Passion Week Musing: The Dangerousness of Jesus


Jesus was a dangerous.  Think about it. See he came to change things. His mission was to make things different. He posed risk to those that were in charge. He posed such risk that Herod the Great killed many infant males to try and kill one. He was so dangerous that the crowd tried to kill him on more the one occasion.  Most had hoped that his dangerousness would mean the end of Rome and re-establishment of Israel as a country and kingdom. However, that was not what yes was about. He did not meet those expectations. This also made him dangerous.  It was his dangerousness that led to his death. He lived God’s way. He was concerned for each individual. He loved and demonstrated concern for others over appearances of righteousness. He was so dangerous that they decided that He needed to die for the good of all. They considered Him so dangerous that the tried him at night, examining ultimately if He was one who is leading Israel astray and worthy of death. They decided He was and assured his death. Jesus was dangerous.

Jesus is a dangerous.  Think about it. He changes things.  Following him involves loss of control and submission. There is great risk in following Jesus.  If you truly follow Jesus your life is will be the same.  There is no one in history who unsettles people like even the name of Jesus does. Mention of the name can bring unease and unsettle others. See following Jesus involves trust and faith. It involves a belief without absolute certainty. It involves following a different way and going against the ways of the world. Jesus is dangerous.

Jesus will be dangerous. Think about it. There is a time coming when Jesus returns. It will be a time for those that do not follow him to fear for there will be wrath untold. The twisting on creation due to the impacts of life outside of dependence on God will be undone. All of creation will not go untouched. There will be wrath. There will be judgment. There will be making things right. Never before will there be any greater danger and no greater power unleashed.  Jesus will be dangerous

Now that you have done some thinking. Realize that to some the danger of Jesus is the making of a villan because there is great danger. He does not meet expectation. If you follow Him you are good, if not, an enemy. Either he is Lord and King or not.  See, there are many who want to live their own way. Many who think that they are good enough for they care about and try to look out for others and do other nice deeds.  How dare the creator of the universe be told to show self and come in such a manner? How dare He require complete surrender? Yet, Jesus brings forth life. He sets things right and in all that danger He alone brings true peace. For all the danger that is there, the danger only exists if you reject and turn away. And there are those who have thought about it, recognize it and follow Jesus, this ever so dangerous one. The letting go brings far more than any risk and true life and peace are gained.  So, yes, Jesus is dangerous, but in the end He alone brings about true health and wholeness. So accept the dangerousness and surrender. Once you do you will never be the same and it will be good.

Why did Jesus fold the Napkin?

The following article was sent to my mother by a friend of hers, Tracy K. who is sister in Jesus from Canada.  I hope you enjoy the article:

WHY DID JESUS FOLD THE NAPKIN?
 
Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?
 
The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin,which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.
 
The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded,and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
 
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
 
She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.
 
Was that important? Absolutely!
 
Is it really significant? Yes!
 
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.. The table was furnished perfectly,and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.
 
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth,and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.
 
The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days,the wadded napkin meant,”I’m done”.
 
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate,the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….
 
The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back!”
 
He is Coming Back!

Guest Commentary: Honoring the Presence of God

I ran across an interesting commentary at the forum for Charisma magazine. I asked the author if I could post it on my blog and he agreed. I found this article thought provoking and challenging perspective. The author is Sean Steckbeck. He is serving Jesus in Israel and being used by God to lead others into following Jesus as Messiah and entering the Kingdom of God.

Here is the article:

My wife and I were weeping over the state of the church in the past couple days.
We were also talking about the word for the glory of the Lord and reminscing about our days at Brownsville and the glory of the Lord falling so strong there.
My wife and I speak to each other in Hebrew, not in English, this needs to be understood to understand the nature of our conversation.
The word for glory is “kavod” which is from the same root as “k’ved” which means weighty. The presence of God is weighty.
However, we were discussing that the glory of the Lord (kavod) also needs to be honored. For “kavod” is a double meaning- glory and honor. Kavod also is the word for honor.
We then realized that today’s woes with the charismatic church is a lack of honor for the glory of the Lord.

I then saw a picture of a King who came out on a red carpet.
Many were prostrated and shaking in awe (ecstasis in Greek for you River folks) and honor.
Many others were in awe (ecstasis), but took it very lightly and even nearly mocking.

