This is the second section of the mini-course on understanding the world from a Christian perspective.
Understanding Your World II
. The attached presentation goes with this lecture. Freedom Slides
This is a course about understanding the world from a Christian perspective. Understanding Your World I. The graphic shown here goes with the teaching. You can click to view it full size Read more [...]
Jesus explicitly says that His Kingdom is "not of this world" (John 18:36) yet some of us still persist, like the crowds, to make him an Earthly king by force (John 6:15). This is not what Jesus wants from us. What he wants is for us to "make disciples" of the nations. Unlike the devil, He wants to rule over a kingdom of voluntary subjects, not of people who are enslaved to Him and hate Him. What is this "making disciples" all about though? Some explain "make disciples of all nations" to mean "take Read more [...]
A brief discussion about Interest and the effect of saving.
Money Lab II
Third Session of Money Principles —
Second Session of Money Principles —
We explain average Joe’s problems and start to solve his monthly budget issues.
Money Lab I
This session explains the nature of Work, including its Biblical foundations, as well as the relationship between the spiritual aspects of money.
Money Principles I
One of the results of addiction is that your view of money and ability to handle it is often ruined. In addition, people who are in poverty situations often have very different views of money than those in the middle class. This is a huge challenge to unravel, but one that must be done if the person hopes to climb out. There are a lot of principles that responsible people operate by that are non-obvious to others. For example, the principle Read more [...]
I recently attended a conference with the rest of the team where Kris Vallotton was the main speaker. We were going mostly as a fellowship, not for the message, as I had only heard Kris Valloton briefly on a single web cast before. I just knew that the Bethel related guys were doing cool things and the host of the conference was very excited about having him in. We didn't go because we were big followers of his, but because we were looking for an opportunity for the guys to have an encounter with Read more [...]
Worldview of Typology with examples of explicit New Testament Types.
Worldview of Typology
A look at the Net Testament perspective of the other covenants.
The New Covenant
Examines the purpose of the law and the nation of Israel from a New Testament perspective.
The Mosaic Covenant
So I have become aware that I am an excitement addict. I need things to be exciting. In fact, I come from a generation of excitement addicts. We basically have continuous entertainment opportunities all the time. We are raised from the beginning on this excitement diet. Whether it be video games, sex, food, or even things in the church the bottom line is that we want it to be exciting. This is because we were raised to chase a high.
This concept has recently been ported over into the Christian world Read more [...]
We continue to wade deeper into the waters of demonic deliverance. And I certainly don't have "the answers" as it comes to this topic, but I learn more and more all the time. Talking to other people about how their bondage works has definitely been eye opening about how to get more freedom myself, and even others who are “healthy.”
Jesus says that “my sheep hear my voice.” This is a great promise, but the problem is that we also hear the devil’s voice, and we have to learn to totally reject Read more [...]
Jaime takes a break this week to teach Apologetics with a focus on atheistic objection.
A recent commenter was trying to understand why Charismatics seem to be particularly open to the Word of Faith movement and assume that if you are anti-Word of Faith you are anti-Charismatic. When I was in high school, before I became Charismatic, I remember staying up late with my brother and watching one of the TV ministries with my brother. It was completely ridiculous. I had a hard time even recognizing it as Christian. Yet these guys are raising enough money to stay on the air. It was several Read more [...]
The basic task of pastoring people is helping them to grow. A major component of this then is counseling. And both counseling and pastoring are tied closely to our view of sanctification, and our view of the human person. There are several major schools of thought today that provide us an approach to helping people to grow:
“Christian Counseling.” The Christian Counseling movement is very integrationist in its philosophy. The basic idea is to build on secular counseling insights and Read more [...]
It was asked in a comment what is the significance of the New Perspective on Paul. First of all, I am not going to pretend to be an expert. It's a bit of a tricky subject that people will want to argue about. If you want a more expert debriefing, check out one of the audios here. Or you may want to look at John Piper's book "The Future of Justification."
