Tuesday 30 March 2010

Ask by Daniel Yordy

My desire is to continue with The Great Story of God; we cannot know how to fight unless we know the precise point of how God is proving Himself in His great story.

However, I find the Lord continuing to stir in me concerning the command- ments of the New Covenant. Yesterday I had a conversation with a dear brother. He insisted that we must keep the ten commandments of the Old Covenant, especially the "Sabbath," and that the law does give life. It was as if he had never been taught Galatians or Hebrews or Romans or Colossians. Yet, in his concern for "obeying" God, it was clear that he had never regarded the critical commandments of the New Covenant, nor was he much dismayed that by "obeying" the Old, he was walking in continual disobedience to the New.

I shared with him Christ our life, and I believe that God is taking the simple words that I spoke and is stirring them in this brother's heart to see Christ and Christ alone.

The word God speaks operates at many different levels. We find Him speaking to us at a certain level when we are babes or young men in Christ. Then, as we learn more of His ways, we realize that we had been keeping Him at arm's length. We realize that we had been "hearing" Him wrong.

But it would be foolish to then throw out what is written in either covenant, as many seem to do. No, we wait upon Him, believing what He says without having to "explain" any of it. Then, in our growing knowledge of our union with Christ, suddenly we see that same word, both Old and New, that we had once applied wrongly when we were carnal, bursting with life and power beyond what we could ever have imagine, fulfilled in all fullness in Christ in us.

But what God continues to speak to me concerning the commandments of the New Covenant I find to be an essential building block in imparting to you my present understanding of the Great Story of God.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7: 7

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11: 24

"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." John 16: 23-24

There is a story concerning Elisha in 2 Kings Chapter 13. Joash, king of Israel, comes to see Elisha as Elisha is lying sick. Elisha immediately tells him to take his bow and to shoot an arrow out the window. He tells the king that this signifies the defeat of the enemies of Israel. Then he tells the king to take his arrows and strike the ground. Elisha is angry with the king for striking only three times.

The moral of the story is this: when God says ask, ask. Do not ever limit God by any form of timidity.

But what do we ask Him for? That's easy - all that He speaks.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." 1 John 5: 14-15

God's word is His will; God's word is Christ in us.

Every word God speaks in the New Covenant is ours. Every word belongs to us. Every word.

Christians, when contemplating God's command to us to ask, have always set their asking at ridiculously low levels. "We don't want to presume on God; we're not sure what His will is."

Baloney! We know exactly what God's will is. He tells us in the covenant we signed with Him. It is God's will that you and I be filled with all the fullness of God, right now and forever inside all of our human weakness.

Then one more verse before we get to the asking.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Ephesians 3: 20

It is impossible to out ask God; He will always do more than we ask.

But in Mark 11, Jesus adds this requirement to asking. He commands us to believe that we have received what we ask for.

Let's obey Jesus and ask. In fact - let's not be timid; let's shoot for some big ones. We'll try just two for now to get warmed up - but we won't stop with two. We ask all that God speaks and in asking we believe that we have already received what we ask for.

"Awake to righteousness, and do not sin." 1 Corinthians 15:34

"My little children, these things I write to you, that you not sin." 1 John 2: 1

"He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." 1 John 2: 6

"Whoever abides in Him does not sin." 1 John 3:6

Let's ask - with the understanding that whatever is not of faith is sin. Sin is imagining that "I" still live and am "doing" things out of a life that is not Christ.

"Father, it is Your will that I cease forever from all sin, all that absence of faith and confidence in You that displeases You. It is Your will that I walk in all the sinless faith of Christ revealing Himself in me. Father, I ask You to perfect me in just the same way that You, Father, are perfect, according to Your word. I ask you to cause me to walk in this dying body, tempted in all points, just as Jesus was tempted, yet without sin, without losing my utter and continual confidence in You, just as Jesus walked. I ask You to fulfill in me Your own distaste of sin, inside this age of human folly. I ask this according to Your will, for Your word is Your will and Your word is Christ in me.

"Now, having asked according to Your will, Father, I believe with all the faith of the Son of God who is my life that I have received all that I ask You for, that I walk upon this earth, in this age, in this body, without sin, free from all shadow of separation from You or any possibility of displeasing You or falling short of Your glory in any way. Though I may not at this moment "see" it with my eyes, yet I will dance in celebration of victory, for I know that I shall see Your word fulfilled in me, and I shall see it in my flesh, standing upon this earth. I believe that I have received all that I ask, and not only that, but I know that you will still blow my socks off when You do far more in me than what I am asking."

Now some, in praying through these words might notice a little phrase hollering at them from the edges of their minds. It says something like this: "But I - ; but I - ; but I - ! Go ahead and finish that phrase. "But I am a grasshopper." Only that's an Old Covenant word. In the New Covenant, the phrase runs like this: "But I - not Christ!"

Rest assured, the voice that cries, "But I - " is your great enemy.

God's answer to it applies the same way in both Covenants: "Why do you keep treating Me like dirt?"

The correct phrase is "Not I, but Christ." - Yet I live, for He is my life.

Do you see why Satan has kept the asking of Christians so low to the ground? To ask is one of our mightiest weapons. To ask is to end the age of human folly.

Now, it is important to understand what happens when we ask, believing that we have already received what we ask for. Our asking does not "make" things happen. God has already spoken His word. Inside every word God speaks is the full conclusion and finishing of that word. Everything God has spoken is Christ and Christ is the only life we have; we have no other life than the completed Word God speaks.

"Asking" is a simple mechanism God uses to enable us to respond in faith to what He speaks. When we ask, believing that we have already received, our eyes are opened. We awaken from sleep. We see God and not the limitations of our present state.

Some say that we ask once, and then, giving thanks from then on, we don't ask again. This is partly true. Having asked once, we do not continue to ask as if we have not already received what we ask for. Yet Jesus said to ask and keep on asking. How is that?

We can understand what Jesus is after for us by the simple understanding that His grace is new every morning. That is, we ask again, not pleading for something we imagine God is still withholding from us, (that is an evil imagination) but only to reaffirm our faith in our own minds and hearts, that yes, today, His kingdom is come in all of my life and in everything that comes my way. Today.

Someone else might say, "Well, I asked, but look, I just blew it again; I don't "see" that God did anything." Of course not. Do blind people see? And who is speaking the truth, God or the one who cannot see? Those who are physically blind are honest. They know they can't see. But those who cannot see God in all things are arrogant. They imagine that their blindness speaks the truth.

We walk by faith, by the jubilant celebration of what God speaks, and not by the inability of our eyes to see.

Let's try another one.

"For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15: 53

"For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee." 2 Corinthians 5: 4-5

" . . . our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel . . ." 2 Timothy 1: 10

"Father, You say that death is my enemy. You say that I, Daniel Yordy, a mortal man, facing the inevitability of death and the grave, must put on immortality. You say that You have prepared me for the very purpose of experiencing my mortal body being swallowed up in immortal life. You say that Jesus, in dying once, has conquered death forever, and that He has brought to us life and immortality. You say, Father, that Jesus has given me His victory over death.

"Father, it is Your will that I defeat death and cast it from me. It is Your will that my mortal body be swallowed up in the life of the immortality of Christ. It is Your will that I never know physical death. Father, I ask for full and total victory over death. Father, I ask that I see my 100th birthday, walking upon this earth. Father I ask that I see my 500th birthday walking upon this earth, not with a "mortal" body, but with an incorruptible body, one that enables me to walk in all the heavens of God and to walk in all the goodness of the earth at the same time. Father, I ask that I see my 1000th birthday walking upon this earth and so see death defeated and gone forever by the victory of Christ in me.