I then asked myself why would these guys do this, don’t they know they could get their heads chopped off by the king.
I then realize they didn’t realize this was dishonoring to the King, but that it was.

My wife got immediately this verse:

Exo 20:7 You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain. For Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.

Exo 20:7 לא תשׂא את־שׁם־יהוה אלהיך לשׁוא כי לא ינקה יהוה את אשׁר־ישׂא את־שׁמו לשׁוא׃

Transliteration by me- Lo tisa et shem adonay elohecha l’shav, ci lo yinka adonay asher yisa et shmo l’shav

Notice the word “shav” here which is translater “vain”.

In Hebrew, shav is used for the following:

1.) A dud for a firework
2.) A bullet that is a dud when shot.
3.) Sperm that does not impregnate.
4.) Something that has a substance, but does not have the reality.

So what can we draw from this in taking the Lord’s name in vain?

1.) A powerless faith— having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Not having the fruit of a walk in the Holy Spirit while taking on the name of God.

2.) Not living the life—- the word “tisa” and “yisa” means to take on, or to dress yourself with. Interesting it does not even come close to the word “speak” which is usually spoken about this particular scripture. Although it also means this among other things, but is only a tiny part (to not give you a reason to say GD). This scripture is referred to almost immediately after it talks about not taking on other gods and keeping the commandments. God is speaking to Israel as a nation that is His representative nation on the earth collectively and who carries His name, and is speaking to each one’s personal responsibility within this. If we say we represent God or Messiah, and do not live the life of discipleship, we are taking His name in vain. Because we are God’s gun to change the world, and we should not fire duds. Thank God for grace, however, we should also fear. “Lo Yinkeh” means to not ever be found clean. Yeshua broke the curse of the law (lo yinkeh), however, it does not take away from the fact that this is the only commandment with such a severe punishment. One would almost think the unforgiveable punishment in the OT. This talks of how serious and grievous this is to God, even though our sins are washed clean, we don’t want to grieve God with one of the most despicable sins. The law still describes God’s character and order, even though we are relieved from the punishment and curse. Does the church and Israel (God’s two representatives on earth) today shoot blanks? Do we represent the nature and awe of God?

3.) Prophecy—- this might get a bit sticky now. 1 Cor 13-14 is clear that we prophesy in part, all should prophesy, we should desire prophecy, and that it is to be part of the regular house congregation. It is clear we should both judge and love one another concerning this issue. We should be in mutual submission and accountability over this issue. However, what about when it goes public away from the context of the typical house congregation whose responsibility is to produce disciples and growth (with one of the fruits as hearing the voice of God). Public prophecy is different than the incubus of prophecy within a house congregation. There are different standards! Why, prophecy within discipleship is for the growth of the individuals. Prophecy that goes public has a role to represent the words of God on the earth. Ok, here is where we get into shooting “duds” in God’s name. I have heard in the prophetic movement that public prophets can only hope to be 60% accurate at most. If we are talking within the house congregation where prophecies are immediately judged in love, I would be happy to be the first to emphatically state “Yes, but lets aim for higher”, even though we do “prophesy in part.” However, when we step up to the plate to represent God’s words on the earth to the public or to the worldwide church, we better be only 100% accurate. Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and go back to the house congregation incubus.
The Bible is clear that we should not listen to such prophets that publically prophesy like this. Warnings such as God being hurt that prophets as saying “thus says the Lord” when the “Lord hath not said.” They prophesy from their vain imaginations, etc. Believers can be guilty of prophesying from their vain imaginations, I am just as guilty. However, it better not be public. In a ways, God provided the mutual accountability and judgement of 1 Cor 14 as a ways to learn how to tune in to the voice of God, and grace to sometimes miss it. Even grace for learning not to get too wacky. However, God does not provide such a grace for His public representation. God’s public representation is a holy place that angels fear to tread (my slang about the angels, not my theology). There has to be a holiness about the public representation of God, including the purity of the prophetic (aka 100% accurate). We should fear when we go into that place, unless we love the limelight. However, those who love the $$$$ of those who go goo-goo and ga-ga over detailed 20-60% accuracy because those who give the money don’t know how to hear God for themselves is absolutely pathetic! They have traded the honor of the name of God for popularity and limelight. Those who make light of “missing it” in public don’t honor the name of the Lord. They are shooting duds (with sometimes real bullets granted) in public. This disgraces the name of the Lord.

