What Does the Eclipse Really Mean?

Today the world will experience an event that hasn't been witnessed in nearly 100 years, a total solar eclipse.  Parts of the United States will see total darkness, lasting over 2 minutes.  The rest of us will observe a great reduction in sunlight.  I believe in our part of Florida we will see about a 70% eclipse.

The last time something like this occurred was June of 1918.  The interesting fact is that during this time the world was in devastation as the Great War, WW1 was in its final days.  The war ended in November of that year, but at the time of the eclipse the trench warfare in France was totally gruesome.  Thousands would daily die a horrible death.  Then about 20 years later Hitler came to power and the condition of the world got much worse.  Remember, never forget, the Jewish death camps!  Yet, through all of this and many other terrible, horrible events of world history, the eclipse of 1918 was not God's signal to the world that He was going to pour judgment upon it!

For the past several months Christians have been advancing, through the power of the Internet, the theory that today's eclipse is going to be a signal from God of pending judgment upon the world, especially the United States.  Often words from Jewish rabbis are being quoted, words often based upon ancient writings found in the Torah.  Linked with past teachings on Blood Moons, etc., today's judgment theorists are convinced that God is angry with the world and His judgment is about to fall upon it.  I just posted a few words on my Twitter account saying, "If U'r understanding about how God treats the future world is based on teachings from rabbis quoting Torah U are living under wrong covenant!"  

Jesus told us that He came, "Not to judge the world but to save it." (John 3:17)  You see, we live under the New Covenant of God's Grace.  The judgment has been completed at the cross.  It was there that God judged us and found us all NOT GUILTY!  Now, that's the Good News. 

Therefore, instead of judgment I see something else about to occur.  It is a great spiritual awakening!  Historically, these events have taken place around the world for thousands of years.  They usually show up as, "Suddenlies" and the timing usually is when bad events are happening.  I could go into tons of Church History here to prove my point.  However, I suggest that you dig into it yourself and see how correct I am. 

I am a product of the great Charismatic Renewal.  I came into faith in Christ in 1973.  This Renewal was coming to an end, but how well I remember those days!  The US was in a total mess.  We had riots in the streets as a result of our involvement in Viet Nam.  Drug use was out of control, we had experienced race riots in just about every major city, we had a major hurricane hit the east coast of Florida, killing many and in the midst of it all America experienced a "Suddenly!"  Thousands, actually many tens of thousands came pouring into the ranks of new Christ Believers.  I remember our church taking in 20-30 new members every Sunday.  People were excited about God!  Our church had Sunday morning and evening services.  I remember us leaving our Bibles on our seats Sunday morning just so we had a seat Sunday evening as during that service there was standing room only!  My how times have changed!

My prediction is that another Great Renewal/Awakening is about to hit America and the world!  However, for you Old Timers, don't get too excited as you will be hit with a "Suddenly" too.  That's right....This time it won't be "your Mother's Awakening!" Everything is now being set up for a giant Grace Awakening!  Yes, this time the focus won't be on repentance from all of our many sins, but rather a focus aimed totally at the awesome love of God established here on earth by the death of Christ on the cross.  The battle cry of this Grace Awakening will be.... "IT IS FINISHED!"

Now, just possibly today's total solar eclipse may be a sign from God; not of judgment, but of His love for mankind!  You and I who walk and live in Radical Grace are being prepared now as preachers of God's righteousness and reconciliation.  Friend, your ministry is about to bloom!

I most likely will be addressing some of these thoughts more in the days ahead.  However, suffice it to say we are about to enter "THE CHURCH'S FINEST HOUR!"

Grace and peace!



Charismatic Witchcraft...

Just for transparency sake, I used to consider myself a Charismatic and even a Pentecostal.  I no longer do so!  Since God has opened my eyes to the wonderful truths of New Covenant Grace, I now just consider myself a Christian.  Or better yet, simply a Believer!  At this time I don't want to go into all of the reasons about why I left the Charismatic/Pentecostal ranks, other than to say..."Yet, I show you a better way!"  Therefore, giving you a hint at my background, gives me the right to speak on this subject because in my past, "I've been there, done that and even bought the T-shirt!  I even have the battle scars to prove it too.

