Thursday, April 16, 2015

What did Jesus mean by 'The kingdom of God.'

Whatever did Jesus mean by The Kingdom of God?

How we might say the same thing in contemporary

Can we translate that into modern and post-modern talk?

What are we praying for when we pray 'Thy Kingdom come?'

Let us have a go at these questions:

 We talk about a material world and a spiritual world.  In our present world-view these are two separate realms.

In the evangelical world view we live in the material world and when we die kind of escape to heaven.

Jesus had a different world view in which the spiritual world intersects with the material world.  In his world the spiritual world can easily manifest and dominate.  I believe those times were manifestations of what Jesus saw as true all the time.

Those are times when He could have said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Dead church as an Empty Bird Nest

On Empty Bird Nests: Christ followers, whether attending a church or not, still think in false categories about whether they 'go to church' or are 'under a covering.' This will confuse your head, heart and spirit.

Do not be complicit with darkness and evil. Do not support these deceptive lies. Only grant the title of 'church' to gatherings of Christians in authentic community - a community that has become and landing place and nest for the Gentle Dove. Anything less that that is an empty bird nest.

To enter the New Landscape you need new eyes. You need revelation. You need to let go of the old wineskins. Discard the old to embrace the new.  Discard death and void to find life and new landscape.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Deluded, confused, distracted and confouded

The power, persistence and intensity of the Prayers of St. Patrick remind us that Patrick came to Ireland when it was ruled by the Celtic peoples when Ireland was full pagan and under the domination of the Druidic priesthood.

Patrick and his communities came under full spiritual attack from the spiritual leaders of the Celtic peoples who were not about to surrender Ireland or give up their longstanding cultural position of power without a fight.  There was warfare.  Clearly every form of curse, witchcraft, spells and works of iniquity were hurled against Patrick and his fledgling communities.

That he not only survived this onslaught but that his initial community grew to be two and then three until Ireland was eventually converted attests boldly to the victory of Christ over witchcraft.  We need this testimony today when we are ignorant both of the evil powers of witches and wizards and of how to mobilize the strength spoke of in this prayer.

We have lost the knowledge of the reality behind this prayer.  Things have been forgotten that should not have been forgotten.  We live deluded, confused, distracted and confouded - as aliens to the things of God and prayer.

In all other times of history men have used spiritual powers to gain victory in war and for other purposes.  The war continues, the battles is engaged.  Many Christians of the scientific culture of today are in a delusion of denial of the reality of this battle.  Christians who come under attack from curses are slow to acknowledge it, get confused opinions from their spiritual leaders and are not equipped or protected against the attacks.

We need to remember those things that have been forgotten and learn to enter into the victory stance of St. Patrick.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Knowing him - the narrow way that leads to life.

A pastor trained at Westminster Theological Seminary  felt called by God to “contend for the gospel,” which is sort of code for pursuing debate with fellow pastors, elders, and congregants to make sure the appropriate level of precise theological orthodoxy was being maintained.

His professor, Peter Enns, questioned whether  contending and debating without ceasing was the best way to spend one’s life in service to God’s people.  Enns believed that to live in a near constant state of theological vigilance, ready to strike down a brother or sister for (perceived) theological failings seemed not only a colossal waste of the one life God has given us, but at odds with what the Bible makes a big deal of.

I agree with Enns that something is wrong.  In fact, I believe that much is wrong.  That it is seriously wrong.  That we not only miss love but do not get to 'know' Jesus.

The 'church' when its focus is getting the 'right' theology is wrong --- because God wants a personal face to face relationship with his people.  

Jesus is God's ultimatum to 'head-knowledge-religion' that God is fed up with  'head-knowledge-religion.' IN the now we can only know him personally and not through moral behaviour, doctrinal purity, religious observance and the 'law.'  Such without the Spirit, without grace, without love all leads to death.  

Sometimes we can see and feel the death in our 'church' experience.  One observer: " the pulpit ministry was heavy-handed, the “counseling” was a spiritual version of corporate micromanaging, and the church discipline was all-too frequent. In retrospect, it was like the Bible was used as a spiritual “anvil” that people were laid upon in order to beat them into conformity to it versus trusting the Spirit to do it in his time."

Only intimate knowing of Jesus leads to life.  

