So Just What is the Good News?

Is the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, telling people that they are sinners and are going to hell?  Is that really the Good News?  Or is the Good News telling people that God loves them, in spite of what they have done, and that Christ has forgiven all of their sins?  What message did Paul preach under the New Covenant?

I find myself always swimming upstream!  I've often wondered why this is my lot in life!  I am certain that being a pastor of a typical charismatic church, with good worship, a good message and good programs would advance my church much faster that it is currently advancing.  If you know me at all, you also understand that I never seem to be able to travel those roads.  Oh, I've been there!  I was taught all of those things, but the more I understand God the more I just can't go there anymore! 

I used to be able to preach a good hell-fire sermon just like the others that I patterned my ministry after.  However, in the past few years I have found God in such a personal way that I can only share my new insight with people I minister to.  I can no longer preach hell; I can only preach God's love!

I remember a day, many years ago, when I was spending some time in prayer in the church sanctuary where I had been pastor for several years.  If I remember correctly, our church had been going through a difficult time and I, personally, was going through a lot of internal battle as a result.  I was walking around, praying as I paced, asking God to move for me and our church.  I will never forget that as I prayed I felt that I almost heard an audible voice, one of a few times in my life when I've heard God so clearly).  The voice said, "No longer preach against sin, I'll take care of that!"  I was astonished at not only hearing that voice but hearing the message of the voice!  The voice continued, "Your job is to only lift up Jesus!"  The thought that immediately followed was, "When I am lifted up I'll draw all men unto myself."  (John 12:32)  Those words were very hard hitting as I was a preacher who prided himself on preaching against sin. I can only begin to imagine the multitudes of people that I drove out of my church and away from God by just preaching against smoking cigarettes!

You see, I thought that I was preaching the Good News, but I wasn't!  My message wasn't Good News at all!  And Alas..I fear that much of the message of the modern Church isn't really the Good News either!  You see, it's time to once again to begin preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.  After all, Paul never asked even one person to pray a "sinner's prayer."  He never preached a message of repentance, at least as we understand it today.  Instead, Paul's message of repentance was simply, "Change your mind about what you think about God!"  It's that simple...."If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved."  It doesn't get any easier that that!

Come on Church....It's time we forget all of the spiritual warfare, all of the sin stuff and preach that God so loved the world! 

That's my take on things and I'll stick to it!

Grace and peace!

Salt and Light

I have a busy morning scheduled for today.  I'll be working on my new book, When God Doesn't Heal: Avoiding Fear, Shame and Condemnation. I'm really excited about this book as it chronicles my journey through cancer and major surgery, but shows the compassion of God through Christ in providing a new covenant to all of mankind. 

One of the results for me personally in writing this book is the awesome times of reflections that have been afforded me.  I'm seeing more and more insights into the wonderful life of grace.  To be honest, I just cannot understand why every Believer in Christ alive today doesn't flood the doors of any church where the message of grace is consistently preached.  Yet, in reality, this just doesn't happen!  It saddens me that it doesn't.  Grace is so freeing, so wonderful and it is the true Gospel, Good News, of Jesus Christ.  However, to those of us who embrace grace we have a message to get out.  After all we are salt and light to a pretty mixed up world.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-14, "You are the salt of the earth.  But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again?  It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.  You are the light of the world-like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

We recently moved into a small subdivision.  We have an association with a club house, etc.  This Saturday the association is sponsoring a cook out for the community.  Everyone can bring a dish to pass and partake of some hot dogs and hamburgs.  In the neighborhood there is a Christian couple who faithfully attend a local church.  I asked them the other day if they were going to the cook out.  The answer I got back was, "No, there will be drinking there and we won't attend events like that!"  Now don't get me wrong, this couple are pretty awesome people, but I find that their response is just too "Churchy!"  Granted there will be an Happy Hour from 3:00 - 4:00 P.M. but I really doubt that the event will turn into a drunken brawl.  I'm not going to attend the event to drink alcohol. Most likely Corinne and I will bring along a couple of bottles of soda and mingle with those drinking beer.  I'm not even going to attend the event to eat the hotdogs and burgs.  I'm going to be there, but I'll be on a mission. My goal will be to meet my new neighbors and to display to them  that this Christian (pastor) doesn't bite! Yes,  I will treat the cook out as a mission field.  Who knows what may happen, and as I form some new relationships with some new people I just may have an opportunity to tell them about my Jesus one day! 