"Father, You say that the same Holy Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead is right now working resurrection life in my dying body, though I "see" it not. Father, I ask for the full measure of that Holy Spirit, that death would be swallowed up by life - in my physical body. Father, I ask that my body be transformed into a body just like Jesus' glorious body right here on this earth by the power with which Christ in me subdues all things to Himself.

"Father, I ask these things according to Your will, for Your word is Your will, and all that You speak in the New Covenant belongs to me. And in asking, I believe that I have already received what I ask for. And in believing, I dance in celebration of the victory I shall see with my eyes in my flesh, for I know that You will do far more in me and through me than anything I could possibly ask."

Do you see how it works, this asking?

There is one little phrase that Jesus commanded us to pray, it is this: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Do you see that if we simply believe we have received this simple request, we bring an end to all human folly and to this age of darkness?

Let us be warned by the foolish timidity of Joash; let us ask all that God speaks concerning us and let us never stop asking nor ever stop believing that we have already received whatever we ask for.

Let us ask to see the same love that flowed through Christ flow through us in all of our present experience. Let us ask to see the overcoming of Christ overcome in all measure through us in this present life.

Let's ask that all the fullness of God fill us now, today, this moment, and all the moments of our life.

Let's ask that mighty rivers of life from the throne of God flow out of our bellies, giving life and healing to all who cross our paths, now, on this earth.

Let's ask that every enemy be cast down, every shadow of darkness defeated, every demon be driven from this planet.

My God, my God, let us ask and not stop asking. Why on earth should we be satisfied with any part of the darkness and evil of this age of human folly? Why in God's name should we accept one iota of it? Shall we put off the evil day? Shall we place upon our grandchildren the curse of walking under the evil and torment of this world because we ourselves were unwilling simply to ask God for its deliverance?

Can we not ask, and in asking simply believe that we have already received what we ask for? And do we not know that God will do in us and through us ever so much more than we ask?

Ask and ask; strike and strike, until all the glory of God covers this earth and no shadow of darkness remains upon it.

This is God's will for us and for our children. Timidity can never honor Him.

Ask, and do not stop asking.

Be blessed in the Lord,
Daniel Yordy
Click here to access a copy of my book, The Jesus Secret, from which the "Ready" quotes come.


Thursday 25 March 2010

The End Times and Christ In Us Part II :Bible Prophecy and Americans and Norwegians

Grant Jeffrey books
Barry Smith's videos on Youtube
John Hagee
Daniel Yordy's writings on facebook and on his website.
And ofcourse The Bible!
These are all sources of information about the fulfilment or near fulfilment of Bible prophecies.
You know the primary reason Norway has not joined the European Union is not monetary, is not because of German War Occupation...is not because they don't like parmesan cheese.

No, Norwegians like Americans, preach the whole Bible in their churches.
Anglicans do too...but when they reach bits they don't believe..their vicars explain why that passage is not applicable today thus nullifying the Word of God at many strategic intervals.Revelation talks about people who add to and take away from the scriptures!And it's not good!
Norwegian Christians take Bible prophecy very seriously, and they take the multiheaded beast in revelation to mean the revival of the Roman Empire with a new name: the European Union.
And this could be so. Evangelist David Hathaway also believes this. And one of the first things I learned in our renewed Baptist Church in 1972 in Amersham was "Do not be fooled by Ted Heath when he says the Common Market is purely an economic Union. He is lying."
Well, years later it has proved true, and we now know for certain that Ted Heath was soft-soaping England in order to get the European Union underway. His masters would have told him to do this. It would have been one of the conditions of his rule of office. It has also since come out that one of the key media figures of the "Swinging Sixties", the then famous Simon Dee, whose show was as influential in the UK as say David Letterman in the USA, was suddenly deposed never to be seen again, probably because he held strong views against Britain and Europe. Which would make perfect sense as we look back at the ruthlessness with which the EU has been imposed on us in Europe. My German friends certainly did not wish it, nor do I suspect many in other nations.Not actually I think for the reasons "they" think we wouldn't. The actual idea of a Europe that isn't continually warring is a great idea. It's just that the secular self-appointed leadership both hidden and public don't acknowledge God at all....and the last structures of any size that behaved this way exterminated more of their own numbers than any other recorded nations anywhere in history. Namely Russia.China .Cambodia.Hands up anyone who doesn't think those who don't acknowledge God, purely on track record alone, are up to the job?
We now know from Christians like Barry Smith and Grant Jeffreys of the role the secret group the Bilderbergers has been playing behind the scenes. Goodness knows how he managed it, but the secular Jewish journalist Jon Ronson managed to produce a book and TV series researching whether there was any truth in the Conspiracy theories.He described the stare Peter Mandelson gave him as he was chauffeur driven past Ronson. "Chilling" is the word he used, outside the secret Bilderberger Hotel Conference, that year in Portugal.
My take on this is to try and go behind the scenes and view what happens in the Spirit. More on that in a bit.

So with all of the above authors excepting Daniel Yordy and the Bible, who I believe are in another category, I applaud the attempt at least to share in a concise form all the many scriptures regarding prophecy in scripture.

But if anything highlights where we are in the things of God it is our attitude to prophecy. In my blog I explain that there are Christians who go through the motions of Christianity but have never yielded their lives to God: whether your use of the phrase is "being born again" or "regenerate" or asking "Jesus into your life", or "accepting Jesus as your Saviour and Lord". Anyhow, all these phrases are intellectual non starters for you, whereas for those who have crossed the spiritual line each phrase leaps in the belly with an AMEN! I call this cultural Christianity Zero level Christianity. It has no time for prophecy. The very idea would be ludicrous. And this is more or less the absolute belief level of England.

If you are "converted", have had some sort of crisis moment or moments where you know inside yourself you have crossed the line, more or less immediately you begin to take the Bible very seriously.
You think, well if I was wrong about being born again, how many other things am I wrong about?..and you begin searching the scriptures. I call this sort of stage, well not me actually, John calls it the children stage. We know our sins are forgiven. And we begin to be aware of the possibility of Christ's return and other prophetic fulfilments.

In Dr Challoner's Grammar School,Amersham, one of the cleverest boys was the head boy David Foster.(5 years older I think)
Before Christ ,BC, he used to come into our classroom and share with us the crudest of jokes. He and I loved them. After God hit our school, most of the Christians were in our year, but one guy who suddenly got hit in Chorleywood...the same church that spawned New Wine and indirectly Soul Survivor and later Mark Stibbe...was Dave Foster. One of the FIRST things he did was to subject the school to an assembly on the incredible nature of the fulfilment of scriptural prohecies, includiing Israel's return to the land. His delivery was awful and most fell asleep...but this is an example of the power of conversion on our understanding. He was a clever guy, but up until the week before, prophecy was meaningless to him.

