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*Small Black and Red Binder*

Church House to Church

A move away from the church house is underway, a new revolution matched by the changes in the reformation.  The growth of ideas and heresy easily outpaces the preaching of truth.  In the communication age isolation, personal isolation has reigned; shame and sin have grown alongside the arrogance of people.  Truly we have a free church but do we have a free people?

Meeting houses could develop.  This would be a place of corporate worship, preaching and care.  But the Christian life must take control of the secular.  The church in Acts saw a group of churches networked as the Church.  The consideration was given to the preaching of the gospel not the tending or administration of the church.  Bishops were missionaries and the focus was on personal obedience not organizational obedience.  How do we harness the energy of this movement, channel it and push it forward, while making it truth and not movement?

The reformation was a movement as were all the others against the Catholics and away from the early priests.  Movements are rank with ulterior understandings, beliefs and motives.  Movements gather a following known by the people who lead them.  These movement leaders are not simply peaceful preachers but rather some form of rebel.  Movements lack balance.  Pure Biblical inerrancy preaches balance.  No movement, new call or new method is free from opposition and conflict, heresy or imbalance.

Is there heresy in the doctrine of the SBC or SBTC?  Procedure, perhaps, could constitute heresy!  The only teachings I find to be incorrect are:

·         Tithe: Not a literal 10% of the gross

·         Spiritual gifts: All gifts still active but must be used in an orderly fashion

·         Leadership: God’s will is not determined by the rule of the majority but by the called leadership of the local church

o   Leadership is a role not a status

o   Leadership is not separate from laity

·         Church is the body of Christ in all its many aspects, not simply a church building or established order

·         Style and method is a matter of culture not a theological mandate

·         Salvation is a result of the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit.  The response to the Gospel, however, is a mystery.  Human perspective requires an active submission of the will while God’s perspective requires only the working of God’s Spirit to salvation

·         The Gospel message is the vision and mission for personal faith and corporate faith

Discipleship must become the primary function of leadership.  In this model churches maintain doctrinal purity through leaders who train leaders.  Nothing happens in this model that does not involve the work of the people.  The hub is the personal leadership.

The organized house is the hub of church life.  Spirituality and discipleship are only a portion of the church ministry.  Formalized channels are used to train leaders, missionaries, etc.  All ministry must pass a formal approval.


Prospects and Lost

Prospect:  Anyone who is open to church involvement, contact or ministry.  These are those who recognize a need but have not decided who can, or rather what can, meet that need.  All those searching for God in and through the function of the church house.  These do respond to programs, alter calls and additional formal methods.  The church house serves these needs well.  The truly effective churches reach these with little trouble.  Mega churches set the standard for this ministry.

The truly lost do not respond to advertising, promotional techniques, programs or any formal method.  They ignore the church, may or may not have negative or positive feelings toward the church, and are not open to attending.  As a group, many are spiritually interested as a matter of curiosity.  No need exists for the church house except as a fixture of culture.  The majority would simply ignore the church house having no positive or negative opinion whatsoever.  Such people are engaged through people of strong conviction.  The church reaches these with no help or attraction from the church house.  Long-term interaction is required.  Credibility speaks volumes to these lost. 

Church houses have become an incredible source of confusion.  Lost and saved sit together and look like brothers.  Families sit together and look united.  Faces look at peace, whether the preacher’s face or the laity’s and turmoil, despair, and loneliness are masked.  The church house makes the godless feel godly and the prospect feel saved.  Our commission is seldom accomplished.  True change brings discipleship.  Disciples must have teachers. 


Perhaps a New “Religion”?

1st Century: Established Judaism forced the adherence of a uniform religious code.  The church existed in this bound state in a situation like our current culture.  Literacy, pluralism, recreation , order and economy were strong.  Relative comfort had permitted religious and social development along with Pharisee/ Sadducee/ Esene rivalry.  People were disengaged from the church.

The arrival of Jesus brought change and the collapse of the order at the fall of the temple.  Persecution drove people to homes and away from central worship.

The rise of the Catholic Church brought difficulty and a renewed official church order.  Literacy declined along with wealth, recreation and order.  Superstition took the place of truth and elitism grew.

The reformation came as a return to doctrinal concepts and preaching; changing the power scheme of the Catholic Church.  The new birth brought new ideas but not renewed Gospel preaching.  It modified the Catholic Church but did not remove it.

500 years passed and western culture bore religious freedom in the west.  That freedom brought complacency and popularity in attending church.  Denominations and their church houses developed.  Ministers are separated in a struggle to fill the church house.  Our situation remains as it has been since the Catholic Church fell.

If the message makes it outside the walls of brick and mortar we will be persecuted.

We must understand that we are starting fresh with no promise of anything but God’s power.  The old must be forsaken as contrary to the gospel?

Gather to one place and begin to pray and wait.  The Spirit will open the opportunity.

Is cooperative work really cooperative?  A development of leaders could cause a genuine love for another’s work.  Institutions raise constituents.  Is that a good thing?

It is more apparent than ever that the walls are broken down.  Discouragement, fear, hopelessness and confusion reign in the hearts of pastors.

God has always developed strong leadership.  This leadership always experienced long periods of waiting, trial and humbling circumstances.  They always failed.  Most of the 1st generation leaders had no indication of any ability or experience.  Yet the successful always had a disciple or two.  These disciples moved the ministry forward and made it more formal.  Often no bloodshed or uprising led to the transfer of power.

The inauguration of God’s power on a leader is His election of the means.  This inauguration always leads to bloodshed or struggle.

Lord, ordain your leader.

A tendency within our beliefs is to become activists for the faith.  Activism relies on rhetoric and volume.  Grace and discipleship determine the turning.  If God’s power contends for the Gospel, His power will be the volume needed.  Leadership can bring change when God controls.

As we discuss the “practical” elements of Calvinism I can’t help but wonder if innovation isn’t discouraged.  By innovating do I violate the election principle?  Election is something God does.  If God reveals His will then there is no fear of missing what God is innovating.

Unlike the founders who emphasize intellectual ambition and small, disciple churches, and think their place in the SBC is going to change the SBC, I believe the SBC must be left or forged to new ground through pressure.

My job and the means of the ministry is to stand as a modern Moses.  God’s identity is designed to consume my own.  Whatever Theology comes from that is how I will be defined.  Moses’ ministry was defined by painful opposition to Pharaoh, disheartening rebellion of the people, wandering and doubt, incredible display of God’s power, strong teaching, repentance of the people, mentorship and intimacy with God.  Moses experienced the election of God’s people, God’s individual election personally and mysterious aspect of God “changing” His mind.  The election was sure and God’s will was sure but through all this it was Moses who God was really focused on.  God started with the individual and the group and worked them toward each other.

What we do with grace driven, discipleship focused evangelism program?

·         Discipleship starts first.  Call the few together, train them and give them the power –send them out from there to make disciples of others.  As the work grows these men follow the same pattern.

·         Spend necessary time with a few to develop to develop them fully.  They need credibility, missional drive and guts.  They need raining in doctrine, evangelism, accountability, leadership and ministry.

The battle for Okinawa is a hero story without much glory.  Grit and pain won a small piece of ground.  The over 12 thousand wounded or missing testify to the manpower and comradery it takes to win.  Glory is given for the heroic acts but the battle is won by the soldier who survives or dies – unmentioned and unnamed.  For many their only honor us an unmarked cross.



The time comes when action is the only option.  Psychology and ideology runs its course and then action is required.

Hillside has spent significant time in individual discipleship.  The new focus is a formality and a concentration.  Effort must increase to engage people in their homes or at work or wherever they are found.  We must develop new disciplers to accomplish this task.

John 16:17-21

The Disciples grieve because they will be without Jesus for awhile during His death.  Jesus diagrams a new communion with God.  No longer will the disciples ask Jesus to ask God; instead, they will speak directly to God without the need for mediation.

Jesus states that we will ask in His name.  Does this mean in the spirit of how He lived or according to the teachings He gave?


Chosen Leader:

Abraham: God chose him as the leader and father of a chosen people.  He would establish the legacy of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Moses: Reluctant at first in his acceptance of God’s calling, he will be compelled to lead what Jesus will consider the greatest personage in scripture.

Samuel: Picked as a boy, he was summoned by God to overtake the fallen priesthood and install two kings – one is King David.



Men are created with a felt, emotional need for intimacy.  Most women express a lack of intimacy from their husbands and attempt the creation of it.  For men intimacy seems to boil down to sex.  In this thinking men seek Eros for oneness rather than agape.  Such intimacy violates basic orderly creation and does not express Adam’s proclamation of “This is now bone of bone and flesh of my flesh/”  Intimacy is initiated by the man and most needed by him but seldom realized by him.


