I am often asked the question, "What is your church like?" Wow! What a question! Do you have several hours for me to tell you? Of course not! So here are a couple of quotes from other grace teachers that we have placed on our web site: www.ncgrace.com. If you can somewhat understand these quotes then you will get a bit of an idea what New Covenant Grace Fellowship is all about.
"I'm not afraid that people will "abuse" grace. I am afraid they will never know the power of grace and keep being abused by fear, shame and condemnation!"
“His grace is cheapened when you think that He has only forgiven you of your sins up to the time you got saved, and after that point, you have to depend on your confession of sins to be forgiven. God's forgiveness is not given in installments.”
There you have it. Chew on these quotes a little and give us a visit any Sunday morning or Wednesday evening and you will certainly get a good idea of what we are all about! This Sunday morning would be a great time to check us out!
Yesterday Corinne and I had some fellowship with some out of town friends. The visiting wife told us that she had mentioned to some of her friends that they were going to come and visit as well as eventually move into our area. Those people told our friend that, "Larry Silverman has changed his beliefs and that they (our friends) should stay away from me." Well the truth is that I have changed my beliefs and religious people do stay pretty clear of me. I am totally OK with that!
I find it strange that I am in a place with God that I've never been in my entire Christian life! I love Him more! I hear Him clearer! My desires are more towards Him more than ever! I am involved with flesh acts less and less! The Bible is a brand new book to me! I understand Jesus more than ever! I am more thankful to God and His plan for me more than I've ever been! And more than anything I find myself loving a whole lot more! Yet, to the religious....they encourage people to stay away from me!
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I go public with my views and as a result I walk around with a huge target on my back that says, "If you are religious take a hit at this guy as he is one of those 'Grace Guys'!"
Here is a little tip that I have learned about how to discern if you have been attacked by religion. The best way to define a religious attack is to look at how it effects your life. Please remember this....ALL RELIGIOUS ATTACKS ARE FOLLOWED BY CONDEMNATION! That's right....if you are attacked by a religious person you will feel like you have been "slimmed!" You can almost feel the slime oozing off of you. Remember the true Gospel of Jesus Christ will edify you! That is right...Jesus will build you up not tear you down!
The key here is to continue to renew your mind with the true Gospel message! It is also imperative that you work hard at keeping yourself in the right place with Jesus. You heard me...we have to work hard at keeping ourselves in the midst of God's New Covenant as we will be bombarded by religion to move out of it! It is so important to be hearing the right thing and acting upon it after the hearing. I realize that some of my Grace Friends might object to me mentioning, "Working hard!" But Paul (or the writer of the Hebrew letter) states the same thing. Hebrews 10:23 (NLT), "Let us HOLD TIGHTLY without wavering to the hope we affirm!" That's right....once we see the true Gospel, it's up to us to believe it and then hold onto it, without wavering! To not do this will only lead us into religion's slime attack! The net result: Condemnation!
Here is a positive thought from Hebrews....this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in a nutshell, "For our guilty consciences HAVE BEEN sprinkled with Christ's blood TO MAKE US CLEAN!" (Heb. 10:22b) Think about this verse. I'll venture that you will never hear a religious person tell you this!
Yes my Friend you will come under attack from the religious. However, when you do so just give your attacker a wink as you know in your heart of hearts that you are God's special child. Christ died just for you! He has made you clean, righteous and holy and you didn't have to do a think to earn it! You, my Friend, are clean! No one can take that away from you! Glory!
I realize that I am a very radical person! The status quo has never been my choice. I consider myself a crusader, especially about the things of God. When I latch onto a revelation, watch out...I'm riding that horse on a gallop no matter where it takes me. I've often had people tell me something like, "Larry, just cool off, take the middle road, and things will go a lot better for you!" Of course I always seem to reject that type of advice, and, to be honest, often "things" go kinda hard or slow as a result. That's the way it has been with the revelations of New Covenant Grace for me.
Some preachers say, "I'm a grace preacher." Yet they don't preach it like I do. In other words, grace to me isn't just a couple of Sunday morning messages preached just because it seems to be the popular thing to do, but in our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, FL (www.ncgrace.com), Grace is The Message! We do not preach or teach anything other than Grace! And guess what? We keep learning more and more as the revelations just keep flowing. To me it's very awesome!
