I was anxiously making my way down the side of a mountain on foot with another man who seemed to be a mixture of my earthly and spiritual fathers. The mountain we were descending from was desert like, covered with rock, cactus and stumps. Not a single tree remained on the mountain, while the valley below was lush and inviting with green forest and clear streams. Though I could not see them from the rocky trail, I knew the valley to be filled with people, shelter, food, fellowship, etc. Conversely, the mountain I recognized as “snake country” (if I’ve never mentioned, I hate snakes!) Despite my best efforts to convince my “father” to continue on to the valley, which we could have reached by nightfall, he decided instead to camp out on the mountain for the night. We unrolled our sleeping bags, even while I was objecting to it and the danger posed by snakes. My “father” laid out his sleeping bag next to an old rotting stump, from which a vine-like fern was growing and he began to eat the fern, which I thought was most unappetizing. Finally in response to my concerns about snakes, my “father” pulled a full size wall calendar from his pack and showed it to me. In the dream, I was aware it was the month of December, and the calendar was marked “snakes in hibernation” beginning in November. Upon seeing the calendar, I thought to myself “it’s the cold that sends them into hibernation but it’s unseasonably warm!” Consequently, I believed the signs of the times more so than the calendar. As we settled into our sleeping bags with our heads pointed up hill, I did seem to get over my concerns about snakes. We went to sleep.
End of dream.
The dream confused me for several reasons. Continue reading
Revelation chapter 18 concerns the Lord calling His people out of spiritual Babylon and its ultimate destruction by fire. I believe one day spiritual Babylon will be destroyed, literally, but until then, each of us who have heard and responded to the Lord’s call to “come out of her, My people” (Revelation 18:4), must overcome the strongholds religious Babylon has within us. To that end, the Lord has often challenged me to examine what I believe and throw down to destruction that which is not of Him and His Truth.
One of the most unsettling things I’ve done to examine my beliefs, is to compare the 4 books of the gospel, with the rest of the new testament. Take for example the word “church”; Jesus used it just 3 times (Matthew 16:18 and 18:17), whereas it is used 113 times in Acts through Revelation (KJV translation). The Greek word “ekklesia”, which translators have rendered “church”, actually means “assembly”, yet it is translated “assembly” just 3 times out of 116 occurrences in the New Testament; Acts 19:32, :39 and :41. That passage refers to a gathering of the Ephesians in a civic hall to address the threat that The Way posed to their profitable business of making and selling silver shrines for the idol Artemis (Diana). Continue reading
Among the things that continue to grieve me since the Lord first called me out of man’s traditional church, is the observation of how seldom believers ever question whether or not common church practices are even of the Spirit and the Word. For example, most churches refer to the Sunday service as a “worship service” and hold to the notion that “worship means singing” hymns and choruses. Rarely have I seen the idea challenged; believers simply accept the modern worship model as handed down from our forefathers as Biblical and correct.
For the sake of examining the modern “worship service” and in particular singing as worship, let’s lay a Biblical foundation for discussion.
- In the OT, the temple was a stone building in Jerusalem. In the NT, the temple is us (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19, 1 Pet. 2:5).
- In the OT, the priests were the sons of Levi and Aaron. In the NT, the priesthood is us (1 Pet. 2:5, :9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6).
- In the OT, the Spirit did not indwell the people, He resided in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. In the NT, the Holy Spirit has made His home in us since the Resurrection and Pentecost (Jo. 20:22, Ac. 2:4)
One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field and said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew–I’m starved!” Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” On oath Esau traded away his rights. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. Esau ate and drank, got up and left. (Genesis 25:29-34, The Message Bible)
We have a wonderful birthright from God in Christ. We are God’s children and heirs, temples in which His Spirit dwells, priests and kings who reign with Christ. Sadly, we are more like Esau than many of us care to admit because we have traded our birthright for even less than a bowl of stew.
Evidence that we have traded away our birthright can be heard in what we say. For example, how often do Christians refer to church buildings as the “house of God” even though the Bible teaches us that we are His temples and “God does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48 and Acts 17:24)? Continue reading
The Lord gave me a prophetic experience one spring that went a long way toward dealing with the guilt I’ve felt over NOT being successful in bringing change to the institutional church I attended for several years
I need to share a little background – I was born and raised in a suburb south of Seattle and lived there for 42 years before the Lord directed me to move to the rural Midwest. The good ol’ boys had themselves quite a time kidding me about being a city boy and I often joked about corn, bugs, stifling heat, and hog farms common to the area. I’ve written song parodies about farm life and sang them for the locals, along with the inspirational and worship music I write.
That spring, my musician friend, David, visited and he’d suffered through enough of my corn and hog jokes and parody songs, that one morning he woke and requested I drive him to a farm so he could have his picture taken with a hog. David must have thought our little town was like “Green Acres” where the pig Arnold roamed Main Street and was included in the population count. Continue reading
When the Lord prompted my wife and I to move to the mid-west from the Seattle area back in 1999, He gave me a dream which I did not understand until after we had left the institutional church the Lord sent us too.
I was driving a white 1965 Mercury Monterey convertible with light blue interior. Ahead were the gates of what looked like an old west log fort. The gates swung open and I drove in. The church the Lord sent me to was near the back of the compound. After parking in front of the church, I exited the car and went around to the trunk to collect the gifts I’d brought for the church. From everywhere it seemed, child-like dwarfs emerged and surrounded me. As I began to show the gifts I’d brought, they began snatching them from my hands, treating them with disrespect, grabbing gifts from the trunk and throwing them back after handling them carelessly. Several were letting the air out of the tires and kicking the side panels, while others were jumping up and down on the seats.
Frantically I was trying to take back the gifts and put them away, while chasing them out of the trunk and car, Continue reading
Following a shameful display of spiritual pride, a brother or sister once cautioned me with the words “the ground is level at the foot of the cross”. Though not a quote from scripture, the saying has occasionally prompted me to reflect upon my standing before the Savior. On the surface, it is a humbling reminder that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that all of us, no matter how upright and moral, need the Savior.
A few days ago, while writing a friend with with a word of encouragement, I found myself thinking about the word “the ground is level at the foot of the cross” once again. But the saying seemed unfitting for the situation my friend faced: applying salve to wounds received from a controlling pastor. As I was about to dismiss the thought, the Lord prompted me to consider it from His perspective on the cross. Continue reading