#1 “The Old Cross Church”

The back drop for this series of three articles about “ the Church,” is about the Church in the western world, as it is “playing out” it’s Godlessness in this present day. Over the years, I have read one of the timely articles written by Dr. A.W. Tozer more times than I can remember. The impact of that short piece on my life continues. “The Old Cross and the New,” addresses the deceptive transitions Satan has been successful in perpetrating upon the present day church with increasing influence as the years have passed. We will talk more about that as we proceed.
(Note: I will be posting 2 and 3 in the series over the next few days)

I will do my best to keep them reasonable in length. However, you must know, these articles, along with those yet to come, are the reason I spend many long nights in prayer for The Church of Jesus. These expressions from my heart, arise from Jesus ’passion for Unity in the Body of Christ. I have condensed my thoughts to three articles in this series. There will be more as we continue.
The progression will follow in this order: “The Old Cross Church”, “The New Cross Church,” and “The No Cross Church.” I have written enough that I now know many Christians do not read the scripture references in books and articles. Since I believe the Word is necessary as evidence of the truth I am writing about, I will quote them, and reference them, despite the length it will add to this piece. Matthew 16:24-26 NLT! “Jesus said,…If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But, if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your own soul?” (Seriously, please pause to ask yourself, ‘ do I really believe these words and are they in obvious evidence in my life?)

The Old Cross is the symbol of death! His and…mine! Yes, His, FOR mine. And, since that has happened in me, now it is mine for others ! Death!! The genuine kind. Physical, in the grave kind of death, doesn’t cost us anything other than living longer. Spiritual death to our fleshly, self-focused life; now THAT is real death, because it is an on-going, living death to what I once thought I would like to have been. Salvation is a Life and Death transaction!! It is a heavenly exchange of your earth-bound, sin-filled, self-centered spirit, soul, and body, for His God focused, others minded, Love generating, Life-giving , Spirit, Soul and Body. All of Who He is, for all of what you were!! Overwhelming!!!

This is a new life, in Christ creating a new kind of man. It is now Christ in me the Hope that He will receive all the glory due His Name through His life transplanted in me. THAT is Salvation! No mixture! No compromise! No adjustments for any reason! Merely the unaltered truth of the Word of the living God! Absolutely No Tolerance for just “a little” sin. No! “minor” sins become immediately challenged by your “…Simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 11: 2-3 NLT) This is a radical transformation of every detail of your life. This not a mild-mannered, gradual change in your way of life. This is not a self- accommodating lifestyle. It is not a slow, choose your time and availability so you can work it out with time to do all your other stuff first. This an abrupt, almost violent, bringing of yourself, on an “as needed” basis, back to the Cross to die in yet another expression of your ‘self’ and sin. This is the essence of the “Old Cross” message. The Christian life is designed for Jesus and His purposes. Redemption is your choice on His terms. He will not share His wife with anyone else!! It is His intention that you will understand, life was made by Him, for Him! Not you!! Although, you will benefit beyond anything you would have gained or imagined had you continued in your own ways without Him.

Galatians 6: 14-16 NLT ! “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified , and the world’s interest in me has also died…What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s mercy and peace be upon all who live by this principle; THEY ARE THE NEW PEOPLE OF GOD.” The Old Cross Church will ruin your life for anything other than the transforming power and presence of the Holy Spirit in and upon you’re your life.

It may not be a popular Church, or meet any of the religious world’s criteria for a “happening ministry,” but when you lead folks to Jesus, The Cross will make the difference for every one of them!
Check up time. How many will actually read this passage; Philippians 3:7-10

The Return of the Kingdom Church !

For at least 25 years, we have heard it preached and prophesied with increasing intensity, that the Church must get serious about Unity in the Church. Another consistent and urgent message has been the call to be prepared for “the great end-time harvest.” Both are essential to the timing of the return of Christ. But…” how will we ever achieve Unity in the Body, or the fulfillment of the great harvest? How can we do that?” We have prayed, preached, prophesied, held seminars, and otherwise used all our man-developed methods to prepare and produce the longed-for Unity and Harvest. Perhaps we will see more clearly from heaven’s perspective.

