10-10-11 There is so much reference to reformed theology today, so many pastors refer to it, claim it, and teach from it. So many books on it today, so many people and churches claiming, even bragging we are of a Reformed Theology, there’s even a New Reformed Theology and there is a host of other theologies out there as well, both new and old. My question is Why?

Let me start with what it is it if you don’t know, Reformed theology grew from the sixteenth-century revolt against the Roman church, lead by Martin Lutheran whom was rebelling from the wrong beliefs, theology of the Catholic Church. He was joined, followed by a group of other men whom became know as the Reformers, and the period known as the Reformation. To sum it up in a simple definition.

But my question is Why are so many wanting to stand, use the theology from this time period, use a “Reformed Theology”, follow the teaching of the reformers, the likes of Luther, Calvin and others. Reformed Theology came out of rebellion of the Catholic Church theology, beliefs, Luther’s teachings where just a modification of some of the Catholic Churches teaching, theology, 95 point to start with.

A friend of mine is in the process of finding a new church, one he recently check out the pastor is in to something he calls Eastern Theology. He is all about the Eastern Orthodox church vs. the Western church, a split that took place around a 1000 years ago. He is using their teaching to form his theology, beliefs about Christianity and a the framework for his church.

With so many pastors and Christians today being all about Reformed Theology as both their framework of their theology, what they beliefs. And also the framework of what church is and how do to church.

Why? I must ask! I don’t get it!

I do not, nor do I want to base my theology, what I believe on what a man or group of men said, 350 years ago, or 500 years ago or even 1000 years ago. Or how to do church ether. I go back 2000 years ago. I go back to the first church, to the teaching of the apostles, of God, Jesus. The master builder and His blueprint is all there in the scriptures.

If I want to know about salvation I read what Jesus said about it, what Paul, Peter, John and the others said about it, who ether learned from Jesus while being with Him or learned from those who did.

If I want a framework for church I open the bible read the New Testament, I can turn to Act’s read the first two chapters and there it is, the framework, the blueprint and what it is and how it functions. If I want to learn about pasturing a church, I read 1 & 2 Timothy to start with. Want to Learn about who God is, I read the whole bible, it just that simple. Yes I love to read what other men have learned from their study of Gods work, I can gain insight from them. But I do not build my theology on them. Say hay I base all I believe about God on what Jack or Fred at church says is true about God. To me that would be foolish.

So for as for my self I would say I am of  a “Biblical Theology” or of a  “Original Theology” you could say. I follow the teachings of Jesus, and Paul not Luther or Calvin. when I want to know about something I do not go to Luther or Calvin or any of the other reformers, I go to God, to Jesus, to the bible. The written word of God infused with the Holy Spirit is my source. The writings of the reformers are wrong on many points, the bible is wrong on none.

Its not that I have not studied these men and their work and lots of others from church history, because I have, even enjoy reading their work. It’s that I do not use them for the foundation of what I believe, framework of my theology, or church. It’s that I use the bible. I guess I would have to say I refer back to a great theologian whom is greater than Luther, Calvin and all the others put together, the Apostle Paul.

Just as Luther woke up and saw that the teaching of the Catholic church was wrong, so should the church today wake up and say lets go back to the bible, to the first church and get the truth. Why build on what might be faulty theology (Calvin was wrong on things just as much as he was right), beliefs of men of the past who lived many hundreds or years far removed from Jesus, when we can go back to the foundation of the word of God, to the first church and the words and life of Jesus Himself and those whom walked with Him.

Read part 2 here

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Just heard the story out of YWAM of a 12 year-old girl orphan at an orphanage in Russia that is leading a church at the orphanage she is at for other children.

My first thought was praise God and the verse Isaiah 11:6 “A little child shall lead them“.

Going on with her story, Jesus healed one of the children at their church gathering, here’s the story as it was shared.

“The orphans were gathered together, reading the New Testament. They came across a story about Jesus healing the sick. One of the girls had a deep cut on her hand. She asked, “Could Jesus heal me?” The orphans started praying asking Jesus to heal her. When the girl opened her eyes, her cut was gone. It was completely healed, without so much as a lingering scab.”

