Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Response to a Response to a Response

Pastor Daniel Cox    responding to blog post on

Great article! In reading Garcia's article I was struck by the fact that he is only dealing mainly in secondary issues (His point on doctrine not withstanding). They are legtitimate secondary issues that must be faced but not the pressing need of the hour.Yours' however, cuts more to the heart of what I think the deeper issue are. If I may, allow me to add on to several point you made.

Point 1) I feel that we are trying to duplicate the wrong things. We are trying to duplicate the methods of the great men of God and not their walk. On the whole, they walked with God in a powerful way with far more dedication than many of us are willing to commit to. It was their walk with God and the tangible experience with God that empowered all that they did. Their ministries were founded on the supernatural; ours are not. I have to say that the 2nd generation Independent Baptists have, to some degree done us a dis-service. They have implied and out right stated often, that if we just "did" what they and the first generation did, then we could have the same results. Wrong. Results are God's. Our business is to pursue God with the equal and passionate hunger that they did.....and only in that duplication do we have a chance of seeing revival.

Point2) I believe we have accepted an incorrect paradigm and the following may state more correctly what is true. Mega Churches,
  • A) are not the norm for the history of the Church
  • B) They are not always the healthiest environment for believers to grow
  • C) more sheer number rarely produce true and lasting joy in ministry
  • D) numbers are never a true mark of a spiritual healthy Church
Point 3) I believe that our Churches should be "Distinctively Other." By that I mean, I believe it is a false assumption that because our people live in a world of media overload we must counter that with more media. The time has well come for us to be - dare I say it, "Simple." I believe that Christians need a place where the announcements and programs are few and concise. A place where there is a family atmosphere intentionally spiritual and profoundly supernatural. I am not saying that we cant make certain contextual changes - or that we must jettison technology on the whole. But what I am saying is that there is nothing that much "other" or "different" about us if we continually try to match the atmosphere of the world. Church should be holy,distinct and much more supernatual oriented thatn most are. It may be that people are hungrier than we realize for depth and simplicity. The average family is overwhelmed with work, shopping, appointments, balls games, trips, family get togethers, doctor and dentist appointments, holidays and a myriad of other "stuff" - and all this is without the Church schedule. We don't need to be afraid of being, Biblically Simple -  First Century, i.e. Acts 2.42-47

Point 4) Life is what is missing.......we are, on the whole absent of the power of the Holy Spirit. I may, at another time suggest ways to seek His power, but I think any diagnosis that does not start with the obvious absence of the power of the Holy Spirit is a misdiagnosis. Let me share a quote that I think is on point:
  • "We had done quite a lot of thinking and self-examining the previous few years. It seemed to us that so much of Christianity was being spread by advertising designed to “put across”something, that there as very little genuine recognition of the supernatural. Suppose we had awakened today to find everything concerning the Holy Spirit and prayer removed from the Bible – what difference would is make practically between the way we work yesterday and the way we would work today and tomorrow? What difference would it make in the majority of Christians’ practical work and plants. Where does the supernatural power of God have a real place? Challenged by this we begin the think and look over our own lives and work….”
I believe we must admit that two things are at work. A) we have not paid the price of first generation Independent Baptists in seeking God and desiring deeper devotional nearness to Him B) we are in the Apostasy Scripture said would come.  Both of these have combined, I believe, to strip us of our most valuable and precious birth right - the power of the Living and Almighty Holy Spirit.

"Fruit growers use baskets, and in the Church we have to organize methods and programs.  They’re important and necessary.  But if the crops fails and there’s no life in the trees, you’re not going to improve matters by buying better baskets.”  Vance Havner

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I respect and applaud Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" event in Jerusalem. I also believe it to be a sad indictment upon the modern Christian Church (in general) in America. How embarrassing that a radio/tv host has more prophetic sense of the times than many of the church leaders of America. What a sad contrast: Glenn Beck places his life and fortune on the line for the cause of the Jewish people. Evangelical Christianity has "Rock the Universe" night with Christian Rock bands at Universal Studios, cruises, newer bible versions than the newer one of last year and the closest thing to hell fire and brimstone preaching anyone can get today is Beth Moore and David Jeremiah. But I digress.

