Sunday, February 28, 2010

Events That Changed my Life

I'm in a meditative mood this morning.

Not a buddhist/emerging/into the silence kind of meditation...just thinking.

Everyone has them;events that changed their world.Things ,stuff ,circumstances ,experiences that mean your world will never be the same .

When my Dad suicided that radically changed all that I had known for the previous 13 years.
He had been my hero and my mentor and just plain good fun.And when I found him with his life ebbing away from the gunshot wound everything changed .I didn't know God in any real way at the time but I prayed anyway."God ;give my Dad back" After lingering a couple hours in hospital he died.
I shook my fist at God and screamed at the heavens "I don't believe in You anymore"
How ironic; how can you yell at someone you don't believe in.(I wonder how many atheists have gone through something like this and declared to God," I WON'T believe")

A few years later my best friend died in a bike accident and then my only brother went the same way not long after.

Then there was my first firing from a church leadership role. On the losing side of a power struggle. Didn't really lose...just refused to fight.
The second firing came when the church authorites felt the best way to help my children and I through the grief of a deserting wife and mother was to "sack" me and cut us loose.That was an interesting time. A single Dad no income ,no vehicle(they took the church vehicle back) then we lost our accomadation...and what happened to all my Christian friends?

And then there's the 'interesting" experience of seeing your wife move her boyfriend into the family home (that you had built with your own hands)

Ah.. but God is the God of restoration. Remarried to a God-fearing beautiful and charming woman. A great home ,great Brady bunch family, business owner ,beautiful grand kids and eyes well and truly opened to the deceptions of churchianity(I'm not bitter ,I'm thankfull)

But the greatest the most amazing ,incredible event that has ever happened to me was 27 years ago when the God of Glory heard my cry in the bedroom at my home and bowed the heavens to reach down, forgive my wickedness and rebellion against Him and make me a new creature in Christ.He has proven to be a Father to the fatherless, a friend who sticks closer than a brother ,my shield ,my strong tower,my fortress ,a stronghold in the time of trouble,my God in whom I trust, the One who forgives all my transgressions and lifts me out of the miry clay.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Christian" Media

Allow me to vent a little this morning.

From time to time I tune into the Christian TV or radio station ...and it aggravates me no end .

Surely when you go onto a Christian channel or station you should be able to come across something ..well..Christian.

But the sad fact is that I can listen to the local "christian" radio broadcast and hear nothing that is actually biblical Christianity (Why do the programmers think a song that mentions prayer or heaven or love is somehow christian.Come on guys get a Bible or open the one gathering dust on your bookshelf)

And the Christian TV? Well if anything it's worse.There are some good preachers on at times ..but usually at three in the morning but the prime spots are taken up with Benny Hinn or Joseph Prince or Joel Osteen. Come on guys give us somebody who will preach the word of God with candour ,courage and conviction.

Come on we need to hear from those who are sold out to the Holy One of Israel and not to the Catholic Guy sold out to the "Holy Father" of Rome.

And if I hear one more scripture twisting teaching on "tithing"I'll..I'll.....(Why is it that all the false prophets and false teachers agree on one doctrine and one doctrine only...tithing)
I heard Robert Schuller preach a tithing message recently, as though this is God's word and he is committed to the word of God.Come on , a few moments before he read a Psalm and deliberately skipped the verses he didn't like. Is there no fear of God in these guys ? Don't they know that they will stand before the Lord of Glory someday and give an account?

Thank God for the internet. I actually think the web is God's provision in these last of the last days.What used to take weeks or months to research can be done in no time today.
Some say you can't believe everything on the internet;well you can't believe everything in the library either; and at least you can hunt around and find some good Spirit -filled Bible preaching men of God on the web.

O f course the answer is to get alone with God and seek His face and His insights for ourselves...but tragically so many think that the smiling genial heretics on the Christian TV or radio station represent authentic, Biblical Christianity.