So we have a 12 year-old orphan girl start a church at her orphanage, she is leading the church service. They are reading scripture and believing what they read so much so, that they pray for each other and healings are happing. Praise God.

After reading her story I though how none of us, especial me have no excuse for not planting a church or leading a house church, after all if God can use a 12 year-old orphan to plant and lead a church. Then so can I or anyone else who is in Christ.

Now I ask you who’s qualified to plant a church? Who’s qualified to lead a church? Whether it be in a orphanage, living room of a home or wherever? Whom ever God wants, even a 12 year old orphan girl can.

This along with other teaching the Lord has given me the last week has given me a change of mind as too what I can do, even when the “church” and others say I can not do it, because I’m not qualified to according to their rules. With God, we are always qualified to do what He wants us to do. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. So None of us have an excuse for not doing what scripture has given us the authority to do. Like preach the gospel, make disciples and even plant a church.

I must chose to be like the 12 year-old girl and live like the Nike slogan, and Just Do It.

(Note above photo is not of her, just a photo I used)

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Unless we make a shift in our thinking, many Christians will continue to look at missions as a sub-division of the church, or as a special “calling” for a “special group of people”. I spent three years on “the mission field”, I went to “be missionary” with YWAM. While I was in YWAM, I did not think much about doing “missions,” since I lived my daily life focused on what God wanted me to do. I did not start my day focused on being a missionary, but rather doing the task set before me that God had given our mission base to do. My everyday routine was doing work for God and for the Kingdom of God. And set out to look for and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way to preach the gospel, rescue a child off the streets, out of prostitution, out of drugs. Counsel someone hurting. Distribute food to those in need. Hold a bible study. Pray for someone. It was just life, normal everyday life with God for Christ for me.

Missions should be just that, being part of God’s plan, just a normal everyday way of living. He desires each and every person to be involved in His mission. What is God’s mission?

The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed
; ” Luke 4:18

and “For the son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 10:19). That’s why He came and that’s what He wants each of us to be a part of. Jesus told us to do the same thing, to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). We are also told to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

And I set out to do all of that every single day in YWAM, that was my daily to do list, and it still should be today.

How do I disciple a nation, one person at a time if need be. I do not know if I will ever preach the gospel to an entire nation (I sure want to), but I can preach the gospel to a neighbor, a waitress, a store clerk or a co-worker, a room full of people or even crowed street corner.

So what is missions? It is personally being involved in what is on God’s heart: seeking and saving that which is lost. And that is a full time job, a title we all can put on our card, resumes. Every one who claims to be a Christian is to be a missionary, full time missionary.

Part two of yesterdays post on Levels of Worship.

Luke chapter 7 illustrates the difference between just showing up and worshiping God. We read Simon invited Jesus into his home, but he didn’t really welcome Him. Simon failed to show Jesus any of the common courtesies that were custom at that time, no kiss on the hand or cheek, no water to wash His feet, and no oil to anoint His head. Simon knew all about Jesus, but he didn’t worship Him. But the woman, the prostitute, came in and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, kissed His feet, and anointed them with expensive perfume. She was reckless in her love for Jesus. This woman had more than a knowledge, she did more than just show up, she had a relationship; she worshiped Him.

This is why I am a on the floor kind of worshiper, up front and personal, I go to wash Jesus feet with my tears, kiss His His face, hands and feet and anointed Him with the fragrance of my praise. Anoint Him with the perfume of my love, and burn as incenses before Him. Not just show up at a “worship service”, but go to engage Him, to adore Him.

It is easy to fall away from this level of worship, I have many a time, this level of worship of God is not first nature to our sinful flesh. This is why I choose not to be part of a church gathering that does not have passionate worship. We cannot worship above the level of worship of the environment we are in, the others around us. I must be with like minded people, who are on the same level of worship as I am, a church that offers the freedom to passionately worship God. To be reckless in my love/worship of Jesus.

 

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I came to the realization that the worship services at Forerunner Christian Fellowship (IHOP) called “Encounter Service” as well as when we where doing the “Awaking Services” four nights a week they really where a good live demonstration of peoples worship life with God. This is what I mean.