The simple version is as follows: Back in the 70s, a scholar named E.P. Sanders wrote a book called "Paul and Palestinian Judaism." It claimed Read more [...]
With the rise of contemporary Reformed thought, a number of Charismatic groups have also arisen which embrace Calvinism. Perhaps the most important of these is "New Frontiers" a major church planting network from England. A major concept for Charismatics in the 20th century was a dream of unifying the "Word and the Spirit." Ern Baxter, one of the major leaders of the Shepherding Movement, was one who held to this concept. So was R.T. Kendall, who wrote a book by the same title with Paul Cain. Smith Read more [...]
This message deals with typology.
This is a long message on the history of Bible interpretation leading up to coverage of three major schools of interpretation.
History of Interpretation
After years of study, I feel that I am finally starting to get a hold of an idea that has eluded me. I did a long paper in Seminary so that I could clearly understand eschatology. Separately, I've been trying to understand how Charismatic preaching and Bible interpretation works. This leads ultimately to an examination of our Charismatic practice to find the "way forward."
There are a lot of groups offering us a false "way forward" in the church right now. The whole "Emergent" movement is capturing Read more [...]
I just finished reading The Feast of Tabernacles by George H. Warnock. It is definitely one of the seminal books of the Charismatic movement, although very few contemporary Charismatics have heard of it. George H. Warnock was a key figure in the “Latter Rain” revival of 1948, and wrote the Feast of Tabernacles in 1951 in response to a prophecy. He had this to say about the relationship between the Latter Rain and the Charismatic movement “It wasn’t long until the move of God began to infiltrate Read more [...]
After demolishing dispensationalism, I heard a great Bible teacher say that covenant theology was the answer to the problem. This guy was such a great Bible teacher that I was intrigued. I recently spent a good amount of time looking into Covenant theology and I have a few things to say about it.
First, covenant theology is NOT just a listing of the covenants in the Bible. Covenant theology is a theory about a relationship of all of the covenants into a overarching structure of covenants. Normally Read more [...]
Jaime gives a brief synopsis of Greg Beale’s message “The Temple and the Church’s Mission” and uses it as a springboard for how to read the Bible.
Biblical Interpretation Temple Example
This is a brief overview of the Old Testament covering key events of Israel’s history as well as the books of the OT in chronological order.
Old Testament Survey
Since coming to Cincinnati we have been working with guys who are in recovery from various serious serious issues including substance abuse. Our initial approach centered on having a deliverance "encounter" with each person when they arrive. This would last for at least 4 hours. These sessions have been very effective in breaking the "first wave" of issues that people bring. This includes deep wounds from the past, unconfessed sins, anger with God, etc. Exposing these things has enabled people Read more [...]
The "Canonical Exegesis Movement" is not a term in use by anyone, but it is a description of something real that is going on in our time. For most of the 20th century, dispensationalism reigned supreme among evangelicals. This led to a lot of problems with our hermeneutics -- because it was "hyper-literal" and because it wrote off the Old Testament as being "under Law" and therefore not applicable. The more academic types mixed this with higher critical assumptions about the books of the Bible being Read more [...]
After 6 months of good ministry here in Cincinnati, we've hit a little bit of a breather, and I have felt the call to begin thinking again. More specifically, I am getting a sense of a definite call to use my life to develop certain "reformational messages" in the church. This is because I believe I have discovered a basic principle of the world's epistemology: the truth is almost never what the mainstream believes, and it is almost never what those who are reacting against the mainstream Read more [...]
Jaime gives a lesson on the unity of the testaments.
The Unity of the Testaments
Jaime gives a lesson on the history of the Bible.
History of the Bible
This is about the impact of the worldview of the Bible and how it shows that the Scripture is true.
Bible Class Session 2 –
Confirmed Authority of the Bible
Bible Class Session 1 –
Innate Authority of the Bible
There are a number of foundations books out there. The good news is that when you are a new believer the main "foundations" book you really need is the New Testament. Especially Matthew, John, and Romans. If you can get the message of those 3 books, you have a lot of the really important stuff. As our team has been working with newer believers that we cannot personally disciple we have looked for resources that we can hand to them to do Read more [...]
