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October 2012

Stop Reading the Old Testament!

Grin!  I'll bet I have your attention!

I was originally going to title this Blog post, "The Bible and the New Covenant," but I thought that the title I chose might stir things up better! 

OK, let's get right to the point....When a Believer has only an Old Testament, Old Covenant view of God, they most likely will not fully comprehend what God has given them in the midst of the New Covenant.  If you see God from the OT model of being a Judge, welding a huge ball bat, killing those who would dare to cross Him, you are not rightly discerning Him today.  The problem lies in our perception of Him, especially that seen as we view Him from the Old Testament. 

For years the Church has taught that Christians must read their Bible, daily and often daily.  We have been given plans on how to read the Bible in its entirety in a years time.  We are told that we will never have a right relationship with God if we don't spend time daily in the Word.  Question then....How in the world did the Early Church Saints manage to be so victorious?  Their world was much more difficult than ours, yet they managed to overcome and they didn't even have Bibles to read!  They were tortured, murdered by the droves, yet the reports of them never denying Christ are manifold!  They could not read their "Word" daily, for the most part they probably couldn't even read.  Of course there were no Bibles in those days either andI hate to shake up your world, but Bibles are a rather new fangled thing!

Here is my new stand on Bible reading....Read all about the New Covenant.  We used to tell New Believers to begin their Bible reading with the Book of John.  Might I suggest that we begin with Romans and continue on with all of the Pauline Epistles.  When a new Believer understands New Covenant Grace then they could read the Gospels and then and only then they should read and learn all of the richness of the Old Testament.  Does this make any sense?

Paul suggests the same thing...II Corinthians 3:12-16 (NLT), "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 can not 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.  But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." (emphasis mine)

I would think that most who stand against New Covenant Grace do not understand it because they have a veil coverning their minds, their understanding!  It can only be removed by placing their entire faith in the finished work of Christ, not just part of it!

This morning I got up early so I could go out  on our lake and chase some Florida Bass.  I was eating my usual fishing breakfast of a banana and peanut butter when I sensed the Holy Spirit lead me to read Galatians chapters 1 and 2.  Wow!  What revelation came to me!  I've taught a lot on those two chapters over the past several months and yet this morning it was like I was reading it all for the very first time!  It seems that the more I come into the revelation of the New Covenant the more powerful my Bible becomes.  To be honest, I can't ever remember me reading and devouring my Bible like I have over the past several months.  Not only is this so in my Bible reading, but it's so in my marriage relationship as well.  Corinne and I have always had a marriage where we have communicated with one another.  Have you ever seen the couple sitting in a restaurant eating their entire meal without saying a word to each other?  That has never been us!  Thank the Lord!  Yet, we are talking to each other now more than ever and the things we are talking about are so exciting!  We will come home from a meeting and talk about these things right up until we go to bed and sometimes the conversation continues in bed.  I love it!  I love it!  I love it!

OK, I feel to conclude with this statement....The ENTIRE Bible, the Old and New Testaments are God's Word!  We should read, learn and understand the Old Testament!  However, we need to fully comprehend the New Covenant first then we will be given  the proper understanding of the Old reading it with the veil completely removed and this is the place of freedom and peace!

Grace and Peace!

I Want A "Greasy Grace" Church!

Do you really understand how important to me the title of this Blog post is?  If you had any idea how God has changed my theology over the past couple of years, your head would literally spin!  Actually even six months ago you would have never seen me preach and teach some of the things I am preaching and teaching today.  What happened to me?  The only answer is more of Jesus! 

I used to preach against the so called, "Greasy Grace Churches!"  I didn't have too much use for them because I felt that they were just trying to draw large crowds to a message of sin and compromise.  I would hear some of these pastors on TV and I would do nothing but criticise them and write them off as worm wood!  Now, just look at me....I'm one of them!  People are now writing me off as worm wood!  Wow!

I have a dream burning in my's a dream of awesomeness, not mine, but God's wonderful awesomeness! My dream is to see thousands of people drawn to our area, being drawn by the freedom that only the New Covenant can give.  I want to see folks understanding the true love of God.  I want to see those who have no faith in Christ be told that they are loved by God, that He has already taken care of their sins and that by simple faith in Christ that they too can go forward into all of the wonder that livng in Grace gives, and then watch the Holy Spirit totally transform their lives!

I want to see those who have been beaten down with religion come alive!  My heart aches for those who are being taught that they are such rotten people. I hurt for those who are trying very desperately to "serve the Lord!"  I want to see condemnation broken off of everyone, especially off the Household of Faith!  I know too many Saints who feel that they can never measure up, that living for God is just too demanding!