When we have the baptism in the Holy Spirit, after an initial giddy onrush of power and anointing, oftentimes like Jesus, we are driven into what feels to us like a barren wilderness. Yet all the time Jesus speaks His words of promise over us that we are Victors in Jesus name. John in 1 John 2:12 calls this the young men stage and he also declares the same promise "You have overcome the evil one".
John Hagee ministers very much in this level and has a view on prophecy to match. Everything tends to be external to the believer. This is very much the flavour of the angelfire post above. Well, the thing is, we have to learn the scriptures first. Darin Hufford has just done a great post about the Bible in the Free Believer's group on Facebook, where he makes it clear he has spent up to 7 hours a day in the Bible at certain periods. He does nothing by halves. My view on Hagee and Barry Smith, and a lot of the teachers Morris Cerullo brings in is that at least the very real fulfilments of prophecy are being noted and the unfulfilled ones learned about. Hmmm, you're thinking..."I'm hearing a but"

Yes. But this.
We are now moving onto the third stage of growth as a worldwide Church. We have done nearly a hundred years of 2 twin houses of Israel. The Keswick evangelical stream of the house of Israel (you know I mean the church) and also the Pentecostal/Charismatic house of Israel. Two gloriously split houses, enjoying the freedom in Christ to slag each other off and dwell in two completely separate valleys. What if I tell you that this sort of describes the Holy Place. The Young men stage of Christianity.

Perhaps we "know" the Word to a deep level. Perhaps we are able to flow in the Spirit really well.
You'll note that in the tabernacle, in this second area there is both the shewbread , which is like the Word preached, and there is also the goldenlampstand with the lamps fuelled by the oil, which is like the gifts of the Spirit. As Ern Baxter told us, it is absolutely no coincidence that THERE ARE NO windows in the Holy Place. The only light comes from the lampstand.

So as well as crossing the definite spiritual line that takes us into the outer court, where we become "knowers of God" on our insides, or born again, Jorge Pradas told us that there was also a line of the Spirit we all have to cross. This is where we learn to run our meetings in the realm of the Holy Spirit. We don't sing songs just cos we like em. We don't share our favorite passages of scripture because they tickle us. Leaders don't just preach because the clock has reached 11am, or 11.30 am or whatever. Everyone only does things because God is moving each one to do things at the right time.
Leaders, as well as being feeders, who have gone ahead in the Spirit and are able to feed others with what they need at the right time....they are also "facilitators". Wise people who know how to maintain the flow of the Spirit. If Havant is anything to go by, they spend longer and longer apparently doing nothing while everyone else but them gives/shares/dances/proclaims/prays/whatever whatever.

If your church looks nothing like this...and yet you feel you are at this stage....and want to grow...
Read Jack Fortenberry's book "Corinthian Elders" or Frank Viola's books. Read Corinthians 12-14 again.
Read and infer things from the other New Testament letters. And all the rest of the church world... fear God. God decided how He was going to run His church. He didn't ask you for your opinion. He said "Repent,be baptised and be filled with the Holy Spirit." So the Holy Spirit runs the churches, not men. In the end I suppose everyone has to decide what they want. Maurice Smith calls elderly saints "twinklers" Well, in evangelical setups it may take 70 years to become a true "twinkler".
It only took Jesus 3 years to produce "twinklers". So you decide. Do you still want the evangelical "hymn sandwich model"? Or are you going to bow the knee to Jesus, give up, and let Him use the specially assigned agent to build the church? The Holy Spirit. That may also mean changing "warehouse" churches too. Star preachers out the front is not quite what is meant by the Holy Place. In the Holy Place design it's a table. A table is for all the tribes. And a table is for sharing.How many toes am I treading on?

So where is all this going? Well it's going to the third level.
What I am saying is everything now changes in the third level.
Not least how we understand prophecy.
End time prophecy will ONLY be a scaled up version of the way Jesus was framed in His phony trial.
The spirit that got into Herod's mind, into Pontius Pilate's mind, into all the Jewish people's mind went they shouted for Barabbas never left the Earth. The people involved died and have gone down in written history as fools...but the lying spirit lives on to cause greater havoc another day!!!

In 1973 or so Basilea Schlink wrote "Eve of Persecution". When I was in Darmstadt in 74 she was instructing us how near Chairman Mao was to finalising his plans for Invasion in Europe. She herself disappeared while I was there and went away to fast and pray.

Singlehandedly probably , as a third leveller Christian, she was probably doing battle in the heavenlies over some of these proposed threats.
Just as Rees Howells gained us more time by doing battle in the Spirit during World War Two, probably Basilea was being used to gain us more time in Europe. I surmise from what I know, but Mao's proposed plans are actually now referred to in Jung Chang's book on Mao. Instead, within a few short months Kissinger and Nixon were visiting Mao, and one of the great reversals of 20th Century "just" occurred, as China then took tentative steps on modernising trade links with the West.

The Church really has no idea what power is invested in the third level. The Holiest of Holies level.
Now we know Jesus has all power. But He looks for men and women to give themselves totally, to exercise that power here on earth. That's what thirdlevellers do. It's their job description. They may not look much. I mean does Yoda impress you? Well in the same way...Norman Grubb doesn't look much on You Tube. Nor did Basilea really. I bet Watchman Nee and Witness Lee would never make a catwalk in Paris. But a few hours in their presence, blasts you onward for the rest of your life.

Here's a story about Norman. He died in his late 90s, but around the twenties and his twenties, he spent a little while with Jessie Penn Lewis...who was already a thirdleveller by this time. Now Norman had realised in the Congo that he needed more than he had faced up with a mission field with his father in law CT Studd. On Jessie's agenda was that Norman needed to be baptised in the Spirit. Well that didn't happen. Not as Jessie had intended. Perhaps it's partly the intellectual evangelical approach of a student at Cambridge who God then called to missions.
Be that as it may...during those couple of hours he was just in the presence of Jessie, something arguably greater occurred which will probably go down in heaven as one of those earthly events in time that sealed history. Jessie, almost against her personal agenda at the time, yet entirely by the Spirit imparted the secret of the third level to Norman...there and then. Just 2 short hours. And by talking on a different subject too....

Eighty years later we are able to articulate what went on and what must go on if a believer, and from thence, the whole Body, is to cross that third and final line that is the Third level or Holiest of Holies.
Before now, no Christian group or denomination , certainly TV ministries, are able to adequately preach on what went wrong in Genesis 3, and what went right at the Cross.

We simply don't want to hear. Our eyes glaze over just as they did when someone first tried to tell us about Jesus. It becomes one of the clearest evidences of the work of Satan to blind our eyes and cover our ears...as described in Ephesians and many other places. Part of our condition we inherited was what Proverbs describes in Chapter 1 as "scoffers"...we became "scoffers". The same difficulty a parent has in instructing impressionable youngsters, that actually having sex with all and sundry really isn't a good idea...BIG TIME...
Is the same difficulty that anyone has saying to an alcoholic...I think you have drunk enough. The same steely unwillingness to hear. The same repeated denial of the awfulness of their condition...that they are in fact hooked....comes bouncing back to the loving friend or parent in the form of scoffing.

Proverbs 1 describes the path of a scoffer. Wisdom is crying out its message clearly and in full view. But it is neither heard nor enacted upon. Thus begins a cycle of what you sow, you reap. And right in the middle of reaping, wisdom is not to be found...or if it is, it is just laughing that you could be so stupid not to listen. Ouch . Double Ouch. Triple Ouch.
And this is how this universe is constructed. When we rebelled it wasn't a choice between a good and bad tree, and we chose the bad one. The opposite of freedom wasn't anarchy. The opposite of freedom was to be caught in a mechanism that is caged up in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
What we reap we sow. And if its bad stuff...the Tree of Good laughs at us. Just as we scorned wisdom, it now laughs at us.
But Jesus is outside of that. Quite outside of that. Because He is feeling intently our pain. And loving us all the more in our distress.And in our helpless cry of desperation He seeks to break through with light, with grace, with the good news of what He's done for us.

