The No Cross Church !

#3 and final article in 3- part series on The Present Day Church.

#1 The Old Cross Church; #2 The New Cross Church; and… #3 The No Cross Church…
Here is what brings agony to my spirit and soul; the fact that The Church itself can even be described in these terms should cause great grief in our spirits!! When was the last time you attended an intercessory prayer time, called by your Pastor, to pray that “your Church” return to being an OLD CROSS CHURCH? A Church focused on the personal and corporate humility, brokenness, sacrifice, intercession, and a passion for God and His ways ONLY, that will transform “ your Church” into the image of Jesus, sharing the “glory of God” with NO ONE but HIM!! The hymn writer fervently sang the prayer of his heart in these words:

“Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth, through every heartbeat move!
Stoop to my weakness, Mighty as YOU are;
And make me Love YOU, as I want to Love.”

Some additional words from this writer, my pull your longing heart more and more into Him, above all else; “…take the dullness of my heart away,” and…”I see YOUR CROSS, there, teach my heart to cling, , Oh, let me seek YOU, and…Oh, let me find…

Teach me to Love YOU, as YOUR angels love;
ONE HOLY PASSION, filling all my frame;
The baptism of the Heavenly descended dove,
My heart an altar, and YOUR LOVE, my FLAME!”

So, what does all of that have to do with THE NO CROSS CHURCH? My crying heart says that possibly, just maybe, our world-bound friends without Jesus, would be unavoidably attracted to the burning fire of God that so consumes our lives. That, our passion for His Word and Ways has so drastically us, they see how ineffective, unfulfilling, and…most of all, how unredemptive THE NO CROSS way really is. Merely wasted and temporary do-good action, at best!

By comparison, living life with the attitude of entitlement, and pursuit of “high level” recognition, along with working so hard at obtaining the reputation of fitting into the cool culture of “caring for all those world-wide who have unfortunate circumstances and no one in the world really cares.” Add to all of that confusion, the difficult problems of navigating through all those “life issues” like Abortion, the Gay lifestyle, getting married, or other choices?…” all the other unfairness in the world.” For the most part, the people left with the choice of no choice, end up in the dilemma of either THE OLD CROSS life-change, or…the life of substituting tolerance of all people, in all kinds of situations, and…selective morality, and “being good,” at least better than most, and all the other culturally required and marginalized convictions!

There are actual physical “churches” that endeavor to disciple folks through this dilemma. The most popular place is the bar! Probably more fun to.

At least it doesn’t pretend to be an actual “religion.” As always, it all ends up in God’s lap! And He has appointed you and me to carry the responsibility of “Christ in US, His hope of receiving Glory here on earth.” (Colossians 2:27 Bersche Translation)

The New Cross Church !

More than two decades ago, a new way of thinking about Church came silently, and almost unnoticed into the Church. As with any “new” thing, especially in the Church, this new idea was viewed with a lot of skepticism and suspicion. Denominations and independent Bible scholars studied it closely. Some confidently declared it to be Biblically sound and worthy of serious adoption as a much more effective way to spread the gospel in a culture that was beginning to turn against God! Other scholars spoke worrisome warnings of this watering down of the truth, and it’s affect on the quality of Christians it would produce in “The Old Cross” Church.
Soon, those who embraced the new idea, were being featured as celebrated cover stories in the Christian magazines, TV and Radio programs. Quickly growing a large “footprint,” or testimony in the community, as it then was called, became the goal of every Pastor/Leader who had visions of his own legendary greatness dancing in his heart and mind. To be clear, there is no sin in leading a large Church. Large is not the point. Why, and…How we become large is the issue. So, for various reasons, many are caught in the getting bigger syndrome. Therefore, well developed discernment is a now a vital tool to assist every pursuer of a new Church home.

First, let’s put a face on the “New Cross Church” ! Initially, you cannot sense any difference. It sounds the same, and scripture is employed, but…the content seems to be missing something. The emphasis has changed. This message minimizes the Cross. Jesus did pay the price on the Cross for each of us! P.T.L.! However, any references to my personal death to my fleshly self-centeredness, seem to rare, if at all. In appears His death and resurrection are very necessary for my salvation, but mine doesn’t appeal to my desires for fame and fortune, without recognition to God for, or about anything. However, it is important that it be known I am a religious man.

This New Cross way doesn’t require killing my sinful nature. It does require I remain diligent, at all times, of my surroundings so my image is not sullied, either in my world or Church environments. It appears the real message is; you can be a good, and acceptable Christian, and still enjoy, with more credibility, a Christian walk that is much fun, with more potential for living to please yourself, than what the “Old Cross Church” offers.

“…To the self-assertive it says, Come assert yourself for Christ. To the egoist, it says, Come and do your boasting in the Lord. To the thrill seeker, it says, Come, have more fun in Christian fellowship. The Christian message is slanted in the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the general public. The philosophy behind this kind of thing may be sincere but it’s sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the Cross.”

“We who preach the gospel, must not see ourselves as public relations agents to establish good will between Christ and the world, and business, the press, and sports, or education. We are not diplomats. We are prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.” (A.W. Tozer – Man –The Dwelling Place of God)
To those who may be thinking that in my older age, I have become more than a little rigid, and a bit overly serious, narrow, and unreasonable, let me say, I only wish I had been this bold and even more brave in my younger years. The ways of man that are, or have been added to, or…adjusted from, the truth of the Word of God, causes the whole of the scripture to be compromised and therefore no longer God’s Truth! And the thing that deeply pains my heart is those who have been “saved” under this New Cross doctrine, are NOT SAVED AT ALL!!

NEXT…”THE NO CROSS CHURCH”

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.