REVELATION
“Prepare the way of the Lord…again! Think, pray, and write what I reveal to you about that calling!” Almost immediately, the Lord began to reveal more. “Heaven is invading earth, and those who have ears to hear, are already being personally transformed into the Kingdom life-style of, “…on earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” But, there is coming a sound that will be heard in the Church, around the world! Just think of it, in every city, town, village, and hamlet, in every nation large and small, they will hear ‘a sound from heaven like a roar of mighty ocean waves or rolling thunder…’ simultaneously!”(Revelation 14:2,3,6) Very much like, “Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty wind storm and it filled the house where they were sitting.”(Acts 2:2 NLT) But this one will be louder, and it will fill the whole earth with the sound of heaven, reintroducing the Church to the Holy Spirit of God!! In the first introduction of the Holy Spirit, He led those first Christians to become “…members of God’s family…and that together, they were now God’s house, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets …! (Ephesians 2: 19-22 NLT) This dramatic, world- wide reintroduction of the Holy Spirit, will be just “… the right time to bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything, in heaven and on earth.” (Ephesians 1:10 NLT) Indeed, “He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His Holy Prophets.” (Acts 3: 21 NLT)

The Holy Spirit will establish the new and final edition of the Apostolic/Prophetic Kingdom Church order and evidential life-style He intended for His Church from before the beginning. He will release His glorious Presence, Power, and Authority to the Apostles and Prophets to work together as one with Him to establish, maintain and sustain the Kingdom Church in the image of God! The truth is that is the only atmosphere and infrastructure within which Jesus’ passionate prayer “…I give Myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth…I pray they will all be one just as you and I are one…so that the world will believe you sent me,” will be completely fulfilled. (John 17: 19, 21NLT) The Kingdom Church’s Maturity, and resultant Unity, will powerfully activate the fulfillment of bringing in “ the great end-time harvest.” The glorious influx of new Christians into the Church around the world, will create a heaven on earth atmosphere in the world through the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom Church will once more lead the world with great blessing and honor. The seven mountains of society, Spiritual life, Family life, Government, Education, Business, Media, and Entertainment, will be transformed into Kingdom success under the exceptional Kingdom Leadership the Holy Spirit appoints. The restoration of all things will be in full swing!

RESTORATION
Cataclysmic is a drastic word! But that is the exact word the Holy Spirit used to describe a very difficult aspect of both the restoration and reformation process. Upon the founding and immediate successful establishment of the new Kingdom Church, operating under the anointing and obvious Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit, a cataclysmic clash of churches will begin. At the root of it all, will be the dominance of the spirit of deception, encouraging self-centered false accusations, rumors, dishonesty, and jealousy against the Kingdom Church! As hungry people from other local Churches are genuinely born of the Spirit, and the Churches they leave begin to close, tensions will rise among the previously popular, culture centered Churches. Especially when commonly recognized “Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal” Churches begin to feel the strong convicting power of the Holy Spirit about matters of self and self-centered motives, and their inner secrets begin to be exposed, the sparks of gossip will flare up into a word battle that will delight Hell! Though tragic, this public, divinely orchestrated separation, will be necessary to identify the only Church God accepts. He designed and built one Church (Ephesians 4: 2-6) We designed “churches” and endeavored to explain it away with “many local churches and expressions, but one Church!” Each church built and established to do good things in His Name for their own names sake! However, the Kingdom Church will restore God’s original ONE Church “…on earth, as it is in heaven.” The clash will ultimately be, flesh warring against the Holy Spirit, with the Holy Spirit prevailing victoriously.

REFORMATION
Make no mistake! The Apostolic/Prophetic Kingdom Church order and life-style will reestablish the Father’s ultimate intention to possess on earth, a Holy church and redeemed world, finally and totally prepared for His return. The Kingdom Church will bear no resemblance to the present illustrations of the earth-bound church! It will carry no identification signs of compromise with anything or anyone that bears the evidence of “man-made” and/or man- centered ! Oh No! It will look like, act like, and talk like Christ, Who lives in each one and , therefore is the image of the whole Body! Their vocation will be “…the simplicity and devotion to Jesus,” and together, bringing in the astounding end-time harvest. Their avocation will be anything related to their own personal needs. A clear description of this Kingdom Church, please read; Ephesians 4: 2-6; 11-16; 5: 21-33 ! This is much more than mere reformation. It is RE – FORMATION!! A totally “other than” existence. Designed and built in the heart of the Consuming Love of THE FATHER, Whose Ultimate Intention has been to have a Holy Bride, expressed in a vast, Holy Family unto Himself, Forever!