Soon, September 15, 2017, I will celebrate my first year anniversary of being cancer free.  It was on that date that I underwent radical surgery to remove a mouth full of cancer.  During nearly a year of prior illness and post-surgery recovery my life, especially my walk with God, underwent some dramatic transformation.  Previously I had been given wonderful revelations of New Covenant Grace, but my eyes were really opened as a result of the cancer battle.  You might say, God used the sickness to make lemonade from a bunch of lemons.  As a result of this mighty trip, I wrote a new book, When God Doesn't Heal: Avoiding Fear, Shame and Condemnation.  This book is now with the publisher and I hope that it will be released in a month or so.   In the book I share some of my battle with cancer and my recovery from it.  I speak of the miracle that God performed in my life; even though it didn't come the way I wanted it to come, it did indeed come!  I also share the many abuses that Believers face at the hands of very bad teaching that has spread like wild fire thought the Church of Jesus Christ, especially in the midst of the ranks of Charismatics and Pentecostals.  This bad teaching leads its adherents into the congregation of those suffering from fear, shame and condemnation.

It kind of works like this:  I'm sick.  Therefore, by quoting enough scripture, speaking enough positive confessions, not believing the doctor's reports but only the Word, by eradicating all sin and unbelief in my life, etc., etc., (the list goes on and on), God will heal me and I'll receive my miracle.  Friends...in case you haven't discovered it yet, this is all bad teaching.  I call it, "Charismatic Witchcraft."  It will all lead you into fear, shame and condemnation.  Thankfully, in the midst of this some are healed. Praise God for that!  However, many, actually very many, are not healed and they suffer sickness, disease and even death.  Often these people feel that they have failed God, have not measured up and suffer not only the sickness and disease, but also from the fear, shame and condemnation that will always follow some sort of man-made law that by following will make God pleased.

Here is an example of this Witchcraft:  Just overnight I received the following in an email from a friend.  She wrote....

"I received an email from my friend of 35 years who wrote that she had taken a fall in March of this year and is still not walking properly. I called her and was quite perplexed while listening to her.  She told me she is careful what she says as satan can hear every word and that can make matters worse for her  She said she had only told me and another person and this other person kept asking questions and didn’t take no for an answer.  I believe it is fear based and yet her Pastor teaches that people are to be careful with what they speak."

My friend is correct.  This person is suffering from an attack of "Charismatic Witchcraft!"  This is a prime of example of someone living under fear, shame and condemnation.  This is NOT based upon the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and we all must reject such teaching and declare it false.  Witchcraft feeds on fear!

I'd like to go deeper into this.  I do so in my new book.  In the meantime, I pray that you too embrace the freedom that we have in Christ and no matter what, know that you are God's favorite child, no matter what you are presently going through!

Grace and peace!



Do Some Abuse Grace?

Do some abuse Grace?  That question is about the same as, "Is the Pope Catholic?"  By all means some abuse Grace!  However, the key word here is, "some!"  To say that the message of New Covenant Grace gives all of it's adherents a "license to sin" is just plain foolish!  I am so much more concerned about those who teach a mixed message of Law and Grace than I am about the few who abuse Grace.  My friend, Mark Drake, probably one of the best "Grace teachers" alive today once said, "I'm not afraid that people will "abuse" grace.  I am afraid they will never know the power of grace and keep being abused by fear, shame and condemnation!"


I am in full agreement with his statement!


You may or may not recall the term, "Wildfire."  This term was used in the early Pentecostal days, when things seemed to get out of control during meetings.  Back in the day, Pentecostals were known for their very emotional meetings.   I guess that today, there isn't so much worry about "Wildfire" as it seems that the Pentecostal movement has toned down their emotionalism.  However, those who tried to put out "Wildfire" in meetings would often quote I Corinthians 14:40, "Let all things be done decently and in order." Of course the problem with attaching that verse to the goings on in meetings is that who's opinion of what is decent and orderly will be used?  My opinion of what is decent and orderly may be far different than yours.  See the problem here?


