Is Anyone Likeminded These Days??

This morning at Midnight (Jan. 20, 2018), the government of the United States shut down again.  The Democrats are calling this shutdown, "Mr. Trump's Shutdown" and the Republicans are calling it, "Mr. Shumer's Shutdown."  I don't know about you, but I really can't ever recall a time when the government of the United States was so enmeshed in such division.  I realize that even in the early days of our nation there was great divide between the leaders; yes, even duels have been fought as a result, but these days, I'm certain that if dueling were still legal there would be a whole lot of gun smoke in the air!

The division hold true within the ranks of the Church as well.  On Facebook last night a person made a statement like this, "If you believe in the doctrine of "once saved always saved" you are a heretic.  Lately, I've been trying to avoid commenting on such foolish statements, but in a weaker moment I felt to respond with something like, "I guess that I'm a heretic then!"  Within a few moments I realized that I had been unfriended and blocked by the person who wrote the original post.  Being unfriended on Facebook isn't a new thing to me.  It happens often.  When people get nasty on my posts, calling me or others nasty names, etc., I also unfriend and block them.  I don't mind if people disagree with me, but when they become nasty about it (fighting a duel) I fire back and "nuke" them.  But, I felt that the guy's actions last night were a little dramatic.  He just didn't want anyone challenging his position.  Hummm....just like the Republicans and Democrats!

So, what's with it these days?  Why are people so touchy?  It's like no two people think alike....and they are totally dogmatic and defensive about their beliefs.  Have you ever wondered about this?  It's like not only do people disagree with each other's beliefs, but they disagree to such a degree that they are willing to fight about it; like last night's shutdown!  No one wants to give up one inch on what they believe.  Why is this?  I know that this is a stretch, but do Republicans think from the right side of their brain and Democrats think from the left side of their brains?  How in the world can two people think so opposite about their beliefs?  

Yep, this division is within the Church these days as well!  I've had Christians call me some pretty nasty names as they have disagreed  with my teaching.  In the early days of me teaching new covenant grace to our church, after some life changing revelations came to me, several people left our congregation, and some of them didn't leave quietly either.  People I loved and ministered to called me some very nasty names, all because they didn't agree with me.  

Sadly, I don't have any answers to the questions I raise.  However, I do know this, there are some things that I can never abide with. From the politics side; I could never vote or support a person who believes in abortion.  To me that is murder and even if they were running for County dog catcher and they belonged to a party that supported abortion, that person would never get my vote, now matter how good of a dog catcher they might be.  From the side of my theological beliefs; I never could attend or support a church that taught a mixed message of law and grace.  Now, I can love the abortion believing dog catcher, and the Church person who teaches law, but I certainly can't support them.  Those are a couple of lines that I've drawn in the sand.  Hummm....I wonder if I think out of the left or right side of my brain?  I guess I'll never know!  How about you?

Grace and peace! 


Joe Misses a Lot of Church and I'm Thrilled!

Joe Kelly Jr. placed his faith in Christ while he was in prison.  If you ever ask him he will tell you that he has a very "seedy" past life.  Shortly prior to his release his wife moved in with Joe's parents who live in our area and attended our church. (New Covenant Grace Fellowship)  As a result one of our members took it upon himself to begin faithfully writing Joe.  Thus a neat relationship between our group and him developed.  Many of us spent a lot of time praying for our incarcerated, adopted brother.

Joe Kelly

Upon Joe's release one of the first things he did was to attend our Wednesday night church meeting.  Back in the day, we had a pot luck dinner prior to each Wednesday meeting.  I remember well when Joe walked in the fellowship hall's door.  Someone yelled out, "Joe Kelly is in the house!" Then everyone gave him a standing ovation.