Now the good that He has done for us has three levels of depth. Broken people like Mary Magdelan, like drug addicts, like prisoners...are so shattered often, that Jesus can go straight to the ground zero level of a person's predicament and take them straight to the level where they realise that there is no independent life. They see that even the"good" that they thought they were doing was still only part of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil infrastructure...and that it wasn't in reality God's own life...and ultimately this Tree still led them astray.

Both the Pilgrim's Progress episode, (where in total abjection and failure Bunyan's character Christian throws himself down at the Cross and is finally able to lay his burden down,) and also the image in the Tabernacle of the Altar of Incense before the Holy of holies are the same picture. Nothing that we are, be it "good" or bad is acceptable. As at the end of Romans 7 we cry in our ultimate of lows "Who then can set me free from this law of sin and death?"....and implied in this "who can ultimately set me free from this "me" that I hate so much.

Then we see the thing we least wanted anyone to tell us. We are NOT gods in our own right. We are containers. The one we have been hating so much wasn't us. In actual fact the target of our "self-hate"was the devil's spirit that was empowering us all the while we had the false belief we were "gods" in our own right. As we see this, we adopt the more humble true reality which IS the nature of God anyway...to take the lower place. We see now we are empty vessels that are now going to be empowered by, operated by Christ. And as Christian found in Bunyan's Progress that's when the fun starts....well to use boy type imagery.
That's when we go into action.
That's when we put on the armour.

In the secondlevel our foundation for ministry is decidedly dodgy. I said to Stuart Wentworth, in 1992, we had been building on jelly. Everything we did was still believing we were a "separate"I , a person empowered in their own right. Bunyan doesn't even acknowledge this period, only giving Christian the ministry armour later, the other side of the Cross. But you will notice that the pilgrim has been travelling for some time before he even gets to the cross.

In the late eighties we were all shocked and appalled by TV ministries falling into various scandals, but the truth is, unless we preach a thirdlevel gospel that explains the complexity, subtlety and depth of how sin works, why should we be surprised when Holy Spirit ministries still fall in this way?
The disciples all ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit, but still didn't really know who they were yet, so come the Cross weekend just about all of them denied Jesus, and none more so than the one who was going to open the Keys to the Church in Acts 2, Peter.

So in end time prophecy terms what will happen?
Winkie Pratney's Discipleship Training manual for Youth With A Mission described how Judas was with Jesus 3 years yet never got his love for money sorted. He was in a place of prime temptation. He was their treasurer. So at the right time, when the devil wanted, he was able to hook into Judas's lust for money, and was able to "buy" him for the task that he will forever be known for in history.

In the" Eve of Persecution" Basilea Schlink said we should be preparing ourselves now. We should "Watch and Pray" lest there be still in us any hook that will endanger our life in the coming times.

Not one of the protaganists used to "frame" Jesus knew that they were to be set up as stooges in the devil's great plan to destroy Jesus. And the devil himself had no clue of the Father's greater plan to raise Jesus up after three days and destroy the power of sin for all time...should people believe on Jesus Name.

So Herod, Pontius Pilate,Judas,the gathered throng of Jews....all were hooked in so easily...to kill Jesus.
Every single one of them got up that morning thinking they were an independant being, beholden to none, and a "god of their own choosing as regards their personal destinies"
But every single one WAS WRONG. Like cybermen in Dr Who...the command was given from the Devil himself,and instead of going down in history as great men accomplishing great things, each's story is read out from Bibles all over the world as complete idiots used to kill the King of Glory.

The point Jesus is making in chapters such as chapter 24 of Matthew, when He says "one family member shall cheerfully give up another family member" and they shall do it fully believing it is God...
is the subtlety with which each of us can be bought to try and destroy the plan of Jesus in the earth.
As long as we walk in the spirit of error which says "I am a god in my own right. I choose my life. I live by my own power...even now as a Christian"....then zip........Satan can hook you at any time to do whatever he wishes through you....so you too go down in the history books -

in the same way that Martin Luther, Zwingli and Calvin were all used to murder saints...
in the same way that Catholics and Protestants have murdered each other without a thought,
and actually neither large group knows that God has in fact now moved on anyway....rebuilding His Church such that the way those older churches run now nolonger has any relevance at all....because their whole pattern flies in the face of all the ways the New Testament describes the way people are trained and matured.

In a more benign way, in that Ian McCulloch was not killed...but this same spirit was at work to throw good Brethren people like him off mission fields just because they believed in and had experienced Baptism in the Spirit.
Basically, I am saying in these end times, Satan can do what he likes just as long as we are still hooked up in his Genesis 3 lie. At any point he can use any Christian to turn against his brother and fulfil the scriptures Jesus talked about.

The secondlevel understanding of prophecy is naive. It is all out there at arms length, very like Peter's attitude was with Jesus "Who me? I will never deny you. I would never be involved in negative prophecy fulfilment. You know me Lord." Jesus DID know Peter and he said while "seeing in the Spirit","Satan is trying to sift you, but I have prayed for you."

Jesus knows us too. But He also knows the power emanating from His Cross, which is able to conform us to the very same type of walk that Jesus had....Him as a container for the Father's life, us as containers for the Son's life. And this for me makes far more sense of prophecy and the purposes of God in the Church than any half-baked American attempt at whisking the church away to be with Jesus when it is only half-finished!!!!
First appeared as a Facebook note

Sunday 21 March 2010

Stephanie's article "Announcements"

It’s funny how an announcement can change your whole life. Announcements such as “Honey, I am pregnant” , “honey we won the lottery”, “honey, I was laid off today” or any number of such things. One sentenece can change the course of your life, path or journey in this world.
I started reading the Gospels over again as I do over and over and there is a reason for that. I have a deep hunger for the life of Jesus. He said follow me…and for years I followed every wind of doctrine and realized that I had no idea what Jesus was all about. So back in 2003 I made a commitment to only follow Jesus and announced it as such. I highly recommend it.

I had been out of organized Christianity for at least a good 7or 8 years without picking up anything that remotely said “God” or anything remotely associated with God. I was and am a reader and continued to read but I read mindless fluff like romance novels and best sellers with a few “self help” books thrown in for good measure. I became like an everyday normal person…not focused on God and the knowledge of God… actually I was trying to forget. The pain of betrayel in “Christiandom” had ruined my appetite for anything God. Of course I blamed God and the folks who caused the pain in my life. When I made the announcement to my Church that I was leaving, the looks from friends, family and foes and the looks of horror are still imprinted in my mind….but the sense of freedom that came with the announcement is forever at work in my heart. Come what may I could not take the inconsistancy of that kind of God nor could I take the fickle feelings he had for me and his creation. I could never ever call myself an Athiest or Agnostic because I couldn’t get away from the whole “Jesus” part of the deal. When as a young girl I went looking for answers I was looking for love. This Jesus guy did exhibit plenty of that and I couldn’t get around it. So I would defend Jesus and shake my fist at God. I could not reconcile the two….