So, today when someone within the "Grace Movement" gets a little off balance on their doctrine, it's pretty difficult for someone to reel them in without pushing the line of bringing them back under some sort of law, thus leading to fear, shame and condemnation!


Here's what's going on....Many within the "Grace Camp" today have come out of very abusive situations within the Traditional Church.  It's like they have escaped the prison bars and now are flying free for the first time in their Christian lives.  A bird that escapes its bird cage will fly wild for a long while until it eventually calms down and discovers that it can eat, breathe and even fly a normal bird type life.  I kinda think that is the same today.  What some may think is "Wildfire" within the "Grace Camp" will eventually be toned down into very healthy Grace living.  Watch it... I know I'm right on here! Yet, there is another thing to explore .....


Some of my Grace friends don't like me using the word, "Balance."  I've actually been accused of trying to bring people back under some type of law when I've used that word in the past.  However, "balance," in the way I use it, has nothing to do with law, but rather common sense.  Yesterday, Corinne and I viewed a video message from a well known Grace teacher, one that I greatly respect and agree with.  In his Sunday morning message to his church he was pretty emphatic in declaring that we must preach the message that Paul preached.  I totally, 100%, agree with that statement.  Early in my entry into the revelations of New Covenant Grace, I heard the Lord speak to me many times, "Make sure you preach the message that Paul preached!"  Paul is the guy that God used to bring the message of the New Covenant into the Early Church.  His message was way different than the other Leaders of the day.  They were mostly keeping the Church Jewish, only adding Jesus to the mixture.  Paul came along, after receiving direct revelations from Christ Himself (See Galatians chapter 1), and lead the Leaders and eventually the Church into an entirely different direction.  Therefore, Paul is the guy we in the "Grace Movement" really look to.


In the midst of all of his New Covenant teaching and direction for the Church he also brought a message of "balance."  The other day, after reading several Facebook posts that included lots of cussing I posted on my FB Timeline how we might wish to tone down the bad language.  It was mostly accepted.  However, there were some of my Grace Friends who accused me of trying to bring people back under the Law.  Of course, that was never my intention.  I just think that a lot of cussing is done in poor taste.  Now, I'm certainly not a prude in this area.  I've been known to say a few colorful words myself.  But when the "F-Word" is used over and again (by the way, a word I never use), I feel that it's pushing the envelope a little too far.  It's not taking the "Lord's name in vain" or anything like that, but to me it's spoken in bad taste.  I realize that the word is used more and more today, more than ever.  Just watch a movie and see for yourself.  Maybe I'm old fashioned here, but I find that word is not socially acceptable, no matter how many movies it's used in, and those who use it do so  in bad taste. 


You know, I've a feeling that Paul would agree with me here.  I'm thinking that there are so many who oppose us, why do we go out of our way to give them ammunition to use against us?  In other words, if they think we are lawless and full of sin, why don't we temper our life styles and prove them wrong?  Am I putting people back under law here?  I don't think so; I'm just trying to promote a little common sense.


Here's what Paul said about issues like this:


I Cor. 10:23, "You say, "I am allowed to do anything"- but not everything is good for you.  You say, "I am allowed to do anything"- but not everything is beneficial."


I Cor. 8: 9-13, "But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.  For if others see you - with your "superior knowledge" -eating in the temple of an idol, won't they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?  So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for who Christ died will be destroyed.  And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ.  So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live - for I don't want to cause another believer to stumble."


So, do you think that Paul was trying to put people under the Law here?  I don't!  I think that he was trying to bring some balance and common sense into the Church.  I'm also kinda thinking that it's time that some of us "Grace teachers" begin to do the same thing.  Maybe then, some others within the Mixed Church will be more open to the great freedom that we are enjoying. 


Sorry about the long post here.  But I'm feeling that this is a very important message for the Church!