Joe's hunger for God was outstanding.  He soaked up teaching like a sponge.  You could see him grow in his understanding of the Lord, and it was exciting to all.  Joe attended services very faithfully.  When we moved into the revelations of new covenant grace he gladly embraced the teaching.  Even though he often had questions, he was quick to implement the teachings into his personal life.  Joe soon became an Elder in our congregation and began teaching.  Over the past couple of years, he's been a reliable teacher on Sundays, doing an awesome job filling in for me as I went through my health issues.

Joe has always had my back!  I can count on him.  He's a faithful brother and I consider him a close friend.

However, lately Joe is missing a lot of our church meetings.  I miss him when he's gone, but I know that he is doing a good thing.  Joe has been a stock car race fan all of his life.  In the midst of his racing passion he developed a relationship with the staff and owner of a local dirt race track.  He also met up with an elderly Chaplain who ministered to race drivers through Racing With Jesus Ministries.  Soon Joe was also made a Chaplin with the ministry.  His relationship with the local track officials also grew and soon he was doing race announcing duties.  Since, Joe's ministry and announcing has expanded to race tracks all over the Southeast states. 

As a result of Joe's racing duties he often misses our Sunday morning services.  The other day he texted me that he would be missing several January and February services.  When he is gone I really miss him and so does everyone else in our church.  Yet, in spite of missing him, we are all excited because Joe is fulfilling his calling and ministry.

You see Joe is a prime example of the vision of our church being fulfilled.  We are a small church.  We are a rather new church, just a few years old.  So, when even one person is missing from a service we all feel the loss.  But Joe is actually doing what one of the main callings of our ministry really is......sending out ministry!  Our vision is to raise people up to do the work of the ministry, not just capture and contain them.  We are a sending church not a capturing church.

A capturing church might say, "Come join me and help me build my ministry!" A releasing church will say, "Come join me so that I can teach you and help you develop your ministry!"  A huge difference here!

After one of Joe's weekend ministry trips I look forward to our early Monday morning phone calls when he fills me in on his  weekend's racing activity.  Yes, when he's gone I miss him, but I'm also so very proud of Joe Kelly Jr.  I pray that God sends us a bunch of people just like him!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

 


Are We Really Dead to Sin?

Romans 6:14, " Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."

 

I find it interesting that Paul had the same problem with religious leaders that I have.  When he taught that Christ ended all sin; past, present and future when he ended (fulfilled) the Law at the cross, those still holding to the Law challenged him.  In response he wrote Romans chapter 6.  If you have a minute take a look at this chapter once again.  It totally blesses me every time I read it, which is very often!  Paul's bottom line to the Romans was, "Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ!"

 

You know, Paul's message to the Church is my message too.  Here is my bottom line.....WHERE THERE IS NO LAW THERE IS NO SIN!

 

So, if you still consider yourself under the Law, and many Christians do, then guess what??? You still live under the consequences of sin and you have made the cross of Christ of none effect in your life.  And if you teach that people still live under the Law, then you take the cross away from those you teach.  Not good!

 

I can almost hear those who disagree with me on this subject...."You are a heretic, you are giving people a license to sin!"  Not so!  What I am giving people is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; the Gospel that Paul preached.  Paul and I know this secret: By setting people free of fear, works based religion we set them free to live holy, righteous lives.  God made people holy and righteous at the cross.  When people understand this, they will actually begin living what they are and who they are.  They may still do dumb, stupid works of the flesh, but those events will become fewer and fewer as they actually become what God made them to be.

 

My teaching leads to true holiness.  Those who constantly teach that Christians must repent of sin in order to be holy are never going to see true holiness permeate the Church! Why?  Because those who continue to try try to be what they already are will never arrive at their destination.  They are indeed the true dog chasing it's own tail!

 

Grace and peace!


Do We Need to Detox?

Currently, due to my ongoing battle with cancer, I'm in the process of detoxing from narcotic pain drugs.  When it becomes time to stop taking these type of drugs a person just cannot just stop taking them"cold turkey" as the withdrawal side effects can be very horrendous.  So, I'm in the process of weaning myself off of two of the drugs that were needed earlier in my treatment. 