Jesus is God's "No!" to the old way.  Enough is enough.  The door to God through right knowledge, right behavior, religious performance, attending the right church,  is now closed.
We must know him as well as his disciples knew him.  That is the narrow way that leads to life.  The secret to that knowing is not shared from 'church' pulpits.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Servant Leadership

Jesus can trust the true 'servant leader' with an annointing that is withheld from those whose focus is "me' and "how do I look?" There is a process of death to self - especially Self Image - that has been understood of Graham Cooke and John Sandford.

John Sandford, in chapter 17 of Restoring the Christian Family, does a fine Bible study on King Nebuchadnezzar from Deuteronomy 5:7-10. Instead of the golden image that the king wanted everyone to bow to, Sandford puts our Self Image. We are the one's who get angry when people do not give proper respect to whatever work or characteristic of ourselves that has become our self image.

Graham Cooke takes 'up and coming' young leaders out of the limelight for a year. Why? Cooke has the incredible wisdom to know that being out of the limelight will be a chance for the "Self Image" to die. After a year he hopes to have a leader who is annointed because his attitude is that of the Servant Leader.

Now observe this, God will do the same thing and boy is it painful. God will demote a man and bring him down to his knees. There are times of crushing pain when everything goes wrong and we feel misunderstood and deserted that God is using to break our Self Image.

If we recognize our Self Image, perhaps because we feel so crushed, and repent of our Self Image, perhaps God will repent and restore us. Hopefully, then, we will be ready to be His Servant and our focus is on making others do well and look good.
IF you do not understand why everything is going wrong in your life ask yourself if you get upset if something about you or your life is not recognized appropriately.  Did you take offense at someone's negative comment about something that you are proud about?  You may find a Self Image that God is dealing with.  God is waiting for it to die.  If you want to move on then you confess it and put it to death and choose the attitude of humility.  You may find yoursefl restored and annointed to serve others.
May God bless you as a Servant Leader.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Theology - The Queen of Sciences

There is growing up a generation that was not taught the Bible stories, taken to church or much experience of Christian prayerful living.  Small wonder that these one see little need for 'religion.'
They claim, "One does not need a god to be moral.'  Meaning they do not believe in God and do not think it relevant to themselves as moral people.  They can make 'good' choices without the guidance, background and education of Bible training, exposure to Christianity, or understanding of the ethical attitudes of Jesus.
My father was the son of a missionary and deeply scarred by the experience.  However, growing up in China of the early 1900's, he also learned about the ethics of people without the Christian ethic.  You could not trust the Chinese in their business dealings.  You always had to be on guard against trickery - the stone in the pile of wood when you got paid by the weight of the wood.
Dad's conclusion was that you cannot have a highly developed society without built in ethical training developing ethical character in which one could trust.  He observed that much trust was involved in western business and financial transactions.  He discerned that things would not be the same if we lost the religious training and ethical training that was the foundation of character in the West.
That is why mom and dad took us all to church.  They believed that this grounding is important.  They were right.  It is important to be exposed to the religion and ethic that is the backbone of the West.
In my generation television came in and replaced religion as the major influence on morals and ethics.  The driving force behind television was not developing character but training people to consume goods.  This is a battle that religion, to a large extent, lost and commercial interest won.
Now we can see that dad was right.  We will see what it is like to live and work with people without an ethical backbone - people you cannot trust.
Now to the question as to why Theology can be considered the Queen of the Sciences, I will quote:

"we strongly believe that no education is a useful education without the study of theology. One's theology (understanding of God and his eternal law) determines how facts, events, and philosophies are judged.  It is necessary to have a good (correct) theology in order to make good moral judgments, rightly discerning between right and wrong. 
     A popular phrase we often hear is "you can't legislate morality."  However, every law in every land legislates somebody's morality.  We see the strife in medical arenas concerning abortion, cloning, grafting, etc.  Difficult choices have to be made about what is right and wrong.  Many of us are under the counsel of psychologists, psychiatrists, ministers, and others.  Depending on the counselor's view of man, God, and true mental health, is the success of the treatment.  In the arena of the structure of authority we have to know what man's inherent rights are and where those rights come from before we can determine if a government is righteous. 
     One's theology affects his every action and belief.  It is the framework upon which hangs all we learn from history and the framework upon which the future is built.  The "Queen of Sciences" should order and illuminate all the other disciplines, providing one with a genuine liberal education.  The Tanglewood School Curriculum, recognizing the importance of the study of theology, provides a place for planning and record keeping in the teacher's Corebook. We encourage each parent to study and to aspire to a correct theology and to instill in the child an understanding and love for this sacred discipline.
     After all, as was once said, "The only rightful purpose of education is to know the truth and to live by it."