Grace and peace!







What is a "Faith Failure?"

Over the past few weeks I've been pondering about "faith failures."  Yesterday, while teaching in our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, FL, I was mentioning, "Grace failures."  To be honest, I really don't like either term as I'm not really too certain that they are possible, at least from God's point of view.  However, we don't look at things from God's point of view all of the time. Do we?  In God's eyes Grace and faith really can never fail.  The problem is that we think they can because we have humanized both things.  That's where the problem comes in!

I guess, "faith failure" is a little more palatable to me than "grace failure."  Yet, even faith cannot really fail as God gives it to us, either in the form of a "measure" or a "gift," or both and no matter what the TV evangelist says, it's not up to us to work it up in order to get something from God!

In my soon to be released new book, When God Doesn't Heal: Avoiding Fear, Shame and Condemnation, I really hit faith thing pretty hard.  So many have been taught and believe that in order to have God heal them they have to have to apply the correct amount of faith.  So, if they aren't healed or healing seems delayed to them, they come under fear, shame and condemnation because they don't have enough faith.  See the problem?  Maybe you or someone you know has experienced that.  I praise God for all who are supernaturally healed, but some have not been, some have even died while waiting for their "miracle." 

However, the "faith failure" that I wish to address today deals with the battles in life that we all must face from time to time.  In the early days of my Christianity we were taught to witness to others by telling them something like, "Just come to Jesus and all of your troubles will end!"  What a bunch of horse feathers!  It was a down-right lie!  So often I found that a person's problems only intensified after they began placing faith in Christ. 

We have found that understanding the concepts of New Covenant Grace will transform a person's life.  Yet, that understanding has to go much deeper than just having a head knowledge of grace.  It has to be placed in a person's heart by a direct revelation of the Holy Spirit.  Without that, as soon as a new storm brews, the head knowledge will be blown out the window and the person will crash and burn.  This is a "faith or grace failure."

If I asked every Christian that I meet over the next week, "Do you understand grace?"  They will all shout back to me, "CERTAINLY!"  After all, everyone knows (with their mind) that grace is, "God's unmerited favor." Every pastor was taught to teach that in their seminary "Grace 101" class.  Like parrots they regurgitate what they have taught, teaching their flock the same wrong information.  When the winds blow in life, "God's unmerited favor" just won't get the job done!

At these times, a person has to believe in the very depths of their gut, that Grace is actually Christ living in them, unleashing His power from within making them holy and righteous, no matter what is going on in their life.  Grace is simply God's love being manifested in a person.  It is a love that will never leave or forsake us, no matter what we do or don't do.  We can't earn it or work hard enough to get it.  It's just there....a love for the entire world!

So, if you have had a recent "faith or grace failure," please rise up, dust yourself off and go on with your life.  You must fight to believe that you are the Apple of God's Eye, no matter what!  See what I mean?

Grace and peace!


Swimming With The Sharks!

Recently a cable television network completed their popular, week long series, Shark Week.  This series seems to draw huge ratings every year.  Corinne and managed to view a couple of the programs but we were not really "hooked" on the series. Maybe it's because we are West Coast Florida residents and sharks, like gators are not really a big thing to us. A couple of years ago we drove to the coast, about 20 minutes from us, to view the sunset.  We walked onto the long fishing pier near the beach in Crystal River.  A guy was just completing his fishing when we were walking out onto the pier.  He was walking in and we were walking out.  We had just witnessed 2 manatees swimming under the pier.  The fisherman shouted, "Did you see that?"  A 8 foot long bull shark just swam off the end of the pier.  What is interesting is that the pier is not too far from the swimming beach.  So, local residents often swim with the sharks!

I think that I often swim with the sharks too.  But the sharks I'm talking about are probably more dangerous than that large bull shark was.  The sharks I'm talking about are sharks of religion.  Some people don't really understand what it is when I speak of religion.  They think that Christianity is religion, just like all of the others, Islam, Buddhist, etc.  The truth is that Christianity really isn't a religion, but rather a relationship with God.  At least that's the way it's supposed to be.  But it seems that traditionally Christianity has turned into another religion, and that's not the way it's supposed to be!

