive, took highway nine to the mansions of glory’ I have driven highway 9, as you can tell I still like the old songs!

(319)The enemy uses systems and structures of speech and thought that are closely related to godly avenues in order to sidetrack people. When the serpent came to Eve in the garden, he is using speech [confession] scripture [the words God spoke, though distorted] and the form of communication that God initially established for his purpose [by the way, those involved in Christian TV networks, many of you do broadcast very good stuff. I was just watching God TV last night and enjoyed a Rick Joyner meeting, also I like the I.H.O.P. meetings with Mike Bickle and many other good prophetic ministries. It is the enemies strategy to ‘mix’ the good stuff with the ‘bad’ wheat/tares strategy] The fact that the enemy uses the means of communication that God initiates should cause us to be more selective in discerning that which is holy [good] from that which is not! Pastor[s] can feel like I am ‘threatening’ their livelihood. I understand this. This is a direct result of the modern day phenomena of the ‘full time minister’. Paul and the other New Testament leaders were not trying to ‘defend their jobs’ they were laying their lives down for truth. Sometimes literally! True reform is difficult. People are happy and comfortable with a steady income stream. Regular supporters who are really blessed by other ministries who might broadcast thru the station. All the natural feelings of being threatened and loosing that sense of security are involved with reform. Many Catholic Priests were shaken during the reformation. It was a time in history where God said ‘I am going to change some things permanently in the history of the Church’. I am not saying everything the reformers did was right. But the time had come for a shift to happen. Shifts are very uncomfortable. They cause you to re evaluate all that you have known and held onto in the past. Shifts are necessary. No chastening at the present time seems to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it produces right things as well as peace. To some it brings destruction. That’s not the purpose of chastening, but some are steeped in rebellion to the point where they have staked their lives on it. NOTE: Let me try to help some of you who are sincerely worried. The reality of God being our provider. The truth behind all the scriptures of God wanting to prosper us and God being a good God and all of these things are true. They were true for Paul who said ‘Preachers will rise in the last days, preaching that gain is godliness. From such turn away’ they were true for Jesus who said ‘be ware of covetousness, a mans life doesn’t consist in the amount of things he owns’. These scriptures of God being our provider teach us that God is good and will most definitely meet our needs. This is a far cry from the other stuff I am trying to ‘root out’. God being our provider is one thing. Making the entire gospel and kingdom about money is something forbidden in scripture! Discern this guys. Especially you Pastors and Leaders, you cannot keep getting away with letting this slip thru to your people. Ideas and wrong teachings have long lasting results. Don’t let your people go down this road! Teach them about the goodness of God, but don’t let them get ruined by this stuff! NOTE: The serpent actually accomplished his goal thru the speaking of Gods word in a distorted version. He ‘marred’ the image of God that was in man. Man continued to exist, but his ‘image’ was not the complete original intent of the Father. This is what I showed you earlier about idolatry. Many in this movement ‘believe’ in Jesus, but the true image of Christ is ‘marred’ by the distorted view of scripture!

(320)DON’T BE AFRAID! God has a great future ahead for you guys [and gals]. A lot of leaders are seeing all the stuff we have spoken on, many know it all to be true. Some are scared. Don’t be. Simply acknowledge that the church went thru a stage where we fulfilled aspects of 1st Timothy 6. Paul said if you rebuke false prophets sharply they will turn to truth. OK now lets move on with the great future ahead. Some of the more notable brothers will not deal with any of this stuff out of fear. Fine. I love them. We showed them what the Lord said. If they don’t listen that’s their problem. Will everything be smoothed over? NO! But they will give an account to God like everyone else. At least you guys who were sending in your ‘seed’ to the TV stations and ministries who were promoting this stuff have gotten wise. Give your money to ‘feed the children’ or Billy Graham or the church you attend [if their not a prosperity one!]. Time rolls on, we have a destiny to fulfill. Get on with It!

(343)The western church [you and me] plays a major role in the purpose of God at this time. We are extremely immature in our thinking. We are extremely materialistic in our view of the churches role in society [read the Popes recent book-2007] we see ‘the answer’ to world evangelism as bringing in more money. God sees the actual people as the ‘riches’ of the nations. ‘Ask of me and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. Your sons shall come from far and your daughters from the ends of the earth’ Many truly do not see what we have done in the American church for the last 50 years. Jesus is prophetically ‘turning the tables of the money changers over’ he is entering a time period in the western church where he is dealing with and judging ‘our god’. One of the major tools that he raises up to use for tasks like this are prophets. It was a crafty strategy of the enemy to cause the prophets to ‘worship gods of gold’. In doing this the enemy for the most part removed the key tool that our Father wanted to use for this work. This work of dealing with idolatry in the western church is a major [if not the major] prophetic work that needs to be done in order for the nations to say ‘Hosanna in the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. Jesus wasn’t just dealing with 1st century moneychangers. He was signifying the future ‘cleansing’ of his people from this mindset. Right now the Spirit of God is doing a ‘violent’ work in many key prophets thru out our country. Many were not dealing with these issues out of pride. They put their ministries and the success of their personas at the forefront of their concerns. They saw any reproof in this area as wrong. They were not humble enough to realize that the Spirit of God shows no partiality. God commands all men everywhere to repent. He does not come to take sides in arguments. He comes in power so he can reap the riches of the earth. We must be free from the riches of the world in order for him to do this.

(344)There are tremendous worldwide movements taking place right now in the earth. China is being brought to Christ at a tremendous rate. Some estimate 1200 people an hour are coming to Jesus. I remember hearing a testimony from some Pastor from an overseas country. Many of the Pastors in this country [it was a 3rd world country, I cant remember what one] were looking at the money gospel that we were pumping into their country. They all with one voice joined in an outright rejection and rebuke of these American heretics. They plainly saw all the things I have shown you on this site and flat out rejected it. There is a mindset that comes from these ministries that sees the ‘doctrine’ that they are putting out as ‘deep truths, the meat of the word’ they have deceived themselves into thinking that all of these obvious errors are really the true mysteries of God. Pride is very destructive. It was really humbling to see instances where sincere leaders and believers from the world over have at times openly rebuked the obvious error of these things. The instances I recall were like the people were saying ‘cant you see how deceived you American preachers are’. I realize that all American preachers are not like this. But these worldwide Christians see a regular dose of this kind of Christianity from the Christian networks. I see this as the Spirit of the Lord rising up within his people to correct the Body. I do remember watching the Fort Worth brother teach a series on Hebrews and teach that the meat of the word of God was being able to ‘rule your senses’ to a point where you only hear the promises of abundance and become rich. Any one who can’t ‘rule his senses’ and listens to the ‘nay sayers’ has weak faith and therefore is not financially rich. The amount of deception that was broadcast worldwide form this program is unbelievably harmful to the church. These verses from Hebrews were saying nothing even remotely close to this. It was so obvious to the average believer. But the leaders of this movement are so steeped in this stuff they simply cant see it. NOTE; I have written to some of these networks, as others have done. At times I feel like saying ‘I can’t believe you guys are allowing this to go worldwide’ but I guess they feel like they should. NOTE; Many of these verses that they use to do this are either taken from chapters or books of the New Testament that are actually warning against covetousness. Sometimes the actual verse says something like ‘avoid materialism, seek spiritual riches’ and these guys will take that verse and say ‘the word for ‘riches’ speaks of abundance in every area. Therefore God is telling us to seek wealth and money’ the amount of deception is quite unbelievable. [That’s why I can’t understand how my ‘prophetic’ friends do not only remain silent on this stuff, but they often perpetuate it. This takes the tool that God wants to use to up root this [the Prophets] and actually causes it to line up in agreement. This cannot stand any more.] NOTE; When these guys do this stuff, it’s like the bible and the true person of Jesus are tools to do what they want with. To say ‘Jesus is Lord’ after doing all this makes you think of the verse ‘why do you call me Lord and not do/say the things that I am saying’. This same preacher also taught that Hebrews says ‘Jesus is the Apostle and high priest of our confession/profession’ he actually taught that this meant ‘Jesus is the SERVANT of what we say, if we confess ‘car/money/etc.’ then Jesus as the priest of our confession goes and says ‘yes sir, I will now go to the father and cause the things you spoke to manifest’ This has Jesus ‘being Lord/High Priest’ turned completely around. The verse means we obey him. As our high priest he mediates for us. Because we have entered into covenant with him, we are debtors to him. We lay our lives down for him. To be honest the way this preacher actually showed Jesus in a way that made him look like a servant was truly offensive. He kind of showed Jesus as a slave to our desires. You guys defending this stuff, times up, don’t defend this anymore.

(351)The rise of the Islamic religion came as a direct result of the Christian churches idolatry. 1400 years ago the prophet Muhammad saw the actual idolatry of the church in having statues and Christians actually bowing down in front of them during ‘church’ services. Muhammad led an iconoclastic revolt [image smashing] and felt that God was using him to judge idolatry in the church. In essence ‘radical Islam’ is sort of a type of ‘Babylonian’ judgment that God allows to come against the church when she becomes idolatrous/materialistic. Today radical Islam looks at all the TV and entertainment that is being produced from ‘western’ Christianity, and sees herself once again as an instrument in Gods hand to ‘judge’ idolatry/materialism. The western church doesn’t yet realize the significance of not being materialistic. Many of the mindsets say ‘this is what Christianity is all about, God is a good God [true] and therefore we are all bout ‘accumulating stuff’ [false]. This ‘idolatry’ of things has once again opened a ‘spiritual portal’ that allows ‘pagan’ nations to judge Gods people. In essence God uses wicked govt. and religions to come in and attack the ‘secure’ feeling of those who find security in ‘things’. The significance of the worlds 3 great religions [Christianity/Islam/Jew] at this time in world history is at a critical point. The reason why ‘spiritual Israel’ [all believers] will be the ‘body of people’ that Christ will return to and vindicate is because these have been the servants of all these other nations during these conflicts. Jesus said the last will be first. These humble believers who have been risking their lives reaching out to all these communities and trying to feed and help these nations are the ones that Christ returns to and ‘shows’ himself. In essence the humble church do inherit the earth. Natural Israel could not do this. The Israel of today is a govt. built and established on Old Testament truths. They still have embedded in their minds the concept of ‘animal sacrifice’ and obedience to law as the nationalistic ‘glue’ that holds the fabric of their society together. The return of Jesus will be an event where all nations will see and fall down and confess Jesus as Lord. It will be humbling to realize that at this moment God is not vindicating the thoughts or religions of men, but instead he will be vindicating the Lamb and his followers. Judgment will be given over to the Lamb and the humble ones who have been following him for 2 thousand years. The world will be relieved to see judgment in the hands of those who truly loved and gave themselves for them. Paul said we shall judge the world. Jesus said whosever’s sins you forgive will be forgiven. There is an aspect to the final judgment that is given to the Saints. This will not be an arrogant thing. Jesus is waiting for the saints to be mature enough to return and entrust this to them. You wouldn’t give your car to your 10 year old. But when they are mature enough you will entrust it to them. So a major aspect of Christ’s return is for his people to be mature enough to not want to judge and condemn, but who will be willing to ‘suffer these other nations to come unto him’. After all redemption was his purpose from the start. [I am not advocating universalism, I am showing you that at Christ’s return he wants his people to be able to handle in grace and mercy the role we will play in the judgment of the nations].

(561) I heard a brother speak the other day. He shared a good message. He confessed that most of his background and study came from a certain type of Christianity. He shared from A.A. Allen, John G lake, Kathryn Kuhlman and others who were part of the ‘latter rain’ or healing movements from the middle of the last century. He also said how after he became a Christian he called Rhema Bible college and ordered ‘one of everything’ they had. He had quite a big load of books and tapes! The message the brother shared was good, he seems to be a very humble man. I remember studying many of these movements myself, I realized the danger that comes from seeing only one particular aspect of the church. Like studying year’s worth of teachings that all have the same fundamental error. You might think you are learning year’s worth of knowledge, but in reality you are feeding from a very skewed idea of Christianity. The people the lord used in the latter rain movement were good people [with many flaws] that for the most part were gifted in great ways. I feel the problem with this movement was the whole concept of fame and ‘platform performance’. They didn’t see the wrong paradigm that they were operating from. They didn’t realize that these gifts should be used in a limited way from such a platform. They fell into the mindset of the day that created an organization around them and their personas. So you had tremendously gifted people, like William Branham, who operated in tremendous giftings, but who also had some serious doctrinal flaws. He taught racist ideas about blacks, the ‘seed of the serpent’ and things like this. I do not view all of these people as false prophets, the danger was the individualistic style and performance mentality that went along with the gifts. Real gifts, less than ideal ways of expressing them.

(609)Over the years I have seen how division happens among good believers. On this site you can read some good stuff [I think!] on doctrine. You can also read lots of stuff on visions and dreams. I realize that there is a whole sector of the church who believe that the current church ‘is rampant with false doctrine’. I here a local commercial on the radio station that I broadcast on say this. When I here it I hope I am not coming across as someone who only sees ‘rampant false doctrine’ in our day. I also see how these reformed guys see ‘rampant false doctrine’. But sometimes there are honest disagreements that wouldn’t fall into the ‘false doctrine’ category. Paul was a tremendous theologian, reformed as much as any one! Yet what would you think if your favorite reformed theologian was raising the dead? Or sending handkerchiefs to sick people to get well? [it might have been Peter?] Or casting blindness on demon possessed followers? We often see only one side of the argument. Then you have the Charismatics who operate in these things, but it is next to impossible to show them that this same Paul who did these things wrote first Timothy 6, one of the strongest reproofs to the money gospel ever written. So we all have a tendency to take what we like and leave the rest behind. Sort of like some of the first canons of scripture, some guys just cut out the stuff they didn’t like! Even the great Luther had problems with James, Hebrews, Revelation, 2nd Peter and others. Sometimes our minds become idols. I want to exhort all my reformed friends to read the New Testament with an open mind, as well as my Charismatic friends. We all have blind spots that we don’t know are there [even me!] God ordained this to be so! That way we would realize we need each other in order to complete the mission. Let the iron sharpen iron.

(620)PARABLE OF A FIRE STARTER This kinda goes with the last entry. Jesus said he came to set fire to the earth, and how he wished it were already burning. We are all fire starters in this Jesus revolution. Some mock the revolution. I know of unbelievers who make fun of it. Hey, if you wanna die and go to hell, that’s your problem [you will not start the fires, but believe me, you will see them a lot!] For the rest of us we have a job to finish. Now in this revolution our primary responsibility is to start fires. Sure, there are some who have started ‘fire ministries’ they will tell you how important it is that you recognize that God has called them to start these fires. They will show you the verses where a great past fire starter [Paul] started them. They will even take you to the verses where he asked for others to send him some money because God called him to start fires in other places. He needed bus fare to go to the next place and start another fire. What you usually don’t hear is that the Apostle wasn’t starting a huge ‘fire starter’ ministry to get others to support. He was simply asking for help to go to the next forest and set that thing on fire! Many current fire starters seem to think the job is to convince many others to join the fire starter ministry, when in reality a true fire starter lights the fire and runs! He knows that inherent in this fire is the self sustaining ability to grow and spread rapidly. He will check in every now and then to see how big the fire got, but for the most part he lets the thing burn on its own. One of the things that can stop it is when the future fire starters believe that they only have the responsibility to start the fires. They can unwittingly restrain the nature of the fire. They don’t mean to do this, it is just an outgrowth of viewing ‘fire starting’ as a profession. The early starters all believed that it was everyone’s job to start them. After all, the original fire starter seemed to say this all the time. The early fire starters remembered the words of the first revolutionary ‘I have come to set fire on the earth, how I wish it were already burning’! NOTE; another thing that has hindered the fire is that many starters think the job is to simply raise the money and believe for the money that the fire starter Paul would speak about. These sincere starters have lost track of the original mission, which was to actually start the fire! [win people to Jesus!]