For those of us with long time church affiliation it just might be a great time to detox from the religious doctrines that we have been taught for many years.  I realize that some might find these words offensive, but my previous statement is totally correct and true.  I've stated in other places that if Paul were able to visit most of today's churches he would be amazed at how far we've strayed from the simplicity and wonder of his initial teaching to the Church of his day.  Please remember that what Paul taught the Church of his day came directly from Jesus Himself.  So, Paul's message of new covenant grace was actually the message of Christ.  Paul's words were actually the Word of God!

So, how do we know if we should detox or not?  A good question!  Here are a few areas that may give us a hint on what our actions should be:

  1. Do I believe that I still am a sinner and still can commit sin?
  2. Do I believe that there are things that I must do in order to please God? ie: pray more, attend church more, tithe more, etc.
  3. Do I believe that God is always angry and that He will snatch away my salvation just as soon as I mess up?
  4. Do I believe that there are things that I must do in order to become holy and righteous?
  5. Do I believe that living a victorious Christian life depends on what I do or don't do?
  6. Do I believe that I must constantly battle the devil, engage in intense spiritual warfare all of the time?
  7. And the list could go on and on, but by now you get the picture!

If you adhere to any of the above list, or any other things that could be added to it, most likely you are a good candidate for detoxing from religion. 

I fully realize that this post will not make some folks very happy.  However, adherence to any of the above is not good for your spiritual life. Actually, it is poisonous to your health.  Just like the narcotic pain killers are poison to my physical health, the religion that most of us have been taught is really poison to our spiritual health!  You may or may not agree with me, I guess that's up to you.  However, I sure would love to have you think about it.  Please....    IT IS IMPERATIVE FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW COVENANTS!

How should you detox?  I'll cover that in the next bog.  In the meantime......Grace and peace! 


Was "It" Easier for Paul Than For Us?

By the word "It" in my title I'm meaning the work of the ministry.  Allow me to explain...

To begin with, Paul was most likely the most important person in the early formation of the Church. If it were not for his sharing the revelations of the new covenant with the early, newly forming Church, most likely the Church would have just been just another extension of Judaism, only with Christ added to it. 

Most people when they read their Bible look at everything that happened as pretty much one fluid event.  That's not the case.  For instance the Book of James, thought to be the first New Testament book written, was actually written prior to Paul bringing the revelations of new covenant grace to Jerusalem and sharing it with James, Peter and the others.  Thankfully they adopted Paul's message!  Yet, I'm certain that if James had written his book after Paul's eye opening revelations, it would read far different than we read it today.  Likewise, Peter.  I'm certain his address to those gathered in the Book of Acts would read far different if he had shared it after Paul's revelations were adopted by the Brethren and the Church. 

Paul is the key figure God used in bringing the Church into the fullness of Christ's finished works!  Paul did indeed have his enemies, primarily the Jewish leagalizers of his day who constantly dogged his tracks, trying to bring his new converts back under the Law of Moses. 

So why would I think that Paul's work of the ministry was easier than ours.  Well, if you truly believe and teach what Paul taught then the obstacles to your ministry are far more numerous than Paul's.  Some might say that they adhere to Paul's teaching yet if they would teach that there are things that people should do in order to become holy they ARE NOT teaching Paul's Gospel.  If they teach that people still commit sin and must repent to find God's favor they ARE NOT teaching Paul's Gospel! 

Therefore you see that today many, maybe most, churches are not really teaching Paul's Gospel.  Ouch!  I am totally convinced that if Paul were to come back to life and attend most churches on any given Sunday morning, he would have a "hissy fit!"  Friends, we've strayed from the Gospel that Paul taught!  We've strayed a long ways from it!  If you teach what I teach you have many standing in the wings totally ready to bring criticism as for hundreds of years the Church has abandoned the true message of new covenant grace and has brought a mixture of law into the pure message of Jesus Christ.  It's sad.  I actually feel that the Church of today is pretty messed up!  Many Believers are being ship wrecked as a result with many actually abandoning the ministry of the Institutional Church.

