Sustaining Revival Correcting Wrong Paradigms for the Victorious Church (Ephesians 1:18-23) By Steven Ryan Unabridged with Footnotes and Appendixes “…and behold…one like the Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him (John 20:17) and to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14) The Messiah (who) was “raised from the dead, and seated… at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named , not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet… (Ephesians 1:20-22) “And Jesus came up to them, saying, “All authority has (now) been given to Me in heaven and earth…(1) (and as a result) you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (2). (then I want you to) go therefore (3) into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (4) (and proclaim that) repentance for the forgiveness of sins (is given in my name) to (every) nation… (5)… cast out demons (6)…(and) lay hands on the sick (7) (also) make disciples of all nations…, baptizing them… (and) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo, I… (will be)… with you always (to guide you and speak to you), even to the end of the age.” (8) And (once) this (just mentioned) gospel of the kingdom…(has been)…preached in the whole world…(as)… a witness to all nations… then the end (with it’s glorious kingdom) shall come (9). 1) Matthew 28:18 2) Acts 1:8 3) Matthew 28:19 4) Mark 16:15 5) Luke 24:47 6) Mark 16:17 7) Mark 16:18 8) Matthew 28:19,20 9) Matthew 24:14 Notification of Release Released by the Author as Public Domain MONTH 2008 Brothers and sisters this book in its entirety has been released as “Public Domain” (that is not copyrighted), without remittance to myself. Since this work - as with all my works - are “public domain” you can do with it what you like. If you want to publish it in whole or in part go right ahead. You have my permission to do so (and you don’t have to inform me in advance or put my name on the work). Many of the Appendixes in this book stand on their own as separate works and can be published as such. If you read the Appendixes some go well together with others and I would advise - if you are going to publish the Appendixes as separate works - that you consider publishing some of them together (just do a little editing). You also have my permission to sell this work at a profit to yourself (or company). I do know that there is cost involved in taking up such an undertaking (time and money), and again if you want to publish it - in whole or in part - again go right ahead (I view you as a fellow laborer in the Lord). For me just to have these, or any one of these works I written circulating in the world is reward enough for me. Also, if you want you can put this books content (or any of it’s content) in your own words (change the sentence structures around of things written) and then put your name on the book (or tract) as well (it‘s not a big deal). Brothers and sisters there are things of importance in this work and the idea of me doing anything that might stop or hinder these things from going forward (for example copyrighting this book, which in turn can be reflected in the purchase price of this work) it’s just not something I want to do. Steven Ryan MONTH 2008 Table of Contents Introduction ………………………………....................................Page Chapter 1 What is Success? ………………………………...........Page Chapter 2 Power……………………………….............................Page Chapter 3 Money………………………………............................Page Chapter 4 Buildings………………………………........................ Page Chapter 5 Entertainment………………………………..................Page Chapter 6 Revival………………………………...........................Page Chapter 7 Conclusion………………………………......................Page Footnotes………………………………........................................Page The Appendixes Appendix A Denominationalism……………………………….............................Page Appendix B Advise to Worship Teams………………………………..................Page Appendix C Revelation: General and Specific………………………………........ Page Appendix D Commandments: Dealing with Teachings of the Past…………………Page Appendix E Relationships: Non- Traditional………………………………............Page Appendix F Marital Relationships: Non-Traditional……………………………….Page Appendix G Altering a Marriage Covenant ……………………………..……… Page Appendix H Holiness………………………………..............................................Page Appendix I Latter Rain……………………………….......................................... Page Appendix J Relationships and their Place in God’s Purposes………………………Page Appendix K God’s Direction …………………….………………………………..Page Appendix L Congregational Support of Ministries……………………………….…Page Appendix M Satan………………………………....................................................Page Appendix N Maturity: A Major Goal in Life ………...................................................Page Appendix O The Conscience: A Maturing Thing….....................................................Page Introduction The church and it’s inability to truly sustain revival, or any kind of move of God without faltering and failing is something one can write a book about. This is that book, along with some very helpful suggestions. I have no intention of writing to complain, but to explain and point out some very helpful things that will help God’s church - especially the vast majority of local churches - get things back on track, and get them back in the river of flowing with Gods purposes and Gods plan for the ages. Brothers and sisters, do you - as a church - want to progress in God?, or would you rather spend your life reflecting on the “good old days” when God was “on the move” in your life (or denomination), and things were happening? It’s up to you. A little background about myself (the author of this book). I became a Christian when I was 17 and have been living the Christian life for over 30 years. During this time I have been part of some churches, and have visited many, many others. One thing that I have found out after years of visiting churches is that there are still many committed “church goers” out there who - after years of ‘going to church’ - have never actually been to a biblical “church” service. Another thing I have found is that there are a good deal of churches out there that seem to think the “reformation” ended with the founding of their own particular denomination [and hence have becoming a living (sometimes even lifeless), monuments to a particular move of God in the past]. These kinds of things should not be. God has not finished reforming His church. The reformation that started with Luther and Calvin and spread to Wesley and the Methodists, and from there unto the early Baptists, the Pentecostals, and then to the little known Latter Rain Movement (and continues here in these pages), all these ‘moves of God’ have continued and continue to reform His church, moving them away from the “Babylonian captivity” (that is the old errors of church structure and doctrine), and back to their basic fundamental mission and purposes. But brethren… Believe me when I say that even though many churches today are denominational, and even though many have indeed built upon and progressed a great deal since the days of the first reformational issues, many of these same churches today are becoming very sidetracked in their missions and purposes, and I fear are starting to become even more “worldly” in their thinking than the original “Captivity” the first reformation came from. Brothers and sisters a lot of the newer or “progressing” denominational churches of today have almost a “franchise, cookie cutter mentality” of a “build building and they will come.” (usually a big building). Meanwhile thinking that all one has to do to succeed is get that building (actually this is a must), a large building, and (according to today’s popular paradigm) put a band on a stage in front of an audience, throw in a little “hype” and have everyone sing along to the “top 40” Christian tunes (and of course listen to an enjoyable rarely confrontational word). Also, I have found out after years of visiting various churches (including non-denominational) is that there seems to be this idea of “a show” behind everything that is done and the “service” of the saints consists of nothing more than a performance usually centered around one man, on a stage (not a platform mind you), in front of an “audience,” (an audience – mind you – not a congregation), and this, again along with the singing of some enjoyable songs, is pretty much all it takes to succeed in God’s purposes and have a “successful” church. This may sound great, and part of what is said here may be true, but unfortunately I have found out that in many churches like this, little does the congregation know that when they choose this paradigm for “success,” and they choose to hire a “great speaker” to give that enjoyable word that they lose out on a lot of gifts functioning. Also, the great speaker they hire usually expects to go home as quickly as possible after the show (and this “distance” between themselves and the congregation is increased more so as the church grows - and in case you don’t already know, the a home they choose to live in is usually away from the local congregation and they go on to live pretty secluded lives away from that congregation). Also, as the church increases in size they never really get to know the people (and if they get to know everyone’s names is usually a miracle in itself. I challenge you go to anyone of these large “successful” “model” churches and ask the pastor to tell you everyone’s name). Brothers and sisters people in a church are not a bunch of “roadies” who set up everything for “the performance” of the few, nor are they spectators. I’m sorry brethren, but enjoyable tunes and a pleasant word by one man is not what a church, as well as what a church service is all about. (and a one man show - where the ‘pastor’ does not even know everyone’s names - much more their personal problems is not the way to go either). Forget revival, or even sustaining it, is this modern paradigm for success even a church? Where are the gifts, the fellowship, the mission, the purpose? Unfortunately it has come down to entertainment, hype and showmanship for many churches. This is where the church at large is at today. Brethren, another thing that I have found in churches that will fail to sustain revival and that is many churches today still seems to be wrapped up in law and legalistic type preaching and teaching all the while forgetting the covenant we are in. When revivals or renewals fade in churches it’s almost like a default position people run to (and granted there are varying degrees of this), but needless to say, that revival - by definition - has to do with life - not law. Brothers and sisters, this falling back on law is another thing that tends to hinder or even stop revival. Law brethren, is not the Gospel, and it’s certainly not the good news of Jesus Christ. Sisters and brothers, what I want to do here in this book is share some thoughts concerning all these matters as well as some suggestions that will help the church at large get back in the flow of God’s purposes. Brethren, God is still on the move! He is still the process and still in the business of reforming His church and moving His people back to their basic fundamental focus, mission, and purposes. We as the people of God have NOT arrived yet and still have a way to go. What I’d like to do in these pages is correct the wrong paradigms that have been used to “reform” His church, and to sustain what He has done. Correcting wrong paradigms for the sake of Christian growth and maturity, and explaining what those two things are about, for the sake of His victorious church is what this book is all about. "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; (however) grace…(as well as)… truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (John 1:16,17) "In Him was life and... (His) life was the light of men" (John 1:4), and... (His) light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome, or extinguish) it." (John1:5) Chapter 1 What is Success? Brothers and sisters, for churches to have success in God they must have a goal, or goals to ‘shoot for.’ Let’s test your biblical knowledge. Question 1: Without peaking at the answer, do you know what the goal of the church is? Answer: The Glory of God "the praise of His glory" (Ephesisan1:12,14) When people see the church ‘in action,’ they should, at the minimum say… thank God! Brothers and Sisters, the way things are today it’s been common for Christians to take the glory that belongs to God and take it for themselves. They themselves want to be thanked! If you just look around Christendom (or just read the secular newspaper), Christians name things after themselves (buildings for example), name ministries after themselves, Christian schools are named after people, even some denominations have been named after people. Its gotten to the point where in some churches people to even want their names etched on church windows for all to see. Some of this may sound funny, especially if your church building, denomination or ministry you work for is like this, however, I write these things simply because people taking credit for what God has done, bragging and whatever, has been known to stop or even hinder revival. To "the praise of His glory" (Ephesisan1:12,14) has become ‘to the praise of peoples glory,’ and God is not happy when people take glory for themselves (Acts 12:23). [{and brethren, some may think I am coming down a little hard on some of these things, but after 30 years of watching this stuff, and how some of it “plays out” - I don’t think so and I think my point here needs to be considered for what it is, and that is that there is the possibility of “bragging” by certain individuals that causes God (as well as people) to draw back and as a result revival stops)]. Brothers and Sisters, when we do things we as Christian are to do the things in the name of Jesus, and that’s just the way it is. ALL glory (and that is ALL glory) is go to Him who in turn will give it to the Father. Doing things in any other name or for the glory of an individual or a church or a ministry will in many cases either stop revival in its’ tracks or greatly hinder it. [Now brethren there are people who do these type of things innocently (for example, people often do these things in the name of some ministry or a named church), but that doesn’t change the fact that by not doing things in the Name of Jesus and giving glory to an individual (or denomination or ministry) can stop or hinder revival. And honestly in regrds to denominations naming themselves after people what impact has the Lutheran church had - as a denomination - on revival and the progression of Gods purposes since their initial impact in the 1500’s [except in areas of the world that were heavily Roman Catholic. (See Appendix A concerning Denominationalism, also see 1 Corinthians 1:12,13 on this as well)]. Also in regards to named ministries I have found that once they have to start asking for money, it’s usually because God is not blessing them and should be a a tip off to them that something is not right]. Brothers and sisters, in this day and age - especially in light of all God has done - Christian’s and Christian churches should lift up the name of Jesus (and not people), which brings us to our second question… _____________________ Question 2: What happens when we exalt and lift up the name that should be exalted - the Name of Jesus? Answer: All men and women will be drawn to Him. “…if I be lifted up from the earth, (I) will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) The ‘lifting up’ in the just mentioned verse - while it refers to His death on the cross - can also refer to the ascension as well (which is part of the work that was accomplished on the cross and also is part of the 5 fold message of the cross which is the gospel or good news of Christianity (Death, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension (that is He was and still is lifted up above everything), and… Ruling and Reigning (that is Jesus’ demonstrating the right - by His work on the cross - to be King over everything. In other words not only being ‘lifted up’ (exalted), but also being seated on the throne of Authority. Ephesians 1:20-23 ) The Ascension, aspect of the gospel, can have a very practical spiritual application and dimension in this day in age. For example, in regards to preaching, or worship "... if I be lifted up (in other words if my ascension and being seated ABOVE all powers and authorities be pointed out and praised)... (I) (or even the fact of it) will draw all men (to myself)" (John 12:32) Brothers and sisters, some may say that He’s going to do this anyway whether we open our mouths or not, but I disagree. WE HAVE A PART. God has chosen to use us to bring it about. “…and how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things.”” (Romans 10:14,15) The lifting up of the name of Jesus, His work on the cross (through the preaching, teaching or even singing of the gospel) is a goal for the church to shoot for. If we do our part (by opening our mouths and filling it with the gospel), He will do His part (by drawing all men to Himself). Brothers and sisters, do you want revival? Do you want the lasting effects of revival? If you do and it’s not happening what on earth has your church been preaching, teaching and singing about? Brethren, speaking, teaching and even singing about the 5 fold message of the gospel will do wonders for your church - and as a result give further glory to God. ____________________ Question 3: Brothers and sisters, in regards to a church and their success in God, is there anything else that will be a drawing light of revelation to the world aside from lifting up the Name of Jesus? Hint: If Jesus is the head… Answer: That’s right, His body (the church). Since the head is one with “the body” (or “it’s” body) both will be a drawing light of revelation to the world. “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22,23). Brothers and sisters, the effect of the correct preaching of the gospel to the congregation will cause the body (that is the congregation) to not only to grow together, but to become one with one another and fully one with the head of the church [the church is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23)]. . This in turn will result in the other aspect (or the other half) of God’s drawing light of revelation to the world and that is the testimony, or corporate witness of the congregation. Brothers and sisters, it’s this unity, or the unity in and of itself which will be a drawing light of revelation to the world [that is: as in the world saying “Hey, something (supernatural hopefully) is going on here, let‘s check it out” ] See Jesus prayer in John 17 “..that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they may also be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one; just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, THAT the world may know that Thou didst send Me… (John 17:21-23) “and they (the saints), overcame him (the Devil), because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.” (Revelation 12:11). Brothers and sisters, it’s the testimony, or corporate witness of the body (of which Jesus is the head Ephesians 1:22,23) it’s this unity with the head and with one another, both halves are a light to the world. Brethren, this corporate Divine testimony is another a goal for Christians to shoot for and attain in a churches experience and it done - in part - through the correct understanding to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, in revival people are drawn to the light, and we know that Jesus is the light, but we are also part of that light - since again we are His body with Him being the head. Brethren, in regards to this, my question to you is, since we are talking about sustaining revival… what is the corporate witness of your congregation like in the community in which God has planted you? Is the light of unity apparent? Or is it a light of something else? Are there massive divisions among you (1 Corinthians 1:12,13) or is there a unity of the faith? (Ephesians 4:13). Brothers and sisters, disunity among the body of Christ (and this is a shot across the bow of denominationalism as well as disunity in the local church), is not helpful and can lead to the falling apart of revivals worldwide. Unity, being a light in and of itself (remember: “that they may be perfected in unity, THAT the world may know that Thou didst send Me“) is a goal for the church to shoot for to help maintain and sustain the light of life (Again, revival by definition has to do with life, don‘t forget that) “In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4) And we are His “full of life and full of light” body. Brethren, don’t let your church fall into legalism, the Gospel has to do with life, not law (See Appendix D and H for more on this). If someone in your congregation wants to go in that direction, for the sake of unity sit down with the person in private and have a talk with them. We don’t want revival to stop, but to continue, especially in regards to life related issues. Once again, it’s the unity of the faith (that is everyone believing and practicing the same things about the full Gospel of Jesus Christ), which in turn will cause a congregational unity in love which will be (that is the body’s loving unity with one another and it’s connection to it’s head - Jesus ), it’s all these things together which will be a drawing light of revelation to the world. and... (His) light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome, or extinguish) it."(John1:5) Even though most versions use the word “comprehend,” “overcome” or “extinguish” makes more sense. Brethren, We want this, and once again this is another goal for the church to shoot for. ____________________ Question 4: Brothers and sisters, what is the goal of the churches instruction? Answer: Love "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith" (1 Timothy1:5) Love is the glue that holds the body together as it grows together in unity. Without love all our giftings, and the things we do are nothing. Nothing!, just wind, just sound, ‘a clanging gong’ that means nothing to our own benefit (1 Corinthians 13:2,3), and as a result may have little to no lasting effect on what God is trying to do (actually doing the right thing with a wrong attitude may even lead to damage). Brothers and sisters, love is a major goal to shoot for, to aspire for, for it will bring about the unity on the body. Remember its ‘the unity’ (with the head and one another - the body) that is a light of revelation of the true nature of the church to the world. Again revival has to do with life, and the “life of God” starts by revelation and understanding of that fact (with the church being a physical example of the preaching and teaching of the good news of Jesus Christ). Brothers and sisters, when the world sees the church - with all its fullness - in action, they believe. Brethren, the end of the matter, the purpose of our lives is to bring glory to God, but one of the means to make that so is by acts and words of love to one another. Love builds up the body of Christ (and it’s a better way to build up the body than using ones gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). Brothers and sisters, there is no such thing as a loveless revival. Any revival that lacks love will probably not last very long. __________________ Question 5: Brothers and sisters, in regards to churches and their success in God, is looking upward (towards the risen Lord), and inward (towards the body), the only focus for the church? Answer: Of course not, looking and moving outward towards a lost generation of people is another goal for the church to shoot for. Brothers and sisters, scripture says… “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19) Outreach, (that is not always looking inward, but also reaching outward to the world - that is the unsaved, the Unredeemed), is an end result of the practical outworking of the good news of Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, the old thing of sitting around and enjoying all the benefits of salvation - without reaching out - is not the way to go. Again ‘how will they believe unless one is sent’ (Romans 10:14,15). A believers life consists of more than just the preaching of the gospel, but also the practical DEMONSTRATION of the gospel through acts of charity and benevolence (in other words not only showing Christians that God loves them, but also the world). Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:34-36) (1:1) Brothers and sisters, people can be so heavenly minded that they can be no earthly good in ways that make you wonder if they were ever saved to begin with “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles ? (Notice that Jesus doesn’t argue with them) and then I will declare to them, I never knew you, Depart from Me…” (Matthew 7:21-23) (1:2) . Also consider … “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here and you are in agony.’ (Luke 16:24) Brothers and sisters, it’s these “acts of charity” [which are in many circles are evidence of salvation (Matthew 25:34-36), charity being the old word for love] they (the acts themselves), when they are done should be done in the Name of Jesus and not in the name of some individuals ministry, or even in the name of some local church or group or organization. When people try to take credit or glory for something that God is doing, it at the very minimum leaves ‘a bad taste in ones mouth’ and as said before may even stop or hinder God from moving in the way, and in the fullness that He desires to move in (hence once again revival wanes). Brethren, God is not going to share His glory with another. Therefore, given this, do you really want to be part of something that is going to glorify an individual, or an individuals ministry and take glory away from Jesus Christ?