Let’s “Flag Down” Another Pentecost!

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Flagging down the Pentecostal Fire!
–God’s fire fell on Pentecost and the early Christians stormed the world with passion for the living, resurrected Jesus Christ!
–Salvation Army founder, William Booth, sang in the late 1800s: “Send the fire! Look down and see this waiting host, Give us the promised Holy Ghost; We want another Pentecost, Send the fire today!”
–His wife, Catherine Booth, designed The Salvation Army Flag which has a bold star that proclaims “Blood & Fire” for the blood of Jesus and the fire of the Holy Spirit! And together with tens of thousands of passionate Christ-followers, they spread Christ-salvation around the world.
William Seymour, in the early 20th Century, in an old building that had been used as a barn in Los Angeles, gave people the freedom to passionately respond to the Spirit in worship meetings and the fire fell and spread around the world as the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, growing to more than 1/2 billion people today.
–Now in the 21st Century, both the church and our culture desperately need the Pentecostal fire again!
–Will you flag it down?

Here is the message of Pentecost Sunday:
God shows up when we persistently seek Him,
When we give up our programs and control;
And when let Him roll away our comfort zone.
Then He shows up, not in some religious way,
But with an amazing sense of His Presence;
With powerful demonstrations of His power;
And with life-transforming miracles.
Will we pay the cost for another Pentecost?
Or refuse to hear because of fear?

Was Pentecost for real?
–If the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost and 3,000 people were brought to the Lord in one Spirit-led meeting; then perhaps we should tear up our programs and allow the Holy Spirit to lead our church meetings in the 21st Century. Let’s do it this Sunday morning!

Let’s overcome complacency & boredom in church!
–Have we made church services so comfortable & contained, so controlled & choreographed; that there is no chance a challenge or crisis can occur, and thus, there is nothing to contend with but complacency & boredom?

Rick Warren speaks out for ordinary people to be allowed to minister to one another.
–“If you want your church to be a place where all sorts of talents and abilities are expressed in a creative way that draws multitudes to Christ, you have to give up control and trust people with ministry. So many pastors are so afraid of wildfire that they spend all their time putting out every little camp fire that’ll warm up the church!”

One way to “flag down God’s fire” is through God-gatherings.  Check out the Facebook page:  God-Gatherings Led By The Living, Resurrected Jesus Christ @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/God-Gatherings-Led-By-The-Living-Resurrected-Jesus-Christ/492372807586579?ref=hl

Posted in 3000 people saved, Acts 2, Azusa Street, boredom in church, camp fire, Catherine Booth, early church, first Pentecost, great awakening, Pentecost Sunday, Pentecostalism, Salvation Army, Send the fire, song, spiritual awakening, We want another Pentecost, wildfire, William Booth, William Seymour | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Done, undone, or not done?

Done, undone, or not done?

Pentecost is called “the birthday of the church.” It was when the Holy
Spirit came to the early church in mighty power. So how’s it going in the 21st Century?
–Has the contemporary church replaced the presence and power of Holy Spirit with a program and a preacher’s performance?

–The “Dones” are people who have given up on the traditional church format.

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–The “Undones” are people who are overcome and overwhelmed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
(“Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” –Isaiah the Prophet)

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–The “Not-Dones” are people who are still trying to hang with the program.

boredom in church

(“The term “Dones” was inspired by October’s [2014] ‘Future of the Church‘ conference in Loveland, Colo., where sociologist Josh Packard presented research about the growing group of Americans who are abandoning organized Christianity.” –Jeff Brumley.)
–(The terms “Undones” and “Not-Dones” were coined by me.)

Posted in church programs, Colorado, contemporary church, Future of the Church, I am undone, Isaiah, Isaiah 6:5, Loveland, my eyes have seen, nones, organized religion, Pentecost, people of unclean lips, prophet, Woe is me | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Terrorist Who Was Transformed By Christ

Here’s an example of being courageously led (and controlled) by the Spirit. A Christian in Damascus (in Syria) felt like God was telling him to go find and pray with a famous terrorist who had come to town in order to capture and torture Christians and take them away. This guy actually obeyed the inner prompting and went to see the terrorist. When he got there he found out that the terrorist had just been transformed by the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. This courageous man’s name was Ananias. And the terrorist’s name was Saul, who later changed his name to Paul. Paul wrote 1/3 of the New Testament. Would you go pray with a terrorist if God told you to?

saul of tarsus

Who’s in control? As a pastor, I’ve discovered that God and I can’t both control a church service at the same time. If I’m running things, then He isn’t.