When I speak of religion I'm speaking of a set order of doing things, religiously doing things, like a list of do's and don't s.  I really don't feel like getting into the weeds on this subject today, other than to say, I've been swimming with a lot of religious sharks this week and some have tried to devour me. The neat thing is that I'm still here and am still refusing to become religious just in order to satisfy some traditional thinking people. Friends, Christ has set me free from religion.  Now, I'm basking in the most awesome relationship with my God that I've ever experienced. 

I have a story to tell anyone who is willing to listen.  My story will completely transform your life, just like it did my life.  The bottom line is that God loves you!  No matter what!!  Jesus died to make you holy and righteous so that you can have a perfect relationship with God.  It's awesome!  If you want to hear more, give me a shout!  I love to talk about Jesus.  The sharks don't seem to like my story, but hungry people do, and that's who I love ministering to!

By the way, you can watch me tell my story on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4QtOQ7c4XKdZAysRFiH7vA

So, that's my story this Saturday morning and I'm sticking with it!!

Grace and peace!

When the Bishop Paid a Visit

Our small, inner-city church was in the midst of some powerful meetings.  By this time we had been in extended meetings for many weeks.  We just ended a very powerful, special Saturday night service.  I was in the back of our rented, converted bar building, soaking in some after glow when I heard the front door open and a loud voice ask, "Where's the pastor?"  I heard, "He's back there."  Within seconds, the "Bishop," an African-American, pastor from the church down the street was pumping my hand and saying, "I just had to meet you, I've heard about good things going on here!"  We small talked for a bit and agreed to have lunch together one day during the following week.

At lunch the "Bishop" invited me to preach and minister in his church the following weekend, during a special "Convocation" that they were holding.  I and many of the people of our church (all white) showed up for the special service.  What a service that it was!  The people of the host church ate up my ministry.  They were like ministering to a bunch of hungry sponges.  To me, they seemed to be starving for God.  Corinne and I began to minister to the people, laying hands on them and praying as the Lord was leading us.  All went well, until Corinne reached out to lay hands on one guy, a leader in the church, when he suddenly reached out and shoved her hand away.  He said, "I do not allow women to minister to me!"  Corinne was taken aback some having her ministry flow interrupted.  However, within seconds, the hunger that she was detecting from the rest of the congregation got her right back into the flow. 

After a few more meetings together, one day the "Bishop" suggested that our two churches merge.  It seemed that our people liked him and his people really liked Corinne and I.  A few weeks later, we did merge. What a mistake!

As we were a inner-city ministry, our vision was solidly on reaching out to the poor and homeless.  We would have hot dog cook outs on the street in front of our building.  We gave away a lot of food and had many homeless people attending our services.  They loved the freedom and the moving of God in their lives!  The "Bishop" assured me that our homeless ministry could continue after the merger.  He told me of how his church had a dinner every Wednesday evening before the mid week service and that our people would fit very well into that ministry.  After the merger, we attended our first Wednesday evening dinner.  My family, as well as all those from our church who could attend, ate with the homeless and others in attendance.  I couldn't find the "Bishop" anywhere and asked about where he was.  I was told that he and his family were in his office.  Shortly, I saw a serving cart being rolled by a couple of Sisters into his office.  I asked someone what was on the cart and was told that it was some ribs and special food that the gals had worked on all afternoon preparing for the "Bishop's" family.  I thought it interesting as everyone else, including my family, ate beans and rice. 

A couple of weeks later, during a Sunday morning service, the "Bishop" took the offering.  Wow!  Did he ever take an offering!  No one was ever allowed to write a check.  Everything was done in that church with cash.  I guess that particular Sunday there was a very large financial need.  He told the congregation that no one was allowed to leave the building until that need was met.  He asked the ushers to count the offering right then and report back to me.  It fell short!  He stopped his message and berated the people and shamed them until they gave enough to meet the need in subsequent offerings.  The need was met!

