2081- ABRAHAM’S JOURNEY [Transition time]
- Before I begin this week’s new post- I want to try and explain something.
As I’m adapting to some changes- and making decisions about some new things- I’m also working on some old radio shows I did many years ago.
As I copy them to the WordPress site- I review them- these are 15 minute shows I did years ago.
I find myself making notes- you know- God speaks to me thru these old shows.
I will add a link to Ruth 1- I mean it’s really uncanny if you realize there is no order to me reviewing these tapes- each one [I’ve heard about 7 in the past week- years apart] has given me direction for where I am at in life- really strange in a way. This tape talked about transition and change- many insights into where I’m at right now.
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7y [This is my first Corpus video- the quality not that good- but I wanted my friends from N.J. to get a look at Corpus- so I left it on].
[I hope these links work- if not- the Ruth radio show and the Corpus video ore on ccoutreach87.wordpress.com ]
Ok- this week I want to continue some of the teaching I actually started in North Bergen.
The story of Abraham [found in Genesis] is important in many ways- both practically and theologically.
Out of all the historical figures that the Apostle Paul uses when speaking about Justification by faith [meaning God planned from the start that he would save- accept- and yes- change [addiction recovery] man as a gift- not by human efforts- which is actually a bondage] he uses the story of Abraham the most.
In the letters he penned to the churches of Galatia [it was a region- more than one church/community] and to the church at Rome- he uses the chapters I have been quoting from in my videos [those of you have not watched the teaching videos on my WordPress site- watch them- these blog posts will fill in some gaps].
In Genesis chapters 12 and 15 God calls Abraham to a journey- he says ‘if you leave your family and land- and go into a new place- I will bless you and make you into a great people’.
God took Abraham outside and said ‘look at all the stars- and the sand by the sea- this is how many kids you will have- if you obey me’.
Now- Abraham went on a journey- a tough one to be sure- but exciting.
When God made this promise to Abraham- in Genesis 15- we read ‘And Abraham believed in the Lord- and it was accounted unto him for righteousness’.
Now- these are the verses that the Apostle Paul uses when teaching the Christians [and his Jewish brothers] that God planned- from the start- to give us the free gift of eternal life- when we would believe a promise [about his Son] as opposed to trying to work hard thru a program [the law] to achieve change.
The apostle taught that the harder we try to achieve change thru our own efforts [working the program harder] it actually strengthens the sin [addiction] that we are struggling to overcome [Romans 7].
God gave ‘the program’ [the law- the 10 commandments] about 400 years after he made this promise to Abraham-
So- in the mind of Paul [who wrote the letters by the inspiration of God] this showed us that the first promise to Abraham [freedom as a gift] can’t be ‘un-done’ by the ‘2nd word/commands’ that he gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Then why did God give us the law [10 commandments]?
Good question- and many in the days of Jesus asked this very thing.
God gave us the law to reveal our sin- to us!
Yes- it was sort of a mirror [James teaches this in his letter] to reveal our own inability to change ourselves.
In the letter's to the Galatians and Rome Paul says ‘the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ- but after we arrive at the school/truth [Jesus- grace- the truth] there is no longer any need for the schoolmaster’. [School master is an old term used in the earlier versions of the English bible- today it carries the connotations of someone who brought the kids to school- not the teacher at the school- so, the Law was only meant to bring us to Christ- not to actually change/save us].
He says ‘if righteousness [change] comes thru the law- then Christ DIED IN VAIN’!
Strong words indeed.
So- we see the promise that God made to Abraham- and the fact that Abraham went on a journey- and obeyed- as being key to our own journey in life today.
[on my blog I have written a couple of studies that will explain this more- if you want read the ‘Luther- Reformation’ study- and the ‘justification by Faith’ study- they are on the pages on the left of the site as you log on].
When God made this covenant [deal] with Abraham- he also said ‘and thru one of these kids the whole world would be blessed’.
That ‘kid’ was Jesus- who over many centuries later- would come from the line of David- who was the Son of Jesse- who came thru the tribe of Judah- who was one of the Sons of Jacob- who was the son of Isaak- who was- yeah you guessed it- the son of ‘Father’ Abraham himself.
[UPDATE AT BOTTOM]
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.Galatians 3:6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Galatians 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Galatians 3:20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Galatians 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Romans 3:30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Romans 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Romans 4:9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
Romans 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Romans 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Romans 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
UPDATE Sunday- 11-2-14- these posts are a bit different- I’m not only teaching- but also sharing some things about my own personal journey [which I think might be helpful].
As I write- I have spent my first week back from New Jersey working every day at one of the local coffee shops.
I have not been ‘on the streets’ for a week [been gone a month- but was on the streets every day in North Bergen].
So- my ‘Texas crew’ have not seen me in a while.
As I left church a little while ago- one of the young kids who came to one of my meetings said ‘hey- are you still going to do the bible study here in the Bluff- they stopped when you left’.
I told the kid [he’s about 17] ‘no kid- I decided to drop that aspect of the ministry’
He looked sad.
Today [Monday] was only the 2nd time I have seen the street crew in a month and a half.