(1:3) We want to be part of something that is going to glorify God. ____________________ In conclusion brothers and sisters the things mentioned here are important, especially for a group of believers (that is a church), however for an individual, maturity (See Appendix N and O), holiness (Appendix H), as well as the goal of getting to know God better in our experience (John 17:3), and practicing His presence is also of great importance. However, these just mentioned 5 goals are pretty much the main goals for the Christian church “to shoot for” and will help lead us into our next section. It’s a section that deals with something that has become such a road block for ‘God’s moving’ as well as a stumbling block for those posses it - and that is people with power. Especially power that has ‘gone to their heads.’ Brethren, for revival to be sustained having authoritian types of people, with their hands on the reigns has not been a good thing and had greatly hindered God’s people from moving out and doing the things necessary to sustain revival. On to our next chapter… Chapter 2 Power “I wrote something to the church , but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us of wicked words, and not satisfied with this, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and he forbids those who desire to do so, and puts them out of the church” 3 John 1:9,10 Brethren the apostle John wrote a letter to this local church (a letter previous to this one), and there was someone in the church, possibly an equivalent to “a senior” something of today ( “who loves to be first” ), who also seemed to be someone with a narrow group following or click (for “neither does he receive the brethren”), and who had also slandered the apostle (“unjustly accusing us of wicked words” ). It was someone who had the reigns of power and it had gone to his head (and this was in the first century. The church had hardly begun). As said in the last chapter, for revival to be sustained having authoritian types of people, with their hands on the reigns has not been a good thing. If you look at the above verse you can see that this problem goes back to the beginning of the church. Although most likely an extreme example this kind of thing, it - even in it’s un-extreme form - has greatly hindered God’s people from moving out and doing the things necessary to sustain revival. Brothers and sisters, in society it’s not uncommon to find people with power that has gone to their heads. Just pick up any paper and read the world, national and sometimes even local news. Unfortunately this kind of thing can be true in the church as well. In the last chapter we talked about many things, one of which were ministries and organizations etc. [and by the way, many of these organizations (which are usually set up outside church authority and accountability), are set up as a business, with payrolls, and almost all of them ask for money (almost all). Most of these organizations also have ‘front men’ who may have started off sincere and may still be sincere, but basically desire to put themselves and their ministries name (which may in fact be their own name), out in front of whatever is going on. [Brothers and sisters, many of these ministries are ‘out for themselves,’ whether they realized it or not, and the fact that most have to ask for money to function is a sure sign something may be wrong (2:1)]. In the local church this type of “self-first” thinking, along with ‘money-issues’ can also be a problem - especially in regards to leadership. Evidence of which can be found in the ‘real’ leadership structure underlying the local body. Brothers and sisters, in some churches, (particularly the ones that hire pastors to “produce” a ‘one man show’ type of service), even though the church may be structured as a plurality of leadership (the biblical model), it’s not uncommon for the ‘gifted’ people they hire to exercise an enormous amount of influence on the established leadership and congregation hence - for all practical purposes - subverting the biblical model for leadership. This type of thing in my experience is common in “show” type of churches (and in churches where the founding pastor is in charge), and will often override the ‘check and balances’ in a church that will keep it off the path of error (that is: if the church should go in that direction). Brothers and Sisters, authoritian leadership is no small matter, for the problems that surround a wrong governing or ruling structure in the church are many, again particularly in churches that revolve around one person whether a “show“ church or not. [For example: because of the usual monopoly of the services by the person in charge other peoples gifts may not develop, the congregation may also feel intimidated in some way by the developed gift of the person in charge and they themselves never mature (for example: they may not stand up, or speak up for what they believe in - or even how God may be leading them, forever yes men) etc. And as you will see in the Appendixes the issue of maturity - on a multitude of levels - is a big issue and is the direction God wants His people as a group to go in]. Brethren, all these things which revolve around power issues can have a bearing on the sustaining of revival (particularly the non development of the gifts, which are very important for the sustaining of revival). Is One Person Ministering the Biblical Model? Brothers and sisters, the way a lot of church services are set up today, it’s only the few that actually minister, and the ratio of actual ‘ministers’ in relation to the congregation is usually lopsided. In regards to churches that revolve around one person [which I have found are often people with the calling of an evangelist, NOT particularly pastors even though the person and church may call them(selves) a pastor, in my experience they usually aren’t], or churches whose paradigms favors a lopsided view of ministry, the motivation NOT to split a growing church into another congregation or hire another PAID pastor is huge as well - again subverting revival. Most of these types of churches would rather have the people who biblically speaking should be paid - work for free (something that they themselves would probably never do) and have them pick up the extra slack, rather than do the biblically correct thing and expand their paid ministry. Brothers and sisters, there are just too many non recognized pastors, administrative elders - actually elders and gifted people of all types that should be on the payroll in some way (See Appendix Footnote A:8 for an idea. Chapter 3 will give you other options for payment) but have to work secular jobs for no other reason than wrong church paradigms of ministry. (Also see Appendix L in regards to these matters) This type of thing will stop revival in it’s tracks more times than not for who is there to do the work? Practically everyone is working full time jobs (maybe even with a part time job on the side). [And I have come to the conclusion that the reason overseeing leadership in established denominational churches don’t encourage the hiring of more paid ministry - when a local church grows - (aside from the wrong paradigms mentioned in Appendix A) has more to do with more money going into the overseeing denomination and it’s needs, rather than the needs of the local community]. Brothers and sisters, in regards to these wrong paradigms how can one person pastor hundreds of people? They just can’t, but overseeing “leader”-ship often turns a blind eye to it. [Brethren, once your church gets to be a certain size - for the sake of ministry - you really need to split up the congregation. Some churches may go the route of hiring another pastor (but in reality most actually go for a bigger building), but even so, I would not advise any church to go the ‘hiring another pastor’ route for it’s usually not for the best (just to many cooks in the kitchen and one is usually subservient to the other). Brethren this splitting up of the congregation is even more necessary when you start seeing a redundancy of other types of giftings in the congregation (let’s say, for example, a few people with the gift of healing). Redundancy means that you are most likely moving in the direction of starting another church so that everyone can function. Not moving in the direction of getting a bigger building (Buildings will be talked more about in Chapter 4). There are Pastors… but not all who are Pastors are Pastors Another thing I have found (and this is something your church may need to consider for the long term health of your congregation, as well as something I just alluded to) is that there are a good deal of people “out there” in the pastorate that should not be there. This is also not good for the sustaining of revival. Brethren, if you hire a pastor (for the building up of the congregation) you have to look for a pastor the way you would look for a good doctor. You want someone who is not only knowledgeable of the things of his profession (which some of these people just aren’t), but also look for someone who has a personal touch and personal follow through. Someone you can make a personal connection with, someone whom actually cares about you, your family and the progression of your own giftings (or ministry). I have found that there are “pastors” out there that actually dislike people. Some of these “pastors” even have necessary knowledge (like doctors), but they never seem to have the necessary grace to fulfill such a calling. It’s just not “in them” to follow through with people for the sake of the long term health of the congregation, for (like some doctors), they may have gotten involved in their ministry (profession), for reasons that may not be the highest. Their gifting is elsewhere. Now that does not mean that these “non-pastor pastors” are bad people (in fact they can be very good people), it’s just means that they need to be steered into the true nature of their calling (which is where their grace is. Pastoring is not an easy job. A LOT of grace is required). This “steering” (actually removing) needs to be done so that those who are true pastors can arise and function, or if not “grown from within” the congregation and hired taken from the outside. Doing this kind of thing can be hard particularly in regards to “pastors” who fall under the heading of this section but again, for the sake of sustaining revival it must be done Also, I have seen people in churches who without a doubt have the pastoral call on their lives (yet unrecognized), treated like dirt and gossiped about by none other than jealous “pastors” and people who are so intimated and / or insecure about their own callings that they can’t possible stand someone with the same or higher calling in their midst. I know of several cases where, if these future pastors had stayed in their churches (they actually had to leave because of this kind of thing), they would have helped a great deal and possible done wonders for the church. I know of a case where a pastor of a church has put up such roadblocks for future pastors that I myself wonder about his own calling (the elders in the church are made to sign an agreement that if they leave the church to start another one they can’t do it within 50 miles of ‘the mother’ church). When I see cases like this I really wonder about whether the “pastors” in the original churches are actually pastors. I kind of think they aren’t (their understanding of ministry is wrong). I’ve seen way too much unnecessary friction between pastors and budding pastors over the years. Too much “raising of the bar” so to speak on these potential pastors (to me its almost like the new pastors have to jump through hoops - and the hoops never end). Brethren if your church finds yourself in a situation like this where there is friction between your “pastor” and some budding true pastors in your church, you might want to consider hiring some of these budding people [whom the pastor (if he’s not really a pastor) has a hard time with]. Hire them as a co- pastor for the sake of ministry and check and balances, for… if you end up keeping “the pastor” (for contractual reasons) you really don’t want someone like that surrounded by a bunch of “yes men” which I have found always seems to happen. Somehow these “pastors” always seem to surround themselves with these kinds of people (maybe even people they themselves appoint) and that’s definitely not good for the congregation. For example there is no check on error (which I’ve seen happen). Remember you’re thinking of the long term health of your congregation which has a great impact on the sustaining of revival. It’s wise to keep power in check. A Word to the Main Line Denominational Churches Brothers and sisters in regards to main line denominations and difficulty in regards to change, I have some experience in this area (mostly in observing). I (the author of this book) was born and raised Roman Catholic (very denominational). I went through 8 years of Catholic education, was Baptized, had Communion and was Confirmed - but I never knew the Lord. I came to know the Lord when I was 17, through my mother who had been attending Charismatic meetings at an Episcopal Church (another very denominational church). I went to a few of their Wednesday night meetings and felt the real - and powerful - presence of the Lord there. That combined with the testimony of my mother got me saved (and I’m talking about real salvation here). From there I went on to some schooling - Protestant schooling - for that seemed to be where everything was happening (in Protestant Denominations) and I learned and observed a lot (mostly from Baptists, again very denominational - usually). I’ve also attended a Methodist Theological Seminary (again denominational). However since then I’ve rejected all labels and just call myself a Christian. I’ve also been part of and have visited main line denominations. I write these things because if you belong to a main line denomination church, with the possible exception of changing the pastor, it’s going to be really hard to change the power structure of the overruling church. Granted many of the local churches will let you have your “on-the-side meetings” but things overall are pretty set and if your congregation grows there is most likely a paradigm they will follow to control that growth, and that probably does not include starting another church (so your revival may be limited). I hate to talk like this, but established main line churches usually have bills (and usually a lot). They have retirement bills, they may own hospitals, schools, universities. Not everyone in ‘the church part’ of the denomination is in the pastorate (for example the governing hierarchy, overseers etc,), and their salaries and insurance premiums also need to be paid, so guess what? more people in a church means more money and one of the last options on any kind of overseer’s list is to split up a congregation, pay for a new building, or hire another pastor. These churches are more likely to encourage putting on an addition to a building, than doing anything else and certainly not put another person on the payroll. Most people who have tried to reform main line denominational churches (especially in regards to revival issues) get frustrated and burnt out or just end up leaving, it’s as simple as that. Be warned ahead of time. The basic paradigm I have found to be true for controlling growth in main line denominational churches (especially in lieu of hiring another person) is as follows… 1) Go to two services 2) Put an addition onto the building 3) Get another - bigger - building Anything than to do the biblically correct thing necessary to sustain revival and split the congregation (which will be discussed in Chapter 4) or hire another pastor. Brothers and sisters, again there is just no way a pastor can take care of the needs of hundreds of people and this is almost always the way they go. And if these churches ever do hire someone it’s usually an “assistant (to the) pastor” [thus maintain the “integrity” of the pastorate’s position of power and authority (which is also an issue, for some reason, as many of these kinds of churches grows], and when they do hire an “assistant pastor” who knows what kind of ‘deal’ they are getting (for example, are they getting a livable wage? which may reflect on their effectiveness in ministry, again sustaining revival issues. And in regards to the issue of power how much authority do they actually have?). [Brothers and sisters, I’ve included something in the Appendix A, if your curious of how your church - if it’s denominational - may have gotten the way it is in regards to these issues (and it may also give you some insight as to the direction God want’s your church to go in as well)] Conclusion Brothers and Sisters, One person, or a small group, dividing up the offerings (and / or the needs of the denomination weighing in) is a powerful motivation to not hire more shepherds for the sheep. I hate to talk about things in this fashion [for it implies something is wrong, but something is in regards to churches who have pastors who are not pastors or churches who think that one pastor (or even two for that matter) can actually pastor hundreds of people]. Brothers and Sisters, if you have not received a visit from your pastor (some churches have “care pastors”), especially after years of attending the same church, your church is probably too large (or again you have a pastor who is not a pastor). This is not good for sustaining revival. Brethren, if you belong to a church where you can actually do something about the situation, once a church can provide for the financial need of a pastor (usually about 50 - 100 people, also see Appendix L in regards to this), you should consider either splitting the church or hiring another shepherd for the needs of the sheep (and again I would advise splitting the church for too many cooks in the kitchen is not a good thing, also the redundancy of gifts is an issue, as well as the full functioning and maturity of the entire congregation). If your church should grow beyond those numbers (50-100) the money should not go into a larger building, particularly a showcase building. I have found that too many saints have been left on the sidelines because they never felt part of (or included in ) what was going on - and why? The church had gotten too large and as a result few in authority ever got to know their names much more anything else. Brothers and sisters, if your church goes the larger building route you will find too many needs being unmet, and too many words left unspoken - all because of the size of the congregation. Brothers and sisters, for revival to be sustain something needs to be done about these kinds of situations, and a lot it revolves around the congregation getting control of these types of authoritian churches. Power has a vested interest in keeping itself in power. Authority has a vested interest in keeping things under it’s authority. The sooner people in these kinds of churches realize and understand what is going on the sooner they should take control and take action to assert the correct biblical model for leadership. Either do that or vote with their feet. Now on to next issue that concerns the sustaining of revival… churches and money. Chapter 3 Money Money is a big, yet touchy subject. If it’s used rightly can help revival along (the hiring of more staff for the local church for example). Money can definitely help to sustain things. However, if used wrongly (as in supporting wrong paradigms for ministry, or ‘a show’ type of service), it can greatly hinder revival, or even stop it. Brethren you don’t want you money supporting ministers or churches that have the wrong paradigm (which have the real potential of going off into error). You want to sustain revival. Brethren, since money is a big touchy subject and it’s existence can both help or hinder revival, let’s talk about it and talk about it properly. Giving vs. Tithing Brothers and sisters Pastors (that is Elders), are right in saying that we are not under the law but grace, but I have seen enough elders talk about the old covenant law of tithing (that is giving a tenth of your salary to the church), like the law was still in effect today (Brethren, even collection boxes or public announcements concerning collections use the word “tithe.” I guess “the law” is good for these kind of churches when it suites them). Also, brethren, I have found that churches sometimes try to justify this talk of tithing by saying that the “principle” of tithing was in existence before the laws of Moses was given (that is: Abraham and Jacob tithed), therefore it’s still in effect today. However they - in doing so - often fail to mention that... 1) Abraham only tithed once when he tithed (it was not a continual weekly act)... 2) and Jacob only tithed as a result of a bargain he made with God. Brethren you just don’t see the idea of a tithe in the early church, even in the New Testament Church. That whole old covenant concept is replaced by the idea of Giving in the New Testament, and giving freely at that (“I am not speaking this as a command” 2 Corinthians 8:8 and “not…(to give) under compulsion” 2 Corinthians 9:7). Brethren, the local church may get together for a special OFFERING like they did in the Corinthian case, which was for a GOOD WORK that the church itself instituted, but again the idea of a tithe is just not seen in early church and that includes the New Testament church. However... having said that, one can make a case (a weak case) for giving a percentage of your salary today on the basis of PRINCIPLE (or give more to God because we are in the age of grace). You are able to do that in my opinion (Not based on Abraham or Jacob, but again Malachi 3:10 that is a principle derived from law). Brothers and sisters, there is benefit to following the PRINCIPLES of the old covenant and in this case the benefit would be to regularly support a work that God is doing (3:1). But... But in regards to revival, if you feel that you should give a tithe on the basis of principle to the things that happen during revival, fine, but to say that all your 10th should go to a church for them to distribute is truly another matter (3:2), especially since we are not under law, but grace. You should be able to give and support what ministries you feel deserve support and you should be able to give to them directly. Brothers and sisters, there are so many worthy Christian causes to give to (and if you look at Matthew 10:10, and Revelation 1:6; 5:10 that may include you). Now brothers and sisters in regards to this, what I am going to say to you is quite shocking, but if you do something for God, and it takes you time… take it out of your tithe. Especially in this day and age where the view of support for ministry is so lopsided and preached about in such a self serving way. Remember, a worker is worthy of his wages especially when God is on the move and revival is on the brink and or needs to be sustained. Again if you do something for God and it takes you time, take it out of your tithe (3:3). ____________ The Priests and Tithing “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there might be food in My house; and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing for you until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10 Brethren, God wants ALL His people to do work for Him, especially during revival. We are not in the system of old where only certain people (the priests) did “the work.” He made us all His priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) (for example Jesus said sell what you have and (you) give to the poor (Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:33), not give the money to the church and let them distribute it as they want). All of us are to do “the work” Brothers and sisters, we are “the priests” of the storehouse who - are worthy of their wages. Full time Ministers are not the ONLY priests (you have to be strong in this). Think about these things and be wise brethren ESPECIALLY SINCE TITHING IS NOT A REQUIREMENT, we are not under law, and the entire concept has been replaced by the concept of giving. AND BRETHREN, THE GIVING MATERIAL THINGS (WHICH THE PRIESTS WERE GIVEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT) instead of money CAN COUNT AS PART OR ALL OF “AN OFFEREING” TOO [remember, tithing is NOT a requirement but if it was… for the sake of argument according to the law your NOT restricted as to what you can give, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so that there might be food in My house” (MalachI 3:10) as long as it’s of benefit (3:4)]. Brothers and Sisters, material things are of value. Even the government agrees with this in regards to their taxing of bartering. If you need a proof text just look at the verse in Malachi 3:10 and realize that that’s pretty much what they gave in the Old Testament anyway - actually what they gave a lot of was food, grain, cattle etc. to the priests (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 14:22,23; Numbers 18:21). and Malachi 3:10 the main verse on tithing is talking about material things - food). Brothers and sisters, the old covenant society was an agricultural society and they gave a tenth of their agricultural PRODUCTS towards the tithe (so again giving material things can make up your tithe as well). So brethren, since we can give material things IN PLACE OF MONEY [and Clothing, as well as clothing to the poor counts as well (3:5)]. And don’t feel ashamed to do it. (And don’t think you WON”T get a reward for giving material things in place of money. Again, even if it’s your professional services, even to a church, or a soup kitchen again or any type of Christian work. (Your professional services can actually be of more value than giving money, it ALL counts and it’s of VALUE and God always repays His “debts” to us for the things we do for Him. (Brethren, some people can only give mostly material things as well as their services. BUT material things - as well as your labor to the Lord (even if it’s on a worship team) can be - if you wish - a legitimate part of your OFFERING to God YOU CAN DEDUCT IT FROM YOUR OFFEREING. “Paying off” your Tithe to God [Once again I want to point out that since we are not under the law, and the tithe has been replaced by the concept of giving, I am writing this chapter for those who - on the basis of principle - of give a tenth (of whatever) to support ministry. When I talk about “tithing” I mean it from that perspective (and that is those who are tithing on the basis of principle) and what I wish to do is to biblically expand their horizons as to what the tithe was all about] Brothers and sisters, I know this may all be new to some of you, but what difference is it TO GOD if you get a part time job at McDonald’s to “pay off” your offering vs. cleaning a church building, working in a soup kitchen, on a worship team or helping a needy person with some basic needs? It’s your time and your time is worth something to God. Pastors are there ‘because it’s their job’ I’ve heard one say and they get paid. Shouldn’t you as a priest get paid too?