All is not lost however, as God is once again releasing wonderful revelations of grace and those who are open to these revelations are experiencing life changing events as they learn to rest in the finished works of Christ.  Friends true Christianity is simple.  Religion has made it hard.  I'm discovering that this is a slow process and most likely will not be completed in my lifetime.  However, I'm sold out to do what ever I can in order to bring the Church back to where She should be, that is living in the fullness of God's new covenant grace, going on to all God intends Her to be.  After all, we are "the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."  That's the way He made us to be and that's who we shall truly be!  Glory!

Grace and peace!


God Wants Us To Feel Bad About Ourselves....Really?

Several weeks ago, someone from another part of Florida posted on a local Facebook ads page something like this: "I'm moving into Citrus County, FL soon and I'm looking for a church.  Any suggestions?"

Well, the comments began flowing immediately.  Church attendees all over our community began posting about their church, how happy they were and how this person would love attending their church. I kinda felt that this was a good thing.  However, then some began writing about what they wanted for a church and I began to become bewildered.  Some of those comments were really eye opening.  I was amazed by how deceived many church people really are in regards to what kind of a church they attend. Those comments would make a good blog some day!

I don't want to get into the weeds in regards to those goofy comments, other than to just mention a few thoughts; like...."Our church preaches only from the King James Bible," or..."Our pastor tells it like it is; he steps on our toes once in awhile."  Some told how their church takes a strong stand against sin and that people are encouraged to live holy lives and the list could go on and on.  There must have been way over 100 comments like this.  Again, I was amazed by how ignorant people are about what the true Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Church really is!

Actually, the entire thread was so messed up by all of the religious mumbo jumbo that I felt like abandoning the entire thing.  These comments most likely could have turned the honest seeker completely off, that is unless they too were of a very religious, legalistic mindset.

There were a few very anti-grace comments too.  Of course they really piqued my interest. I eventually did jump into the fray by posting our church's website: www.ncgrace.com  If you should choose to check out our site you will notice that our mission is for people to leave our services feeling better about themselves than when they arrived. 

Well, a very legalistic gentleman responded to my posting the website and began berating me about our mission.  He told me in no uncertain terms that what we have as a purpose and goal of our church is completely wrong.  That we are ignoring the true Gospel and teachings of Jesus.  Instead of our goal we should be telling people to stop sinning, to begin to live holy lives, to obey the teachings of Jesus thus keeping the law.....and on and on he went.  He eventually suggested that the teaching of our church is blasphemy and called me a heretic.  Of course this is nothing new for me!  However, I felt bad for this guy.  He was so religious in his thinking that he couldn't see straight!

So, I concluded through this exchange that God really wants us to feel bad about ourselves when we attend church!  Sorry to say, that is exactly how some feel after they leave their church service.  Sad!!!

Well, the truth is that God has given us His Gospel to lift us up, to bless us....yes to actually make us feel good about ourselves.  Listen, when we understand all that Christ did for us and how great God's love is for us, we can't do anything other than to feel good about ourselves.  And guess what?  People who feel good about themselves, like I'm talking about are no longer sinners!  They actually begin to live lives that match what God has actually created them to be!

Yes, when people attend our church, they don't get the "sinner's stink eye (As one guy described it), but instead they are told over and  over that they are holy and righteous and that God loves them, without measure, that He will never abandon them, no matter what!  People who feel good about themselves actually, eventually become who God says they are.  After all, they (we all) are THE RIGHTEOUS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS!  Call me a heretic if you want, but what I've share with you is the pure, true Gospel of Jesus Christ!  Glory!

Grace and peace!


I'm Glad I Attended Church Yesterday!

Since this new round of cancer has hit me I've been pretty sick most of the time.  Every day is faced with new battles.  Often one battle leads into another.  I'm so tired and spend much of the day sleeping or watching TV.  The last couple of weeks I've missed Sunday morning church. I don't like doing this, but I've not been able to avoid it.