But....It this  is for certain, if I stay home because someone will be drinking a bottle of beer in my presence I'll never be able to tell them about the wonders of God.  That's for sure!

It's time that the Church once again pushes religion aside and becomes salt and light to a very mixed up world! 

Grace and peace!

Just Musing on His Rest!

Today is the day after Easter, 2017.  Yesterday was pretty awesome!  We had such a wonderful day at church!  It was such a day of rest!  Maybe I'm getting old or something, but I couldn't help but to observe other area churches, with their Sunrise Services, Egg rolls and multiple programs designed to attract their typical Easter Sunday visitor, you know the family that attends church one time per year!  As I saw some of the ads in the paper and in social media I almost passed out from exhaustion and these things were not even happening in my church!  Whew! 

I don't know, maybe its just me, but I can't seem to get into all of that stuff anymore!  I know what you might say, "But Brother Larry, we are doing all of that to draw people to Jesus!"  Or, "We plan on leading several people to the Lord through all of this!" My answer to this is, GREAT!  DO WHAT EVER IS IN YOUR HEART AND I HOPE THAT MULTITUDES COME INTO FAITH AS A RESULT! GO FOR IT!  However, that's not what God has called me to and I'm thrilled! 

I can remember Easter's gone by; of the 6:30 A.M. Sunrise Services, The 10:00 A.M. Easter Worship Service and we can't forget the 6:00 P.M. Evening Service.  Of course our family had to participate in all three!  I also can recall trying to recover the entire next week!  Our poor children!  We made them attend everything as well!

So, yesterday was a wonderful time of intimacy with God!  We had a nice time of worship, sang some traditional Easter songs, plus some wonderful newer songs filled with grace.  We partook of communion.  We actually had a love fest!  The highlight of my morning was that Corinne and I felt to hug everyone there and share our love for them as they came through the communion line.  We had a time of some great preaching plus a time of wonderful fellowship at dinner after the service.  Corinne and I came home, I took a short nap, we watched some TV and went to bed!  It was a wonderful day for me!

Our church is small and only a few years old.  Our youth pastor often talks about the fact that we can't provide a "Chucky Cheese" type thing for our young people.  In other words, we just are not equipped to put on all of the programs, etc.  just in order to compete with the large church down the road so that parents will bring their children to our dynamic youth program!  People who are looking for that will not stay in our church!  However, we can teach their children about God's love and teach them to rest in the wonderful new covenant that God gave us through Jesus Christ!  That's the same for adults!  I think many of us experienced that same thing yesterday!  I guess I will just have to be content on allowing the Holy Spirit draw people to our church!  Hummm....I'm thinking that is probably the best way!  What thinkest you?

Grace and Peace~!

I Don't Agree With Everyone In The Grace Camp....BUT!

Theology!  Doctrine!  All Christians seem to have them!  When you get three Christians together you will get three different versions of theology and doctrine.  Often you get some nasty fights! However, that can be expected as we are all Brothers and Sisters and siblings often fight!   Just yesterday on Facebook I was accused of not being loving and kind with one guy telling me to, "Get over it, Larry!"  Of course when I post stuff on Facebook or even in my preaching and teaching I am opening myself to criticism.  Just recently a couple, older in age and former pastors (the worst kind of critics!) left our church because they didn't agree with my teaching on Eternal Security. I've told our people that they don't have to agree with my teaching in order to be a part of our church, just don't be disagreeable!  But people often vote with their feet and leave the congregation or hit the Unfriend Button.  You know the drill!  You see, I've unfriended people I don't agree with too!  However, that's the old me, the more intolerant me and I'm not that guy anymore so I'm not so quick to hit the Unfriend Button!

So, even in the "Grace Camp" (for lack of a better term) there are those I have strong disagreements with and they with me!  However, I've been noticing something lately and that is those I disagree with have based their theology/doctrine on God's love!  Now I may not agree with their outcome of their understanding of God's love, but I sure do agree with their basic premise!  Therefore, anyone who has a theology/doctrine based upon God's love, even if I don't agree with them, are pretty awesome people!  I can go with them, arm and arm, strongly holding onto the God who is the basis of their thinking!

On the other hand there are those who teach a theology/doctrine of mixing works with Grace.  They are promoting another Gospel, one of works and religion.  I have a real hard time with those these days!  But that is another story for another time! 

