To worship in Spirit and in Truth

The Living Water

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 ESV)

Every Bible Commentary* I’ve read concerning Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well focuses on water for drinking, a physical act that temporarily satisfies physical thirst, but never satisfies spiritual thirst. Jesus speaks of “living water” which satisfies spiritual thirst eternally. Physical water satisfies from without, temporarily, whereas living water satisfies from within, permanently.

waterfallThough unmentioned by Jesus in this passage, there was another purpose for drawing water for those who kept the law of Moses concerning ritual washings for cleansing the body and clothing when the people became contaminated. The OT priests also practiced ritual washings to prepare for their temple duties and before entering the tent of meeting. See Exodus 40:30-32, Numbers 19:20, John 2:6, et al. There are about 30 OT scriptures that address the Jewish rite of ritual cleansing.

Even though the Jewish people faithfully observed the Law of Moses and carefully maintained ceremonial cleanliness by washing with water, they still had to be washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14, 22:14, etc.) before they were truly cleansed and were able to enter into the Father’s Kingdom. The practice of washing with water was an external and symbolic act that provided temporary cleansing only. Continue reading

The Tithe: Who’s Robbing Who?

There are 7 articles in the “Tithe” series. Please click HERE for all 7 articles. They are:
1. To Tithe Or Not To Tithe: The $earch For Truth
2. Tithe Follow-Up
3. The Tithe: Who’s Robbing Who?
4. Just What WAS Abraham’s Example?
5. Fun With Numbers
6. The Tithe: Final Thoughts
7. The Tithe Revisited
Written between 2000-2002, they were posted on my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com (now defunct). Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was instrumental in setting me free from man’s Laodicean traditional church. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving. 

Preface: About 2 years ago, the Lord led my wife and I to leave the institutional church we attended to home church. Since both of us had attended institutional churches all of our lives, the new direction challenged us, and the alarmed reaction of our friends nearly persuaded us to ignore the Lord’s leading. Finally, after the Lord showed us numerous scripture references about believers meeting in homes (Acts 5:42, Acts 8:3, Acts 16:40, Acts 20:20, Romans 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1:2), and that there is not even one scripture in the New Testament where believers erected a dedicated church building, we were put at ease about home church fellowship.

donottithe13Home Church is a new path for us, and the questions are many, as we feel our way along in this vast new territory. Still it is a wonderful adventure, and provides the kind of relational Christian fellowship, freedom and flexibility we have always longed for. One of the nagging questions for me as a ‘Home Churcher’ is the subject of the ‘collection’. There are clues in the New Testament about giving, such as the glimpses of the early Church provided by Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-37 where everything was shared, every need was met, and there were no needy persons among them. There is also the picture in Acts 6 where the Apostles devoted themselves to the Word, and chose 7 men to oversee the daily distribution of food among the believers. Continue reading

Thanksgiving

The Lord is good. He has blessed me with a loving wife, a comfortable home, health, precious time with my elderly father, the opportunity to give and receive heartfelt love with my mother before taking her home. For a lifetime, God has listened to my concerns and continues to demonstrate His loving kindness toward me and all of those I have lifted in heartfelt prayer. And where I thought He wasn’t acting fast enough, He has been patient with my impatience.

thanksgivingThough I am cognizant of all these things, the continual goodness of God, sometimes it’s the little things that remind me of just how wonderful God is; how closely He watches over and protects me.

Last week, Karen and I went shopping about an hour from where we live. We visited several home goods stores to find accessories to decorate our new home. A few days before, we jumped in the truck to go grocery shopping and found the battery was dead, so we took the car. As soon as we got home with the groceries, I put the battery charger on the truck and gave it a full charge. “Must’ve left the lights on” I reasoned and assumed everything would be OK. Continue reading

Trading your birthright for stew

One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field and said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew–I’m starved!” Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” On oath Esau traded away his rights. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. Esau ate and drank, got up and left. (Genesis 25:29-34, The Message Bible)

bowloflentilstewWe have a wonderful birthright from God in Christ. We are God’s children and heirs, temples in which His Spirit dwells, priests and kings who reign with Christ. Sadly, we are more like Esau than many of us care to admit because we have traded our birthright for even less than a bowl of stew.