But yesterday.....I woke, not feeling great, but I thought that maybe I could make our Sunday service.  I've retired from active ministry as pastor of our emerging group, my wife has taken over and is doing a great job.  Yet, I love to attend our church even though I'm not doing the preaching.  I ate a little breakfast and decided to attend.  I got ready and Corinne drove me to the 10:00 a.m. service.

I sat in the back and enjoyed seeing my friends come in.  The service began and we entered worship.  It was great!  Then our Worship Leader, Kris, began to preach.  She did a bang up job on stating the difference between the joy that God has given us all with the gift of Christ and happiness.  It was an awesome message!  Then she ended her message with communion and a couple of more worship songs.  That's when I was really hit!  As I took communion just the thought of remembering the body and the blood of Christ caused me to cry like a baby.  The Holy Spirit really ministered to me and then so did some of the others from the congregation.  Several gathered around me and prayed for me, etc.

Now all of this actually goes much deeper in reality as I can't really find the words that would actually describe what happened to me yesterday in that church service. However, the fact remains....HAD I STAYED HOME I WOULD HAVE MISSED IT ALL!

Our church in Inverness, FL, New Covenant Grace Fellowship is a special place.  We only teach and practice the message of God's gift of grace.  So many believe that we must constantly work to please God.  We believe that God did all of the work for us, we please Him because He did that all for us.  Our only work is to rest in His finished works.  I don't want to get into all of this right now, suffice it to say, that our group is very unique in this light and it is manifest by what God is doing in our lives.  By the way, I would not attend a church that did not teach this type of grace!  But that's another story too.

It seems that so many stay home from church these days.  Some who understand grace leave traditional churches and no longer attend any place.  My hope would be that they would plant new churches, but it seems that few are interested in that right now.  However, no matter what...a simple fact is that CHRISTIANS NEED TO PHYSICALLY MEET AND FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS!

Here is an interesting verse, maybe written by Paul or a close follower of Paul (Paul....the guy who released grace to the Church!), Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV) "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." The Early Church met together, often much more than just Sunday morning.  Things happened when they got together.  As a result the message of the Gospel spread across the world of the day. 

Let's look at the grace friendly Mirror Bible..."In the light of our free access to the Father, let us extend that embrace to one another.  Our gatherings are no longer a repetition of tradition but an essential fellowship where we remind one another of our true identity.  Let us do so with greater urgency now the day has dawned in our understanding. (The prophetic shadow had been replaced by the light of day).

It seems that we have kind of neglected this very essential verse of Scripture.  It just might be time to resurrect it into its proper place, right in the middle of God's new covenant grace!

The bottom line is that what happened to me yesterday is in direct fulfillment of Hebrews 10:25 and had I stayed home from church, as I had every right to by the way I felt, I would have missed out on a very great blessing!

I trust that I can attend our church next week too!  How about you?

Grace and peace!

 

 


Give Me That Old Time Religion.....NOT!

Many, many years ago an old spiritual song was written, "Give Me That Old Time Religion."  The song may have had it roots in African spirituals.  I found that some group, in the early days of recordings, actually recorded it, in 1909.  Recording artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Johnny Cash and many others included it in their records.  The song is a catchy, fun song to sing.  If you have a chance Google it and listen to it and read the many variations of the verses.  Part of the fun of the song was that you can make up verses as you go and then sing the Chorus at the end of each made up verse. 

Here is the Chorus and one of the many verses:

        Chorus

        Give me that old time religion

        Give me that old time religion    

        Give me that old time religion

        It's good enough for me

 

        Verse

        It was good for Paul and Silas

        It was good for Paul and Silas

        It was good for Paul and Silas

        It's good enough for me 

 

Of course, then the song could go on into many other verses, both written and added. 

