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August 2011

I Split Our Church! (Deliberately)

A few weeks ago I deliberately split our church, New Beginnings Fellowship in Hernando, Florida!  Yep, I split it wide open, right down the middle!  Also, I have to emphatically state today that I have totally zero qualms about doing so!

First of all I have to say that I fully understand that a building is never the Church.  We who meet in the building in an institutional  way or meet in a home in a more organic way are the Church!  However, I inherited a building when I became pastor of NBF just over 2 1/2 years ago.  We do use the building fully for advancing the Kingdom.  Actually the ministry of this group would be pretty difficult to accomplish if it were not for the building.  

So, saying this, in regards to me splitting our church, I didn't split up our group or the people.  Actually I feel that I've brought us all closer together.

All right, by now you must be wondering how I split our church???

For weeks now, many weeks, we've been teaching on the difference between the Old and New Covenants of the Lord.  I find that many Christians today are still living under the confines of the Old Covenant.   They do so by maintaining their Christian life under the Law or some form of a law of their own choosing and have not fully passed through the Cross of Christ into the fullness of the New Covenant.

Here is a little about what that looks like......"I am very troubled by all of the problems in my life, so it only stands to reason that God doesn't love me!"  "Sunday after Sunday our pastor teaches us that we have to try harder in order to earn God's love, to please Him more so we can finally arrive in the place of His blessings!"  And..."I'm such a sinner!  I will never get over this desire to sin and I know that God cannot really love and bless me because of it!  I try and try, but I never can get it right!  O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this mess in my life!!!!" (and the list could continue)  Sound familiar?  This thinking is Old Covenant all the way!

The New Covenant, what does that look like?  Simply defined it's this....Christ in you is the hope of Glory; apart from Him you can do nothing; you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  

So here is what we've done (I did) at NBF.  One meeting while teaching on the New Covenant, I was facing the people and to my left I stated that this entire area represents the Old Covenant.  Then in middle of the sanctuary I made the sign of the cross and stated this is where the cross is now located. Then still facing the people, I walked over to my right of the cross and stated that this is where the New Covenant now reigns. For weeks now we have been using this simple illustration to denote the things that fall under the Old Covenant and then what falls under the New.  It's been fun, but it's been a very eye opening experience as well. God's wonderful grace...the very power of God himself, dwelling within us gives us the power to become holy and live in right standing with the Lord!  We live in the New Covenant! 

I love to minister on this!  When I do so, and I'm standing on the right side, in the midst of my imaginary land of the New Covenant, I actually do have a very wonderful sense about me.  No wonder I feel so good spiritually all of the time.  Because there is nothing imaginary about me living in the real New Covenant!

More on this subject later...

 

Grace & Peace!



I'm a Tither!

I'm a tither!

OK... let me qualify that statement somewhat.  Actually I'm a giver, not just a tither.  I have to be because most of my Christian life I've been living by faith. I've never had a position in a large church or ministry where I could collect a regular, large paycheck.  No, Corinne and I have always seemed to be in the position of seeking God for our provision. Please do not feel sorry for us as we think that this is the place to be!

Today many have entered into the great debate on tithing, is it Old Testament or New?  My answer to all of the fray is that I really do not give a lick!  You see Corinne and I practice tithing, actually store house tithing, not because of a law or the Law (Malachi 3), but because we see the tithe, or 10% of our gross income, as the very basis point of our giving habits.  We do feel strongly that the 10% belongs to God. Anything over and above that 10% is our gifts and offerings.

Many say that the tithe is only found in the Old Testament, they feel that someting like, "Grace Giving" is more New Testament.  OK...I agree to that too, but the problem I see is that true "Grace giving" is actually more demanding than tithing!  The tithe is only 10%.  True Grace Giving is being open to giving your all, or in other words a true Grace Giver may be asked of God to give his/her entire pay check!  Ouch!  I never hear Grace Givers talking about that!  

Years ago a so called "Grace Giver" was a part of the church we were leading.  This guy told me several times, "Brother, I'm not a tither.  I don't believe in it, but instead I am a "Grace Giver!"  He was so emphatic about this statement!  After several months he created a lot of heavy duty problems in our church and left, trying to take several others with him.  Later it was discovered that this "Grace Giver" put $5.00 in the offering every week!  Wow!  I was so impressed by his "Grace Giving!"  Just think how far your church/ministry would go in advancing the Kingdom of God if everyone faithfully gave their $5.00 bill every week!  Isn't that impressive?  No!  I think that is just a guy being CHEAP!  Actually he is fearful because he doesn't trust God!