(602)Got with some homeless brothers yesterday, I will be seeing them in a few more hours. They read some of my stuff, one of them just lost his wife and child in a car crash this past year. He is struggling with it. He told me he was raised Mormon and hasn’t believed in God for years. But he started believing again in the last 2 weeks. I felt he wanted to kind of say ‘do you know why’? And maybe give me some credit, but I didn’t go down that road. I wanted him to believe because he chose to, not to impress me. I dealt with Mormonism in an honest way. Didn’t sugar coat the many problems with this belief [Like the total lack of any historical evidence backing up all of the so called tribes of people that Jesus supposedly appeared to in the Americas. All the names of people, cities, the money they used. None of these things have ever been found! Never mind the fact that the ‘angels’ who translated the ‘plates’ that Smith found in the ground, used King James English in his translation! EEEK!]. Well anyway when I went to see a good Christian friend who knows web sites, he was helping me with a few pointers. He started a business, was telling me how thru the business they get opportunities to witness. A good thing. He is an older man, involved in the local scene. He was getting ready to go the office, also spending time working at his house. I was hoping to finish with what he was showing me so I could get with some homeless guys at the mission. I don’t say this to boast or compare myself with my friend. I want to give an example. As he was telling me how thru the business they have opportunities to witness, he mentioned something about me being a fire fighter. I told him I am in the middle of retiring after 25 years. This brother has been financially independent for many years [he is rich!] I never knew this when I first met him. If I knew it I wouldn’t have paid for him and one of his employees when we went out to eat after a prayer meeting! The point is as we were talking, I was kind of rushing to get with the brothers. He was also rushing to go to the office. Why don’t we see the reality of touching people directly? If we retire as believers, or are financially well off, why not see your situation as being a direct conduit into the lost world around us? We often want to establish things [ministries, businesses, etc] and thru these other things we try to influence society. This is okay to a degree. But also leave yourself open to the concept of Jesus giving us authority and a responsibility to directly impact the world. I didn’t see my rushing to leave as ‘I need to go run the ministry’ or ‘establish our ministry’. I have left that mindset years ago. I saw my ‘rushing to leave’ more like Jesus going after the one sheep while leaving the 99 [I would not dare compare myself to the Lord!] The point is, if your child was starving on the street, strung out on drugs. Would your first thought be ‘how can I go start something that will affect them in the long run’? [a sort of Christian ‘trickle down economics!] Or would you take all you have, your time, resources and everything and directly go find that child and try and help them? I think we need to re evaluate what Jesus calls us to. Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in! Don’t just ‘go out’ hoping to have a successful career, give God 10 % on Sunday while hoping you will in some way have an impact in society. Jesus said ‘when I was hungry you never came to me, I was sick and in prison, where were you’ I don’t want to say ‘at the office’! [Or down at the church!] NOTE; let’s ‘tear down every high thought that comes against the knowledge of God’. I want you to see the subtle mindset of religion. We often appeal to people along the lines of ‘support your church financially, live a good Christian life. Come to church on Sunday and be excited about all the mission works and reaching out and supporting missionaries that the church [organization] is supporting’ while all of these works are good and noble, what this tends to do is develop a mindset in the church [the actual ecclesia who are sitting in the pews!] that their main job is to fund the organization [like giving to the Red Cross] and that by their being faithful to fund it, they will have a reward. Now, I am sure the Lord will honor those who have given this way, as well as honor those fulltime missionaries who are doing good works. But when we frame the conversation this way, the poor people in the pews are only spectators who are living vicariously thru the professionals. They hear all the exciting stories form the visiting missionaries. They see the great things that the Pastor has done over the past year. They are very excited about all the good things that are happening. Then they are told ‘it’s good to believe God to use you to excel in the business world and make more money so we can do more projects. Don’t you know if you only believe for your own needs, you are being selfish!’ So the condemnation is ‘why do I not feel fulfilled by simply supporting this system’? Because God didn’t design you to be fulfilled by simply making money and supporting others who are laying their lives down. He designed you to lay your life down as well. To personally be involved in some way by actually doing the work! Not by simply thinking you will get a reward by giving money to others who are doing it. I have found the breaking of this mindset to be one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of true revolution in the church. Every time you try and break this barrier, you are looked at as some rebel who doesn’t believe in tithing. Then to top it all off, every time a believer gets close to ‘making the break’ in his thinking and acting, he is then told ‘God will curse you if you rob from him’[Malachi]. May God help us all to get beyond this stuff! NOTE; Remember when we covered Exodus? [on radio] The children of Israel were told ‘you need to make more bricks, the reason the people are complaining is because they are not busy enough’! The bricks were being used to build Pharaohs cities, that which would bring glory to mans legacy. When we tell people ‘make more money, become millionaires so you can fund Christian stuff’ what we are doing is taking a very small percent of truth and applying it on a broad scale. In rare cases people are called to be rich to support ministries. The testimony of scripture does show this! Joseph of Arimathea, the rich guy who gave his grave to Jesus. Those in Acts who sold lands. There are examples of this. But you never see Jesus or Paul telling believers ‘trust God to make you rich so you can give us more money’. We err when we do this! We in essence are preaching a message to people that says ‘you are selfish if you are only working for your own needs, you need to give your life to become rich’ this message becomes a direct violation of scripture. In Hebrews it says ‘be content with what you have’. Paul says to Timothy ‘don’t desire to become rich’. This idea of telling believers to get rich to support ministries is way off. It actually falls into the category of ‘making more bricks for men’s glory’.

(629)MEGA CHURCH- I want to speak a little on the trend of ‘mega church’. Those of you who have read all my stuff know the way I view ‘church’. Not so much the ‘church I go to on Sunday’ but more of ‘the group of believers residing in my city’. Now, I am not against mega church. Recently a mega church in Texas taught some stuff that was in the class of real heresy. They denied that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel. This got us to discus how stuff like this can happen. In the idea of church as being ‘to get as many people to attend the Sunday meeting as possible’ this environment often breeds a corporate mindset that sees the ‘filling of the building’ as the goal. Along with this comes the ‘meeting of the budget at all expense’. When we first started reproving the doctrine of Jesus being a millionaire, the disciples having a huge budget, Jesus owning an expensive house and all the other stuff that went along with this distorted view of Jesus. It was hard to ‘correct’ the average Pastor who would hear a ‘proof text’ like Jesus wearing an expensive coat and then falling headlong into the money camp. It really upset me that average Pastors could be so easily ‘moved from the gospel of Christ’. I then began to see that in the context of these men’s lives, the major pressure was to ‘fill the building and meet the budget’. All well meaning guys, just distracted from the real goal [the developing of the character and image of Christ in the people groups [oikos] you relate to over your life]. Now, in this environment [the fill the building one!] you grasp hold of any teaching that helps with the accomplishing of the mission. So good Pastors, wanting to meet the budget, hear something from the prosperity group and take it in hook, line and sinker. Any reproof is seen as ‘these rebels don’t see the truth of money and its major role in the Christian life’. While in reality money is dealt with in scripture, but the overall view can be summed up in Paul’s statement ‘using the things of this world while not abusing them’. An overall balance of finances without falling into the trap that Paul warned about in 1st Timothy 6. But in the highly individualistic style of a Pastor overseeing thousands of people [like the San Antonio mega church- 18,000 members] you can become isolated thru viewing everything thru the lens of million dollar budgets and having people come and listen. The safety mechanism that Jesus put in the ‘church’ [corporate body of people] was when all the believers are together, they share and correct and keep each other in balance. The ‘big church’ model can be in danger of losing this ‘safety mechanism’. Some see this and encourage home groups, that’s a good thing. But some mega churches have Pastors who don’t participate. So these brothers are on a course to accomplish huge goals and then when they get off track doctrinally it is next to impossible to correct them. The members are so enamored with the strong preaching of the leader [in the more authoritative situations, I don’t see this in Corpus Christi] that they fall into the category of hearers only and would never confront the leader. Even if he starts to deny that Jesus is the Christ! [Messiah]. So in all of the varied expressions of church, let’s stay balanced and be open to receive from all the Christian communions that are out there. Don’t go down the road of viewing other Christian churches as ‘those deceived traditionalists’. I find it disturbing that when talking with Jehovah witnesses they espouse the same feelings towards the Catholic Church as many Baptists do. While not defending all the teachings of the Catholic Church, this mindset is inherently unhealthy. When a strong mega church is ‘ruled’ by an authoritarian Pastor, this whole dynamic is absent from the New Testament. There was NEVER a situation, NOT ONE TIME EVER where you would have 18,000 believers under the weekly preaching of any single person who was called ‘the Pastor’. Now you can see why the way you view your function as a Christian can be limited if your whole experience in Christianity is one of sitting in a pew and passively hearing bible words being preached. This perspective is not what you find taught in the New Testament assemblies of believers.

(630)JOHN 19 (radio # 602) The reality of redemption! I want to stress the fact that Jesus actually dieing on the Cross and really shedding his Blood for us is what saves us. No spiritualizing here! Over the years I have seen and read how believers in an attempt to ‘see’ the deep truths of God will sometimes fudge on the real Blood of Christ redeeming us. Let’s make it clear, the New Testament teaches that it was the real Blood of Jesus and his death on the Cross that saves man. Now, were there spiritual aspects to it? Sure. But don’t ‘spiritualize’ the death and real shedding of Blood. Like the recent reproof we did on some who taught that Jesus was not the Messiah, so here we warn that his Blood really saves. I remember reading one of the founders of the Word of faith movement, E.W. Kenyon. He would eventually teach that the ‘death of Jesus [physically] didn’t touch the sin issue’ he would then teach that it was the ‘spiritual death’ that saved us. Then teach that Jesus was the ‘first born again man’ who was separated from God and ‘born again’. The New Testament teaches Jesus was ‘the first begotten from the dead’ meaning the first to rise from the dead to never die again. Not the first person to ‘be born again’! Later on you would have another famous Word of Faith brother teach the same thing. I don't know why we have to always ‘see deeper’ than the plain truth? I guess it offends the natural mind to believe that Jesus physical death and separation from the father actually redeems man. I do believe Jesus ‘went to hell’ I don't teach the ‘hell’ being a separate place called ‘paradise’ that was really like heaven. It would seem strange for David in Psalms to say ‘thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [paradise] nor suffer thy Holy one to see corruption’. It just seems to fit as being ‘hell’, not ‘paradise. But I also believe it was the real death of Jesus on the cross that saves us. He really died and really shed his Blood and it was really finished when he said ‘it is finished’. Jesus will also say to John ‘behold your mother’ and tell Mary to go home and live with John after his death. Catholic apologists use this to defend their belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary. They say ‘if Mary had other natural kids, then it would have been offensive in Jewish culture for Mary to not have gone and lived with them’ good point. But heck, I defend our Catholic brothers an awful lot. Let me defend the Protestants a little. It is also possible that Jesus strong teaching on putting the spiritual family before the natural one might have played a role here. This could be the beginnings of the strong family mindset that you will see playing out later in the book of Acts. True believers living and sharing as strong [or even stronger!] than natural families. Also we already taught how Jesus knew that John would outlive the others. Even Jesus brother James, one of the lead apostles at Jerusalem will be martyred. Maybe Jesus knew [maybe!] that committing Mary over to Johns care was a more long term thing than handing her over to his brothers? We also see Nicodemus openly follow Jesus in this chapter. He is the first of the Pharisees to confess Christ openly. Later in the book of Acts we will see ‘Pharisees who believe’ but most times leaders are the last to repent and change positions. Why? Well some of it has to do with the whole persona of leadership. With this calling comes a type of character that says ‘I preached it, any one who disagrees is simply persecution’. While there are times when this is true, there are also times where God calls leadership to new levels. Some get it on it early [Nicodemus] others later! [some never!] Be part of the early group. I forgot to mention we also see the Jews appeal to ‘King Caesar’ as opposed to King Jesus. They will tell Pilate ‘we have no King but Caesar’. They hated Caesar. The whole Jewish nation were treated like 2nd class citizens under Roman rule, sure they benefited from ‘Pax Romana’ [the peace of Rome] but they hated to be living under an occupying govt. Jesus told them earlier in this gospel ‘you refuse my testimony of who I am, yet you will accept the testimony of another’s name’ some feel this is a reference to anti Christ. I think it fits in good right here!

(646)I felt like the Lord was saying ‘I am not concerned about who is right or wrong in the argument. I am concerned with what you are passing off to the next generation’. In many of the issues I have recently dealt with, I often hear ‘well brother, we will all find out who is right at the second coming. So for now let’s just have peace’. I am all for ‘having peace’ but God wants us to be responsible and willing to complete the task of our generation. Each generation of believers has a responsibility to the next. I am fully persuaded that there is coming a generation that will say ‘how did you guys miss the most basic stuff’! Some will say ‘I can’t believe you taught that Jesus was rich and he died to make us all millionaires’! We will have some forgiveness to ask for! Leaders, God wants you to deal with the issues in love, but he is more concerned with us passing the baton off to the next generation in a noble way. I fear the next generation of believers will look back and see some very obvious mistakes. Things that we should have dealt with before they took the baton!

(654)STUFF FROM PROVERBS 22:16 ‘he that oppresses the poor and gives to the rich shall come to want’. There are many believers who struggle financially. Many of them are sincere believers who don’t understand why they are struggling. I want to encourage you to read proverbs and look for all the verses on giving to the poor. It is too common for sincere believers to tithe to church on Sunday and not realize that they are overlooking the main body of scripture that speaks of God blessing those who meet the needs of others! Also I have heard it taught that if you give to the wealthy you will be blessed [I heard this actually taught by a prosperity preacher. He used the book of Job and said ‘the world thinks giving to the poor is merciful, God says giving to the rich will give you a blessing!] I figured I would throw this verse in so you can have your mind renewed to Gods Word! Also I just retired as a firefighter. I knew the first month of transition would be financially difficult. You have to wait for your first check and all. I also felt the lord telling me ‘John, you have been slacking on giving to the poor’. The budget for my New Paper ads and radio come from my pocket, so I have been slacking on the ‘giving to the poor part’. So I took out some money [in single dollar bills] and when the guys would ask for a dollar or two I would give it. Not much, 20 dollars or so every week. Really simple. Sure enough I have been getting extra ‘income checks’ that I was not aware of. A few thousand over a few weeks. I felt the Lord said ‘give to the poor’. 26:27 ‘whoever digs a pit shall fall therein, rolls a stone it will come back on him’ many years ago at the firehouse we had an older captain [Kriegel- to all my buddies who read this site!]. He was a good guy, used to give me these Christian papers he would get from his church. The guys liked playing pranks on him. One day they knew he was going to Mexico the next day, about a 2 hour drive. So that night they put a sign on the front of his truck that said ‘HONK, I AM A GAY MAN’ [Something to that affect]. Sure enough he couldn’t figure out why all the Mexicans kept beeping their horns! One time he stuck this mouse trap in his kitchen locker. We all had these lockers for each shift and eventually stuff kept finding its way into the other shifts lockers! So we all put locks on them. Well during dinner if you were short on ketchup or something it was just easier sticking your hand thru the bottom of the cabinet than walking to HEB. The technical term in the Greek for this act is called ‘stealing’. So Kriegel stuck a mouse trap in his locker! One morning the guys are just getting on shift and they hear Kriegel screaming. He forgot his keys at home and stuck his hand in his own locker. ‘Who so rolls a stone, it will come back on him’! [I wonder how he knew sticking your hand thru the bottom would work?]