A certain amount of inconsistency exists in my beliefs.  Should senior and junior staff really come from among the people?  It sounds kind of like an impossibility.  But, impossible or not, it is what should be.  The mobility of people certainly permits more transfers of ministers.  Doctrinally I am not as comfortable with moving.


It would seem that chosen leadership is a key way in which God has revealed Himself and accomplished His work.  Change in the heart condition, the possible salvation at the calling and straight-away obedience of the called present a God who is relentless and irresistible to the called.  With a great witness to God’s work in leadership we should be able to investigate the calling process of the NT leader.  The absence of supernatural force like the burning bush or Damascus Road or reappearance of Christ should not change the way in which the chosen leader is finally engaged.  In each case listed above, the leader had a knowledge or experience prior to the final called act.  For Moses, he had sensed some call in Egypt, Paul had seen and heard the testimony of Stephen at the stoning, and Peter had already professed Christ.  The circumstances and events are completely different but perhaps a pattern of calling, choosing and commissioning follows.

Perhaps some sign is ascribed to each which best reveals God’s plans.  Abraham’s name was changed at the time of circumcision and Sarah was renamed as well.  Here we have a new Adam and Eve?  Perhaps but is the sign similar?


Free Will and Predestination

The idea of free will draws heavily upon man’s ability to choose God.  Fundamentally needed for salvation is desire and knowledge.  While knowledge may be presented or already held, what makes someone desire to come to Christ?  Therefore, salvation depends on man and his willingness to believe not on God and His power to save.  Predestination deals with those for whom Christ died.  Many struggle not with free will but with general or limited atonement.

Romans and James seem to be in tension.  Romans stresses the need for grace above the law that we may be justified by grace through faith.  James states that we “are justified by what we do, not by faith alone.”  Using the example of Abraham, both authors reach into a past tradition for support of their point.

Justified means:

Faith means: something believed and something done.

Possibly these words are used differently.  Perhaps not.


In looking for new pastoral ministry what constitutes a move?  God may “call” elsewhere but what does that always mean?  Shall we conclude that God actually works in the system available?  The system is not necessarily sinful or wrong.  Where does that system become better?  We do as we do because we are a free church.

Certainly God impresses the heart rather than seeking to employ a system which is prescribed by culture.  God has always chosen men to lead His people.  The leader held accountable of spiritual and physical growth of His people.  He was chosen because God looks at the heart.

What a powerful thought.  Whether capable or not God has chosen His leader.


Do we count the cost?

If it’s costly should we refuse to go?  Stepping into difficult situations seems to be the way God leads.  If indeed God leads into a difficult church success will be God’s to provide.  I suppose I will not know what to do if we don’t go.  Vision has always been important to leadership.  Without vision for Hillside I cannot lead.  Not leaving means renewed vision for Hillside.

Harmony’s independent status…


Our world is fascinated with all things spiritual both not with the church.  Perhaps the situation is no different than life has always been.  People are hopelessly spiritual.

Men are hopelessly romantic.  When war comes at a distance we rush to recruiting stations.  Yet the fantasy of war is swallowed by the reality of those who died.  Most men do not face death from war.  They struggle for friends, family and relationships.

Oddly heroes in war often say nothing about it.  It would seem we brag about nothing and remain silent about or story.  Reality is hard.

Perhaps spiritual things involve a sense of mystery and romance we often don’t have.  We like hero stories because they end well.  The romantic plot is settled with the victory of the hero.  Jesus’ story is a bit difficult because it speaks of a spiritual event and spiritual victory, the physical event is muted,  Jesus died, but not for the physical freedom of His people.  We lose interest at this point.

Reality for Christian men has to be rightly focused on the spiritual.  The great spiritual battle must be exposed.  Adventure and risk have to be instilled in a time when adventure and risk are mostly avoided.

What adventure; what risk?

·         The fight with the enemy


Young Samuel hears God               I Samuel 3

The interesting aspect of the story is the work of God in revealing Himself to Samuel.  Samuel did not know God (v 7) even though he worked daily in the temple and slept before the Ark of God.  The word spoken to Samuel is unique in that Samuel is not the object of what is spoken (v 11).  God is going to do something in Israel and has rejected Eli and his family.  Samuel was strong in word but it was God who gave substance and power to what Samuel said.  Even the people realized God’s anointing on Samuel.  The word has power because God gives it power. Samuel is powerful in speech because God made him powerful.

The destruction of the priestly dynasty of Eli occurred as God said it would.  Eli and his two sons died together on the same day.  Their deaths and the capture of the Ark at Israel’s defeat set the stage for Samuel’s rise to power.  God often brings trial, death and defeat when he is doing a work.  Failure is often man’s only chance at change.

Disappointment and defeat are often God’s hand, as much as victory.  God gives victory when His glory and His people’s hearts are ready.  My disappointment gives way to victory and focus.


Birth of Moses

Moses is born in extraordinary times.  His mother lives for the moment holding onto just a little hope each day as she hides Moses.  In an act of despair, reluctantly, she weaves a basket and places her three month old in the Nile.  She must have known he would surely die.  Yet the basket is a sign that she believed even in her despair and against all odds that God may indeed save the child.  Moses’ sister stands close by to witness the rescue or demise of this young child, her baby brother.

The rescue of Moses is nothing more than a divine intervention from God.  He is drawn out of the Nile and the promise of certain death.  Perhaps the queen sees many Hebrew boys floating to their deaths during the genocide period.  Whatever the case God moved the pagan heart for His purposes.  God uses the Pagan like a tool and permits freedom to His chosen people.  God allows and invites His chosen people to join His work and experience the power of His presence.


Exodus Ch 1  - One generation to persecution

Comfortable in Egypt because of favor in Pharaoh’s eyes under Joseph.  Joseph was Egyptian in burial but knew a day would come when deliverance would be needed.  This knowledge was based on a heritage of promise about God’s chosen place.

The pharaoh died and Joseph did as well.  Only one or two generations passed until the knowledge of God’s help through Joseph to Israel was forgotten.  One generation is all that is needed to see friendship turn to persecution.  Pharaoh institutes genocidal policies. 

Every boy must die.  Pain ‘till deliverance.

Ch 2

Moses is plucked from death by an unlikely savior – an Egyptian princess.

God chose Moses to be His agent of deliverance.  He was like and man, born like any man, suffered extraordinary pain.

Moses was restored to life.


A leader

A people

A promise

A persecution

A providence


The Maldives

I am excited for the adventure and opportunity.  The lack of ability, the weakness of my own understanding, and the total reliance on God’s provision is a situation where only weakness is certain.  My heart fears this plan but I am hopeful of the Lord’s strength.  Perhaps evangelism must become what I will learn in the Maldives.  I know that I must become less and God must become more to succeed.  God’s power is the catalyst – the whole working – of God’s move among the Maldives people and my life.

Justin will reluctantly join the effort.  He says that he is going for me but hates Muslims.  Is this a distraction?  Justin needs to be powerless and knows he is.  His cockiness and fear will be acute in this situation unless the Lord opens his heart.  Do a mighty work in Justin and me.  Do a work that draws Justin to you and us together.

I don’t presume to know that God intends to do in Justin.  It could be great but it may not be soon.  After two years of praying it’s awesome to see Justin yielding himself to God.  He will definitely be a maverick but his need for a friend and influence may quell his desire for power.

Lord, work out our life together.  Move in Justin and me.  Give me focus why I go and a love for sharing your truth.  Give Justin focus as well.  Even now move in Him. 


A Message to Free Pastors

What is needed is a way to communicate a message of freedom to pastors.  It is comfortable to hold to the same old machinery and difficult to break free.  Pastors are holding the electrical lines and can’t let go. The first step is for them to be real among their own men.

The same old thing is conquered when we refuse to let someone else push us into a box.  Hillside is a place to that happen.  Young men come to Hillside and earn a living working with me.  They minister at Hillside and unlearn all the garbage they have programmed for.


The excuses we make for our weakness constitute a framework for personal disobedience.  When a believer tells God about his own inability to accomplish a task he really exposes a perceived weakness in God.  The identity found in man’s ability always accuses God of being smaller than He is.  Hopelessness and despair survive because man would rather trust in his own ability and handiwork than on God’s power and character.  Freedom is like a wildflower unbridled to grow in wild places and flourish with the danger of the elements.  The hope of the wildflower is not in his beauty but in his maker.  She responds to the sun’s position and endures the elements.  By nature she is vulnerable.

Vulnerable men are powerful men.  They allow God’s person to shine on their face.  They reflect His glory through their thoughts and actions.  The work of their hands expresses God’s glory and the words of their mouth share God’s wisdom.  Failure becomes blessing in God’s hands.  The sting and death of sin is blunted by the salvation of Jesus.