By the way, It's never those who promote God's love that hit their Unfriend Button on me or walk out of my church, it's always the other group.  Isn't that interesting?

Grace and peace!

Something I Noted About Me After Seeing The Shack Yesterday!

Yesterday afternoon Corinne and I saw "The Shack" at our local theater.  This movie seems to have brought a lot of controversy into the Church.  Some, like me, loved it while others claim it is heresy.  I'm not going to wade into the weeds on this, other than to say the movie profoundly touched my life!

Yesterday I happened to be 6 months and 2 days away from the most traumatic event of my life, radical "salvage surgery" on my jaw, right leg and my neck, done in order to rid my body of stage 4 cancer.  I was in the operating room for 12 hours and had a team of 3 surgeons working on me at the same time.  The results have been miraculous, to say the least! (Stay tuned for my new book, "When God Doesn't Heal: Avoiding Fear, Shame and Condemnation" which will be released sometime around September of 2017, it will highlight my journey) However, the one huge result that came as a result of my 3 week post surgery hospital stay, a time of great prayer and meditation, was that I JUST DON'T KNOW IT ALL ANYMORE!  For instance, I used to have my theology pretty much buttoned up in many areas, including God healing the sick.  Since surgery I would have to say that in many, many areas I just don't know any more!  I've decided that I no longer have it all together and do you know what???? That is just OK with God because He does have it all together!

So along comes yesterday's viewing of "The Shack" and my not knowing a lot of things was greatly reinforced! The movie was well done in every aspect. matter what anyone critic could say, it portrayed God, especially His love, in a very dramatic, life changing way, a way that created in me an even greater state of embracing the mysteries of God.

I came away from this flick not knowing a whole lot more about Him!  I think that is funny in that in my not knowing, I am finally embracing Him in all of His fullness.  I know that sounds like a lot of double talk and possibly doesn't make sense to you, but that's where I am today.  I don't know more about God today than ever before and I'm totally OK with that!  Guess what?  I'm not even seeking Him for a lot of answers as I just don't care anymore.  Some might say that I'm mellowing out with old age, but I might suggest that I've finally, after all of these years, come to the place of really understanding the Great I Am!  I'm totally satisfied with where I'm at and I've never been more satisfied in my entire Christian life.  If I only knew back in 1973 what I know (or don't know) now, I sure would have spared myself a lot of chasing my own tail.  But that is OK as even then God was leading on this wonderful journey.  One day soon this journey of mine will end, but I can honestly say, "Wow!  What a ride!" 

Grace and peace!

P.S.  If you haven't seen "The Shack" yet, try to do so soon.  Make sure you bring something to wipe away the tears!

How Come We Make It So Dog Gone Hard?

Almost daily I am reminded of the fact that so many good  "Church Peeps," with good intentions just don't get it!  I constantly hear and read, "Pray more and God will come! Be holy more and God will come! Be righteous more and God will come! Fast more and God will come!  Do this and that and even more of it and God will come!"  That is pretty much the mantra of the Church these days!  Work, work and more work and if we do enough, then God will come and heal us, heal our family, heal our city, heal our state, our nation and yes the world!  Yes, it is all dependent on what we do or don't do!  Whew!  I get tired of thinking about all of this!

The other day I wrote the following on Facebook, "For years, actually many years, we participated in spiritual warfare events. Then one day we realized that we were fighting a defeated foe!"  Corinne and I have a past that is loaded, just packed full of spiritual warfare type stuff.  I can't tell you how many Popsicle sticks loaded with scripture verses that we have planted all over the country.  We attended many unity prayer vigils, often headed them up, all with the intention of trying to get God to favor our community with His presence.  Now I see "Church Peeps" doing the same thing that we did 20 years ago.  I'm sorry to break the bad news to you, but those things didn't work 20 years ago and they won't work today either!  Why? Because they are just more of our "good works" and "church programs!" 

Often people will quote verses of scripture, mostly taken from the Old Testament, from the Law, where God desired and required His people to do things in order to be holy and righteous, thus insuring His presence to manifest.  So many do not understand the difference between the old and new covenants!  We live in the new, after the cross and the cross makes the difference!

Friends....we don't have to do a thing to insure God's presence.  Why?  Because we already have it!  "Christ in us is the hope of Glory!"  "He will NEVER leave us or forsake us!" And the list goes on and on!!!