The people of his church fell in love with Corinne and I and our people.  We fell in love with them as well.  As a result, soon I could tell that there was something strange going on with the "Bishop."  With the merger I was made Associate Pastor of the church.  About 5 weeks into the merger, the "Bishop" preached on loyalty to the pastor.  During that message he said, "This church can only have ONE PASTOR!" It was obvious that he was threatened by the relationship that was budding between us and his group.  Two weeks after that message, I was called into his office just prior to the Sunday morning service and told that I was no longer needed in that church, basically I was fired!

That afternoon I met with those of our congregation, told them what was going on and we all decided to leave the church and re-start our old ministry.  Which we did the following Sunday morning.  Our "merger" lasted an entire 7 weeks!  What a mess!

The local newspaper followed our merger very closely.  The local TV station even had  reporters at our merger service. What hurt me more than anything, after news of the merger failure became public, the local paper contacted the "Bishop" and asked what had happened?  He told them and the paper reported that I was let go from the church staff because I was racist!  That hurt me more than anything ever could.  For me to be called a racist hurt more than if someone had stuck a knife into my heart!

Yet, the pain that Corinne and I felt for years was that of a great group of people, that we loved beyond measure, being deceived to stay under a ministry of control, manipulation and religion.  Later I discovered that so many "Black Churches" operate in that same fashion.  It was then that I developed a burden to see my Black brethren set free from religion.

Now that I understand the freedom and liberty of New Covenant Grace, I really desire to see people of all races set free and understand what the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about.  During the "merger days" I didn't understand Grace very well, but I sure do now!  So, I'm spreading the word.

Grace and peace!

Preaching the Gospel isn't Just With Your Mouth!

I'm just a little over 10 mounts out from major oral cancer surgery.  I'm doing great!  My only issue is difficulty in speaking and difficulty in eating.  I can do both things, but both give me trouble.  Due to lack of any nerve feeling in my lower mouth and jaw, food is often hard to eat.  I also had to have all of my lower teeth pulled.  I can eat many things, but some foods remain a challenge.  Last night we went with some friends to a local Italian restaurant.  I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo thinking that the pasta would be easy to eat.  Well, it wasn't.  I had to take most of it home. 

I had most of my lower jaw bone removed and replaced with a bone from my right leg.  Therefore, due to the healing process, it still may be several years before I can have dental implants installed.  So...I wait!

My speaking is also difficult.  Most people just speak as a normal way of life.  I often have to think about what I'm about to say and then try hard to form the words right.  Some words are just impossible for me to say clearly.  Sometimes it gets rather funny and sometimes it gets rather frustrating!

I'm a preacher and I have a message burning in my heart!  It is the message of God's wonderful gift of grace, given to all of mankind.  I can't stop talking about it!  Even though after a Sunday morning message, I'm exhausted for the next couple of days, I don't want to quit talking about Jesus and His finished works!  But...I've also discovered that there are some other ways to preach about New Covenant Grace.

Of course, I can write about it!  I just finished a new book, When God Doesn't Heal: Avoiding Fear, Shame and Condemnation.  This book tells of my personal  journey through cancer as well as shares some of the lessons that I've learned about God and more importantly about myself.  It is also full of more lessons that I've learned about Grace.  I am trusting that it will help people who are beat up and condemned because they are sick and for some reason they feel that God's hasn't healed them yet.  So, yes, I can write instead of talking.  This is probably going to be a more consistently form of preaching for me.  

However, the best form of preaching is my life!  That's right...I trust that people can see the Grace of God being manifested in my every day life.  I know that I've changed since embracing the tenants of New Covenant Grace.  But, I hope that others can see that change and actually want what I have.  You see, our words can be cheap!  We can say we embrace Grace, but then when the bottom falls out of our life, Grace flies out the window. No one wants that type of Grace!  I want people to see not just hear about the Grace that is active in my life! 

