Poem of Truth

 

“The collapse of the barrier between popular culture and decadence has released a toxic mudslide of vulgarity into the nation’s family rooms—and just about everywhere else. There is almost no remote corner of this culture that is not marked by the toleration of vulgarity, or the outright celebration of depravity.” – Albert Mohler

* * *

Watch the Gospel message fading
In a hazy maze of grays.
Watch the strait and narrow vanish.
As we preach “the broader ways”.

Watch the mudslide, sir, continue,
Idol Progress take her bow.
Watch the children numbed to numb-er.
Scripture all but disavowed.

If you watch foundations closely,
You may spot The Missing Link:
When God’s Word is not uplifted,
You will see the culture sink.

You will hear discourses coarsen,
Witness bloodshed left and right…
You’ll hear scoffers mocking scripture.
You’ll see sinners dodging light.

You’ll see human sacrifices
Designated quite “humane”.
Least among us terminated…
Consciences that know no shame.

* * *

When the Gospel’s taught as truthless,
It will soon be toothless goo…
After toothless turns to couth-less…
Ruthless will be stalking you.

* * *

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”- 1Timothy 4:1-2

(dot, dot, dot…..see also Romans 1:18-32)

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Forgiveness

7 THOUGHTS ON FORGIVENESS

1. Forgiveness means tearing up a debt. It means you abandon any expectation of change or restitution from the offender.

2. Yes, it’s difficult. The more severe the offense against you, the harder it is.

3. Forgiveness can be unilateral. You can forgive someone even though they never seek it or change.

4. Forgiving someone may never change them. Be content if it at least changes you.

5. A gospel world-view is essential. Knowing the Father fully forgives you is the divine motivation for you to forgive others.

6. Forgiveness is healing. To go a step further and seek the restoration and encouragement of the offender is liberating!

7. The Christian church is intended to be a community of believers who breathe the air of forgiveness and cause forgiveness to flourish in their midst.

Simple New Testament Meeting Guidelines

Here are some scriptural guidelines from Eric Carpenters Blog when it comes to meeting in the home as believers.

Eric’s Words:

I believe the best answer to the above question is that as we come together as the Bride of Christ we should be following principles set forth in the New Testament. While we may have some freedom in the details, we must follow the principles that God has made clear and unavoidable for us. Those principles include, but are not limited to, the following (in no particular order):

Jesus Christ is the unquestioned Head.
Gatherings are to be Holy Spirit led and directed.
Everything that occurs is to be for mutual edification.
Meetings are to essentially be family get-togethers.
The body eats together (the Lord’s Supper).
Group participation is the norm.
Each person uses his or her spiritual gifts to benefit the body.
Children are present and active.
Meetings are simple, preferably in homes.
Gatherings are a time to carry out the one-anothers.
Leadership = service.
Elders come from within the body.
Meetings are free-flowing and generally unplanned (unceremonial).
Reading of scripture takes place.
Giving is to meet needs.
Decision making comes through consensus.

It just seems to me that looking at this list is a good way to start discussing meeting in the home as the body of Believers.

 

 

 

The Original Way of Home Fellowship

     My road of faith and it’s hills and valleys have been many through the years of my Christian walk. Since  I left the institutional congregation of believers, I feel as if I have been wandering in a desolate wilderness while stumbling over rocks and boulders strewn along the landscape. My connections with like minded-believers, who have found the same path, have been few and far between. Sometimes, I feel like a man without a country, but I know that there are others of you out there who are in similar situations on your journey.
    My journey has been filled with research, reading, and reflection on numerous authors who have been on similar and more extensive travels through the home church wilderness. I have concluded in my mind after all this time and research that the way that the early New Testament believers met is the “better way.” However, I believe instead of saying a better way, it should be the “Original Way.”
     A few weeks ago or maybe months, I came across a listing of what one home fellowship sees as a thread weaved through the fabric of their meeting together as a body of New Testament believers. I believe that as I have read through this listing that it fleshes out what I see could be foundational to a body of believers meeting in the home so let me share it with you:
  • Jesus is the head of the body of believers.
  • Understand that Jesus’ desire for believers is that together they will conform to his image and be prepared for mutual ministries to each other and outreach to the lost world,
  • Believe in the “priesthood of all believers” for the work of the ministry.
  • Enjoy prayer, praise, worship, bible teaching, the Lord’s supper, testimonies of the Lord working in the believer’s lives as a common practice in the home environment.
  • Encourage teaching, learning, and sharing times that are open to questions and discussion
  • Include children as part of the gathering and ministry time.
  • Enjoy practicing all the one another’s listed in the scriptures
  • Let elders have a functional mindset and emerge naturally over time.
  • Make decisions for the body by consensus (Acts 15:22,25) looking to Jesus, the head, allowing the Holy Spirit the opportunity to bring the whole body of believers into one mind.
If you can think of more let me know.