Allow me to close with just two simple, but very important verses.  They say all that's in my heart, "So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.  For all who have entered into God's rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world!" (Hebrews 4: 9-10)

That's pretty much it.  Please rest in God and the result will be our world changed for His glory and our good!

Grace and peace!

Apostle Paul Deserves a Medal!

Years ago, while first coming into revelations of New Covenant Grace, I sensed the Holy Spirit firmly directing me to, "Preach the message that Paul preached!"  Paul has always been one of my "faith heroes" but I guess I didn't exactly realize just how important Paul was to the move of Christianity back in the day.  Without Paul's ministry it is very possible that today the Church would still be mixing and living a message of law and grace.  Of course, grace is so important to God's plan for mankind that I'm certain He would have raised someone else up to carry out His plan for the Early Church, but thankfully He didn't have to as Paul was willing to step up to the plate!

We must understand that in the early days of the Church the direction was to continue with Jewish traditions and just add Jesus to them.  At first Christianity was headed to be just another "Jewish thing!"  However, God had other plans in mind when He knocked Paul (Saul) off his horse on the Damascus Road!  Shortly after Paul's conversion he did some early ministry to the Church and was not trusted due to his early days of persecuting the Church prior to the Damascus Road encounter.  Later he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness of Arabia and there spent 3 years meeting with Jesus where he was instructed on the wonderful ingredients of the New Covenant.  Paul speaks of all of this in Galatians chapter 1.  He also states that his message did not come from any man, rather it came as direct revelation from Jesus Himself!  Paul later calls his message/teaching, "The Word of God!"

Now can you even begin to imagine the faith and tenacity Paul must have had to go back to Jerusalem and tell the Brothers there about the New Covenant.  For example, that the Law (yes, even the Big 10) were no longer in force, that Christ ended (fulfilled) the Law at the cross.  What a big thing that must have been!  Here Peter, James and the Brethren, Jews at heart, were told that the Ten Commandments were now instruments of condemnation and death and were no longer in force!  Wow!  Paul had guts, that's for sure!  I can imagine the Leaders saying to Paul, "Are you nuts?"  "Where did you come up with this stuff?" might have been asked!  Then Paul said, "Jesus taught this to me for 3 years in Arabia!"  The response could have been, "Sure He did! (wink, wink!)"

Paul totally upset the spiritual apple cart of the day. know what's funny (not really funny, but sad) is that he still is stirring up trouble in the Church as so many in Today's Church do not have the slightest idea of what Paul is talking about in his letters as a mixture message of law and grace is still the prevalent message of the Church!

Yep, as far as I'm concerned, Paul deserves a medal!  He remains my hero and I'm doing my best to preach and teach the message that he preached and taught!

Grace and peace!

Revelation Keeps Flowing!

Due to my recent bout with cancer that resulted in major surgery last September, I have developed problems with speaking, therefore I've not preached very often over the past few months.  However, healing continues to take place, so I have been challenged to continue on sharing my heart full of grace with our awesome Florida church.  So, this Sunday I'm on to minister again.

Like I said, I'm full of more revelation on God's wonderful gift of grace to His people.  Actually, grace is Christ Himself!  But that's a different message!

Several years ago, when Corinne and I first came into understanding (revelation) of what we call, for lack of a better term, "The Grace Message," we thought that we were loosing our minds.  It was like our Bibles became entirely new books!  Soon things became more clear and I soon discovered that many of the things that I taught in the past were incorrect.  Actually I taught what other people had taught me and I find that the case for most pastors today.  Our doctrines come from others no matter if they are correct or incorrect.  However, when the Holy Spirit begins to bright new light on the old words of the Bible something very dramatic happens!  Our eyes become opened to things that were there all of the time, but we really never saw them before!

I used to share this with people and the common response would be something like this, "Larry, calm down!  You will be all over this 'grace thing' soon and go on to something new!"  Well, that has never happened!  I'm not all over this "grace thing," not at all!  Matter of fact I'm getting more turned on to the concepts of new covenant grace, more than ever before!

That is what has happened this week as I have been preparing to share my message for Sunday morning!  Wow!  Talk about excitement!  No the revelation hasn't ended, actually new revelations continue to come my way, and I'm pumped!