I hope that you too, can preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ by your life and not just your words!  At least it's something to think about, huh?

Grace and peace!


Some Benefits of Our Church....

I often wonder why anyone would every wish to attend our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, Florida?  After all, we are a rather new congregation, a little over 4 years old and a very small congregation as well.  We don't have all of the "bells and whistles" in place.  For instance, we do not have a worship band playing live music. We don't have an exciting, dynamic youth group to entertain the kids.  Our building is small.  When a child cries in the back you hear it up front.  I could go on and on about why someone wouldn't consider our church.

However, despite any negative issues, our church is actually very healthy!  During the summer months we have been suffering from a lack of people, due to vacations, etc.  But our services have been exceptional. 

Here are just a few thoughts on why I feel our church could benefit anyone who feels to attend:

  1. Our church is entirely grace centered.  We focus totally on the finished works of Jesus Christ. 
  2. We do not mix any law with grace.  I'm not just talking about  just the old covenant law of Moses either.  I talking about trying to please God by following any type of law.  A good example would be dress codes, etc.  I live in Florida so I wear shorts and sandals every Sunday. I hope that doesn't offend you!
  3. Our goal is to see to it that people feel better about themselves when they leave our services than when they arrived.  I think we are doing a pretty good job of fulfilling that goal!
  4. Even though we are small, our bills are getting paid.  We do not always beg and plead for money just to pay our bills.  Some weeks it's close, but we don't have to resort to placing guilt trips on people in order to get them to give!  We just proclaim what works in the area of finances.
  5. We don't have a "dynamic youth group!"  But we do have a youth group led by a "dynamic" youth pastor!  Dave Schirmer is full of love and teaches the kiddos messages of grace, constantly and emphatically emphasizing God's love for mankind, including the kids!
  6. No, we don't have a dynamic, entertaining worship team and band.  However, our worship leader, Kris Schirmer, does a very impressive job of finding the right recorded music to enhance our church's focus on grace.  You will not sing songs declaring how bad you are.  Instead, the core thought is on all of God's love released through all that Christ did on His cross.
  7. A body who ministers.... We don't have just a few people pray and minister to others during our services.  Instead, we allow the Holy Spirit to work in other members, thus allowing them to minister to the needs of others in attendance. 
  8. There is a lot of love floating around in our church!  There are no words that can describe this, so I won't even try.  This is something that you just have to experience!
  9. No rules and regulations!  In our church you won't be told what not to do.  Instead, you will be told a lot about Jesus.  We trust that He can lead us in what not to do and in what to do!
  10. Fun!  We are a church that has a lot of fun.  We laugh and laugh together.  Usually some of us go out to eat after the service.  This fellowship is awesome and all are invited!  Sometimes I come home with a sore side from all of the laughing I do during lunch.Well, these are some of the reasons why I feel that our church is a good one to attend.  Now, if you are pretty religious, you won't be happy with our group.  If you feel that you have to repent of your sins all of the time for fear of loosing your salvation, you better stay away!  I think you get the point!  Anyway, thanks for letting share my thoughts with you today.  My thought are about what I feel is really the most dynamic church in Citrus County!  Glory!Grace and peace!

It's the Message....Just the Message!

The other day I posted a Blog entitled, "How to Choose the Right Church!" That post seemed to get a lot of attention.  This morning I was thinking more on the subject and felt to share some of my heart on it.

In the past post, I mentioned that there are usually several reasons why people choose the church that they do.  Among them was, "dynamic youth group, dynamic worship, large in numbers, many family and friends attend, etc."  Most likely you could add many other reasons to the list.  Here's one I thought of this morning, "My pastor is a dynamic speaker!"  I have to chuckle some at this one as I've never considered myself a "dynamic speaker!"  And, now, due to last year's cancer surgery in my neck and mouth I often have a difficult time just speaking, let alone being "dynamic" about it!  To me, I sound like a person trying to talk with a mouth full of marbles.  I'm glad that people in our church say that they have no problem understanding me, but to me speaking is a very tedious chore!  So, these days, I'm anything but a dynamic speaker!