(690)SERMON ON THE MOUNT- ‘BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS’ ‘you will know them by their fruits, what they produce. They come to you as wolves in sheep’s clothing’. In Ezekiel the ‘shepherds’ are rebuked because they come to devour the sheep. They see the sheep as a means for self aggrandizement. Here Jesus says ‘they are wearing sheepskins!’ They view ministry and pastoring/shepherding as a means to become wealthy and prosperous! Shall I continue? Let’s also take a broader view. In the history of Christianity you have had Christian cults that were ‘false’ by virtue of the fact that they denied the basic truths of Christianity. In the bible, 1st John deals with ‘those who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh are anti-christ’. John was targeting the early Gnostic/Docetist sects who said Jesus was a ‘phantom’. He appeared to be ‘real flesh’ but wasn’t. John deals with them as ‘anti christ’ because of their denial of the incarnation. Jesus was truly man and truly God. On a broader scale you have the religion of Islam. Arab [Muslim] people are good people! ‘Why brother how can you say that’? Easy, they were created in the image of God! Allah didn’t make them, Muhammad didn’t create them! They were created by Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Now, have they been led astray? Yes. As hard as it is to say this in today’s pluralistic society, they have been MIS LED. What about Jewish people? Good people! We should love and pray for them, not at the expense of Arabs [Muslims] but in concert for their salvation. Ultimately all religions accept for Christianity produce ‘bad fruit’. Why? Because all religions outside of Christ are man centered. You try to self reform thru law. This produces death. Christianity offers a free redemption thru the Blood of Christ. You don’t ‘self reform’. Grace produces the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus does say in this passage ‘narrow and straight is the way to life’. Yes, it sounds narrow minded to proclaim Jesus as the only way. Christians in America have crossed the line in ethnic/religious views. They have wrongfully sided with militaristic views of defending one nation’s military against another’s. Do we as believers have the right to support our countries military actions against radical Islam? Yes. As Christians should we advocate the annihilation of Muslim people because of their religious beliefs? NO! Too many American Christians seem to have not made this distinction. I believe Christians and Muslims and Jews should all work together as much as possible. Respect each others different beliefs. But also advocate for why we believe that Jesus is truly the only way to God. Jesus truly is the answer!

(459) ‘ISAIAH 57’ ‘the righteous perisheth and no man takes it to heart, none considers that he is taken away from the evil to come’ God has/is removing some of you from familiar territory. This ‘land’ has been a source of provision in the past, he is now moving you away from it. You seem confused as to why others can receive income/resource from this land, but you cannot. God is saying ‘I am removing you from these sources because they will not be their for ever, they will dry up. Others put their trust in them, they will fear when the source dries up’. ‘He that putteth his trust in me shall posses the land and shall inherit my holy mountain, and shall say cast up, cast up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people’ those who trust in the Lord as opposed to their own wisdom will be used to remove the things that have been causing Gods people to stumble. Don’t rejoice in the fact that you see it when others don’t. You only see these stumbling blocks because of Gods grace, a man can receive no ministry unless it was given to him as a free gift from God. ‘I dwell with him that is humble and contrite, I will revive them’ ‘I will not contend forever, nor always be wroth’ God says there are things he wants to remove and change in us. The things he has shown us should produce humility and a contrite spirit. Don’t ‘kick against the pricks’ don’t rebel against the things God has shown you to change. Don’t blame the prophets, they are just seeing/saying the words of God. ‘For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth and smote him. I hid [stopped correcting him for a season] and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart [this part of the Body excelled and went forward in the ways that they chose, even though the Lord had previously said no more] I have seen his ways and will heal him and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners’ Many who have become renown in the area of ‘covetousness’ will be healed. They will see how off track they have been and God will forgive and restore and continue to use them [Jim Bakker] but first there will be a humbling. NOTE: All true ministry is really not about us ‘fulfilling our dreams’ or ‘achieving our goals’ it’s about being faithful to God. Saying and doing the things he wants. You will be fulfilled by doing this, but this is a result, not the goal.

(468) ISAIAH 58 ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins’ When prophets go thru difficulty, the first thing they question is ‘have I been too hard on your people?’ God is going to deal with this in this chapter. He starts by first of all telling Isaiah ‘I have called you to reveal to my people their sins, it is my calling for you to show them the areas they don’t fully see yet. Their ‘sins’ of ignorance. They often ask for me. I am going to show them things about church and the way they worship me that are limited. Showing them ‘their sins’ is not a function of judgment, it is a necessary ‘uprooting’ that they need in order for their prayers to be answered.’ God is basically telling Isaiah ‘when things are hard and difficult, don’t question my basic revelatory ministry thru you. You don’t have the right to stop speaking what I am saying!’ ‘Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, they ask of me the ordinances of justice and take delight in approaching me’ we as believers take the act of seeking and asking and learning, and we turn it into ‘doing what God wants’. In essence we have developed a mindset that says ‘I go to church, I learn all the bible tricks on how to have a happy and prosperous life. If I am ever confronted with teaching that doesn’t appeal to me, or requires sacrifice, I have already learned to ignore it, you cant fly with eagles if you think like a turkey’ we basically have bypassed the instructions on self sacrifice and giving our lives away for the Kingdom. We simply think the ‘acts’ of going and learning from bible truths, even if it is all based on self, that this in itself is pleasing to God. God says why do my people by pass all my instructions and then delight that they are going to approach me? It’s because our ‘approaching God’ in the present mindset of the western church is simply for self-fulfillment. We approach him like a cosmic Santa Clause and this delights us. God says I want to show you things that I require from you and I want you to do them. Don’t simply think that you are pleasing me by ‘approaching me’ I want the action/obedience to be the fruit of your ‘approaching/church going’. [NOTE: It is not totally wrong to seek God for self help/improvement. It’s just many of us in today’s church have made this the priority. When people watch the ‘get rich and famous’ infomercials on the weekends, there is a feeling of ‘hope and self fulfillment’ that simply comes from surrounding yourself in an environment of ‘maybe that can be me someday’. Its OK to hope, but scripture does teach us [1st Timothy 6] to ‘not desire to become rich’ as well as Jesus many other warnings in the gospels. So I just want to warn you to not fall into the trap of making ‘church/approaching God’ a format for self help. It might ‘feel good’ to see Christianity thru this materialistic lens, but in the end it can be dangerous] ‘Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, that you break every yoke. Is it not to feed your food to the hungry, that you bring the poor to YOUR house. You should clothe the naked, and help your own natural family. If you do these things you will get healed, your goodness will shine like the morning sun. You will call to me and I will hear. Take away from you the bondages, the blaming of others and speaking vanity. Draw out your soul to the hungry, feed them and satisfy them [even with your ministry/teaching] and your light shall rise in obscurity and your darkness will be like day’ you find all the elements of Jesus earthly ministry contained here. The Pharisees lived for religious ritual. They fasted and afflicted themselves [and others] Jesus reached out in love and poured his soul out for the needy, Isaiah is prophesying the heart of Jesus here. God accepts a lifestyle of giving your life away for others. Jesus would teach that this type of love is the greatest commandment. Here we see the heart of ministry. I want to challenge everyone [especially leaders] to re examine your ‘ministry’ does it contain these most fundamental elements? Do we carry out ministry in a way that simply tells the world ‘hey, look at us, we are a highly motivated business and we can compete with any other organization in our area’. Do we view ministry this way? Jesus values the souls of those who lay their lives down for others, don’t fall into the trap of establishing religious functions for the purpose of impressing men. This is what 1st century religion digressed to, even though one of their own prophets [Isaiah] warned against it centuries before! ‘thou shalt be like a spring of water who’s waters fail not. They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places and make the desolate cities to be inhabited [I added this last part from another place, I am so used to saying it like this] Thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in’ God is saying when you give yourself away for others, when you obey him. When you show compassion. When you do not view ‘ministry’ as trying to attain some degree of respect in the ‘corporate world’ when you approach it like Jesus, then the Lord will allow your influence to go far. The people you impact will be used to spread the Kingdom to various cities. The people will be ‘faithful to the things you spoke’ because they are enjoined to you like a ‘band of brothers’. There memories of you will truly be that of a friend who gave himself away for them. These also will ‘repair breaches, restore paths’ there are so many true Christian values and principles that Jesus taught were the foundations of his Kingdom, things like self sacrifice and laying down your life for others. God will use your ‘seed/offspring’ to restore these ‘lost’ teachings back into the Church. We are so consumed with ‘self help’ that we have lost the foundational principles of the Cross. ‘ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing what you want on my holy day’. In context God is saying ‘if you rest in me, and stop doing your own works in my day of grace, then I will move mightily on your behalf’. If you remember I already showed you on this blog how the Sabbath is a type of entering into the covenant of Grace. When you cease from your own legalistic attempts to do Gods work, then God will come in and do them thru you! ‘not doing thine own ways, nor speaking thine on words’ much of modern ministry [especially Pastoral] is under the burden to ‘come up with something to speak on for an hour on Sunday’ many of these brothers are well meaning, but because we have structured the church in today’s world around the ‘Sunday meeting’ it has put a burden on Pastors to come up with something to say every Sunday at a certain time. The New Testament churches didn’t function like this. Therefore we have a lot of ‘speaking our own words’ we don’t realize that we are doing this, but in essence we are. I would simply encourage all Christian teachers/speakers to speak only what you hear God saying. If God has a certain vision or direction that he has planted in your heart, then build that into the people. Don’t go thru 20 verses all over the bible and then try to make them fit some theme. The bible has plenty of ‘themes’ already. Focus on whole portions of scripture and teach them as God directs. A lot of the unbalanced teaching in the church today is a result of teachers jumping all over the bible in a 30 minute time span and then making the bible say something that it never meant! ‘If you do all this, then I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth’ lets conclude this chapter with an overview. If you do all the things in this chapter: give yourself away for people. Have true religion as described in the book of James. Don’t point the finger in accusation at people, when reproving, which is a function of the prophetic, do it in love. When you speak and do what God is saying, instead of coming up with your own ‘peculiar brand’ of seeing everything, then God will exalt you to a high place. In essence this is the ministry of Jesus, who lowered himself more than any man, who did all the things you read about in this chapter and then God gave him a name that is above all others. Do the will of God my friends and he will exalt you in due season.

(471) I just woke up from a dream a few minutes ago. There was a black man who was experiencing disillusionment from religion and the various streams and divisions in the church. He reminded me of Forrest Whittaker [the actor, I just saw him in the ‘last King of Scotland’ this is a great movie!] This brother was going from town to town in search of answers. He winds up riding along this deserted country road to a little church on the ‘prairie’. He walks in and I see him only sitting in the back row of this empty church. I can hear clearly the voice of the preacher but I do not see him. I only see the black brother. I recognize the preacher’s voice, I haven’t heard him in years, but I am very familiar with the voice. It is Kenneth Hagin. He is preaching on the legitimacy of the gifts of the Spirit, an area where I have credited brother Hagin for doing good. This black brother goes from sitting in the pew and getting up and kneeling and praying. It seems he is still disillusioned and is going thru difficulty. I am not sure what this dream means. Some of it deals with the church in general. Many believers [and many of our blog readers] have questioned things that have been difficult. Areas that you wish you never ‘ran’ into. Some have gone back and looked at the ‘fathers of their faith’ and have had to come to hard decisions. You have gone between sitting and listening and receiving the good things from your past, but you have also had to ‘get out of the pew’ [a place of passive receiving] and PRAY! God will honor your ‘royal courage’ in this and bless you. I also have had some of the most difficult weeks in my life recently. I felt like the Lord was saying to me ‘blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. This one area of credit that I have given to brother Hagin has allowed God to be merciful to me. Too often in prophetic correction it is easy to denigrate the people you are reproving. It is too common to attack them personally and be mean. I feel the lord wants us to be merciful as we come out of past errors. God will be merciful to you if you plant ‘seeds of mercy’ along the way.

(531) I watched a panel of 3 of the top Prosperity Preachers host a talk show. I thought it was real interesting, the brother hosting the show was informally talking to his friends, but you could tell he wanted to share something. He then reads from Acts where it says ‘the Holy Spirit witnesses in every city that bonds and afflictions await me at Jerusalem’. It is speaking of Paul. I noticed one of the other Prosperity guys kind of looked a little perplexed [?] as the verse was read. I know they have all taught in the past that bonds and afflictions are not what God wants for us. They have intricate systems of belief that do get around persecutions. But the brother shared it in love and seemed to allow the Lord to use him in this public forum to bring some balance back to this thing. The other brothers had no problem receiving the truth, because it was coming from someone within their own camp. I just felt this was interesting to share. We all need reproof at times, and God is jealous for his reputation. He will gain it back in this camp. NOTE; These brothers have taught in the past that when Paul spoke on his thorn in the flesh, that God was saying ‘his grace is sufficient for thee’ meant that God was saying ‘you have the grace/ability to make it go away’ kind of a perverted view of the verse. God actually told Paul ‘you can live with certain difficulties, because my grace is all you need’ in essence ‘you don’t need a perfect, affliction free environment to operate in, I am all you need’ Basically God was not telling Paul ‘you make it go away yourself’. Now I had one of my homeless friends say the other day ‘I think Paul went thru sufferings because he was reaping what he sowed when he persecuted Christians’ you could tell he has been influenced by this teaching. It was a little sad because this friend does suffer from mental problems, and he was telling me that Paul was suffering affliction as a result of his past sins. I then told him this is not true, and I quoted the verses that say ‘it is given to us also to suffer for his name’ God telling Paul ‘I will show thee the sufferings that you will go thru’ at his initial conversion. In context I explained to my friend that these verses show us the afflictions and sufferings that Paul went thru were NOT a result of him reaping what he sowed. They were an up front part of the cost that all the early believers understood. The sad thing is this poor mentally challenged brother was going thru life with a ‘form of doctrine’ that denied Gods power and reality. It had him thinking that he was really reaping what he sowed by going thru mental challenges. This is why I have said in the past that it is no light thing to undermine the word of God and to distort it. Even though many of these teachings are defined as ‘Word churches’ and stuff. This still doesn’t give you the right to distort the Word.