I want to see all of those who have been hurt by religion come into true freedom in the Lord.  I especially want to see all of those that I have hurt in the past, by my religious teachings, thoughts and life, come into true freedom and function as the living, breathing Body of Christ on this earth! For the thousands of people who love God, but have been hurt by the Church, even in our region of Florida, I want to see them fully functioning as Christ's Ambassadors on this earth.  They have so much to offer to the world, but because of their hurts and pains are staying away from church because they have not truly found the true Church!  Know what I mean?

Sunday morning as my wife was teaching such a wonderful Grace filled lesson, my heart began to ache for all of those who do not understand what it is that we are teaching.  I pray that they too will be able to see Grace, to understand the New Covenant, and to be able to go forth in total victory over religion!

Yes, I want our little church here in Citrus County, Florida to become a true "Greasy Grace Church!" Oh...before I forget to mention this, my last thought here, some would say, "Now Brother Larry, you can't go too far into this Grace thing because people will abuse it, you know!"  You know what I think of that type of statement, by the way, one of the most used arguements by those who detract from the Grace message?  I think that the true abuse comes from Religion.  A system that keeps God's people trying to perform, trying to please the Lord, etc., that is the true abuse!  I trust the Holy Spirit to keep those who truly understand New Covenant Grace...I trust Him to keep us all going on the even keel.  When we get off the mark, He'll bring us back!  Yes He will and He does....He keeps our ship floating rightly!

Grace and Peace!

ALL Sin HAS BEEN Forgiven!!

It seems as though a little three letter word is creating so many problems these days within the Body of Christ, the word sin, seems to bring people to arms, often creating issues to even dis-fellowship over.  I am observing two distinct "camps" being formed over this issue...those who feel that Christians still sin, and those who feel that they don't.  Of course I'm firmly within the ranks of the second group.  Why?  Because that is what the Bible teaches, that is if you read it properly. 

How about a quick review:

1. Adam and Eve sinned but it wasn't counted as sin because the Law of Moses was not given as of yet.  Read Romans 5: 12-21.  This passage in Romans tells us how much more greater the New Covenant is than the the Old.  It shows us how wonderful Christ's death on the cross really was.  So if Adam and Eve's infractions were not counted as sin because the Law was not yet in place, how much more is it so for you and I who are on this side of the Law through the finished works of Christ!  That is why we say, "Where there is no Law there is no sin!"

2. Some say that the Law was in two parts, God's Ceremonial Law and God's moral Law.  Question: What chapter and verse is this thought found in?  Friends, the Law is the Law, period!  No place in the Bible is it found that the Christ only fulfilled the Ceremonial Law and the Moral Law is still in play.  The problem comes when people do not understand the New Covenant.  In Jeremiah 31: 31-34 God tells His people, "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."  Paul quotes this twice in Hebrews, Hebrews 8: 7-12 and again in Hebrews 10: 12-18, because he feels that this is so important for Christians to know.  Under the New Covenant it is the Holy Spirit who keeps us on the correct path, therefore we no longer follow written Laws, even those that are moral.  The Spirit gives us life!   I really like how this portrait of the New Covenant concludes, "I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds."  I have to ask some people, "What part of 'never again' don't they understand? 

3. "But John says that we have to confess our sins!"  I claim that I John 1:9 is the most misunderstood verse in the Bible.  OK, I'm gonna yell this, so please prepare yourself....I JOHN 1:9 IS NOT WRITTEN TO CHRISTIANS!  I have developed this thought in other blogs, so please check the archives.  But quickly, John is most likely writing to Jews who did not know Christ and were not in "fellowship" with him and with God.  By checking out the pronouns, "we" and "you" and "us" it is very obvious that John was trying to bring these people to knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ.  Added to that, check out John's writings in chapter 3:4-10.  Look at verse 6, "Anyone who continues to  live in him will not sin.  But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him and understand who he is."  OK, how about verse 8, "But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning.  But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil."  What are the "works of the devil?"  Sin is his works and Christ has destroyed it!

Friends, there is so much more Bible that strongly states that all of our sin, past, present and future has been forgiven by God!  Here's the deal, the more we walk in the light of New Covenant Grace, the more we are walking in God's holiness,  it's what He has done for us, by placing Christ within our hearts.

This thing is getting way too long.  So please allow me to close with telling you that the people I know that are coming into this wonderful revelation of New Covenant Grace are walking so close to God that they couldn't sin even if they wanted to!  I am seeing people get transformed in powerful ways.

OK, we all have a decision to make these days...Do we wish to remain sin conscience or do we wish to become totally Christ conscience?  If you can get over the hurdle of the "sin issue" you will find a wonderful place of freedom and a closeness in your relationship with God that you have never had before.  Please believe me, I know what I'm talking about here, because this is what is happening to me! 

Grace and Peace!

OK...I'm thinking out loud this morning...Be careful about what you ask God for!

I am aware of several Sisters in the Lord who when they were single were very lonely, always crying out to God for husbands. Once they got married their lives forever changed. One Sister recently told me that after a couple of years of marriage her relationship with the Lord wasn't so hot any more. It seems her husband has taken some of the zing away from her relationship with the Lord. It might behoove single people to take a look at Paul's words in I Cor. 7: 20-39. Maybe we preachers should do a little more teaching on this subject. I think Paul states it well in verse 12, (NLT) "I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man (woman) can spend his time doing the Lord's work and thinking how to please him."

Don't get me wrong.... I am married, have been for a long time and my wife is 100% with me in my walk with the Lord. We do ministry together. However, this is not always the case! Getting married is a good thing, a very good thing. But so is staying single and fully dedicating your life to all that God directs you in!

Just saying......

The Law is the Law!

Every new revelation from God, every new movement that God creates is subject to its detractors.  Some are very innocent, they just do not understand the "revelation" yet.  Others are combative.  They have no desire to learn, their only goal in life is to vilify those who are going forth with the "new thing."  Paul spoke of them in 2 Corinthians 3: 3-4, "If the Good News we preach is hiden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing.  Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe.  They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.  They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."  Please, I am not for a minute, suggesting that those who oppose the New Covenant Grace message are not saved!  However, I am saying that past teaching, even sometimes religious spirits, can keep good people, those who love God, from fully seeing, "The glorious light of the Good News" that Paul spoke of.

Here is a good example of some false understanding that will keep people from "understanding this message about the glory of Christ."  One of the main premises about the New Covenant Grace message is that Christ totally fulfilled the Law.  The key word here is, "totally!"  It seems that many who do not understand our teachings would suggest that Christ did not "totally" fulfill the Law, only part of it.  One writer recently wrote, "There are 3 parts to the law: the ceremonial law, the national law, and the moral law.  We are completely released from the ceremonial and national law in the Old Testament, But every believer has a biblical responsibility to keep God's moral law by the power of the Holy Spirit."

The problem here is that this all sounds right, but is it really?  Is this statement a Biblical correct statement, or just something that makes sense if we try to understand Grace from human reasoning?  Really...what chapter and verse of the Bible is a statement like this based upon?  Where does it say that the Law was divided into 3 parts?  What verse declares that Christ only took care of the ceremonial aspects of the Law and not the moral?

I trust you realize that there is way to much Scripture to possible write in this Blog that point blank declares that Christ fulfilled the entire Law, not just one part of it!  Actually there is no Scripture that would suggest that the Law is to be separated anyway!  Here is just one verse found in Galatians 2:16, "Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law." OK, please allow me to throw another glorious verse at you!  How about Romans 6: 14-15, "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.  Well then, since God's grace has set us free from the Law, does that mean we can go on sinning?  Of course not!"  It seems that those who fear the Grace Message do so as they are afraid that giving people freedom will lead to more sin.  Paul addresses this in Romans 6:1, "Shall we continue sinning so that grace may abound?"  His answer in the New Living Translation found in verse 2 is, "Of course not!" 

One of the wonderful things about living in Grace is that the Holy Spirit guides us.  True Grace is God living in us, making us holy. (See Col. 1:27)

My Friends, there is only one Law and it is not broken into 2 or three parts.  Scripture just doesn't make that thought work!  However the true Good News, the Gospel, is that Christ fulfilled all of that old Law through His death on the cross.  God then gave us a new covenant.  He speaks of it even in the midst of the Old Covenant in Jeremiah 31: 31-34.  Then Paul quotes it twice in the Book of Hebrews; 8:8-13 and again in Hebrews 10: 16-18.  Here is what Paul states in these verses: "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.  Then he says, I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds."  Wow!  No more written law, now the Holy Spirit leads us and guides us into all truth!

Oh, one more verse here: Hebrews 10: 18, "And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices!"  Ain't it great! Jesus said, "It is finished!"

What God has done for us is so wonderful, there are no words to express just how great it is!  All I know that everyone I know who is embracing these truths are walking closer to the Lord than anytime in their lives.  And, my Friend, that includes me!

Grace and Peace!

Preaching Grace Releases Faith! (and other stuff)

New Covenant Grace is about all I preach these days.  I remain completely blown away about the immense amount of Grace substance contained within the pages of my Bible.  My personal testimony would have to include that since God began this wonderful Grace download within me my Bible has become an entirely different Book.  In listening to the comments of the people in our church, I would have to say that they too fully concur!  Folks....our lives are being transformed by this message!

As a result here is what I see taking place in our church (no specific order here):

1.  A greater intensity in our worship.  When a person understands the revelation of Grace their thankfulness to God for all that He has done for them increases, probably 100 fold. In my own life I spend much of my daily time in complete awe over what Christ has done for me.  My prayers of thanksgiving to Papa go forth several times daily. 

2.  A greater awareness of the closeness of God.  When one understands true Grace they understand what it really is.  Many say that Grace is, "God's unmerited favor."  This is really God's mercy.  True Grace is Christ (God) living within us, making us holy!  For two thousand years mankind has been trying to draw closer to God.  We have been told to pray more, to soak more, to go to church more, to give more money, to live better lives, to wear proper clothes, and the list goes on and on!  However we have never been taught that the very moment we came to Christ He entered us!  We no longer have to work to draw close to God as we cannot get any closer than Him living in us!

3. No more works, just abide!  Religion teaches us "Performance!"  New Covenant Grace teaches us to just relax, enter into God's rest (Heb. 4) and just abide!  We are the branches that abide on the vine.  The Vine (Christ) brings forth the fruit. 

4.  Freedom!  Often as I'm preaching/teaching a Grace message I watch the look coming over a person's face as they, "Get it!"  A light turns  on in their spirit when they begin to comprehend what I call the "Grace Revelation."  When people finally get free from Religion, the only comparison would be of a totally innocent person being incarcerated for what they didn't do, being released from prison after 20 years due to there being a new review of the evidence.  In our case Religion has totally misrepresented the Evidence (Christ).  Friends we are totally innocent!  Yes, no matter what we have done!  Christ went to the cross for us, shed His precious blood, went to Heaven and there poured out His Ultimate Sacrifice over the Mercy Seat and then sat down at the right hand of His Father. "It is finished!"  When judgment comes to us, because of Christ, the only verdict is, "Not Guilty!" We live in the land of freedom called, "No Condemnation!"

5.  Holiness!  Our detractors always point to someone who does something stupid and say, "There go those Grace People again!"  We are often challenged because it is supposed that we teach so much freedom that people can go out and commit any sin they want because God now says it's ok.  Can you say, "Throw the baby out with the bath water?"  Have people abused the Grace Message?  Certainly!  However, the facts are that those who are more than  "sippers" they are a "drinkers" in these revelations are walking in realms of holiness that they never thought possible!  Please read and understand Romans chapter 6.  Just for a teaser take a look at Romans 6: 14 (NLT), "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." Wow!  I love it!

6. Here is the bottom line, actually the title of this post, "Preaching Grace releases faith!"  How do we appropriate all of this wonderful New Covenant Grace? It is God's gift to us.  It is freely given to all, but the only way to activate this gift is by using our faith.  Here is what I am observing from the people of our church; their faith seems to be dramatically increasing!  I would suppose that when we understand that we, in ourselves, no longer have to produce things like holiness, and we understand that God produces this in us, we relax because the "religious struggle" has ended!  God can do it, we can't, becomes our thinking.  I struggle with placing faith in myself.  However, placing my faith in God is a different thing.  I just have to understand what I am supposed to believe in (revelation)!

If you would like to get more insight into New Covenant Grace I suggest that you look back on some of my past Blog posts over the past year.  I'm thinking that one day I will compile them in a book form.  The posts are all archived.  If you are ever in the Citrus County, Florida Area, drop in on us at Vision of Hope Ministries.  I'm certain you will be blessed! Here is our webpage:

Grace and Peace!

"The power (strength KJV) of sin is the Law." therefore sin is like a flashlight with no batteries. You can push the switch but no light will come on. it really isn't a flashlight is it? It is just an empty shell! Jesus fulfilled the Law. So that which we might consider sin really isn't sin, it's just an empty shell! Where there is no Law there is no sin!

Wow! I sure can hear Paul's heart here:

"If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."

2 Cor. 4: 3-4 (NLT)

Just Because Someone Wrote a Verse in a Book Does Not Make it So!

If you have been following some of my blogs on Grace and New Covenant life you possibly recall what I teach in regards to proper Bible intrepation.  Here is a quick review of what I call the "Three Steps to Proper Bible Intrepation:"

1. Who is a verse/passage written to?  Not every verse of Scripture is written to  Christians.  It may be directed to the Jews, unsaved people and of course we who are in the Church. Many very false doctrines are based upon not understanding this step. 

2.  Read the verse/passage in its entire context.  Check out the verses preceeding or after, maybe even the surrounding chapters.

3.  Do not take an obscure verse/passage, one that seems to stand alone, contriticting other verses/passages, and make a doctrine over them! that we've covered these important guidelines, let's see how they apply to what we read in some books.  An author writes an important book, at least in his/her estimation.  They make a point, write an a theme, usually that of their pet subject and in so doing quote some verses of Scripture.  We read the book, read the Scripture quoted and all of a sudden we have a new thought, a new idea, a new revelation come our way.  Our thought is, "Everything this guy/gal writes makes sense, so it must be true and they use the Bible to back it up!" However, what we fail to do is to check out the verses that are quoted.  Does the Bible really say what the author says it says?  

Now the reason I'm writing this blog post is that lately Corinne and I have discovered this exact problem in some of the things that we've read.

Here is my suggestion, if you are going to read books on Christianity other than the Bible you might want to make sure that you take the extra time and check out the verses quoted by using our three interpretation rules above.  You owe it to yourself to find the total truth, not just take someone's word for it!

Now, how about the things that we hear preached, do the same rules apply?  Hummm... maybe that's an idea for a future blog!  My thinking is that there are many gulible Christians.  I trust that you are not one!

Grace and Peace!

Not Your Mama's Revival!

Today is September 11, 2012.  Eleven years ago today America was forever changed!  How well I recall watching the unfolding tragic drama in New York City.  That day America was shocked to it's core!  I remember the instant national outcrying to God. The results were powerful!  I remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me that night in a prayer meeting in a small Michigan church, "Strike while the iron is hot!"  We did!  That following Sunday the pastor of that church had Corinne and I begin what was to be a series of four meetings.  Sunday morning the Spirit fell on us!  God totally brought His presence into that little church and what was to be four meetings extended to seven weeks! 

During those meetings many miracles took place.  Many were saved, baptized in the Spirit and healed spirit, soul and body.  The local town, Cedar Springs, MI was rocked by what God was doing each night during those meetings!  They should have continued but the pastor was swayed by some leaders who planted the seed, "Now that we have revival we now have to administer it!"  Within two days God lifted His hand from us.  Today that church no longer exists!  Ouch!  God does not need our help, period!

Those were our early days on the road, what we later called, "The Highway to Revival."  We always seemed to see revival break out in our meetings.  Over the following years we were so blessed to see many churches blessed and many people revived.  Often we would see meetings extended, some as long as 17 weeks.  It was powerful!

When we arrived here in Florida another powerful move of God exploded in our small church in Citrus County.  These meetings were extended for over two years and again, lives were totally transformed!

This past Sunday one of our gals handed me a letter asking for more revival to be released in our midst.  I had to smile at that as I have no control of what God wants to do!  I think what she was really asking me is for me to lead our church back into the "Good Ole Days!"  However, I'm sensing that we are in the midst of a very powerful move of God!  Actually what is happening now and what God has in store for us is far more powerful than any preceeding revival event.  We are in a move of God; call it revival is you wish!

So many still do not understand what revival is!  It goes way beyond just good meetings, although meetings seem to be an integral part of revival.  The word, "Revive" means to bring back from the dead.  Revival is that process of restoration that comes suddenly! In the old days, revival was often called, "The Suddenlies of God!" This may come as a shock.. but there is little people can do to bring revival. 

Here's the deal.... I love revival!  I love what God has done in the past, even in our ministry.  However, I'm so thrilled, so excited about all that God is doing in our midst these days!  I'm telling you.....we are on the edge of a very powerful move of God.  He is reviving us, restoring us to all of the truths of Grace and the New Covenant!  This is NOT your Mama's revival!  Some do not understand Grace and the New Covenant.  They feel that they understand both.  Yet they really do not!  The Bible has come alive to me in ways I've never experienced before.  Verses that I've read and even preached on for many years all of a sudden have come alive to me!  I'm really pumped!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, God is bringing His Church into new revelation, a revelation that is bringing us into a new movement.  It's an exciting time to be alive!  It really is!

Grace and Peace!