Yes- everything has changed- it surprised me in a way- I thought it would be a lot harder to change my routine- but after a week of changing things up- and not being on the Texas streets for a while- yes- I see the change needed to be made- and today I’m comfortable with it.
I told the guys I will stop by every so often- to say hi- but that aspect of the ministry- which I have done for many years- is done.
The home groups?
Over the years I taught on the radio [that was my teaching time] and spent the days on the streets.
When I dropped the radio shows- that part of me regularly speaking into a community was missing- I still blogged- and worked with the guys- yet there was a real sense of loss.
When I started the meetings in the beginning of the year  for the first time- that aspect was restored.
I taught 5-6 times a week- for 10 months- all over South Texas [frankly- it was wearing me out- and I spent more on gas each month- then driving to N.J. and back].
But- it was one of those ‘faith things’- I said [to God] ‘I’ll do it- but when my money runs out [credit limit] you’ll have to do something’.
Well- it’s almost ‘run out’ but- to be honest- that’s not the main reason I’m dropping the meetings.
When I was in North Bergen- I did a few structured meetings- and Danny [the atheist] wanted more- I could tell.
Yet- when I’m doing ‘off the cuff’ stuff- teaching, yes- but just interacting- that’s my thing.
One of the verses that spoke to me when I first got into North Bergen was from exodus ‘come up to the mountain- and be there’.
Also ‘see that you build all things- after the pattern shown to thee in the mount’.
As some of you know- I’ve been making those amateur videos ‘off the cuff’- when I got back to Texas- I debated about doing more.
Now I see that I will continue ‘the meetings’ by doing the regular teaching- and every so often adding a video.
All the people that want me to keep doing the meetings- it’s much easier on me to do it this way- and more effective.
Just watch the videos’- like the satellite churches- many of them just have the live feed of the Pastor streaming in each week- same thing.
So- it took some time to see ‘the whole picture’ [one of my guys just called me now- my ‘street’ crew have been texting- calling- some are mad ‘where’s John’- I needed to hear God- and I’m notorious about not answering my phone- I tell my guys ‘if you need to get a hold- text- I never listen to messages- rarely get the phone’ you might get a text response- not always].
I loved doing the meetings- and yes- some are mad that I am stopping- but this is the best thing- for me at least.
It’s been a struggle to be at the coffee shop every day- I’m doing important work for sure- updating stuff- re-working things.
But I miss being ‘on the streets’ and will see my Texas crew soon [update- saw them today]- [by the way- had a few calls from my Jersey guys too].
NOTE- Anyone following the posts for the last month can see that I go back and forth- a lot- on stuff.
Now- it would be easy for me to go back and delete certain things- that normally no ‘ministry’ would ever post- never mind leave up.
But I want people to see the real stuff- in the bible you see real stuff.
You don’t just read bout Peter preaching- or king David being ‘a man after God’s own heart’- but you see Peter denying the Lord- you read about David sleeping with the wife of one of his men- I mean you see this stuff.
In these posts I hesitate to say ‘God told me this- or that’ [I’m sure I might have said it anyway].
No- to be honest- some of these decisions were probably not God at all.
Was it ‘God’ when I left for New Jersey on the spur of the moment a month ago- in the middle of the day- during a tropical storm flooding the roads?
I doubt it- I was ‘stranded’ in Roanoke Virginia at a rest stop at 2 am- I thought ‘what the hell am I doing here!’
Now- when I got to North Bergen I figured being I’m here- let’s make the best of it.
So- no- lots of stuff- in life- are you make the best of where you are at.
As of now- I’m pretty sure this is ‘the plan’- Will I maybe jump in the car again- and drive to California [been wanting to do that for years].
Either way- we all do our best- For the most part when you read the actual teaching on these posts- they are right on [I’ve studied for many years- not just the bible].
But- when you see the other stuff- that’s for people to see a little into the picture.
Will there be more stuff like that? Hate to say- probably yes.
So- for now- that’s what I think I’ll do- talk to you later [I think?]
[This is from a booklet I wrote years ago- Further talks on Church and Ministry- I felt it applied to this post]
Here are some of my own personal thoughts from my mission statement.
1 spend time making quality friends, all ministry takes place in this type of atmosphere.
2 true leadership is relating directly to groups of people in cities, not starting some type of organization.
3 the apostle Paul had relationship with believers in different locals, but he didn’t own them.
4 don’t try to produce only one type or way of church, but allow Gods natural process to work in various ways.
5 relating to areas/groups of people regularly is building the body. Either a church building, home or any regular place of contact can be the format for building the house of God.
6 planting churches in the New Testament sense was not the concept of setting up regular meetings in which Paul would preach to them week after week as a pastor, but planting churches was an apostle going to a location and making believers of the gospel of grace, and then trusting the Spirit in them to continue his work. Paul did speak of recognizing and ordaining elders in these cities, but it wasn’t a weekly church concept.
7 in the book of acts the focus wasn’t on setting up meetings, but sharing Christ with groups of people and relating to them as a family of children of whom you will always have relationship with, but allow them to mature and grow up on their own and eventually become independent.