The 1st level is those of us (me included) who take to the floor in front of the stage, or the alter as its often referred to. We are the ones who worship God with all our being, the fiery passionate ones. The ones who are their to get in God’s face and worship Him. The ones who worship with total abandonment. The ones like myself will not settle for any other place other than on the floor, front and center before God. The floor is where the radicals are, we stretch out our hands to God, sing with loud voices, cry out our own words of love and praise to God. We dance with joy. We laugh with joy. Cry with total awe of God and what He has done for us. We lay prostrate on the floor overtaken by God. We fall before Him unable at time to speak, just soak in His presence. We expect God to show up in power. We pursue God tell He shows up or we ascend before Him in heaven, that’s why we are their.

2nd level, are those who set in the chairs on the floor. This is made up of three groups, those who want to be on the floor, but got there too late to get on the floor. Those who do to circumstance, such as have young children with them and need to stay with their kids. Thirdly those who are passionate worshipers but not quite at the level as us on the floor. The are engaged in deep heart worship, stand with hands raised, but that is where they stop. They like to go to the edge of the fire, but not go into it.

3rd level, our those in the bleachers, this is a mix, a few who got there too late to get on the floor, or even a seat in the floor, but want to be there. Next is those whom really are not there to encounter God, to worship Him with deep passion. The might sing with a song or two that they like, even raise a hand, if the song calls for it, but that’s it. If you look around you will find people texting on their phone, having conversation with each others next to them. Pretty much occupied with other things, not God. This area is pretty much worship at best what you find in the average church on Sunday morning. They are there physically, but not with all their hearts, they do not go expecting to encounter God.

4th level, these people that are walking around, mostly saying hi to others setting in the bleachers and the others walking past them doing the same thing. Or they stand in the lobby talking with each other, or outside the entranceway talking with each other or on the phone. I feel these people are just their to been seen and so they can say “I was at worship”.

I think this really is a great example or proving ground to what kind of worshiper someone is. Me like I said I’m and there early and up front on the floor kind of worshiper. This is why I can no longer or will not go to a typical church service, where you set in pew and watch a rock show be put on for 20 min or so. I have to worship God with all of my being. And I go expecting, desiring God to move, show up in power. Read part 2

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It is almost imposable any more to find a good bible study, home groups that actual study the bible. Most seam to just read and talk about Christian books (what I call junk food), not that there are not good Christian books worthy of discussing. But they are not the word of God, and faith is increased by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), not someone’s ramblings about what they believe about God. Only the bible is the word of God. Besides I an not one want to study someone’s philosophy on God and life over Gods truth about Himself and life.

I miss the days past when a good bible study was easy to find, so many nights I remember setting with a group till midnight even 2, 3 AM studying and discussing the word. Discussing how to apply it to our lives and not wanting to leave tell we got it. The discussions where so great, the Lord moved in such power that we did not want it to end.

Sadly it is easer to find a home bible study group in China, one that actual studies the bible than it is today in the US, how things have changed.

We need them to become common place once again, the blueprint for home groups. To be part of a group who love the Lord, His word and want to open the bible and study it, even till the Sun comes up if the Lord so moves, thats what my heart aches for.

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I finished last week doing the program, “Fast From Wrong Thinking” by Pastor Gregory Dickow that I started the last week in June. It was a 40 Day Negativity Fast, that is fasting from Negative thinking to Ignite Faith. It is a 40 day program that focuses each day on a negative thought that we all have dealt with and teaches you how to get rid of negative thinking with the Word of God. Proverbs 23:7 says that “As a man thinketh, so is he.” This daily devotional has actually has already made some changes my life, my thinking so much so I started part two of, another 40 fast from wrong thinking because I still have a ways to go.

Being that I have multiple lairs of wrong thinking, attitudes that have built up over the last three years especially. I want to strip the layers off. Change my thinking, increase my faith. I have been wanting to be a man of faith and prayer as was George Muller and have been prayer to be. So my thinking must change, I must have the mind of Christ, one built on faith thinking not negative, worldly thinking. One founded on Gods word, His promises, on the gospel, not my circumstances, not what others or even I think and say, but what God says.

May the Lord release His word into my mind, giving me the mind of Christ, renewing it in the second phase of this devotional.