The Message of the Cross

Jesus had the power to save Himself.  He refused to use it.  Does that make Him powerful?  If the cross existed today would we view Jesus as a hero?  Perhaps we would say just had bad luck and it was all a shame.

Often we see the cross as an event.  But events happen and then fade to a dim reality.  This is a person.  For some it’s a legend.  For others a farce and a few it’s God Himself.  Those who capture the identity of Him who was on this cross see a man they can identify with.

If you see the man on the cross you know death could not hold Him.


Abundance of Stuff and Loss of Life

Prosperity is the cornerstone of western idealism.  Anyone without wealth aspires to have wealth.  Those who have wealth aspire to keep and increase it.  This is a fruitless game built to satisfy our pleasures.  Church life, spiritual life and theology reflect the need in our lives to satisfy our focus on prosperity.

As Jesus spoke the idea of prosperity was a distant dream.  Most were peasants, farmers and all were poor.  They lived their lives with a need for real hope.  We are often blinded by our false ideas.

We develop prosperity theology when we insist that blessing is financial and good times.  Neither financial success nor good times are legitimate definitions of blessing.  Blessing is defined by the working power of a personal God.  We are blessed when God moves with power in our lives.


Relationship has become the motto for postmodern Christian faith.  I agree that God desires relationship and that above religious practice, but one remains responsible nonetheless to a faithful obedience.  In fact, the relationship forces greater responsibility because of the new identity.  Responsibility and freedom are always connected.  Irresponsibility is abuse to God and God does not tolerate bad treatment.  Our religion, to take care of widows and orphans, is also a part of a greater responsibility to love the Lord and our neighbor.  The two pillars expand our responsibility whether they enhance relationship or not.  The great commands are, first of all, responsibilities.

Man’s responsibility to god does not involve action or performance.  When God calls a man to Himself he is not seeking a needed member of the team.  The most powerful act of man is merely stubble for the fire.  God does the powerful work of changing the heart.  The heart change is affirmed through god’s miracles.  Seeing is not believing.  When God does His miraculous work the mind I engaged with a challenge to believe.  Man’s responsibility is simply to obey and be a people of god.  Behavior is defined by that which is appropriate before the King and Father.  Thus the covenant regulates that which pleases God.

God’s promise to Moses is to further reveal Himself.  The Israelites would be a people of God.  To be God’s people is to be chosen for a unique identity.  That identity involves seeing the requirements of God’s word, the redemption as a people, and the power of God’s movement.

Our responsibility to God’s word is obedience to God’s law.  This law is an expression of His covenant.  The two great commandments are imperatives rather than responses.  They establish God’s covenant under law.

Our responsibility to God’s redemption is confession of sin.  We are made a people by God’s sovereign choice.  We make confession to having lived in rebellion.  God’s choice to save is based on His wiliness to reveal His nature.  Both Moses and Pharaoh were confronted with the powerful hand of God.  Only Moses was chosen.  God reveals Himself to the heart of Moses when he called Him.  Confession acknowledges the high nature of God, the low position of man and the utter dependency of His people. 

Our responsibility to God’s power is to believe that He will do His work.


What a Hero is Made of…

Hero stories inspire me to be a better man.  Heroes get extraordinary opportunities to do awesome things.  The single-mindedness of a hero’s focus inspires us.  What is the hero we find in Jesus?

Being a hero requires we take on a new identity.  The only Biblical identity is the image of god.  Jesus was the perfect image of God in man.

Person rather than performance: Jesus stated that He does only what He sees His father doing.  Jesus gave up His own power and became low that He might accomplish God’s will.  His lowness made Him able.  Moses’ obedience pleased God and He saw God face to face.  His experience was so intense that his face radiated the glory of God.

Men are not judged by performance but by identity.  Significance comes in knowing whether you live to God’s identity or not.

What is your identity?  What causes you to react in a way unbecoming of Christ’s identity?



Joseph lived with extraordinary defeat.  His life consisted of hardship he didn’t deserve.  When scripture states that “God was with Him” it meant that God made him able even in his brokenness.  Joseph honored the Lord in the worst circumstances and God raised him up.

Character is doing what is right, believing God for deliverance, living by principle and persevering to the end.  Heroes live by principle rather than by what’s popular.  Men of God are called to honor God regardless of circumstance.

What circumstance controls you?  What defeat causes you to tolerate poor ideas and godlessness?



Human power is an illusion.  We have no ability to manipulate or comprehend circumstance.  The world spins and we cannot stop it.  The most powerful men have very little power.  True power resides in God who can create life and destroy it.  God’s power is unlimited.

The hero has none of his own power.  He cannot manipulate circumstance or human will.  He does, however, have access to the power of the kingdom to which he belongs.  Jesus gave up His power to live as a man.  In giving up power he gained what was necessary to be the lowly sacrifice.

The heroes power is in his sacrifice.  He gives up what he must for his brothers and his cause.  Where have you refused to go because you lacked the power?



Mission is that which focuses the actions, refines the use of energy and defines the function of all the other aspects of the hero.  The hero’s mission is defined by the kingdom and commander.  The ability to survive the mission or the cost of completing it are not relevant concerns.

Jesus knew the purpose of His coming to Earth as a man.  He received His orders and endured the cost of the mission.  Heroes are undeterred by the cost.  When called, they go.

Heroes are not called to endure based on skill.  Whether a high call or a regular call both must endure.  The cost is always your life.  Where have you forsaken the call because the price was too high?


So what…

God decides what happens next.  I cannot manufacture God’s work and no amount of events will accomplish the task.  What goes home will bind us one to another.  The supper we eat is a remembrance.  Soon we will eat at the King’s supper when the great marriage is accomplished.

I must become less and he must become more.


It seems peculiar that I feel so drained after big events.  My thoughts and spiritual sense always seem to be numbed somewhat.  Other than physical fatigue I would expect such an experience with God’s power to produce vigor and strength.

Praying and studying in particular more difficult after a big spiritual event like Men’s Camp.  So down times are necessary and a part of a dynamic relationship with God.  During those times I dream bigger and focus more on direction.  Perhaps the enemy is aware of this phenomenon and exploits it?  Maybe the down time develops a sense of needed activity?  Whatever the cause or purpose the enemy attacks with distraction.  Like getting a new tool, you want to use it.


The Maldives is but a week away.  I am swamped with finishing all my projects.  This type of mission is a new happening for me.  I don’t know what to expect, how to travel or what I will say.  But God is going to change my life through this.  In the weeks just prior two churches have called and business has been financially poor.  Distractions to my purpose have been abundant.  Lord restore my strength, may I stand against the evil one and advance against the gates of Hell.  Open your flood gates of Mercy that my soul might find rest.


Scripture is true.  When man attempts to apply a doctrine or a template of interpretation (i.e. TULIP) the scripture rebels and the template is perverted.  Man cannot interpret scripture without perverting it.  Scripture must stand alone.

Scripture is argued from many angles.  Logically, experientially, emotionally, ideologically, philosophically are but a few interpreting veins for scripture.  Each time exposition is dine these veins are passed through.  The scripture, however, must transcend these human views and dominate instead.  The power of God dies this.  Our human vein cannot appropriately understand scripture


Koran Notes:

Concerning the Bible (Before Books)

Surah Jonah 10:94            “…And if you Mohammed are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto you, then question those who read the scripture that was before you.  Verily the Truth from my Lord hath come unto thee.  So be not though of the waverers.”

True Muslim to read Before Books: Surah the Woman 4:136

God’s Holy Word cannot change by man: Surah the Cattle 6:115.

Who ‘Isa is Surah Al-Imram 3:42-55

‘Isa is Holy 3:45-47

‘Isa has power over death 3:49

‘Isa knows the way to heaven 3:55

I have discovered an amazing truth in the Koran that gives hope of eternal life in heaven. 

Surah Al-Imran 3:42-55

I. Isa is Holy 3:45-47

·         Does this ayat say that ‘Isa came directly from Allah and that he had no Father?

·         Are there any other prophets who did not have a father?

·         Why did Allah have ‘Isa born without  a father?

II. Isa has power over death 3:49

·         I think most people are afraid of dying

·         Do you know of any other prophet who was given the power over death?

III. ‘Isa know the way to heaven 3:55

·         Who has directions to heaven?  If ‘Isa knows the way is he the one to ask?

·         I am sinful and while I have done many good things I still have Adam’s blood in me.  I cannot be holy on my own or get to Allah in heaven.  Out of all the prophets which one is most capable of getting me to heaven?


Possible Helps and Answers

If Mohammed is most capable of getting me to heaven why Surah the Chambers 46:9?  He says he doesn’t know the way or where he was going after his death.