In about the 7th year after my Exodus from all things God my husband and the Father of my three children made an announcement …he was leaving me for another woman. We went from pillars in organized Christianity to divorce in just a few years. It made me wonder if the naysayers were right about God and all my failure at knowing him and it kind of proved my point. I didn’t know why he continued to torture his creation with “life” tragedy and drama all the while expecting me to give one ounce of care to “know” him. I didn’t make it a practice to go down to the mental home to visit mentally ill people to find my answers …so why would I seek a God who clearly couldn’t make up his mind about wether he loved or despised his creation. If you already have low self esteem then that was the final blow to me. I think after my husbands announcement I lost my mind. Little did I know that was probably for the best.
Stephanie McEntire

So, after the divorce I went back to doing what I do best and was most succesfull at, taking drugs and getting into one drama after another. I came from an abusive home and pain made you feel and so I picked the worst boyfriend I could find and took drugs to kill the pain. It had a great pay off…It was a life I was familiar with and I stepped right back into the “victim” role. I lost a lot during those days…and it all came to a head one evening when the boyfriend and I were coming off some serious drugs and withdrawel is a bitch…I had lost custody of my kids and they were only seeing me every other weekend and didn’t really want to but my loyal little baby girl continued to tread the treacherous waters cause she loved her Mother and that paticular evening she was there when all of this horror was going down. The abusive boyfriend who normally only took out things on me…turned on her….and I was numb to do anything about it and I went into the kitchen and took a pill…and if I had had more…it would have been over for me that night.

After the boyfriend locked himself up in a room I went looking for my daughter. I found her on the bathroom floor sobbing and screaming out to God….”why are you doing this to me?” I fell to my knees and realized something….God wasn’t doing this to that dear child….her Mother was. It was at that moment that I knew that my whole life was an announcement to the world of my victimization at the exspense of all who loved me. I had been so selfishly happy being the victim…that it had even transcended into a decision to see myself as such victim…at the hands of God. I packed my daughter up and sent her to her Fathers. I also packed a bag and called my brother and announced “I was going to rehab” yet another life changing announcement. I packed in haste because I was fleeing but I did manage somehow to throw in a Bible.

I found myself in rehab with no one except “me.” It was not a “christian” rehab (one of my stipulations and announcements…another good choice.) After about two weeks of withdrawels they sent me back to my room with a book called “The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.” It’s a book I think every recovering “Christian” would benefit from. Just insert “religion” to every reference to drugs or alcohol…believe me…your eyes will be opened to the addictive power of religion. In the “Big Book” (slang for the book) they explain the disease of addiction and I loved that part. You see if I had a disease I was still the “victim.” This was right up my alley…until I got to about chapter 4 or 5 when there is an announcement…one that changed my life ….it’s the hardest thing for a victim to say….”YOUR TROUBLES ARE OF YOUR OWN MAKING.” I threw the book across the room…it split in half like the red sea…and I immediately wanted to leave the rehab..I didn’t want to go to that place…

Go to that place I did though. I had no where else to go. In the next few days after marinating in that statement I sought out one of the most influencial people in my life to this day at that rehab. He gave me an announcement…and asked me to do something I had never thought of…start over. Who would have thought it could be so easy. He asked me to think about forgiving myself…what heresy…forgiveness was only handed out by God…and he didn’t hand it out very generously..(or so I thought.) I didn’t want to go there either because my view of God was “bait and switch”..you know the old commercial God that hung is Son on a cross for my sins because he loved me…and needed atonement for my “sickness” and then expected me to act like him from that day forward. It was an impossibility back in the day…and one at that moment as far as I was concerned. I wanted nothing to do with it. So my friend gave me another “announcement”…”Why don’t you start over there too?” No one had ever told me that I could start over with God. He handed me something called a “set aside prayer.” That little tiny piece of paper was a launching pad for me. It went something like…”God…I set aside all I know…all I believe… all I think I know…and admit that I really don’t know anything at all.” I took that prayer back to my room and literally emptied myself of all knowledge. I killed my FrankenGod….you know the one built out of all the winds of doctrine…all the generational hand me downs…the guy on T.V….etc etc…I just literally emptied myself and made an announcement that I “forgive” myself even though I am not really sure what that means but I hope it looks something like a “clean slate” or an exspance of time that I can change in. I asked him if he would help with that….but if he came at me with one ounce of shame…I was out of the relationship. I had enough of that without his. It really was an awesome day. I went back to my first love…which was “love”…and begin to dance with the one who “brung” me all those years ago.

About a week after that while going through my suitcase I found the Bible that I brought. The words “follow me” just kept going over and over in my mind. So, I started in Luke wanting absolutely nothing to do with any commandments or heavy duty shame…and began at the beginning of the life of this man I was suppose to follow. We all know about the Birth of Jesus having seen the play a million times…but there was something that stuck out to me…an announcement by a group of heavenly beings to a bunch of shepherds in a field …..”Good tidings, a Saviour was coming.” Something was about to change and change was what I needed so I began to see that announcement as “mine.” It was a like a “peace offering” or an olive branch straight from God himself or at least that is how I felt. It was as if I was being asked to really think about Jesus being the “Prince of Peace” for my heart. I had to have “peace” in my heart about this process of “knowing” him as I had heard that he had asked ...he did ask for us to “follow him”….so I decided to do so by reading only the Gospels for the last 10 years or so…highly recommend…I found that God was trying to say something to me through this man…he was trying to show me what he was like and what his space is like which is outside of this time and space. It was “green pastures” and a place for restoration…not so much to reconcile me to some form of “sinless” life because of poor pitiful me…but reconciliation of the two of us…and Jesus was going to show me what that looked like. I was invited to a wedding feast….a huge banquet of restoration…of which I don’t think I have moved from the table since the invitation…so why I have said all this? I say it because I need to…it is my announcement..to myself every single day…He loves me. He doesn’t love my knowledge of him or keep his eyes on all my shortcomings…He loves ME. It is so easy to forget that in our search for knowledge and as I follow him I find that learning of him is all about his love for me..no strings. NO STRINGS. No bait and switch and no getting away from it. So if I could announce on a loudspeaker to the world one thing…it would be that there is no getting away from that love and my life is an opportunity to show my neighbor this wonderful thing. Shit will happen in this cause and effect world but love will remain..period. If I walked by “sight” in this cause and effect world as I used to…I probably would have been dead a long time ago. I walk by Faith in this love now…and it opens up a new vision…and new eyes and there are no fences around this God whom Jesus was showing me. I love the way it's put in Song of Solomon, …his announcement to me…”His banner over me is love. “ Nuff said for me. It's just that simple. What does his banner over you say? . See you next week!
End of Stephanie's post on Facebook

Sunday 7 March 2010

How Long Will We Remain Ignorant ? - Intellect

This is a post about Different types of Ignorance....

Wilful Ignorance. We chose it. And we choose to remain there. As Stubborn kids.
Well, just before writing this, I have made up my mind. If I sense some wilful ignorance going on in me, I want to be open to change, be open to more of God. So, fasten your seat belts. You wanted more of God too....you came to the right post.

The Meaning of Ignorance
n.) A willful neglect or refusal to acquire knowledge which one may acquire and it is their duty to have.
(n.) The condition of being ignorant; the want of knowledge in general, or in relation to a particular subject; the state of being uneducated or uninformed.

The Brain is a big box and in some way which we may never understand , our spirit is somehow connected.
Throughout the Bible our component parts are described by these words. Mind.Heart.Spirit. Soul. Will. Then Jesus came along and spoke of us "having ears to hear" and "eyes to see" and clearly not meaning flappy head gear nor fleshy embedded baubles above our nose.