(543) While at the hospital I had the chance to catch the local religious cable channel. I have direct TV at the house and don’t get to see it. I was a little embarrassed, the level of what Christians broadcast makes you wonder if God wants the ‘TV’ to be a medium for anyone who holds a church service. I also saw a commercial for a national ministry who broadcasts locally. It was a short clip on how it is always Gods will for you to have an abundance of money. This is the well known ministry out of the Fort Worth area. There are times in our growth as Christians where we are at a level that is immature. It’s OK to be there when you are growing. It is not good to then broadcast this level on a wide scale to a broad audience. It would be like taking your 3rd grade class lectures and putting them out on the air as university lectures. It just doesn’t fit. The commercial that said it is always Gods will for you to have an over abundance in all areas [money] is a very unbalanced view. I know they sincerely teach this, but it is unbalanced. For the whole region of south Texas [and all the other places where this ministry broadcasts] to hear this level of teaching is not good. Maybe in some cases it would be OK to teach the biblical concept of God meeting our needs in an abundant way, he surely can do this. But to miss the whole point of ‘being content and in Gods will when both having an abundance and lack’ is directly opposed to what this ministry broadcast. So all I wanted to share today is we as Gods people need to recognize when we are really not at the ‘level’ of a broad audience. Don’t seek to make your voice heard beyond the parameters that God has ordained. Let God lead in all the teaching and outreach you do, if he says not to go ‘regional’ or ‘worldwide’ then don’t! If he says ‘go’ then go! But don’t simply get into this arena because you can. Just because a local cable channel allows you to broadcast to a wide region, doesn’t mean you should. It has a tendency to ‘fill the air with our words’ instead of what the Spirit is speaking.

(549) I had a Pastor friend years ago who was struggling to raise money for his church. He was a good man, but because of the heavy emphasis at the time on ‘bring in the wealth’ and other off balanced teaching in the church at large, he began to focus on all the money promises in scripture. A big part of the Sunday service was on God doing ‘money miracles’ any correction would of course be seen as ‘you are an instigator causing trouble’. It was so easy to fall into the category of spending most of you waking hours believing God for a financial miracle. These types of scenarios play out time and again with good Pastors. It becomes easy to fall into the mindset of viewing God and his resources as the primary thing to believe for, because after all these good men are all surrounded by other good Pastors who are all raising money for good churches. We don’t even see the great body of Christian teaching that speaks of the Kingdom of God being carried out by the poor and humble person. There is so much evidence in scripture, but we overlook it in order to fund the modern machine! Paul lived in a day where wealth and meeting places [buildings] were in abundance. You even had huge coliseums! For Paul to have reached as many areas as he did with the gospel, and with the average salary of say ‘a firefighter’ or some other average paying job, is completely overlooked by the good ministers who appeal to Paul's writings to raise wealth. These brothers don’t seem to see that Paul could have easily gone down the road of ‘renting the coliseum’ or organizing the early church around a multi million dollar organization, yet he saw in the simple proclaiming of the gospel, with minimal financial resources, the key to reaching ‘his world’. I want to exhort all the pastors and leaders who read this blog, look to the simple reality of God again. Don’t become so tunnel visioned that you see God only thru the lens of a money miracle. Money is a small aspect of completing the mission, it can become large if you see it that way, but it is small in the overall scope of the Kingdom.

(550) Deuteronomy 13-18 The Lord instructs the people that he will meet all their needs financially, and that they will always have the poor among them. Just like Jesus taught! The balance is that God would give more than enough provision into the community, and whether or not all the needs were met was up to the generosity of the community. The same thing you see in the book of Acts. Certain rich people gave and the poor had their needs met. To develop a doctrine form Deuteronomy that says to the poor ‘if you just had faith you would be rich’ violates Paul’s teachings in Timothy [chapter 6] where he says certain teaches in the last days will teach that gain is godliness [that is you can measure godliness by material wealth] from such turn away, they have erred from the faith. So in context God will bless us all as a family of people, but do not teach a material gospel. Also the Lord tells Israel ‘when you get into the land and set up a King over you, don’t let him accumulate great wealth unto himself’ interesting, God says make sure your leaders are not living high on the hog thru your money. We violate this all the time in today’s church. How many stories of teachers with million dollar condos and homes, all the while appealing to a broad audience of Christians to give sacrificially. God isn’t saying that leaders can’t prosper, but he is saying they should not be getting rich from the overall giving of many average wage workers. It is so easy to simply read all the wealth verses in this book and to look right past all these warnings. Why do we do this? We all have a tendency to ‘see’ what we want to see and overlook the rest. The Lord also gives instruction on Prophets, he says ‘if a Prophet prophesies something and it comes to pass, but he leads you away from the true God, don’t listen’ also ‘if he prophesies something and it doesn’t happen, don’t listen to him’. It is easy to recognize the second one as false, but we often overlook the first one. I have heard so many times over the years ‘well brother, I know my teachers teach that Jesus was a millionaire, and it works for me, that’s all that counts’ no it isn’t! Whether it works or not is irrelevant [in this instance] God says if it leads you away from the truth, then it’s false! Let all of our teaching and instruction bring us back into alignment with the character and nature of God, he is the goal.

(552) Deuteronomy 28-31 The Lord promises much material blessings in these chapters, but he also says the Levites who receive the tithes are not to own anything. They could not use the tithe as a means to accumulate wealth. I find it funny that the modern church teaches the tithe, but leaves this part out! Also Moses is told ‘you will not go into the land, but help Joshua go in’. Moses must see his gift as something to use to build others and help them achieve goals that he himself will not achieve. Moses learns the true principle of the least being the greatest. He will be the only one who will enter in after death! Out of all the adults who were in the wilderness, only Joshua and Caleb go in to the Promised Land. Moses goes in after death at the mount of transfiguration. He fulfills the symbol of Christ as the first fruits unto God. Moses tells Joshua ‘you must go in with this people’. In the world of church and Pastoral ministry, I have seen how good men will start a ‘work’ and sometimes out of fear begin to look for someone to ‘take it over’. God tells Joshua ‘you must go in too!’ In Moses case the word of the Lord was ‘don’t go in’ [yet!] in Joshua’s case ‘don’t not go in!’ Have you allowed fear and intimidation to lead you to think it’s time to ‘get out’. Only move [remove] as God directs, don’t start looking for a replacement, you have too many years to fulfill, you must go in with this people! NOTE; I thought I just ‘heard’ someone say ‘is this guy talking about me’? Hey, if it’s for you, then yes!

(560) This goes with the last entry, but I wanted that word to stand alone. In the early church you had leaders who raised the dead and operated in miraculous signs. None of them organized a ministry around their personalities or saw their gift as a means to obtain financial independence. They were not operating with today’s mindset. When undue attention was given to them because of their gifts, they saw it as their responsibility to reject it. They would not allow themselves to become famous and become the center of attention. I often hear talk on the return of the early power once again. Until we rethink the purpose and nature of our gifts, we will not have the character to handle it. The present church thru pride has grasped an ideology that sees the gifts and the people as tools to bring success to themselves. This spirit must come down. It is no accident that Jesus dealt with the money changers the way he did. He understood that the merchandising of the gospel would be a tremendous hindrance to his purpose in the earth. We, as a people, must repent and return to a simple concept of all Gods people being equals, and the gifted ones in our midst are simply carriers of the gifts for the mutual benefit of all Gods people. We need to humble ourselves once again.

(561) I heard a brother speak the other day. He shared a good message. He confessed that most of his background and study came from a certain type of Christianity. He shared from A.A. Allen, John G lake, Kathryn Kuhlman and others who were part of the ‘latter rain’ or healing movements from the middle of the last century. He also said how after he became a Christian he called Rhema Bible college and ordered ‘one of everything’ they had. He had quite a big load of books and tapes! The message the brother shared was good, he seems to be a very humble man. I remember studying many of these movements myself, I realized the danger that comes from seeing only one particular aspect of the church. Like studying year’s worth of teachings that all have the same fundamental error. You might think you are learning year’s worth of knowledge, but in reality you are feeding from a very skewed idea of Christianity. The people the lord used in the latter rain movement were good people [with many flaws] that for the most part were gifted in great ways. I feel the problem with this movement was the whole concept of fame and ‘platform performance’. They didn’t see the wrong paradigm that they were operating from. They didn’t realize that these gifts should be used in a limited way from such a platform. They fell into the mindset of the day that created an organization around them and their personas. So you had tremendously gifted people, like William Branham, who operated in tremendous giftings, but who also had some serious doctrinal flaws. He taught racist ideas about blacks, the ‘seed of the serpent’ and things like this. I do not view all of these people as false prophets, the danger was the individualistic style and performance mentality that went along with the gifts. Real gifts, less than ideal ways of expressing them.

(563) John 2- Jesus does his first miracle, changes water into wine. They say ‘most people put the good wine out first, but you have saved the best for last’. This is a type of the new covenant of his blood [wine], Jesus will introduce a better covenant thru his blood. Many will not accept this new way because they have been ‘drinking’ old wine for so long, they are not willing to change. We often see this in Christian circles, people who have functioned in a limited way for years, God might bring to them new ways of seeing things, they will often reject the new wine on the basis of being comfortable with the old way, we don’t want to shake the apple cart. God wants us to shake it! Jesus finds the money changers in the temple and drives them out with a whip, turns the tables over and gets mad. He didn’t take the ecumenical approach! There are times for radical transition, I feel we are at that place now as the people of God. The gospel is not about us increasing our portfolio, it’s about laying our goals down for the kingdom. These money changers lost their influence in the ‘temple’ after Jesus got thru with them, I think it was prophetic. Jesus says ‘destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up’ those hearing this mistake his Body [temple] with the building [temple in Jerusalem]. Evangelicals [some of them] make the same mistake today. They are looking to the natural events in natural Jerusalem, they should be looking at the real temple! [Both Jesus and the Body of Christ]. Jesus goes to the Passover, the people hail him and Jesus says he will not commit himself to them, because he knew what was in man. What was in man? These same people will be asking for his death not long from now. Jesus did not seek commitment from men, contrary to the way we see ministry today. Modern ministry seeks to increase man’s commitment to them ‘pledge so much money, join this or that’ Jesus knew he had a destiny, he would fulfill it without the help of man!

(565) John 3- Nicodemus comes secretly to Jesus, he is one of the few in leadership that is having doubts. The others with one voice reject Jesus, Nicodemus is wondering. Jesus rebukes him for being a ‘ruler’ of the Jews and not being able to comprehend the most basic stuff. I have found it disheartening over the years to talk with Pastors who heard someone teach that because Jesus had an expensive coat, that he must have been rich. Despite all the evidence in the New Testament how Jesus was the son of a carpenter and lived an average life. The tons of verses where Jesus is reproving rich people. The whole historical and biblical truth of Jesus being a man of humble means. The fact that he had an expensive coat can more than likely be explained by the custom of people doing extravagant acts of worship towards him. The woman and the expensive perfume poured on him. Things like this. Someone probably gave him the coat. But for Pastors, who are good men, to fall for this stuff was unbelievable. Sort of like Jesus telling Nicodemus ‘you are a leader and can’t discern the most basic stuff’! Jesus teaches the reality of the new birth. All people must be born of God thru belief in Jesus, or they will not be saved. We must stand strong for Jesus as the only way to God. John the Baptist will be told that all men are going to Jesus. John says ‘great, he must increase and I must decrease’ John understood that the role of leadership [prophets] was to point to the fame and persona of Jesus. Not to go down the common road of pointing people towards us. In modern ministry we draw people to our gifts and abilities. We structure modern churches around the gift of the Pastor. We allow leadership to become preeminent in our minds and thoughts. John knew better. We also see that the wrath of God abides on all who do not believe in Jesus. If you believe in Jesus you escape Gods wrath. It can’t touch you. Whether you are in heaven or earth, or like David said ‘in hell you are there’. That is you can’t escape Gods presence anywhere. So if you are in Christ, wrath can’t get you. If you are not in Christ, it continually abides on you. You do not escape wrath by leaving the planet during the tribulation. If an unbeliever was on a rocket ship right before the tribulation started, and wound up on the moon during the 7 years of wrath, he wouldn’t escape Gods wrath. You don’t escape judgment by being in the right geographical location, you escape it by being IN HIM! John also says a man can receive nothing unless it is given to him. Why be jealous if all of our gifts and abilities are free gifts? We act like we earned them! John says no man receives his testimony, then he says ‘to those who have received it’. What’s this mean? Paul told the Corinthians that we have received the Spirit of God so we might know the things that are freely given to us from God. God gives us his Spirit first, so we can receive his testimony. This goes back to the early centuries of the church and hits all the major doctrines on sovereignty. Augustine, Calvin, Luther [Yes Luther was a strong believer in predestination, it was no accident that he was an Augustinian monk!] Paul tells the Ephesians that were are dead in sins and completely incapable of receiving spiritual truth until God pours his Spirit into us and we become alive. Thank God that even though no man [in the natural] can receive his testimony, that God gives us his Spirit and births us so we can know the things that he has freely given to us in Christ!

(567) John 5- Jesus heals the man at the pool of Bethesda. Scripture says an angel went down into this pool at a certain time and stirred the water, whoever got in after the water was stirred was healed. How do we explain this? Were the people superstitious? Well I think it happened just like John wrote it. We believe in a supernatural God, he raised his Son from the dead, he surely can send an angel to stir up some water. Jesus asks the man ‘do you want to be healed’? You would think ‘of course’ but people that are in situations that can lend to being irresponsible, having others take care of them, they often want to stay that way. It gives them an excuse to ‘not act responsibly’. The man says ‘I have no man to put me into the water after the angel comes’ he is looking for others to do something for him. He has a victim mentality. Jesus says ‘quit blaming everyone else, take up your bed and walk’. It’s time for our society to tell people ‘take up your bed and walk, we love you, we want to help you as much as possible, but you need to eventually take up your bed and walk’ hard stuff! Jesus will call God his father, making himself equal with God. The Jewish leaders will be offended. He then will tell them if they do not honor him, they are not honoring the Father. He says he only does what he sees the Father doing first. His life was an exact duplicate of the heart of God. Our lives should be the result of what God wants and reveals to us. Your life is not the result of your confession, or you seeking success. Your life should be the outcome of what God has revealed to you. It might mean less money, or less success. It might mean a Cross or martyrdom. Don’t presume that Gods plan for you is simply to have lots of money and be successful, it might mean less money and obscurity. But it will be an abundant life because you lived it in the purpose of God. Jesus says the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear will live. You had as much to do with your spiritual birth as you did with your natural one. Before you were born you had no power or ability to choose to be born, so in your new birth you were dead in sin and unable to ‘choose God’ he chose you. Jesus will tell the religious leaders ‘how can you believe if you seek the honor of men’ he will challenge the religious mindset of the day that thrived off of the notoriety of ‘being in ministry’. The leaders loved the greetings in the markets and public places. They lived for the honor that came from their status as ‘preachers’ who were well known. Jesus condemned this mindset. He says ‘I receive not honor from men’ in essence I am here to lay my life down, I will suffer shame and public humiliation, I will do the will of my Father and bare tremendous reproach and hatred from men. I will please my Father. Jesus tells the Jewish leaders ‘Moses wrote about me, you have his writings. If you don’t believe his writings, how can you believe in me, he wrote about me’ we have covered a lot of the ‘hidden’ images of Jesus found in the Old Testament. Paul will use these images time and again in his debates with Israel. I find it interesting that Jesus saw himself in the Old Testament also.