‘Isa Kalimatullah – Word

‘Isa Ruhullah – Spirit

Found in Surah the Woman 4:171 – ‘Isa came to us from heaven

‘Isa Masi as one closest to Allah he is to be honored by all the world: Surah Luqman 31:27

Who is Mohammed – Surah the Sandhills 46:9

A Jammat is a Muslim Church


November 7, 2006           Day 1

Today has been a long day.  I began at 6:00 AM after a rather long night with the kids.  Driving to San Angelo was uneventful so I had a chance to pray a bit.  Upon arrival to San Angelo I ran several errands and met up with my mom.  We ate and she brought me to the airport.  After prayer with the others in my team we boarded.  The one unique thing I noticed in the airport was the unusual level of concern.  It was almost as if we were going off to war.  Many were crying and hugging, letters and gifts were given to us by many, and all the Paul Ann staff were on hand at the airport.

The weeks leading to the journey were filled with distraction.  Twice I was contacted by churches seeking a pastor.  Financial issues threatened to slow the trip.  Job concerns made it tough to leave.  Despite all that here I am.  What next Lord?  Your plans are great and wide, be exalted.

For my church, what will you do or what are you doing?  Bob had a dream about driving almost off a cliff while seeing me as a jungle man doing God’s work.  What is that?  Charles is excited about the book.  JimTom cursed for the whole off to hear and Joe Gould is divorcing.  Many in town are interested in what’s happening in this trp.  What can be said?


November 8-9   Days 2 &3

What a weird day.  So far we have travelled through two days in 25 hours.  Wednesday only lasted 11 hours or so.  Now it’s Thursday, November 9th and we’re flying to the Maldives to start the real journey.

I had the opportunity to speak with a Muslim.  He is from Las Vegas but Somalia and Kenya growing up.  Technically he’s a Sunni (more moderate).  His struggle was in seeing that my Jesus and His Isa are not the same.  God opened the door for me to speak to him.  We were both watching movies and our screens went blank; but just ours.  That’s when we got to speak about Jesus.  Father save him.  Thank you for using me.

Everyone is tired.  I feel pretty good though.  I was vomiting a bit on the long trip.  That ended and I’m good now.  My satellite phone was taken a check-in.  I should see it again.  Father, be with Tracy and Daniel, Brittany, Benjamin.  I know you love them.  Prepare them for your work.

If I am taken home:

Tracy, you will be shaken to the core but do not fail.  I do not sustain you but only God.  Remember that I walked willingly with my Lord to whatever end.  I tried not to count the cost even if that meant death.  Tell my kids who God made me to be, what he taught me to preach, and how I lived with abandon for my God.

Have my men bury me in Alpine or whatever might be convenient for your memory of me, but have my men bury me.  Have my kids participate.  Tracy, you must grieve and then be strong.  You too must live with abandon before God.  I love you and will see you again.  My great fear in death is not seeing or holding you again.  You are my soul mate.  Use my words and journals, sermons, files etc. to reach men with this message.  You must move on too.  God never intended for you to be half-alive.  Stay where God has called you.  When the pain eases you will trust God.  So not quit, do not be strong, do not be deceived.  Yield strength to God.  I love you.  Kevin.


Thursday, November 9th

Arrival!  We made it to the Maldives where we spent more time travelling.  This time we went by boat.  A long way by boat.

The people are quite poor and many know little about Islam.  They are island people indeed.  It may be tougher than I thought to speak to them about Jesus.

Friday, November 10th

We spent our first night in a hot and stuffy room.  Outside our room/compound a man is building a boat.  The shoreline is about 50 yards from the compound door.  A woman was washing a pot with ocean water.  Our facilities look nice on the inside but are quite rough on the outside.  Our host speaks little English but his wife speaks a great deal.  Cultural offense, a man talking to a woman, concerns us.  The women say very little.  Two men work with Bobby.  We met them yesterday.  Islam and Shaw Heen have been our guides.  They treated us to fried noodles for dinner and fried rice for breakfast.

It will be difficult to talk about our greater goal.  We are hopeful for breakthrough and opportunity.  Lord give us wisdom and tongues with which to speak.

Evening – 8:00

We met an 18 year old student named Asfaaq at the café.  Our guides had left and he sat next to us.  The prayer call sounded at 7:00 pm and Phil asked him about it.  He told us what he knew and more opportunity opened.  It was an introduction only but Phil confronted some vs. in the Koran to begin.  When we told Asfaaq we had an Injil he was surprised and asked for one.  He left work and joined us as we walked to our guesthouse.  Once there we were able to exchange email and get a phone number.  Nothing could have happened better.

We had wandered all day and fished about. 4 hours.  As we sat to eat at the café we discussed that we expected perhaps more opportunity.  In drops Asfaaq.

11:00 PM

Soujo is a police officer.  He and Asfaaq are related or lying.  We are unsure about their connection to one another but they both came to visit and ask questions.  The conversation was friendly enough.  He asked for names, passport numbers, walked us to a print shop and copied out passports, asked out travel agent name and our guides then left.  We do not know what will happen next.  Phil and Carrie are speaking to our guides to see if something should be done.  So far nothing.

My concern is for our others, not me.  Tomorrow we are supposed to go octopus hunting with Soujo and Asfaaq.  If that happens I’ll feel better. 


November 11th – Saturday Night

Today was a mess.  What we are doing is in question.  Phil and Carrie didn’t sleep at all last night.  I slept but only about 6 hours.  In the morning we awoke and ate breakfast.  We got the book back from Asfaaq without any conflict.  Things are not better though.  Islam is concerned that many on the island have been employed to watch us.  Our other guide would rather isolate us completely.  Both out guides are anxious for us to leave.  We do so tomorrow.

I’m torn on what to do.  Leaving seems like failure.  Staying puts everyone else in danger.  What is there to do?

November 12th – Sunday

Last night we fished till dark.  I was feeling somewhat ill – a combination of hunger, sea motion and nerves.  We do go snorkeling with Sojo, Sam and Asfaaq.  Everything was fine. We saw great looking fish and caught some muscles.

At lunch, right after snorkeling we are at Lateef’s house.  Lateef is a larger Maldivian with connection to the island chief.  He is possibly the person of peace.  I’ll mention why later.  After we ate we boarded our fishing boat.  When we returned a crowd gathered at the docks.  The docks are just a large concrete wall that forms an artificial bay.  Boats are moored to the perimeter walls.  We moored to the West long wall and threw out catch on shore.  Islam commented that he had not seen such a large gathering for an incoming boat.  Nothing seemed unusual except that Islam had commented that Island sentiment was not good toward us.

As we headed for our room Soujo, Asfaaq and Sam were waiting at the café to treat us to the muscles.  They were tough and awful boiled but fair in a sweet and sour sauce.  Though not excited to talk to or eat with the “ring of fire” we had a quick bite and went to our room.

Islam and Shaheen, unknown to us, had been summoned to a meeting by the atoll chief and Lateef.  Islam had said to Cary that leaving the island would be wise.  As we slept they talked.  A little later, maybe 8:30 pm, Islam called and told us we were leaving.  We packed and went o bed.

This morning we awoke and went to breakfast with Lateef, Atoll chief, Shaheen and Islam.  After breakfast we boarded our boat.  On the way to the boat we were given gifts by Lateef.  It is our belief that Lateef is the person of peace.

The late meeting was held to discuss why we were on the island and what to do about us.  Apparently the stir on the island was brewing because Asfaaq was saying we came to preach something else to the people.  Asfaaq was the instigator and the wrong person to tell.  We knew that things with the police were a bit bad and were concerned for our tour.  What we didn’t know is the growing resistance and violence building towards us because of Asfaaq.

The meeting concluded and our fate was sealed.  We would leave in the morning.  Our host, Bobby, rushed a speed boat to get us that morning.  The Atoll chief was present until we left to make sure nothing happened to us and that we left.  Lateef became our mediator.  He acted as a voice of calm throughout to protect us.

The Maldivians are peaceful but not towards the Gospel.  Islam said the people (probably not all the people but those influenced by Asfaaq) wanted to put us in “positions of shame”.  I am not certain what that means but I believe some physical, bodily harm is implied.  We spent much time talking, Phil, Cary and I, about our situation.  Our conclusion so far is that leaving was good and telling Asfaaq was not wrong.  Asfaaq probably had a devil.  He baited us in, asked us questions and we followed our training.  But what man intended for Evil God intended for Good.  We learned who the Man of Peace is, how serious about Islam the Maldivians are, and how to train others for the trip.

This afternoon we arrived at Hullhumale and met with Angie.  She was comforting.  We walked around, just the three adventurers, and visited the mosque as tourists.  It was remarkable.  While there we met Rashyd.  He had been praying.  He gave us a tour of the Mosque and the rest of the flats.  Our experience had taught us more caution in asking questions.  We acquired information from him and said goodbye.  God’s grace is sufficient and amazing.  He gave us more opportunity when we halfway felt like failures.  Though Inguardoo Island is over our mission is not.