Through the magic of the Blogisphere....I heard that Paul and Silas actually showed up in your town last Sunday morning.  Paul said to Silas, "Silas old buddy, we're here this morning so let's visit a local church and see what is going on."  Silas replied, "Wow, Paul...that's a great idea.  I'll pull out my cell phone and Google the local churches and see where we can go."  Then Paul said, "Google the most Fundamental/Evangelical churches cause they probably will have my message right on!"

Silas then found the First Bapticostal Charismatic Church of God Word of Faith Christian Center.  On their web-page it stated, "We use the KJV only; The Bible that Paul used!"  After Silas read this to Paul he said, "Wow!  We just have to check this church out!"  So, they made their way across town just in time for the service.  As they made their way up to the front door they were greeted by Brother Moe and Brother Curly, the long time ushers.  They were all dressed in flashy "zoot suits" and wore their best black patent leather shoes.  Of course Paul and Silas showed up in their two thousand year old robes.  The robes, from all of the wear and tear of the years, were a little thread bare at that.  The ushers took a quick glance at each other and Moe leaned over to Curly and said, "What are we gonna do with these Bozos?"  Curly whispered back, "I don't think Pastor Larry is gonna like this so lets make sure we seat them near the door."  (I couldn't resist the Pastor Larry bit... He's not me, but he's being used to complete the Three Stooges....lol)

So the two Stooges, I mean the ushers, manage to get Paul and Silas seated just in time for the "worship" to begin.  As soon as our visitors take their seat, the lights are dimmed, the  Worship Leader takes the mic and shouts at the top of his voice...."HALLELUJAH!!!  ARE YOU READY TO WORSHIP GOD?"  He hits the first chord on his Gibson guitar and the stained glass windows rattle to the point they are about to fall out of their frame.  Silas stands as he says, "What's all of this Paul....Is this really how we told people to gather together in their homes, each one bring a song to share, each one bring a word to share?"  The music roared for another hour.  Towards the end the strobe lights and fog machine were turned on and Paul and Silas looked at each other completely dumbfounded.

Finally, as Paul cleaned out his hurting ears, Pastor Larry came to the mic and told everyone that it was offering time.  He said, "OK you people....It's now time to pay your tithes and give until it hurts."  As he made this statement he was thinking to himself that his new Cadillac payment was due and boy did they need a huge offering this week.  Silas looked at Paul with questioning eyes and reached into his robe and found a shekel to put in the plate as it came by.  As he did so, he felt rather condemned because Pastor Larry, like the "offering lifter" that he was, really put the squeeze on the congregation.  

The ushers, Moe and Curly, passed the plates around the church, piled high with credit card receipts as Pastor Larry picked up his KJV Bible and began to speak.  He opened with, "OK, it's now time for the Word of God.  I feel that in order to please God, I'm gonna take you back to some "Old Time Religion" and really step all over your toes today!"  Paul leaned over to Silas and said, "I never taught Timothy to step all over people's toes.  I told him to bring comfort and edification to God's people."

Then Pastor Larry told his congregation, "It is time in this church for everyone to begin working hard at becoming holy and righteous.  This sin stuff has to end or I'll know the reason why!" While he made that statement, he was noticing his secretary, Sister Smith.  He thought to himself, "Wow! She looks so beautiful this morning.  I really wish my plain old looking wife would look as good as her!"  He then snapped back from his lustful thoughts and began to hammer how how unholy and sinful his people were. 

Paul whispered to Silas, "This isn't what I taught the churches!  I taught them that, "For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, NO LONGER COUNTING PEOPLE'S SINS AGAINST THEM!" (2 Cor. 5:19)  Then he said, I taught them all this,  "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right (righteousness of God) with God through Christ!" (2 Cor. 5:21) 

At that time Pastor Larry finished his message with the most powerful, compelling altar call that he had ever given.  He said, "OK...It's now time for all of you (thinking to himself, everyone but me) to come to this altar and get right with God!  It's time for you all to REPENT!"  As he said the  word, "repent" he was huffing and puffing like a steam engine!  The entire congregation ran forward, many of the women were weeping like babies.  They just knew that if they didn't get right with God at that very moment, they might have a car accident on the way home, die and go to hell.  Of course that's what Pastor Larry told them in his appeal for an altar call. 

Paul and Silas didn't go forward that morning.  Instead they, like little church mice, very quietly dodged out the door.  By this time they felt like the others in the congregation, totally condemned.  They knew that they should have gone forward to the altar so that God would be totally pleased with them. Paul, hanging his head low said to Silas, "I don't know about you, but I think I need to get right with God!"  Silas said, "Amen Brother!"  It was then that they left the scene, going back to heaven, but wondering if they would still be welcome there!

So.....I do want "The Old Time Religion."  However, I sure don't want the religion of Pastor Larry and ushers Moe and Curly.  I want the true religion that Paul and Silas taught.  By the way....I teach what they taught too.  I only hope that Moe, Larry and Curly find it too!

Grace and peace!


Spying on Jesus and Paul!

OK.....I admit it...I'd love to have been able to spy on a couple of guys!  Yes, I guess they call that voyeurism, but I sure would have been able to do that!  I would have loved to have spent 3 years of my life spying on Jesus and Paul. Well, I guess I really don't have to be able to do that as Paul recorded all of what Jesus spoke in his Epistles.  Yes, Paul recorded the Word of God!  He Heard from the Word and passed on what the Word said to him and taught the same exact thing to those he taught and still teaches; you and me!  Thus, Paul's quoting the exact words of the Word, become the Word too. Get it?

Anyway, Paul says this in Galatians 1: 11-12, "Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning.  I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me.  Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ." This is a very important verse of Scripture.  When Paul writes to the churches he isn't sharing what he thought about issues.  Rather, he emphatically states the new direction that the Church is to take, leaving the Law behind and going forth into the "new way" of the New Covenant.

He goes on to say in Chapter 1 (verses 15-18a) "But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.  Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.  When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.  Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was.  Instead, I went away into Arabia and later I returned to the city of Damascus.  Then THREE YEARS later I went to Jerusalem...." 

Paul sat down for a period of three years, both in Arabia and in Damascus.  It was there Jesus taught him the wonderful revelations of New Covenant Grace.  Yep, here's where I would have loved to be a spy!  Can you imagine Paul sitting alone on a big stone in the middle of the desert listening and questioning Jesus about all of this dramatic, very earth-shaking teaching?  Paul, a Pharisee, a follower of the Law of Moses, is being told by God Himself, that the Law, the "Old way that leads to condemnation and death" has been replaced by the "New Way which leads to life."  Wow!  If I could have only been hiding behind a bush and observing this!  But....wait....I have observed this!  I just observed this some more and now I'm actually sharing my observations with you!  You see, I've just heard from the Word of God and I'm sharing the Word of God with you. 

I am a spy!  Every time I read Paul's words from the pages of my Bible, I'm spying on what happened.  What an awesome experience!  I trust that you too are spying on Paul!  Let's do more spying together this week and fill our hearts with the Word of God!  Glory!

Grace and peace!

 

 


The "Veil" Paul Writes About

I'm certain that you will agree with me when I say that there is so much division between people today.  Honestly, I can't ever remember a time when  division was so apparent, especially within the USA, as it currently is.  All a person has to do is to spend just 5 minutes watching a cable news program to back up what I'm saying.  I often wonder how is it possible for two people to RADICALLY think 180 degrees apart.  We don't just think a little different these days, but we are militant in our points of view. Just look at the United States Congress!  There is no longer anything called, "middle-ground!"  Nothing in Congress can get accomplished as neither the Dems or the GOP can come to a compromised understanding and pass a bill! 