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This is something the Lord has been teaching me, to focus on my relationship with Him, abiding in Him, not doing, but being with Him. That it is only out of being one with Him, setting before Him and hearing what He is saying, see what He is doing. Focusing on abiding in the Vine, Jesus that real life flows out of me, that’s how real ministry is done. I am focusing on intimacy with God, with Jesus, worshiping Him, prayer, walking with Him, and He will do through me what He wants. The fruit will come, but come from Him.

God created us for relationship and for His pleasure, that is priority one. Before Adam and Eve fell into sin God walked and talked with them (Gen 3:8). God desires to walk and talk with us once more. Jesus came to restore our relationship with our Father in heaven. When Jesus came to earth He called out his disciples from occupations of work into a ‘walk”. calling on them to follow Him, following came before doing, following came before Sent.

Jesus talked about abiding in Him and being fruitful as a result of abiding in Him (John 15). When we follow Him and walk and talk with Him then our lives will be fruitful. Fruit appears in season. A branch might appear to be doing nothing but in due season it will produce fruit. Jesus also said you can know a tree / person by their fruit (Matt.7:16). Fruit reveals a lot of things about us. Fruit tells us what and who we have been intimate with. Intimacy involves communion and time (worship, praise, prayer, fasting, study of the Word). Martha complained that Mary was ‘doing nothing” but the truth was Mary was “abiding” and Jesus said she had chosen the better thing. What we will spend our life on is a CHOICE and each of us makes that choice, and makes it daily, even hourly. Activity is not what God is looking for. He is looking for people who have time to spend with Him and time to walk with Him. He is looking for people who have a ear to hear what HE is saying and to do what He is asking of us.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

To live a life walking and talking with God will lead to productivity. Success in the world and to often in the church is defined by how much wealth one has accumulated, or what great works were accomplished, how may degrees and awards are on the wall, but in the Kingdom of God success is defined by whether we heard Him and did what HE asked us to do.

In Matthew 7:20-25 we read how many will come to Jesus bragging on all the great works they did, and Jesus responds “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” the key words are “never knew”, that is had an intimate relations with them, that is they never sat at His feet. They never drew near to God, never abided in Jesus.

When God becomes the purpose. and pursuit of our life we will discover our ‘function’ in the earth. At the young age of twelve Jesus knew the difference between his own work and His Fathers work. (Luke 2:49) This was a result of walking and talking with God. May we also be found doing the same.

“Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.” Matt.24:46,47

“What does the gospel matter to my Christian life?” Or, in other words, “What do I do now? Do I still believe the gospel, or is the rest left up to me?” Everything, we are not saved by grace, by the work of Christ while we where still sinners, to them be left to earn our way, work to keep what Christ did for us.

Christ’s death was outside of me and for me. It is not primarily something that changes me. After one has been declared righteous by grace through faith, this grace will begin to change us (sanctification). God does all the work, the gospel applied to my life every day does the same work it did when I first heard it and excepted it. Accepted Christ, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Philippians 1:6

Any righteousness that we have, even in the Christian life, is a gift to us. It is not the result of our obedience, of our “victorious Christian living,” “living right”, or of our “letting go and letting God.” It’s Christ work alone and His righteousness alone.

Anybody who is in Christ is sanctified, because Christ’s holiness is imputed to the Christian believer, just as Jesus says in John 17:19, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” God sees the believer as holy.

In Romans 6 we read we are saved unto good works, not unto licentiousness. That takes away both the license to sin, continue in sin and believe we must do works to make ourselves acceptable to God. Good works are done out of thankfulness of heart by the believer who has been saved, not by one who is trying to be saved by following the law.

The only way out is an exposition of the Scriptures that has to do with law and gospel-an exposition of the Scriptures that places Christ at the center of the text for everybody, including the Christian. All of the Bible is about him. All of the Bible is even about him for the Christian!

This is the gospel message. It’s just as important for Christians to believe for their sanctification as it is for pagans to believe for their justification; for it is the same message, the same salvation, the same work of God. It’s just as important for the evangelical church today as it was for the reformers in the sixteenth century. Without this simple, but mind-boggling message, there is no hope, not for the sinner nor for the saint.

That truth grabbed hold me, God hit me like lightning with that statement. That I am preaching to myself daily.