In the last post I made reference to the fact that PETscans, or brain scans show up the areas of our brain that register electrical activity when we are involved in certain activities.
Musicophilia by Oliver Sachs is a fascinating book charting all the neurological cases he has come across that relate to the field of music.

This clip relates to Amusia which is the rare condition of a brain that does not seem to have the ability to make any sense of music at all.

Some of you may be impatient at this point, asking yourselves why is this relevant to my life?Please hang in there.
In my piano showroom I get couples visiting and sometimes there will be one keen to learn piano, and the partner may possibly have an amusia condition, or something along that spectrum.They humour the other one by tagging along, but you know the whole exercise is meaningless to them. Sadly, they may be the main earner, so whereas they think nothing of spending £10,000 or more on water activities (Hayling Island-the birthplace of windsurfing remember) sadly, they will only pay £300 for a cheap secondhand upright piano with me.

Another alternate example. http://www.helenhiles.co.uk/ is a Christian artist who is a true Kingdom painter. She comes to our Key of David meetings and main conferences. She once confided that she cannot really listen to Peter Stott for a whole message because after a while she gets verbal overload. She finds if she paints or draws at the same time she is able to take on board what he is saying better. It was her work that was being demonstrated here.

So in discussing ignorance I am going to refer to many aspects of the brain.

The above two examples describe people who do not seem to have capabilities that the majority of us regard as normal. This is how they are. It is a condition. There can be no blame. Schools and education centres need to be increasingly aware that people are different. When it comes to learning, perhaps there is no true "normal", we are all so individual in our approaches.

This article is going to cover a more wilful ignorance. Having been shown there is more, we prefer to turn our head and stick with what we know. Stick within our comfort zone.

First of all the left-brain. Intellect.

Early Pentecostalism in the UK had a much greater effect than current TV historians Simon Sharma and David Starkey realise, spawning an Apostolic movement that preached into areas all over the globe.When I was in Kenya in December 1985 I was surprised how many incommunicable little places had their own Apostolic hut. The reason historians refer to Methodism and not Pentecostalism is that the latter was taken up primarily among the working classes and just does not register on a university radar. History is always shaped by the people in power, so at the moment, because the UK lives under the shadow of a restrictive form of left-brain thought shaped by the Enlightenment, nothing that falls outside of that remit is ever referred to.

In coming years we are going to be honouring a lot of things that have up until now been missed out altogether. This has already started with the Quaker movement, who , in typical God history style, were excluded from power effectively because no member was allowed in Cambridge or Oxford Universities. But instead of curling up and dying, they entered wholeheartedly into the modern 19th Century surge into industrialisation, only a lot of them took a specialised interest in chocolate. So it was we have Frys,Cadburys,the village of Bournville,and many many more. I call this God history, because it is the repeated story. "Left-brain locked" unbelievers exclude God's people, who then by their exclusion become stronger in God, coming up with something new that the rest of the world then comes to them for. This was the story of Joseph in the Old testament. This describes the whole history of the Jews, who have fulfilled scripture, and become a blessing to the whole earth, having rightly risen to prominance in every field of intellectual eminence.
Chenies Baptist church

Some of the largely untold stories in the UK would relate to other God movements such as Darbyism. Another story would be how all Baptist churches had to be built so many hundred feet set back from the road.
Old Town Baptist Church Amersham

So, get this England! Pompous Anglicans behaving like bastards (Bastards in that Anglicanism is a bastard form of the New Covenant, being neither fish nor fowl, neither Catholic nor Non Conformist, neither Jewish nor properly New Covenant) imperiously framed Baptists as Non Conformist, while themselves conducting the child abuse that is taking an ignorant baby and possibly against the child's later will, seeking to enter it into a New Covenant contract with God by the back door! In other words Infant Baptism. The irony is ofcourse that Infant Baptism is totally Non Conformist as far as God's expressed will is concerned. It does not conform to any New Testament scripture anywhere, neither in letter nor in spirit.

Scripture is clear. You repent, believe, then get baptised. One tiny verse which vaguely describes a jailer's household being baptised supports the entire edifice of sixteen hundred years practice.

Only intellects divorced from God's life could ever make such a ballsup of three simple phrases:Repent,believe,be baptised. And this is a good example of the intellect used "in its own right"....it starts building things that even its own rational evidence and rational process of thought construction won't even support. Which ofcourse has a very dark side to it....namely a very clever philosophical nation like Germany constructing a "logical" edifice that leads to efficiently murdering your own intelligentsia and musicians in its backyard gas ovens!!!

So back to the subject of intellect....

The charismatic movement initiated through Michael Harper here in the UK was a different matter from Pentecostalism. A much greater percentage of those involved were highly educated. You would have thought this was ideal. That David Pawson, David Watson, Jimmy Graham, sorry Dr. James Graham,Roger Price,Tony Morton,Arthur Wallis would have it all. That they would immediately have registered on the radar of university and media life here. But not a bit of it.

Here are two causes.

  • The size of the Enlightenment giants in the land! The strength of the unbelieving left-brain hold over the BBC and universities.

  • The fact that these ministries may have been mature intellectuals, that had experienced baptism in the Spirit, IS NOT THE SAME as mature third level ministries who move deeply in the Spirit of God as well as having clear penetrative insight intellectually. This would also be the case with RT Kendall who after many years of holding out against the charismatic movement while preaching in Westminster Chapel finally had the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit himself. Another brilliant and eloquent teacher, he simply would not have had a clue how to run a second and third level type meeting. It was not in his training. Had he lived longer, he probably would have made it his priority. He only knew how to run meetings in first level format: A warmed up hymn sandwich!

My background is very similar to Watchman Nee's beginnings. I became terribly depressed after having achieved 11 A's in Dr Challoner's Grammar School at 12 and realising Intellectual Prowess didn't change a bleepin' thing. I still didn't like myself. I didn't gain any more love and affection from anybody. I think my teacher father was in the frame here too. God seemed terribly distant and unreal and early 70s Methodism seemed to be absolute rubbish. Neither belief nor complete unbelief....just a hopelessly confused denomination.

So after conversion and baptism in the Spirit I came to distrust intellectualism. I felt discarded by a Britain that only believed in the left-brain. But having read Watchman Nee's Normal Christian Life,Sit Walk Stand,Release of the Spirit,Song of Songs, I came to see early on that the intellect did have a place, but couldn't quite define how it fit into my new life in Christ.

Evangelicals and Pentecostals of the period largely shunned higher learning, probably because they saw many of their own entering university as Christians and leaving as educated unbelievers. This largely happened with my own first girlfriend. Although only a girlfriend for a while, she was present for all my Christian teen life, so I remember the utter shock that someone who had been deeply impacted by the corporate life of the Fisherfolk as I was, plus party to the tremendous "Key of David" forerunners in our Baptist Church....how could she then lose it all and marry a non-Christian? She has since come back to the Lord and been used in worship leading again.

So what then is the right use of the intellect?


Saturday 6 March 2010

Encouragement in all the Darkness

We are in times so huge...it hasn't hit us yet.

This is a Facebook conversation with Paul who had announced that he was going to be on Premier Christian radio last week. Below this is a transcript of Hitchhiker's Guide to Christianity III.