The first thing an entry level student of the Bible needs to own is a "Handbook." Henrietta Mears and Henry Halley did a great job by creating "Bible Handbooks" which are kind of condensed commentaries. They just give you a "road map" of what is in the Scripture. Henrietta Mears' work is to be recommended for it's devotional and practical qualities. People are rediscovering the value of these two books and they have both been republished Read more [...]
By William Booth (1829-1912)
On one of my recent journeys, as I gazed from the coach window, I was led into a train of thought concerning the condition of the multitudes around me. They were living carelessly in the most open and shameless rebellion against God, without a thought for their eternal welfare. As I looked out of the window, I seemed to see them all . . . millions of people all around me given up to their drink and their pleasure, their dancing and their music, their business and their Read more [...]
Yes, there is such a thing as 'spiritual' abuse. Spiritual abuse happens when a system is set up in the name of God that hurts people. The Pharisees were the original spiritual abusers. A lot of people think that Jesus was upset with their legalism, and there is no doubt that he was, but really that was just a part of a larger problem. They were taking advantage of people in the name of God.
Not everything bad that could ever happen to you in a church setting is really spiritual abuse. Even in a Read more [...]
Learning to derive meaning out of the Bible can be very difficult, especially if you come from a religious background. I personally spent quite a while trying to get deep meaning out of the Scriptures. Those from a more fundamentalist or dispensationalist heritage will value the actual words of the Scriptures and memorize them. Those from an evangelical background will work with them at a rational level. Charismatics may welcome exciting, but "hyper-spiritual" interpretations. How do we find a method Read more [...]
Maybe you are open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit but you are not sure about tongues. Either you believe they are over emphasized or they are not for you. If that is you, then you I recommend you read "They Speak with Other Tongues" by John Sherrill. He was a secular and skeptical journalist who was sent to investigate the "tongues" phenomenon. The results of his investigation were not only shocking to him, but his book has ministered Read more [...]
This is the first in a multi-part series on how to read the Bible. It’s only a half hour long, but there is a lot more material crammed in. This one is mostly prefatory — focusing on translations and Bible types.
How To Read The Bible Part1
Knowing God is a lifelong task. There is no one silver bullet that will suddenly cause you to know Him deeply. Ultimately the biggest part of knowing God has nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with character and our response to Him. The more we humble ourselves the more we will experience his closeness. The more we pursue encounters with Him, the more we will experience Him on a tangible level. The spiritual disciplines Read more [...]
Pride is one of the most difficult issues for us to deal with, because it is very deceptive. In fact, someone with a major pride problem is less likely to realize they have it than someone who has a small problem. It can even go under cover masking itself as humility. Contrary to popular belief, not all pride manifests itself as arrogance. Pride is our need to look good for others. The more concerned you are about what others think about Read more [...]
Every culture must have a history to support it, or it is unsustainable. This is the great American, and even pan-Western problem of the moment. We no longer believe in a history which supports who we are. Is this because we are bad, or is it because we are starting with the wrong end point and writing out the truth? This means we are destined to become something else. We are unsustainable. Contemporary American historians are obsessed with our sins. Across the West historians are obsessed with Read more [...]
Many churches believe in going out to share the gospel or otherwise reach out to people on the street, but my experience is that rarely do you find people who are motivated to go out connected with the people who are motivated help take these people all the way along the path to a strong life in Christ. We believe in this powerful combination.
Going out on the street is not an end unto itself. It has a purpose -- change lives. If you are going out and talking to a lot of people and praying for a Read more [...]
Many Christians today have a great deal of anxiety over the end times. Throughout history, as we have entered fearful times, the Christians have turned to the expectation of Christ's return as the ultimate hope. In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us that we will hear of "wars and rumors of wars" but that the "end is not yet." He goes on to list a number of other things that do not in themselves signify the end -- famines, false prophets, martyrdom, and lawlessness. These things are endemic to history, and Read more [...]