Evidence that we have traded away our birthright can be heard in what we say. For example, how often do Christians refer to church buildings as the “house of God” even though the Bible teaches us that we are His temples and “God does not live in houses made by men” (Acts 7:48 and Acts 17:24)? Continue reading

Tithe Follow-Up

There are 7 articles in the “Tithe” series. Please click HERE for all 7 articles. They are:
1. To Tithe Or Not To Tithe: The $earch For Truth
2. Tithe Follow-Up
3. The Tithe: Who’s Robbing Who?
4. Just What WAS Abraham’s Example?
5. Fun With Numbers
6. The Tithe: Final Thoughts
7. The Tithe Revisited
Written between 2000-2002, they were posted on my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com (now defunct). Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was instrumental in setting me free from man’s Laodicean traditional church. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the past when I’ve sent out an article by e-mail list, I typically receive 3-4 replies and I respond to each one individually.

donottithe19The article To Tithe Or Not To Tithe – The $earch For Truth has received over 60 replies within a day of publication and I’m hard pressed to respond to each one individually. Readers of the newsletter are now forwarding the article, and I’m receiving a 2nd generation of replies. Most are words of encouragement and agreement, others affirm that the Lord has been revealing the same truth to them in recent months – some have been bullied into silence about the truth. Several said the article finally settled the tithe issue for them, and the Holy Spirit has given them peace and the freedom to give as the Lord leads (Praise the Lord!).

A few dear brothers and sisters also received permission from the Lord to sow into their own ministries,  which is a wonderful idea. I didn’t mention in the article, but the Lord has had me sow into my own ministry a few times in the past. Once in my early 20’s (I’m 60 now) I had a Christian band and a public music ministry. For a time we used our offerings to purchase a PA system and over the course of 4-5 years, we sang at 200 churches, prisons, military bases, and schools in the Seattle area. We had a blast going wherever we were invited and the Lord blessed us. We had good jobs so whatever we received from the concerts was given to the poor, or donated to area food banks. More recently, the Lord launched my wife Karen and I into music ministry, and we purchased a small sound system for our concerts. Continue reading

I pledge my marriage to Christ Jesus

This is a follow up to I pledge my head to Christ Jesus (link).

A year ago last October, Karen and I relocated from IL to WA and for several months we attended a small independent country church. Though we intended to go only to meet other believers, we soon found ourselves ensnared by church politics and involved in a number of church programs. The church politics came to us as gossipers and busybodies tried to enlist our support for their church issues. Church programs were something we saw the need for and volunteered while others were at the request of church leaders.

weddedhandsOn several occasions one of us informed the other that we’d have to cancel our personal plans because we’d been “volunteered” for a church job. It seemed like overnight that the peace and contentment we’ve known while involved in home fellowship these last 15 years turned to strife and contention with each other as various church jobs began to trump our time together. Blessed retirement turned to labor; in fact, people used scripture in manipulative ways or pleaded on our emotions to conscript us.

The issue came to a head 1 week before our wedding anniversary Continue reading

To Tithe or not to Tithe: the $earch for Truth

There are 7 articles in the “Tithe” series. Please click HERE for all 7 articles. They are:
1. To Tithe Or Not To Tithe: The $earch For Truth
2. Tithe Follow-Up
3. The Tithe: Who’s Robbing Who?
4. Just What WAS Abraham’s Example?
5. Fun With Numbers
6. The Tithe: Final Thoughts
7. The Tithe Revisited
Written between 2000-2002, they were posted on my former web site Lord, You Are (dot) com (now defunct). Exposing the falsehood of the modern tithe doctrine was instrumental in setting me free from man’s Laodicean traditional church. As always, I pray the Lord will use them to set you free from false teaching and guilt-based giving. 

Though I’ve always struggled with the tithe, I still shook my head in disgust when I heard about the preacher who’s congregation quietly left the church during the prayer following a long sermon on tithing. He said “Amen”, looked up and cried out “half my church is gone!” I laughed saying “they must have fled the conviction of the Holy Spirit”.

donottithe8What the Lord said took me completely by surprise: “They fled from error and guilt-based giving”. “What?!?” I’ve heard more sermons on the tithe than on any other topic except perhaps our need of Jesus for eternal life! After I picked up my jaw from the floor, the Lord prompted me to study tithing and giving. Continue reading