Welcome to the real world — the world of the Holy Spirit.
–Unbelief is a myth; Christ is certainty.
–We live in a mythical world. Scientists have shown that matter — all the material around us (including the the earth, the stars, and even our bodies) — is made up of tiny atoms. Atoms are almost completely empty space. Although atoms appear to us as solid, they are really electrons (tiny sparks of energy) circling at the speed of light (and not much else). Scientists say that if all the electrons in the universe stopped circling, everything that physically exists could fit in the palm of one human hand. Thus, what we call “reality” is actually a mirage — a myth.
–Unbelief trusts (that’s an oxymoron) in the material world — the atoms that masquerade as solid matter.
–Faith trusts in the fact of the invisible world — the immaterial realities like love, justice, hope, human rights, freedom, goodness, inspiration, right, truth, vision, joy, faith, humility, salvation, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Father.
–Where is your hope? Does your lifestyle demonstrate that you are fully trusting in Christ?

Posted in church history, faith, Holy Spirit, myths, real world, religion, religious persecution, unbelief | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Rid Of Guilt

Guilt is “the fact of having committed an offense or crime.” By that definition, no one is not guilty.  Guilt is the result of wrong doing.  Everybody has done something wrong either legally or morally. (For example, I believe that every driver is guilty of speeding. During my lifetime, I have driven over the speed limit. You have too. And that makes us both guilty of speeding.)

So since everybody is guilty of something, how can we get rid of our guilt. There are 2 human responses to guilt: shame and remorse.

1) Shame is feeling embarrassed about what other people may think about your wrongdoing.  It tries to protect your image by covering up guilt in 4 ways: 1) by denying any wrongdoing; or 2) by playing the blame game and thereby attempting to excuse wrongdoing; or 3) by comparing with others and thinking that your wrongdoing is okay because it’s not as bad as someone else’s; or 4) by justifying by claiming that your wrongdoing is not really wrong because of various pseudo-reasons.

In the classic example of guilt, Adam and Eve responded to their wrongdoing with shame. They attempted to cover up their wrongdoing by hiding from each other and hiding from God. Then they moved into the blame game: “Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.”

Shame is not a very effective way to deal with guilt. It is like drinking poison and then either denying you did it or blaming you actions on your state or mind. Neither response will counter the effect of the poison. Fortunately, there is a 2nd and much more effective way to deal with your guilt.

2) Remorse is feeling genuinely sorry that you did wrong.  It openly admits to the wrongdoing accepting responsibility and refusing to blame. Remorse humbly apologizes to the offended party or parties and asking for forgiveness. Remorse resolves to not commit the offense again and then makes every effort to follow through. Remorse even makes amends as far as possible.

Remorse is a very effective way to deal with guilt. It is like drinking poison and then promptly telling someone that you did it and what exactly you drank, and then asking them to rush you to a hospital. This response most likely will counter much of the effect of the poison and probably save your life.

So save yourself! When dealing with your guilt, choose remorse instead of shame!

“If we walk in the light, as He (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” –John the Beloved

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Posted in 1 John 1:9, apologize, apology, confessional, ethics, how to, John the Beloved, make amends, morality, overcome guilt, party guilt, right and wrong, values | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deflategate Got Ya Down? The truth Will Fill You Up!

A Tom Brady, New England Patriots, & Deflategate inspired blog post:

deflated football

(Deflategate is an ongoing controversy involving the NFL’s New England Patriots. It alleges that they used underinflated footballs in their AFC Championship victory against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2015 and that quarterback Tom Brady knew about it and was somehow involved in the scheme. NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has suspended Brady 4 games for the incident, however, Brady is appealing his suspension.)

–Deflategate demonstrates that it is easy to live life as make-believe — as a myth, a fantasy, a coverup.

Dishonesty distorts reality & makes you a myth-maker. Cheating may achieve a fraudulent title, position, or prize, but it doesn’t change the reality behind it — that the prize was not legitmately earned or deserved. Denying the truth is mythical. To refuse to come clean is to frolic in fantasy.

Nowadays it is becoming common to call Christianity a myth. Yet that accusation ignores or overlooks the radical honesty in faith.