As much as I can, being a Bible believer, I support Glenn Beck's stand for Israel. But I could not help but notice a glaring omission: JESUS CHRIST. And therein lies the tragedy and the failure of even the most sincere efforts of Glenn Beck and others. The hope for Israel, as the Hope for America and all people of all races is Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God who is the only way by which man can be forgiven of his sins and redeemed unto God.

Tears came to my eyes as I watched the event unfold. So much zeal but not according to knowledge. Thousands of people looking to God for help and yet failing to see God pointing to His Son, Jesus Christ. Israel, the chosen people of God, struggling for survival - refusing to recall Christ's words when he said: "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate."

While we should stand with Israel and commend those who support Israel, we can never forget several truths:
1) The Gospel of Jesus Christ is more important than world peace and freedom. Better to live under a Communist regime and die saved through the shed blood of Jesus than to live free and die lost and without Christ Jesus as your Saviour.
2) World peace will only be established upon the literal return and literal rule of Jesus Christ from the throne of David. And we are soon to see these glorious events unfold!
3) Israel will continue to suffer, even more so through the Tribulation, until they receive their once rejected Messiah: Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God.
4) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with passion and power!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Isaiah 1 -"...sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.....your country is desolate."

I consider it an honor to open in prayer on such an important date as this, April 15th. And it is on this date that we are reminded of both the tyranny and the childish incompetence of our government. Our government has long ago ceased to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people. April 15th reminds us that our government is a now a detached & wicked group of ruling elites who view the American citizen as a purse to be plundered and a people to be manipulated. BUT - as much as we decry April 15th, it is not the date that has hurdled us down this road of national perdition. Rather - we lament our demise today because of dates that represent the rejection of Almighty God.
June 25, 1962 Engel v. Vitale - reciting of prayer in school
June 17, 1963 Abingtown v. Schemp: Bible reading rejected in school.
Jan 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade - Where our nation decided murder of the unborn was more convenient than moral abstinence and purity.

**** These are the dates that live in our national infamy.

As a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - I declare that we pray, not for Republicans/Democrats, not for Left/Right, not for Taxes, Economy, War on Terror or any of these other issues.......NO Today we pray as a people humbled and sinful before our Creator - we pray as a people that know and confess that the only One who knows how to fix our country is the Founder of our country: Almighty God in the Person of Jesus Christ.
We - gathering here today we must repent and seek real revival in our own lives.....
· We Must Flee to Christ Jesus for our Personal Salvation
· We Must Repent to God for our Carnal and Selfish lives
· We Must demand of our leaders an understanding that God and Righteousness are not campaign cliché's but the only and true hope of our Nation.

*******We must understand our greatest fear is not China, the Collapse of the Dollar, Obama - - NO! Our Greatest Fear is to Fall into the Judging hands of God whom we have rejected and insulted.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Genesis 2.1-17

I - Verses 1-3: Two Key Things.

1. The Seventh Day i.e. Sabbath {NOT for Christians - it was given under the Law in Exodus 20.8 & was a sign between God and the nation of Israel in Exodus 31.13}

A. Type of our Salvation - Matt 11.28

B. Type of the Millennium -Is 11.10

C. Type of God's Daily Blessings - Jer 6.16

*** We can "apply" this in that it is wise and healthy to dedicate Sunday to the Lord .

2. Sanctify i.e. Sanctified - Jude v. 1 {The Law of first mention shows us the meaning - it means to be set apart for God's use or purpose.}

*** That should be the description of every Christian's life: set part for God's use and purpose.

II - Verses 4-6: The Lord God. {Up until this point it has only been, God. Now we see the wording, "Lord God}

Lord/ Jehovah: self existent one the reveals himself.

*** NOTICE - that the revealing aspect only comes after creation: Romans 1.19-20

III - Verse 7: Man is Formed. {There are a couple of things to be noted} · Man is Triune - salvation is whole man

· Man is created with age - all creation

· Man's environment in Eden was much different than today - which throws off carbon & geological dating.

IV - Verses 8- 14 Eden and the Garden. ST: There are two things here: 1. Eden is the Middle East

2. God's intention and plan is a Literal Land Kingdom here on Earth and the Middle East will continue to bee the hot spot of Earth until Christ sets up that Literal Land Kingdom.