The rest of Sunday we spent with Angie and her two kids,  Kyndal and Braden.  We were refreshed.

Monday, November 12th – 6:20 AM

I am preparing for worship we will have this morning.  My first house church!  Praise Jesus for His awesome provision.  With joy in my heart and the spirit of peace at work I can praise my savior.  He brought me from peril and preserved His cause.  When the enemy laid a snake for me My Jesus turned it to victory.  Praise Him for His awesome provision!

The rest of our day was slow.  We worshipped on the beach.  Islam told us stories of faith and a little about his salvation.  The ferry took us into Male where we played “stupid gringo” for a few hours.  We returned to Hulhamale after lunch and did nothing the rest of the day.


Tuesday, November 13th

Tuesday we rejoined our team.  They arrived and we moved to a guest house about three shop fronts from Bobby’s.  Our team arrived and we debriefed more or less.  The other team had more primitive facilities but was loved by the islanders.  They played and enjoyed themselves.


Wednesday, November 14th

All the team went to Male where we shopped.  It rained most of the time.  I found a few things for Tracy and the kids.  We had house church at Bobby’s after dinner.  We sang with a CD and had a bible lesson.  It was just like worship at our houses except we were illegal!  After worship we went back to the guesthouse and found that Corby and Kirt had been robbed.  An iPod was taken and the police were called.  Corby was angry!  The enemy has a way of reducing the impact of God’s powerful work.  When our mind is wrong we are blind to God’s power.  Bad things are under God’s sovereign power.

Thursday, November 15th - 12:00 Local

We’re on the way home.  The flight is fairly empty.  That is a good thing.  We were up early and caught our first flight without a problem.  This is a long trip home.  I am glad I went, but I miss my family and my home.  God will do much with our trip, but my place, my passion, is with Hillside and Alpine.   How do we evaluate a trip like this?  It could be called a failure.  No salvations, no public witness, civil unrest when we did, secretive visit.

But it was not a failure.  God moved in power.  When God moves in power there is victory without defeat.  Perhaps the real problem is in how success is measured in the US and free world.  Success in God’s economy is measured by God’s scale.  1000 decisions may be insignificant in God’s gauge of success compared to just one move of His power.  When a man is a hero of the Lord there is power and victory.  Lord may we battle like warrior poets, like true mighty men of our king, true heroes of the eternal crown.  Amen.


*Small Green Binder*

Ministry like we have participated with in the Maldives should not be much different than ministry in the states.  I call myself American and my brother Islam calls himself Indian but our ministry need not be different.  My giftedness does not change with circumstance and therefore not in a foreign country.  Perhaps cultural experience plays too large a role in how we define faith.  Faith in the Maldives means worship in secret, very little evangelism, and very few brothers.  The cultural difference hovers not in actual spiritual things but in practical ones.

Peculiar things we have seen:

·         Men hold hands, put their arms around each other and sit very close

·         A social and racial attitude has built a barrier between Maldivians and Bangladeshis

·         Lateef is growing vegetables on an uninhabited island and welcomes assistance

·         Hot water is uncommon.  The final place we stayed – the Hulhumale guesthouse was the only place with hot water

·         Bathrooms – called toilets – have the shower head (detached kind with a hose), sink, and toilet all together:

·         Open walking sandals are worn by all to everything

·         On Hulhumale the guesthouse has air conditioning but nothing else does.  Windows can be opened but robbery of cash and electronics is common.  B&A have been robbed three times, once while sleeping.

·         B&K, the kids, use Abeka curriculum.  Shipping all used/unused books is helpful

·         Everything shipped is checked at the counter as A or B opens it.  Caution should be taken.

·         Freedom of discussion or expression of ideas is difficult. Maldivians are not accustomed to exchanging logical thought. Questions can be interpreted as efforts to change them.

·         Food is good, for awhile.  It’s usually fried rice and tuna with a chili powder/sauce. Spicy but acceptable to most.

·         No toilet paper is used.  A butt sprayer sits next to every toilet.

·         Maldivians are not polite.  Please and thank you are not needed.

·         Maldivian boys are circumcised at 7 years of age

·         1 Rufiyaa is worth 1/12 – 1/13 of a dollar.  1 and 2 Rufiyaa coins and denominations in bills of 5, 10, 20 50, 100, 500.

·         Maldivians outside of Male make about 200-350 USD per month.  In Male they make 600 USD.  Pay is enough for them to scrape by.

·         Iguardoo is where Phil, Cary and I spent 3 days.  Asfaaq is the instigator and Souja is a plain clothes police officer.  They smiled through their teeth at us.

·         Iguardoo is a boat building island.  Lateef’s brother is the Atoll (Raa Atou) Chief.  All our conflict stayed local.

·         Entry to a mosque requires pants or the traditional dress.

·         We were told that we could not enter the mosque.  I think that was because we were tourists.

·         Sunup is before 6:00 AM and sunset is around 6:45 PM

·         Brittany and Daniel could write occasional letters to Kyndel and Braiden.  Perhaps the school could as well.  It would need to be filtered.

·         Patience means waiting for more opportunity or just getting info so some in country personnel can follow up.  Trying to share too early opens one up for risk.

·         Adopting an Atoll would entail sending regular groups to that Atoll.  Our groups would be small, maybe two or three people max.  On Iguardoo we could help Lateef with specialists.  Selah would have to set these tours up.  Travel letters would have to come from Lateef.

My calling is not missions but I am called to reach the uttermost ends of the earth.  I have little desire to be gone from family for so long.  My heart is for my men, the church and these (selah) hosts.  Hillside men could benefit greatly from this experience.  Perhaps my role is in leading our men to help this family – trips, adventures, support… training other groups for this experience would help Bobby.  Perhaps we can become trainers of the Camel and the adventures – maybe Bobby’s voice in the states.

Tracy and I need to come ourselves for a few days to allow her to encourage and plan with Angie.  I think personal support and some high risk trips would be most suitable for our groups.

·         Sandals really are the best shoes.  Every house requires shoes off.  Every island requires walking.  Soft feet will blister and tennis shoes will get wet.

·         Snorkeling gear should be brought if one plans to go.  There is much opportunity.

·         Male airport security when entering the country is serious.  Be ready to say where you are staying, that you are with Selah Tours, and what tourist things you’ll be doing.

·         Literature was easy to get in.

·         Coded language should be rehearsed: Sword – bible, church – family meeting, pastor-teacher.

·         Islanders, especially younger, know and understand much English.

·         Phone conversations on mobile phones should be coded.  Text messages should be as well.

·         Phone cards can be purchased for 50/+ or 100/+ Rufyaa denominations.  That’s about 5 and 9 minutes respectively.

·         Plan on riding a boat (dhoni) often.

·         Never promise anything.  If asked for a Bible, tell them you would like their information and you could maybe send them one.  If Bobby’s follow up goes well they will take care of giving a bible away.  Bibles are hard evidence.

·         Bobby’s speed boat is $60,000 USD

·         Very few clothes dry and I didn’t see a laundry mat.  Expect 24 hours to dry clothes.


Results and Returns

I’m surprised at the evaluations concerning the trip.  Many do not know how to evaluate what they learned. There is some purpose for going – most agree – but just what the purpose is few have guessed. As for myself I want only a true knowledge of Jesus; a real understanding of worship; freedom from the need for man’s improvement.

*Large Black and Red Binder*

Epistemology has been debated regarding the basis of knowledge and understanding:

It seems to me that man has operated as “a ship blown to and fro with the wind,” “tossed about by every wave of doctrine,” “carried away by his own deceitful desires.”

Apologetics seeks to defend the faith by both negative and positive proofs.  Can, however, these proofs hope to overcome the tendency of man to be deceived?

What do we seek in preaching an apologetic gospel?  What is intransient about our proof?  What authority do we stand upon to validate out truth claims?

Perhaps truth is not validated by authority at all but rather by revelation.  If so then truth is an act of God.  Authority belongs to God and truth is all together alien to man.

The gospels establish God as the source of truth.  “I tell you the truth” is frequent when Jesus speaks.  John indicates that only those who belong to God ακούω (hear) His voice.

Perhaps, then, our endeavor in epistemology falls short of providing any substantiated platform from which to stand a defense.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy devoted to the study of human knowledge.  The biblical script seems to indicate that apart from Christ we can know no truth.  Knowledge seems to indicate those things which may be known to man.  Truth then is superior to knowledge.  While man may try to find truth in knowledge his attempt is futile.  It is much like finding a box of millions of words and trying to determine the order of the words to compose a replica of an unknown book.  Only the author of the unknown book could sort the words.