(3:6). Listen, Christians who are worthy of congregational support is another matter and we need to factor that in to this (I‘ll get more into this later), but for centuries they have had their say. Brothers and sisters, the idea of just giving MONEY today has so corrupted the concept of giving. In days of old it was not like that and those who quote the verse in Malachi should quote the whole verse so that everyone can see it was talking about material things. So brethren remember… * Under the old covenant they gave material things as part or all of their offering * and a worker (that means you) is worthy of their wages Give what you think is best for you to support full time ministry (that is: time, money, material things). They ALL count. (And don’t forget to give to the ministry that God has called you to do too. It will help to sustain revival) A Few more things about giving to a Church If you belong to a church that doesn’t account for it’s finances, or spends your money in a way that is not fruitful, you have a right, actually an obligation (for your own fruitfulness), to address the issue and if it doesn’t stop, to stop giving. Brethren, we’re talking about eternal matters here (that is: rewards for fruitfulness, your faithfulness), for which each and every one of us will have to account (look at the story of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30; also see Luke 19:11-27) AND We’re talking about YOUR reward here. Be wise and be strong enough to say NO to unprofitable works (people can be pretty intimidating) especially unprofitable ministries - it’s terrible (3:7). And don’t fall for this baby stuff that if you don’t trust us with your money you shouldn’t be here (that is truly immaturity speaking. I’ve seen it done. Again people are treated as cattle). Brothers and sisters, leadership is to be held accountable. We’re talking about your reward here, not spending it on what they want for their reward (Not to micromanage things, but come on, churches today are so unreal and some pastors are again so well compensated for their services, and if they don’t get what they want...it’s tantrum time... Also Brothers and Sisters, remember it’s nobodies business what you give (money, material things, labor) and to whom you give it. Nor is it anybody’s business HOW MUCH of any of those things you give. If you belong to a church that uses this against you be strong enough to stand up to them and against the pressure they use - especially from the wives of the men in ministry. They, of all people, are most likely not going to go for the things written on these pages even if you can get their husbands to agree with you. (and by the way... I can’t stand public collections. It’s so contrary to Jesus teaching. So So contrary). Conclusion Brothers and sisters I urge you to rethink the concept of tithing especially in regards to it’s effect on sustaining revival. Also, remember that rewards are based on giving (which replaced the doctrine of tithing) and when giving not giving as some mechanical thing, or done as a commandment, but giving freely, not under compulsion ( 2 Corinthians 8:8 and 2 Corinthians 9:7). In other words no one can order you to do it. Brothers and sisters, if you think you can earn for yourself more fruit by giving in a certain way (that is: individually rather than having a church do it as an intermediary) then you have an obligation to yourself to do it (think about yourself for a change). You don’t need the church as a go between (3:8). And I would advise you to give anomalously. Brothers and sisters, don’t be intimidated by people. They can be very intimidating when they want your money . Be strong in this, you are not powerless Brethren, Let’s be a people who are known for our good works. Blessed are they who die in the Lord their deed (that is. labors) follow them (Revelation 14:13). They rest from their labors Being generous to those who are in want cannot help but to sustain revival. Now brothers and sisters unto the next issue that has probably stopped more than it’s fair share of revivals and has already been alluded to and that is people stopping to build a monument to themselves - buildings. Chapter 4 Buildings Buildings. Any Christian that has been around for a while can tell you about buildings. Church buildings. Everything from special collections, to fund drives and pleas for money (really begging) all done from the pulpit during the service. They can also tell you stories of the time, money and effort that goes into their continued maintenance. After a while one begins to wonder whether they are actually worth the all trouble. For the most part NO. People stopping to put time, money and effort into getting and maintaining a building has probably stopped more than it’s fair share of revivals and is akin to people stopping to build a monument - either to themselves, or the person or people behind getting the building, especially showcase types of buildings. . In regards to buildings and their relationship to the show mentality (which will be discussed in Chapter 5), I’ve had the distinct privilege of watching and being part of two churches who had moved into the same town. One church moved into the upscale section of town (into an established church building), the other moved into a warehouse in the industrial section of town (it was literally behind the city’s food kitchen). Both churches had rented space in different towns (one, a smaller church building and the other a hotel meeting room) and both saw larger more permanent structures as an answers for the problems they faced. For one church (the one that moved into and purchased a nice established church building in an upscale section of the town) the old sanctuary lights came down and the chandeliers went up. That building eventually became such an albatross around the peoples neck. It was suppose to be the answer for so many things but it consumed most, if not all their spare time, energy and money [in the previous rented building their major concern was setting up the sound system - which was very small - and some partitions for Sunday school]. Anyway, in the other church. The warehouse church (which God brought into the same town a few years after the first one) - we taped over some electrical outlets in the warehouse, the pastor had someone come in and spray paint everything the same color, a platform was built, carpet was laid down, and he borrowed some chairs and that was it. If you had to have a larger more “permanent” building, this was the kind of building to have. It was low maintenance (just cleaning really)... and still rented (the owner presumably took care of any building problems). Some Good Advise Now this is not to say that a group of people can’t own something, but let me give you some sound pieces of advice. 1) I have found in my experience that aside from the maintenance issues - most of the people who were there when a church takes out a mortgage for a building will probably not be there for the last payment. Brothers and sisters you have to factor that in if you are going to go in the direction of ownership with a mortgage. In the New York area (which I’m familiar with) you can probably expect an almost complete turn over rate every 5 years (that is every five years there is practically a brand new congregation). Brethren, people move out of the area or leave for various reasons. The people who were “on fire” for a building may not be there in 5 years time to honor a commitment (much less 20 or 30). Again you have to factor that in. 2) If you belong to a denomination - if the church folds - the new building may end up belonging to the denomination (if they don’t already own it, and if they don’t already own it they may have tremendous influence over its deposition). The question is this: If you belong to a denomination do you really want to put all this time and effort into buying and maintaining a building whose disposition may not - in the end - be in your hands? (“your” meaning the people). Believe me when I say that you would probably do better (time wise, money wise etc.) if you just rented a building. Unless you love your denomination and don‘t mind (that is: if the worst should happen). 3) Brethren, if you don’t belong to a denomination - if the church folds - the final deposition of the building in is usually in the hands of the trustees (which is something else you need to consider. This is also true with many denominational churches as well). A lot of people don’t realize this, but the way churches are set up - if a church folds - and the remaining congregation votes on what to do with the building - that vote is only a recommendation. It’s up to the trustees as to what to do with the building. [And they can do whatever they want (but if they sell it the building and or the proceeds of the sale needs to be given to another non-profit organization)]. Not to be negative, but I think it would be wise to consider the question of how well do you really know your trustees before purchasing a building, and would they listen to the congregations advise if things about the building came to a vote? (4:1). Is “Having a Building” what “a Church” is About? Brothers and Sisters, if your concerned about having a building remember… Christianity is not about “having a building.” It never was. You don’t see anyone in the New Testament being concerned about getting a either. It was not a focus and it should not be yours either. If your congregation is getting too big you may want to consider splitting the church. Also, this philosophy of “build a building and they will come” (that is so prevalent today), is no way to build a church. Many valuable resources (as well as valuable time), are wasted with this type of thinking (particularly in up and coming churches). Many pastors have gone all out (and are actually consumed), with this idea that having and maintain a building somehow guarantees their ministry and personal success. Brethren, they’re wrong. In regards to a congregation getting a much bigger building (whether buying or rented)... Again it would be much better for them and the church too – [once the church is big enough to pay another pastors salary (insurance and whatever else he needs, which by the way are the priorities over owning a building)] – it would be much better for the individual churches - SPIRITUALLY - for them to split in two and hire another pastor for the building up of the ministry (that is the people), and or pay other ministries (see Footnote A:8 and Appendix L for other considerations) than it would be for them to do what they have been doing. [and even if churches hire another pastor - without splitting - most churches don’t give them the recognition they deserve and only call them an associate or assistant pastor (somehow being subordinate to the “will” of the “real” pastor, more like an assistant to the pastor)]. Brethren, I tell you the truth, that from the things I’ve seen there are going to be many pastors ashamed of themselves when they stand before God and have to give what the Bible calls “an account” for their work. They will be ashamed because they will be presenting to God congregations of weak and sickly Christians who never matured beyond their initial salvation. Saved by fire with almost no fruit. Why?, the ministers were too consumed with the building (it’s true), or the recognition that comes in part with having one - a nice one. Just too concerned with the external the things of ministry, the external trappings etc. Anything other than do the true priorities of their callings and office (visitation, prayer, preaching and teaching THE WORD, in other words caring for and overseeing the flock of God) Problems with Larger Church Gatherings Brothers and Sisters, if you desire to get a larger church building, is the reason you want a larger building because you want a larger church meeting? Just why do you want a larger church meeting? Just what are you trying to do? (4:2). Brethren I’ve been to a lot of these types of meetings and a lot of these types of churches and I have observed quite a few things. First, a good deal of them are so large that I wonder if everyone even knows each other. The personal touch by established ministry often seems to be missing in a lot of these large churches. They are also so into technology (which actually creates impersonal distance between the leadership and the congregation) and there always seems to be something about them that smacks of a show (usually a one man show) (4:3). Second, I don’t see any great movings of the Spirit in these churches (in a lasting, sustaining sense) outside of basic (that is foundational ) evangelism. (You might hear about something that is going on for a brief period of time, but that‘s about it, it usually wimpers out). Large groups to me have always seemed to be something that the reformation failed to deal with, and too many people with their necessary giftings slip through the cracks and end up who knows where (Concerning these large “churches” I’ve even heard someone say that pastors aren’t suppose to know peoples names. God’s honest truth). Third, the gifts need to function and it’s very hard to do so in a room of hundreds of people - especially when most everyone needs to contribute AND FUNCTION in some way. Again, why do you want a larger church meeting? Seriously. Just what are you trying to do? [at the minimum you are putting a new pastor - who should be the shepherd to the excess congregation - out of a job, who now has to work a secular job (s) to support themselves, and this is just at the minimum]. Brothers and Sisters, large group dynamics do hinder God’s movings in the long run (Factor that into ones desire in getting a larger building to meet in. Again whether rented or owned. Please read Footnote #2 in this chapter). Conclusion Again, the topic in this book concerns sustaining revival and the use of wrong paradigms to sustain it. You really want to think twice about getting a building that is going to take up so much of your valuable time, energy and money - when there are better ways to do things (and believe me you can‘t always count on people to be there if there is a problem with the building. People are usually busy with their lives). Also, since the gifts are important, what is the purpose of getting a larger structure when the optimum size for a church is on the smaller size anyway? Brother and sisters you need to think twice about these things. Most modern churches go for a larger building in part because it’s helpful for the type of service they are conducting [where everyone just sits down, faces forward and watches to what amounts to a show, and then pay for the show - with the subtle means of social pressure - through the public passing of collection plates. A collection box in the back would be better). Brethren for “churches” with this mentality, how large the size of the building really doesn’t matter, because no one is participating in the service anyway. However, bigger is always the preferred way to go. This paradigm for this kind of thing is called “a show mentality” and it greatly hinders a lot of what God want’s to do. This is talked about in the next chapter. Chapter 5 Entertainment Is this your church service, or something close to it? “Overture, curtains, lights, This is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part. We know every part by heart. Overture, curtains, lights. This is it, you'll hit the heights And oh what heights we'll hit. On with the show this is it…” Or is it something like this? “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… and be subject to one another(s) (giftings etc) in the fear of Christ” Ephesians 5:18-21 And let me quote the inverse concerning giftings for effect (5:1) “Now you are Christ’s body (that is the church)… All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? (1 Corinthians 12:27, 29, 30) Brothers and sisters, the paradigm quoted at the beginning of this chapter is the paradigm that many “modern” churches today are tempted to follow (or are in fact following) for their “service model.” If you look at the verses quoted underneath the “modern” service model you can see how far off they are in regards to the true point, focus and purpose of a service [and personally I blame the ‘spirit of entertainment’ that is seen in just about every aspect of life in today’s society. People want to sit back be passively entertained]. Brothers and sisters, when talking about the gathering together of the local body of believers, it’s not just one gift functioning - alone - and held up as the end all to end all gifts it‘s all the gifts functioning (and by the way even though you can make a case for preaching ( 1 Timothy 5:17 ) I don’t see the gift of preaching mentioned in this list of gifts - actually there is no such gift - and believe me that‘s about all you get in most church “services” today, a one man “center of attention” something) The Church is more than one Mouth (and the “Gathering together” more than a Single Person Functioning) Brothers and sisters, there are many speaking gifts As mentioned in the previous chapter the gifts have a part during the gathering together of the saints. The idea of what happens when saints gather together is something of a corporate supernatural experience of the manifestation of the Spirit of God where anyone may contribute and things happen! When the church gathers together each one may - and probably will - have something to do or say (5:2). “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together, by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16 This is not what you find is most “modern” churches and in fact many may not even be aware of this service model and are in fact moving away from this model as fast as they can. (Brothers and sisters, we’re lucky if most churches today even believe in the gifts, much less use them in the service). Now in regards to those who believe that “a one man something” is the service and that supernatural things are to happen outside the “service,” this is not to say that supernatural things cannot happen outside the service (or in much smaller groups), but the idea of just one thing going on when ALL the saints gather together is pretty poor, and while it’s possible that that is all God may want to do or say in a particular meeting - given the richness of His Spirit - is extremely unlikely (5:3). Brethren, I’m sorry but going to a building just to listen to one man preach, while that may be “OK” in some peoples thinking, is not a service [and again a service is not a show, and it’s certainly not a one man show (5:4)]. Music and the Church Brothers and sisters, in regards to the actual congregational service, since it’s obvious that there is more than one speaking gift (and therefore it would be wise - for the sake of sustaining revival - to allow for the functioning of more than one individual in the service), what about the other half (or part) of the service? The music half? Is there anything that could be done there (in regards to helpful advise) that can help churches sustain revival? You bet, aside from getting away from the obvious ‘music for the sake of music’ thing or getting together to just “sing songs” (which by the way is an attitude found in the original modern entertainment industry of “follow the bouncing ball” bouncing over the lyrics of songs at the movie theater), aside from getting away from that attitude, what else can we in the service - particularly the music half (or half) - to help sustain revival? Lets again look at a previous mentioned verse and bring in a parallel verse and see what God has to say about all this. “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-21) “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16) Some things for us to note about these verse. 1) Scripturally there is a threefold division of music (psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs). 2) That speaking the words of songs (particularly the Psalms) TO one another (or even singing the song to them - in my opinion) is part of a gathering together of the saints (for example if someone is depressed you might say or sing to them (“there is joy, joy, joy in the presence of the Lord” get in the presence of God!). 3) The melody of a song that is sung is to come from your heart (or a REDEEMED heart). And by the way if we follow this biblical model in regards to the worship part (or this part) of the service, if you are new to this I admonish you not to laugh at people when these things happen to you, nor should you fear that you will be laughed at if you do these things, for as the scripture we just read said “be subject to one another(s) (giftings etc) in the fear of Christ”(and gifts can work through this type of thing). In other words brethren, since it’s people “filled with the Spirit” and most likely using their giftings, or special anointing to let GOD speak through them - to us - it would be wise to have a sober attitude and listen. 4) Another thing to note in regards to the just mentioned verses is that worship - by singing - is to be directed at the Lord (“singing and making melody with your heart To the Lord”) and that this particular aspect of singing is also part of the gathering of the saints (probably the main part). [Brothers and sisters, in my experience this is mainly what the singing is about, that is singing to the Lord (and again we don‘t gather together to “sing songs” when we sing in a congregational setting we either sing spiritual advise to one another or sing our songs to the Lord). 5) and finally if you look at the just mentioned verse (and this is more of a side point, but an important point, particularly for worship teams), is that there is such a thing as unspiritual music (or melodies if you will). In other words if there is such a thing as spiritual songs there must of necessity exist the opposite (this is covered more in Appendix B). Brethren once again, taking note of these things and factoring them in to our gathering together cannot help but to sustain revival and the things that God want’s to do. The reason being is that it’s the biblical order, the divine order of the way God wants things done and unless the Spirit of God leads one otherwise [and the “lasting of” and “the sustaining of” fruit would be evidence of that leading, in other words that the fruit or benefit of that deviation “would remain” (John 15;16)], unless that is actually happening (and you might want to read Footnote 5:3 on this) it would be best to follow that advise. Once again brothers and sisters, the idea of sitting back and watching a one person “perform” or watching people sing (like watching a choir perform, or an individual give “a special”) is foreign to what a gathering together of the saints is all about. Partaking in the gathering, contributing, entering in, not being passive is what things are about - and this includes worship (and again when we worship we don’t “sing songs” like people do when they sit around the campfire. We are singing to God) (5:5). ____________ Brethren, since we are talking about music and the church, (and we just covered the singing part of worship), what about the instrumentation that underlies the music that is sung? Is there anything that can use some correction in churches today? Things that will help congregations center in on and focus on the things that are important for the sustaining of revival? Brethren, since we are talking about entertainment in this chapter lets talk about bands, church bands (especially since music can take up half the service and instrumentation underlies the music which is sung) Brothers and sisters, bands in and of themselves can contribute very heavily to the “show mentality” and strictly speaking bands (that is the definition of the word “band” as opposed to the definition of “worship team”) have no place in the serve of the saints. Churches and Bands “Jesus said… we worship what we know… but an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:22-24) The differences between a worship team and a band is so obvious I’m not sure I want to get into it except to say that bands generally just play songs (and people “sing along”), and worship teams help lead people into the presence of God. In regards to defining the term “band” it might be helpful to first define the term “worship team” and see the contrast. Generally speaking a GOOD worship team… 1) arranges songs to make them appropriate for congregational singing and introduces them to the congregation. Worship teams usually practice 1 form of the song (like bands do), but - and here is a difference - they are very open to the moving of the Spirit of God and can change an arrangement of the song on the spot. Nothing is ever “set“ for a worship team, even the “set list.” The thing about bands in a church - and I’ve seen a lot - is that they are too rehearsed, their music is to to the recording, and their manner and dress as well as their instrumentation can be very worldly - especially their instrumentation. As a result it can all be very distracting (and is in fact the show mentality that the church is trying to get away from). Brothers and sisters, bands basically ‘give a performance’ worship teams do not, and people do pick up on this performance angle of bands and sometimes respond by clapping - and bands can like that very much (as mentioned previously in the footnotes concerning “a special“ done by an individual, it can be the same kind of thing). 