EXAMPLE - 4 Bible Empires, Ottoman, Crusades, Imperial Britain, Napoleon, WWI, WWI, Cold War, War on Terror, WWIII, Armageddon.... *** The Bible is far more up to date that we want to believe or realize!!!!

V - Verses 15-17 Two Trees. ST: There is a difference between "speculation" and "biblical speculation." We are going to engage in the latter!!! **** What were the two trees in the garden of Eden around which so much trouble gathered?

1 - The Tree of Life: Olive Tree. ST: A "few" reasons why:

· Noah Ark, Gen 8.11, Olive Branch brought back by the Dove a type of the Holy Spirit

· Olive Oil for lamp in Tabernacle

· Paul speak of our union to Christ as being grafted into a tree - Olive Tree

· Mt. of Olives in Christ's ministry:

Second Coming Discourse Ascension Return

2 - The Tree of Knowledge: Grape Tree (vine) ST: a few reasons why: · Noah blessed by Olive/Cursed by Vine ·

Ez 15 states "Vine Tree"

· Jesus is called 'True Vine (Jn 15) vs. the false vine of the earth (Rev 18)

· Wine connected with Drunkenness & Nakedness:

Adam & Eve, Noah, Lot

· Type of Blood forbidden by God

CLOSING: regardless of what the trees were we come back to the same formula. God's blessings are on those who ARE what He wants, DOING what He wants, WHERE he wants.

Monday, January 10, 2011

REMINDER: Following Christ as a disciple means following the overall lifestyle he modeled for us. It means practicing the kinds of activities and life choices he practiced. Being able to do what Jesus "would do" in any given situation is based upon living like Jesus "did live" in every aspect of life.

I - Christianity includes the "bodily" component - IN FACT -you cannot have a full Christian experience without recognizing the reality of the body any more than you could have a "full Christ" without recognizing his real, concrete bodily nature;
****There is "concreteness" to the Christian life that is often over looked.
"Incarnation" - "Cross" - "Resurrection"
SCRIPTURAL EXAMPLES: Gen 2.17,Proverbs 3.1-2, 3.7-8, 14.30, 16.24, 17.22 I Cor 15.44 Romans 8.13 I Thess 5.23 I John 4.2-3

A) When we fail to integrate our bodies by scriptural means (i.e. spiritual disciplines) into our Christian practise we lose the full power and vitality of the Christian life. WHY? Because the Christian life is meant to be lived - IN THE BODY ( II Corinthians 5, I Corinthians 15 - Philippians 1.20 " now also Christ shall be magnified in my body.")

B) When we fail to recognize the involvement of our bodies we fail to see sin’s concreteness or true nature and reality.

**** Sin and Spiritual Growth has a "concreteness" in our body that can be observed:
• Angry with your wife - roll your eyes
• Lust- hold your stomach in, change the inflection of your voice, instinctively brush your hair
• Covet/Materialism - nervous, frustration until purchase something
• Lying - feel it in our stomach…..
• Depression - sleep, facial expressions
• Over-Extended - easily mad, physical expression

II - Spiritual Disciplines are "tools" of grace that help us address the concrete reality of sin and need for spiritual growth in our life –
(Fasting, Solitude, Silence, Celebration, Meditation, Memorization, Service, Schedules) - are all concrete tools to help us address concrete problems.
*** It is vital to understand that it is "grace" and the direction of the Holy Spirit that infuses these tools with real spiritual power.

III - Spiritual Disciplines practised over an extended period of time guided by Biblical truth and the Grace of the Holy Spirit are great tools for concrete growth in our spiritual life

A) Exposes our true weakness and areas of need.

B) Allows us to bring Christianity out of the theoretical.

C) We learn to "grow" in grace

PLAN: The Power of Scheduled Spiritual Activities
Genesis 2.2-3, Exodus 12.1-2, Lev 23.6, Deut 16.10, 16.13, Acts 3.1, I Cor 16.1

A. Schedule theme to pray about throughout the week.
B. Schedule 3 quiet times: not talking at God but listening reviewing a portion of scripture or even reviewing something that was preached.
C. Schedule 1 Day of Thanksgiving: sharing your thanks, having a thanksgiving meal, journaling, praying.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christianity can only truly make a difference in our lives if it succeeds in two thing:
it must answer the problem of “Personal Depravity” before God.
John 3.3-8
Second, it must answer the problem of “Personal Development” towards God.
Romans 12.1-2

The Solution to both is met in and through Jesus Christ!
We are Redeemed/Regenerated through the finished work of Christ.
We are Transformed/Grow through the ongoing work of Christ.