PREPARATION
“Prepare the way of the Lord”… Again! Leaders and Saints of the present example of the Apostolic/ Prophetic Kingdom Church order and life-style, we must be active in preparing this present Church for the Return of this restored Kingdom Church. Give them understanding and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit… Now! Teach them that all things in the Holy Spirit, are born in the intensity of a life-style of Prayer, Prophecy, and Prayer… personal and corporate. Teach them how to live, move, and have their being in the life of the Holy Spirit, and become a living expression of this Kingdom of God way of living. Teach them how to consciously live all day, in the presence of the Holy Spirit of God. Teach them how this life-style in/of the Holy Spirit will release from their innermost being, rivers of living waters, from which others will drink of this glorious Kingdom life!!!

A Clear Prophetic Picture of the Church !!

It’s been a week since Dave Brat won the primary run-off in Eric Cantor’s Congressional District in Virginia. Dave Brat, an unknown Christian, who feels it is God who called him to enter the Congressional race, says that he is now responsible to HIM, not the party. Eric Cantor candidly admits he lost because he became a party man rather a constituents man. An Establishment man, who forgot his base back home.

This could be the beginning of a turn-around for America. There is so much more to this story. It is and will be, played out before us. As you watch and pray this election season, this and other stories will continue to reveal the condition of The Church, especially in America. So, let’s watch together, and learn that the heart of God is for drastic transformation of the church for the end times!

Here is what I see in the Spirit so far. Dave Brat represents the base of the authentic Church in America. These are the genuine Christians. The people who understand, and walk in the message of new birth that requires a total re-formation of their life; A total exchange of my life replaced by God’s life, not merely a Christian-looking make-over! They live, move, and have their being in the necessity of repentance and obedience, a life of choosing holiness, prayer and Intercession, leading friends and relatives to Jesus. For the most part, they either attend a church that needs the message and life-style they walk in, and they quietly live it, serve it, and pray for it to come to their “House.” Or, they can’t find a church that tries, at least, to live and teach that way, so…they meet with a few friends to encourage one another in the Lord. They, like the new believers in the Church in Acts press on, despite the Pharisee Church, that holds on, ever more tightly, to their politically correct and culturally relevant message and life-style.

That is the church Eric Cantor represents. The church establishment! The “Christians” who have settled-into that oh, so comfortable self-centered gospel that affirms seeking the god of more personal benefits that will accrue without any personal sacrifice or cost…and, worship the god who offers “freedom” without consecration…and offers faith that you can receive without having to give…anything! The good ‘ol boy establishment church!!

But, there is an unknown and unrecognized Kingdom Church out there, the BASE, the remnant, that are owned by the Lord! All they desire is HIM. For them, He alone is God. He can do what fulfills His ultimate intentions, even if they require deep commitment and personal pain and sacrifice on their part. As they rise even higher in their Kingdom life-style, a drastic clash will be initiated from heaven (Dave Brat’s unexpected and overwhelmingly miraculous win) that will create a great separation between genuine righteousness and religious righteousness. People will be required to choose; will it be on earth as it now is? Or, will be as Jesus taught, “…on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN,” beginning NOW?? MORE NEXT TIME… ( More to come!!!)

The Prophetic Picture (continued)

The big question now is, “Is Unity possible?” politically and…more importantly, Righteously? Politically, it is a huge challenge. The present divide widens daily, because there will be more drastic earthshaking challenges.

If “the establishment” digs-in, resenting the encouraging message of authenticity, integrity, accountability, and God-fearing truth-telling, even to his own hurt, the Dems will keep winning. The unwillingness to stand against, and separate themselves from, the compromises made for personal gain and self-centered personal advantage, will continue to demonstrate both the obvious sameness of the personal and political motive; “ I and my party have very little concern for foundational Judeo-Christian values or the ultimate well-being our nation. It’s ultimately about me.”

Righteously, if the Kingdom- minded “base” holds on to their understanding that “the establishment” is the major reason for the influence, impact, and impartation of this dead-end and dysfunctional philosophy that seems determined to “…kill, steal, and destroy…God’s intentions for our nation, then, we may have an opportunity to experience the possibility for unity!

The religious establishment –Pharisee Church, in its efforts to look like, act like, be like, both “parties,” looks like a time Israel faced when they were brought to a point that drew the angry responses of the prophets. Elijah rose up against Israel in their deepest, darkest season of debauchery, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? (1 Kings 18:21) America and the Church, is in that same season. It’s time for extreme distinctions to be declared.

It’s time for strong boldness, individually and corporately. Ultimately, the ever widening gulf between the Pharisee Church and the Kingdom people of God, will require a clear choice between the present day, culturally relevant and compromised Church, and the Kingdom of God Church, that is the living expression of the culture of heaven, “…on earth as it is in heaven.” That separation is necessary to the fulfillment of God’s plan to Transform His Church through “the restoration of all things,” (Acts 3: 20-23) preparing it to be re-formed (Reformation)into His end time Kingdom Church order. Yes, Lord!! ( More to come!!!)