2) A good worship teams is more geared toward Praise and Worship music (hence the name worship team). They have more of an understanding and comprehension of their function (they also will also “play” celebration music, which is more upbeat, however their emphasis is usually worship music). Brothers and sisters, in my experience bands (even those who call themselves worship teams) will deviate into all kinds of music. I’m not sure why except to say that I think they have a “band mentality” (in other words a ‘request mentality’) and have no idea of what their function is to be. They just play any song as long as long as you can call it “Christian.” Brethren, I’ve seen this ‘request mentality’ in play where they (church bands), will play Christian songs that are OK Or “OK”) for what they are - but are totally inappropriate for congregational singing. (5:6). Basically a band in a church - while they can play worship music - will usually have a ‘band mentality’ and play what they like. Worship teams however are more geared towards the main threefold categories of congregational singing (praise, worship and celebration) (5:7). 3) Worship teams, good worship teams are - generally speaking - “prayed up,” seek God’s anointing, play their music in the Spirit - with feeling, spend time in Gods presence before they minister, lead Gods people into His presence, worship the Lord themselves as they themselves lead the congregation in worship, exhort the congregation to worship the Lord no matter what they are going through, exhort and encourage the congregation in regards to the things of worship, and because they are “prayed up” may be the first to experience God’s manifest presence and can be - but not necessarily be - a physical example of how God is leading (for example: during celebration music you may see some members jump up and down, or even dance, during praise in worship they may even lift a hand. All of it’s done in the sincerity of the Spirit , again it’s not a performance, and again because they are “prayed up” they may be the first to experience these things ) Bands kind of just play songs. 4) In church services (usually smaller church services which are usually are more intimate) you will find worship teams instrumentation more appropriate for manifestation of the Lords presence (5:8). Brothers and sisters, as you can see, the church service is NOT and should not be about entertainment, and far from it. Nor is it any kind of show or a performance. Also, the people in the congregation are not “the audience” but are the congregation and are active participants. Also the platform - if there is one - is not a stage. Brethren, the service itself is not something where people come, and passively watch, no… again they participate, and the songs they sing they don’t “sing along with” but sing them to one another and God (mostly God) and the worship team - if there is one - is not a band, but a worship team and sing songs appropriate for congregational singing. Brothers and sisters, I’ve visited a lot of churches in my life and sad to say the vast majority of the churches I’ve visited do not know what worship is about, much less any idea of what a biblical church service is about. The church - at large - has a way to go in regards to these issues, especially in regards to sustaining revival. I can’t tell you how may churches I’ve visited and have sat there wondering why people do the things they do? In doing so I have come to the conclusion that most really don’t know any better. They’ve never really experienced corporate worship, the service they are doing is the kind of ‘service’ they’ve been taught, this is what has been passed down to them, this is what they see, etc. A lot also either don’t read the bible in regards to all these issues or just don’t believe it. People who know better and can help, are usually out working secular jobs because most churches haven’t even got their employment issues right. Larger congregations, buildings, making money have become a focus and anything that will help along those lines (shows, bands etc), has become the over ridding consideration in decision making. Hence revival - if there was one - begins to wanes, falter or worse. Brothers and sisters, people would be much better off going back to the biblical model of a church and church service then for them to do what they have been doing, for then you will see the true drawing power and sustaining presence of God (just one miracle could turn a community upside down). But where are the people with the giftings? In my experience MOST don’t even know they have one - again, because it’s not a priority, its not talked about, or not allowed to function, all because of the church “service” (especially a one man show service) is a priority and as a result bad paradigms or understandings of what the church is about continue. Brothers and sisters, the world needs revival and it needs it to continue. The church had better get it’s act together. This leads us to our next section. Let’s examine revival, both past and present and see if we can find some other helpful insights that will help Gods people sustain what God has done as well as what God wants to do in the earth today. Chapter 6 Sustaining Revival “and He brought us out from there (Egypt), in order to bring us in (to a land of blessing and provision)” (Deuteronomy 6:23) For too long the Christian church has had revival (or renewal) (6:1) and it stopped or waned for various reasons, the church has never been able to sustain it for very long (and again “sustaining revival” being the subject of this book). What happens is new truths are discovered (or dusted off) and all of a sudden something changes - there’s life, direction, hope. People are alive again (hence the term revival), but… 1) Power structures outside the church feel threatened and try to suppress it (just read about Martin Luther and the trouble he had with the princes and provinces, also study Anglicanism and Catholicism in England and see denominations (powers) at work behind political powers (or visa versa). 2) Power structures within the church (or church at large) feel threatened and try to suppress it or direct it so they can control it. I grew up Roman Catholic and the “directing” of new truths is something they are famous for. Whenever some person comes alive and discovers something “new” they direct the newness into an “order.” In protestant churches - at least in the past - it’s wasn’t uncommon for the discovery of a new truth - which, by the way, was usually rejected by the overall denominational power structure - to lead to the founding of another denomination (or a least a local church split. 1st Reformed, 2nd Reformed etc.). The discovery of new truths (or the dusting off of old ones) should be embraced by the entire church. 3) Division within the church body (which can be legitimate, and of which the Appendixes of this book attempt to address), has also been known to stop or hinder revival. Also questions over power, money or similar things previously mentioned in this book can slow things down to a crawl. 4) Also bad subsequent teaching that comes in after revival can also hinders life (again revival has to do with life), and can stop it right in it’s tracks. A lot of revivals seem to have end up with or in some kind of tradition, formalism or even legalism (again bad teaching came in. Wesley’s revival fell back on method hence the term Methodist). When revivals has fallen back on these things to sustain (or carry) themselves they basically “loose it.” The revival (which again was ALIVE! And it‘s hard to contain life) - that people “worked” so hard for in establishing falters and / or just whimpers out. Again, any kind of bad, or erroneous teaching may or stop or hinder revival. 5) Another thing that has been known to stop or hinder revival is people becoming concerned with the things of this world [that is the failure to focus on priorities (Luke 8:14)]. This will also slow things down to a crawl (2 Timothy 4:10, 11, 16) [also, look at one of the apostles in regards to work in a particular province, everyone deserted him (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:10,16)] [and by the way, this fact may give revival evangelists insight as to why that particular province (Asia minor, in the Turkey area) has fallen under the domination of another religion, even to this day)]. Again people being concerned about the things of this world (2 Timothy 4:10)will cause people to loose their focus and revival will wane. 6) or… congregations either just plain don’t know where to go next (that is failure to listen to or tap into God) or just don‘t have the guts to do the thing (s) necessary to keep things going. Basically either a lack of direction, or focus, or just plain old immaturity on the part of leadership (as in “someone need to _______” ) Brothers and sisters, revival is born on the knees of the saints, which usually requires the preaching and teaching of the word, but to sustain a revival (i.e. carry it) to it’s completion and keep it going may require other things as well [for example: endurance, perseverance, patience, seeking God, hearing from God, maintaining unity, maintaining Divine order, having direction, using Spiritual gifts (and having hope for a better physical life because of the use of giftings) and of course the active hope and expectation for a better spiritual life which truly manifests all kinds of miracles and wonders promised by the Lord in scripture]. Right ways and Wrong ways to Sustain Revival Brethren, once again, to often in the church - the sustaining of a revival - has been what the church has failed at, time and time again. In scripture people carried the place where God’s corporate presence would come (the Ark), and once they got to the place where God wanted them to be, they rested - for a while - (and “worked on themselves” and or let God “work on them” Deuteronomy 8:2,5), and worked to do the things necessary to maintain that corporate presence so it would not lift (as it would in Ezekiel 10:18; 1 Samuel 4:11; Psalm 78:56-60; and did to some degree Exodus 33:3) (6:2). Doing things in a wrong way (or sin), or even actively believing wrong things and then acting upon them (which will be talked about later in this chapter) can cause God’s presence to lift (remember when Jesus became sin for us on the cross? What did He say to the Father? “Why have you forsaken me?” Sin , which Jesus became on the cross, can cause the presence of God to lift [Psalm 51:11(6:3)] and revival to come to a standstill. Brothers and sisters, disobedience and unbelief have no place in the Christian life. Brethren, in regards to Israel carrying the ark, the word carry (as in the people carried the ark) means to “support, sustain, secure, prevail, bear, transfer, shoulder.” It does mean that people will have ‘to work’ at doing something, it (revival) will require ‘effort,’ it may even require sweat. Again, revival is born on the knees of the saints, but to sustain a revival (that is: carry it) to it’s completion requires other things (6:4). An Object Lesson in a Revival that Failed In regards to all this there is a interesting lesson in scripture of a revival that failed and not only that, but moved on to another group of people. It surrounds David and his handling of the ark (which again was the place of God‘s manifest presence) (6:5). The Story is found in 2 Samuel 6, and 1 Chronicles 13. When David became King over Israel He desired to bring the ark to Jerusalem. They made a new cart to transport the ark of God’s presence and as they were transporting it - the oxen who were pulling the ark shook the ark in some way - and a man named Uzzah reached out to steady the ark, and in touching it, well… it didn’t go well for him. As the story goes, David and all the house of Israel were nearby celebrating (for it was a joyous occasion), and after Uzzah fell, David became upset, and - in a sense - was ‘unwilling to move with God anymore’ - and place the ark in another’s house - and THAT HOUSE experience blessing (for the glory and presence of God may have been there, for the ark was the place of God‘s presence at the time). Now in regards to using stories as object lessons we need to be careful. We can read too much into a story that may be true here (6:6), but that aside, there is much we can derive from this story. What Went Wrong? Brethren, Israel got the idea of carrying the ark on an ox cart (where they would not have to work), from the Philistines (the unsaved). That’s the way the Philistine’s probably did it (that is: carried their gods or spirits), and it was certainly the way the Philistines sent the Spirit of the Lord’s Ark back to Israel after they captured it (1 Samuel 6:7), therefore David and the rest - because of ignorance or just plain disobedient carelessness - carried on the tradition (2 Samuel 6:3), and there were problems. Brothers and sisters, Israel was in an out of order state (that is they were not carrying the ark - the place of the God’ s presence - the way it should be carried) However, since it was the place of God’ s presence, God still showed up (in some way), and when He did “show up” it did not mean He would be happy about what was going on, and that His presence would be for the best for everyone concerned. Even though there was a Revival going on (2 Samuel 6:5) when they encountered the Lord in an “out of order state,” God display His anger over the situation (2 Samuel 6:7). Revival came to a halt, it was not sustained. Brothers and sisters, I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but failure to discern the “right” way of doing things can have similar results even to this day (again see 1 Corinthians 11:30; also see 1 Chronicles 15:13 in regards to this point “we did not seek Him according to the ordinance” that is they were in an ‘out of order’ state or not doing things rightly) Brothers and sisters, if God “shows up” when things are “out of order” things MAY not go well for all concerned. Especially in regards to how we carrying the presence of the Lord (6:7). But in regards to David and his handling of the ark... even though he was “having revival” (and he was) it was really no excuse for doing things in a such an incorrect way. They really should of known better (Numbers 4:5-15; 7:9; 1 Chronicles 15:13). When God’ s anger struck out, the revival ended (2 Sam 6:9,10), and it moved unto another place (2 Samuel 6:11,12; 1 Chron. 13:14). And it wasn’t God’s fault that it “ended” either (in other words that it, revival, was not sustained), it was theirs. Brethren, today there are many “carts” the church has used to carry (that is: sustain) revival. The cart of tradition, the cart of formalism to name a few. As said before, when revival has fallen back on these carts to sustain (or carry) itself they basically “lost it.” The revival - which people “worked” so hard in establishing ended. Brethren, one may interpret what happened to Uzzah as what happens to a revival when it falls back on tradition (even pagan tradition which the cart represents) as a method to sustain / carry itself, but the thing about pagan tradition is this, now listen carefully... pagan tradition (and culture), shows up it in many forms (hype and exaggeration to name a few), but in regards to the show mentality that churches have adopted from today’s culture [entertainment, music, particularly the music (remember the UNspiritual music that was talked about in Chapter 5), and of course the “one man somethings”] none of these things will sustain the presence of the Lord, nor help revival along Brethren we need to be careful and weed these “carts” (as well as others) out of the church for once again none of these things will sustain the presence of the Lord. Some of the things that helped to stop a more recent move of God, the move of the 1990’s In the 1990’s people who follow revival generally agree something akin to revival (or renewal) happened throughout many churches in the world and what it was might be called “the Father Heart of God experience.” Basically what happened is a paradigm was launched by a man named Kent Henry concerning this topic and it subsequently effected the members of a Vineyard church (See Appendix A) in Toronto Canada. John Arnot the pastor of the church picked up this paradigm and spread it (that is “the experience” or the experience they experienced when God the Father touched their heart) through out the world (and they did so by people who came to visit the church to see what it was that had effected the members of that church in such a powerful way. The experience which leaned more towards renewal than revival was basically nothing more than realizing that God loved you as a Father and experiencing that love in a substantial way. This was it). What had happened at Toronto in the beginning was pretty simple and straight forward, and if you listened to people talk about it, the language they used was all basically renewal and rededication type of things (but on a deeper level for some). The only real substantial question that concerned people at the beginning was… “was this experience something that just “came upon” people with no preparation at all or was seeking out God with a full heart and mind part of the formula?” It was a good question for how one answered it would determine the method one would use to spread what had happen to them to others. Basically at the beginning (aside from the answer to this question) there were no substantial problems with Toronto - yet. What began to happen is that people kept coming to Toronto and brought with them - and I might be wrong here - but had experiences that I don’t think the original members of the church had. Either way what started out pretty much as renewal (or really a heavier rededication service) quickly spread into other areas [laughter (which also for some reason became a separate experience), twitches (deliverances?), and some of the people in the services even began to make animal noises]. All of these subsequent experiences (or “experiences”) began to spread not only throughout the other Vineyard churches, but other non-Vineyard churches that had members visit the Toronto church. People became concerned, especially in the Vineyard movement itself, and one led to another between John Wimber (the founder - and whether like it or not - looked up to head of the movement) and John Arnot the pastor of Toronto and as a result John Arnot with Toronto in tow - not backing down from what they were doing, but backing out - left the Vineyard movement. They did this of their own doing and went independent. Not long after that things began to settle down in Toronto [the last contribution (or “contribution”) by them in regards to anything was trying to provide a theological basis behind some of the animal noise that was being heard at the meetings, which just happened to be the last straw with a lot of people) and not long after they left the Vineyard movement things eventually whimpered out throughout the world. Also during this time (or not long after it) an Assembly of God church in Brownsville Florida pick up the “twitching” (deliverance?) angle of this move (or had the “twitching experience” come upon them) and wanted to pass that on too (brethren don‘t ask me, for the lack of discernment as to what was really going on during this time period would eventually lead to this moves downfall). Anyway as a result of this people began to flock there to experience this phenomena as well as the other things that were happening (personally I just think Brownsville was the Assembly of God version of Toronto, and I feel that they were just as naïve as Toronto was concerning what this twitching was about). These things eventually whimpered out in Florida as well. Brothers and sisters, what happened in the 1990’s was a basic paradigm was launched concerning Gods love for His people and was spread throughout the churches. This in turn lead to rededications (and possibly other things as well). That’s renewal (or revival), but… 1) Generally speaking what began to happen was that people began to universally think that the joy that one experienced during rededication (laughter) was a separate experience devoid of everything that led up to it. 2) People confused twitching with deliverances and thought twitching was an experience “to have.” 3) People began to bring this method (or methodology hint hint) of experiencing an experience into the churches (which was basically experiencing an experience that “came upon” you with no preparation at all) and whatever was going on as a result (laughter, noises, twitches) was something that “came upon” you. 4) and people (that is churches outside Toronto and Brownsville), being people, when things began to whimper out, wanting things to continue (and seeing that emotions were a big part in what happened especially in Toronto) became very manipulative in regards to things (especially since people were starting to come to church again to see what was going on - and with people, came money and with money prestige and with prestige power and with power the idea of success (and I’m sorry but this was a factor in the trying to keep “things” going, when things were obviously not happening (at least not anymore) - for at it’s heart it was only a renewal service and once people had been renewed… Brethren, as a result, “the forcing” of further things (further experiences than the original Fathers Heart Experience) caused a good deal of damage in regards to anything that might have been helpful overall about the move). Also subsequent individual churches began to backtrack and vie for bragging rights concerning things, and this combined with hype and the manipulative spirit behind subsequent experiences (which were very doubtful to begin with) all of this combine with the change in music [which was a very big deal, for church music had now become “rocky” and fit right into the hyped charged atmosphere (6:8)] lead to many church splits and or people leaving churches in droves. When things eventually whimpered out in various churches outside Toronto and Brownville a lot of the churches that had excepted and supported ‘the move’ unfortunately left a show (particularly the hype and exaggerated one man show) in it’s place. It was the same thing that had been going on all along but in a brand new package. The most notable permanent change that stayed with the churches after the 1990’s was the change in music and the acceptance of rock (or hard music) in the service. This spread even to churches that did not support or fully support the move. Most are unable to truly sustain any kind of revival God has started. Brethren, as said before there are in fact many carts in the church today that can stop or hinder revival. They could be big things like “Denominational Traditionalism” (on in the case of the 1990’s this methodology of an experience that “came upon” you with no preparation at all) it could be these things or very small things like worship teams “sticking to a set list” like concrete during worship. If you study revivals most seem to gravitate towards some sort of traditionalism and may eventually formalize (to try to capture what was) or just- like a flash in a pan - end. Brothers and sisters, the revival of the 1990’s stopped for failure to discern quite a few things, among the most notable were 1) The failure to discern flesh from Spirit across the board (and usually allowed it to go on unchecked). 2) Saying things were God when they were not. 3) Gravitating to and around one man shows. 4) and just plain old failure to know the things necessary to sustain revival (and that is: the use of spiritual gifts, hiring more people for the work of the ministry, dealing with old and wrong paradigms of church structure etc, and of course power, money, entertainment, the hyped show etc and so forth. I could write an entire book on just what went wrong in the 1990‘s; but I’d rather forget about those days). [And to be fair, I’m sure there are still people around today who are still holding on to the good that happened during that decade. Somehow they were able to weed out the bad, but I have a feeling they ran into a wall over power, money and the show mentality of most church structures - particularly “progressing” denominational churches. It’s very hard to change established ways of doing things. What happened in most of these places is that the pastor and the “service” ended up becoming a more glorified version of it’s old self (that is a one man something)]. Brothers and sisters, revival, true revival will falter - or worse, when mixed with other things of the world to sustain it. (Soul-ish, non Spiritual music for example). God may not necessarily “strike out” against people who deviate from the way the Spirit is going (He does seem to give people time to figure things out), but God is not going to force Himself on people either if people don‘t want to follow Him or His direction. However as said before there are certain times, and certain circumstances - when sin is present, and God is “on the move” that God may indeed react to sin that is present and that may not be to our benefit. Sisters and brothers, God’s purposes are higher than ours and the world that God loves (John 3:16) is waiting for the full manifestation of the sons and daughters of God - with all power and authority and it can’t wait any longer. Brethren, God’s abiding manifest presence is a necessary part of the formula and therefore God will continually guide and corrects His people who want His manifest presence, so be sober. In regards to error God will help and will warn before He strikes out against sin or things that may hinder that presence, for it His presence is an answer for so many things, and not only is the things that God wants to do important, but the time is indeed short and in many way the end of the ages is upon us. Therefore bothers and sisters, take heed to the Spirit of Christ within you as well as what people may say to you - of a corrective nature - in the Spirit. Particularly in regards to issues of His presence and these issues of revival and the restorative purposes of God with the church (and that is moving it back to its baseline. See Appendix A in regards to this) Brothers and sisters, the prophetic still exists and can help out in these areas.. [and by the way if churches today what to pick up at the point where the last renewal went wrong it was probably in the area of deliverance (that is failure to properly discern it. Appendix C covers the work of deceptive spirits in general and they were indeed present and did manifest themselves at these meetings). Brethren, if you focus on that area and are successful you will be picking up where the move of the 1990‘s left off and who know what will happen] Some Helpful Suggestions to also Focus on in your Meetings Brethren here are some other helpful suggestions to focus on to help you and your local church sustain personal and corporate revival. They are listed by topic in no particular order and have some commentary or questions to consider as you personally think about these things (and after you think about these things maybe you would like to share your meditations with your brothers and sisters). Brethren, having a correct understanding of the following topics will have a bearing on the sustaining revival in your life (personal revival) as well as in your congregation (corporate revival). What to Focus on… 1) Grace - If you fall down how do you view God YOUR Father? Is He standing over you with a club or trying to help you to get on your feet again and stand up? Brothers and sisters, if your earthy dad would try to help you up if you fall - how much more your heavenly father. 