(568) John 6- We see the first miracle of the feeding of the multitudes. It has been commonly taught that this was a miracle of ‘location’, that is they were far from the market and couldn’t get food to feed everyone. This is not the heart of the story. It is actually a question of finance. Jesus in essence asks ‘how can we buy enough food for everyone to eat, where’s the money gonna come from?’ His disciples say ‘200 pennyworth is not enough to feed them’. They tell Jesus we don’t have the cash to cover it. This is important to see, many have taught a doctrine that says Jesus and the disciples had a large treasury with lots of money. This refutes that. This story is one of God being our supply, we don’t need to trust him for the millions of dollars we think we need to reach the world. We need to believe that he can use our limited finances to reach the world! He did it with Paul, why not you? We also see the doctrine of sovereignty again. Jesus says all who the Father gave to him will come to him, and he will raise them up at the last day. No man can come unless the Father draws him. The Father will draw all who are called. Jesus will lose none of the ones the father gives to him. These doctrines are without a doubt taught in this Gospel. I believe them. Some try to make them ‘fit’ the reasoning of men. They eventually taught that Jesus died only for the elect. That the ‘world’ in John 3:16 speaks of the ‘world of the elect’. Others taught that Jesus blood was only shed for the elect [limited atonement]. Christians have fought for centuries over these doctrines. Our Catholic brothers do not officially teach predestination, though Catholic scholars have believed in it [Augustine]. Some will later be called ‘5 point Calvinists’ others ‘4 points’ and so on. I simply believe the words of Jesus. All that the Father gave to him will come to him, those who come will be raised at the last day. No one comes unless God brings them. The point is God is the initiator, sustainer and completer of our salvation. In our minds we can’t grasp this, but without a doubt Jesus teaches it in this chapter. Now, Jesus will also teach that he is the bread from heaven and unless a man eats his flesh and drinks his blood he will not have eternal life. Many good Christians have taught that the way this is carried out is thru transubstantiation, they teach that the bread and wine turn into the literal body and blood of Jesus at the Mass [Catholic theologian Scott Hahn believes John chapter 6 is the foundational chapter for all Catholic theology]. That it just looks like bread and wine, but it is really flesh and blood. Luther and Calvin taught something almost identical, consubstantiation. The doctrine that the bread and wine stay bread and wine, but that the flesh and blood of Jesus are also literally contained within the bread and wine. This doctrine differs very little from the Catholic one. Both of these doctrines are called ‘the real presence’. The only reformer who taught what much of modern Evangelicals believe was Zwingli. He took it to be a symbol only. Zwingli was the dear brother who killed the Ana Baptists for their faith! I visited the spot where this took place in Switzerland many years ago. There is this huge statue of Zwingli overlooking the town where he drowned the poor brothers! The Jews in this chapter say ‘how can this man give us his flesh to eat and blood to drink?’ They are clearly seeing this in the natural. Jesus goes on and teaches that all who believe in him will never hunger again. He is associating eating with faith. He also says ‘the flesh profits nothing, the words I am speaking to you give life’ he is clearly teaching that he was not going to figure out a way to change bread and wine into his literal flesh. He was teaching that all who would believe in his death and resurrection were eating and getting life from Jesus, they would have eternal life. The bread that if a man eats from will live forever. I believe my Catholic and Orthodox and Lutheran brothers are Christian, I do not hold to the view that the ‘real presence’ is a doctrine from hell. I believe good Christians took the words of Jesus literally and developed a belief that became an historic belief amongst many Christians. Some of the greatest Christian theologians hold to this belief. I simply disagree with them.

(573) Jesus asked once ‘who do men say that I am?’ then the disciples gave a short list of ideas. How would this question be answered today? If you looked at the best selling Christian books of the last few years you would think God was a cosmic Santa Claus, some success guru who lived to give us a happy, wealthy, trouble free life. We are not the first generation of people that ‘created God in our own image’. That is we see a ‘god’ of our own choosing. We see what we want! Who do you say that he is? NOTE; The problem with modern publishing is the book publishers are in it for profit [nothing wrong about profit] this cause’s them to publish popular names, regardless of the content. So once a Christian preacher becomes famous, his stuff gets published, because it will sell. This lends to the flooding of the market with ‘average’ [or less than average] stuff. The real good stuff can be found, but you have to wade thru the ‘dung’.

(578) We are still going to cover the gospel of John, I just felt like the Lord had me sidetrack for these last few entries. I actually have been reading this morning as I penned the last 2 or 3 entries. Let me overview something. I am reading chapter 8 right now, I will cover it soon, but I want to focus you in on the greater objective of Jesus and the introduction of the Kingdom of God to planet earth. In Jesus dealings you see him dealing with the issues of forgiveness, restoration and the breaking in to society of a different kingdom. His concerns are not those of today’s church for the most part. We have a tendency to view scripture and Christianity thru the lens of ‘starting churches’ [Christian places for believers to meet] we view the Kingdom [those of us who don’t believe it is on hold!] thru the lens of man. We see change as something we effect by becoming wealthy and influential in society ‘the world will have to pay attention to us now, look at all the wealth we have’ or ‘look at the big voting block we represent, they will pay attention to this sleeping giant now’ we lose sight of the principles of sacrifice and humility and truly being Christ like. We want the world to notice us because we are more ‘threatening’ and influential than they are. This might get their attention, but it doesn’t really reach them for the kingdom. As we read thru the gospel of John, pay attention to the ‘other worldliness’ of Jesus statements ‘I am not alone, the one who sent me is with me’ ‘you are from below, I am from above’ ‘you can not hear or understand me, you are of this world, I am not’ there is this whole sense of Jesus operating outside of the structures and influence of men. He says ‘I am speaking these things to the world’ yet he never traveled far from his hometown, he did not have the types of journeys that Paul had. Yet he was confident that if he spoke what the Father was saying, then it was Gods job to get the message out. He knew his job was humility and the Cross, he chose to not seek the honor of men, and yet he has had more honor than any other person who has walked the planet. I just wanted to do a little ‘course correction’ here at midstream of our overview of John, don’t just read it for principles to fit in to your present paradigm and structure. It is a gospel that calls us to new birth and new ways of seeing the kingdom. Get your eyes off of the natural, see Jesus for real in this book.

(120)Update- Recently I have been in touch with some old friends that I haven’t seen in 27 years. I realize that a lot of water has gone under the bridge [or something like that?]. Some of my friends are Christian, some not. Some are into the modern motivational type preaching. I realize that for them to read our materials is like a slap in the face. It’s not easy to be part of the ‘modern gospel’ of success and prosperity and then read our stuff [you will see what I mean as you get to the 300’s] I just walked into my study and saw one of the many success books I own and have read over the years. It’s just sitting on a table. I don’t know why its out, maybe one of my kids were reading it? I have read and been into the motivational gospel and understand the good aspects of it. I just believe that a lot of it misses the part of ‘if any man wants to save his life, he must lose it for my sake and the gospel’ [Jesus Christ]. Over the years I have had a fairly good measure of success. We have come pretty far for a high school level of education and a Navy drop out! I am not bragging, but what I want you to see is my focus has not been on ‘saving my life’ or living to be successful. I have tried to lose my life for the gospel as much as possible. I don’t believe I am even 1/100th of where I should be. Still selfish and self-seeking. When the rubber meets the road still willing to choose self-preservation over Gods will. Still have a long way to go! But the point today is I don’t want to offend any old buddies from the old days, and I realize that if some of them are into the prosperity gospel they will be offended! But maybe God allowed me to cross paths with some of you for this very purpose? Who knows, maybe I have come to the kingdom for such a time as this! [You too!]

(146)‘Jesus of suburbia’ Last night I watched a dateline special on a ‘leader’ of a church in Puerto Rico. He quite obviously is a cult leader. Claims to be Jesus. He and his followers tattoo ‘666’ on their bodies and other strange stuff. When questioned on his lavish lifestyle of Rolex watches and taking huge amounts of money, he defended himself by saying ‘tradition portrays Jesus as being poor, but he was rich’ then he gave the verse that says Jesus told Peter to go get the money out of the fish mouth to pay taxes. This is a true verse; the problem is this verse obviously doesn’t prove Jesus was rich. If he were rich then why would he be going to a fish to get the money! Just cash in that jumbo C.D.! Its stupid stuff like this that gets me mad. Even the dateline interviewer said Jesus was a carpenter’s son and obviously was not wealthy. It’s sad that the reporter presented a more correct view of Jesus than the cult guy. It’s even sadder that there are very popular teachers in the American church that teach this same silliness! God help us all.

(151)I am going to be as honest as I can about this. Last night I tuned in to a fairly new Christian station that I like a lot. They have a lot of prophetic people on who I like. They were doing a money-raising thing. They had one of the prophetic people that I like [Mike Bickle] and right after him another brother. This other brother used to be Muslim and is now Christian. When he was Muslim he made some money in business, but when he became Christian he got a hold of the prosperity message and made ‘boat loads’ of it. He is always talking about money. As a brother I love him, but you cant go on national television and say things like ‘there’s someone watching right now ‘GODS’ telling you to give $100,000 right now [that’s one hundred thousand dollars for those of you that might not be familiar with these appeals!]. Be obedient and do it, you will get a million back’ Now is it possible that God is saying this? Sure. But is it responsible to simply say it in a forum [national TV] where anybody can hear and everyone hearing thinks its God talking to them and they ‘obey the word of the Lord’ and do something stupid? There was some military veteran living on fixed income that heard something like this on another Christian station. He donated his meager check [or savings?] and gave a few thousand that he couldn’t afford. Whoever was raising the money made an appeal like the one above. He never got ‘his return’ and contacted the ministry and asked for his money back. They said no. He took it to court in California and the state made the ministry give him his money back. Now this kind of stuff ruins our testimony to the world. We can’t keep doing this. I was feeling let down that the prophetic person that I like was involved with this. May God help us all.

(195)Let me share a few things. A few years back I remember watching a ‘share a thon’ on a Christian TV station. The brother was using the verses from the Gospel of John on Jesus multiplying the loaves and fish and feeding the multitude. He shared how the station also needed to bring in lots of money, just like Jesus multiplied lots of fish, in order to feed the people. Well enough. What I get from the story is that Jesus really didn’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ before he could ‘reach/feed’ the people. In fact I think the story is more in line with what I teach. That you can ‘touch/feed’ the multitudes with very little! That is you simply bring to the table the mindset of ‘my little portion in the hands of the master can go a long way’. It’s just a matter of perspective. The brother from the share a thon saw this verse out of his paradigm. When you view ministry as the need to raise millions, then that’s what you will see when you read scripture. It’s not like the brother was a heretic or something, he was just seeing everything thru his train of thought. I believe Jesus can use a little boy’s lunch to reach the masses, what about you?

(215)A few years ago we had a ‘word of faith/prosperity church’ that used to broadcast from our city. I actually liked the program and would tune in from time to time. I remember one week they announced that they were going to have a rich Christian come in and share his faith and how money and riches do not interfere with serving God. The person who sponsored the program then did the interview with this wealthy believer. During the interview it ‘slipped out’ that this rich Christian tried to get out of doing the program because the day before they had some bad weather in their area of Texas and needed to take care of the cattle and couldn’t do the ministry thing. Well the announcer admitted that they twisted his arm to come. It reminded me of the parable of Jesus. How some people couldn’t attend the wedding supper because they had other priorities. Some had to ‘go see their land’ and couldn’t come. Even though this radio program intended to show how riches and other areas of wealth don’t hinder Gods work, they inadvertently showed the opposite. I also remember this broadcaster share at the time that God would never call someone to be a missionary and suffer on the foreign field if they didn’t want to do it. That in essence Gods will is to make us happy, and if we don’t feel we would be happy then God is not going to ask us to do things contrary to our desires. A few weeks later I had the privilege of hearing a missionary family give their testimony. They were on vacation from some 3rd world country and speaking in Corpus. The wife shared all the physical trials that they and their kids suffered. How the medical care is not good where they’re at. She went on and shared that even though in the natural her flesh says ‘why should I suffer’, that when she sees the results of souls saved that the sacrifice is worth it! It’s stuff like this that I have seen over the years that causes me to speak out on these issues.

(223)Let me use the above example to show you a few things. As I was talking to this ministry leader we did have a fairly good fellowship. During this day of fellowship I shared many of the thoughts on the church as community versus ‘a church building’. He seemed a ‘little’ familiar with this. He said ‘O I know people who believe that way’. Which showed me the Lord has tried to show him this before! He had difficulty grasping many of the concepts, though they were true! It was later on where he got offended and actually yelled at me. He basically said to me ‘your wrong!’ I nicely told him, well I understand you think I am wrong, but I believe I am right. [I know it’s hard to believe I was calm during this exchange, but I was]. It shows how his later frustration of not being able to raise money for ‘the ministry center’ and things of this nature were an outgrowth of seeing ministry as ‘this thing I need to raise money for so I can run it’. If this person learned the lesson of not seeing it in this limited way, he would not have been so frustrated. It’s like the answer wasn’t ‘a transference of wealth’ in as much as a ‘change of thought’. He needed to see the new ‘wineskin/paradigm’ that God is trying to bring forth. These truths are being seen and practiced on a worldwide basis as I write this! Wolfgang Simpson says ‘God is not trying to start lecture halls across the world’ This seems to be the current understanding of ‘planting churches’. We seem to think ‘setting up buildings where people come and listen to bible words being spoken’ is the local church! We really need to be delivered from this mindset!

(225)ALL THAT WAR WITH YOU SHALL COME TO NOTHING/ I WILL GIVE THEM AS STUBBLE TO YOUR BOW I was reading this in Isaiah and felt like I should share this. When I first moved to Corpus and went on the radio I knew there were prosperity preachers that were offended at us. I liked a particular prosperity ministry and even attended their events [Valentine Banquet]. I regularly encouraged my wife to attend a women’s fellowship that they held monthly in our city [Women by Design]. I tried to not allow the strong word coming from us to become personal. I was very familiar with this church and even visited when they had a national Minister come [Jerry Savelle]. I never desire the failure of another brother in the Lord. If God gives you a mandate to speak a certain word, and you don’t, then your are in trouble! This church obviously eventually knew that there was a preacher on the radio going ‘against’ the main tenets of their church. This was never my intent. Though this church was a fairly well known regional ministry in our area, with very influential connections with national ministers, they eventually folded and left town. I did not rejoice over this. I liked going to the banquets and never threw out the invitations they sent regularly to my wife. I think I even sent the women’s thing a small offering of support? When God chooses to speak a prophetic word at a certain season, it’s not a matter of individuals or personalities. It’s a matter of truth. As much as I love Bro. Hagin and others, there were just too many obvious things that couldn’t go unchecked. Blatant visions and dreams that were highly offensive to Christ’s image. Portraying Jesus as saying things that he wasn’t saying. Many of the advocates of these national leaders simply defended these things irregardless of any spiritual discernment. When any one [even me!] begins to defend the images of people over the image of Christ, God ultimately reduces your voice. I pray this ministry is doing well today. They did move to Houston, but I wanted you to see that these issues go much deeper than personalities and loyalties to friends and culture. God will speak a word and sometimes its like ‘STUBBLE AGAINST A BOW’. Eventually the stubble will come to nothing! [I WILL BEND JUDAH LIKE A BOW the prophetic isn’t always fun, God often ‘bends’ you so you can deliver the word with pinpoint accuracy! Bowstrings are under great pressure all the time. Divine tension!]