In closing please allow me to share just a simple verse that I'm going to use Sunday morning:  2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NLT), "As for us, we can't help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord.  We are always thankful that GOD CHOSE you to be among the first to experience salvation - a salvation that came through the Spirit WHO MAKES YOU HOLY and through your belief in the truth." (emphasis mine)

Now this verse may not mean much to you, but to me it is full of revelation!  I'm so pumped by it that I can't hardly stand it!  It just may hit you that way too.  But if it doesn't that's OK!  Maybe it is not supposed to hit you the same way it hits me right now.  Just stay in tuned with the Holy Spirit and watch what happens!  Revelations of God's grace are being released to the Church today.  I call it the "Grace Revolution!"  Hang onto your hat, it's getting real exciting!  Glory~!

Grace and peace!

I'm Not Anti-Semitic nor Lawless!

Before I begin please allow me to give you a little of my family history!  Please think of my last name!  Silverman: Jewish?  Yeppers!  For years church people think that I am special because of my Jewish back ground.  I love to burst their bubble when I tell them that God loves them just as much as me!  lol 

In regards to some background: My paternal Grandfather, son of an Orthodox Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, was booted out of his family by his father because he married a Gentile woman.  My dad and his brother and sister were raised in Christian churches by their mother.  In those days, they would visit a church and be asked to leave because of their Jewish background. My how times have changed!  I share this info with you because I want you to know that I am no anti-Semitic in the slightest bit!  However, I do understand, at least to a degree, what Christ has done for me and live in a new covenant lifestyle, free from the bondage of law!

Because of my stand on the old covenant Law of Moses, including the "Big Ten" I am often accused of being lawless.  I am not lawless, I just know the truth of the New Covenant Gospel of Jesus Christ that was brought into the Early Church through direct revelation from Christ Himself to Paul.  (See Galatians chapter 1) In other words I believe in and preach the Gospel that Paul preached!  To some that makes me lawless.  But let's check out what Paul had to say about some of this........

Verse 7: "The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death..."

Verses 8-9: " Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!"

Verse 11: "So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!"

Verses 12-15: "12 Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand."

You see, I fully believe in the above verses of Scripture.  Note my highlights and in so doing, please note that Christ instituted the "New Way" and it was free from the Law which lead to condemnation and death! 

Nope...I'm not Anti-Semitic nor Lawless.  I'm just a follower of Jesus Christ and am so thankful for his finished works that give me life in the New Covenant that God established through Him!

Grace and peace!

Do I Have to Attend Church to be a Christian?

My immediate answer to my title question is: NO!

I'm certain some pastors will not agree with my answer, but Biblical speaking I can find no New Testament (Epistles) admonition that clearly states that it is mandatory for a New Covenant Believer to attend a church service every Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. 

However, the New Covenant instills the thought that those of us who are followers of Christ are the Church.  We do not attend church, we are the Church!  See the difference?

Yet, I find great joy in attending church every Sunday morning and ever Wednesday night.  I have to admit that attending our church, New Covenant Fellowship in Inverness, FL is not a difficult thing to do.  I feel that it is a value added to my week and I look forward to gathering with like minded Believers.  I actually gain strength from attending our church Sunday mornings!

Back in the day, I recall us praying every morning before school classes would begin.  Granted they were generic prayers, yet we prayed. We did this in conjunction with the Pledge of Allegiance.  I can recall my dad making certain his car was filled with gas every Saturday morning because you couldn't find a gas station open on Sundays.  The same thing goes with food, no store were open on Sundays.  Some eventually opened at noon, but prior to that good luck on buying a loaf of bread!  The local pastor's associations would meet with school administrators on planning the school schedules.  Never would a school schedule an event for a Wednesday night as it was prayer meeting night for churches all over town! I also remember my parents NEVER locking their car doors.  Matter of fact we never locked our house doors.  None of our family carried house keys because we didn't need them!  So, here is something to think about....Not only do we lock our homes today but we all have alarm systems!  You can say what you want, but life was much simpler 60 years ago and safer too!  Maybe all of the praying we did in school and attending church like we did had a positive effect on society, something that we are lacking today!

So, do we have to attend church to be a Christian?  No!  But....If we do, we will be far better off by it!  One caveat here would be...Do not attend a legalistic, religious church as the harm that will cause you far out weighs any good!  I would suggest that you find a church that totally understand and teaches New Covenant life!  And....If you live within an hours drive of Inverness, FL I could give you a suggestion on which church to attend!  lol

Grace and peace!