2) God’s Loving Kindness and Mercy - Scripture says He has (or keeps for us) His loving kindness (or mercy). In other words it’s stored up and in reserve for His people (Exodus 34:7). Brothers and sisters God knows we are probably going to mess up, therefore He’s got His loving kindness (which also contains His mercy) - at the ready [in other words it’s in His pocket (in reserve) ready to be taken out at a moments notice]. 3) The Finished Work of Christ - Brothers and sisters, He did it all. What are you going to add to it? If you don’t know what to think about (or preach or teach about), thinking about the five fold message of the cross [death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and being seated in complete victory on His throne (again see Chapter One)], as well as what it means to be a new creation (the next point) all mentioned within the overriding motif of the land itself (see footnote 6:9). Brethren, even just talking about these things or even just remembering them personally will do a lot to not only spark revival, but sustain it as well. 4) The New Creation - Brothers and sisters, you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) . Your old nature and old self is gone, kaput. All things are new. It’s like you have been born again (which in fact you are (John 3:3). Realize this truth and reckon it so (that is believe it). Brethren, you don’t have to do the things you used to do and have the power to live an overcoming fruitful life. And you do so by the overcoming power of risen Christ and the Holy Spirit, both of whom reside in you (See Appendix D:1 footnote here) . Brethren it’s by this power of the Holy Spirit within us that we overcome the things in life that trouble us (not hype, psyching oneself up, will power etc.). Positionally we are a new creation, but to realize it in our experience is again only to believe and realize that it is so. Brothers and sisters, the overcoming life of the new creation is a victorious life which overcomes all (and I mean all habits, all depression, all anxiety, all worries, etc.) There is nothing in what you will encounter in your life here and now that can keep you down. Be victorious 5) Access to God - The blood was shed in finality and thus veil has been removed between the inner court and the tabernacle (remember it was torn in two at the cross (Matthew 27:51), therefore we have full, complete and permanent access to God our Father (and what Father would not want to talk with His child?). Therefore we have direction, hope and help in time of need, and that includes hope for a better life. Scripture says that we can come before Him with confidence and full assurance (Hebrews 10:19-22), and it also says that we know that He will hear us (1 John 5:14). Brothers and sisters, life can be filled with difficult situations and areas that we need direction. Who better to go to than the source of life, hope and peace? Whatever the problem, He has the solution. Whatever the issue, God has the answer (and we as Christians have access to Him). Brothers and sisters don’t forget to spend time with God in your daily life and don’t forget to go to Him with questions that you don’t have answers for, or problems you don’t have the wherewithal (that is ability) to solve. Remember there is nothing too difficult for God. He’s been known to even raise the dead (and that’s a pretty hopeless situation). 6) Believing God / Faith - an important lesson in the book of Hebrews is that the people heard the word of God, but they didn’t mix it with faith (in other words they just didn’t believe it) therefore God was not able to bring them into all that He had for them (Hebrews 4:2). This aspect of sustaining revival (believing God’s word and having faith toward Him) is paramount and is a factor in everything that happens in revival and may trump most every thing mentioned so far (However this is not to say that the things already mentioned here aren’t important, far from it, for example not doing things according to God‘s order will in turn cause revival to wane as well). Brothers and sisters, having faith (that is trust towards God), and believing Him for good things to come will do a lot in regards to sustaining revival. Have an expectant attitude when you gather together, even for all the miracles promised in scripture. If you go to a meeting and are sick looking for healing, and walk away unhealed, the fault does not reside in God, it lies somewhere else, keep pressing through believing God and what He says in his word about that and fight those negative thoughts that center around unbelief (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Thoughts such as “healing isn’t for today” is a ridiculous thought and pretty easy to fight. Thoughts such as “I don’t feel like God wants to heal me” is also a pretty easy thought to fight for not only is it ridiculous, but how you feel has no bearing on what God wants to do. However thoughts such as “God won’t heal me” or “God doesn’t care” etc. are giant thoughts and the giants are the first people Israel saw when they entered the land and they scared them right into unbelief - and got many of them. Brethren, remember 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 talks about that aspect of the Christian warfare that involves our mind. Thoughts come from a variety of different places and unfortunately some can come from a dimension that people don’t like to talk about (see Giants in footnote 6:9). They are indeed there and desire - like the giants that the people of God were up against in old - to frustrate God and his purposes. Brethren scripture says signs and wonders will follow those who believe. Scripture also say in regards to this issue that Jesus healed all who were ill (Matthew 8:16) “and many followed Him, and He healed them all (Matthew 12:15). Therefore it’s wise in regards to such issues as healing and all issues that involve a miraculous touch in your life to recognize and address “doubt” in your life and remove it. Especially if it’s based on some thought that “just came into your mind.” Be smart. Brethren, the Christian life is a fight, and in the old covenant (which is loaded with examples of this, again footnote 6:9), they kept at it until they achieved victory and the rest promised in scripture. Remember God has not brought the church (which is us - and this includes everyone) this far just to make sure we are going to heaven. He has wonderful plans and purposes for His people on earth as well. (and if you have doubts about that you just don‘t believe, therefore remove that unbelief). Sisters and brothers, again God has a plan for His church (which is us), it’s a marvelous plan, but let us believe God that He’s going to finish the good work He started in the world (VERSE NEEDED)and that He is going to have a victorious church (which again is us!) - without spot or wrinkle - which will triumph over it‘s enemies. Believe and do whatever it is that God has told you to do (which in your heart you know He has told you to do) and get the ball rolling in your personal life. Who knows where it will lead and who or what your subsequent actions - which are rooted in that faith of believing God word to you - will effect. Brothers and sisters, believe God - and as a result, act on that belief. 7) Use of Spiritual Gifts - Remember that as said in the book the body of Christ contains more than just one speaking gift and in reading the scriptures I am under the impression that each church body should have a representation of all the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:6-8), and if you don’t your not aware or functioning in what God has given you (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Especially in regard to His purposes (It’s like you’re just an observer) Brother and sisters find out what yours is. (Brethren, read Appendix A for more in regards to the proper functioning of gifts and the various gifts a congregation has). Brethren, in regards to the gifts (which are given freely, not earned, nor can they be taken away for it is a gift) scripture says that in regards to these things that He distributes them just as he wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). Given this I don’t see why that - at the minimum - as long as your congregation has at least 15 people (which is the minimum number of gifts mentioned in scripture) that your congregation does not posses all the gifts [and if your congregation is of smaller size people can have more than one gift (1 Corinthians 12:31)] (also you may want to compare 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and Romans 12:6-8 for the listing of various giftings) Brethren, these are great things. Sisters and brothers, having a correct understanding of giftings will have a bearing on the sustaining revival in your congregation. Why? For too often too many revivals have centered around one person (and one person with usually not a lot of giftings) and this has had a negative bearing on the sustaining of revival time and time again (that is: if the person doesn’t have the ability to do what’s next, the revival wanes; if the person falters in some way the revival falters and one man can’t do everything much more take care of the needs of hundreds). Again we have to get away from this idea of a one man (or woman) something and move on to the corporate use of all the gifts. Brothers and sisters this is the way God has intended His body to be and this is how He intended it to function (can you imagine a body that was JUST an eye? Or JUST a mouth?). The day of the one man show is over. But one in the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to EACH ONE individually just as He wills” (1 Corinthians 11) “and since WE HAVE GIFTS that differ according to the grace given us, let each exercise them accordingly (Romans 12:6) “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together, by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ… we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head even Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, 15) 8) Keeping Local Assemblies Small - Reread Chapters 1- 5 if need be. 9) Have a Great Vision for yourself and Congregation - Brethren think about this verse. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works then these shall he do, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12) My question to you is do you believe this verse? How about your congregation? You should. Remember the main problem with Israel before they entered the land was that they heard “the word” (like “the word,” or promise given by Jesus in John 14:12) and they just didn’t believe it (Hebrews 4:2). They didn’t mix it with faith (again Hebrews 4:2) Brothers and sisters, do you actually believe “ this stuff”? Do you honestly believe the gospel? The full gospel? Have a great vision for yourself and your congregation The things To Avoid… Brethren, having insight into the following things to avoid will also have a bearing on the sustaining revival in your life and in your congregation. 1) Stagnation - If you look at the scriptures you will find that God leads His people. He actually does. There is no reason to stagnate. In regards to individual congregations, we all have the same goals, but congregations are all at various places in regards to those goals (different levels of faith and understanding), therefore it’s helpful to understand that in regards to “God’s moving” where God is leading one group (or where they “are at”) may not be necessarily where another group “is at.” Also since there are different levels of things, especially maturity - and steps to that maturity there is no reason for any congregation to sit around and ask what’s next? [In my visiting of various churches throughout my life I have seen different levels of things and people will “church hop” for stagnation reasons (it was not uncommon at all for me to visit a church and find someone I knew from somewhere else, particularly from a church that was not “at” where the church I was visiting was). Brethren if your church does not look for the leading of God and stagnates around some point or issue (or refuses to budge on an issue), people as they grow and mature will probably end up leaving. I‘ve seen this many many times]. Brothers and sisters, you as a church have to move on with God (and it’s not just for the sake of keeping your congregation together). Again, God does lead. Look to the prophetic, look to the leading of the Holy Spirit within, look, look, look. Seek, seek, seek. Once again, God is not stagnate and has something fresh for us everyday of our lives - especially when we gather together. 2) Law - Brothers and sisters, we are not under law (far too many scriptures “to count”). Stay away from legalism. Law and life don’t mix (Remember the tree of life vs. the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was not the tree of life vs. the tree of death per say; but it was the tree of life vs. the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which if eaten (that is partaken of and digested) would lead to death. Brethren, the knowledge of right and wrong, or legalism, or basing decisions on law in regards to issues of life is what we want to avoid. Once again, living your life according to right and wrong will lead to the death of life, and in regards to revival I have found that traditionalism and methodology and especially law tend to be lifeless. Brothers and sisters since revival has to do with life it’s just not good to go in a direction that boxes it in or binds it up. Life is flowing and just does not like confinement. Brethren, don‘t let your congregation go in the direction of “law” (or the direction of law in general), but exhort them go in the direction of the flowing, abundant river of life that springs forth from ones being (John 4:10,14) Remember, most revivals tend to gravitate towards traditionalism and methodology and especially law right before they die out. Take a hint, especially in regards to personal revival (Appendixes D and H deal more with this subject). 3) Condemnation - What’s a matter? The blood of Jesus isn’t good enough to cover your sin? It’s not good enough for the forgiveness of your sin? Brethren we have all blown it at one time or another (and we may mess up again). All of us have probably backslid in regards to various ground we have gained at one time or another, granted that’s not good, but given the fact that we have a forgiving and restorative God we have to get past condemnation (or the feeling that God is condemning us when or if we blow it). in our lives. “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns. Christ Jesus is He who died, yes rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes (or prays) for us.” (Romans 8:33,34) The person who is actually going to do the condemning or judging (which by the way has not happened yet), is in fact praying for us now. He even made it possible for the forgiveness of our sin (that is it‘s wiped away and we are clean and spotless before Him). If there is any feeling of condemning going on it’s not coming from Him. Sisters and Brothers, if we sin, confess it to God, repent (that is change direction) and go in that repentant direction, all the while not looking back or remembering the thing you had done. If God has forgotten your sin - and it still keeps on coming up - it’s the devil (or people being used by the devil). Tell the devil to ‘take a hike’ Remember it’s forgotten, it’s over, it’s in the past and that is it. Sustain Revival! Brothers and sisters, we want to go all the way into God plans and purposes in the world today and part of that success lies in recognizing and keeping the manifest presence of God in the Church today. Brethren, frustrating the presence of the Lord - by doing or not doing the things just mentioned, (also see Appendix’s A, B, D, H), not doing things according to the correct order, and just not believing God in general] - may not only lead to stagnation but worse - which at the minimum means the frustration of revival and frustration of God’s restorative purposes on the earth. Brethren, in regards to a very basic starting point, let’s say music. The weeding out of “bad” music in churches today (Appendix B) is slowly becoming obvious, other things are not (which is one of the reasons why I wrote this book)and again all these things have a bearing on sustaining revival. Brethren we want to enter into the FULLNESS of the land that God has put before us and not being satisfied with just an initial visitation of the Lord. We should all be desiring His presence in our lives, His experiential presence and to have His full manifest presence come upon and continue in our midst. Brothers and sisters, may God bring us all beyond the initial visitation experiences most church gathering have at their beginnings, and once again bring us into the FULLNESS of the land He has placed before us. THERE WILL BE A PEOPLE WHO WILL ENTER INTO THE FULLNESS OF THAT LAND. May we all be part of that mature, end time company [Remember brethren, maturity with all it entails, is a major goal of the Christian life (Ephesians 4:13) See Appendix N and O in regards to maturity]. [ Chapter 7 Conclusion “…seek the Lord your God and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29) Brethren, a lot has been talked about here, the point of this book is not so much how to spark revival, but how to sustain it once it starts. Again, for too long the Christian church has had revival and it stopped or waned for none other than reasons found in this book. These kind of things have got to stop. If you belong to a congregation who has the correct paradigm in regards to authority and is using the correct paradigms in regards to what they teach, and has their head in the right place concerning, money, buildings and power, and also are not into the ’one man show’ routine, and understand what praise and worship is all about. Also they are supportive and are ‘there for you’ (and you are there for them), and you feel like you belong there, and that you can function and are wanted and needed, then by all means stay there, support that ministry (the church body), and especially support those who are there in a full time capacity. Sisters and brothers, the local church body is important, God works through it. In regards to some of the things we have talked about in this book, if you feel that a particular part of the body needs more support financially then by all means mention it or personally give to that part [personally I think worship leaders should be on the payroll in some way, also people who are doing the work of evangelism (Also see Appendix L and Appendix footnote A:8 for other ministries and considerations, and Chapter 3 for other options of payment)]. As far as leaders of “today’s” small groups go (which seems to be a direction churches are going in these days), I’d be careful. Not that they don’t deserve support, they do (and you can and probably should do it), but remember that these are most likely budding pastors who are not only doing the work of the pastorate, but should be getting ready and prepared to go out on their own. If you feed them, fine, but if you keep feeding them they might just stay and you don‘t want to promote that paradigm. Brethren these people are of utmost importance and help them in any way you can (and don’t be afraid to let them take the small group they have with them to help them start out on their own). Brothers and sisters, in regard to some of the things mentioned in this book try not to be part of a ministry that’s using it’s valuable resources for a building (when they could be renting, the church is not about having a building), or think that the body consists of only one speaking gift (there are many parts of the body and many gifts). I can’t tell you what damage these two paradigms “for success” have done to the church at large. The Coming Restoration of God’s Purposes Brethren I can go on more concerning these things, but I’ve come to some conclusions that might make things run a bit more smoothly in regards to sustaining revival. First off I feel that for the churches who are actually going to go somewhere in the coming restoration of God’s purposes - after they downsize - should actually consider reversing the services. In other words if you belong to a church that has a “large” (or central) meeting on Sundays (which is usually defined as where preaching or teaching is centered stage), that “large” (or central) meeting should be during the week and the “smaller” meeting (which is where so often you will find “the real church” meeting in some denominations and more people participates), that meeting should be on Sundays (a day that most everyone has already set aside and can attend). Such things (as this reversal of services) will ensure full (gifted) body participation which intern will produce profitable results for the Kingdom and His purposes (7:1). If you disagree with this and still want to have a “large” (or central) meeting on Sunday (where usually only a few participate for the sake of preaching or teaching - mind you) then “go right ahead,” but realize that you will be doing it at the great expense of many gifts not functioning and we do need everyone functioning. What’s better? One gift functioning on a Sunday and five to seven functioning on a weeknight? Or, one gift functioning (on a week night) vs. fifteen functioning (on a Sunday)? Do the math Realize that not everyone can come during the week, it‘s just the way it is, but most everyone CAN come on a Sunday and again we need all the gifts functioning Also, brethren if you want to bring in a sound system because your church is becoming way too large then “go right ahead too,” but I’m warning you in the presence of God that what you are about to do (that is the direction you are probably going in) is NOT going to be a service but in reality is moving toward something else, and unless there is good reason for doing such a thing the thing you are moving towards is “a service” that “the church is at” not “a church service.” I tell you as a Christian who has lived and walked the Christian life for many years (and has visited many churches), that many churches ideas of what an actual church service is, is in fact all wrong and many churches need to be broken up into smaller independent churches - not smaller gatherings). Brothers and sisters, if you belong to a church that feels that “more is better” and your church continues with this line of thinking your church will begin to look for other things to build up and maintain the body of Christ. Gifts (which are a necessary step for the building up of the body on it‘s road to maturity) have a very hard time functioning in large meetings – why? I can think a lot of reasons (the monopoly of the meeting by one elder, the shyness of people to stand in front of a mike and / or large groups, the hard time people usually have trying to flow with “a show” mentality, whatever) they just have hard time. (Brethren, people even have a hard time responding to altar calls in front of large groups and can be so nervous that what ever transactions take place at the altar may be wasted. Ever try doing deliverance on someone in front of a large group? Sometimes I wonder about the point of having altar calls at all) (7:2). Brethren, you may counter all this by saying that the solution is for that people to “get over it” (what ever their problem is), and get used to the way of doing things (for your going to have your large - one man show - meetings in spite of everything) Well, fine, try telling that “get over it” routine to the person in your church who has the gift of healing for example. A person whose been sitting there for years not knowing what to do, (Should I enter the show (stage) now or later? What should I say, What will people think? Do I need permission? Do I need a mike; What if I fail?). Such gifted people - because of the largeness of some of today’s meetings - can have too many unnecessary concerns. Also, try telling this “get over it” routine to the 50 people in your congregation of 150 who “HAVE GOTTEN OVER IT” and who are not only not shy but also have the speaking gifts and… who all desire to say something in that particular meeting or service. Brethren, large non downsized