Now about the Storehouse of Malachi chapter 3... A store house is a place where your food is being kept.  Last Sunday, during the offering, I was talking about some of these issues.  One sister got offended and told another sister in the Ladies Room that she and her husband gave to others, etc. and that was good enough!  OK, but if everyone felt that way and practiced those giving habits, who is then responsible for the lights, air conditioning, refuge pick up, water bill, mortgage/rent payment of the local church?  

Now some of my House Church friends jump in here and would say, "We don't have buildings and paid ministry, etc. and if you were like us then you wouldn't need so much money to operate!"  I recall one house church that Corinne and I were ministering in while on one of our extended Texas stays.  A fish bowl was placed on the coffee table and it was causally stated that this was the offering for our guest ministers. You guessed it, the bowl filled up with the $5.00 bills!  

Then I can think of another Texas house church that we ministered in where every year they gave away to the needs of the community around them thousands of dollars!  They greatly ministered to our ministry needs, actually sending us on a trip to Florida for a conference with their ministry credit card in our pocket, with no limit on it on how much we were to spend!  Yep... a group of true Grace Givers!  They knew how to give it all and did!

I'll be interested to see any comments about this post.  It could be a very interesting week!

So, in closing, I state that I am a giver!  I choose to be a tither/giver and, yes even a true Grace Giver, becasue I live solely by faith and I can never afford to have God's doors of provision closed on me!  

Let me know what thinkest thou!

Grace and Peace!


What is the Gospel of the Kingdom?

In Matthew 24: 14 Jesus stated that the "Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come."

So what is this "Gospel of the Kingdom?"

Here's the condensed version:

1.  John 15: 5b, (NLT) Jesus says, "For apart from me you can do nothing."

2.  Colossians 1: 27 (all versions), Paul states the revelation of the mystery of the ages..."Christ in you, the hope of glory."

3.  Then the Kingdom result: Paul then expounds, Philippians 4:13 (KJV) "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

And that my friend is the Kingdom of God!  As we live and breathe under the New Covenant that God has provided, we go forth bearing much fruit. God has made the way for us!

I love it!  More Lord!


"Sloppy Agape"

Probably most of us have been in a church meeting somewhere and heard a preacher say something like this, "I'm not into this 'grace thing' after all there is too much 'sloppy agape' around the church these days!" Usually by the times these words are spoken the preacher is huffing and puffing and snorting, with his eyes glassed over, a ominous shade of red! Know what I mean?

Yesterday I posted a blog with the title, "Do You Feel Like You Need to Get Saved Every time You go to Church?"  So far no one has left any comments on the article, but I can tell by the page count that many people read the article.  Most likely it was read because the readers either are currently feeling this way, or have in the past.  It's so sad that today's Church just doesn't understand what Grace is all about!  So often the Sunday morning fare is the constant re-enforcement of just how bad the church members  really are!

Most likely it's the same preachers who are talking about "Sloppy Agape!"  Sad!

Grace is NOT a license to sin! (Romans 6:1)   However, grace is the power of God working within a person, giving them the power to over come all sin. The very grace that some preachers are calling, "Sloppy" is actually what is needed to set people totally free from all sin as Christ is working inside of them.  Let's take a close look at Romans 8: 9-14 (NLT)

 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

Oh, wow...I sure wouldn't call this "sloppy!"  Would you?  I'm thinking that the next time you hear a preacher saying anything about grace being, "Sloppy agape, " that you do one of three things:  1)  Understand that the preacher doesn't know what in the world he/she is talking about 2) Ask the preacher if they really know what true grace is...and 3) Run like mad, finding a church where you don't feel like you have to get saved every week!
Just saying....!



Do You Feel You Need to Get Saved Again Every Time You go to Church?

Last Sunday several of us went out for some food after our "Main Event" meeting at New Beginnings Fellowship in Hernando, FL.  While we were eating, one of the gals told me that in the one of the churches she used to attend she felt like she had to get re-saved after every service.  The point was that the preacher was laying so much guilt and condemnation on everyone that they felt like they could never measure up to God's expectations.