If you are not from a charismatic or pentecostal background, the idea of spiritual gifts -- things like tongues, prophecy and divine healing may be difficult to wrestle with. On the one hand, you may be attracted to the more relaxed atmosphere at a "Spirit Filled" church but is someone about to bring some snakes out? Or possibly you may have been taught that the miraculous gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 ceased with the apostles and the completion Read more [...]
Every Christian must eventually grapple with the issue of sanctification, that is how to become more like God, and sin less. When someone is radically converted, this is often a non issue for a while. It seems like God just removes so many things from their old life so quickly that sanctification is an automatic process. However, as Christians grow, they often hit a point where it is not as easy as it once was and they start to wonder what happened.
There are many different ways that Christians Read more [...]
"You Teach Others How To Treat You" overrule areas in their lives where they shouldn't -- thus the concept of "boundaries." Henry Cloud and John Townsend argue that if proper personal boundaries are reset -- if a person can draw appropriate lines where they cannot be controlled or manipulated -- then most dysfunctional relationships can get better. They also argue that a person with too tight or too loose boundaries probably doesn't Read more [...]
In the Garden of Eden, it was not only Adam and Eve's rebellion at work, they were deceived by the devil who appeared in the form of a serpent.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1)
He was the one who tempted them to disobey God, and because they obeyed his voice instead of God's they came under his authority. When you are born Read more [...]
As mentioned in the previous post, there are several major things working against people getting married, those are trends that the church has to fight. What about at an individual level? I'd like to look at the dynamics of relationships and what the pitfalls are. There are many different kinds of men and women out there, so it's impossible to cover every scenario, but let's look at a few basic dynamics.
The most important issue is that of attraction. What causes one person to become attracted to Read more [...]
Christianity is unique among all of the world's religions because its portrait of the nature of man is so dim, and its remedy so dramatic. In Christianity, getting right with God is not a matter of self-improvement or even self denial. It is not a matter of offering some kind of sacrifice to God to appease Him. Christians recognize that every human problem ultimately goes back to one thing: sin.
Most people are quick to say "Nobody's perfect," but looking around us, and inwardly, we Read more [...]
Jesus said to his disciples "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." I believe that this encounter is more than a statement of what he was going to do, but it was a reflection of what is already going on in their encounter. What can we learn about "catching" men from Jesus encounter with the fishermen in Luke 5:1-11?
You need disciples. Fish do not just appear. Someone has to work to bring them in. Nets and boats do not catch fish by themselves.
You need nets, and they need to be prepared. Read more [...]
Often we talk about about growing a ministry, this equates a ministry with a thing... a large church or program is considered a ministry. However, I'd like to suggest that we focus on the human aspect -- the ministry result that happens to a person. Ministry does not actually happen unless someone is actually touched or changed as a result of what you are doing. This is what we want to cultivate. We don't want to grow a ministry, we want to grow ministry. We want the amount of ministry that happens Read more [...]
History is one of the most important disciplines. It is important because our memory of what happened directly informs our viewpoint of what should happen. Everyone has a particular understanding of past based on what they have experienced and what they have learned, even if it is not well developed. If our understanding of what happened and why it happened is incorrect, our understanding of what we should be doing now will also be incorrect.
History, then, is a convenient place for historians to Read more [...]
Advancing God's Kingdom is a multifaceted an seemingly overwhelming responsibility at times. We look at what needs to be done and we are staggered with the enormity of "How can I do all of this" You can't. That's why you need a fellowship of people who each do a part. And ideally set it up so that their part doesn't have to go on indefinitely. First, let's identify three kinds of people in the church.
People to whom you are ministering.
People who growing by helping build ministries
People Read more [...]