meetings are more of a hindrance (to the long-term health of a congregation and the sustaining of revival) than a help. You can’t say to “the 50” that they can all speak, but they have to limit their time to a couple of minutes. I’ve seen too many people cut off because the pastor has to have his hour. I’ve also seen too many people in the congregation “tune out” non-pastors who somehow got to speak in front of everyone because they don’t speak as eloquently a pastor (who, mind you, has had years and years of honing his oratory skills by monopolizing the time in front of people). I’ve also seen way too many good people, too many smart and talented and gifted people with a lot to say having to “sit it out” because of the way “services” are constructed today. What a waste. Brethren, if we continue with these non-downsized, main meetings on Sundays (where everyone comes and only one person participates) it will be at the cost of the maturity of the Lords people. Also we will most likely not be following the due order of how the Spirit of the Living God functions [ that is: when He comes upon all His gifted people (which is the preferred service model), where not just the one or a few participate but everyone (which will probably happen when all are together). Once again, when you gather together everyone has a word, a song etc. (Ephesians 5:18-21; Colossians 3:16). [and again, this is not saying that anything is necessarily wrong with preaching or teaching, but brethren it’s not the main service model found in scripture and this is what the church has been doing for centuries now in regards to their main central meetings (and again it’s been at great expense of many many giftings)]. Once again, if you continue with these things you will not be following “the due order” of the way things - more times than not - should be, or should operate. Sisters and brothers, once again people NEED to function. People NEED to contribute. People NEED to be part of - and have a part in - what is going on. Brethren, do you want revival to be sustained of flounder? Every generation has had their chance and most all have dropped the ball (or relay wand), in this relay from one generation to the next (and again many stopped for reasons mentioned in this book). My Point Brothers and sisters, I can go on about these things, but let me get to my main point. Where is the Lord going next? The future as I see the Lords doings? Aside from the downsizing of congregations and the reversal of meetings (so that everyone can function and the gifts can work). Aside from doing the necessary things that will help maintain (and sustain) the presence of God in the midst of His people (and not cause it to lift and I’m talking about holiness, faith and doing things according to the due order)(see the Appendixes for more on these things). Aside from preparing a way for the Lord!!! Aside from this and all these wonderful things what will the Lord be doing next? Worship Brethren, what happens as we worship him? Many things. For one thing we become closer to Him. Another thing that happens is that we gain a new perspective on life and our problems, but something else happens too. Sin itself (disobedience), cannot stand in His presence as well as anything having to do with darkness. Brethren listen closely to what I’m about to say, for how “the things” inside Gods people begin to manifest themselves during this next period (and that is what these “things” do when they encounter Gods presence through a believers worship) and what the Pastors, other Elders and Congregations – in general – say about what is going on AND DO about what is going on (and HOW gracefully they do it) will determine many a congregations failure or success – if you will – in the coming restoration.. The failure to discern these and other things in regards to these issues is where the last renewal of the 1990’s hit rough road, lost steam and failed, and this is where it - more than likely - will be picked up again. Brothers and sisters, small meetings are important, doing things correctly to maintain His presence is important too, but what I’m writing about now is paramount. The Coming Move Brethren, the coming move of God will be more than a renewal or a revival. It will be a restoration of Biblical truths that in the end will deal with the root problems in Gods peoples lives. Problems that all the psychologists, psychiatrists, drugs, and all the therapy and counseling and doctors in the world cannot cure. In the coming days God Himself will deal with all these problems in an instant. A “quick work” if you will, an instant cure. Churches that are already familiar with what I’m talking about have a “leg up” on everyone else, but if you don’t know don’t worry for some of these same churches are so immersed in other problems that they can’t see anything beyond the problems of yesterday and their vision of tomorrow has very little to do with God and His purposes in the local community. Also, some of these churches - while being strong in these areas - have no idea of the things that are necessary to maintain “a cleansed state” and because of that cannot guide believers into anything other than a subjective holiness and a relative purity (7:3). Most of the work they do in this area will fail in the long haul for these reasons. Also once again some of these same churches are structured in such a way that one man monopolizes “the service” so that the other gifts (that are necessary for the sustaining of a move of God) can’t function and in the end a lot of their fruit unfortunately will fail). There is a lot of people who know what I am talking about here but they have no idea, no clue of the urgency of these matters. Brothers and sisters we are talking about healings and deliverances (or the healing and deliverance of God‘s people), especially in regards to worship. Brethren worship causes people to rise in faith, God to respond, and spirits react. Also when one worships and rising in faith - the faith that is so necessary for healing is present, and since God is there, He responds. Brethren, in regards to healings and deliverance in regards to worship (and brethren God can use just a word to deal with them as well, but worship is something He now wishes to emphasize in regards to these areas), healings and deliverance while separate are sometimes linked in scripture and all in turn reflect on the sustaining of the corporate flame (7:4). God had made Provision Brothers and sisters, there is no reason for God’s children to walk around in a state that does not glorify God, particularly when He has made provision for all our needs. When the manifest presence of God encounters people of faith - God is on the move! And when He’s on the move He deals with things, all sorts of things, things in our lives and in the lives of one another. Because God’s presence - His sustaining presence is the answer for so many things (sin, sickness, even things in the spiritual realm) - we do not want to do things to grieve it, or cause it to lift. Doing things in an out of order state can not only lead to unforeseen things happening but can also cause Him to ‘move on’ which reflects badly on the local corporate flame Brethren, the Holiness (purity), and devotion of the congregation is necessary to sustain this flame. [just see the book of Revelation of this. Again Jesus threatens to remove a churches lamp stand (that is their “flames”) if they don’t repent Revelation 2:5; and we are talking about an apostolic church too... The Ephesians!). Brothers and sisters, the current church today lacks God order in regards to a lot of things and is pretty much “reformed” to the point were every one is doing what is right in their own eyes (and I‘m talking about what people think a “service” is or what supportive church structure is, or the extreme relativity in teaching that is going on etc.). These things are not helpful for the sustaining of revival. Brethren, some churches are OK in regards to some issues, but most are not (particularly “modern” or “progressing” churches) and are more concerned with numbers, the show, buildings and money then the actual building up and maturing of the congregation “…YOU say, I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” (Jesus to Laodicea; Revelation 3:16,17) “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Jesus to Sardis, Revelation 3:1) The thing is this... because the church is “reformed” to this point where the empowered minority in the majority of churches is doing what they think is the correct way of doing things... the dawn of the prophetic is about to arise on the church again. The golden is age of the prophets is upon us. Brothers and sisters, this was exactly what happened before the prophets arose in the Old Testament (that is: everybody did what was right in their own eyes), and it’s here again and it will be these kinds of people (that is the prophetic, along with people who have other giftings) who will arise and direct the church (all the churches) in the way in which they should walk. Also, in regards to the prophetic in these matters. If you have read this book the people in leadership of these kinds of churches is something they will most likely have to deal with directly to effect change. [Brethren, in regards to confrontation (if there is any), a simple starting place for the prophetic (or just anyone) would be dealing with Worship and confronting leadership over music that is not helpful in regards to this matter (and is covered in Appendix B). This is actually a pretty easy subject (and it‘s effect can be demonstrated), because it deals with the presence of God. Again this is an important area for it deals with an area of believers lives that the last renewal came to a halt over (that is deliverance, again a very good starting point for the prophetic to confront). Also, once again the actual structure in many churches (both service and authority) (which again reflects on the sustaining of a move of God, that is the supportive nature of the move) would be something that would eventually need to be addressed and changed as well]. Brothers and sisters, this is not going to be easy for people, especially the prophetic. “The show” can be profitable (monetarily and image wise) and as said before large groups and buildings tend to add prestige to leaderships ego - especially if it’s a one man show]. Brethren, the Prophetic will be a Key Part in what is to Come Brethren, it’s God’s maturing people with their giftings but especially God’s people with the prophetic (which is a finger pointing gift), they together will challenge, provoke, encourage and warn, but all in all their motivation will be and is to point Gods’ people to Him and to focus their attention to Him (not the show, numbers or buildings) [and I think that would be a rule of thumb test of these people (that is:. where they focus peoples attention, or are they able to - along with pointing people to God - point the way to correct paradigms and get people away from the bad paradigms they have been using to sustain what God wants to do in the earth today, that is a move of God]. Brethren in regards to the prophetic (and do keep a look out for them if you belong to a stuck in the mud church), will be people who may either be a prophet, or just move in the prophetic, or may be used only once by God (like Saul, 1 Samuel 1:10; or possibly the ‘man of God‘ in 1 Samuel 2:27), but their words will pierce the hearts of God’s people and move them to repentance and hope. If they are not listened to... well that’s up to God to decide (at the minimum your church is not going anywhere). Brethren, the prophetic rarely has it easy, but again is a finger pointing gift and that along with other gifts in use (which will probably happen as a result of this prophetic correction) will cause to corporate flame to rise in many churches which in turn will cause many churches to become a beacon of light in a dark world. In Summary Brothers and sisters a lot has been said on these pages - and I could still write - but in regards to what has been written there is enough to think and pray about before the Lord especially in regards to sustaining a move of God (the subject of this book). Once again, I have been a Christian for quite some time now, and in that time I’ve seen far too many places where God was obviously “on the move” and sad to say things settled down and died for no other reason than once again the reasons mentioned on these pages. I write this book with the next generation in mind and with the hope that they will not repeat the mistakes of the past (as well as the mistakes of their parents) and be willing and able to move quickly with the guiding presence of the Lord, and as a result bring God’s purposes on this earth to completion, and what are His purposes…? Once again, that we would lift up the Name of Jesus (the head of the church) and that there would be such a unity of the faith among His people (His body) that that would (along with everything the joining of the two parts of the body means) result in making the church shine before man and as a result draw the entire world to the Lord. Brothers and sisters, God looks through the entire earth for a heart that is perfect towards Him. May He find your‘s. Footnotes Please Note: The footnotes are laid out by chapter first, then footnote second. For example “1:1” means Chapter one, the first footnote (or the first footnote in chapter one). This is done for the sake of easy reference Chapter 1 1:1) 1:2) This is a heavy verse for if you continuing reading it, it also speaks of these people in terms lawbreakers [or people who practice “lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23)] which is an issue that is addressed in Appendix D]. In regards to that issue let me say that if you read a somewhat parallel verse in Luke 13:27 it also speaks of a group of people who don’t “make it” and uses the term “evildoers” (which is a little broader term) and if you put the two verses together it could very well mean “lawbreakers” in the active sense regarding groups of people whom are just not listening to a still speaking God [or just not doing his will (Matthew 7: 21)], not necessarily people who are breaking laws per say (Again read Appendix D). Also, in regards to Matthew 7:21-23 it’s speaking of people whom Jesus never knew (Matthew 7: 23), which is not where Christians are at - even the backslidden. In Luke 13:25 even though the people who don’t “make it” seem to have been aware of Jesus enough to have been acquainted with Him (Luke 13:26), Jesus didn’t know where they were ‘coming from’ (Luke 13:25). Basically both groups are very wild people who didn’t listen to anyone or anything, whether written or spoken. In regards to the issue of ‘knowing’ [“knew” (Matthew 7:23) and “know” (Luke 13:25)] if you read 1 John [which was written so that you would know for certain that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13)] he gives 5 tests so that Christians would know that they are in the faith (or saved), and some of those test do revolve around the issue “knowledge” as well [1 John 3:14; 4:7,8] (and by the way the verses in 1 John that speaks of knowing Jesus in terms of keeping His commandments 1 John 2:4,5, would also includes His commandment or teaching in Matthew 12: 14 regarding life over law and is covered in Appendix D). However brethren even though we should not be overly concerned here (for the verses are not speaking about Christians) the verses mentioned in Matthew 7 and Luke 13 do include a warning (and for us it’s more of an admonition for we do know God) and that is that there are parameters to our walk and it’s not to be so wide (or “broad” Matthew 7:13) as to lose direction (Matthew 7:13,14; Luke 13:24). The way “to life” is indeed narrow (Matthew 7:14) which for us includes a still speaking God. (Some things regarding questions about the issue of direction are covered in Appendix K). Again Brethren, even though we are dealing with strong warnings here (and again they are indeed strong warnings for if you look at the verses in content most people are NOT going to make it [“many…will not be able” (Luke 13:24) “few… find it” (Matthew 7:14)], even though this is true these warnings are not so strong as to lose hope (in case you feel that way). The first group Jesus never (ever) knew - which is not us, and the second group Jesus didn’t know where they were coming from (basically no parameters to their life). The answer in regards to going in a wrong direction is as always to repent (that is change direction) and go the right way. Don’t spend time thinking about your mistake. Sins can be forgiven (that is what grace is all about). 1:3) Also brethren, you have your own calling (s), and giftings to attend to. God did not create Christians to be a bunch of roadies, groopies, or fans of other people either. Everyone (including you), has their own ministry (and you can have the greater giftings - that you may so admire in other people - if you so desire (1 Corinthians 12:31). Brothers and sisters, with the exception of the gift of Helps (Appendix A) the church by and large was never meant to be a group of people following after an individual which is something you see a lot today. You may have complementary giftings if you are working with someone and it may be that God wants you to work together in what GOD is doing for a period of time, but it‘s God‘s ministry and for what God is doing, not a ministry that is set up (even innocently) that in the end glorifies an individual, an organization or a church. Brothers and Sisters, this “taking credit for things,” or putting an organizations name ’out there’ has got to stop. For example, in regards to organizations giving to the very poor, every bag of food, or any kinds of provisions that is given by Christians that go to those in need should say on the side “In the name of Jesus this is given to you” and that should be it (not like some of the things that go on today). Brethren, no other names, no organizations, no denominations should be mentioned. Nothing else. Then sit back and watch God move, and this is just for beginners. Also brethren, we all want something on our own plates when we stand before God and according to Matthew 25:34-36 most of us will. Doing things and sacrificing things for the sake of other peoples ministries at the expense of your own is not the way to go. Chapter 2 2:1) Brethren, if God has called you to do something and you have to ask for money to function… something doesn’t sound right. I cannot imagine Jesus asking for money before He would do something. I don’t think anyone can. Brothers and sisters when you hear ministries ask for money to function pay them no mind for it‘s a sure sign they are not functioning on the level of dependency on God and something may be wrong (especially if they are ministries that are named after individuals). Again, when you hear ministries asking for money to function don’t give these ministries a cent, for they are most likely asking for money because God is not blessing them, and He may not be blessing them for reason. Also in regards to the giving of a particular work they are doing (not overhead, salaries etc.), be wary (pray instead about giving to the ministry God has called you to). Also, if you happen to agree with the work a ministry is doing and desire to partner up with them don’t be afraid to ask if all the money you are giving will go to the work described or part of it. Some ministries may take your money and spend it on things not described in the initial description of what they are doing and will spend it on peripheral things. Chapter 3 3:1) Even though the verse in Malachi is not repeated in the new covenant the general principle of supporting ministry is (1 Corinthians 9:8,9), and there are more principles in the new covenant that are brought in from the old than just this one (for example see Acts 23:5 concerning speaking badly against ones leader; and see Ephesians 6:1-3 where following a certain commandment can lead people to something good, that is: a long life.). Again these are general principles that - unless God or circumstances say different - probably should (or “should” ) be followed. Brethren, in the absence of any other kind of guidance there is nothing wrong with living your life on the basis of principles, but if you do realize that there are exceptions [See Jesus calling Herod a fox (Luke 13:32), and in regards to Ephesians 6:1-3, no child should obey an abusive adult, nor in regards to 1 Corinthians 9:8,9 should one support a ministry that is in error (Brethren, see Appendix D for more in regards to drawing principles from the old covenant)]. 3:2) Brothers and sisters, in regards to giving “the whole tithe” to a church (Malachi 3:10), I know of one church that actually comes against this and encourages its members to give half their OFFERING to the charity of their choice and the other half goes to their church. This type of unfettered thinking - especially since we are not under law anymore - could be very helpful in sustaining revival in the local church. For example needs can be overlooked and if you know that the worship leader is not getting paid, you pay them (Also see Appendix L and Appendix footnote A:8 for some other ideas of who might deserve to be on the payroll). Don’t leave it up to the church to distribute the money, most won’t in regards to paid ministry and will give the money to other concerns (and if you do this I would advise that you pay ministries you feel need support anonymously). Brothers and sisters, going “around the system” can really help revival along. (and PLEASE... I’m NOT saying that the usual people in full time ministry should not get paid. Appendix L)...But the idea of bringing your WHOLE tithe (or offering) into the storehouse (Malachi 3:10) is so replaced today by the idea of we are all priests and kings (Revelation 1:6; 5:10) who - according to Jesus are ALL worthy of their wages (Matthew 10:10). Therefore give to the ministry you feel needs to be supported, especially if you go to the kind of church mentioned in chapter 2 of this book. 3:3) Brethren, even if you just believe in the principle of tithing (that is tithing on the basis of principle not law), or would rather call your tithe an offering. if you do something for God and it takes you time take it out of your tithe. 3:4) “As long as it’s of benefit.” Since we are all Priests this may be hard to figure out if you come from the mindset that only the pastor is a priest and subsequently trying to figure out what is of benefit to him or his family. If you are giving to support full time ministry (which you should do, even if you just give directly to them) and the question of giving a tenth aside for a moment, if you are not (for whatever reason) giving money for support you can give other things that would be considered of benefit for example your time, personal or professional services, etc. (I remember hearing a story where a pastors family received chickens in lieu of a tithe I believe) Also you may want to think about doing this kind of thing for the brethren in general anyway (especially if you are good at fixing cars, homes etc), and since we are all priests you are in effect ‘giving to the priesthood’ (in the old covenant sense) and thus can take it out of your tithe (that is if you believe in the principle of tithing - again since we are not under the law, however you may want to check ahead of time if your particular type of support is needed ). Brothers and sisters, these are really personal matters and personal decisions and you need to make up your mind and be strong in it. There are people out there who will strong arm you, make you feel guilty and take every last dime from you - and not think twice about it, on the other hand there are people out there that deserve that dime. I think everyone needs to come to a “personal decision” in regards to these matters. If anyone in the church at large needs to change in regards to this it’s “ministers” not people and their may be some pain involved until they learn to adjust (and learn to spend the peoples money they do have on things that are of importance) Believe me most churches have more than enough money to support full time ministry and some ministers salaries can be extremely generous Brethren all you really want is the support of full time ministry, that and the possibility of rent - see Chapter 4 on this), and anything else is up to you. The problem most churches have is that they don’t have the money for the things that they (the leaders or “leaders” ) want to do (for example see Chapter 4 on Buildings) 3:5) In regards to the giving of cloths to make up a portion of the tithe, (and again the extended logic behind this is that material things were given in scripture in place of money (food), and since we are all ministers, ministry does give to those in need (See Deuteronomy 14:29). IN regards to clothes it’s not giving “first fruit” (or new) clothes (some people want to make that case), but something that is of use, something that you yourself would not mind wearing (however if you want to give something new go right ahead). Once again remember, the concept of tithing (which was under the law and concerned giving a tenth of all your produce to God or the priests) has been replaced in the new covenant by the concept of giving (2 Corinthians 8&9). If one can see that then one might want to skip the rest of this chapter and go on to the next. However since some people still desire to tithe on the basis of principle… if you yourself feel that this is proper, it would be wise to look at the law as it was written and it did not concern the giving of money but the giving of material things (produce). As said before in this point some people want to make the case of giving “first fruits” or something new or the best (that is: Something right off the top). If you want to do that on the basis of your understanding of the “first fruits” principle that’s fine but the general thought behind the tithe is to give to support ministry (and since you are a priest the ministry could be your own), and the idea of the behind the tithe (as the law was written) is not necessarily tied to money. (for example if you live in an agricultural society, or just have a garden and you give of the garden to the Pastor - that is, biblically speaking the giving of your produce to support ministry which can be taken off of your tithe (and the logic behind this can be extended to other areas as well, that is giving things of value to support ministry, which can include quite a bit of things). There is more on this in the rest of the chapter, but just make sure it’s something they need. 3:6) And brethren once again - if you pay yourself - you can still get a reward for your work down here too. Actually on earth as well as heaven. Ask any full time minister. Again, no one can say it (your material things and time) doesn’t have value (except misled or greedy pastors / elders)- I mean really... Deduct it (your material things and time) from your “tithe“. It can help sustain revival SO MUCH if more people spent time doing the work that God has called them to do rather than working as secular job or extra hours to pay off a tithe so someone else does the work) (And do they do the work that God has called you to do? Most likely not. They do the work that God has called them to do - maybe, and the rest of the money usually goes for other things (buildings, decorations etc.). It’s ridiculous where peoples hard earned money goes for in churches today, and it is hard earned. 