Reformation Now

I believe the Body of Christ is in desperate need of reformation. The purpose of this blog is to encourage dialog that will lead to positive changes in local churches that will facilitate the soon coming of our Messiah.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Before and After

The following article was written for a writing competition sponsored by Faith Writers, a Christian Writers Community.  Follow the link on the right for more information.

Is there an after when you reject the notions of traditional Christianity? Is there any place to go? Are we as believers even allowed to question such notions? Who are the authorities in such matters?

Finding myself at this crossroad did not take place instantaneously. I now understand this crossroad was designed for me by my Creator long before my physical existence. For over 40 years I was to travel the road of Christianity with the same fervor that has seemed to flavor all of my life. From accepting Jesus in to my heart at the age of six years old and being in church every time the doors were open to formal Bible and Ministry education culminating in 20 years of Pastoral leadership, my life seemed to be pretty well ordered. I had a successful marriage, a successful family, and a successful multi staffed church. The ministry that God had given me was one to be envied! If only He hadn’t placed within me such a strong desire to know truth.

It was extremely disconcerting for me to realize that my own brand of Christianity embraced more of the traditions of men than the truths of Scripture. I did not want to admit that I had embraced many traditions that were simply Paganism in disguise. My denomination had led me astray by trying to force God into a box. My Heavenly Father was teaching me that He is simply too big to fit into any man made box!

Coming to this realization caused me to take every part of my Christian experience and place it upon a shelf. This was not for the purpose of walking away from it, but instead to examine it under the scrutiny of the whole of Scripture. Beginning with salvation, I would pull that particular piece down from the shelf and tear it apart, allowing the magnifying glass of Holy Writ to illumine portions that heretofore I had thought inconsequential. Things that I’d taken for granted to be truth were not backed up in Scripture it all. Conversely, details that were too small to be noticed came rushing to the forefront for further scrutiny. There were many spiritual “sighs of relief” when I would find portions of my Christian experience that lined up to scripture. There were also many tears of repentance when I discovered things that I had preached as truth were in grievous error.

When we, as believers, find truths that are new to us it is natural for us to want to share them with our fellow believers. I was very naïve to think that my fellow believers would embrace what I was discovering. I had to also rediscover that my Father had not called me to do that which only He could do, namely convict people.

Where do I go now? To whom do I turn? Who is the authority? These questions are answered for me with brand new illumination and renewed relationship with my Messiah! In the words of an old chorus, I conclude:

I go to the Rock of my salvation;

I go to the Stone that the builder’s rejected;

I run to the Mountain and the Mountain stands by me.

When the earth all around is sinking sand,

On Christ the solid rock I stand.

When I need a shelter, when I need a friend,

I go to the Rock!

 

Shalom

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Word of YHVH

Without question, this subject will be the most controversial of any that I have written on to date.  I ask that the reader seriously consider the subject matter in the light of Scripture.

Jeremiah prophesied that in the last days the Gentiles would begin to wake up (spiritually speaking) and realize that we have inherited lies (Jer. 16:19).  I believe that it is my own responsibility to expose these lies and present Truth in ways that will facilitate the soon return of our Messiah.  Fasten your seatbelt, here we go!

Is Jesus your Bible?  Does Yeshua = your Bible?  Is your Messiah limited to the pages of a book?

Why is it, when we ask these questions, we will answer with a thoughtful, but resounding no, but we have no difficulty stating that the Bible is the word of God.  Is there a conflict here? 

When we take the time to examine if both sides of this issue really are equal,  we find ourselves in a conundrum, not really sure what to do with our statement “The Bible is the Word of God.”

We have only one source to examine to determine Truth in this matter, and that is the pages of Scripture themselves.

John 1 tells us that YHVH created all things by His Word.  Did He create all things with the Bible, or was it through Yeshua, His only Son?  Verse 14 of the same chapter tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  We realize that it is foolish to say, “Our Bibles became flesh.”

Hebrews 4:12,13 states, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Personally, I have preached many sermons from this passage, relating it to the writings of Scripture instead of a living Messiah.  Here is the problem:  When I elevate the Scriptures and say, “The Bible is the Word of God” I am also saying that Jesus and my Bible are one and the same! 

Here is the proper (Scriptural) equation: YHVH=Yeshua: God=Jesus: They are the Divine inspiration for Scripture!  Jesus/Yeshua is the Word of YHVH. 

Revelation 19:11-13 says, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.   His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.   He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

The most salient point in all of this:  My Messiah is BIGGER than scripture!  John said that if all the things that He did while He walked on earthly soil were recorded, the earth could not contain the volume of material! See John 21:25.

One other very important point: Yeshua/Jesus still speaks into the hearts of every believer while Scripture is considered a “closed” canon.  Scripture can give you general guidelines on most subjects, but the voice of the Messiah, speaking into your spirit, will give you Divine clarification.

Yeshua is the Word of God!

The scripture is the word from God!

 

Shalom!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

My wife and I just returned from a trip to Pie Town, New Mexico.  This was a first for us, as we packed our travel trailer, and headed south, purely as an act of obedience to our Creator.  I realize that Pie Town is not Jerusalem, but I have to trust that leaving the comforts of home is keeping the spirit of the command.

Pie Town, New Mexico sits at an elevation of approximately 8000 feet.  Needless to say, the weather was cold.  The wind blew a with a fury that would rival a redheaded Irishman's temper.  We woke several mornings with 1 to 2 inches of snow on the ground.  Water hoses had to be disconnected every night keep them from freezing.  The tent of meeting had to be constantly watched in order to keep it from being destroyed by the wind.

The Scriptures tell us that three times a year all of the men must present themselves before YHVH.  The three times are, The Feast Of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the Feast Of Tabernacles.  The Scriptures also teach us these presentations must occur on very specific dates.  Because YHVH is so specific about these dates, we have no excuse for not celebrating these holidays on these dates.

Is it really necessary to get so technical in our acts of obedience?  Does our Heavenly Father really care as long as we observe the days?  What difference does it make if we are a day or two off from what He commanded?

The answer to these questions will require some serious introspection on your part.  Scripture teaches us that before our Messiah returns, all things will be restored.  This includes the Creator's calendar.  When Yeshua comes back, will he be operating on a Rabbinic timeline, or will it be on a timeline that He Himself created?  Remember, these convocations, are also referred to as rehearsals.  By their design, they are intended to remind us of things to come.  I don't know about you, but my heart's desire is to get it right the first time!

 

Shalom