Monday, August 15, 2005

The Great Escape!

This blog is committed to the notion that I will speak clearly those things that I know that God has revealed in my life and heart. One of the pillars of God's revelation to me is the message of the Kingdom of God: Christ rules and reigns in the Heavenlies, we are presently seated with Him far above every name on earth, under the earth, above the earth, past, present and future. He calls His church, the Bride, to spread the Good News that His Kingdom is now in place, it transcends every geographic, political and human boundry. One day, when His bride has matured, speaking and demonstrating the Good News of the Kingdom of God, He will physically return, not to BECOME the King of kings, but AS the King of kings.

As I am sure you know, there is "another gospel" out there. I saw it with my eyes on Christian TV yesterday. Every so often I surf the wasteland of satelite TV with a pause or two on another wasteland, Christian programing. Filling the screen yesterday, I saw in full detail the apt description of what I believe is braking the heart of God and draining Christianity of of its power and potential in this day and hour. The preacher's chart was headlined in gigantic muliplied footage with the words, "The Great Escape". Part of me was relieved, because, in part, finally the truth of this doctrinal virus is spelled out....escapism. Turn the world and it's unworthy inhabitants over to the devil and a furious God, but get me out of here via the rapture, a.s.a.p.

Before I go on, let me be very clear about one thing: for me this is not about picking at points of doctrine and belief systems for the sake of a glorious "religious" debate. Most of you out there are sick of that, I am sick of that and a watching, waiting world outside the church is plenty sick of that. My passion is to ensure that a believer's "root system" is drawing nutrition from healthy life giving Truth so that the fruit we bear is the attractive, life giving, nation healing fruit that God intended it to be. Now, back to the cartoonish chart with the admission of escaping the responsibility that God gave us as far back as the Garden of Eden.

This preacher's premise is an exact copy of the premise built by his mentors of dispensational escapism:
Premise #1,2,3,4,5, etc: God needs a series of anger management counseling sessions. Wrath is coming. Mind you, no ordinary wrath, but a once and for all wrath that unleashes God's pent up disgust for human-kind. We are talking planetary devastation. This point, for these people can not be over stated. Why? Because it creates the absolute necessity for the rapture to pull us (ie; all who believe in the rapture) out before God reveals the nasty side of His true nature.

If you do not see why I call this a "virus", let me help you. Isaiah 53:11 is healthy spiritual soil for roots to draw life giving power; "As a result of the anguish of His (Jesus) soul, He (God) will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities". Simply put, God's "need" for wrath has been SATISFIED by the offering of His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that there are lesser levels of judgement coming and I know that there are other smaller issues of God's wrath to be resolved. But if we say that the Cross is the center point of God's will and if we say that Jesus took the sin of the world upon Himself and if we say that God made Jesus who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf and triumphed over sin in the Cross, then why oh why is God STILL so angry and in need of flushing the planet? That kind of thinking is a virus because it infects a Christian's mind set and world view as ultimately destructive toward the world that God so loved that He gave His only Son!!!!

It is also a virus because it pits an end-time conspiracy fantasy against the very Words of Jesus when He prayed, "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." The Words of Christ's prayer keep me in a world view of redemption, restoration and healing for all.....NO MATTER WHAT! We must never allow our disgust for the behaviors of some people in our culture to drive us toward a cynical, angry, viscious view of "wrath to come", and an escape for us. Worse than false doctrine, this is love-less and contrary to the character of God.

One more thought for this posting. I apologize for being so long. With the sum total of the ability of the nations of the world to launch nuclear weapons which could explode the earth three times over....should we be recklessly misrepresenting God as a disgusted old man climbing a cosmic clock tower with 22,ooo nuclear bombs in His backpack? (this is the approximate number of nuclear bombs in the hands of all nuclear nations). Besides, and most importantly, being untrue to historic and Biblical integrity, am I the only person who sees this as just plain irresponsible?