I hear this type of story often.  I feel so sad for people who have no joy in their Christian experience.  Sometimes on Facebook I read of people who are so serious, so solemn, and so, so sad!  I do not see a lot of the joy of the Lord on the faces of many Christians these days!  I'm certain that this must sadden the heart of Daddy too, as His entire purpose is for His kids to enjoy their relationship with Him, you know.... the relationship that He made possible through Christ.

I'm kinda thinking out loud on this Blog post.  I'm thinking that my wife, Corinne is going to be ministering in tonight's meeting.  I'm thinking that I'm just going to show up, worship my Lord and let His Spirit just download in me a "Big One!"  People are catching the revelation of the New Covenant at our church.  I'm loving it, because I'm catching even more of it myself!

Those who the Son has made free are free indeed!

And to those who feel like you need to get saved every Sunday, we need to talk!  Send me an email at: [email protected] 


It seems so many people have so much trouble and problems in their lives these days. In a normal day I receive several requests for prayer from some very hurting folks. I'm not certain, but it seems that the intensity and frequency of these requests has increased lately.

Sometimes I feel so helpless in that all I can do is pray for those in need. Corinne and I were talking just yesterday about how long and hard we are to pray for others. Most often my main focus is on those I know, family, close friends, especially those in need in our great church. But I do always try to pray for all of the requests that come in, but to spend a lot of time on that I'd be tied up all day long, at least it seems that way.

I used to come under condemnation to not praying for others in long, flowing, prayer. The condemner would say things like, "If you are a good Christian, you'd pray for all of those in need much longer and much more intense." I've heard preachers say, "If you pray for others pray like you would want others to pray for you."

Of course in days gone by, I didn't understand prayer! But I do understand prayer now. The reason is, that I understand God now, especially his grace! See I don't have to convince God to answer my prayers! I don't have to take a crow bar to Him, trying to pry loose a blessing on myself or anyone else. If I pray for 20 seconds for someone, Guess what???? God hears me! He hears me just as well as if I were pleading, begging and stomping my feet!

Why would you think that God hears my prayers, even those thought prayers that I pray many times per day? He hears them because He lives in me! That's right....God lives within me! He not only hears my every heart beat, but He hears my thoughts, my prayers and therefore, according to His word He answers me!

I love the New Covenant! Thank you Lord for what you have done for us! Thank you Lord Jesus for dwelling inside us...as imperfect as we are! What love you have for your Church!

So, Lord...thank you for meeting the needs of those who come in contact with me today!

Thanks Lord for EVERYTHING!


Should Gentiles Find Their Jewish Roots?

Should Gentiles find their Jewish roots?

The simple answer:  NO!

I'm sure that by now I have your full attention!  Possibly some of you already have your fighting hackles raised and are ready to attack.  But in response to my question, I have to once again state a resounding NO! Gentiles do not have to discover their Jewish roots, primarily because they do not have any!  

OK, I'm fully aware of the fact that Jesus was Jewish.  But apart from that we see a strong movement within the Church of today trying to bring Gentile believers in Christ back under certain forms of the Law. This is not a good thing!

In Paul's day, his ministry was constantly hounded by certain Jews, the legalistic ones who tried to bring the Gentile Church under the Law through circumcision.  For that reason the Book of Galatians was written.  I ministered from Galatians yesterday and I recall making the statement, "Does anyone read this book any more?"  

Paul had to deal with circumcision.  Today we have to deal with our Christian leaders telling us we have to "keep the Feasts of the Lord," "Worship on the Sabbath," and the list goes on.  Well known leaders are making very strong statements along these lines, and the Church... the Sheep...well, they are just going along for the ride because TV star, Brother Billy Bob, says that is what we are all supposed to do!  Oh my!

Yes, Galatians is in the Bible!  For instance if Bro. Billy Bob says that God told him that from this point on, all Christians should keep the Feasts of the Lord, then that now becomes a law that is actually a part of the Old, fulfilled, Law of Moses.  Paul say to the Galatians, (5:3 NLT) "If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised (keeping the Law or any law that one feels will make them right with God), you must obey EVERY REGULATION IN THE WHOLE LAW OF MOSES."  He then goes on to state in verse 4, "For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace."  (All emphasis is mine in the above two verses)

To be "fallen away from God's grace" means that we no longer have Christ's power within us making us holy!  We are on our own, doomed to failure and condemnation.  Then if we sin, we are deemed guilty, no longer having the tremendous advantage of God living within us (Col. 1:27)

I am fully aware that many will disagree with what I have just stated. Some will actually argue with me on this issue.  I would hope that any who disagree will take the time and read the Book of Galatians.  If not the entire book, at least read the 3rd chapter.

I am so much in agreement with Paul when he says in Galatians 5: 14-16 (NLT), "As for me, may I never boast about any thing except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died.  It doesn't matter whether we have been circumcised or not.  What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.  May God's peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle.  They are the new people of God!"  

This is the One New Man that is coming forth.  He is neither male nor female, Jew or Gentile.  He is one who knows that God loved him so much to give him a way out of sin and despair, only through Christ. This New Man is fully aware of the fact that Christ lives within him, that he is fully a child of the New Covenant and that "apart from Christ he can do nothing (Jn. 15: 5b) and therefore is aware of the fact that he constantly lives within "God's peace and mercy" (Gal. 5:16). This New Man no longer strives to be right with God.  He knows that he is right with God, only through Christ! 

Paul ends the Book of Galatians by stating in chapter 5: 17, "From now on, don't let anyone trouble me with these things.  For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus!"  

To this I say, Amen Paul!  Yes, Amen!!!


Why do religious people make it so difficult to serve the Lord? Walking with God is so simple, He's done all of the work for us! In Galatians 2: 21 (NLT) Paul says, "I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God then there was no need for Christ to die!"

To this I say....WOW! How about you? Do you really understand what Paul is talking about? I trust that God has given you a revelation of what grace really is! If you need help with this, feel free to send me an email at: [email protected]


Is Asking God to Give You a Clean Heart Good or Bad?

How about it, is asking God to give you a clean heart good or bad?

The answer:  BOTH!

If you are unsaved, now is the time to invite Jesus into your heart and save you!  He will then give you a clean heart.

However, if you are already saved, why in the world would you ask God to do what He's already done?

God has already given you a clean heart.  Actually the moment Jesus came into your heart He did the cleaning!  I am fully aware of the fact that there are still some within the Body of Christ who still teach and believe that we Christians  have a sinful nature.  However this is just not the case!  There are several passages of Scripture that state just the opposite.  I've been teaching a lot lately from the Book of Hebrews.  This book, maybe written by Paul, but who knows for sure, is a book of doctrine.  It's rich in theology, not the stuffy seminary type theology, but rather theology that will set you free from the tip of your toes to the top of your head.  Now the temptation is to proof text my thought here, that we Christians no longer have a sinful nature.  However, I'm going to resist that temptation, and rather give you a home work assignment. Read the Book of Hebrews!  I am aware of the fact that most will not take the time to do this.  But for those of you who are hungry...those who have a deep yearning for all of God, you Guys and Gals will sit right down with your Bible and turn to the wonderful pages of freedom and liberty that we find embedded with Hebrews.

Therefore if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, you no longer have to ask God to create in you a clean heart!  Rather you can rejoice in the fact that you already have one.  You can rejoice in the fact that God Himself lives within you and that His abiding power within you gives you the way to a holy life.  Again I quote Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you is the hope of glory!"

Now you are attached to the true Vine, Jesus Himself.  Apart from Him you can do nothing! (John 15: 1-6) So, go forth and bear much, wonderful fruit for the Kingdom of God!

More Lord!!

 


Romans Chapter 7: The things I want to do, I don't and the things I don't want to do I do! O wretched man that I am....who will help me?

Jesus Christ!

John 15: 1-6. Jesus is the vine and I am the branch. Apart from Him I can do nothing!

Romans 8:1. There is therefore no condemnation to me!

Summary: Under the Old Covenant I tried and tried to be a better Christian. I wanted to please God, but the harder I tried, the more I failed. Is there hope for me? Yes! Christ is my hope because He lives in me. Therefore His power within me gives me the way to walk and live a holy life. By abiding in him and knowing that He is in me I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me! Because of my revelation of Christ in me, the hope of Glory, I cannot be condemned! I am free from all law, even those of my own making, that try to get me to work harder at being a better Christian! I am attached to the Vine, therefore I do bear good fruit!

Yep... I love Jesus!!!!