Chris Welch :fancy living in a historically Christian nation, where the only way we can ever get to hear Christian radio is by being near a computer or living within a sneeze of London.And all enshrined by British Law too, drawn up in 1990.You Americans have no idea! And actually we have no idea how it is in China! For more on Christian media in UK read http://080808onnowto.blogspot.com/2008/11/life-in-order-of-melchizedek-ii-chris.html
Thurs at 12:05 · Paul Anderson-Walsh I know it's a scandal. You'll have to get DAB my friend, that they tell me is the future. Hope you're well. I've been reading some very dark news articles about Post-Christian Britain lately. Disturbing times.
2 hours agoChris Welch Paul, honestly I think we are in huge times.While the media is scrutinising church figures and much of the fruit of a nation that without a shepherd has largely been doing their "own" thing.... these things are NOT being taken into account
1. Dylan and Lennon were heralding a complete fracturing of the old "patriarchal" frozen Tree of Knowledge Order...in order that people had some freedom at least to find out stuff for themselves
2. The last 10 years PETscans etc have put paid to us ever going back to a "black and white" Enlightenment existence powered by a slender oh so slender bit of step by step thinking on one tiny corner of our head....leaving the playing field wide open for us to explain, that while spirit doesn't exactly match physical brain attributes....we now know enough by evidence to explain more of the regions that are opened up by being born again and moving in faith.
3. Quantum mechanics is so weird and so connected to "believing in our heart and speaking the word of faith with our mouths"....the scientists are a bit behind and just simplify refer to it as a "mind and matter" link.But either way, the British and Dawkins linear view of living and thinking as sons of the Enlightenment is seriously on skid row!!!
4. People in the epicentre of a big change generally cannot see it. The change is just so huge. For 400 years no prophet had spoken in Israel. Everyone was used to nothing happening. But Spirit filled Anna and Simeon knew different as they held a baby in their arms. It didn't look much!!!... See more
(Luke 2)
5.Because "there is no independent self" and "Christ coming to live His life in me as me" are such huge concepts...it may be it bypasses much of church altogether. It could be that the wineskin of church just isn't big enough for it, nor wide enough....which is why there is Facebook, the internet...other media for linking huge numbers with huge numbers. In the 90s I'd got involved with MLM (multi level marketing) and as early as then enterpreneurs had prefigured the message with the words" you are either moving from contribution or survival" which translates as self for others or self for self. But the use of the word "survival" was very telling as it also encompasses the parable of the talents and hiding your one talent in the ground. Now all this was being talked about freely and without a church in sight!!!! I found that very interesting! And possibly "prefiguring".
6. Having heard your last Premier blurb where you talk of your background I find it super encouraging that you have been led in such a similar way to address the growth stages of 1 John 2. The links on my blog are to my 1990 Hitchhiker's Guide To Christianity 1 and 2 which are similar....but you'll be interested in the "destroyed" section 3 because I was not given permission by U2. This features a meeting led by equal brothers in a large arcade/shopping mall arranged at super short notice. Malls of this size did not exist in theUK. The only arcade rock was Petra, Delirious did not exist. The type of meeting was like a Toronto meeting which only occurred in 94. The short notice idea can happen now by mobile "flash meetings". We didn't even have personal mobiles. Just bricks.
The original script to
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO CHRISTIANITY III featuring me and Harry, the mystic Road Digger.
See the blog side links for the recorded versions of Part One and Two in the section entitled The Stages of Growth.

PART THREE: C. Flippin eck! You said a meeting. There must be 10,000 squashed in
here. / H. Yeah. This is one of the only shopping malls in the country that's large and safe
enough to hold such a gathering. / C. But where do they all come from? / H. From all over the
country. We meet every three months or so. We use the old acid-house party technique of
the early 90's where the venue is a secret until 24 hours before the event. / C. But there's so
many! / H. Well we followed the multiplication principle of The Book of Acts. Jesus discipled
12, who discipled 120, who discipled 3,000, who went all over Judea doing the same. The
problem in previous centuries was nobody knew what discipling was. Now we see it's just
getting Jesus into folk so they become 'little Christs' who go off and do the same.... / C. I
recognise them .... that's U2 isn't it? / H. Yeah... that's right. They pop over sometimes.
Tonight's a bit of a celebration really because the last meeting we had, the Spirit was moving
upon us in repentance. Most of us spent 5 hours flat on the floor crying. Well, we washed
the floor anyway. / C. Are you responsible for all this? I thought you were just a road-digger.
/ H. It's true that at the beginning Christ was building this through me. Now though, the Spirit
is doing more through about 15 others. The Spirit has got me on the initial stages of a foreign
project at the moment. / C. You could get these people to support you. You don't need to dig
roads. / H. I'm happy with my headphones on, digging away. I can meditate. The road-firm's
paying me to meditate. END.

©No Name Ltd. 1991

INCLUDES "40" (Psalm 40) by U2 from the live album "Under a Blood Red Sky" 1983 Island
Records Ltd. Used by permission. Actually U2 Management Disallowed this and the recording of Part Three was destroyed .Irony: At the time U2 were disassociating themselves from UK Christianity and Greenbelt Festival which up until then they had taken part in. This track got caught in the cross fire.But the irony is this....if you attend any of their concerts you get caught up in the great heart of a God whose love is for people...so actually the message of Hitchhiker's here is closer to what they stand for than the rest of UK Christianity was at the time, all caught up in little denominational boxes.

Monday 1 March 2010

The Pastor Pyramid and Tithing

To begin with have a look at Julie's post.
Ahhhh, the old tithing question, next to universal atonement, maybe one of the most hotly debated teachings among the grace crowd. For a broader view of the no-tithing side of the debate I highly recommend Joel's series over on Grace Roots. Also Bertie Brits has some great teaching available on his website Dynamic Love Ministries.

Why do I think it's important to talk about? Well, I think if I've learned anything from the many grace preachers and teachers out there, I've learned how serious it is to mix in law with grace, even if it is only the tiniest whiff of the tiniest drop of it. Of course I don't believe any of us will live in 100% pure grace while living in this broken down world, but I do think we can avoid hanging on to bits of the law mentality in obvious teachings and practices.

In fact, I don't think anyone has a good excuse to be teaching tithing (and I think I've probably heard most of the excuses) because I know people have been questioning those teaching tithing, even bringing in applicable Scripture ect... I know this because I personally know people who have done this, including myself. I don't want any 'have to's' mixed in with my good news! This does NOT mean that I don't love and appreciate and learn loads from grace teachers who teach some form of tithing. Some of my favorite grace preachers still hang on to it as far as I know--some in a very gracious way and some in a much more blatantly Old Covenant way.

One important reason to stop preaching tithing is it is VERY confusing to people coming into the revelation of New Covenant grace. I am often questioned about why grace preachers are still talking abbout tithing. In the mind of someone coming out of legalism, they hear the good news that they've been set free from ALL law and requirements in the New Covenant and start to feel new freedom, then they hear the same preacher tell them they must still tithe and confusion sets in. How many other requirements are they still bound to? Maybe the good news is not as good as it initially seemed? Maybe there is still some bondage in some areas? As one of my fellow gracers once commented to me on the subject, "I just don't feel released from tithing yet". So is tithing the one thing Jesus didn't release us from??? Do I need to feel released or believe I'm released?!?!

Let me just say again, I do not want to disrespect anyone who still believes in tithing in grace. I'm not trying to offend and I certainly don't see this as an issue that should disrupt fellowship in any way. I love you tithers! And if you see something in my words that you think is legalistic in any way, please please tell me!