MAIN POINT: Following Christ as a disciple means following the overall lifestyle he modeled for us. It means practicing the kinds of activities and life choices he practiced. Being able to do what Jesus would do in any given situation is based upon living like Jesus lived in every aspect of life.
EXAMPLE – Being able to play the piano at concert level is not based upon will power in the moment but hours of practice and “discipline.” The concert pianist lives a certain kind of disciplined lifestyle that allows him to play wonderfully in the moment. But it is the discipline that produces the beauty not just the desire or mere will power.

So then being a disciple of Christ is about pursuing a life style i.e. physical/bodily activities that assissted by God's grace produce the kind of Christ-like character we desire.

We have the faulty idea that failure is due to lack of will power when in fact it is mainly due to a lack of spiritual training.
– If I am incapable of bench pressing 200 pounds I do not blame “will power” but rather a lack of “muscle build up.”
EXAMPLE – Controlling my tongue is not just a matter of “will power” but rather a matter of spiritual training or the lack thereof.
**** Remember – that in the spiritual realm, just as in the physical, there is cause and effect.

We often try to start with the fruit rather than the seed. By that I mean that simply desiring to control your temper won’t work. Self control is the “fruit” not the seed. Loving your spouse more Christ-like is the “fruit” not the seed. Spiritual disciplines, assisted by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit, are the “seeds” from which grow the “fruit” we desire and God intends.

This Week's Spiritual Discipline: Scheduled Spiritual Activities.
**** Not by accident or emotion; but rather, a scheduled and intentional approach to our spiritual formation in Christ.
2 scheduled times of spiritual reading (scripture, biographies…).
2 scheduled times of prayer &thoughtfulness: journalling, music, quiet walk (30 minutes each).
Journal your thoughts, ideas, feelings
FINAL NOTE: Don’t be surprised or discouraged by failure. You only realize your muscles are not ready to bench press 200 pounds when you try to pick up 200 pounds!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Soviet[ and Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian.
Partial Text of an Address by
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
at Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises,
Thursday, June 8, 1978

Humanism and Its Consequences
How has this unfavorable relation of forces come about? How did the West decline from its triumphal march to its present sickness? Have there been fatal turns and losses of direction in its development? It does not seem so. The West kept advancing socially in accordance with its proclaimed intentions, with the help of brilliant technological progress. And all of a sudden it found itself in its present state of weakness.
This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.
The turn introduced by the Renaissance evidently was inevitable historically. The Middle Ages had come to a natural end by exhaustion, becoming an intolerable despotic repression of man's physical nature in favor of the spiritual one. Then, however, we turned our backs upon the Spirit and embraced all that is material with excessive and unwarranted zeal. This new way of thinking, which had imposed on us its guidance, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man nor did it see any higher task than the attainment of happiness on earth. It based modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend to worship man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any superior sense. That provided access for evil, of which in our days there is a free and constant flow. Merely freedom does not in the least solve all the problems of human life and it even adds a number of new ones.
However, in early democracies, as in American democracy at the time of its birth, all individual human rights were granted because man is God's creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual could be granted boundless freedom simply for the satisfaction of his instincts or whims. Subsequently, however, all such limitations were discarded everywhere in the West; a total liberation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian centuries with their great reserves of mercy and sacrifice. State systems were becoming increasingly and totally materialistic. The West ended up by truly enforcing human rights, sometimes even excessively, but man's sense of responsibility to God and society grew dimmer and dimmer. In the past decades, the legalistically selfish aspect of Western approach and thinking has reached its final dimension and the world wound up in a harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse. All the glorified technological achievements of Progress, including the conquest of outer space, do not redeem the Twentieth century's moral poverty which no one could imagine even as late as in the Nineteenth Century.

I truly cried as I read this; I pray that God would grant us true revival - because the great need of our nation is repentance.