8 the focus isn’t meetings but ecclesia. That is the actual people you disciple. when Jesus sent them out 2 by 2 it wasn’t to start home groups, but to bring the kingdom to regions. Don’t sacrifice the freedom of touching people directly. Jesus and those he sends simply speak, do, share and communicate with people. His great commission to go and make disciples and baptize. Direct authority to do kingdom without having to start or set up a movement. The movement itself is ‘Jesus family’ [ecclesia]. You will meet with people, but the focus is the people not the act of meeting. Learn to relate to people without having an agenda. Simply be free to love people.
9 look at Jesus and the 12. Later in acts, even Paul when going to a region, he holds meetings for a limited time [though the longest was around 2 years] preaches Christ, has a give and take with the community and then leaves. No ‘starting’ of anything, but a revolution in the hearts and minds of people. Later when re-visiting these communities, these are the ‘churches’ of the New Testament. We must see and operate in this simple way. This simple way is New Testament church planting.
10 his yoke is easy and burden light. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. Don’t lose the simplicity of doing Gods will. He requires nothing more than to go and touch and share and love. The people you touch are the ecclesia.
11 in these friendships the main truth will be Jesus and his grace, these friends will be encouraged to continue in Jesus and his grace. Prayer, bible study, fellowship and their journey with God. Be available to baptize and communicate with them, but allow God to grow the seed.
12 you never get the sense/feeling from Jesus or Paul that they were going somewhere to recruit people to their ministry. The sense was bringing this great message and kingdom to people! The people continued in the apostles doctrine and fellowship with each other and later Paul would come back to see how they were doing, not to start some type of ministry, but true long term friendships in the kingdom.
13 the freedom isnt 'house church’ or ‘temple worship’ but the kingdom being amongst us now! Obeying Jesus command to love! This command is free from all forms and structures of ministry, and allows us to daily love in action, always sharing in word and deed Jesus. A willingness to baptize those who believe and share and love and relate on a friendship basis. Jesus style.
I would like to note here that at the present time [2000’s] there are many worldwide Christian movements that are actually doing many of the things that I mentioned in this book. There are many ‘ex-pastors’ who have left their former roles as the central figure of the people they were pastoring and have continued to serve the body of Christ in a bi-vocational way [not getting paid to pastor!]. While I am not advocating this for every pastor who might read this book, I share this to emphasize that these thoughts are presently being practiced on a large scale worldwide [I do a lot of research!]. When people are confronted with new truth there is a tendency to discredit the messenger, so I wanted you to see that there are many thousands of believers who are walking this path right now. There are also many brothers who have seen these things before I did and I appreciate the role they played in helping me to see new truth. In many cases the believers who have left there former churches to live in simple community have been ostracized and looked upon as backslidden rebels. This has created in some a resentment in those who are technically correct in their seeing the church as the community, but many wont hear their voices because of the barrier of resentment that they pick up from them. So you have some who remain in the old way of seeing church and justify it by the fact that some who moved on have a bad attitude. We are all responsible before God to respond to truth when confronted with it, regardless of how much we resent the messenger! I personally believe that after reading this little book that your level of responsibility has gone up. You must ask God how He personally wants you to respond to the truths presented to you.
A few weeks ago I had a dream that I felt was prophetic, over the years I have had many interesting dreams and visions. I have never shared any of them in book form, but have spoken about them through our radio program. I dreamt that I was going to a Christian university, when arriving at the university there were many scholarly people dressed in suits and ties. There were many classes going on and discussions taking place about theological subjects. As I continued on my tour of the university there was a classroom where all the professors were gathered in a circle examining something. As I got closer I saw in the middle of these scholars there was what looked like an Indian warrior, he was crouched and just sitting there as something to be examined. He was severely scarred, not just normal scares but sort of a grotesque mutilation. He was there as something to be examined [I thought of the verse in Isaiah where it says he was marred more than any man, that he was wounded to beyond the point of recognition]. Later when I woke up I felt part of this dream spoke to the danger of us as Christians being able to learn and study truth, while never fully embracing the mystery in Christ. We have a tendency to build people up with all sorts of doctrines and never arriving at the point of fully grasping Him. My goal is after reading this book that your focus will not be ‘now I am going to go do the things in this book’, but that you would be able to see Him to a greater degree. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Let me close with this, the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he was given authority by God to build them up and not to tear them down. He actually regretted being so hard on them in his 1st letter, but later said he was glad he made them sorry for a season because it would later bear good results. While I'm not comparing myself to the apostle, I do see a similar situation in some of the teaching we do. Its seems to upset people initially but after a while it will produce good fruit. My intent in examining our whole idea of church and ministry is not to give people ammunition to fight against their church, but rather to cause us all to embrace a more biblical concept of church and ministry. I personally do not advocate the total deconstructing of all present day church practices. I personally believe there is room for both building based churches [the church building] and the house church movement. My appeal is for us to look at all these issues and come to our own conclusions on how to embrace these truths at our own pace. I thank the lord that he has been patient with me as I walk this journey and I want to give you all the same room and grace he has extended to me. May God bless you guys until the next book!
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots. visit- ccoutreach87.wordpress.com- my radio shows.