They couldn't be further from the truth.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Commander of the Army of the LORD

Joshua 5:13-15

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho,that he lifted his eyes and looked,and behold,a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him,"Are You for us or for our adversaries?"
So He said,"No,but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come". And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, and said to Him,"What does my Lord say to His servant?"
Then the Commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua."Take your sandal off your foot,for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.

Joshua; called of God, appointed by God, empowered by God, undertaking in obedience the mission for God .Joshua;diligent, faithfull, courageous, about the Father's business.
Joshua; the man of God looks up and sees; God.....and doesn't recognize Him!!
"Hey you;you with the sword.You're in the road .What are you doing there? Are you on my side or their side."

Funny how some times God will get in the way even while we're about His business.
You have your plans, your goals .It's all worked out.You have your sermon prepared. it's a good word ,some good insights appropriate illustrations....and then God interrupts...and it's annoying,frustrating.

"who's side are You on?"

Jesus replies I AM the Commander. I AM the LORD. I AM in charge.I AM

And just like his mentor Moses did in similar circumstances;Joshua removed his sandal;bowed down and worshipped and asked for instructions.

May we be as wise

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The God who can not Change

As I type the title for these few short comments ,I realize I could follow this thought into so many different areas.The God of creation;the God of Abraham ,Isaac and Jacob;the God of Moses and the prophets ;the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in other words the God of the Bible, is not the God of "the Shack" of the televangelist or the purpose driven,church growth crowd.He is the God Who can not change.

I want however to zero in on one aspect of the God we worship and in so doing may offend some preachers and teachers whom I highly respect.

The issue I want to touch on is cessationism.

Some of the greatest Bible teachers of our day have taken the unfortunate (and unbiblical)stand that we are no longer to expect God to move in the supernatural and miraculous ways He did in the past.
But how can the God who CAN not change;change?

Some say that now we have the Bible we no longer need the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit to be at work in the church.But hang on ,whole chapters in the scriptures are written to instruct how the gifts are to be used;if the gifts were to cease once the canon of scripture was complete ,why would God bother to make those passages part of the canon.

I am convinced that the supernatural workings of God are for today.People are in just as much need today as they were 2,000 yrs ago.

Of course not everything supernatural is of God after all He has given clear and concise instruction on how to discern what is of God ,what is of the devil and what is of the flesh.

Those who would relegate the gifts of the Spirit to another dispensation arbitrarily draw a line right through the middle of the Bible's teachings on those gifts.Most cessationists do not dispute that some are called and gifted to preach or to give or to lead and yet they have decided gifts of healing or prophesy or tongues or interpretation of tongues are no longer valid. Who gave them the authority to decide whats in and whats out?!

Some cessationists go so far as to suggest we are not to expect God to do anything except grant us regeneration in response to repentance and faith.
One preacher regularly remarks ;"When we pray. who changes God or us?"Well that's not the point .Of course we want to change and of course God can not change but when we pray we want things to change. We serve an interventionist God . If there is one thing clear when we read the word of God Almighty it is that He is ;well;ALMIGHTY!

God is still a miracle working God .He still POWERFULLY answers prayer. He is still gracing supernatural and spiritual gifts to His church and He is still the God who can not change!

Heb 13 :8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,today and forever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Churchless Christians and Christless "Churches"

When did "going to church" become a condition of salvation?

At what point did the gospel become ;"lift your hand and pray this prayer and find a church?"

I got saved out of church ;I spent the first year of my Christian walk out of church and they were some of the greatest times in my life.

Eventually I found an assembly, got involved ,went into "ministry" and became thoroughly "churched".

And now?

Well I am a Churchless Christian again.And I've seen too many Christless Churches.Not all of them ,of course .I know some wonderful saints and some of them are Pastors.

I've met many believers over the years who are committed to living out Christ in them.And many of these are pillars in the church. But increasingly many are not churched,are not connected to a local assembly and many are searching for a group and shepherds after His own heart.

So now I am seeking a church ;a body of believers to worship with ,to pray with and to learn with.
What am I looking for in a church.

#1 Saved leadership.

