How I (finally) forgave

If there were a meter by which to measure introversion, I’d register in the hermit zone. That means few people other than my wife and father know me well. While I prefer it that way, it’s often frustrating, especially where sharing my faith and talents are concerned. Not surprising then that I blog, journal, and post my original tunes on the web.

From time to time the Father has given me a friend with whom to break bread real and spiritual; someone to listen, offer wise counsel and encouragement. A friend is one of God’s greatest gifts as we make this pilgrimage through life.

The wounds from a friend can be trusted; but an enemy will smother you with kisses (Proverbs 27:6).

lovecoverssin

Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8)

A true friend will point out an issue, that on my own I’m blind to or simply refuse to deal with. Anger is one such issue. Decades ago, a friend observed when it comes to dealing with anger, I do a “slow boil”. Eventually that simmering pot of upset within me would boil over and I became “hell on wheels” in dealing with every unjust situation or person who had wronged me.

Upon that all-too-familiar battlefield, the grace and peace of Yeshua takes a stand against the scars and injuries I’ve accumulated over a life time and the wearisome struggle to forgive those who inflicted them. These issues, together with the all-too-frequent Continue reading

Eye-opener: Sheep or goat?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (32)  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (33)  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (34)  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35)  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, (36)  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (37)  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? (38)  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39)  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ (40)  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:31-40 ESV

sheepNotice in Matthew 25:31-40 (above) there are 3 groups of people: “sheep”, “goats”, and “my brothers.” All too often when people read that passage, they see only 2 of the 3 groups, “sheep” and “goats”. When interpreting it, readers tend to assume that the “sheep” and “my brothers” are one in the same. If that’s correct, then for all practical purposes Jesus is commending the “sheep” for serving themselves, feeding themselves, clothing themselves, visiting themselves, etc.

Let’s begin by looking at the word “nations”; the Greek word is ‘ethnos’ and Strong’s dictionary defines it “a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): – gentile, heathen, nation, people.” Continue reading

Building with living stones

A benefit concert for a free medical clinic inspired me to write a new song for the event. The heart of the person who put it all together really touched me as one of few genuine church building efforts I’ve seen in years.

livingstoneFor the concert, the Lord impressed me with a message about Church building. Most of us have heard that the “Church” is a people, not a building. Yet it seems whenever church building is discussed, the conversation always turns to a house of wood. Concerning the things of this world we work so hard to build and maintain, Paul tells us that the Lord will test the quality of our work by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Accordingly, we really need to ask ourselves whether what we are working on will survive the fire, for only that which remains is worthy of our labors. We can be certain that our church buildings, camp and conference grounds, church buses and the like will be burned up. When the ‘things of this world’ are gone, I think we will see that our only enduring work is the investments we have made in others (Matthew 25:31-46). Continue reading

The Tithe Revisited

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. 

The article “To Tithe or Not to Tithe: The $earch for Truth” was first published in March of 2001. The comments and questions that followed publication prompted me to study the tithe in greater depth and led to the publication of 5 follow-up articles. From time to time since the last of the articles was published late in 2001, I’ve been confronted with a few additional arguments in support of the tithe, I’d like to address.

Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek predates the Law of Moses and therefore is an example for us to follow today.

This argument was addressed in one of the original 6 articles, but I neglected to mention another objection I have with it. Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians often have strange ideas about what the Law comprises. Some hold that the law was given to Moses beginning with the 10 commandments. Teachers / followers of Judaism would disagree with that assertion. In Judaism, the entirety of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy comprise the book of “The Law”.

donottithe5Throughout the New Testament, we see Jesus and the apostles recite scripture from the Old Testament, attributing them to either “the Law”, “the Prophets” or “the Writings”, or what Judaism refers to as the Torah, Nivi’im and Kituvim, respectively. The Jewish book of scripture is commonly called the TaNaK, which draws on the first letter of the words Torah, Nivi’im and Kituvim. “The Law” (Torah) refers to the complete set of books (Genesis through Deuteronomy), not a subset of individual scriptures that cite specific commandments and requirements. Quite simply, if it’s in the Torah , it is of “The Law”. Continue reading

The Tithe: Final Thoughts

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. 

Jesus As Priest Shows Us What To Do With An Offering

For a long time, I’ve had this gut feeling that there is so much more to the miracle of feeding the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes than I’ve ever considered – specifically – I’ve felt there is a link between what Jesus did with the loaves and fishes, and what a true son of God – a true Priest – would do with every offering: specifically, give thanks for it, bless it, and then give it back to the very people who gave it, to take what they needed to meet their needs / fill their bellies.

donottithe18Let me digress a little – the modern mammon-loving theology of today goes something like this “I’m your priest, preacher, minister; this building is your storehouse; I’m the one feeding you; the worker deserves his wages; so you owe me your tithes and offerings; or you owe “this church” your tithes and offerings”.

OK, IF Jesus subscribed to that school of thought at all, here’s what the feeding of the 5,000 would have looked like:

Jesus would have received the 5 loaves and 2 fishes and said to his disciples “thanks – now I’ve got my lunch – why don’t you see if you can rustle up some grub for yourselves and these people here – good luck”.

Continue reading

Preemptive grace

Washing the disciples feet has often left me wondering whether Jesus intended a greater lesson for us than to simply marvel at His servant-hood as is common in the annual celebration of the last supper. In fact, when Jesus had finished washing their feet, He asked:

Do you understand what I have done to you? (John 13:11)

FootWashingIn trying to grasp the significance of what He did, it is well to remember that Jesus remained with the disciples for 40 days following His resurrection. Surely Jesus could have found the time to wash their feet then, rather than on the night of His betrayal. Mere hours before His arrest, trial, flogging and crucifixion, Jesus must have been in emotional agony. Yet, Jesus concern was for the disciples who would be wounded by His death and scattered by the persecution that followed. Jesus knew they would be overcome with guilt and shame for denying Him and therefore potentially reluctant to return to Him. By washing their feet before they deserted Him, Jesus laid the groundwork of grace and prepared the way for the disciples to be reconciled to Himself. In so doing, Jesus reassured them of His love and the forgiveness that awaited them when eventually they did sin against Him. Continue reading

Fun With Numbers

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. 

My corporate background is a business analyst (thanks, I’m much better now), and I recently found myself looking at the institutional church in terms of overhead, and what the end product is for the majority of people. There is a sense in which the church exists to deliver the message, which in the institutional church is typically a 20-minute sermon on Sunday morning. For the vast majority of the congregation, the sermon is the product they take home. For those whose only church involvement is in the capacity of a listener on Sundays, everything other than the sermon is overhead. For giggles I examined the topic of dedicated giving using a typical church as an example.

donottithe14The church has 500 members who collectively pay for a pastor to preach the gospel twice each Sunday for 20 minutes. That’s 40 minutes of preaching the gospel per week – which amounts to 2080 minutes per year or 34.67 hours per year. We’ll give the pastor credit for occasionally going overtime and round it up to 36 hours per year. Based on the standard corporate year of 2080 hours for full-time employment, the delivery of the “sermon” represents about 1.7% of the pastors work year. In the interest of fairness, it is necessary to credit that 36 hours of preaching to the congregation that hired the pastor to preach the gospel for them rather than do it themselves as Christ commanded in Matthew 28:19. So those 36 hours spread equally across the 500 church members amounts to 4 minutes and 10 seconds per member per year (250 seconds) of “preaching the gospel”. Continue reading