This is from

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Matthew 18:18 - what means 'bind' and loose?

This e-mail arrived with a question about binding and loosing in Matthew 18:18.  Here is the letter.

I just read you information on cursing from the Internet – via Google.
Most of it I agree with and see the wisdom of not continuing a practice of prayer that I really thought was correct. So now, what about Matthew 18:18, which says “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;”  what are we to “Bind” and what are we to “Loose?”  What does that in your opinion refer to?
Thank you for your input.

God lover
"Study to show thyself approved..." 2Tim 2:15

I explain this on the Listening-prayer web site in the section called Demonic, negative and unhealthy Spiritual Warfare under the title Spiritual Warfare: Binding and Loosing.

In the Jewish New Testament (David Stern, 1989), the translator explains the meaning of "bind" and "loose" to the Jew.  This would mean that the leadership had the  authority to set up a new religious community and establish the rules of this community.  The new community formed around Jesus was not to be bound by Jewish law.  They could, in effect, establish new rules for the new community.  God's authority would be behind them in this.  And so it was as we see in the Book of Acts.

In North America it has fed in to the power drive and wrongly interpreted as 'I can take authority in Jesus name over Satan and territorial spirits.  That, in fact, is very dangerous advice as it puts us in a position of rebellion against authority.  It encourages acting in pride and arrogance.

It accomplishes the opposite of what is intended.  One loses protection.  One's position in the battle is exposed.  The enemy penetrates and attacks supply lines.  This is experienced as money always disappearing, losing jobs, just about to get a job and it goes to someone else.

Read more of my articles on and this should all be explained.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Am I in a cult? How to discern a cult.

Calling a church a cult is pretty extreme so I need to suggest some criteria for such a label.

One definition of a cult-like church is that there is spiritual abuse.  Spiritual abuse also needs to be defined because that is a strong term.  Spiritual Abuse is when the agenda of the church or the pastor overrides the needs, gifts and calling of the person.

Unfortunately that is a very abstract and general definition.  Unfortunately most institutions calling themselves 'Churches' will tend to fit into that definition to some extent.  Unfortunately, most churches exist to some extent, for their own sake or to benefit the pastor more than they exist to nurture, encourage and equip the Christian to live out their life in their home, community or workplace in victory.

Let be more specific in guidelines or markers.  An unhealthy church does not leave you feeling encouraged and built up but you leave the Sunday worship service feeling burdened or guilty.

Jesus said "come unto me you that are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest."  If the service ministers that Jesus then you will find relief from guilt and pressure to perform 'religious' duties and encouraged and empowered to live your life with Christ in you and the Kingdom of God invading your places of home, work and study.  This will happen without striving.

Freedom is present where Christ is present for he came to set us free.  What that looks like in the local congregation is that everyone is expressing themselves in their own unique way.  People dress different.  You can look around and see many different ages, colors, genders, dress, financial levels.  The people are not all dressed the same.

In some churches there is a drift toward a 'deliverance' ministry or to 'spiritual warfare.'  It is a danger sign if the focus of prayer, preaching and song is on attacking evil, binding demons and naming different powers of darkness.  Flee such a place because they are attracting demons by giving them so much attention.

Are people in leadership so 'super spiritual' that they do not manage their everyday affairs well.  It is unhealthy to be so focused on 'saving the world' that you neglect your family.  It is unhealthy to be so focused on 'spiritual things' that you neglect your earthly responsibilities.  You need to feed your rabbits, take the dog for a walk and have food in the refrigerator for the household.  Practical stuff, believe it or not, is spiritual stuff.

A healthy church will have healthy small groups.  People will be able to study the bible and not always the sermon notes from the pastor's sermon.  There should be some personal sharing and getting to know one another.  If you can sense a healthy refreshing sense of freedom and encouragement.

As a church becomes more controlling it comes closer to being an unhealthy church or a cult.

  1. The teaching suggests that other groups are wrong and you would lose out by leaving this church.
  2. More extreme, the teaching suggests you are lost from salvation if you leave this church.
  3. The pastors speaks and teaches that bad things happen to those who leave the church.
  4. The pastor or others pray negative prayer (curses) against those who leave their church.
I have talked about 'exit control' in another blog.  These are some guides as to whether you are in a healthy or unhealthy church or a cult.  Learn to discern and to trust your gut feeling.