Maybe you read the last post and you are thinking, "This guy must be house church." Or "He doesn't know how much work being a pastor is." I'm not, and I do. I'm just realizing that the core problem we need to solve is how to give rather than consolidate responsibilities. What's needed is a new conception of the leader of the church. So I'm working through an alternative model of how to enable people to grow. Here are my working thoughts.
The leader of the church should be the conductor of the Read more [...]
If you've been around enough churches you know that the perennial problem is getting everyone involved. Pastors look for strategies to get people involved, but sometimes it feels like pretty much nothing you can do, outside of becoming a cult, will get more than 20% of people doing anything. The team and I have been reflecting on this lately, and I'm starting to have some thoughts about what needs to happen. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to hit some sacred cows. The firs thing is that I think Read more [...]
Much has been said of "Apostolic Movements" of late. These are supposed to be a restoration of the pattern of the first apostles. Too often these "apostolic" movements are just large churches built around an extraordinary leader who has planted a few satellites. What is needed is an explosive first century style revival movement, where the Gospel spreads like a flame so fast that can not be extinguished. I believe the closest thing we have to a well documented apostolic movement in modern times is Read more [...]
In the Garden of Eden, it was not only Adam and Eve’s rebellion at work, they were deceived by the devil who appeared in the form of a serpent.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1)
He was the one who tempted them to disobey God, and because they obeyed his voice instead of God’s they came under his authority. When you are born Read more [...]
Christianity is unique among all of the world’s religions because its portrait of the nature of man is so dim, and its remedy so dramatic. In Christianity, getting right with God is not a matter of self-improvement or even self denial. It is not a matter of offering some kind of sacrifice to God to appease Him. Christians recognize that every human problem ultimately goes back to one thing: sin.
Most people are quick to say “Nobody’s perfect,” but looking around us, and inwardly, Read more [...]
I think our first priority as Christians is the salvation of souls. I believe that's God's first priority. It's the reason He sent his Son. My view of political and international relations flows backwards from that. Fortunately we have 2000 years of history (after Christ) to reflect on to help examine the fruit of different beliefs and approaches. I like to examine my ideas through that filter as well.
First, we know that that without Christ the world was lost. This includes everyone except believing Read more [...]
There are thousands and thousands of different job roles out there in our increasingly diverse economy, and it is impossible to understand, much less explain all of the complexities of these various job roles and their significance. Finding a career path, and a job within that path is as much an art as it is a science. It is very hard to answer the question "What do you want to do?" when you do not understand the options of what you could do, and more importantly the significance of taking any of Read more [...]
In this country we study for approximately 16 years before entering the career field, and in fact it is getting longer now with more and more people going to professional school. Yet, it is remarkable how little we know when we graduate. We have very little in the way of practical skills, and we have major gaps in our understanding of the world at a theoretical level. At best, we have solid training in the area in which we majored. Now, regardless of specific skills, our academic education does in Read more [...]
To all of the observations in the last post, I would like to add one more that I believe is usually missed: evangelism is a team sport. In fact, when you look at the Biblical metaphor of the lost person as a "slave" to the world, evangelism is more like a prison break. If you were to break someone out of prison, you would very unlikely do it all on your own. You would develop a plan, marshall your resources, and spring the person out. I suggest that we do the same thing. This is what I'm Read more [...]
There are several major theories of evangelism out there.
Fundamentalist Evangelism - This method became popular in the early part of the 20th century and has carried on in conservative groups down to this day. The basic approach is that everyone must hear the gospel. It involves going door to door, passing out tracts, or accosting people on the street. The goal of each of these encounters is to get someone to pray a prayer of salvation with you. This generally requires a lot of stamina and courage Read more [...]
The perennial question is Can a Christian have a demon? There are those (mostly non-Charismatics) who say categorically no. Usually, however, these people are also those who don't really believe much in demons at all. In reality, most of us deal with demons and their effects throughout our lives. I'd like to propose this scale:
Familiarity or "Stronghold"
Possession is what only a non-believer can experience. Where the demon can actually Read more [...]