Now that might sound obvious but far too often it seems the "big" names in the professing church seem to have little in the way of a true heart for God and His word.And when a leader extols the virtues of Brian Maclaren or Joel Osteen or Rob Bell, I really have to question if they have the Holy Spirit.Now I'm not so concerned with the name over their door but more with the Name over their hearts.If they have no passion for Christ ,no zeal to reach the lost and no stomach for the truth,what does that say about their walk with God?

#2 Perfect Imperfection

Some say you will never find a perfect church.True ;but what about a perfectly imperfect church?What does that mean?
Well I think a church where the Holy Spirit is at work will have people at all different stages in their faith-walk. There will be those who've been faithfully following Jesus for 50 yrs or so ,who've stood the test of time, fought their battles, suffered for their failings, rejoiced in their victories and proven God faithful in the long haul.God bless those ones .
There will also be the brand spanking new converts ,questioning every thing in their passion to know;full of zeal and wrong turns, annoying and delighting with their fresh revelation of Jn 3:16.
And in between saints from all walks ,all backgrounds, all different experiences,growing,falling getting back up, Perfect imperfection.

#3 Priority of Prayer

Jesus said His house is to be a house of prayer.
I suspect He is not referring to the professional pray-er bracketing his weekly sermon in a brief call on God to bless His word ;but to the house being filled with the agonized ,joyful,worshipping,desperate cries of a people who know that they know without Him we can do nothing.Prayer,I believe is not to relegated to the prayer meeting but a major part of the gathering of the saints is to the ministry of prayer. Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to PRAYER.I think it was Ravenhill who wrote the "church began in the upper room agonizing and finished in the supper room organising."Maybe we need more agonizing and less organising

#4 The Word

It goes without saying (or does it?) that a church which has no respect for the authority of God's written word ,has no right to call itself a church.And not just a formal creedal statement about His living word but a practical experiential devotion to the eternal scriptures .The church I want to attend will preach the word ,in season and out.It will study ,meditate on wrestle with in faithful fervour and believe and act on God's revealed revelation of Himself . They won't have everything right but they will be open ,humble ,learning and growing in their understanding of God's principles,Person and priorities.

Well that's my thoughts for what it's worth.Shouldn't be too much to ask I think.Pray for Cath and I that we can find such a group and if you are in the Wollongong area and know an assembly in the area that fits the bill,leave a comment

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Internet Ministry

I'll be honest.
I love a good robust discusion about the God of Glory and what He's written in His word
Whether it's an unbeliever outlining their excuses on why they won't believe; an honest sinner grappling with truth or a brother/sister with a different theological position than myself.
I also am drawn to discernment /apologetic blogs where a man or woman of God boldly challenges foolish and harmfull beliefs that seek to find a resting place in Christ's church.
But it saddens me maybe even angers me when discernment ministries refuse biblical correction.How can that make sense that the very ones who continually point people to the Bible reject the possibility that their pet doctrine(s) may in fact not be Biblical.Obviously the issues I'm referring to are not the great and essential doctrines of salvation;but the side issues which have a habit of becoming more important than they should be.
Some take their stand on "Christians don't drink, play cards or dance".That describes my dog!
Others allege a true christian must give %10 of their income to a religious organization.Well, the Mormons must really be saved ;they "tithe" %20.
Others will state that only the KJV is really God's word .What did God's people do before 1611.
None of us has all truth but for Christians we know where to find it.
God's holy word is perfect but our interpretation of it may not be.
A humble heart will keep seeking, keep asking , will be open to correction and will keep in mind that the scriptures are not only doctrinal but also devotional;not only for teaching but also for worship; not to prove us right but to prove Him right.Let God be proved true and every man a liar (Rom 3:4)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Pharisee; the word reflects harshness,hypocrisy, legalism.It's a term you don't call your friends and even our enemies are usually undeserving of this insult.

I've been called a Pharisee...more than once. I've considered it ..and found yes there probably are Pharisaical tendencies in me. Perhaps there are some in you too.Perhaps it's part of the human condition Anyhow I decided to do what I usually do when I need answers;I went to the word of God.

What I found is quite enlightening .

What Jesus says about (and to) Pharisees.

1 They were ignorant of the scriptures

This is an interesting point because often the charge of Pharisee is levelled at someone who is declaring the council of God on a particular Sex outside of marriage as sinful in God's eyes. Response :Pharisee! or homosexuality is an act (not a condition) that will land the unrepentant in Hell.Response: Intolerant Pharisee!
Well no.The Pharisees did not know or preach the scriptures. Mt 22:29 you are in error because you do not know the scriptures nor the power of God.

So according to this verse it's not the ones who are holding up the truth of God's word that are true Pharisees but rather those who are ignorant of and disrespectful of the full counsel of God.

2 They were in positions of authority

The Pharisees were religious leaders who abused their position and twisted God's word to protect their "turf". This again is interesting as often the popular religious celebrity will level the charge "Pharisee" at some humble believer who has no crowds of followers ,no turf to defend and no agenda other than trying to live faithfully in the eyes of the Lord.Remember that...the Pharisees were the ones with power. And there are no doubt Pharisees today who stand 6 feet above contradiction. Of course not every church leader is a Pharisee but every Pharisee was a religious leader.

3 The Pharisees had no sense of God's priorities.

The Lord had regular conflicts with the Pharisees over the Sabbath .He pointed out that they would release their animal from a pit on the Sabbath but were incensed when Jesus healed someone.In fact they were so angry about the Sabbath issue that they plotted how to KILL Him.Talk about having no priorities ! They wanted to kill a man (and not just any man but the God-Man) to protect their sacred day!!As Jesus said "the Sabbath was made for the good of man;not man for the Sabbath. They had their priorities totally scewed.

Luke 11:37-54 outlines a few of the other issues that Jesus had with the Pharisees.

They loved money ;vs 39

A good way to discover if a religious leader is a Pharisee is to tell them you don't believe in tithing.

If they will open up a Bible with you and discuss their position all good .If they refuse to discuss it and throw you out of the church they probably are a Pharisee.(even though they may accuse you of being one)

They were focused on externals .vs 42

Whenever a ministry makes minor rules and regulations a major part of their platform it is likely that a Pharisee is revealing himself.

The first church I pastored was in an area where there was a lot of drug and alcohol problems.

God blessed us with the privilege of seeing whole extended families coming to the Lord.

Some of the guys had long hair and some of the girls had short skirts ...but what a heart they had for God. One young bloke led 20 people to Jesus in a 3mnth period!!! See, the heart of the issue is the issue of the heart and when God gets hold of a persons heart the externals will fall into line.

But Pharisees tend to focus on dress regulations and rules about drinking ,smoking and other assorted peripherals.

They coveted celebrity status vs 43.

If you have ever seen the church leaders jostling for the best seats at a conference you will understand what the Lord was speaking about in this scripture. We in the west have managed to create an entire celebrity class of Christian, complete with body guards ,limousines and fan clubs !
Those who seek and encourage celebrity are as guilty as those who make idols of their favourite preachers.

Jesus said a whole lot more about these guys but those few facts presented here I find enlightening .
In a comment thread recently , I suggested a commenter who was accusing others in the thread of being Pharisees that he need to examine the Bibles teaching on this and next time level the accusation at those who deserve it ,ie the false -teaching, celebrity hungry, money-loving religious leaders who with pious expression and clever words are keeping people from the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Narrow Way Interview

Matthew Johnson over at The Narrow Way interviewed me recently.He is a young Aussie Christian with a heart to communicate the truth of God's word to this generation.You will find a multitude of good articles and commentary on his site.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Faith in 3D(Discernment,Deception and Delusion)

To finish on the subject I've been covering the past couple of posts.

I'm not really happy with the way I've communicated this but for the time being it will have to do.