(226)WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH THIS? those of you who have read all our stuff will remember that the first book I wrote [which you will find on this blog] dealt with Jesus and the moneychangers. I felt his making the whip and ‘cleansing the temple’ spoke prophetically to a time period in the church where he would once again ‘cleanse the temple from mammon’. The simple fact that all of this stuff we have dealt with was so engrained into the leadership of our day, was in and of itself a tremendous hindrance to the work of the Spirit. Many leaders [Prophets included] refused to deal with these issues out of pride. They truly felt that the ‘preaching against mammon’ was a traditional deception of the ‘orthodox’ church that was hindering the gospel. They saw any attempt to ‘cleanse the temple from the moneychangers’ as a traditional push back against the new move of God. We are at a point where God is simply radically re organizing our mindsets. You [Christian] do not exist for the purpose of being told what is right or wrong by some man. The Spirit of God in you will bear witness to truth. Many of you are doing well on this journey. You will be used as a witness of what it means to ‘take up your cross and follow Jesus’. There needs to be a radical re focusing on the basic elements of the gospel. We need to overhaul all the ‘dung’ [I’ll be nice!] and get back to scripture. If leadership is so ‘self consumed’ where they cant see beyond their own desires to be happy and have a successful career, then God will by pass them and work directly thru his body. Many are still defending a ‘rich Jesus’ who gives them dreams that deny scripture and are outright ludicrous! I don’t want to offend you guys but cant you see this! I urge you to be faithful to the Jesus of the New Testament. You will know him in Spirit and truth, but he is the same historical person who MADE A WHIP AND DROVE OUT THE MONEY CHANGERS!

(227)In Isaiah 41 it speaks of ‘God raising up the righteous man from the east and giving nations to him, coming upon princes like mortar, the coastlands shall wait for his law’ [paraphrasing from memory]. Then it says ‘the islands feared and every man strengthened themselves and propped up each others idols’. There have been other significant seasons in the Body of Christ where the Lord dealt with many of these issues. The natural response was for the larger national ministries who propagate these doctrines to ‘prop each other up’. To simply use the tremendous financial store [which they do have!] to defend each other. This was not only a wrong defense of people out of ‘self preservation’ but much of the money that was used to ‘push back’ the reproof actually came from Christians who give sacrificially to these ministries. I couldn’t give in clear conscience to a ministry whose main leaders are making around $500,000 to a million a year from the offerings of many low-income people. But the point is there is a natural response to ‘join hands and strengthen each others idols’ because you know you are all ‘in the same boat’. This response is unfortunate, but it does happen!

(236)Just reading Isaiah 42, it says God anointed Jesus [and the Body of Christ] to bring forth judgment. He shall not cry nor cause his voice to be heard [self promotion]. He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He will open blind eyes and show people aspects of truth that they have never seen before. The ‘coastlands’ shall wait to hear the word the Lord will speak. They will be ‘fascinated’ by the Spirits ministry. The Lord will go forth ‘like a mighty man, he will shout like a woman in labor’. For a long time he held his peace, but finally said ‘it is enough, I cant sit by silently and let this go on’. Those that trust in graven images [idolatry- the old testament equal to covetousness] will be greatly ashamed and distressed. They will see themselves being reproved and corrected like never before. God’s people are like prey, they were ‘preyed upon’ and used as guinea pigs in the laboratories of men’s doctrines. None delivered, none said RESTORE! God will dry up their pools [the polluted sources that were making them sick. The ministries and avenues of ministry that were hurting them] God does all these things with the purpose of restoring and bringing us back to the Cross. God says I will not give my glory to graven images [men’s hearts rejoicing in materialism] but thru this whole process you will feel disoriented. Many of the leaders and sources of the past ‘will dry up’. God will begin to feed you again like the early days. You will hear his voice again, like at the beginning! NOTE: This chapter also says the Lord will roar like a Lion. I have spoken a lot on this blog about the imagery of the ‘Lion of Judah’ there are prophecies I have read this last year that spoke of the Lord roaring thru us, disintegrating obstacles. I feel the ‘roar of the Lion’ can be the prophetic ‘roar’ coming forth from the prophets at this season in the Church.

(287)I had a friend who was investing in some real estate. He kind of ‘asked’ for advice. Didn’t want to be obvious about it, but he knew I had done this in the past and wanted input. I gave him some, he didn’t listen and I think he is suffering for it, oh well! During the conversation he was telling me about the houses he will keep, and the ones he will flip in about 15 years. The others he will pay on for the full 30-year mortgage and pay them off. He was around 50 years old at the time of this discussion. I told him that one of the other mistakes people make when investing is to not count their own mortality into the scenario. You very well might be dead in 30 years! I am even bold with financial advice! I wasn’t really rude, but you could tell that my friend who was all consumed with having a few million for retirement, strategizing on more money, taking courses and studying on investment schemes. He wasn’t calculating in his own mortality. He doesn’t have kids. All you need is enough money to last for a few years, sorry if you don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. Financial advisors will tell you that people often make this mistake. They calculate in the million dollars they need at age 70. They look at how much interest they need to generate off the account, and they do not calculate the eventual need to withdraw the principal over a measured period of time in a responsible manner. Why? Because there is a natural tendency in man to avoid the fact that you will die! Be smart in investing and build a nest egg, that’s all right. Just don’t be buying houses at 50 and think you might flip it in 30 years. You might not be around to ‘do the flipping’! NOTE: as you see I live in a world of extremes, one day my friends are thinking like this, the next day I am working with the guy who runs the $1.oo balance in his account! [He does run more I am sure, I just caught him at a bad time]

(291)As I have been reading sites from other areas where we are reaching out to, I recognize some of the names of people. Around 15 years ago we had a good brother come to corpus to preach at a conference. I remember him saying how he was ‘seeing’ all the deceptions of the prosperity movement and he had to back down because of mercy and love. You got the feeling that he was seeing some stuff, and for young guys it’s hard to believe that so much teaching can be so wrong. I could tell that he was seeing a lot of the stuff you see from this site, but out of fear couldn’t make the leap. He was around my age at the time [30]. Later on during a dinner with some of the preachers, I was invited. I didn’t ‘reprove’ or argue. I was just fellowshipping. Some how the prosperity gospel came up. I told him I just spent a year making radio tapes exposing the flaws of the movement. You could see that he was a little shaken. Sort of like realizing all the things he really wanted to say, but didn’t, were right! He also argued a little with me over some of the money verses. THOUGH JESUS WAS RICH, HE BECAME POOR SO WE COULD BE RICH he made an honest effort to say ‘it might be talking about money’ I just said ‘no it’s not’. Paul is the same guy who wrote all these other verses you see me teach on, there is NO WAY Paul is telling the Corinthians that Jesus died to increase their portfolio! Being we were both the same age and all, and being he himself knew I was right, it kind of shook him up that he didn’t preach this stuff at the conference, you could tell it. By the way you can take the verse I just quoted and make it say MONEY if you want. But you would have to go thru the same distorted way to interpret that I have showed you before on this site. Just about every cult in the world has bible verses, this doesn’t mean they are right! NOTE: to our critics, I was recording tapes for our radio program on KCTA prior to launching the show. I was also broadcasting on smaller venues already! NOTE during the phase a few years back when a lot of this stuff was first being dealt with, there were a lot of sincere brothers who didn’t want to face these issues. There is almost a sense of ‘if this stuff is as deceptive as it looks, it’s too bad to even admit it’ I remember hearing a national minister say at the time ‘ a lot of people are criticizing the prosperity movement, the lord told me when you get to heaven and see all the souls that were won by the money they brought in they will have great rewards’. The problem with this reasoning is Paul and Jesus warned over and over again about the dangers of materialism. The leaders needed to speak with a clear voice many of the things I was saying. This cloudy view was making it difficult for those involved to break free.

(299)Some things from Isaiah 46. THE IDOLS WERE UPON THE BEASTS, THEY ARE A BURDEN TO THE BEAST Idols wear you down, they put the responsibility on you to change your world. Sooner or later they will weigh you down. I HAVE MADE AND I WILL CARRY YOU AND DELIVER YOU True Christianity puts the ‘burden’ on God to pull us thru. HIS YOKE IS EASY AND BURDEN LIGHT THEY TAKE GOLD OUT OF THE BAG, AND WEIGH SILVER IN THE BALANCE. THEY HIRE A GOLDSMITH AND HE MAKES IT INTO A GOD God will not let this stand CALLING A RAVENOUS BIRD FROM THE EAST, THE MAN THAT EXECUTETH MY COUNSEL FROM A FAR COUNTRY. I HAVE SPOKEN IT AND I WILL BRING IT TO PASS. I HAVE PURPOSED IT AND I WILL DO IT HEARKEN UNTO ME YE STUBBORN OF HEART God says this time around I will perform my purpose to bring true reform. Many times you have been reproved and shown the error of idolatry, you have for the most part ignored it and have not allowed for true reformation. This will not stand any longer. The people are tired of the burden it brings and they will flee to God so he can ‘carry them’. NOTE: I have memorized the ‘ravenous bird from the east’ for over 20 yrs. I always took it personal. Coming from the east and all. ‘Blinded by the light’ song says ‘preacher from the east’. American Pie from Don McLean says ‘the 3 Men I admire most, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they took the last train for the coast’ you have the train imagery and the coast. And the image from the gospel of John on ‘in my fathers house are many mansions’ speaks of people groups. Well Springstein says ‘ every body’s out on the road tonight in a last chance power drive, took highway nine to the mansions of glory’ I have driven highway 9, as you can tell I still like the old songs!

(300)I AM BRINGING IN A TRAIN FROM HEAVEN, IT IS COMING WITH POWER I forgot that chuck Pierce prophesied this around a month ago, I like the train stuff!

(84)The other day I was listening to a good preacher on the radio. Sort of a ‘reformed’ thinker who frequently calls the church back to the Puritan days. I love Puritan history and writing. Many of these brothers would agree with some of the stuff I teach in the area of the church being self centered and materially minded, but they would absolutely reject our prophetic stuff. God’s intent for the church is more than ‘the church’. Jesus spoke on the Kingdom over and over again, very little on the church. The reason we exist as ‘the church’ is to invade and impact all areas of society until Christ returns. There are certain ‘old time’ defenders of the faith who cant get past ‘church’ being ‘the old time model’. They stumble over the current ‘mega church’ expression. Many have gone after Rick Warren and his ‘purpose driven church’ model. Our radical teaching on the church being the actual mobile community of God ‘journeying’ thru every generation till now, leaves room for the unique expressions of ‘meeting’ that would go from the simple ‘home based model’ all the way to the ‘mega church’ and even to the Catholic brothers! Our purpose isn’t to meet and argue over the many ways to meet, our purpose is to advance and communicate the gospel of the Kingdom into every arena of man. Some confuse my strong preaching against materialism with a call to come out of the market place. Nothing could be further from the truth! When Christians are able to live above the concerns of the unbeliever, and to do it in a way where they are so intricately involved in society, this itself is a testimony to them. Over the years I have had Christian friends try to tell me ‘why don’t you leave the Fire Dept. and get a building and be faithful to your calling’. I see now that some of them were saying this out of self-guilt. Many of the other Christians in the market place were feeling ‘threatened’ that a so-called ‘preacher’ [to which I hold no claim!] would be working and holding a job like them. Sort of ‘well if this guy can do it, then I am responsible to be more than just a fire fighter’. Then you would have those in ‘full time ministry’ who would get offended that we didn’t take offerings or money. After all they would make the ‘offering time’ 25% of the Sunday meeting. The fact that we weren’t even doing it was offensive [we did take offerings at one time, but I never took a salary from day one]. These examples show you that society is comfortable with secular/holy divisions ‘just keep the church in the church’ and they will be happy. Now to the point of the believer being highly involved in all aspects of society, even economically. It is most definitely Gods will for believers to excel in the stock market, real estate world and all other avenues of finance and influence. Its just we need to distinguish between a message of ‘the Kingdom invading society’ and making the Kingdom about money. This is a real distinction that needs to be taught and understood. Many prophetic people who advocate these things are not yet able to articulate this distinction in an effective way. They will read so far on this blog and think that we are against being progressive, which is not the case. Jesus instituted the Church so the Church would be the key vehicle for expressing the Kingdom in the earth [as well as the whole universe!] We are about much more than which particular style of church or meeting we should have. The style or methods are really un important in my mind. The goal is to harvest enough people who we can then turn out into society to affect it for Christ. The Kingdom starts as a little seed [our small church mentality!] and eventually moves out to cover the earth!

(309) ISAIAH 47 Here this, thou that are given to pleasures [who see Christianity as a means to self indulgence, getting more and more] You who say ‘I shall never suffer the loss of children’ [those who have followed our belief system will always remain faithful to us] Thy wisdom and thy knowledge have perverted thee [the intricate systems of teaching and the lengths that you have gone to in order to get around plain scripture] stand now with all the formulas and gimmicks that you have performed from your early days, see if they will replace true repentance and open turning back towards the truth. Thus shall be all those who you have merchandised with from your youth, every one shall wander to his quarter [try to find refuge in abiding only in those groups who agree with the distorted views that have been perpetrated on the saints] none shall save thee [you will find that all the assurances of the past will no longer work. The obvious error that has been passed down from the leaders who have gone off course will be very plain to the new generation of believers that God is raising up. Many of the ‘children’ with love and respect for their ‘fore fathers’ will choose faithfulness to the Lord over carrying the ‘torch’ for the fathers of their movements. God will save the day!]

(314)CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP DOES NOT EXIST FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELF ADVANCEMENT AND UPWARD MOBLITY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE ‘LAITY’ we need to re think our function in this area. Paul and Jesus were not going around promoting what God was doing thru them, nor were they recruiting ‘financial partners’ to simply experience the Kingdom vicariously thru the gifted leader. They were depositing into the people and releasing them to function on their own. You find Paul and Jesus receiving financial support to send them and help them in their traveling ministry, but today’s mindset of the Leader being ‘sent’ all over the world while the saints sit back and wait to hear all the stories was not the normal mode. Paul did share what God was doing, don’t get me wrong. But today’s mindset sees the people as promoters of the leaders lifestyle and gift. This is why you have well meaning Ministry leaders who live in multi million dollar homes while the average supporter of the ministry lives in a $100,ooo dollar one [or rents an apartment]. It’s OK to live in a million dollar home, but it’s hard to appeal to supporters who are on fixed income, and to ask them to give out of their lack while doing this. The leaders have simply become victims of the western mindset of ministry that pools 90 % of the funds from the average person. While many of the leaders do use the majority of the funds for good things [Christian TV] they seem to justify a lifestyle of wealth and happiness at the expense of the sacrificial giver by their reading of the prosperity scriptures. ‘If God wants me to have wealth, then it’s OK’. They truly don’t see the rebukes in scripture to the ‘shepherds’ who have become wealthy at the expense of the sheep. Being wealthy is OK, you are not allowed to do it from the overall aggregate giving of many average income people. Scripture does forbid this in many places. NOTE: If the leaders salary is equal to those who are sending in support then it’s OK. If the leader is more frugal, a better investor and manages thru time to buy a million dollar home then that’s fine. I am speaking of those who run large ministries and their ‘salary’ including all the perks is in the millions. They often have their family members on the payroll at large salaries [500 thousand] while they really don’t do that much. These leaders look at the average CEO of a large company who makes millions more and justifies it this way. The reason you shouldn’t do this is because the non-profit ministry is really not ‘producing a product’ or commodity. The way they are bringing in millions [or billions] is thru outright giving. This is different than a for profit business. So the way to measure salary shouldn’t be thru the abusive CEO pay, but thru what I just showed you. Paul was reaching the entire known world of his day, pretty much single handedly. He found himself making tents at times to support himself. He traveled like the average person and lived in a lifestyle commensurate with those he was reaching. Jesus also. This is why you read Peter saying ‘desire to be an elder, not for filthy lucre’s sake, but of a ready mind’. This is why it is so important for us to have a good understanding of scripture. A friend of mine was attending a local word of faith church. And right from the start the preacher was confessing ‘you wait and see, my faith is going to produce a Cadillac by the end of this year’. Well this brother means well, he just doesn’t see all the things I just showed you. And when you try to correct this stuff, they will not listen! NOTE: What bugs the ‘hell’ out of me is the inability for prophetic people to see this. It’s like when you try to show a ‘prophet’ something he dismisses all the verses and warnings about this because he knows the other verses on prosperity. Heck [Ill’ be nice] I know them too!