I find the same things holds true within the Church of today.  Sadly!  As you may know, several years ago I had a very dramatic encounter with God. He took most of the doctrine that I had been steeped in for many years and did a complete, radical change within me.  All of a sudden my Bible read as a different book.  Shortly I had to stand before my congregation and tell them, "Many of the things I had taught you are incorrect!"  Of course that didn't go over too well with some.  Within weeks I was labeled a heretic, false prophet and even worse.  As a result we watched a mass exodus from our church in Florida.  Corinne and I, along with the majority of our leadership team watched dumbfounded as people voted with their feet.  The sad thing was that these were people that we loved, most who we felt would be with us forever, no matter what turmoil would ever occur in our congregation.  We were hurt!  However, the pain was greatly reduced by our new found revelations of God's wonderful New Covenant life that He was exposing and releasing within our hearts.  Corinne and I had a total transformation occur within us and so did the faithful people who grasped the life changing, freeing message of Grace.  That greatly tempered the pain!

It was then that I really began to understand the great divide that existed between "Church People."  Some, those who opposed what I was Biblically exposing to them, rejected my new teaching only based upon what they had been taught in the past.  I soon discovered that even  pastors and teachers only really teach what we had been taught in the past.  Thus we only continue a vicious circle....My teachers were wrongly taught, therefore I teach wrongly!  Few Church leaders teach what the Holy Spirit teaches them.  Their doctrine is solely based on what others have taught them. Therefore, if what they have learned is wrong, the wrongness is perpetuated forever.

I recall the early days of my "Grace revelations."  I can remember taking my boat out on the lake we lived on at the time.  I was headed for some great bass fishing.  As I motored to my fishing spot, out of no where, I heard the Holy Spirit very clearly say to me, "Only teach what Paul taught!"  This was one of those times when what I heard was so distinct and clear that it seemed like God was actually in the boat.  Of course He was....in me!  Over the next few months I heard that directive very clearly over and over again.  According to Galatians chapter 1, Paul was taught the principles of the New Covenant by Christ Himself.  Then Paul brought Christ's words back to Jerusalem where the new Church leaders, thankfully, embraced his teaching. Thus the Church was radically changed from just another off-shoot of Judaism to the radical, life changing entity that it is supposed to be.  Had not Paul accomplished his mission or the Leaders embrace his teaching, the Church would have been totally Jewish, only with Jesus added to it; not much of a change from the status quo of the day.   

Here's what Paul says about the divisions within the Church....(2 Corinthians chapter 3) In writing about the old covenant, "The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death....If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!....So if the old way, which HAS BEEN REPLACED was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, WHICH REMAINS FOREVER!"  And of course, I could go on and on showing how the "old way," the Law and all it contained, was replaced with the New Covenant which brings life.  This chapter is essential in understanding the reason why many just can't release the "old way teaching" that holds them in bondage. Often, when I write about the Law being replaced by Grace, people holding onto the "old way" argue, some becoming nasty as well.  Why?

Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians 3 to explain: (verse 12-15) "Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.  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.  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!  Yes, EVEN TODAY WHEN THEY READ MOSES' WRITINGS, THEIR HEARTS ARE COVERED WITH THAT VEIL, AND THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND."

However, those who oppose Grace say, "But Larry, I believe in Christ so I don't have a veil over my mind."  However, what Paul is really saying here is: "This veil can be removed only by believing in THE FINISHED WORKS OF CHRIST."  In other words, the veil is removed by believing in the Gospel that Paul preached.  Most who oppose Grace are not believing in Paul's Gospel, but rather a gospel of the mixed message of law and grace that they have been taught by leaders who have been taught incorrectly themselves!  Now that is the rub!

Thanks for reading this very long Blog post!  I trust that it is a blessing to you and helps you understand a bit of what is currently going on within the Church.  I also trust that you are able to avoid the veil and completely embrace the message that Paul taught. It does come by revelation, and maybe these words will help you see more of Holy Spirit's hand working in your life, bringing you into life and freedom within the New Covenant!

Grace and peace!