4.) The anointing and the glory—– Taking on the name of God does have proper mannerisms. The fruit of taking on the name of God (fruit of the Spirit) is also self-control. How will the world react if when we are in His presence we act like complete idiots smoking dope and baby Jesus dolls? What will they think about the honor of the name of the Lord? How will they see Him as King? Yes, he is our friend. Yes, there is freedom. But, He is also King. As sons in the kingdom, we should honor Him as King. We should also honor His presence (outpouring of the Spirit). The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets, so no “God made me do it.” While our bodies may react to the presence of God and this may be very natural (laughing, shaking, falling, etc.), let us remember that we should compose ourselves and honor the presence of the Lord. Smoking joints, snorting the Word, smoking baby Jesus, drinking from the breasts of El Shaddai (figuratively acting it out), eating a doughnut for the Lord’s body and getting ecstatic bliss from the sugar, dancing like a drugged up rave party, etc. is not honoring the Lord’s presence. Yes there is room for celebration and joy. Just as a King’s banquet has room for this. Yes there is room for dancing before the King. However, what would you dance? A beautiful ballot’s dance or a prostitutes dance? David did dance before the Ark in glorious procession, however, I am sure it was an honoring dance. Probably a “davidic dance.” Just like it would be absurd to dance a belly dance in an English ballroom.

These people do take God’s name in vain, because they represent a sinful culture to the world (rave dance, joint smoking, etc.) as reprenting the work of the Holy Spirit and even enter into ecstatic supposedly Holy Spirit filled places while doing blasphemous works. My problem is not with the ecstatic (which is biblical), but the fruit of it not being any fruits of the Spirit. This takes God’s name in vain. It adds new levels to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

In all:

I honor the move of God. I have been the revival meetings where His glory felt like a wave of His presence filling me. I have been to meetings where it seemed like all were seeing visions and prophesying because His presence was sooo thick. I honor this… I honor this…I honor this….

I honor this, because I honor the name of God.

Therefore, I will not act like a complete bafoon because I honor the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Josh Hamilton dream a reality!

Well, I wasn’t supposed to be home during the home run derby. I had an appointment who ended up rescheduling. I was able to watch the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and see Josh Hamilton’s impressive performance. True, Justin Morneau ended up “winning” the contest due to the rules. I am happy about that as a Minnesota Twins fan, but the real story is Josh Hamilton.
Josh hit 28 home runs in the first round of the Derby, breaking the previous record of 24. He hit 3 homeruns over 500 yards. The performance is what people will be talking about. Prior to the homerun derby Josh indicated that he previously had a dream. A dream that he would have his voice elevated related to the home run derby to speak what is on his heart. What is on his heart is Jesus the Messiah, his Lord and Savior.
Josh had been out of baseball for three years. He hadn’t made it to the major leagues previously, his highest level being AA baseball. He is a man who took is draft signing bonus and turned to drugs. Heroin and Cocaine were the drugs of choice. He became free from his addiction by turning his life over to Jesus the Messiah in surrender. Josh will be the story people talk about, only in Minnesota will any attention be paid to his ‘winning.’
There are important lessons to be learned here from Josh’s story. God can and does use us as He will. Josh was touched by God and set free from addiction. He still is cautious and knows full well the lure of temptation, but he has been set free. He was on a primetime stage and performed memorably. He performed so memorably his story will be remebered and told. Sure, some people will give glory to Josh’s natural abilitles. However, Josh has turned the attention directly to Jesus the Messiah. Praise God.
I want to point out that God dealt with Josh Hamilton, not at some big healing revival, but in the still, small quiet moments. God is still at work and moving in peoples lives and you don’t have to travel to Lakeland, to Jerusalem, to Timbuktu, or to the South Pole to meet with God or see God work. God meets you where you are, no need to go chasing some external manifestation. Another thing noteworthy, Josh has deep regrets over tatoos he got while using drugs. (Interesting to compare that with a certain revivalist who got tatoos after being saved and then lies about it. )
An interesting side note, the winner Justin Morneau barely was invited to the contest. He was the last person people expected to win. He clearly brings home the last shall be first principle.