(317)THE LAWNMOWER MAN many years ago I used to watch a famous prosperity preacher out of the Fort Worth area. At the time I liked his teaching and was attracted to it. I regularly watched him and listened to others as well. One time on their daily TV show they showed a testimony. The story was about someone who got saved and began winning people to the Lord. It showed how this brother spent a few years after his conversion giving his life away for the gospel. It then showed how one day he heard this preachers teaching and it ‘lured’ his interest. He then became a supporter and believer in the prosperity gospel. He started a very successful lawnmower business, made lots of money and that’s it! I thought the story would end with the guy using all this money to reach more people, or some kind of ‘spiritual’ point at all. Nope, That was it! Paul the Apostle made an interesting statement when reproving false prophets, he said ‘they testify themselves that they are false, and their testimony is true’. Over the years of myself and others sincerely writing and confronting these brothers in love, you would think that there would have been some attempt at change, even a little. But over a period of time everything about this message stays the same. You try to be patient and love and forgive, but then you have to seriously ask yourself ‘if these brothers refuse to stop doing this stuff, then it’s our responsibility to tell people ‘beware’. I don’t understand the motives of this anymore. I know that pride and rebellion are at the heart of unrepentance. I just see the age of some of these men, they have been ‘steeped’ in this for so long they cant seem to see their way out. I really am trying to change the course of the younger generation of believers coming up. These preachers who continue teaching people to live for finances instead of spiritual riches will give an account some day. The TV stations that broadcast these shows out of love and a real feeling of friendship towards these people will also give an account. I know many well-meaning people. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness and many others. They do good things. The Masons are wonderful people who help burned children. I take my kids to their Circus to support them. The children’s ministry that they do is great. But I can’t allow the obvious goodness of many of these groups to take precedence over biblical truth. The simple fact that many of the prosperity preachers cause believers to live for wealth is really wrong. I know these brothers are Christians, but this has to stop. NOTE; A few years back a lot of these false prophets were dealt with the first time around. I remember hearing one of them give a defense by saying ‘some people accuse me of being a money preacher. Well that’s right, I am a money preacher’ Now he said this in a way where he thought he was doing right by saying it. Sort of like saying ‘that’s right, I do believe all the stuff we teach is new revelation’. He didn’t realize he was actually fulfilling the verse where Paul says the false prophets testify themselves that they are false. In the actual statement ‘I am a money preacher’ you are actually saying ‘my God is money, I preach it. I confess it. My Jesus was a 1st century Donald Trump.’ They don’t realize that this is what they’re doing, but they are fulfilling Paul’s prophecy in the bible!

(319)The enemy uses systems and structures of speech and thought that are closely related to godly avenues in order to sidetrack people. When the serpent came to Eve in the garden, he is using speech [confession] scripture [the words God spoke, though distorted] and the form of communication that God initially established for his purpose [by the way, those involved in Christian TV networks, many of you do broadcast very good stuff. I was just watching God TV last night and enjoyed a Rick Joyner meeting, also I like the I.H.O.P. meetings with Mike Bickle and many other good prophetic ministries. It is the enemies strategy to ‘mix’ the good stuff with the ‘bad’ wheat/tares strategy] The fact that the enemy uses the means of communication that God initiates should cause us to be more selective in discerning that which is holy [good] from that which is not! Pastor[s] can feel like I am ‘threatening’ their livelihood. I understand this. This is a direct result of the modern day phenomena of the ‘full time minister’. Paul and the other New Testament leaders were not trying to ‘defend their jobs’ they were laying their lives down for truth. Sometimes literally! True reform is difficult. People are happy and comfortable with a steady income stream. Regular supporters who are really blessed by other ministries who might broadcast thru the station. All the natural feelings of being threatened and loosing that sense of security are involved with reform. Many Catholic Priests were shaken during the reformation. It was a time in history where God said ‘I am going to change some things permanently in the history of the Church’. I am not saying everything the reformers did was right. But the time had come for a shift to happen. Shifts are very uncomfortable. They cause you to re evaluate all that you have known and held onto in the past. Shifts are necessary. No chastening at the present time seems to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it produces right things as well as peace. To some it brings destruction. That’s not the purpose of chastening, but some are steeped in rebellion to the point where they have staked their lives on it. NOTE: Let me try to help some of you who are sincerely worried. The reality of God being our provider. The truth behind all the scriptures of God wanting to prosper us and God being a good God and all of these things are true. They were true for Paul who said ‘Preachers will rise in the last days, preaching that gain is godliness. From such turn away’ they were true for Jesus who said ‘be ware of covetousness, a mans life doesn’t consist in the amount of things he owns’. These scriptures of God being our provider teach us that God is good and will most definitely meet our needs. This is a far cry from the other stuff I am trying to ‘root out’. God being our provider is one thing. Making the entire gospel and kingdom about money is something forbidden in scripture! Discern this guys. Especially you Pastors and Leaders, you cannot keep getting away with letting this slip thru to your people. Ideas and wrong teachings have long lasting results. Don’t let your people go down this road! Teach them about the goodness of God, but don’t let them get ruined by this stuff! NOTE: The serpent actually accomplished his goal thru the speaking of Gods word in a distorted version. He ‘marred’ the image of God that was in man. Man continued to exist, but his ‘image’ was not the complete original intent of the Father. This is what I showed you earlier about idolatry. Many in this movement ‘believe’ in Jesus, but the true image of Christ is ‘marred’ by the distorted view of scripture!

(382)In the writings of Paul [New Testament] you see him fighting against the Judiazers [trying to convert Christians to half law/grace] he describes them as ‘enemies of the Cross’ he actually says they ‘preach another Jesus’ and that even if an angel appears and brings this new ‘Jesus’ that you are to reject it. Paul was strong for the gospel. It’s perfectly possible for believers to develop an experience with God thru Jesus that leaves out the crucial elements of the Cross. When people ‘choose’ to focus on the other aspects of Christianity that are on the ‘fringes’ of the gospel, they choose to opt out of the Cross. I have said before, you do ‘get’ what you focus on. This is a true principle that works whether you are a believer or not. If people choose a form of Christianity that says ‘we focus on comfort and happiness’ they for the most part will get that. If challenged by the message of the Cross [which includes both redemption and the call to self sacrifice] they can actually choose to reject it based on self-preservation. The choice of thinking ‘I do not want to hear the possibility of me suffering and going thru difficulty. The old time churches taught this and our current teachers showed us they got what they confessed’. So you begin to believe in a ‘Cross less’ gospel, and you justify it by the actual fact that you are materially doing better than the old time Christians ‘our teachers must be correct, look at how much better we are doing materially than they were’. The fact that all of this might very well be true does not mean it’s the biblical gospel. Inherent in our call as believers is the fundamental ‘counting the cost’ mindset. The cost of radical revolution is to put self and the concerns of ‘creature comforts’ away. The many learned men who have seen much truth in the areas of wealth and finances have ‘crossed the line’ in not rightfully submitting these truths to the superiority of the Cross. The many sayings of Jesus on ‘you can’t serve God and money’ are seen as ‘old school’. You then have someone like myself that comes along and preaches the Cross. I am then seen as an ‘enemy’ to this peculiar belief system. The ‘system’ becomes that which you defend, as opposed to the true message of the Cross. Paul ‘nailed’ it down fairly well when he said ‘even if an angel comes and declares a different Jesus to you, let him be accursed’. Paul knew the stakes were high. Jesus went thru too much for the church to sit idly by as the parade of new teachers slowly ‘erases’ away his central message.

(383)When I was a Pastor I had a friend who was a ‘word of faith’ preacher. He would attend some of our services. I also let him preach every now and then. I spoke on prayer once. I used the verse from the book of James that says ‘we ask and do not receive, because we ask amiss that we would consume the things we want out of lust’ [paraphrase]. Basically the verse is saying selfish prayers are not answered. My friend tried to explain to me that this was not what it was saying. He was taught this verse in a way that said ‘the reason you are not obtaining the wealth and things you desire is because your are not aiming your prayers in the right direction’ he told me it was saying to ‘aim’ at the proper trajectory and you will get all you want. This was another one of those examples of how we take verses and make them say the complete opposite of what they are saying. Jesus did say ‘when you pray, believe that the things you are saying will happen, and you will have what you say’ I do believe this verse to be true. You will find Jesus and Paul ‘saying’ things this way. Jesus said to the fig tree ‘dry up and die’ it happened. Paul would say to the person who was possessed ‘you are a hindrance to the gospel, be blind’ and it happened. Basically this teaching from Jesus is to fit in with the whole counsel of God. Paul used this truth to spread the gospel. You never found Paul or Jesus using these things ‘to get what they wanted’ in a self serving way. They ‘had what they said’ because they said things in the will of God, not to ‘consume stuff upon their desires’. Jesus would say ‘I am going to go to Jerusalem to be killed’ Peter didn’t like this confession. It didn’t line up with what Peter wanted. Jesus didn’t ‘get what he said’ simply because he said this. He said this out of the reality of fulfilling Gods purpose. He ‘got what he said’ because what he said was the unselfish will of God concerning the Cross. We as believers need to be at a higher level than where we are currently operating. It’s like I could go thru all these types of verses and debate the real meaning of them. Others will stick with the ‘fake’ meaning. You can spend years trying to undo all this stuff. Until we get to ‘another place’ of putting our lives at the foot of the Cross, we will never really see these things. God will give you good things, don’t get me wrong. Just allow all these truths to be ‘filtered’ thru the Cross.

(385)A few things from Isaiah ‘I have seen your ways and will heal you, I will restore comforts unto you and to your mourners’ I spoke on the Cross a few entries back. One of the hard things was Jesus would say to the disciples ‘you must also take up the cross and follow me’. A central area of identifying with Christ was going thru the Cross. This is a difficult thing. There are times in life where all seems to be going well. You have your life organized and happy. The ‘dose’ of Christianity that you have embraced is just strong enough to insure that all your needs will be met. You have the verses down and all. Then there comes some ‘strange’ preacher you never heard of before. He seems to be a little different. He is speaking the same language and all, it’s just different ‘Jesus spoke with authority, not like the scribes’. The average people could really identify with him. He rubbed the ‘elite’ class the wrong way. One of the main parts of his teaching was those who were ‘well off’ now, would pay later. Yet the ‘poor’ would inherit the earth. This didn’t sit well with the ‘well to do’. The religious leaders were getting tired of him. Every time he opened his mouth it seemed like he was teaching stuff that was right on, and it often reproved the systems of belief that the average preacher was ‘hawking’ at the time. Then the day comes where his zealous followers are going to prove to everybody that Jesus is the Messiah, they have been waiting for a few years to be vindicated. Peter was this ‘zealot’ type reformer who was tired of the oppression of Rome. Being treated as some type of ‘illegal alien’. ‘You wait and see Rome, our Messiah has finally arrived. It was even prophesied that he would deliver the Jews from Rome’s oppression. Our day is here’. Then a funny thing happened. The road to Jerusalem is nearing, our vindication day. All the prophets spoke of the triumphal entry of the Jewish King to take David’s throne. This obviously will be fulfilled in Jerusalem, the city of the great King [David]. Well as the day approached, Jesus started talking about death and leaving us. We couldn’t grasp what he was saying. We gave everything to him; we looked like fools following him against the opinions of the preachers of our day. Jesus doesn’t seem to understand we can’t have him dieing now. It will ruin our ‘day of getting even’ with all those who spoke against us. If he dies now we will feel like we have allowed the enemies to win. We want to win! Then they remember the teachings of Jesus. He told them the Cross was not just something he would experience. He told them a day was coming where they too would identify with him in this process. A day of humiliation and defeat. Those who would experience it would be different on the other side. Peter swallows hard and readies himself. “Though all the others forsake you, I wont’’ He even cuts off the ear of one of the company who come to take Jesus. A very brave thing to do, knowing your out numbered and all. I guess he really wanted to show that he was willing to die this day. But this wasn’t his day to die. Then the hour comes. Jesus begged the Father if there was another way please help me find it. He determines to allow the Cross to take full course. He sees Peter cursing and denying him. Peter tastes it too. They drive the nails thru his hands and prop him up over this hillside. It looks like something out of Hollywood ‘the place of the skull’. Something strange happens. The sky turns dark. It’s eerie, the people were just making fun of him and now they are terrified. One of the others being crucified that day decides to ask Jesus if he could be with him in Paradise. Jesus has so much on his plate right now. The ‘weight of the world’ and yet has time to pray for him. ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’ still putting others first. As the sky darkens the earth shakes. Later we find out that the tombs of believers broke open from this event and after the resurrection many saints rose from the dead and were seen witnessing in the area! A Roman guard is seeing all this, he sees this strange religious leader cry out to his God ‘O my God why did it come to this. You have forsaken me. Into your hands I commit my spirit’ the soldier simply says ‘truly this man was the Son of God’. He is taken down and put in a tomb. Others will come who will teach that Jesus was part of the ‘aristocracy’ that he was from the ‘rich class’. They put him in a ‘rich mans tomb’ but it had to be donated! His followers are distraught. Especially Peter. Peter was thinking ‘what have I done, I cant believe the weakness of my flesh. All that I worked for in this revolution is now lost. I will be remembered as the one who failed. My image is forever stained’. Jesus appears to the women who were his followers after the resurrection. A strange thing for sure. If someone were writing this story and it was all made up, you wouldn’t have Jesus going first to the women. It would take away from the ‘believability’ of the story. 1st century Rome was a bit ‘patriarchal’ you know. The women are amazed. Jesus did it. ‘Go tell the disciples I am alive. Especially Peter. I know he gave it all he could to not deny me. But it had to happen. It was part of his Cross’. They go and tell the others. The disciples will go on and found the greatest religious movement known to man. Peter will gain his boldness back. History even tells us that when they crucified him he asked to be killed upside down, because he wasn’t worthy to die like his King. They finished well. God restored comforts unto Jesus and to his mourners. But first the Cross. NOTE: The martyrdom of Peter. Jesus tells Peter one time ‘where I am going [the Cross] you cannot follow me at this time. Later you will follow me, but your time has not come yet’. Jesus knew it was necessary for Peter’s denial to still take place. Peter had an ‘appointment’ with failure. Peters desire was to be a martyr for the cause. He was a ‘zealot’ a political activist of his day who would have been willing to die for freedom. He tried to show this at the point when they came to take Jesus. The act of cutting off the ear of a Roman soldier is something that you get executed for. The 1st century means of execution was the Cross. Peter actually took a step towards martyrdom with this act. Jesus interrupted the process by miraculously putting the guys ear back on! Its like Peter wanted death, but Jesus already told him it wasn’t yet time. You find Peter after Pentecost preaching to the Jews in such a way that it seemed like he was back to the ‘martyrdom complex’. He says things that could very well get him killed. It’s like he can’t wait to pass thru the ‘tunnel’. When the day finally comes he does get crucified upside down. He never really overcame the guilt of his initial denial. He still felt unworthy over what he did. The early church had a ‘movement’ where Christians were wanting to get martyred. They read verses like the one in Hebrews 11 that says ‘those who are martyred receive a better resurrection’ so this group of ‘Christian zealots’ were actually doing things to get executed for the faith. The early church fathers/Bishops had to put a stop to it. These guys were like Peter after the resurrection! There was a real sense of ‘I want to get killed for the faith’ that some of these brothers had. What a contrast to today’s gospel. We appeal to people by telling them your gonna get rich if you follow Christ. Things will be great. We seem to appeal to the flesh of people. The early followers knew if they embraced the faith that there was a chance that you might get killed.