Have You Been Pastorized?

How does anyone know if they have been “pastorized?” Christians are pastorized if some of these are true of them:
  • They believe everything a pastor says or preaches from their pulpits.
  • They think their “pastor” is a man or woman instead of the Lord Jesus.
  • They think they have to tithe to the local “church” and the pastor.
  • They think church pastors have authority over their lives, in contradiction to what Christ taught (Matthew 23:8-10).
  • They let the pastors tell them what the scriptures say, instead of proving ALL THINGS for themselves.
  • They let the pastors interpret the Bible for them, without studying on their own what the truth is.
  • They think the church pastors have a right to a life-time of free money (welfare existence).
  • They think they cannot have a personal relationship with the Father/Jesus Christ, without “going to church”.
  • They think that Sunday or (Saturday) church attendance is the the major part of definition of being a Christian.
  • They think that following Jesus Christ means going to church every week and hearing another sermon.
  • They believe pastors are infallible and inerrant and must be obeyed.
  • Their lives revolve around church, church activities, camp meetings, revivals, conferences, seminars and endless meetings, even when Jesus Christ lives in them 24/7 through the Holy Spirit, and it is NEVER NECESSARY to go here or there looking for Christ, when He lives within them all the time.
  • The focus of their lives revolves around listening to pastors preach, rather than hearing the voice of the true Shepherd.
  • Their vocabulary is about “church” and “my pastor” this and that, rather than about the Lord Jesus.
  • Their lives revolve around churchianity, rather than around Jesus Christ.
  • They believe it is rebellion to question the teachings and practices of the pastors and churches.
  • They think the “Word” of God is the “Bible”, when the Word is really Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3).
  • They never research issues for themselves, but leave all the research and thinking to the pastors.
The two means by which all human beings are controlled, ruled over, regulated to death and made to live in fear is through secular governments and religions, including churchianity. Churchianity is a man-made religion, and has nothing to do with following Jesus Christ. Pastorization has to do with being dumbed down to the level of not being able to think, reason or discern for oneself, but in which the lords of the church world rule over the pastorized.

My Story:Transition from Institution to Home

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      Hmmmmmm….First, let me simply share with all who will be reading this story about me growing away from the Institution of church. I do believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I do not neglect reading and studying the Bible, God’s word, and I do fellowship with other believers. With that said, “we’ll move on down the road.”

It all started when a friend asked our pastor at the time, “how do you meet the needs of seniors in your congregation?” He said, “Well, they kind of fall through the cracks.” When our friend told us this, it really started me thinking, “something is drastically wrong in the body of believers!” “It’s about relationships right?

     So, our friend suggested that we start a home church. Great Idea! I wish I could paint a rosy picture and say “God had the perfect timing, everything fell int0 place,  and we were able to start a spiritually thriving home fellowship. However, the reality is I was riddled with guilt about leaving the Institutional church on the one hand, and on the other, I was pressuring myself about what I should be doing to start a home fellowship.

     Really, these events were triggers that set the wheels in motion and pushed me on to research the truth about the Institutional church and its underpinnings. Let’s just say that what I discovery, again, was shocking on the one hand, but not too surprising on the other. The institutional body has developed into a system cloaked in the “traditions of men.”

    So, where am I today? Do I attend a home fellowship?, nope, but I wish I did. Do I fellowship with other believer? Yup! Will a home fellowship be in my future? God only knows what the future will bring, but it is my prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change of Pace: In The Stillness

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In the Stillness

In the stillness, I find my Joy

Worlds crumble and collapse, while ever present is

Peace Unspeakable,

a calm, quiet heart

In the stillness, I find my Joy

Flowing from the Father’s hand,

Longing for the eternal tomorrow,

No Sorrow, No Pain, No Crying, Death, or Dying.