Lessons from a game called werewolf/mafia:

Lessons from a game called werewolf/mafia:

 

            Over the past three four years one of the ways I engaged in entertaining and distracting myself is a game called werewolf, also known as mafia.  It is a game about deception.  Basically there is a team of bad guys trying to deceive others and folks who are trying to figure out who the deceivers are.  This post isn’t about the dynamics of the game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafia_(game) but some important lessons that can be learned.

            One important lesson is that no one is beyond being deceived. The most skilled people at spotting varied ‘tells’ or spotting the deceivers can fail or falter. No one is beyond being deceived by someone else or even themselves.  In applying this lesson, we each need to be aware and acknowledge that no one is beyond deception.. Anyone that thinks they are beyond being deceived is fooling themselves.  We need to continually engage in prayerful self-examination and ask God to show us the ways we have been deceived and to show us truth. 

            Another important lesson is that people prefer to follow.  I have seen this play out on numerous occasions. As soon as someone displays proficiency at finding the deceivers, others tend to follow them.  It is much easier to follow then to examine facts and details and search for the truth on your own. If someone exhibits apparently greater skills it is much easier to follow rather then examine facts for yourself. It works out well when the person is right but when the person is wrong, the results are not satisfactory and often assist those looking to deceive.   

In applying this  lesson to life and exposing deception we need to be willing to examine and test things on our own. We need to not just simply trust the words or actions of others, no matter how often they have display accuracy.  Blindly following others is detrimental, particularly if a person relies on others for the word of God and not spending time spending time and studying the Word.  Also if we spend more time reading Christian authors and others interpretations of the word, we leave our self vulnerable to be deceived or follow error.

Another important lesson is that the greater the distractions, the easier it is to be deceived. Time and time again I witnessed where people couldn’t sort through multiple information even when there were clues to what is true and what is false. The simple application to this lesson is the greater amount of distractions; the harder it is to assess truth.

            A surprising but important lesson is that when looking for deception it is easy to become paranoid. This means we can easily see lies and deception in people that are being truthful.  Now while such paranoia can make for interesting game play, in life it makes  things confusing.  God doesn’t offer confusion but we can sure generate a lot of it on our own doing. Given how easy it is to become paranoid this stress the importance of depending on God and leaning not on our own understanding. We can easily find lies and deception where there is none, just as much as we can fall prey to lies and deception. The enemy loves when we do become paranoid and find lies in the truth.

            In watching multiple games played out another sure lesson is that deceivers have no problem ‘eating their own.’   In order to gain trust, exposing someone else engaging in deception can be a way to gain trust and greater deceive others.  The last game I actually played, it was done to perfection when one member of the team of deceivers was exposed after another with even easily sorted out lies being spoken ultimately resulting in trust for one person who ended up winning the game.  Such tactics breed pride and over-confidence as well as stimulating trust. So while “the house” may be “divided against itself” the goal is to lay ground work for other lies or deceptions to be accepted or a deceiver to be trusted. In our lives, we need constant evaluation and with the light of scripture. We need to test all things continually and be wary. 

            The last lesson I want to discuss is that any time someone discovers a tell or a pattern to sort out the deceptions in the game, once the deceivers are aware the deceptions and game play the strategies and lies adjust to take them into account.  If lies always followed the same pattern, they can be easy to spot, but eventually there comes a time when what you used to rely on is ineffective.  Of course, with God, His discernment is always accurate, and always ahead of the enemy.  For each of us though, of our own strength and power, it is easy to be deceived and trust others based on confidence in a “technique” or “test.”  The enemy is crafty, and will adjust!

            There are probably more lessons I can take from the game but the essential point is we are all easily deceived and of our own effort finding and exposing deceptions is ultimately impossible. Our enemy, Satan, is the master of deception. Each of these things I have observed about deception is but a drop in the bucket of Satan’s tools.  We need to live in surrender and dependence to God, we need to repent of relying on our own strength, we need to Holy Spirit to give us wisdom, we need constant exposure to the Word of God, and we need to the grace of Jesus the Messiah to cleanse us from our self-effort and failures.  May we all grow in truth and be sober and alert lest we become embroiled in deception.