Mike Bickle has had a tremendous impact on the church in his generation. One that far outstrips what most of us could hope for. God called him at a very young age to be the pastor to the prophets of Kansas City. These Kansas City Prophets went on to shock the worldwide church with the divine word and power of God. Now that's not to say that things were all right. There were definitely issues, but it is to say that God used this team to do something very significant in the life of the church. Then Read more [...]
Todd Bentley was exposed as being in the deception and sin of an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member. The anointed but hard-driving evangelist had fallen prey to the oldest of all sins. It's a sad story. It's sad for the church and it's especially sad for Todd Bentley, whose wife is separating from Him. What is especially interesting is the variety of responses that people have had to his fall.
Steven Strang and J. Lee Grady of Charisma have used the opportunity to reiterate Read more [...]
Despite the anti-intellectual impulses of many Christian groups, education is fundamental to what it means to be a Christian. When you are born again, you realize that you have been living in a lie for years, and that you essentially have none of the tools to live in the truth... So you hunger for education. The real question is what we mean by "education." In reality, there are two very different purposes for education, and therefore two different kinds of pursuits:
The first reason to educated Read more [...]
Throughout most of Church History the spiritual current, especially of the Catholic and Orthodox churches has been that the most spiritual possible lifestyle is to be poor. Keying off of Scriptures like "Blessed are the poor..." and "Sell everything you have and come follow me," the mindset has been that in order to truly follow Christ you must impoverish yourself. Now, of course, at any given time only a few are willing to do this at one time, and so they are considered the most Spiritual. This Read more [...]
For the past three nights, I've had dreams that I not only remembered, but were highly symbolic and seemed to have meaning. In addition, when I awoke from the first dream I felt that I had had a God dream. I told my wife and I began to give the intepretation. It was strange because I rarely dream anymore and I have never interpreted a dream before. But this seemed to just flow off of my tongue, and speak to our situation.
In fact, I believe this may have been triggered by a visit to a Bridge church Read more [...]
After years of seemingly nothing going on, the attention of the Charismatic world has turned once again to Lakeland, Florida. For those who remember, Lakeland had the first signs of what became the Toronto and Brownsville movements under the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne. At that time, the church was pastored by Karl Strader and called the "Carpenter's Home Church." Years later, and after some drama, Karl's son Stephen began pastoring a much smaller revival-oriented church called "Ignited Church" Read more [...]
Definition of Preaching
When you go into a church for the first time, you can never be sure what is going to be offered from behind the pulpit as "the sermon." There is quite a wide spectrum of what is considered appropriate, depending on the speaker and the context. Often times what it called "preaching" is not really preaching at all. Here are seven different kinds of message you may hear in church:
Moralizing -- If the speaker is not born again you will get moralizing. Two major messages Read more [...]
A little understood but very important chapter in American Church history is the Jesus Movement. Just as the hippie movement, which the devil staged to undermine American culture was peaking, God started a surprise -- he swept tens of thousands of hippies into the Kingdom of God. A young hippie named Lonnie Frisbee was crying out to God in the desert looking for reality, and God showed up. Although God used many people in many ways during the Jesus People, Lonnie Frisbee was the Pentecostal spark. Read more [...]
It's very difficult for most of us to understand the church context we exist in because we live in a time where boundaries have been blurred. However, our past tells us a lot about who we are and should be, so it's important that we understand it. This is made more difficult by the fact that, if they do understand it, few Charismatics want to talk about the history that made them who they are because of some excesses that have cropped up. So you have to go on a treasure hunt. After nearly a decade Read more [...]
Finding powerful worship albums is not that easy. You need a combination of great songwriting/selection, strong musicianship, hunger and responsiviness to the presence of God. Some worshipers are strong on one but weak on others. There are a lot of great worshipers in the Kansas City stream that tune into the presence of God, but it's so free form that the music suffers a bit. On other hand, more typical is sacrificing the presence for perfection. Israel Houghton may be an example of this. If he Read more [...]