The core to the past post was, that no matter how large the church is, no matter how dynamic the worship is, no matter how exciting the youth group is or no matter how gifted the pastor is, if the message of the church is wrong, then the church is wrong!  I know that many don't have the slightest idea about what I'm talk about here.  That to me is the saddest thing of all! 

Do you realize that in the days of the Early Church, over 2000 years ago, there was only one message.  It wasn't a mixed message of law and grace, it was totally grace only!  In it's formation days, the Church of the day was headed down the road into law and legalism.  James and Peter's vision was pretty much to see the Church follow Jewish traditions, including the Law and just add Christ to the mix.  At the same time, Paul was in Arabia for three years, receiving revelations from Christ Himself, learning the fullness of His finished works, in the New Covenant.  Paul later brought those revelations back to Jerusalem and shared them with the Brethren.  Thankfully, they received Paul's teaching and realized it was of God.  The Church of the day, reached out to the Gentiles, bringing them freedom outside of the Jewish Law.  A good read on the subject is the Book of Galatians.

Now, in the Day, there were no large church buildings, no dynamic youth groups, no dynamic speakers, there was only the message of God's love and Christ's free gift of grace to all of mankind!  You see, back then it was "It's the message...just the message!"

I trust that you can grasp some understanding on this today.  At least I trust the Holy Spirit will plant a bug of hunger within you, giving you the desire to seek the fullness of the transformed life found only within New Covenant Grace!

Grace and peace!

Grace is Easy and That is the Problem!

In my thinking here are the three best books around that expound the simplicity of basic New Covenant Grace:

3 good books

They are: Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince (www.josephprince.com), God's Brilliant Plan: Searching for the Easy and Light Life Jesus Promised by Mark Drake (www.markdrake.org) and The River is Here: My Journey Into New Covenant Grace by Yours Truly (www.larrysilverman.com).  All three of these books are of great value to anyone searching for the greatness that only New Covenant Grace allows.

Mark Drake's subtitle is: Searching For the Easy and Light Life Jesus Promised.  I love that subtitle and I use it lots.  I've told Mark that I've stolen it from him and he has given me complete permission as his only desire is to spread "the message!"  That subtitle says it all. So many Christians are encumbered by performance based religion that they completely miss out on the rest that is only found in the Gospel of Grace.  On a wall of our church sanctuary, New Covenant Grace Fellowship located in Inverness, Florida, we have this posted, "He is the Vine, we are the branches...so rest!"  You see, that message is the message of rest that Jesus provides those who understand His finished works.  Instead of praying more, attending church more, tithing more, fasting more, worshiping more, etc., etc., we rest in Him!

Yes, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ affords an "easy and light life" to all who adhere to Him.  And ....that seems to be the rub!  Some are so works oriented that it is impossible for them to rest in God.  After all we all know that if it seems too be good to be true it isn't true!  Well, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple.  Yes, it seems too good to be true...but it IS TRUE!  

In the early days of our basic understanding of Grace my wife and I would spend hours with our Bibles discussing the earth-shaking things that the Holy Spirit was showing us.  The revelations came so quickly to us that we were actually overwhelmed them.  "This is impossible!" we'd say as another door of revelation would open to us.  But it was there...all in the Bibles that we've read and studied from and even preached from for years.  The simple truth was there!  Instead of rejecting it as many do, we embraced it in every way we could.  As a result our lives were transformed.  We are closer to God than ever before.  Our marriage is stronger than ever before.  We are tempted to do bad things, but now find a new inner power to resist them.  Our thoughts are purer and more positive and we are watching the same things happen to those who have followed our journey.  So...if this is a bad thing, then just leave me alone.  Just let me stay there, enjoying the rest that God, through Jesus Christ has provided us!

I hope you have a chance to read the books mentioned above.  Read them with an open heart.  If you see something you disagree with, don't reject it but put it on the shelf.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if its truth or not.  He will!  Glory!

Grace and peace!