Is this Vengence-filled Deity the God you see in the Gospels? Who, by the way, taught His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of the NATIONS? Or, has God brought us all to the Kingdom for such a time as this (read the book of Esther in this light!!) to represent His true character of redemption, restoration and healing through the Good News of the Kingdom of God to such a degree that the nations of the world turn their missles into farm tractors (Micah 4:3)? You may call me a dreamer, but I am not the only one. I hope some day you will join us and the world will be WON to the True Christ of God!! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Glory of God IS Covering the Earth

We have just completed another Wednesday night service at the church that I pastor. Once again, the Spirit of the Living God has dumped Himself all over us. The presence of God is taking over our gatherings and is doing in us something beyond anything we could have asked or thought.

When Israel complained that they could not conquer the promised land due to the "giants", God rebuked their unbelief by telling them that one, all the earth would be covered with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. The implications are clear. After telling Israel to go into the Land, and after suffering their unbelieving disobedience, God jumped centuries forward forward to tell of a day when a people somewhere, would believe Him for conquering the world by setting forth the glory of God to cover the earth.

I have offered our little out of the way, middle of nowhere church to be a place where that glory can pour out through us. I do not know if any one else is doing that....quite possibly they are....but if they are not and God is looking for a place... then I am offering us. I truly hope that others are, but just in case God needs someone, somewhere to start this glory volcanoe.....well.....for what it is worth.... here we are.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Who Wants to be a Millionare Part 2

I'm finally back. If you have not read last week's entry you need to do so before picking up at this point.

The stand in the car dealership parking lot proved to be the reason I was at the audition. As stated in the last blog post, I spent the day conversing with a successful CEO who is not impressed with current evangelical Christian thought about leaving the earth behind to be microwaved in a nuclear fit of human stupidity. Imagine my pleasure at hearing his view from the "outside".

What a delight it was for me to share with this intelligent man, that as an evangelical pastor, I agreed with his basic frustration. His eyes almost rolled back in his head when I told him that from my pastoral perspective, the "Left Behind" mentality is draining modern Christianity of it's power, potential and perspective. I took note that as we talked, several bystanders were cueing in, shaking their heads in agreement. One sweet elderly lady, a school teacher whose husband is slowly dying from a lifetime of smoking, thanked me for what she heard.

Think about it for a moment....these are people that some evangelicals are secretly taking delight in the notion that they will be left behind at any moment to face God's nuclear fury. So, you say, we should quickly evangelise them so that they won't be "left behind". And I say, what a pathetic, anemic, sad and shallow motivation for longing to lead people to the God I love. I take one of my basic stands in my spiritual life on Zechariah 8:23 which says, "In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man saying, 'Take me with you, for we have heard that God is with you'".

Romans 2:28, 29 says, "For he is not a Jew is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God." So as I take my heart to God, in faith in the finished work of Christ and He circumsizes my heart, I am a member of spiritual Israel. Ephesians 2:19-22 shouts this truth! My goals are out of not some kind of fear motivated, shame based, judgement longing exercise! I am motivated by the calling to have God so near, so real, so tangible in my life that ten people grab me and beg for the reality of the God I live with and richly enjoy.

So, return with me to the audition waiting line. This CEO is convinced he can "pigeon hole" me as a "Left Behind" narrow minded bigot. But what he finds is a pastor whose theology is rooted in historic, orthodox Christian history and not in the pop-theology of million copy sales receipts. I told him that the Garden of Eden is rooted in the full intentions of God for the planet and the human race. I told him that my daughter and son-in-law are so impassioned by this integrity of Biblical truth, that they have named their first child, Eden. And what was his response? "I did not know that such a church or a faith existed in Christianity."

What is my conclusion? That for all of our "seeker sensitivity" programing and all of our efforts to make the church "relevant", we are missing whole and gigantic chunks of our society by avoiding the truths that Jesus came teaching and announcing.....the Kingdom of God is at hand! As a result, lives are changing from disease, doubt, fear and loothing into leaping, sighted, hearing hope-filled joy!!!!

Who wants to be a millionare? Me, so that I can finance the aforementioned announcement of the Kingdom of God reality available to anyone with a spiritual hand eager to grasp it.