Ahem. So to Abraham. Joel touches on some of this in one of his posts but I want to talk about it a little more, mainly because it is one of the biggest arguments I've heard for New Covenant tithing. When I was first coming into grace, I was having a horrible time because financially it became impossible to tithe. Aaron never bothered much about that stuff, but I had a running tally in my head at all times of how much money we owed God and eventually it got to the point where I realized we would never be able to pay him back. Hahaha, it sounds so ridiculous now!

Anyway, as I said I was coming into grace so of course I was reading and reading Galatians and one day as I was doing this God just spoke to me: "replace circumcision with tithing and you have today's church". Wow!!! That was the end of it for me, I saw it clearly and ever since have been free from the bondage and constraint to give any particular amount of money to anyone at any time. Gone was the idea that part of my money really belonged to God, that I needed to give money to God in the first place etc., ect,... It's a crazy idea to think that giving money to a church or ministry is the same as giving money to God! All our giving is to other PEOPLE. It's more a matter of sharing if you ask me. If we see a brother in need of food or clothes, we share what we have with them. If we see the church needs money to get the good news out there, we see our pastor working hard to feed us spiritually, we share what we have!

Now, I've asked several pro-tithers who say "Abraham tithed out of faith 400 years before the law, therefore I tithe out of faith not under law"; so how is that different from circumcision? You see, in faith, Abraham was circumcised 400 years before the law. Actually, in faith, Abraham sacrificed animals, and was even going to sacrifice his own son, 400 YEARS BEFORE THE LAW. If I have faith should I also take my son up a mountain and lay him on an alter? I mean, Abraham did! So I find this line of logic extremely illogical.

Second point about Abraham: If this example of Abraham tithing was meant to be an example for new covenant believers to follow, why is it not taught ANYWHERE in the new testament??? In fact, Hebrews even refers to the story and still somehow the writer forgot the mention the very important fact that we should still be tithing! I gather that to mean that the point of Abraham tithing to Melchizedek was NOT to show us that we should tithe. In fact Hebrews tells us why that account is in Scripture, and the point of it is the opposite of the tithing idea. So what's the point???

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.
Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, their brothers—even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor. Hebrews 7:1-10

The point, as we can see is the whole point of Hebrews as well, is that the new covenant with the new Great High Priest is completely superior to the old system. I think it is safe to say that in the context of Hebrews the point of recounting this story is NOT to teach us that there is still one little rule we should keep from the old covenant, that is, tithing.

So, what do I think is the real reason most people still preach tithing? Well, I do think many people honestly just believe this Abraham thing, but part of it is definately connected to unbelief. It would be very difficult for a leader of a church or ministry to switch gears part way through and start telling people they don't need to tithe. Why? Because they rely and trust in the people's tithe for financial provision, not in God himself. Oh, they think God has given them the tithing teaching for their provision, but I say God is able to put in people a true desire and joy to give without any kind of rule or regulation about how they should give! It's the same argument that legalists use against those preaching grace all the time! If we just tell them they don't have to they won't! It's a panic issue, a fear that is based in unbelief in the power of God to produce sons in the image of Jesus. Sons who will naturally be generous, really!

And as many of these preachers have noted, sometimes when we kick out the props of law from under people they will wobble and even fall around for a time. But then they will learn to stand on their new grace legs and will infinitely healthier and stronger for it in the end. So couldn't we believe God to carry us through that time financially?

So those are some of my main thoughts on it all...What do you think?

Chris Welch reply
The entire present church model is suspect and based largely on unbelief.

What on earth do I mean by that?Before answering, may I commend once again Jack Fortenberry's book "Corinthian Elders" which is only small but packs two or three main punches that will leave you reeling for a while...until you get as gripped with them as I am.

Church exists for only one main reason. To broadcast "the gospel of salvation and growth into Jesus according to the three growth stages of 1 John2". Local churches may have commissions, unique characteristics...but really their sole function is to get Jesus into folk and take back soul territory that the devil has nicked.

Traditional churches and charismatic churches seem to have dubious extras which maintain "it" for its own sake rather than for Jesus sake.And tithing can as Julie has stated just be one of these self-preservation mechanisms.

The unbelief mentioned above is a belief system that restricts "take back soul territory" to claiming scalps for the Kingdom, then keep them entertained in church until they die."
"take back soul territory" actually means everything below the scalp as well. That Christ become the all in all in us. And to quote Ern Baxter,"the gospel is THE power unto salvation. There is no THE-ER power." Jesus salvation is ultimate to our extremes.

And having a correct faith view means we have faith that a FULL Jesus gets to grow in each member of the church and therefore cannot remain as a static object...because now half its members have moved off to raise up other churches all over the globe...who again don't stop at the scalp stage....but see others through to the Father stage in 1 John 2.

In amongst this will be fulltime leaders, part time leaders,leaders in full employment, leaders tentmaking......all adopting the faith that Mueller pioneered...believing for the money to come in....any which way...because our God is sufficient.

Anyone reading my blog will know I have spent the best part of the month on Pyramids in churches...and one of the main maintenance techniques employed by pyramids is tithing.

The Pastor Pyramid and Tithing
Goldhill Baptist Church ,Goldhill nr.Gerrards Cross and London UK have spent the best part of a year finding a replacement pastor. Still not found one.

Why is that relevant? Well I hail from one of three churches that were linked quite closely in the early days of the charismatic movement. Two Baptist and one Anglican.
But really they are all the same model, and I am calling this model 2nd level.
Most of the congregation are born again. A large number have had the experience of being baptized in the Spirit and in Goldhill's case enjoyed several decades of some of the best charismatic teachers on the circuit. First David Pawson, then Jimmy Graham , who, and this is rare, is content to have stepped down and just enjoys being part of the congregation. His son, a drummer plays on a couple of tracks on my CD.

So they are hunting another teacher/pastor I guess with a similar eloquence and ability to transfer spiritual Bible knowledge in clearly articulated left-brain format.

Well, pause there...and now read Dan's latest post on a SGM church in Newport.
What have you found?
Yup, that's right. It's the same model.

Now when I first read Jack Fortenberry's book "Corinthian Elders" I noted his main points, took the punches, was impressed.....but here's the thing.
You can always tell a significant book by the way it grows on your insides.

And I can tell you this, up until reading it, I had never seen the link he made between what was going on in the Corinthian Church and our present and almost universal structures.

And in the last month or so seen that connection grow to include this issue of tithing.

My friends, we are building pyramids and we are using tithing to fund our system.
Not only that, we are ONLY one short remove from the Catholic Church, and I never as an old Baptist boy, thought I would be writing that.

But it is so. Instead of a priest, we have crowned our pastor as head of the pyramid. This is as true of Rob Rufus and Terry Virgo, and lots of other really dedicated fine men, as it is anywhere else. And you know something? You won't find a scrap of Biblical precedent for this anywhere....save perhaps that James was the head honcho at Jerusalem. Bet you anything you like though, this was a practical function. It certainly did not include sole preaching rights....we have that spelled out clearly.

So as impressed as Dan may be with the quality of grace preaching at Newport, and as impressed as I am with Jimmy Graham's record and humility to still continue enjoying fellowship at Gold Hill I have to state this......

As God moves us onto the third level
You'd better not be thinking in pyramids
Because they are not there in the scriptures.
Pastors have usurped a role that just isn't there. Pastors are a gift to the church. They are also a certain character function. They tend the sheep. There are loads in one church! The church, a church , needs loads....

are they a CEO in a corporation!!!!

(In a singing voice) Pyramid, funded by tithing!!!

Great system but - NEW CART
More shoulders needed, I'm sorry.