The Trinity is one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity and yet one of the hardest. It seems to involve a paradox: one God, three Persons. How can that be? How do we escape tritheism without nullifying the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit?
The paradox is ancient. The Early Christians had many heretics who professed doctrines which either avowed tritheism or stole deity from the Second and Third persons of the Trinity. Even before the Early Christians, Neo-Platonists had grappled Read more [...]
This is a guest post from my wife, Jaime Riddle, about how God delivered her from works.
Ever since I got saved, I knew I was saved by grace and not by works. Not anything I had done (except refusing to believe) had kept me from Christ. And nothing i did (except agreeing to believe) had gotten me in. I knew my good works were like "filthy rags" before God and I was not supposed to be proud of them. But I also knew God expected His children to do good works for some sort of heavenly reward and Read more [...]
Once saved, always saved (OSAS). A popular tenet of evangelicalism, but is it true? Many books and articles can be found on the subject, but I believe a lay reader of the Bible will find Scriptures and concepts that make 'once saved, always saved' doubtful. In my opinion, it is an extreme position and a reaction to another unpalatable extreme position.
'Once saved, always saved' maintains you cannot lose your salvation. You cannot undo the work God has done or the seal He has given, even if you Read more [...]
God's Kingdom advances through a pattern of successive reforms. When a reform is completed, people who were believers in the reform, but who themselves are not reformers, but institutionalists, take over. With time it becomes a "party" system, where those who are in power reinforce their power against those who are not in power, not primarily because of an ideal, but because of the power itself.
The "party" system is simple. To be a member of the party you must believe in what the party believes. Read more [...]
There are three basic systems for eschatology. Rather than elaborate on all of the nuances, I wanted to give the super simplified list to keep things clear. The most popular system has these basic features:
Jesus is coming back to get the church and judge the world at any time.
This will be followed by a golden age of his rule upon the Earth while Satan is bound.
This will be followed by Satan's release and a final judgement of both the devil and the wicked.
That is called premillennialism. Read more [...]
Although the governments of men are legitimate political actors who influence history by seeking their own self interest, behind all political power is ultimately the war between the Spiritual forces of God and those of the devil. The devil's goal is consolidation of power under one head in order to control and eradicate all of mankind, and God's goal is bring people out of the devil's Kingdom and into relationship with him, which politically means less consolidated power and more in the hands of Read more [...]
When I was younger I was so zealous to be free of my sin, I think I would have done anything. Before we were married, I drove my wife an hour into some dump in New Jersey to a church that specialized in deliverance. They proceeded to cast the devil out of us and encourage us to read John Bevere books, but I don't think anything happened, excepted creeping out my bride to be. I resorted to this sort of thing because I knew we both had problems that needed help, and I thought if I could just get a Read more [...]
Since the rise of the shepherding movement in the 1970's the church has been uniquely aware of spiritual authority. The Shepherds looked over to the Jesus Movement, saw the born again hippies and their anti-authority view of the world, and realized that something was wrong with the picture. The answer was to teach people that you could not be submitted to Jesus if you were not submitted to man. What formed around this teaching then was a heirarchy with members submitted to cell group leaders who Read more [...]
The gap between the daily experience of most Christians and the potential experience of Christians is so great that it poses a bit of a puzzle. Aside from lamenting it, is there anything we can do to rectify it? Neil Anderson has developed what is probably the most advanced model available for helping believers experience the fullness of who they are called to be in Christ:
Breaking alliance with the demonic realm and it's many inroads
Dealing with Rebellion
Dealing Read more [...]
We know from Daniel, that one of the most righteous, "prayed up" men on earth at the time had to waith three weeks for an answer due to warfare being waged over delivering the answer to his prayer. This gives us a unique window into what is really going on when we pray. It paints a more complex picture than we normally assume. We assume too quickly that when a prayer is not answered, it's because it was "not God's will." In situations where God's will is ambiguous that may be reasonable to expect, Read more [...]