Evaluating the “Fruits” of the so-called Lakeland Outpouring:

There is a lot of good information throughout the World Wide Web about Mr. Bentley and what has been proclaim as the “Lakeland Outpouring.” There is much conversation about how he is deceiving, glorifying self and angels, espousing and imparting New Age and occult teachings, and the probable source of the experience and healings (Kundalini). These are important things for a believer to know and spend some time at sites like http://www.deceptionbytes.com and you can learn much. However, I have yet to see a simple evaluation of what is actually occurring at Lakeland.
For me the question is simple. Is what is going on at Lakeland of the God and of the world. The things that are of the world are described in 1 John 2:16: “16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” So for me it is worth examining the Lakeland outpouring to see if what is promoted there consists of what is described as “from the world.”
First let’s look at “lust of the flesh.” When I think of the category of lust of the flesh to me it all comes down to craving an experience or pleasure. It is about what stimulates the senses. When I think about this, the immediate things my mind places into this category are things such as gluttony and sexual immorality. In essence, the core of this category is all about the “experience.” When I examine what is going on at Lakeland, essentially it is all about “the experience.” The ongoing declaration at each session is always “Come an’ get some!” The experience is explained as being of God and being filled with the Holy Spirit, yet really comes down to experiencing the ecstatic. So when I examine the Lakeland outpouring I find part of the nature of the “outpouring” to be “lust of the flesh.”
Next let’s look at “lust of the eyes.” When I think about this, the immediate things my mind places into this category are things such as riches and possessions. In essence, the core of this category is all about the “wants.” When I examine what is going on at Lakeland, I find that it is essentially all about wants. The focus on healing alone is about “wants.” It is about wanting and expecting an “outpouring” that will result in “healing” of the physical. The fact that on the surface people seem to get there ‘wants’ addressed is even offered as ‘proof’ that God is at work. Ultimately to me it is about stimulating and feeding the “lust of the eyes.”
The third category is “the pride of life.” When I think about this, the immediate things my mind places into this category are things such as success, purpose, and self-evaluation. In essence, the core of this category is all about the promotion of self. When I examine what is going on at Lakeland, I find that ultimately self is promoted. I tuned into Mr. Bentley speaking one night for about ten minutes and he seemed to be trying to teach from Acts 2. However, what he emphasized was “great grace.” He challenged all to want to be brought into the “extraordinary.” I have witnessed Mr. Bentley emphasizing the “miraculous” and even fishing for connections of testified miracles. It is all about “the show” and what is happening at “Lakeland.” The message is that what is happening is so extraordinary that not only should you experience it, but you should receive an impartation so that you too can do the “extraordinary. In essence, you can become “special.” It is the essence of “the pride of life.”
So when I look at what is going on at Lakeland, in spite of things being claimed to be done in Jesus name, biblical examination to me results in declaring the “Lakeland outpouring” to be “of the world” and not “of the Father.” Lakeland outpouring is all about experience, wants, and elevation of self. True revival is about denial, surrender, and elevation of Jesus the Son of God come in the flesh.

Answer to Big Brown at Belmont: Lesson in Humility

This past weekend the whole world was shocked as the amazing horse known as Big Brown failed to not only win the Belmont but came in dead last. Obviously pundits are at a loss for such a dismal and mysterious failure. Reasons speculated for the dismal failure range from his hoof injury curtailing training, the lack of steroids having an effect, or simple jockey error. However, each reason if looked into has come up lacking sufficient explanation.
For me the answer is straightforward, pride. The trainer Rick Dutrow JR. was on record prior to the race that the results were a “foregone conclusion.” He intimated that there was no way Big Brown could possibly lose. When I read such a proclamation prior to the race I actually prayed for a loss because the comment reeked of arrogance and pride. It is my firm belief that God directed the horse to not win as a lesson to us all on humility.
God created us with talents and gifts. Some are mightily gifted and on most occasions could easily defeat all comers. However, no matter what gifting, no matter what talent, no matter what superiority, anyone on any day can be defeated. Our talents and gifts are just that, talents and gifts. Victory today can turn into defeat tomorrow.
So next time you notice yourself full of pride over something you have done or accomplished, thank God for giving you the ability. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, and ultimately we are just stewards of the gifts and talents God has bestowed.