(396)Some things from Isaiah 53. ‘He is despised and rejected of men, we hid our faces from him’. Funny thing, never did or said a single wrong thing. Theologically correct 100 % of the time. How did we view him? We HID from him when we saw him coming. The gossip was so bad about him we couldn’t even face him. ‘We esteemed him not’. We said ‘I don’t care who he thinks he is, do you know what I heard’? ‘He was wounded for us, bruised for us. The price to obtain the things that would bring us peace was on him’ all the things that caused us to look down upon him were actually part of the price he had to pay for our benefit! ‘He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth, he was like a silent lamb being killed’ I don’t have what it takes to be silent when I am being talked about. There was a sort of oppression that kept coming against Jesus. It was like men will keep doing whatever it takes to ‘get to him’. Pilate says ‘don’t you know I might actually have you put to death’ they kept pushing all the buttons. What was it again that they found wrong with him? O yes, he said ‘I am the Son of God’ in so many words. That’s right, now I remember. The great crime that led us to this point of killing him was HE TOLD US THE TRUTH! ‘He did no violence, nor was there ever any deceit in his mouth’ I cant say the same about me. ‘Yet it pleased the Father to bruise him, HE HATH DONE THIS TO HIM’ it’s so hard to comprehend this. You are not only allowing these things, but actually doing them by your great purpose! I thought any thing like this was the work of the devil. I thought I was suffering because of something I did wrong. I have been trying to get out of this difficulty. Everyone today preaches ‘if he were from God surely this wouldn’t be happening’. ‘He will see of the pain in my soul, by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many’ the things I will bring forth from your pain will ‘justify’ [bring into alignment] many. The pain first! ‘I will divide him a portion with the great [he will share the fruits with many well known people, those who thrive on fame]. He will divide the goods with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death. He bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors’ in the midst of this personal turmoil he was faithful to continue interceding for others. He did like Job who ‘prayed for his friends’ and then the Lord turned his captivity around. He learned to be faithful in intercession even when his life was being poured out. Who can live up to this? Jesus is the perfect man. NOTE this chapter starts with ‘who hath believed our report’ I was just ‘worrying’ about how many people are ‘accepting/believing’ the things on this blog. A feeling of like ‘am I crazy, is nobody getting reached in a lasting way?’ Then I read the part of ‘our report’. I felt like the Lord was saying don’t worry about whether or not you are accepted. If you speak the things I am saying, then it’s ‘our’ report. Sort of like when scripture says to the prophets ‘they have not rejected you, they have rejected me’. I don’t want to come off as everything I say is right. I just felt like the Lord was saying when you speak in his will, it’s up to him to deal with the problem of whether or not the ‘report’ is being believed. Sometimes it’s in his purpose for reports to ‘not be believed’ so he can get to the next step.

(397)I saw a ministry out of Texas [We sure seem to have a lot of em!] who again preaches money all the time. I have read and listened to tapes from him before. He does have a tremendous amount of wisdom and Knowledge in areas of business and finance. His teachings were some of the best I have ever heard in these areas. He himself testified of how when he became a believer he later began to be ‘fascinated to an extreme’ with rich people. He studied and researched and could not get and consume enough information on these rich and wealthy people. The way he described it sounded like an unbelievable obsession with wealth. He used this description to explain how he became so knowledgeable in these areas. I saw it more of falling into the danger that Jesus warned against ‘Beware of covetousness, for a mans like doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things that he possesses’. I like this teacher, he does have great wisdom. It’s just he advocates so many of the things I have shown you to be wrong on this site. He would never admit it, he is brilliant. Scripture says ‘thy knowledge hath perverted thee’ it is possible to learn the most intricate truths of success from scripture. To apply them in such a way that you become highly successful and wealthy. It is possible to teach this system to others with a PURE HEART, that is you truly are not trying to take advantage of people. All of this in and of itself does not justify the obsession with wealth that these types of teachers promote. Their ‘wisdom’ has truly perverted them. NOTE: Many of these brothers are not ‘crooked’ fakes. They are sincere and honest in their dealings. They give extreme amounts of money to missions. Because of this they do not see themselves like the obvious fakes. There have been blatant deceivers who have robbed people; these brothers do not fall into this category. Because of this they cant see that they have fallen into the snare of desiring to become wealthy, which scripture forbids [1st Timothy 6- go read it!]. This is what makes it so difficult when you try to uproot this teaching from the church. NOTE: Let me show you how humility and truth trump wisdom. Though the above teacher is extremely wise, he also uses the ‘proof texts’ to teach that Jesus was also rich. The many verses I have shown you on this site. You can honestly show these brothers that these ‘proof texts’ do not trump the overall character of Jesus that comes to us from the testimony of the gospels. The gospels plainly show us an itinerant preacher who gathered a rag tag team of disciples and led a radical life. Sure they had a ‘bag’ [treasury] and Jesus wore an expensive coat [more than likely donated!] but these verses do not teach a wealthy Jesus! It is next to impossible for these guys to ‘see’ this. Knowledge can pervert you. These guys have seen real truth [knowledge] in areas of finances that the historic church has overlooked. They see how they know more than the traditional church in these areas. The fact that they posses true knowledge is a stumbling block to trying to show them these other areas of false teaching. They seem to think that all critics are traditional thinkers who do not have revelation knowledge. Deception is deceitful, that means you don’t know you are being deceived! NOTE: I know I have ‘harped’ on this a lot. I do over emphasize this area of correction because there have been so many leaders who have refused to deal with it over the years. Many innocent Pastors who are not familiar with the extreme elements of some of these teachings have inadvertently taught or condoned these teachers by mentioning their names or teaching a small aspect of their doctrine, like Jesus being rich because he had an expensive coat, or the teaching that the parable of the sower is speaking about finances [it is not!]. So in general this area has affected a lot of innocent Christians who are truly not aware of these things.

(410)I want to talk about the reality of gifted Prophetic/Apostolic people in church history who had real gifts, but embraced false doctrine. This is an area of stumbling for those who are trying to break away from false movements. The Mormons are good people, whenever they come to my house I have real good talks with them [a little too good, after a few visits they go back to their elders with questions and they never come back!] I actually become real friends with them. I honestly discuss their movement’s history and I give an honest evaluation of the Prophet Joseph Smith [the founder of their church]. I do not demean them in any way. I simply acknowledge that the giftings of Joseph Smith were tremendous in the area of pioneering a religious movement. I also challenge the belief that Joseph was the prophet that the Lord chose to restore the true church. I find agreement that the true church are all those who have come to embrace the sacrifice of Christ [which they believe in] and then I explain how Jesus said the gates of hell would never totally prevail against the church. If Jesus words were true [they were!] then there never was a time since the 1st century that the church didn’t exist in some form. The gates never prevailed against her. Therefore Josephs teaching on him being the restorer of the church to the degree that God supposedly told him there was no true church left, has to be wrong. I do make headway with the younger guys. Once you honestly become true friends with people, you can have influence. My position on all the extra biblical doctrines and visions and other so called supernatural things [finding gold plates in the ground!] I simply ‘compromise’ to the point of saying ‘it is possible that Joseph [or any other leader of any other movement] had visions or experiences that they felt were true. They might have actually saw someone/something’. But we go back to the reality of Jesus being the way to God, and we put these other things at the foot of the Cross. The history of the pioneering Mormons is tremendous. The people are all good people [for the most part] there are strides being made right now to influence certain key leaders of this movement and to bring them back into alignment with historic Christianity [like what happened with the seventh day Adventists on the west coast. A few years back some evangelicals established relationships with key leaders and certain seventh day groups came back to the historic church- The worldwide church of God group [not the Pentecostal church of God] had a total reformation from the top down!] The point is, it is possible for certain religious groups to experience great success. In some strange way the fact that there is a small degree of the gospel present within the system [remember the leaven affecting the whole lump?] enables a certain degree of success until the time comes for true reformation. This approach can be seen with the more extreme word of faith/ prosperity teachers. Many were good men who did good things. We should not allow this to be an open door for the other doctrines and stuff that are wrong. Acknowledge the good, and honestly face up to the things that went off track. God requires all of us to do this at certain times. NOTE: After a few talks with these Mormons they see that I am a Christian; I know the bible and am even aware of their history. I use this fact as an example of God revealing himself to people without them joining or identifying with some religious group or organization. One of their beliefs is God has a true real church in society [true] and therefore which one is it? I try to show them that I too believe there is ‘one true church’ and that this church [society of people- not an organization or denomination] is actually made up of all those who have come to the reality of God thru Christ. They will challenge this view [as do some Christians!] and say that it is wrong. That how could people just come to a true knowledge of God unless they are in the true church [which to them is Mormon] I then bring them back to the fact that we have spent hours discussing and sharing many truths about Jesus. We all know many of the same verses [to be honest I usually know more by memory than them] and we have been discussing all these truths of God and his purposes and redemption thru Christ. And yet I have never met you before. I am not Mormon. How did God break thru to me and show me all these things that we have been sharing? It wasn’t thru some organization; it was the fact that God is revealing himself to mankind thru Christ. All who have come to this reality ARE THE TRUE CHURCH. Therefore everyone who worships the Father thru the Son are the true church. This leaves room for them and all others. I don’t whitewash the many wrong teachings of Mormonism, I simply try to bring them to the reality that even if Joseph Smith never existed that the reality of all of us [I include them] right now believing in God and the sacrifice of his son would qualify us as the ‘true church’ you don’t need Joseph Smith for this!

(416)Let’s talk about divine healing. Over the years I have heard different ‘angles’ on this. I absolutely believe God can and does heal. If you do an in depth study of scripture there is no question about it. ‘He is the God who healeth thee’. The problem, like anything else, is we have a tendency to go to ‘extreme views’ on this. Recently in some of the movements I have been studying I have seen the idea surface that ‘if you did not act by faith in the healing, it’s your fault’. These sincere people get to the point where they teach if someone is in a wheel chair, and you say to them ‘arise and walk’ and if they don’t do it, they didn’t obey [act upon the word] and it’s their fault. Surely it can’t be Gods? Well you then develop a healing theology of condemnation. You begin teaching ‘if you are not healed you have done something wrong’. All redemptive purposes are in Gods plan. The most obvious one is to redeem man from actual death. 'O death where is your victory’. Jesus is the resurrection and the life right now. He said this to Lazarus sisters. ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God’. It was not Gods will to heal him during these 3 days. In Gods sovereign plan he chose to allow death to happen so he would be glorified in raising him. So even though healing and the defeat of death are parts of God purpose in redemption, we do not understand why all of the aspects of it are not fully revealed now. We should not develop a teaching that says to the person in the wheel chair ‘if you don’t ‘get up’ when I say ‘get up’ then you didn’t obey the word!’ This has been done more times than you know, in various scenarios. I have used the comparison that if it’s always something the person is doing wrong, then what about raising the dead? Jesus taught healing in the great commission just like raising the dead. He said those who believe would even raise the dead. Raising the dead has happened and does actually happen. Why don’t we go and raise all the dead all the time? I actually heard a brother on the radio who was defending the teaching that every time someone isn’t healed there’s something wrong. And he defended the idea that the person being healed is not believing right or else they would be healed. He then gave an example on ‘well why then are not all people raised from the dead?’ He actually taught an experience he, or someone else had, where the Lord showed them that when a dead person is told ‘rise from the dead’ that the spirit of the person hears it, and if they don’t ‘obey’ well there you have it. As you can see, when preachers want to be extreme, they are like kids. They will come up with the most elaborate schemes to make themselves right. Lets just say all of Gods purposes are not fully revealed yet. Even the promise of ‘never dieing’ does not mean we will ‘never die’. It just means that we will win at the end. I believe God is the healer; all of our doctrines and teachings are for the benefit of man. If you turn them into something that condemns man, then you have defeated the main purpose of God. Like what the Pharisees did with the Sabbath. Jesus said the Sabbath was given for man, not man for the Sabbath. We worship our doctrines and put them on pedestals and we make man fit into them. If we can’t find a satisfactory explanation, we then make it mans fault, surely it couldn’t be Gods?

[this is a note at the end of our other teaching section]

P.S. Let me also add that there are many prophetic people that I am in contact with in some way. I feel that a lot of them agree with me on prophetic stuff, but get offended by the strong stance we take in other areas of teaching. I realize that just because a person experiences prophetic things, that this doesn’t mean he is correct in everything! It is common to hear things like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and themes like this from highly prophetic people. We just assume because someone is prophetic that their doctrine is correct. I really don’t want to teach here, but let me share this. The scripture does speak about the wealth of the sinner being stored up for the righteous and God ‘gives’ it to the righteous. Also the story of the children of Israel leaving Egypt and how God gave them the wealth of the Egyptians. These verses do not teach some type of windfall that simply falls into the hands of Christians. As church history progressed thru time more and more people in the marketplace and other areas of wealth and influence have become believers. As the church age progresses this phenomenon increases. Today the ‘wealth of the wicked’ has much more become ‘the wealth of the righteous’, not thru some windfall inheritance, but thru the process of God redeeming planet earth! ‘Seeing’ it this way does not violate the principles of scripture that over and over speak about the diligent being blessed and the lazy coming to ruin/poverty. There are many believers who are living in disobedience by not working who cling on to doctrines like ‘the end time transfer of wealth’ and wrongly believe that they are going to get money while violating biblical standards. Things like this need to be understood and articulated thru prophetic people before God can entrust us with more. I actually feel that the prophetic movements ‘marriage’ to the prosperity gospel has voided certain things that God wanted to do thru the movement. Balaam was a prophetic person who actually heard from God and spoke Gods words, but scripture says his lust for wealth made him a false prophet [who loved the wages of unrighteousness]. If prophets can’t receive correction from each other then God will never let them ‘correct’ [speak into] the church at large. I feel one of the pitfalls of the prophetic is to think that the goal is to ‘simply be prophetic’. I have met brothers who simply wanted to attend church and stand up and speak. God’s chief concern for all of his people [even prophets] is to carry out the great commission, to be salt and light to a lost and dying world!