Myths make mirages that make men look like mighty heroes — super-human and almost faultless. However, the Bible openly displays the faults, failures, and humanness of men and women — even the most prominent heroes of the faith.  Peter is shown openly denying Christ. Paul is pictured persecuting, beating, and promoting the killing of believers. King David is revealed to be an adulterer and a murderer. Abraham lied. Jacob cheated. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. The Bible is the most open and honest book that I have ever read. (Can you think of any other history book that openly proclaims and gives vivid details of the faults and wrongdoing of its nation’s leaders?)

Faith, however, transformed the people in the Bible. It didn’t create mythical mighty men, but rather broken, humble people who were totally dependent on the living God.

When Christ gets under the skin and begins to work within, people feel deeply sorry for the myths in their life, and begin to come clean.  They become myth busters. They confess their secret wrongdoing. They no longer accuse others. They work hard to untangle themselves from dishonesty and coverup. They openly accept the consequences of their wrongdoing. They even make amends to those they have wronged.

Far from being a myth, biblical Christianity turns fantasy-based people into radically open and honest men and women.  Jesus put it this way: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

A line in the movie, A Few Good Men, declares: “You can’t handle the truth.” Can you? Will you? The living, resurrected Jesus Christ will give you supernatural strength to face the truth and move beyond the myths in your life (if you have the courage to let Him)!

Check out my post: Dishonesty’s 10 Dirty Downers

Posted in A Few Good Men, AFC, appeal, Bible, blog, Championship game, dishonesty, ethics, fantasy, honesty, Is God a myth, myth busters, myth-making, suspension, underinflated footballs, You can't handle the truth | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God-Gatherings

A God-gathering is a meeting where (2 or more) everyday people come together to each one listen to God and then speak what God tells him, resulting in a divinely orchestrated time in God’s presence. God-gatherings are open and unprogrammed. They let go of human control and allow God space to work. God-gatherings expect and rely on the direct intervention and leading of God as a present reality.

God gathering

A God-gathering is:
* A Spirit-prompted group;
* A Christ-conscious community;
* A God-led get-together;
* A meet-with-Jesus meeting;
* A sharing-in-the-Spirit assembly;
* An audience with the King;
* A Jesus encounter group;
* A Holy Spirit huddle;
* A rendezvous with God:
* A session with the Savior;
* A hands-on worship workshop;
* Hanging out with Jesus and some of His friends;
* A Divine engagement;
* A spiritual support group;
* A meetup with the Son!

–Read about my first encounter with a God-gathering:  Meeting God’s gathering (ekklesia) instead of religion’s church.

–Experience a God-gathering with us every Sunday morning at 10:45 at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville 37207.

Posted in assembly of God, Christian meetings, encounter group, get together, hanging out, huddle, Matthew 18:20, Meeting for Worship, Nashville, Quaker meetings, rendezvous, Salvation Army, there am I in the midst, Where two are three are gathered, workship | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Bridle of Christ / Being Led by the Spirit

bridle of Christ rider knight

I woke up this morning with this poem in my mind. I’ve never heard it before, so I got up and wrote it down.

Are you wearing the bridle of Christ
And letting Him steer you
Through day-to-day life,
Listening to His still small voice
Prompting your conscience,
Inspiring your intuition,
And guiding your heart?

A person without Christ is like a wild horse without a bridle. O, Lord, bridle my heart!

Later I googled “bridle of Christ” and found:

An early Christian hymn about Jesus Christ, written by Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), was called Bridle of Steeds Untamed.  It goes:

Bridle of colts untamed,
Over our wills presiding;
Wing of unwandering birds,
Our flight securely guiding.
Rudder of youth unbending,
Firm against adverse shock;
Shepherd, with wisdom tending
Lambs of the royal flock:

I also found the book A Bridle for Sinners and a Spur for Saints, by Francis Worchester, published in 1760.

“You’re like a half-tamed creature, still shy of the bridle.” –Nenia Campbell

“The heart, it’s a mighty strong-willed muscle. Like a wild horse it spews that bit right out of its mouth.” –Susan Rohrer in the book, Bridle my Heart.

The book of James indicates that the bridle of Christ begins with the tongue: “If anyone among you thinks to be religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, his religion is vain.” We need to surrender our speech to Christ and let His bridle direct what we say.

“A nation that has no bridle on its sensuality, can never thrive or survive.” –Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Posted in Bible quotes, bride of Christ, bridle his tongue, Bridle my Heart, bridle of Christ, Clement of Alexandria, Colts, Francis Worchester, hymn, inspiration, James 1:26, Nenia Campbell, sensuality, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, still small voice, Susan Rohrer | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment