Tuesday, December 30, 2008


What is the first of the Ten Commandments? Reading in Exodus 20, the first commandment is commonly understood to be verse 3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." However, Jewish custom tells us that verse three is the second half of the first commandment. The first half is found in the preceding verse, "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

The reason this is often overlooked is because we assume that a commandment must start with a "Thou shalt...." However, one must remember that in the Bible, the Ten Commandments are never known as such (except in the margins and notes). They are known as the Law. In legal terminology, written law is not limited to such wording. In fact, laws are often written as matters of legal establishment and distinction. Contract laws are written this way. For instance, the deed to your home is such a contract. It establishes that your home at your specific address legally belongs to you.

Such is the case of the first commandment. God establishes the covenant fact that He indeed is God (I am the LORD thy God). Logically, the second half follows. The second half cannot possibly stand on its own. It must be established by the fact of the LORD God Himself as the existent, real, and only God.

I write all this to preface the third issue mentioned in the previous blog entry of 12/28. When we put Biblical adherence before worship, we violate the first commandment. As important as Biblical adherence is (and this is coming from a prophet!), it cannot take priority over God and His rightful glory, honor, and worship.

Sadly, this is all but nonexistent in the house-church.org website pages. It is another reason why I share the message, Stop going to church and start being the Church. Be the Church and worship. That is the preeminence of Colossians 1:12 - "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Jesus gets first priority in "all things". No exceptions. This fact must not be neglected in our writings, prayers, or churches.

That it is missing from the website is likely an oversight. Nevertheless, I should like to know more about this group and will continue my search. I shall write later concerning the last issue later. It requires further study and prayer.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I added a few gadgets to this blog including links. I'll tell you up front that no link appearing here necessarily has my full advocacy. Instead, it may be there simply for informational or discussion purposes. Such is the case for the link www.house-church.org.

For the most part I actually do agree with most of what I see here at first glance. However, there are three areas of serious concern:

1. The polar debate with Gene Edwards
2. The question of what to do with unbelieving family members in the house church is not addressed
3. The focus on the wrong purpose (Biblical adherence instead of worship)

I shall discuss the first point in this entry then proceed to the others later on.

What is at stake here is not who is right and who is wrong. The issue is the same one that Jesus dealt with - the fleshly desire for power. In our Lord's case, He faced the Pharisees and Sadduccees, the religious leaders of the day. In the case of House-Church vs. Edwards, they are likewise the religious leaders of their movements. In both cases, the focus is on the people in power though the articles try to lead you to believe a more righteous line.

The same can be said of denominationalism. No matter the case, since the day God made Himself known to man, man has attempted to usurp God and take control. This is the way of the flesh. It is the first and very nature of sin, that man says "No" to God and "Yes" to himself, his flesh, and the father of lies - the devil. This is the very turning away from God to self. Therefore John emphasizes so much in his Gospel that we are to believe.

To believe means to turn to the living God from idols, just as we are instructed in I Thessalonians 1:9. It is not from these sins of the flesh, of power, greed, and self that we turn. It is from the sin of unbelief. For any one of these sins must necessarily add up to guilt for all (James 2:10). That is what Jesus died for and saved us from.

This point is a lesson unto itself and I will share more about it later for it is crucial to the other two points above. I will close with this:

My ministry and calling is to the remnant, the saints of God, to be used of Him to wake up the Church according to Ephesians 5:25-27 and I Corinthians 15:34. If I stray from this into the fleshly captures of what inevitably comes from getting books published and speaking engagements, then pray boldly to God and speak boldly to me that I would repent for all that I do now is for the glory of God.

Yet throughout history, God is sovereign and has not allowed the flesh of mankind to stop His purposes. The kingdom of God is filled with wheat and tares (Matthew 13). In these last days there will be false teachers and false prophets, some of whom started out in righteousness only to be felled by the flesh. This is a great mystery and yet it is true.

God allows these things but He does not prefer them. He still holds high the standard of His truth. It never changes. We are commanded to be, to do, to live, to believe, according to His Word. We can only do this in obediece to Romans 6:11 - "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After

C'mon, let's be honest here. What do you really think about Christmas? Now the day after is here and you can reflect a bit. Here's a few questions to consider:

Did you get everything you wanted?

How did you and the in-laws get along this year?

Were the kids perfectly behaved and grateful for everything they got?

How was the food? Did you eat too much?

How many different versions of the Christmas story did you hear or tell? In other words, what did you tell folks what Christmas is really all about?

I'll stop there because that's one of the questions I want to focus on first. Then I'll talk about the one's above it.

What is Christmas really all about? When folks ask me that I give the usual jaw-dropping answer, "It's December 25th, just another day." Both the world and Christians expect something more. But it is nothing more.

The birth of Jesus, God incarnate, is certainly profound. But not in and of itself. Our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world a baby but did not stay so. Just as He is still not hanging on the cross (as so many idols portray Him today), He is still not lieing in a manger. In fact, the eternal view of Jesus is as John described Him, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

John saw Jesus in many ways during their lifetimes together on earth. He saw Him in person for approximately three years, first as a man of some thirty-years old, and finally, on Jesus' last day on earth as Son of Man, as Christ crucified. Three days later John saw Him again and for fifty days onward saw Him still bearing the marks of that awful day. Then, in the Revelation, John saw Him that way again, as a Lamb slain.

When we meet Jesus someday in the air with the rest of the saints, this is how we will see Him. We will not see Him as a baby. We will not see Him on the cross. We will not see Him unmarked. Do you know why He will look this way?

Remember when Jesus came out of the tomb and was met on the way by two disciples? They did not recognize Him. Not even Mary recognized Him at first until He spoke her name. She confused Him with the gardener. Why?

Because He arose just as He descended, as the Lamb slain. Isaiah saw Him this way hundreds of years before the event (Isaiah 53). The disciples saw Him this way after His resurrection. John's last vision of Jesus as Son of man describes Him in a glorious way (Revelation 1:14-15). Nevertheless, Jesus will always be throughout eternity known in this most profound way - the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

The good news of His birth (not Christmas as we know it) is simply a matter of historical fact leading to this final triumph over sin. The Atonement bought sinful mankind back into righteous relationship to our holy God. The cost of redemption was the very lifeblood of His Son.

The birth of Jesus is therefore all about sin and salvation. He was born of water and blood (I John 5:6). He died in blood and water (John 19:34). Did you notice how these two verses switch the order of these components? In His birth it was all about the water (that of His earthly monther's womb). In His death, it was all about His blood.

You see therefore that there is nothing to celebrate about the first without dwelling upon the latter. There really is no other story. Adding or taking away from it is wicked. And that's just what the world and the churches have done over the past two-thousand plus years.

There is no commandment to celebrate Christmas. Neither are there words in the Bible to condone this practice in any way. It was mankind's addition and tradition that came about sometime in the fourth century AD, initiated by a pope of the Catholic church shortly after Christianity was legalized in Rome. The pope wanted to make the most of it and gain popular opinion for "Christianity" by combining Christmas with the winter solstice, a pagan holiday most popular in the day.

Just about everything we hold sacred and true about the holiday is first affixed to the pagan rituals. The tree, the greens, the caroling, the mistletoe, the gift giving - these are all pagan. They are still pagan.

Now you can't argue with history and so while you may necessarily agree with all that's said, you may argue still, what's wrong with all that? What's the harm? What about the children?

That gets to the second point as I remind you of the first set of questions at the beginning of this post. I sum up the set of possible answers to them in one word - disappointment. That's what sin does. It is probably the most tolerated evil in the world because it always leaves room for hope. Maybe next year. I can always exchange it. They'll grow out of it. The rationales go on and on.

There is no hope except in our Lord Jesus Christ. No glory. No certainty. No satisfaction. But that old man, that flesh, it wants so badly to have, have, have. Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20). This immediately and necessarily leads straight to sin (James 1:14-15).

That is why Jesus was so stern and absolute in His commandment to forsake everthing. He left no conditions on this. He gave no room for consideration. He permitted no time for contemplation. It is a transaction that every disciple must make (and continually make) in order to be free.

Free from what?

Only you know the weight of your own sin baggage. What disappointments do you carry? What do you continue to hope will get better next time? Who let you down, and you're just trying to forget about it?

You can forsake it all and be free. Right now.

That's the purpose of this blog. To share God's truth with you. Awake to righteousness and sin not (I Corinthians 15:34). This is what God requires of you and all that Jesus has given to you. It is your responsibility to transact upon your own will. He will not do it for you. You cannot wish it. You cannot pray about it. You must do it. Immediately you do, God will move all heaven and earth to make your path wide and your steps large and your eyes wide to see and ears open to hear all the glorious truth of this great freedom. You will be free indeed.

And there is much more after this. Get hold of this truth and live it before God daily. You will begin to understand and experience all God means by sanctification (I Thessalonians 4:1-7).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

But what if...?

Suppose you stopped going to church. What would happen?

What would your family say?

How would your friends and co-workers react?

Would you get a call from your pastor?

What questions would you struggle with the most just before making the final decision?

Who would you be most worried about concerning their opinion of your action?

What sort of conditions would you attach to your decision?

What would you miss most at your church?

Would anybody truly miss you after about three months?

What would you do with the extra time?

Who would you most want to be with during this new-found extra time?

How would you explain to a stranger the reasons for your decision?

Why did you start going to church in the first place?

If you seriously spent any time answering these questions, then consider this word from the Lord Jesus Christ, "...whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." You are carrying religious baggage to be repented of. It is not of faith. Therefore it is sin.

Stop going to church and start being the Church.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stop Going to Church

What? Stop going to church? What on earth are you talking about?

I'm talking about nothing on earth and something in heaven. It's time for the Church, the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ to wake up. WAKE UP! The Church is asleep and Jesus is fast on His way back for us (Revelation 22:20, Ephesians 5:27, I Thessalonians 4:17). Are you ready? (Mark 13:33, Luke 18:8, Ephesians 5:27)

Oswald Chambers in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, has much to say about today's topic:

"When you are face to face with a soul in difficulty spiritually, remind yourself of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If that soul can get to God on any other line, then the Cross of Jesus Christ is unnecessary. If you can help others by your sympathy or understanding, you are a traitor to Jesus Christ. You have to keep your soul rightly related to God and pour out for others on His line, not pour out on the human line and ignore God. The great note to-day is amiable religiosity.

The one thing we have to do is to exhibit Jesus Christ crucified, to lift Him up all the time. Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the Cross of Jesus will lead astray. If the worker himself believes in Jesus Christ and is banking on the Reality of Redemption, the people he talks to must be concerned. The thing that remains and deepens is the worker's simple relationship to Jesus Christ; his usefulness to God depends on that and that alone."

"The pietistic movements of to-day have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them; there is nothing about them that needs the Death of Jesus Christ; all that is required is a pious atmosphere, and prayer and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous, it did not cost the passion of God, it is not dyed in the blood of the Lamb, not stamped with the hall-mark of the Holy Ghost; it has not that mark on it which makes men say, as they look with awe and wonder - "That is the work of God Almighty." That and nothing else is what the New Testament talks about.

The type of Christian experience in the New Testament is that of personal passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other type of Christian experience, so called, is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration, no being born again into the Kingdom in which Christ lives, but only the idea that He is our Pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is Saviour long before He is Pattern. To-day He is being despatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere Example. He is that, but He is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God."

This last one is my favorite:

"Most of us are not spiritually coherent because we are more concerned about being coherent externally. Paul lived in the basement; the coherent critics live in the upper storey of the external statement of things, and the two do not begin to touch each other. Paul's consistency was down in the fundamentals. The great basis of his coherence was the agony of God in the Redemption of the world, viz., the Cross of Jesus Christ.

Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ."

"Do away with as much of it as possible." Stop going to church and doing the church thing just because that's the way you've always done it, the way you were raised, the way you've read about it in books (not the Bible), the way it was taught to you by those you love and trust the most. Start being the Church and get your churchiness right by taking direction from the Lord Jesus Christ alone. To start with, there may be much you have to repent from.

More on that later.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!

Perhaps the title is a little wintry corny but it speaks well of a necessary act of our Christian lives. Following last week's Confession post, God continually reminded me of the reality of Jesus' words, "...you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)There are no words to explain this state, nor do I wish to try to pen them, for they would quickly become an emotional idol to me and perhaps others. When God sets you free, you are free to worship, free to be One with Him, free from sin, free to love Him and seek Him with your whole heart.

Just after this wonderful moment, God brought three people out of my past back into my life. Three people who hurt me. Three who I was very angry and bitter with. I knew I was free from those things. But Jesus said, "you shall be free indeed." And so those very specific and painful people had to be finally reckoned with. I had to let it go. I let go of the anger, bitterness, and circumstances. I had to let go of the feelings that arose just at the mere mention of their names, the sight of their face, the association of their deed with someone else. One of these had been festering for nearly thirty years!

Christian, let it go. (Hebrews 12:1) Be free indeed. That is the depth of confession, forsaking, and repentance. That is the breadth of God's love to cover it. That is the power of Jesus' atonement to settle it forever and never bring it up again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What do George Mueller, depravity, worship, and happiness all have to do with my last post?

A confession.

My last post was about prayer. Most people would say that George Mueller was all about prayer. Well he was. But he was so much more. He said that the chief objective of his life was not the orphans and not prayer. Indeed, it was the glory of God at all costs, every day.

If anyone could have given up, blamed it all on someone else, or succumbed to circumstances, it was George Mueller. He cared for perhaps two-thousand orphans every day for decades. He knew not where the next meal would come from, the next bedsheet, the next set of clothing. Every single bit was faithfully committed to God in prayer. God was delighted to answer every single bit with provision.

Now we might consider this remarkable. We would say that George Mueller had an exceptional gift. But he said of himself that he was a mere man, that anyone could believe God and pray as he could. Yet two-hundred years plus after his birth, who else can be listed in the same ranks as Mueller? It seems precious few. Why?

We all say to ourselves, "I want to be like that." We pray to God to be like that. Deep down we know it's true that we could and yet the reality escapes us. Or perhaps, like me, you have tasted on brief occasion that goodness of God and wonder how to keep it up.

But like me, depravity, circumstances, and blame settle the affections elsewhere. All too often I put my trust in man resulting in utter disappointment. Thus begins a viscious and bitter circle. I try to convince myself of godly motives for thinking and feeling the way I do. Jesus did not put His trust in any man for He knows what is in man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Yes we know all that but no change; no improvement; still angry.

Mueller's biographer went on to tell his "secret". He purposed in his heart every day at the beginning of the day to make himself happy in the Lord. No matter the circumstances, the letdowns from man, the personal feelings of the flesh (Oh poor me!), George Mueller determined that God was good and to ensure his prayers were heard and answered, he must first be right with God, then worship, then petition.

As I considered this, God let me know that it is the right course. He brought to mind another great man of God whose writings I have delved daily for nearly thirty years - Oswald Chambers. He writes that we are to worship God at times in extravagence. Like Mary who broke the alabaster box of precious ointment on the Lord's feet, then wiped it with her hair, so are we to demonstrate our love for the Lord Jesus at times. We are to worship Him in the moment and do the thing that required no forethought, no great gathering, just a spontaneous outpouring of love, worship, and blessedness to Him.

God salvation brings us to this very thing, that we can worship Him in the beauty of holiness. God says in Ephesians 1:3 that He will bless us with heavenly blessings when we do this. That word "bless" means "happy".

That's what Mueller was after. He knew the depravity of mankind and his own heart. He set aside that easily besetting murk and instead made himself happy in the Lord. Sometimes this took more than a half hour as he poured out confession of sin to God and then trusted in His mercy through the blood of Jesus. Only then did he know by the blessing poured upon him from the throne that he was in the presence of God Who was then ready to pour out from His storehouse of abundance.

So now you know some of why you haven't heard from me in a month. But no more. Pray for me and yourselves as Mueller learned to. Dare not to start a day without being happy in the Lord for He is good.