Epistemology may be an attempt to know the order of the words.  Human knowledge however is insufficient for the task.  Moses gave the law, an earthly form of knowledge but like the box of millions of words the intention and function of law could not be discerned until Jesus brought the truth.

Epistemological sources and thought cannot expose truth or its foundations in a positive argument.  The negative argument is that other authority sources cannot evaluate knowledge.  All epistemologies are subvert to unverifiable proofs and form truth claims.  Perhaps, however, truth claims must be derived before knowledge can be properly ordered.  Knowledge may yet be known but at best it is an invention of its authority.

We refer again to the box of words, even if the words, upon being poured out landed in some order that produced a sentence or a whole page the hearer would have no greater handle on what the document said or even that a document was intended.  Only the owner of the knowledge, our box of words, could properly form the document into a true message.  In effect the real question is not what the box of words says but who is the author.

The New Testament frequently (79 times) records Jesus saying “I tell you the truth” when making a truth claim.  In each case Jesus interprets the knowledge he acquires from his circumstance and provides an interpretation.  Jesus is described as the Words.  All those who ακούω (hear) the Words see the Father.  The references to hearing and seeing are connected to truth claims.  If we hear the Word we may indeed see the Father.  However, to reject that which is heard is to reject Him who said it.  Hearing the Word is required for believing.  Evidence, our knowledge, is not.  We justify our epistemology through hearing the truth.  The promise of hearing and believing is seeing that which we have yet only heard about, God the Father.

Scripture emphasizes hearing God because Yahweh is without image.  He is the “hearing deity” but is invisible.  Hearing the Word then becomes the methods of truth revelation.  Knowledge is ordered as we sort the pieces like they are dictated to us by the Words.  Seeing, empirical experience becomes an eschatological result of the ecclesiastical hearing.

Therefore, knowledge is sorted beyond comprehension, open only to speculation and theory.  Authority of knowledge resides in a truth claim by the hearing of the Word.  Being convinces of the Gospel comes through hearing.


James 2:11

“For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘do not murder.”

The moral offense against the law is not so much an offense against the written code as much as it is a n offense against the writer of the code.  James claims that to break one point of the Law is to break the whole law because the author is common to both.

Moral/legal offense is against God himself.  The crime is personal against God not separate from him.  Thus, if truth claims precede an understanding of knowledge, moral/legal defense is defined by an understanding of the first truth.  In the case of Christians moral/legal justice is defined by an understanding of a personal, authoritative source flowing from the nature of God Himself.

James resumes with a conversation about teaching.  James 3 indicates that those who teach will be “judged more strictly” than those who do not.  The reference is to the fact that we will stumble as teacher in what we say.  James acknowledges that the teacher makes truth claims for the authority but is not himself the authority.

In observing the scripture claims about truth and the statement in James, concerning faith and deeds it is reasonable to understand preaching as a deed which flows from faith.  Biblical preaching is accomplished when faith is expressed in deeds.

Truth, then, relies on faith.  Truth is a matter of God’s revelation.  The mind must first be enlightened by truth for faith to take root.  Without such an enlightening revelation human logic is unable to attain the faith needed to truly believe.  {¶ All theory not validated}

The profession of truth is an altogether different way/mechanism to know.  That which is empirical may not be as reliable as that which is revealed.  The nature of revelation is that faith reveals the truth in it.  Revelation has a logical component which the mind can observe.  But revelation is interpreted by truth which rests in the Word.  So “that which may be known about God has been made clear” it is not interpreted.  The body of knowledge is all that is seen and felt but it lacks method or order.


January 18, 2006

I had begun the day as usual.  6:30 AM, shower, dress, coffee, prayer and meditation, scripture.  As I prayed God spoke clearly regarding Alicia and Justin Haynes’ custody battle.  I knew that it would end soon, that Justin would be able to adopt the kids and that all was complete.

It’s hard to explain the sensation.  Just heaviness or sense of over-whelmed thought.  I felt weak in my mind.  As I attempted to grasp the revelation I knew that what was said by God must be said to Alicia and Justin.  So I called.

God speaks even today.  His will to give prophetic vision or heal is revealed by the Spirit.  We can know that will and have faith that he will do it.  God is not wanting our own magnitude of belief, he desires our obedience.  He is faithful so I believe and do.  I hear his voice and see his hand.  Vision comes before faith.

How do we discern that voice from our own?  Perhaps we tend to rely upon our own interpretive ability rather than the Power of God to speak.  Like all things this has been abused.  Authority has often been claimed by man rather than left to the Spirit.  In this regard non-Pentecostals have responded with opposition to any claim of healing, prophecy, or other work.

Such fear should not undermine God’s work.  The Spirit always brings Glory to Himself.  He fulfills His purposes and works in His authority.  If man then speaks only that which he hears the Father say and does only that which he sees the Father do then God’s power is maintained by God, His glory is His own ad His authority is retained in His word.  Man then shares the experience of God’s power but retains no power in Himself.  In this way we maintain a God-centered faith.

Miracles and actions of Jesus were in reference to what Jesus saw as the divine work of heaven.  Likewise the heart of God must be revealed by the spirit such that the heavenly will is done on earth.  Only the heavenly will has power.  When Jesus says he only does what he “sees” the Father doing, he attests to the intimacy with which he “knows” the will of the Father.  Jesus , who set aside his divine power, didn’t cease to have intimate connection – oneness – with the father.

I suppose the second-guessing of my decision to tell someone their prayer was answered is somewhat natural.  It represents a lack of trust in what I heard, not in God’s ability.  As far as I can tell there exists no self motive or personal gain for believing such a thing.

Faith healing like the Pentecostals practice is a ridiculous and deceptive practice.  Prophecy like I participated in is often abused by Pentecostals.  I don’t believe that he Haynes’ need to believe the proclamation.  They simply participate as the hearers.  Certainly they should believe but are they required?  It seems that the prophet’s obedience was required and the people were not.  If nothing happens, I heard wrongly.

The faith in such words is not experiential because the process to fulfillment is probably difficult.  The prophecy simply brings hope in future fulfillment.


Evaluating Knowledge -

It’s not enough to simply have truth in and through the hearing of the gospel.  We may believe that truth is revealed, but may not make the connection needed to actually order our knowledge.  This connection between truth and knowledge we will call wisdom.

Wisdom seeks to fit the knowledge experience into the truth claim.  Such topics include theology and its doctrines, science, medicine, cosmic origins and future apocalypse.

How wisdom functions:
The truth claim dominates the conversation.  Knowledge is collected and evaluated based on the truth claim.  Does it fit the parameters of the truth claim?  Does the knowledge represent the truth claim?  Does the knowledge have a logical order (although it may not have a rational explanation)?  Does the knowledge exist in the realm of physical or metaphysical?  Is the knowledge moral or amoral?

Darwinian evolution is the cause of the creation of man.  Such a claim has its basis in rational thought.  But while rational it is not logical.  In contrast to creation which is logical but not always rational.  Such a claim assumes that biological organisms move from a lesser form to a greater form.  This conclusion cannot be substantiated because the greatness of a species is somewhat of a subjective evaluation.

The Darwinian conclusion also makes, by its nature, moral conclusion.  The Darwinian argument reduces or eliminates the purpose of God or the existence of God.  In either case the result of reducing or eliminating God has significant impact on morality.  Such belief leads to moral relativism.


Order the Knowledge: Bring the World 2

Psalm 19:2  The heavens declare knowledge γνωσις  gnosis

Greek usage: gnosis is that which is seen over that which is heard.  This does not imply understanding.

OT usage: gnosis is that which is known not necessarily in concrete experience but as a revelation of God to man.  Thus gnosis is special not general.  Emphasis is on hearing.

NT usage: gnosis maintains an OT flavor but also deals in actual systematic theology and belief.  Primarily, gnosis holds the idea of special revelation.  The only highlight is that gnosis and its root refer to a particular historical knowledge of the personhood of Jesus.

Gnostic usage: gnosis is that which is mysteriously seen.  Thus Jesus is only apparently physical.  The thought of mystical vision defines the usage of Gnosis.  Knowledge of God is not found in the world but only in turning away from it.  Gnosis must be possessed through asceticism.  The right knowledge gained brings immortality and transforms one into God.

Modern forms:

Greek: rationalism, logical positivism, philosophical naturalism, atheism

OT usage: Judaism, Catholicism, Armenianism, Legalism, The Historical Jesus/Real Jesus movement, Aryanism

NT usage: Evangelicalism

Gnostic usage:  Eastern faith, New Age, Latter Day Saints, Free Masonry

{Use with box of words example}


Greek: Only the words which already have order or that appear on the surface are knowledge.