Precepts May 5, 2014

Maturity is achieved when a person has learned :

S ubmission – a readiness to renounce my own will for the sake of Another!
O bedience – a glad heart choice for the will of God
A ccountability – willing choice to live under those in authority over me
R esponsibility & Repentance – willing to readily admit; “Yes, I did that!”

And… “ I ask your forgiveness. I sinned against God and you;
Will you forgive me?”

That is a mature person who will; “…trust in the Lord because they have exchanged their strength for
His. They will SOAR on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint!”

Isaiah 40:31 NLT

Precepts April 21, 2014

“The Agony of Choice Comes Before The Promise of Change!”

God will always keep His Promises. But, we must make the choices that require life transforming obedience. God will not negotiate. If we really want to experience His promises, unconditional obedience is the only way. The “agony” is in the choosing His will over mine. We live our lives making those choices all day long, every day we live.

Eve was required to make a momentary choice. The consequences will last until Jesus comes again. King Saul had months, even years to decide, and lost his kingdom! Peter had a few agonizing hours, the result was restoration! Jesus knew “…before the foundation of the world.” The result is your redemption! As you can see, this is about life and death!

Blindly embracing His will rather than mine, though it leads through an unknown future, develops an iron-clad faith that knows He WILL keep His promises. We have His word on it! Although we might like to think that if He were a little more “reasonable” it might minimize the “agony,” we know that when we quickly yield to Him and His will, that’s the surest way to His best choices for us.

“Yes, Lord!” Works best. (see Matthew 26:36-46)

Precepts April 4, 2014

“The greatest bondage we will experience is… THE FEAR OF MAN!
The greatest freedom we will experience is… THE FEAR OF GOD!”

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28NLT) Please read Matthew 10: 26-31!

Our daily lives are filled with multiple opportunities to live in fear of man, or in fear of God. The fear of man is about my concern how I will be perceived by the people in my life. That’s especially true as it relates to those who are most important, in our minds, to “impress.” For the most part, this fear is about my reputation, recognition, and “right standing” among all the right people, in all the right places, and possessing all the right criteria within my self-centered and self-controlled world of influence.

The fear of the Lord is about Him! It’s about His life being expressed through mine. My concern is to express Him by how I live and move and have my being. How I dress, speak, work, express myself, demonstrate excellence, treat and serve others, is not for impression, but rather for expression of Him! According to the scripture, it is wise to fear the Lord. It produces Glory to His Name and establishes you as a trusted source of righteousness and justice.

CELEBRATING HOPE December 16, 2013

A 30 DAY JOURNEY INTO HOPE
DAY 29
CELEBRATING HOPE

WHY IS IT SO NECESSARY TO CELEBRATE HOPE? The “good news” of hope in God, is “Fear Not!” The hope of all the world, Jesus Christ Himself, came into a world dominated on every hand by fear! The Bible tells the story of the coming of the “good news,” in the person of the baby Jesus. In every incident on record surrounding His coming, fear was the first thing heavens’ messenger, Gabriel, had to address. It seems that suddenness, and the unusual, in the reigning culture of fear, had resulted in causing almost everyone to be a bit skiddish. Gabriel’s appearances evoked the same fearful response from everyone; “Don’t be afraid!” Admittedly, much of the fear was the sudden appearance of heaven touching earths fear circumstances.

As it is in our culture now, the citizens were facing some pretty drastic and unnerving happenings; the uneasiness of yet another war, in a chaotic and hostile world, the credibility of a once trusted government, the incivility and unkindness of a once more gentle society, the highly questionable instability of the economy, and, most disturbing of all, the corruption and lawlessness discovered in the temple of God. They felt they had good reason to be afraid!

Then came the long anticipated announcement, the promised messiah is coming! Further, when He actually did come into their fear dominated world, they couldn’t be sure. Everything they had trusted as a sure thing, looked to them like all of it was in the stage of final failure.
“Fear not!” “Welllll, … why not?” “Because, I AM with you. Don’t be dismayed.”
“Fear not!” “Why not?” “ I AM your God!”
“Fear not!” “Why not?” “I keep My promises!”

Truthfully, only the words of scripture are powerful enough to change your mind and therefore, your life. Life-giving words like; “ I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,” “Don’t be anxious about your life,…” “Cast all your anxieties on Him, and He will care for you.” So then, why am I afraid? The Lord Himself promised to protect me!