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A Servant’s Heart

A servants heart acts without being asked.

When asked, he acts.

Discernment:An Important Road Continued

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 “DISCERNMENT is NOT knowing the difference between RIGHT and WRONG. It is knowing the difference between RIGHT and ALMOST RIGHT.” 

QUOTE by CHARLES SPURGEON [1834-1892]:

“My people are destroyed for lack of (accurate) knowledge.”    Hosea 4:6

     First, in continuing my writing, I want to share with you that I’m just a guy who loves Jesus, the word of God, and someone who has done a fair amount of research about the subject of discernment when it comes to the Bible. I care that others will take and use some of the information I have provided in order for them to become more proficient when it comes to discerning the scriptures and making comparisons to the way believers meet today.

I wanted to start out by giving you a couple of short definitions of discernment.

Discernment is Not:

  1. A practice where we can rely on others to do the work of discerning for us.
  2. A belief based on an emotional experience, i.e., visions, signs & wonders, an inner sense apart from the scriptures or a new revelation apart from the scriptures.

Discernment is:

  1. A skill of understanding and applying God’s word with the purpose of separating truth from error and better from best.
  2. A discipline like reading or public speaking and a skill that Christians must be committed to and consistently practice.

Reliable Biblical Resources:

Study Bible-Two Types

  1. Dynamic Equivalency- Dynamic equivalency is more like a paraphrase, trying to convey ideas thought by thought.- New International Version (NIV), Today’s New International Version (TNIV), and the New Living Translation (NLT). Of those, the NIV (Junior King James) is the most reliable
  2. Formal Equivalency-provides as literal a translation as possible. King James Version (KJV), the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American StandardBible (NASB), and the English Standard Version (ESV).
  • Zondervan’s “Handbook to the Bible”
  • Bible Dictionary-Easton’s Bible Dictionary
  • Commentaries-Matthew Henry/check out others
  • Concordance-Strong’s
  • English/Greek Bible Dictionary-Vines Expository Dictionary of OT/NT words.

 Discerning the Word: Key Elements

Prayer for Wisdom and Understanding

Most Important: Context of the Books

Example:

  1. Writer-Paul
  2. Audience-Galatians
  3. Subject-False teachers saying you could only become a Christian if you became a Jewish convert and submitted to the Mosaic Law.
  4. background/setting-Galatia, a Roman province

Greek Word Studies, Christian Church History, Meditation/Reflection on the word, and, Discussion with other Believers.

Before I go to far, I wanted to say again that if you have been reading my writings you will know that my main concern is with how believers met together during the time of the Apostles. It was in homes not institutional buildings as well as being a family not a corporation.

 

 Discernment Story

Years ago a man came to a church looking for a place to stay. They told him that they supported the Union Mission and that they would be glad to take him down to the mission. He responded by telling them that he couldn’t stay at the mission because he needed a private room. They told him that they would take him to the mission but that was the best they could do. He said to me, “I thought that Christians were supposed to love?” One of the men said, “We are, but we’re not supposed to be suckers.”  Love involves using wisdom.

Important Point:

I think that as Christians at one time or another, haven’t we been suckered into believing something that really didn’t line up with Scripture? So, remember, we shouldn’t buy into everything hook, line, and sinker or take it at face value.

To be Continued…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Original Way:Understanding Discernment

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Hey All, time to keep the ball rolling after taking a short break!

     I know that I have focused a fair amount of time on the topic of leadership and the misleading of believers through the centuries, but now I’m going to direct my attention to the responsibility of believers to be discerning when it comes to biblical truths.

     I have a couple of questions for you to think about while you are reading. Hmmmm… Why didn’t the first-century believers look to the example of the Bereans? and, Why have most Christians only given lip service to their example and not taken and learned from it? Please, let me add that many during that time and today, did and do take the example of the Bereans to heart. A good picture of this is the many of believers meeting in their homes all over the world whether free to worship or under persecution.

However, I believe from my experience and observations that the majority of the body of believers throughout the centuries and today conveniently ignored and ignore the example by continually seeking after the “traditions of men” whose development started after the post-apostolic period, was solidified by the end of the fourth century, and continues at the present time.

What does it mean to examine the Scriptures?

    You know, I don’t want to be mean or hurtful to anyone who reads this post. It is only to “speak the truth in love” as Paul spoke of in Ephesians. With that said, the majority of believers today have become fat, lazy, and comfortable when it comes to studying the scriptures, even to the point of not cracking open the Bible at all! I have found out over the years and through research that becoming discerning in understanding the word is more than just “reading the Bible.”

    So now, we need to turn to the vital importance of understanding what discernment is and how to use it when it comes to examining the Scriptures. There are three areas necessary to scrutinize when it comes to understanding and using discernment. First, the simplest thing to gaining a solid foundation is to look at the context of the books of the Bible. This would be done by investigating who wrote the book, who it was written to, and what issues were being addressed in the letter. A good example of this would be Paul writing to the Galatians about their returning to doing works instead of relying on the grace of God.

Secondly, going deeper, we can increase our understanding to a greater degree by looking at various words translated and defined from the Greek language that gives a clearer picture of what’s being spoken about.

Aisthesis–Discernment-to apprehend by the senses, to perceive. In the New Testament Context, it speaks primarily of spiritual perception of the believer and the necessity of it being fine-tuned. ( not judgemental, but also not gullible.)

Epignosis – Knowledge – refers to exact, complete, thorough, accurate, experiential knowledge. In the New Testament, knowledge is always described as full/comprehensive, moral/religious knowledge (accurate)in God’s word.

Epiginosko – Understand – To perceive with the mind, to come to know well, reflective thought. It means to be fully acquainted in a discerning, recognizing manner. To recognize a thing to be what it really is.

 Lastly, church history is an important area and we’ll look at that in my next post. Let me leave you with a little story that is an excellent paraphrase for discernment.

Years ago a man came to a church looking for a place to stay. They told him that they supported the Union Mission and that they would be glad to take him down to the mission. He responded by telling them that he couldn’t stay at the mission because he needed a private room. They told him that they would take him to the mission but that was the best they could do. He said to me, “I thought that Christians were supposed to love?” One of the men said, “We are, but we’re not supposed to be suckers.” That, my friends, is an excellent paraphrase for discernment, WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE SUCKERS!

Until next post, Remember:

Everything that we read, hear, think, believe, see on T.V., papers, movies, internet, from other Christians, shepherds, etc., etc., needs to be discerned through the question, “does it line up with what’s in the word of God?”

 

 

 

 

The Original Way:Examining Leadership; A Continuation

dsc_0016 Again, we are going to visit the subject of leadership. I wanted to share with you a little anecdotal story that ties to my previous post as well as showing us how satan can so easily throw mankind off track and no one has been the wiser. He used others inside the church and the Early Church Fathers to deceive the Christians of their time. This didn’t and hasn’t happened to all believers because there has always been a remnant that was not taken in by these false teachers.

How to Catch a Rat:

     A grandpa’s grandson had a chicken coop that was invaded by rats. Attracted by the feed, they had moved in. He asked for his grandpa’s help and they set out a couple of traps. After a week, they had not caught a single rat. A farmer friend came by and offered some advice. “No rat”, he said, “Will touch an exposed trap. You’ve got to disguise it with food. Fill a pan with meal and place a trap in it. Cover it well with meal so it is completely hidden.” It worked! The next morning they had a big, fat rat.

      All this is a reminder that the devil knows this trick all too well. He has used other believers and the Early Church Father’s “man-made traditions” to deceive and drive a dividing wedge between all believers. He took that error and hid it under religious “things” like ceremonial rituals like church services, sermons, titles, authority/power, etc., etc., and in turn, it became the foundation for the Catholic Church. The Institutional Protestant Church has fallen prey to the same man-made traditions as well and continues them today.

     Mainly, the reason for sharing this information is to demonstrate that we, as believers, have ignorantly taken on, carried up to the present day, and adhere to the same burdensome traditions and legalism of the Early Church Fathers. We ourselves have unnecessarily placed a yoke of slavery on our own shoulders and, it seems, we like to carry it on because we think it should be this way. However, it truly is out of ignorance and not based on the truth done from researching the subjects.

To Be Continued….