OT: That which tells me my function and my proper response it knowledge – orthopraxy only the imperative words

NT: That which tells me my function, response, and logical order is knowledge - both the imperative words and the descriptive words.


2 Peter 1:1-4

Everything needed for “life and Godliness” has been provided to us by the knowledge of Jesus Christ revealed through Jesus Christ.  Peter refers t the divine revelation of God being the active catalyst of our knowledge.  “Gnosis” in this passage is used in a truly NT sense – knowledge is revelation from God giving both something to believe and a product of belief.

The divine power reveals the knowledge needed to participate in the divine nature.  We do not escape the “corruption” of the world, however, by simply knowing the great promises.  God must place his knowledge of life and Godliness into our heart taking away the veil desires – idea of substitution.

Our escape from the corruption of the world is occasioned by the powerful move of God in changing the heart.  We are made knowledgeable through His word, delivered in hope through His promise and changed by our participation in righteousness.

2 Peter 1:5-9

As the author continues his discourse, he refers back to the substitutionary principle referred to when he gave his “very great and precious promises.”  Instead of nearsighted blindness and return to uncleanliness of the former life, we are to be filled increasingly with goodness then knowledge then self-control then perseverance then godliness then brotherly kindness and finally love.

1 John 1:1-4

The author uses the experiential to validate his claim.  He is the apostle John who has seen and heard and touched.  He appeals to the Jew through hearing, the Greek through touch, and the Gnostic through sight.  His claim is not based on this evidence, however, but on the “Word of Lice.”  Simply  seeing and hearing and touching will not validate the presence of God.

His basis is that this same Jesus of his experience is the Jesus of theirs.  What he has seen and heard does not make his experience superior to theirs.  He invites the church to join in the fellowship of the apostles and the community of Jesus Christ and God the Father.


Bring the World 3: Validate the Knowledge

There is a need to validate our knowledge.  Proper research leads to evidence to support our knowledge derived from the truth claim.  So while the truth claim has no evidence, the knowledge does and should.

We should resist using this knowledge to address the truth claim.  Giving reasons for belief will place the truth claim in the line of also needing evidence.  Our only evidence is the testimony of the Spirit and the saints.  Validating scripture as historically accurate is possible;


John 1:1

I have struggled lately with a twinge of unbelief.  It is just a feeling, just my imagination.  Wisdom teaches that one excludes feeling and sometimes rationale from a proof of God.  God is self-evident according to his will.  John speaks of having heard, seen, looked at, and touched.  If his testimony is true then whether Greek, Semitic, or Samaritan we can trust that testimony.

The fellowship we have is with John, our forerunner in faith, and Jesus, God the Son, and God the Father.  We maintain a unity based not on John’s vision but on his spoken testimony which we may validate through the Word – who is the God-Man Jesus Christ.  The Word is not contained by ink and language but by the presence of the Spirit.  The revelation of divine nature has always been the Son of God – 2nd person of the Trinity – through the internal, heart-moving work of the Holy Spirit.

From human perspective, then, God is the speaker of the Truth, Jesus is the person of the Truth – the human revelation – and the Spirit is the illumination of the Truth.  We believe ultimately because the Spirit illuminates His Word.


1 John 1:5

God has the full attribute of light.  It is consistently ascribed to Him by the apostle John.  His gospel and his first epistle both begin with this attribute of God.  He follows his conversation on light by encouraging the believer to walk in truth, or walk in light.  We are the walk in this light attribute of God.  Our fellowship with God and with each other depends on this life on the light path.

He doesn’t mean sinless perfection, however.  On risk of lying, we are not sinless but we do pursue purity from sin.  The phrase used to describe the perpetual nature of John’s comments is: “walk in the light, as he is in the light.”  The aim of a walk in the light is to be truthful about our sin, to confess that sin and to see God purify us from unrighteousness.

1 John 4:1

All the talk of love in our day makes me nervous.  I think because most say “God is love” differently than the apostle says it.  The statement modern folks make reduces God into an emotional force lacking moral authority or real power.  He is but a nice idea and a God of the mind.  The apostle couples his statement of testimony that he has seen this love.  The apostle speaks of love as a means of making affirmative proof of salvation.

John goes farther to define God’s revelation of love as the sending of Jesus.  Far from the idea of emotional warmth, God’s love is expressed in the coming and dying of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice.  If the love (sacrifice and walk with God) is not present in a person he does not belong to Christ.  The presence of the love if God is an assurance of Judgment Day.

God’s love for his people is a tremendous responsibility.  Showing love for God involves loving tat which God loves.  To love others is to love God.  This idea of love is functional rather than emotional.

When the scripture speaks of God’s love for the world the idea is functional.  God did not lower his choosing of man nor did he fail to choose His own.  His love is meant as a functional statement which followers will adopt.  The point of John 3:16 is that mankind does not love.  We will know who god’s people are by their love.  Those who are not elect cannot know God’s love.  God’s love is for man in that he sent Jesus as a functional atonement for all.  Therefore he did love all functionally.  He did not however call all such that they would love Him.


Missing in our hearing of the apostles is any mention of their families.  We know some had families but we hear little about whether they were of any consequence in the kingdom.  This omission of course doesn’t mean they had no impact.  We are just not told anything.  History gives little information to help. 

Nonetheless, a legacy was left to spiritual children.  This legacy is that of an identity passed from generation to generation.  The nature of ministry must be to pass this legacy.  Legacy is: an identity – I know who I am; a story – I know where I’ve been; a vision – I know where I’m going.  Scripture gives all three.


“And Saul was there giving approval to his death”

Paul must have remembered his nodding head for the rest of his life.  Paul is introduced in this manner by the writer of Acts.  None whom God has called are victims of their past.  God forgives and calls us to service.  He uses the broken vessel to shame the whole vessel.  Father make us broken that we may be made whole.

I know that God’s call is for my character to become one in kind with Him.  It seems that all the world is chasing a dream of doing like you do rather than being as you are.  I know there is right action.  This does not produce right mind and soul.  Brokenness and humility is the seed bed for the Word.  Without contrition there can be no redemption.  Praise be to God that he brings all the proud low.

The passage goes on and claims a great persecution began and the church was scattered.  Unlike the screaming one would expect when being hunted, the only shrieks came from evil spirits being driven out.

“The Blood of the saints is the seed of the Gospel”


Initiation, Maturity, Discipline, Identity

Maturity:  The growth of attitudes, individuality and physique in dealing with ones faith.  The teaching involves a dad and his son.  At some point (age 13) the boy is brought into the world of men.  All the men gather around the boy to call him a man.  They commit to guide, grow, speak truth into the life of a young boy.

Growth of attitudes:  The boyish play is traded for competitive function; the boyish curiosity is traded for productive exploration; the boyish silliness is traded for male focus.  Set a reasonable vision for attitudes including accountable application for its completion.

Ideas:    Give the boy a medal or a sword (for hanging on the wall). {Spiritual armor}
Send the boy on the walk (with his father) to speak of the things a man must be.
Fireside initiation complete with a keepsake.

The Walk: Talk about the love of god and the love of brothers.

Discipline:  Deal with the issues of male disciplines.  Discipline in sexuality, behavior, and worship is necessary for the growth of a young man.  Teach a man to know his impulse and use techniques to discipline the behavior.


Courage to Have Integrity

Significance in the lives of people rather than significance in the things I do.

It takes great courage to have integrity.  One is forced to confess wrong or error.  No room is available for hiding truth or giving excuses.  Integrity is the way of the wise and avoids the false hope of prosperity through self gain.  Integrity is a sacrifice of self for worship.

God has always required truth saying it has the power to free the soul.  Without truth we cannot possess this ultimate freedom.  If this ultimate truth brings ultimate and salvific freedom then all other increments of freedom are purchased by truth.  Lies have no value except to bind us to ourselves.  Truth binds us to God.


Isaiah 37:14-20

Hezekiah acknowledges that the king of Assyria has laid waste the other nations and thrown their gods in the fire.  Yet he asks God to defeat Senneraria, King of the Assyrians.  Because he prayed God did deliver.

We all face that which has defeated all other men.  We must have faith and seeks God’s deliverance.  Believers have victory.  There is no battle fought in which the believer is defeated.  This hope of ultimate victory frames the battle as temporary, eminent and desperate.  The enemy only has a while to survive.  He fights from his final stronghold – the heart – with his final allies – fallen man.  His heavenly support has long run dry.  His power is limited to the sphere of flesh complete with its virtual powerlessness.