Here is a verse that has been just plain driving me lately...Romans 8: 17 (NLT), "And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory." So you and I are His children, that means we have inherited, along with Christ, God's glory. Now let that thought sinking into your mind a bit today! I have inherited God's glory, and it's equal to the glory that Christ inherited. Wow!!!!! Here is what that word, "glory" means in the Greek. His glory is all that makes Him God! For instance His glory is his power, His wisdom, His love, His provision, etc....All of this and more is His glory and we have inherited all of that! Do you hear me? All that makes God God you and I, equally along with Christ, have received as our inheritance! OK...I double dog dare you to try to wrap your mind around that thought!
If you can possible understand, even a little, about the above verse, you just might understand some why I'm so radical!
The bottom line, I'm more turned on to the things of God than I ever have been! I'm pumped!
I trust that you to are beginning to see just how wonderful the true Gospel of Jesus Christ really is! But be careful, you too just may turn into a crusader!
Yep, I am a very blessed man! God has been so faithful to me. I could go on for hours about all of the blessings in my life, from family, to church and even physical blessings, God has been just great to me!
This morning I'm sitting outside on our patio by the pool watching the awesome sunrise over Lake Tasala Apopka, Florida thinking about the faithfulness of God.
Since 1973 Corinne and I have faithfully tried to follow the Lord. Note the key word here, "tried!" Back in the day there was a lot of hard work involved in our walk with Him. Why? Because we didn't have the slightest idea of the finished works of Christ! To us back then, Christianity seemed to be a series of hard work. Much work, lots of trying, and much failure seemed to be our life for many years.
Then, many years ago, revelations of Grace began to come our way. We began to see that God promised His Kids an easy and light life. Over the past 4-5 years those revelations of New Covenant Life have so increased in us that it has totally become our life! Glory!
Now here is a secret that I would like to share with you.....THE MORE WE REST IN GOD THE GREATER OUR BLESSINGS HAVE BEEN! I know....when your world seems to go upside down it is very difficult to rest. Yet, this has been the entire key to our blessings. We no longer work to please God! Why? Because Corinne and I know that we already please Him, not by what we do or don't do, but rather by what Jesus did for us 2000 years ago on the cross!
Listen, we are products of what we preach! If you would look over some of my past blogs you will see a pattern established. You will see the rest of God in action as the words that I have written have come from the reality of what God has done in my heart and life!
I pray God's Grace and peace over you today! You see, peace always follows grace. I might suggest that if you are not living in a lot of peace, you might check out how much of God's grace you are living in!
OK, let's get right down to it! In response to the the title of this blog, I do love attending church on Sunday mornings. However, I would NOT attend a church that was not totally grace based! I know that this statement might make some pastors upset at me, but I am totally serious here, I would never go to a church that was mixing law into their message. Why? Because any gospel that is mixed in law, any form of it, is not the true Gospel of Jesus Christ! I understand that this is a pretty harsh statement, but I don't really find it any harsher than Paul's statement in Galatians 1: 8, "Let God's curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you." He repeats this again in verse 9. Talk about a couple of pretty harsh statements....wow!
If the truth were known, much of today's "Legacy Church" really doesn't understand the New Covenant! The message of Grace is not really preached and as a result Believers everywhere are burdened by a load of guilt and condemnation. For me, I am free from all of that and have no interest in returning!
Yet, I love attending our church on Sunday mornings, for that matter whenever we meet. Why? Not just because I'm the pastor, but I find great joy in meeting with my Brothers and Sisters. I love to worship God with New Covenant type music. I love to watch our people ministering to one another like they do. I love the freedom that we have in the Spirit. If someone needs personal ministry in our group they get it.
Last night, our Wednesday group met. One of our men told of a friend who had recently lost a loved one. One of our gals later sat by this guy and shared her personal experience with him, thus ministering to the need of his friend. It was pretty awesome!
The writer of Hebrews (Paul?) stated, "And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, BUT ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) Now, please note where I placed the emphasis (all caps). I feel that the emphasis isn't on the "meeting together" part as much as it is on the "encourage one another" part! Get it? Some, yes even some within the "Grace Movement," have dissed this verse as one that legalistic pastors have used to get people faithful to attending their church services. I'm sure that is indeed the case in some quarters. However, Hebrews 10:25 is still in the Bible and taken in context with the proceeding verses becomes a very relevant thing.
By the way, the writer to the Hebrews is not speaking of meeting together with those who are under law, but rather those who are under Grace...just read Chapter 10 in context! The writer is talking New Covenant things in chapter 10, no mixture what so ever!
Yeppers....I attend our church on Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings and my life is changed! No matter how tired I am, no matter how busy I am, something special happens to me and in me every time I am there! I love it, I hope that you can say the same!
One final note...It is very likely that you don't have a church like ours to attend. If that is the case, please feel free to contact me. I might have some ideas for you. You can find my contact info on our web page: www.ncgrace.com
I wish to state that I love my Bible! I love how the Holy Spirit has used my Bible to bring me into freedom and a wonderful ongoing understanding of what true new covenant life is really about. I preach and teach from my Bible every Sunday. When people attend our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship in Inverness, FL, they get ministry from the Bible! I also look at my Bible as the word of God for me. Now here is where I need to bring some clarification to my words above!
Please note, I said my Bible is "the word of God for me!" See it is the word of God, but only Jesus is the Word of God! Do you see the difference?
It seems that many today, even within "the Grace Camp" seem to degrade the Bible. The problems with the Bible are vast! Way to vast to go into in this short blog. Yet, a problem does remain and the problem isn't so much with the Bible itself but rather the way people have interpreted it and applied it to every day life.
Being a New Covenant Grace type guy, I take a lot from Paul's teachings! After all, he was the first to bring the message of Grace to the Early Church. Therefore let's take a look at what Paul had to say about some of this...
#1. Paul received his understanding of the Gospel from Christ himself: Gal. 1: 12, "I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ."
#2. Paul did not consider all of the Bible past, especially the Law, the word of God for those he taught. When he stated that "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives," (2 Timothy 3:16) He was NOT referring to the old covenant Law! (that would contradict much of his other teaching, example: 2 Cor. chapter 3) He was speaking of the revelations that he received from Christ. The word, "Scripture" here means simply a document of holy Christian writing. I know some may consider what I am about to say blasphemous, but the truth is that this blog you are reading, according to the Greek, and the interpretation of Paul is "Scripture!" Why? Because it is a document of holy Christian writing! Do I consider it equal to the Bible? Of course not! But the facts here remain!
When Paul was speaking about Scripture, he wasn't talking about the Old Testament passages of Law, but rather the direct revelations he received from Christ Himself!
#3. Paul considered his words, "The word of God!" Let's look at 1 Thessalonians 1: 13, "Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from you, you didn't think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the VERY WORD OF GOD -WHICH, OF COURSE, IT IS. And this word continues to work in you who believe!"
Now, compare the above verse to 2 Timothy 3:16. Do you see how it works?
There is much more I could go into here, but for the sake of time, please mediate on the things I've stated here. I think this may help you understand the Bible in the way in which it is meant to work in your life!
I may post more on this subject later. In the meantime.....GRACE AND PEACE!
Over the many years of Corinne and I ministering in churches all over America we had the opportunity to work with some of the best worship teams in the country. It was a privilege to be so blessed. I even had the wonderful opportunity to play guitar with some awesome musicians, and believe me, that was a very humbling experience! However, one thing that we noted just about where ever we went was that there are some people within local churches who actually worship worship.
Some churches take note of this and actually promote it. I recall one large church in California that was able to engage a popular Christian recording star as their worship leader. Within weeks, all over that city one could see bill boards stating something like, "Come worship with "Brother Billy Bob," famous Christian recording star!" Of course, the goal was to attract a larger congregation as they fully knew that people would be drawn to such things.
I often hear people say things like, "Our church has such awesome worship!" I marvel at that as it's like who is to be getting anything from the worship...the people or God? We used to work with some worship teams that would declare that their sole purpose was to exalt the "Audience of One!" Those groups were awesome! It does seem like there is a "high" that often comes with singing songs to God. However, there just may be a fine line between pure worship and just mere entertainment!
At our church, New Covenant Grace Fellowship, our leader is diligent to make sure that our worship is all new covenant in nature. By that I mean that many worship songs come with an old covenant nature attached. The music can be great and the lyrics can be great, but if a song isn't based on the finished works of Jesus it isn't worth singing!
There have been times in a service where I like to suggest that the people worship God with no music. It can be done you know! Actually the greatest way to worship the Lord is to live life in the midst of the new covenant. Just the fact that you know, without a shadow of doubt, that you are holy and righteous apart from your self effort is worship in it's highest form! He enjoys us living in the fullness of all that Christ died for! Glory!!!