Often when someone is trying to sell a new doctrine that is not backed up scripturally they will say something like this."All truth is God's truth"Well that may be true but not everything that claims to be truth is. In fact that concept is almost guaranteed to lead you straight into deception because it puts the whole thing backwards. To decide what's true and then put God's blessing on it is a travesty! The only safe way to find truth is find out what God has clearly declared in His eternal,immutable completed Word.

Tragically ,I have seen people I care about deeply reject some aspect of God's clear revelation and rapidly shipwreck their faith.
People that I've known well ,prayed with and had deep fellowship with(even ones that God used to help me come to faith)have abandoned Christ and renounced Him and His people and His Word.

The issue of how we respond to the Truth of the Almighty is not some academic philosophical theorizing. No!...this affects peoples eternal destinies.
When I encounter Christians who are so entrenched in a theological position that they refuse to consider what God has declared in His Word , I fear for them ,for this is a step onto the wide well-travelled road that Jesus warns us about.

When I hear Christians say "My God wouldn't send anyone to Hell"I say" well you need to repent of idolatry because your god is not YHWH God of the Bible"

When a Christian leader says to me "I have no need to fear God because perfect love casts out fear" I have to respond #1 You are not perfect and neither is your love#2The scriptures tell us repeatedly that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and therefore you are by Biblical definition a fool #3You have misinterpreted and twisted that scripture in 1st Jn that speaks of a Christian no longer having to fear the judgement.

To often God's precious people passively accept heresy and foolishness in the name of tolerance and unity , when really it's either ignorance, arrogance or the fear of man.

Precious child(or potential)child of God ;seek God's truth as if your life depended on it ,for indeed it does . Embrace and receive whatever He shows you in His word and reject ,challenge and rebuke those who speak lies in the Name of the Lord.

As far as the Osteens ,Maclarens Houstons etc etc etc go, God may be their Judge but God's people are their prey!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Faith in 3D( Discernment, Deception and Delusion)Pt 2

I want to continue on the theme of my last post .

Maybe it can be summed up like this "Truth begets truth error begets error)

The psalmist cries in Ps 119v18"Open my eyes ,that I may see wondrous things from your Law."He clearly understood that understanding the Word of God is more than just an intellectual exercise. Now, of course the mind is involved but it's God who gives the light .This is why Paul prays in Eph 1. 17ff that God would grant the Ephesians the spirit of wisdom and revelation and that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened.
Discernment comes as God grants insight...and discernment is recognizing what's right as well as what's wrong.To submit to ,rejoice in and embrace truth clears the way for God to give more" to him who has more will be given".

Of course there is the flip side as described in Romans Ch.1 Gods wrath is revealed against those who suppress the truth.
Now God's righteous anger is not a popular topic today{perhaps it never has been) but it's true never the less...and amongst the multitude of ways that this wrath is revealed is described here in Chapter 1 of Romans.Their hearts are darkened vs21 ,God gives them up to perversion vs24 and vs 26 and God gives them over to a debased mind.
Resist God's truth reap deception and delusion. Eventually the Sovereign Lord may declare a truth famine as described in Amos 8:10-12. What a terrifying thought! Someone has said (maybe Paul Washer) that churches such as Joel Osteen's etc are in fact a judgement from God as people refuse to discern and submit to His truth. The thought being that God allows these ministries to prosper for a time to discipline those who refuse to believe God. Those who attend these churches and embrace the teachings of those such as Osteen,Warren,Hybells,Maclaren and sadly ,I think Houston will indeed find they are famished ,starved of the life giving sustenance of the whole counsel of God.The result of which is deception and delusion. The remedy is repentance and obeying the Lord when He says "come out and be separate" Jesus put it like this "Leave them they are blind guides "and the only result you can expect from following a blind guide is that you both will fall into a pit.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Faith in 3D (Discernment,Deception and Delusion)

Among all the amazing life changing and thought -provoking statements that Jesus made ,this one grabbed me recently;

Mt13:12.For whoever has,to him more will be given,and he will have an abundance;but whoever does not have,even what he has will be taken from him.

At first glance that doesn't sound fair, Why give to the one who already has?Well the context clarifies.See the Lord is talking about the mysteries of the Kingdom.In other words insights and revelation in to God and His ways through the Living Word of God.