My wife and I had an extensive talk about about how men and women hear things differently last night. When you talk to someone, there is often what you could call a "subtext" beneath what you are saying. Such as if you say: "The closet is not clean." The subtext could be "You haven't been doing your job in keeping it clean." Now what I was coming to realize that while both men and women can hear subtexts, women communicate largely on the basis of subtext. Jill would not say to Alice that "The closet Read more [...]
The discussion of Haman is important not because he's the only kind of power player out there, but because he is the primary one that can stop you and hurt others. The people that are just out to save their own necks cannot compete with kind of respect, sacrificial ethic and God-breathed talent you should bring to a situation. Moreover invidual politics with Haman are representative of the way that geopolitics work as well. The devil is always trying to bring "Haman" governments into power. Those Read more [...]
With this seeming paradox, Jesus gives one of the most important nuggets of wisdom for dealing with the powers of this world. As Christians we find ourselves in a unique place on the political chessboard. We will most certainly be hated more than anyone else by the Haman figure in the organization. If this person gains power, not only will we be in jeopardy, or near slavery, our bosses are in trouble from the ambition of the Haman figure, and so is the entire organization. Yet, we are likely the Read more [...]
In the church age, God's kingdom confronts the demonic powers which rule the world. Although Jesus' death and resurrection stripped them of their right to control it, until the church comes into an area and removes them, they rule by default. The natural order of the world has a spiritual order behind it. Moreover the spiritual order has great influence over how the natural order will align. The two are deeply intertwined.
The church has recently started to recognize that these so called "principalities" Read more [...]
After the resurrection, the army of God's church begins to advance and incrementally changed the dymanics of the world. We see history unfolding in phases where each phase takes signficant steps toward a beautiful and righteous people which, having come from love for and slavery to evil, vindicates the character of God forever. The fact that they have repeatedly chosen Him over everything that the devil could do to them or offer them, is deeply touching to God, and a people that fulfills this in Read more [...]
When Jesus comes, it is more than a book end on a failed age: 4000 years where God used various strategies to get man, especially Israel, to do what he had planned all along. If that were the case, I believe God could have had Jesus go to the cross almost immediately in history. So I view the preceding history, as necessary, not accidental, even if we don't fully understand all of the reasons for it.
When Jesus comes it is a direct confrontation of Satan's power. It is also the highest stakes moment Read more [...]
God’s flooding of the Earth was basically the expected result from the fall of man – man under the devil’s rule becomes more and more evil to the point where God has to wipe him off the face of the planet.However, rather than totally end the war, God chooses to save one man and seemingly start over.Why this way?Perhaps it is because Adam and all of his progeny were born by natural descent, but Noah and his had to in a sense be born by faith.Therefore it’s not just literary flourish when the Read more [...]
In the beginning, God created the earth and placed the man on it.When He placed man there, it’s clear from His command to “take dominion” that man was the intended agent in a conflict against the devil. This is further reinforced by the fact that man is made in God’s “image” or literally “idol.” An idol represents a god on earth, and man represents the Living God on earth.
Why would God engage in a proxy battle with the devil instead of direct confrontation? I believe it’s because Read more [...]
There are several "Christian" views of who is in control of the world and history:
God is in complete control. Whatever man or the devil want are incidental, because God is the ultimate cause of everything. This view is normally associated with Calvinism, but has seeped through to form the backdrop of most people's understanding.
The devil is effectively in control. God set up history, but right now is the devil's era, and Christians just have to hold on for dear life until the end. This Read more [...]
Prophecy and Your Walk with God
Many Christians are uncertain or inexperienced with personal prophecy, but I have found that prophecy can fast track your walk with God if you utilize it properly. If I speak a word over you, I want you to have a healthy, positive experience, so here are some guidelines to help.
The Purpose of Prophecy
Prophecy is someone listening to God so that they can speak his heart over you. All prophecy, like all ministry, however, must pass through a human vessel Read more [...]