The hard truth? I am not as confident in Him as I pretend I am. I really want to be, but…I’m not perfect. Great news! You don’t have to be perfect. Just willing! Jesus has freed you from having to keep those, and any other expectations. He is looking for what He knows you CAN do – choose to trust Him, and…do it.

He will take it from there and change your life! CELEBRATE your HOPE in God!

PRAYER: It’s true, Lord. I am a fraidy cat! And, more often than not, the real truth is, I trust me more than I do You. Please forgive me. Like the man in the Bible, I cry out to You, “Help my unbelief.” Amen.

THE VIGILANCE OF HOPE

PRINCIPLES OF HOPE

DAY 21

“THE JEWISH PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED TWO THINGS; Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.” In a speech before the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, October 2, 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu confidently challenged the leaders of the world with the truth of Biblical prophecy. After quoting from the Old Testament prophet Amos, the Prime Minister declared, “Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home never to be uprooted again.”

Mr. Netanyahu continued, “Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear- armed Iran That Seeks our destruction. But, I want you to know, that was not always the case. Some 2500 years ago the Great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree! And thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.” ( Please read Isaiah 44:28 – 45:13)

For thousands of years, sometimes in despair, drudgery, and war, and at other times in enthusiastic Expectation, Israel has tenaciously believed their promise WILL ultimately be totally fulfilled! Their un-dying hope has always been founded upon the eternal and unchanging God Who is The Promiser! They unashamedly believe His Word, the Torah, is eternally true, and every promise is also eternal. Paul the apostle wrote in the New Testament, that “Faith is the confident assurance that what we hope for WILL actually happen.” (Hebrews 11:1) As God desires of us, Israel’s hope is in God Himself, not the promise itself. It is upon Him, and all the substance of Who He is in His Personhood, they have built themselves and their holy nation.

Netanyahu said, “Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.” Israel’s hope for the future, like yours, is assured by wisdom, discernment, being alert, and watchful with diligence, reminding themselves often, that they must deliberately and intentionally, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” (Proverbs 3: 5,6)

After a long struggle with hopelessness, King David asked, “So, Lord, where DO I put my hope? My only Hope is in You!” (Psalm 39:7)

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord for making Your ways plain. I have for so long, wondered why it has been so hard to keep hoping in my hope. Like Israel, I will put my hope in You and Your unchanging Word. You are really all I need. Thank You Lord! Amen.

THE STAGGERING POWER OF HOPE

PRINCIPLES OF HOPE – DAY 17
“ THE STAGGERING POWER OF HOPE “
“MY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT than everyone else! My psychiatrist said he had only encountered two other life stories as devastating as mine. Though I was, at that time, a growing Christian, I felt like all the Biblical principles I had been taught weren’t working for me. Overwhelming clouds of shame, guilt, and condemnation continued to engulf my soul. It just wasn’t working at all. But, thank God for my Christian family and friends who, like a rock, were steadfast and unmovable in their love and hope in the midst of my struggles.” ( A real-life story)

What often seems like a stand-off with hope, “hope deferred” is usually born in the crucible of unfulfilled, broken and seemingly impossible shattered hopes and dreams. Things like: the death of a loved-one, the failure of a marriage, a friendship, a business, a promise you haven’t kept, a promise made to you that hasn’t been kept, a still unanswered prayer, a misunderstood conversation, false accusations, and…so many other personal and unresolved issues you have worked so hard to settle for the sake of the glory of God.

So, your dream is DEAD and you fear it’s all over for you! Oh No! This place in your life doesn’t make you a bad person. You are not lacking in being a “good enough Christian.” You are human, and Almighty God’s unquenchable love for us highly flawed human beings, says, “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth…for the Lord has called you back from your grief…He says, ‘yes, I did briefly leave you (to deal with it alone), but, with great compassion I take you back.” ( Isaiah 54: 4,6,7 )

What a powerful insight into God’s love. Love is the foundation stone for the staggering power of hope. Our hope does not depend on our determination to “stand strong and believe;” rather, it depends upon God’s faithfulness to love us unconditionally…ALWAYS! Run; mind, emotions, and will, run to Him and deliberately, out-loud, choose to receive His unquenchable love; HOPE IS NOT FAR BEHIND!
PRAYER: Father, YOU are the source of all hope. I pray you will fill me completely with joy and peace, because I am committed to trust in YOU. And I thank YOU for the renewed confidence YOU have given me through the power of YOUR Holy Spirit!” Amen!