In Mt 16, Jesus commended Peter for the Holy Spirit given understanding of the Divine identity of Christ.And every true Christian has been given that truth by God Himself.

Now ,it seems ,growth in spiritual matters proceeds according to this principle "whoever has to him more will be given"When God gives us illumination into some aspect of His Kingdom we can have one of two responses.We receive it and embrace it or we ignore and reject it.

Now the issue itself may seem fairly minor or it may have the potential to radically shake up our lives.Regardless God is observing to see how we respond.
This is where it gets exciting... and scary!
To accept ,receive and embrace God's truth will lead to more insight and understanding. We will be entrusted with more and our eyes will be open to more truth pertaining to God and His ways....But if we deliberately block His truth from finding a resting place in our lives then gradually (and sometimes not so gradually)we will lose what we already had. A Christian may lose their sense of God's presence,peace and assurance.To continue down that path wiil eventually lead us to deception and according to 2 Thess 2:10-12 if we have not a love for truth this can lead to delusion where we believe the lie.

I fear for those who refuse to examine their beliefs in the light of scripture.(Christians I'm speaking of here)For those who refuse to be corrected or even to discuss major Biblical truths are opening themselves up to deception and delusion. What a terrifying place to be.

I have spoken to pastors who refuse to sit down and in a mutual seeking open a Bible to see what God has to say. What a travesty and a tragedy ,After all it's their #1 job to understand and communicate God's truth to God's people.

Our awefull responsibility is to respond well to God's truth.There is reward for those who do ...and terror for those who don't

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Accuser of the Brethren

I haven't posted a blog for some time now. I've been researching an issue which is proving to have tentacles so widely spread it's difficult to communicate in a simple blog...perhaps a book in the future .We'll see. That subject incidentally is how the christian church has been infiltrated by the deliberate placing of "Trojan Horses"....I know, I know. Very conspiratorial. The problem is that I do believe it is a conspiracy. More on that later.

Today I was watching Joseph Prince on the ACC." Why ?"you might ask. Well ;blatant heresy inspires me in a funny way;it motivates me to do something about it.
Mr Prince made an interesting comment in the midst of his prosperity talk.
He said "The devil doesn't attack personally;he uses bloggers". Of course the crowd laughed at his witty remark and then he moved on to talk of how satan is the accuser of the brethren.

While the statement about el diablo being the accuser is true , it got me to thinking what does that mean exactly?

Some thoughts .

1/ Accusation is an attempt to tear down or destroy. To point out where someone is seriously in error(whether in doctrine or action) for the purpose of restoration to truth is not accusation but godly challenge which is biblical and Christlike...not satanic.

2/In the process of accusing bloggers of being agents of satan,Mr Prince has in fact become an accuser of the brethren. In fact if the blogger(s) he has in mind are actually operating in obedience to the Lord Jesus he has come frightfully close to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

3/The different responses to accusation are .a/Consider if the accusation is true and if so...change!If not ,carry on.

b/ Consider if the accusation is true,and refuse to change.

c/ Refuse to consider the accusation.
Only one of those responses if godly.

While it is true that the devil is the accuser ;the Holy Spirit is the convictor ,and sometimes we can confuse condemnation and challenge.

4/It may well be true that at times bloggers can be harsh or unloving..but that doesn't negate the responsibility to examine their claims and adjust if necessary.Sometimes our harshest critics can be our best friends if they point out things that we need to deal with.

5/Having said all that ;let me make some remarks re: Mr princes ministry.

Joseph needs to get another Bible.The one he's using seems to have large portions missing. He speaks much on grace which is a vital subject. but I have yet to hear him speak on sin ,judgement or God's holy wrath against wickedness.I actually think we cannot appreciate nor appropriate grace till we understand sin,judgement and Hell.

I believe Mr Prince is off track and needs to repent and begin to preach the whole counsel of God.Of course I guess that puts me in the category of the bloggers to which he referred.