The armor available for this fight is impregnable.  It is truth, salvation, faith, the gospel, readiness, righteousness, and the Word of God.  We are to pray and seek God’s heart and mind.  We are to fellowship in love.  We are to penetrate the darkness with light.  March on men of God.  {Eph 6:13}


Acts 2:1-13

The issue of glossalia seems to e dominating the landscape of SBC life.  I would admit that the doctrine needs discussion.  Acts gives a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, handling of the topic.  This descriptive handling of the topic leaves questions concerning how a believer should use glossalia.

Scripture indicates an evangelistic, witness oriented usage.  The apostles spoke in tongues of men, to men.  The crowds were drawn to the sound of blowing, violent wind and came to see what was happening.  When they arrived the apostles began to speak to them in many native tongues.

The coming of the Spirit, at salvation or some other time, has always brought glory and praise to God.  The work of God through these tongues did not convince the hearer to believe.  This work gave opportunity for Peter to preach the gospel message.

The work of the Spirit in public display is not a means to salvation.  The means of believing the gospel is through hearing the preached word.  Used figuratively we simply mean that God’s message is conveyed through language rather than experience.  One believes and the experiences.  Many believed what Peter was saying but made fun of the speaking in tongues.

We don’t think the apostles were drinking but have been guilty of scoffing.  Tongues is a gift to be dealt with.  Paul describes it as a sign for the lost.  The present situation in the church is troublesome.  While many claim the sign gifts little power otherwise is manifest.  Being leery of the spectacular is wise.  If the gospel is not preached and the Spirit is not present, the congregants are lost.  The lost have no access to the Spirit or His power.  If we see demonstration void of power, high on spectacle, and low on gospel, we see false prophets.  Eternal fire is reserved for such deceivers.

Patsy and Being Pregnant

So this is a new situation that tests my skills as a pastor.  Patsy is pregnant by some guy from some bar.  She didn’t intend this and has considered abortion but decided against that.  Brother Pitman recommended she have some formal accountability and then be professionally counseled.  I agree, so we will assign three ladies to hold accountability of Patsy.  They will be the gatekeepers for funds, and representatives of Patsy to the church.  The panel will be responsible for Patsy’s care and growth.  If she is unwilling to accept such care, nothing will be given her.  Lord give wisdom to me and this panel.  This is life and consequence.  Make straight the path before Patsy.  Minister to her heart. Give wisdom to her council: to Caneel, Susan and Jean.  Be glorified in this work.

Fear is the great “pre-occupier.”   Fear creates the visionless man, the insecure woman, the wild teenager, and the bitter elder.  The church fights fear more than all other sins.  It shows up as insecurity and territorial posturing.  Pastors who fear the thrust of the Gospel message change into heretical leaders.

Fear of the future is anxiety.  Anxiety preoccupies the vision.  When we fear some future event we neglect God’s delivering power.  “Perfect love drives out fear” and anxiety.  Without love there is no assurance that God will deliver.  Love from God assures God’s grace will cause one to endure or be rescued in death.  Vision flows from love.  When our eyes are placed rightly on God; when our hope is placed rightly in salvation; when our faith is placed rightly in God’s power; then love will drive away all fear.  Our vision will be God’s and God fears nothing.


“That’ll do JimTom, That’ll do.” 

Oddly, other than the name, that is a quote from that pig movie “Babe”.  JimTom told the men’s group that he wanted to hear that word of affirmation from God at his death.  The men’s group laughed about the source of that quote but heard exactly what JimTom meant.

Affirmation from God only comes through pain and victory. It only lasts a short while.  It’s only a feeling of being right with God; in His will and active in His power.  But it’s needed.  God affirmed Jesus with a Divine voice but Jesus comments that the voice was not for His sake but for the others.  The voice was to lend further credibility and divinity to Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus already knew who He was.

Likewise, our affirmation comes from a life of obedience.  As obedience in love takes the place of fear we find affirmation.   When God speaks and we obey, we find affirmation in God’s accomplishment through our function.  The “who am I” question can begin to fade as we see further into the “I am” our God.  God is light.  He, therefore, is without deception.  Affirmation comes as deception about fallenness fades.


Acts 2:22-28

Peter explains that Jesus was accredited by God through the works he performed.  Even so the Jews and Gentiles handed Him over to death by crucifixion.  They could not hold Him nor could death.  His resurrection was prophesied by David and many others.

Perhaps in the effort to apply the gospel to circumstance of life we fail to apply the gospel to the heart.  The gospel is not a corrective force against injustice, physical malady, or pain.  The Word is a sword -  offensive at its natural appeal.  The path of life is not in how the gospel fixes the circumstance but how it endures with joy.  Life is Christ.  The world and its circumstance will perish.  Not so the gospel; it endures forever.

So, applying the gospel to life is to secularize the gospel and dilute its power.  Life must be crucifies with the gospel and resurrected with the gospel.  The path of life is a resurrected state not a modification of the old state.


A New Reform

The implications of a new reform are difficult to see.  Two ideas lend the most difficulty.

1.       The general lack of experience or knowledge as to the results, both cause and effect of such a movement.

2.       The end result of remaining pre-reform churches.  While I do not expect established church houses to fail, I do expect a serious decline in effectiveness.  Minimal changes will redress the church appearance but at heart many church houses will perish under the pressure.  Many church houses will experience renewed fighting among membership from those affirming the movement and those denying it.

The establishment’s[1] response will be to downplay the significance of such a reform and enhance programs to accommodate.  Movement leaders will be seen as traitors and as dangerous to the establishment houses.   Many labels will be placed on movement leaders to discredit them.  The response will come quickly as movement leaders leave establishment houses.  Division is inevitable.  Division will be among friends and family.

For the movement church, confusion will reign supreme.  Many seeking movement results will simply establish church houses with fun names.  Many leaving the church house will seek equitable status in the movement and not find it.  Doctrinal heresy will be ever-present; no distinction will be made about a worshipper’s former doctrine.  All must be brought in as babes and trained.  Leadership will often have no Biblical training and not enough accountability.  Such is the breeding ground of falsehood, selfish law, and heresy.

The apology is not clear.  Technique change is clear.  The distinction is concerning the doctrine.  My assertions are included as an apology to many faith groups:

1.        The Church as the bride of Christ is not made of those who worship in a geographic area but of those who follow and fellowship with Jesus Christ.

2.       The Relevant focus of the bride[2] is on

a.       Discipleship – training the elect to be children in the Kingdom of God.

b.      Worship – to know and honor the living God and forsake self

c.       Evangelism – the expression of the true gospel of love, lived in a real way from a sincere heart toward the lost.

3.       Calling to ministry of all believers.  All elect are called to function within the body of the Bride.

4.       Missions is the establishment of the Body Bride under the leadership of overseers.

5.       Physical proximity bears no decision on where a meeting house is established.

6.       Overseers are never alone in keeping to many practices of early churchship.  Overseers disciple and train overseers.

7.       Unity is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Disorder and division are the work of the enemy.

8.       Homogenous creed or confession is no substitute for practical Godly lifestyle agreement.

9.       The church house in not condemnable.

10.   The sign gifts and so called charismatic gifts are active and present.  Order and practice have boundaries.


One Man…

What unlocks the world full of its adventure, trial, joy and promise.  The heart of man desires the epic.  Modern society seems to consume the passion and vision through comfort and delusion.  A man desires the thing greater than himself.  No lack of desire exists to keep tamed the heart of man.  So what holds closed, bears away the key, bars the door to the unleashing of heart matching action.

Under King Thaedues of the Spartans 300 men stood against 200,000 Persians.  Against the greatest military force in medieval England the Scotts fought with William Wallace.  Under severe trial and pain Jesus of Nazareth held back 1,000 angels to complete what must be done.  In Bastogne, some 100 men held of the German advance through shelling and loss of life.  Men of action and war find brotherhood, passion, adventure.  The men become heroes without powers.

One man holds the key to the heart.  His example, thought often told, is seldom followed.  One man makes victory certain and defeat impossible.  One man gives the power to imitate and taste the victory.


Twelve Disciples

Men are designed to follow and lead.  The chemical and anatomical structure of the male brain allows a man to function by training rather than instinct.  Unlike many mammals who display the fight or flight response, humans display an ability to train away emotional reaction.  As a man is conditioned and programmed he becomes more functional for the purpose of his training.  The military uses discipline, authority and training to insure a cohesive fighting unit.  Part of this training teaches a soldier to follow orders without question and shoot to kill.

Within close relationships between men a leader will always emerge.  The process, though subtle, is a basic part of how men function in their world.  Some men avoid relationships because of inferiority caused by this process.  Identity emerges as the chief struggle men face.  A man who is unsure of his own worth will never find close friendship on his own.  Thus, men pretend, compensate or find some other social outlet for their insecurity.


[1] The establishment is all church houses who have existed or will begin during or before the reform.

[2] The bride will be used as the description of those as defined in #1.

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