3:7) Brothers and sisters, watch where YOUR money goes (that is: which brings fruit for YOUR eternal reward). We don’t need crystal cathedrals on the earth today nor some of the other things that go on in church buildings. How much fruit comes from giving your money to something like that (or some nice thing in a church building) verses helping the poor is your bet. Actually its YOUR eternal reward bet. Again, be wise and be smart in this, observe. 3:8) For example, if you - as a priest of God see a need (that is: a GOOD WORK of charity, like a woman next door left alone by her unsaved husband to take care of her kids, a kind of orphan and widow situation or an actual one), then by all means be a blessing and YOU give her something quietly (don‘t always go to the church and have THEM give something). And give in the name of Jesus (especially if the person is not a Christian). Brothers and sisters do you think that the only rewards you get in regards to giving will be what the church does on your behalf? Chapter 4 4:1) “Do you really know your trustees?” Brothers and Sisters, the trustees of a church building are trustees for life - unless they resign. I know of a case where a couple of trustees left a church and still remained the trustees of the church building after they left. For most independent churches, the building is in the hands of just a few people. You might want to factor that in when visiting a church and you hear pleas for money. Take a look at the building they are trying to support or want and ask yourself questions. (personally I think that trustees go for a larger buildings in part because of the influence of pride). Also remember that Trustees are to be people who should be trusted with the will of the congregation who voted them in (or trusted to do the right thing) - that is why they are called trustees. 4:2) For one thing most every person should have a part in the service (this point will be brought out more in the next chapter and Appendix A). The question is that since this is so, are you going to be able to do that in a larger setting? Second, in my experience churches that go for larger congregations are more times than not setting themselves up for a quicker church split (which would most likely happen anyway for again, how is everyone suppose to have a part in the service, they can’t so gifted people get restless and leave and the question of ‘whose going to pay the bills for the larger building?’ becomes an issue). Brethren, I’ve seen splits happen enough to know the things I’ve mentioned here can be, and usually are very true, and have come to the conclusion that splits are just normal things that are usually coming down the road for any church. Brothers and sisters if you disagree, think about the church (or the body) in terms of biology. As any cell grows it comes to a point where it has so much duplicate life in it that it begins to split in two. It’s just the way things are. The sides of the cell break, divide in two and go their separate ways. Church splits are only a natural thing for any healthy growing church to experience. If your church is getting so big that you need another building it you would be much better off (for a multitude of reasons) just getting another shepherd for the people and splitting up (and by the way it would be wise for everyone if splits were amicable, if not you are probably going to “make up“ anyway so you might as well just do it right to begin with). Another thing I have seen in denominational churches (in case you are thinking of leaving with people to start another church, so be warned) is that if you belong to a Denominational church (because of their restrictiveness as to who can minister, that is: usually graduates from seminary) they are “better equipped” to contain these splits (that is suppress your desire) more often than independent churches and as a result will have (or would rather have), the duplicate ministries of and from the congregation pretty much work for free on the side (and again they can be so restrictive as to who ministers thus promoting the wrong paradigm. I know of one protestant church where you have to be an ordained minister to even baptize someone). Also, if you belong to an Independent church they too will also (generally speaking) try to repress splits [which seem to happen (or are able to happen) a lot more often than in denominational churches], but when they happen are often badly done. If you are thinking of leaving with a church split also be warned that I’ve seen egomania, backbiting, and all kinds of repression rather than letting the natural thing happen and let A GROUP of people leave and start their own church - with the blessing and provision of the other church. [what usually does happen in independent churches is that the pastor will single out the other (unrecognized) pastor of the group, isolate them and try to make them leave alone and usually on bad terms]. Unfortunately many independent churches, like denominational churches also expect duplicate ministries to work for free (and are given only token recognition), which is probably not good if you have an upward call on your life. Brothers and Sisters, I’m under the opinion that if your church DOESN’T split there may not be enough life in it - and that‘s not good. P.S. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t like this thing in some churches where they call a pastor an assistant pastor (or an associate pastor) and treat them accordingly (that is: not give them full recognition or pay). They should just split the church and let the “assistant” leave with a group of people and operate with the full power, financial backing and recognition they deserve. 4:3) Is there a connection between the failure to sustain a move of God and technology? I think there is one. There comes a point where technology does fail to do the job [see 3 John 1:13 he had many things to say, but he was not willing to use technology (pen and ink) to say them. In other words he wanted to talk to them in person - the personal touch] To me “Pastoring” (usually very necessary “personal touch” stuff) done from pulpit - usually through a mike (and usually because it’s easier to address many this way) even though it’s done face to face… there’s a “factory,” sense to the thing, it’s certainly impersonal, and it’s certainly used today to deal with growth today - especially in these mega-churches [and I’m sure in some of these mega-church board meetings the question came up concerning the crowd (How to take care of them? ) And I wouldn’t doubt that someone offered ‘getting a bigger sound system’ as a solution]. Pastoring from the pulpit is so impersonal and it‘s done that way because there are just too many people in some of these churches for the pastor to actually see them all (and if they do see them it‘s usually in a crisis mode that quite possibly could have been avoided if correct pastoring have been done to begin with) . Another thing concerning technology, the temptation to go “the show road” for “the service” (with all kinds of projections, even canned music - which I’ve seen done) is very real. The question becomes where do the gifts come in? the gifts that really take care of the peoples needs (I’ve seen enough sick people come to these and other kinds of “service’s” and go home unhealed and wonder if their need was ever addressed, and for all practical purposes this service is the only service) And it’s not even a service. Brothers and Sisters, MANY of these large churches that use technology to control things, in my opinion, would rather do anything than hire another pastor to do the work of the ministry (pastoring etc). They don’t care about bigger and bigger congregations (which can be a source of pride to some - especially founding members) and would rather get a bigger building to ‘house’ everyone than to do the correct thing and split. Many would rather hire a janitor to take care of the needs of a building than hire another pastor to do visitation, etc. It’s just so true. Churches today are becoming more and more impersonal, and ministers are becoming more and more distant from the congregation and part of the reason is the way technology is used. You can go to some of these large churches for years and never really get to know anyone (much more the “pastor”). The use of technology to deal with growth - as well as other things - really needs to be addressed more. Also the definition of what a “service” is needs to be defined (and I don‘t think “a mike” is part of the formula). Once again brothers and sisters, the service is certainly not a show and it was never meant to be a performance, and this is exactly the direction most churches are going in today, and that is entertainment where everyone sits back and watches.. Chapter 5 5:1) In some lists concerning the functioning of the body church, offices are listed. Some believe offices are similar to giftings by not necessarily one and the same. For example one may see something in the prophetic and say something prophetically and not necessarily have the office of a prophet. One may also give a teaching and not necessarily have the office of a teacher etc (personally I believe people who manifest these gifts are on their way to fulfilling the office of these gifts). There is also the office of an apostle. Apostles - biblically speaking - are people who are called and sent by God for a specific purpose (the word literally means “ones sent”) In some circles they are felt to possess all the gifts and can - if necessary - function in any of the offices of the church (Prophet, Pastor-Teacher, Evangelist etc). They are first in the ranking of offices, and the office is still to this day (gifts and offices are discussed in detail in Appendix A). 5:2) Even though most everyone will probably have something to say there are giftings that are more likely used outside the service such as “administration” and possibly “helps” (1 Corinthians 12:28), but they can certainly be used and of great use in the corporate gathering if the need arrives - especially “helps” which can - in it’s highest expression - fill a multitude of positions. 5:3) Brethren, this next generation needs to define what exactly IS a church meeting, the rough size of a church meeting (that is: where everyone can contribute with a word or a song. Not the frustrating one man stuff that has gone on for centuries), and if any people in this next generation… (and I’m sorry but that is where my focus is in regards to then things written in this book - the next generation. The most I see happening in the generation I belong to is keeping the typical one man show service going and either breaking up the church into small groups afterward, or having the small groups (with all the unpaid people who should be paid) meet another night. Also the idea of hiring extra people for a church or splitting a church in two is still very anathema for the older generation and I really don’t hold out a lot of hope for it happening until the next generation arises and is able to take control of things. My generation of church leadership is famous for it‘s “lip service” of things and also famous for it’s failure to follow through). Anyway, in regards to the next generation defining what exactly a service is, if any in this next generation is part of a large service where everything is run by a few individuals, they need to see and understand that this type of set up - while it has been known for sparking things - will never sustain what God want’s to do, for all the gifts need to function). You also need to consider building churches from the ground up instead the “build a building and they will come mentality” (especially these large showcase buildings - and brothers and sisters, I have found that people in leadership tend to “get off” on these kinds of buildings, they really do. I’ve seen it enough to know that they are actually “in love” with the building - no lie. Just listen to how the leadership talks about “the building,” they miss the whole point). Once again (and I‘m talking to everyone here), the idea that God would have one pastor for the needs of hundreds sheep is ridiculous, especially when you consider the richness of His Spirit (and more times than not that‘s what you get with these large buildings. One pastor for every 50 makes more sense). Brethren it’s impossible for a pastor of a very large church (if that’s the direction your church is contemplating going in) to provide for the needs of all the people and the only way I’ve seen them attempt to do so (and not very well at that) is for them to use things like sound systems where one empowered person can speak to hundreds at the same time. Brethren “he who controls the mike controls the debate” so if you are in a church of hundreds with a single “mike empowered” pastor (and you yourself need a mike to be heard, along with permission to use the mike -which I‘ve seen done too many times) - good luck - for things will have a hard time - and slow time - changing (and you can forget about the sustaining of revival (and of course some people will challenge this by saying that sometimes revival centers around one super gift like the gift of healing and people come in droves etc and so forth. Let me say this about that. All these kinds of “flashes in the pan” eventually peter out and the reason being is that we need all the gifts to sustain things not just one) Brothers and sisters, how many gifings were never able to function because one person hogged the service? Also how many people with giftings left services (or churches) - giftings that were very necessary - only because people didn’t get the time to minister or the church did not give the person with the giftings any consideration at all (like “how can God use them?”, “who do they think they are?” etc. I‘ve seen this attitude). Brothers and sisters, the person with the gift of healing, or the gift of miracles may be the very person you wouldn’t give a second look to in the old ‘unredeemed man thinking’ that many church people still unfortunately possess (that is judging people on the basis of externals and not where they are at in regards to their heart with God. Brothers and sisters since the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29) external appearances don’t matter (or even what they may have done in regards things) especially since “things” can be repented of, look at the Corinthian church, they seem to be in a mess - internally - yet still were able to function in the gifts) since the functioning in the gifts is NOT from the individual but is a manifestation the Spirit of God. Anyway in regards to the old ‘unredeemed man thinking’ (or judgmental attitude some Christians still might posses towards the externals of others. (Poverty, riches, color, race, class, physical appearance etc), when brothers and sisters with gifts see your judgmental attitude, your faithlessness - the faith, which is usually necessary by the recipient of the gifts for the gifts to work for them - is just not there - and guess what? People with the gifts have a hard time functioning because of your faithless even judgmental attitude and you may go home - from the service - with the problems you came with. Again the next generation needs to define what exactly a service is, and follow through with it and in regards to giftings and not to center around one gift but have all the gifts function for the sake of sustaining revival (something the previous generation - which I belong to - failed to do big time). 5:4) Brothers and sisters, in case your interested on how the idea of a show, and particularly a one man show developed, most typical “service structures” today can trace themselves back to either Catholicism or orthodoxy where everyone sits in a pew - facing forward - to watch and listen to what was going on (and that was ‘the Mass’ which became the central focus of the gathering). The only participating of the congregation came from either singing or a - written out - responsive reading. Most modern day Pentecostal, Charismatic, and to some extent Evangelical services can trace themselves back not only to Catholicism / Orthodoxy - but also - believe it or not, to Hollywood and Aimee Semple McPherson of Los Angeles - who brought ‘the stage’ into “the service” (actually an old Hollywood theater I believe). Granted she was an evangelist and one can argue ‘the facing forward’ both ways, but her success on stage (and her relative acceptance by Hollywood) influence a lot of progressive congregations in the last century as to what “a service model” is, and as a result set in motion a paradigm that is still with us to this day. More about this is found in (Appendix A). 5:5) Brothers and sisters, in regards to worship, worship can be done quietly “singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16) or openly, that is “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… (Ephesians 5:18-21), but it’s something that’s done and it does happen during “the gathering together” of the saints. The corporate body enters into it - as well as its subsequent effect - together. Also in regards to a person doing “a special” - while this can parallel a person getting up to sing a spiritual song that is given instantaneously by the Spirit there is just something different about it (the I think “the performance thing” can be very hard for them to fight off and for them to “pull off“ what they would like to do or have happen), and also while there is nothing necessarily bad about a choir singing in front of a group I question their separation from the congregation in that way, particularly the way in which many dress (once again a definite “show thing”), also the performance thing can be very hard for them to fight off as well. To me it’s probably better to keep what’s best about these two venues of singing within the context of a small worship team who usually knows how to appropriately channel what best about those things than to do what churches have been doing. The “show thing” is really hard to fight off (and the congregation always seem to have to restrain themselves from clapping afterward). 5:6) By playing any song as long as you can call it “Christian” I don’t mean here to get into the old argument of what makes a song Christian (lyrics verses melody) (and brethren there is a lot of merit to that discussion particularly if you recognize the existence of non-spiritual music which will be discussed more in Appendix B). What I mean here by this remark is that some groups play Christian songs that are clearly written as someone’s individual expression of some very personal thing (with usually a non-worshipful melody, as well therefore inappropriate for general congregational singing) and then they basically “play it” for the congregation. This kind of this is often found in the “band mentality” that is out there in churches and when I see it, it’s pretty much like a team member is just playing his or her favorite personal song and has lost their grasp as to what their purpose is as a team as well as their function in a service. For an example of the kind of music I’m talking about listen to Christian Radio for a moment and you can easily discern the differences between the different Christian and “christian” genres. Some genres may be OK, but will not fit properly within the content of a church service. 5:7) See Appendix B, point 19 (not footnote 19, but point 19 which is found in Appendix B) Sisters and brothers there are other categories of music that are appropriate for congregational singing ,but these are the three major ones. For an example of a minor category some songs worship teams do are set up like declarations, and can be arranged so they are appropriate for congregational singing, others are not (for example “Victory Chant“ (Hail Jesus you’re my King) [and brethren, I have not seen this song done in a service, (and it’s value in the service I’d question) but it is written as a declaration type of song in case you are interested to know what I’m talking about]. 5:8) Brothers and sisters, in regards to song selections (more of which will be talked about in Appendix B), for some reason there is such a thing as appropriate songs that for some reason work better in smaller groups than large ones and visa versa. I’m not sure of the reason why, but some of it has to do with the intimate nature of some songs and the group dynamics of smaller groups [usually very intimate worship songs work better in smaller groups and you will find them more often there - but not necessarily, and some appropriate celebration songs work better in larger groups than smaller (but still can be played in smaller groups]. In smaller groups you will find more often a song selection that is geared to praise and worship which is pretty much where you will find the Lords presence more often than not. When groups become too large for some reason fast paced music comes into play and although celebration can fall into this category more often than not the song selections seem to be working up the people rather than have them actually response to the presence of the Holy Spirit. In such cases when discerning leadership senses the presence of the Holy Spirit more often than not they will take control of the team and slow the team down into something a little more worshipful and sensitive (it‘s hard “to hear” when everything is fast paced, often loud, and quietness seems to be the order of the day). However there is nothing wrong with either genre, but there are songs that are extremely unfaithful in both contexts (again see Appendix B). As far as appropriate instrumentation for the Lords presence let me talk about a dream I had several years ago. Brethren, scripture says that in the last days people will dream dreams (Acts 2:17) and since we have all had dreams about things (some more pronounced than others), for the spiritually discerning they can make us wonder, especially since God has been known to communicate with His creation through dreams [Job 33:15-18 (take note of verse 14); Acts 2:17; Matthew 2:12]. In this dream I saw a the worship team in front of me playing a song that was not at all right or proper for a worship service. The song was secular, rocky. The song brought to mind images of extreme unfaithfulness. There was another part of the dream, and that concerned the instruments that were being played. I saw a man holding a guitar that was beautiful - a guitar of many different colors with many different effect boxes attached to it. By itself it meant nothing, but then I saw the words “Egypt” written all over the guitar. Then the dream ended. Like I said, dreams can be from a variety of places, but for me it was way too detailed and even though that by itself is nothing I’ve run this past God and I know it was from Him. Here are some general observations I have found after pondering it. A) God’s presence - GOD’S presence - is a little different than just anyone’s presence, (beware of people who say different), therefore there is such a thing as something which is appropriate for it as well as things that are not (and you don‘t want to grieve it). Playing wrong music (and this is a pretty agreed upon point) will cause “the atmosphere” to change in a meeting, will cause God’s presence to lift (maybe even worse) and hence will hinder the sustaining of revival or cause revival to stop (Brothers and sisters, I’ve seen this happen too many times to count where God’s presence comes in during a song and then either ‘an announcement’ is made after the song (the knitting club is going to meet), or the next song played (the example put forth here) - a song which just happens to be the wrong song to do - just does something to God’s manifest presence. The atmosphere changes and it’s like He was grieved and left and who knows what happened to His manifest presence. In regards to the faulting of worship teams when this happens, if they pick the wrong song it was like the team went in a direction and God didn‘t follow them (but if they had continued to go in the direction they were going who knows where it would have led?) Sisters and brothers, concerning the playing of a wrong (which was part of the dream I had) or even a “wrong” song, here’s a testimony from a worship leader about this kind of thing (and that is a team trying to tap into the correct leading of the Holy Spirit…) “When you lead worship, how do you know what the Holy Spirit wants you to do at any particular time? I have had moments in leading worship when I have experienced an unusual sense of the presence of God. In these times, I have found that He has been teaching me how to interpret what the Holy Spirit wants to do - how to "capture the moment." Let me share a real-life example. I was leading worship at a choir retreat near Atlanta. Because of another commitment, I was on a tight schedule. I needed to leave for the airport immediately following the 30 minutes of music I planned. As we started singing the second song, "Think About His Love," people began to weep throughout the congregation. But we were only two songs into the set! At the end of the song, it seemed futile to try to move on with the scheduled program. I didn't know what to do. Obviously God was up to something, but what? The subject of the song was pretty basic: His love and goodness. Feeling it was my duty as the worship leader to pull the worship service up to some joyous point before giving the platform over to the speaker, I stumbled into the next song and finished the set, greatly troubled. I kept asking myself: "Did I do the right thing? Should I have waited to see what the Holy Spirit would do after that second song?" I heard later that the speaker was sensitive enough to adjust his own program and let the Holy Spirit continue to do what He had started in the hearts of the people. As a result, the congregation experienced a time of tremendous repentance and forgiveness…” The third song, which probably followed the second topically in some way (notice he only had planned two songs and his “set list“ was adjustable), probably didn’t break the moving of the Holy Spirit for it looks like he stayed with the subject matter “The subject of the song was pretty basic: His love and goodness. Feeling it was my duty as the worship leader to pull the worship service up to some joyous point before giving the platform over to the speaker, I stumbled into the next song (the unplanned third song) and finished the set” However he still wasn’t sure if he had done the right thing, or went in the right direction … “greatly troubled. I kept asking myself: "Did I do the right thing? Should I have waited to see what the Holy Spirit would do after that second song Brothers and sisters what I write here about following the direction and moving of the Spirit of God in a meeting is all very real and not made up in the slightest. The thing I saw in my dream (or heard) concerning the existence and playing of wrong music can grieve the Spirit and cause the congregation to go in a direction God does not want to go in. If you look at the testimony you just read, for the worship leader it had gotten down to picking a song in the same vein of what was played in order to keep the direction the Spirit was moving in going (he knew about music in relation to this stuff). The worship leader was being a leader here and was concerned about this angle of worship and was able to adjust what he had “planned” (Brothers and sisters, a band playing with a band mentality could not do this and quite honestly the only adjusting I’ve seen in bands is that if the audience (and that is what they are from their perspective, an audience) if they really like (or flow) with a song they will do it again at the end of their concrete set). In regards to what the worship leader did the third song he chose in the two song “set” I gather may have been a more “upbeat” rendering of the same subject matter. I wasn’t there but the point again is this, God was leading in a particular direction and he - as the worship leader - was trying to tap into that direction by taking a queue from the subject matter of the previous song. What his goal was (as best he saw it) was to bring the service up to the next level ( that is “pull the worship service up to some joyous point “) but had doubts about whether he did the right thing (he‘s still learning about things). The speaker however ended up pulling it together though. Again, “I heard later that the speaker was sensitive enough to adjust his own program and let the Holy Spirit continue to do what He had started in the hearts of the people. As a result, the congregation experienced a time of tremendous repentance and forgiveness” Brethren because of Gods presence even the speaker had to adjust his program (or sermon or whatever he had planned.) Once again, brothers and sisters, Gods presence was actually there, and there in a special way, and believe me when I say that the worship leader could have chosen a number of third songs that would have grieved His presence or even cause it “to lift” [for example: what would have happened if the third song the worship leader chose had a different subject matter? That is called grieving the direction that God is leading in and God (that is His presence) is probably not going to follow]. And again, all this fits right into the dream I had (and that is you can play something that is unfaithful to the leading of Gods presence) (“The song brought to mind images of extreme unfaithfulness”), except in the dream I had - what was being played - was especially egregious. B) Brethren, since God’s presence - GOD’S presence - is a little different than just anyone’s presence, therefore there must of necessity be things which are appropriate for it as well as things that are not (and again you don‘t want to grieve it, remember we are talking about sustaining revival in this book). In regards to the dream I had (and again this footnote concerns appropriate instrumentation for the manifest presence of God and revolves around a dream I had from the Lord concerning this issue), there was again another part of the dream, and that concerned the instruments that were being played. “I saw a man holding a guitar that was beautiful - a guitar of many different colors with many different effect boxes attached to it. By itself it meant nothing, but then I saw the words “Egypt” written all over the guitar“. Kind of detailed for it not to be of the Lord. [However once again I want to remind you that even though “detailedness” does not necessarily mean anything concerning the truthfulness of a dream, when one considers the subject matter of this dream and especially the fact that the first part of the dream concerning music which is unfaithful and or unfaithfully does not follow the leading of the Lord (see Appendix B for more on this), that part of the dream seems to be more than true. However it’s this second part of the dream that concerns proper instrumentation for His manifest presence that is something which needs to be considered by worship teams today]. Brothers and sisters about the dream and in regards to the nature of instrumentation in the gathering together of the saints (the man was holding an electric guitar and after much thought - and seeking the Lord about this I’ve come to the following observations and conclusions). 1) The origins of the electric guitar was in the show (actually it was brought in as a swing band instrument in the 1940’s I believe). God want’s his people to get away from this idea that the gathering together of the saints is in any sense a show (and if you do look at these guitars most are very colorful and or stylistic and are made that way to attract attention to “themselves.” That’s not what the gathering together of the saints is to be about. People, especially kids and teenage boys do notice them. We are supposed to be focusing on the Lord). 2) Even though one can take the colors off a guitar and do things to mute its stylism that the Lord wants to do something about the type of instruments that are used to praise His Holy Name. [For example: most truly professional classical musicians wouldn’t dream of putting anything electrical on their instrument (pickups for example or an attached mike) for it would interfere with a pure sound. Also effect boxes would do the same]. In regards to pick - ups on an instrument a stradivarius violin for example with pickup glued (or screwed) onto it would cause a people who are interested in a pure sound to have a fit. God’s the same way in regards to sound and desires the purest sound to be used in the praising of His Name for He is worthy of it. 3) That God desires His people to “go acoustic’ for a number of reasons (and you can seek the Lord about this yourself) and I mean truly acoustic. A) It’s more honoring to God for a person to blow through a flute or horn rather than having a machine doing it (think of organ here). Brethren when a head of state is welcomed at the White House he/she is always greeted acoustically by music. In fact every time an important person arrives anywhere in the world there is usually some sort of acoustical greeting. Why? it is more respectful or appropriate? I’ll leave it for you to decide. B) When ever I listen to something “lovely” (by any kind of group or genre) it’ s most always done acoustically. Why? it is more appropriate, more fitting, more intimate or personal? I’ll leave it for you to decide. (Also in regards to worship music, something lovely is almost never played fast. Which is something to think about concerning the genera). Brothers and sisters, I think you are going to need more of the prophetic to sort this out (and I do believe David made instruments that were to be used for the praising of God’s name), but there is something here and something about all this that’s very true. During the reformation music and instruments were dealt with by some groups. I don’t see why - now that God is on the move again - there shouldn’t be a major house cleaning concerning worship - particularly when worship can take up half the service (and I do want to steer clear of legalism and methodology, but again there is something very true about all that I‘ve written, especially the eye distracting, stylistic, center of attention things that go on in some services). Brethren, if you want to - for the sake of sustaining revival - work on worship in regards to your church service you can probably start with appropriate music (it‘s pretty easy). There is music that is truly inappropriate for congregational singing and it wouldn’t be hard for me to sort that stuff out at all. Then move on from there. Remember we want to do the things that help sustain God’s moving and not do things that hinder it or even cause it to “lift.” Chapter 6 6:1) In regards to the terms renewal and revival, generally speaking the term renewal is used to define “on-fire activity” in a group of people who were once “with God” and “moving along with Him” and because of some fault of their own “lost it” (renewal is almost like a wholehearted rededication to God). The term revival - which can mean that as well - is usually, but not always used to designate a move of God strictly on the unsaved. I use “revival” in the “tween” sense and that is a move of God on the saved. That is: people who were on fire with God, lost it and have or desire to become alive once again. Both terms however are pretty interchangeable and you will hear them used in that way. 6:2) Sisters and brothers, in regards to Gods presence lifting because of sin one can go back and forth over the definition of sin (James 4:17, see Appendix D). But it does exist according to 1 John 1:8 and the classic definition will hold here, and that is “missing the mark.” In regards to sustaining revival, sin is knowing something God has told you to do (or not to do), as an individual (or even as a church), and you don’t listen to it or just don’t follow through with it completely (1 Samuel 15). Therefore as a result revival wanes (for example: as the example mention in chapter 5 about staying away from certain types of music in the service. If you don‘t follow through with it it’s sin) (and again see Appendix B for more on this subject) . Granted brethren there are different levels of things (in the wilderness when they carried the ark they rested at different places and God dealt with different things in the corporate assembly), but after He dealt with them the obedient moved on [compare 1 Samuel 7:3 with 7:12 for God‘s leading, direction and help in regards to this issue]. [Also notice the effect of God‘s presence on sin within the camp of the enemies as well (1 Samuel 5)]. Brothers and sisters, we want to be in that company of the obedient, being led by a moving, still speaking God. God is not stagnate. What He did in the days of yesterday He still does today and He still speaks and leads His people into the ways of life (Appendix D addresses some questions people may have in regards to the issues that come up in this area). 6:3) While it’s unlikely that Christians today can lose the Holy Spirit within (1 Corinthians 6:19), David’s concern in Psalm 51 also centered around losing the presence of the Lord because of His disobedience (and please note that Romans 8:35 is speaking of separating us from the love of God, not His presence which one feels and experiences). Brethren, the simple fact of the matter is that God’s presence (both corporately and individually) with it’s direction can be grieved (or resisted Acts 7:51) and God can stop while we go on. I’ve seen this happen too many times to count. Once again in regards to God’s manifest presence lifting in a congregation (that is what you sense and experience) the testimony of scripture is that it will happen because of disobedience (God does not like sin), and either God will deal with the situation (1 Corinthians 11:29,30) in order to restore divine order or wait until everyone realizes what has happened, repents, changes direction (that is turns around), comes back to God (and the point where He had last left off), and you go on. 6:4) The idea that people will have to work at something to sustain what God wants to do in revival is a point where there is some controversy and in part revolves around the understanding of this verse. “For the land in which you are entering to possess it is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. (that is: the foot pedal distribution and irrigation method of water, in other words you had to work at it) But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys drinks water from the rain of heaven…” (Deuteronomy 11:11,12) Brethren, I love this verse, and I think everyone who has ever had dealings with revival and understood what it was about loves this verse as well. However the testimony of scripture and people who have gone before us shows us that there are things necessary for the continuance of revival and those things center around not only believing God for “the rain of heaven” (which people who overemphasis this verse tend to do) but also by being obedient to doing the things that the Lord has told us (as individual and as a congregation) to do. Sisters and brothers, in scripture you are basically dealing with a circular progression upward in regards to things and as you believe and or obey you are blessed. People sometimes counter this by saying that we obey because we are blessed, but this is just part of the circle (or circular logic) and is in fact the just the starting point of discussion. Brethren basically what you find in scripture is that God deals with things in peoples lives (whether belief or just plain old obedience to doing that thing (s) that God has told you as an individual or a body to do) and then you move on into further blessing in your experience. “You have circled this mountain long enough, now turn…” (Deuteronomy 2:3) Brethren, positionally we are blessed, however to experience that blessing in our experience (and a church) may not only require belief concerning certain things but also obedience to “doing” the things that God has told us to do (and the reason I put “doing” in quotation marks is that this is another area of controversy in revival thought, and that is who is it that is doing “the doing” God, you etc. That aspect of revival - particularly in regards to personal revival - is brought out more in Appendix H). Brethren in regards to theological controversy (both here and in regards to other issues), a lot of controversy comes down to where you are at in ‘the circle of thought’ concerning these things, but this is not to minimize what in fact it is we believe about God (and spiritual life) nor do I want to minimize the proper response to that belief (which may be “the follow thorough” in action if necessary). This footnote is just a long way of saying that sitting back and just believing God may not be the appropriate thing to do in order to sustain revival. You may have to do something (and you can put “do” in quotation marks if you wish), and what you do or “do,” is what God has told you to do as an individual or as a corporate body. This is not a big deal here. 6:5) The ark was a place that God’s presence came upon (It was not inside the box that contained the law), and manifested itself between the cherubim that were on the ark and would in fact remain there as long for as the tabernacle was set up (and even though God is everywhere the presence we are talking about is the special localized presence of the Lord., the shekina (SP) glory if you will. When Jesus prayed He looked up to heaven (Verse) Brethren, under the new covenant we - both corporately and especially as individuals - are now the place of Gods presence. Even though thee is a special localized presence in heaven there is something about Him in us and unlike the ark He is inside us (VERSE He is with you and will be in you) and in effect we are now His living tabernacle [or temple (1 Corinthians 6:19)] Brethren in regards to God’s manifest presence on the congregation (that is what you corporately sense and experience) there is such a thing (Priests couldn’t minister verse, Moses Joshua seeing everyone prophesying verse etc. Saul in the company of the prophets). And it is wonderful and is something that congregations desire. It’s that corporate presence lifting that primarily concerns what is written in this book, for at the minimum the presence - especially in regards to the manifestation of the giftings - does have drawing power (verse unbeliever will walk in on meeting and see that God is there). Brethren, I myself distinctly remember going to meetings as an unsaved youth and feeling that presence in meetings. Even so, in regard to the issue at hand, wrongly discerning the place of God’s presence - under the New Covenant - in regards to individuals (and probably corporately) has led to (or can lead to) some similar things that happened to David and can parallel the story of David’s handling of the ark (see 1 Corinthians 11:30). [and as an interesting side note according to Josepheus the second temple contained no ark of the covenant, NO CONTAINER WITH THE LAW. My guess is that they could not find the ark when they came back from exile (for it was probably hidden by the pre-exile priests in the Jerusalem area before the Babylonian captivity), yet even so God’s presence did come to the temple later in the person of Jesus (VERSE NEEDED - OT TOO) 6:6) In regards to going too far with an object lesson… take the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. This is no doubt an object lesson (or type) of the sacrifice of Jesus, but the object lesson breaks down when the ram in the thicket is sacrificed in it’s place. The question then becomes “If Jesus is Isaac who is the lamb in the thicket?” All object lessons tend to break down at some point, because they are not the thing itself and this may be true in regards to parts of this story here. Also, in regards to people using this story to say that we should not steady what God is doing, the point of this story has nothing to do with steadying, but that Israel (and David) was not doing things correctly. For you as a person to try to “get a handle on” people / churches doing things incorrectly and trying to get them to correct things is not a bad thing (your not steadying anything you are correcting things ). This particular scripture was used by people in churches as an admonition to the congregation to not steady (or don’t touch) what God was doing during the last significant renewal, when discerning people (or actually anyone) who see “the show,” bragging, power, money, fame, and all sorts of error - especially the hype that was going on) knew exactly what was going on and in wanting revival to continue - that is true revival, try to point out errors so good things will continue. I have found in the past (during the moves of the 1990’s) that people who talk about a whole host of things that God was doing (and said ‘don’t touch it’ where for the most part greatly mistaken and a lot of what was going on was in fact “the flesh,” spirits, and a whole host of other things that people were responding to (especially the fast paced frenzied music etc.) Brothers and sisters, you may have your work cut out for you if you have revival and question what may be going on in your church and hear this particular object lesson put forth (that is: “don’t touch it”) used as an excuse to let things (error) go on. I’ve seen it before - first hand, and I hope to God I never see it again. You have no idea how displeased God is when people in meetings go around saying ‘this is God’ when in fact it’s not. It can lead to all kinds of trouble. 6:7) Brothers and sisters God cuts us slack in regards to a lot of things (just read about the leeway and grace God gives us in some of the Appendixes in this book). Even under the old covenant you will find grace, especially in regards to this issue of an out of order state (see 2 Chronicles 30:18-20 when God allowed His people to go on and do something in an “out of order” state simply because the people prayed before hand that their sins would be forgiven). However even though this is so, it does not change the fact that things may not well if certain things are not in place. Especially in regards to the issue of God’s presence (that is hindering it, frustrating it, grieving it). We need to be wise here brethren. If God ‘shows up’ when things are not right things MAY not go well for all concerned. 6:8) During the renewal of the 1990’s people became very worked up and excited and for the most part it was nothing more than the type and loudness of the music being played (I watched this often, and heard about it many many times as well). It was often very loud, fast paced, and often NON-SPIRITUAL music and it had an effect on congregations and renewal meetings throughout the world (And I am NOT talking about celebration type of music either), people became wise to what was going on (that is pure fleshly, soul-ish reaction to things, in other words not the Spirit of God ) and as mentioned before became another reason (aside from the previous things mentioned already mentioned) as to why people left churches, split churches or just rejected what was going on (and too bad for there was good mixed in with the bad, God was (or had been) there at meetings, but the good which had been seen - because of the mixture - was now being rejected as well). 6:9) Brothers and sisters, if you are looking for the progressive paradigm that most churches follow it’s the one that concerns “the land” (that is Egypt represents the old life (or sin); the Wilderness (some believe) represents a pre “baptized in the Spirit” life where God deal with things; but the main point of the progression concerns the Land (which by the way also happened to be a place where God dealt with things too). Brethren, it’s this paradigm of “the land” and entering into it with all its fruitfulness [remember the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)], and provision that God supplies for us in that land that most churches in the world seems to use in most today (and is in part the paradigm you will find used in the letter to the Hebrews, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4,11 as well). Just briefly Egypt - Represents the old life (the unsaved, unredeemed life) The Red (Reed) Sea - This point according to 1 Corinthians 10:2 represents being baptized into the law or Moses. It is a controversial point but it is a phase most new believer seem to go through until they learn to live a life of faith and trust. The Wilderness - Again another controversial point [for the people of Israel if they had obeyed and listened to God (and didn’t whine and complain about everything) and trusted Him they could have taken the direct route into the promised land rather than spend 40 years in the wilderness (with God dealing mostly with their attitude towards each other and Him). If you look at the story of the group of people who actually did enter the land (which accept for the two people who actually believed God, none of the people who had left Egypt were in this group that entered) they had it all together and acted as one when they crossed over. Again a controversial point but basically if they believed God about everything He promised and said they could have taken the direct route into the next step of His purposes [that is directly baptized in the Spirit which in Christian thought does happen to entail belief] (the next point), This point is not really talked about much except in churches that are not familiar with the full “land motif” and as a result will often talk about their wilderness experiences ad infinitium and the only refreshing they seem to get parallels when Moses struck the rock (that is their refreshing happens occasionally and that‘s it). Brothers and sisters, if you belong to a church like (or think like this) you need to stop spending so much time talking about you wilderness experience (which if you listen to people when they talk about their “wilderness experiences” they, like the children of Israel in the wilderness, mostly concern God dealing with their “attitude” - which again is mostly what the wilderness was about anyway), and move directly into the baptism of the Spirit (which is the land with it’s fruitfulness (that is the fruits and anointing of the Spirit) and provision (that is the giftings of the Spirit). The land (of the Spirit) - not the wilderness (the flesh with it’s attitudes and desires) - is where the action (or main action) is. Get baptized in the Spirit (and by the way if you have issues regarding the baptizing of the Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:13 is talking about everyone being united into one body or baptized into it (that is the already existing one of Christ). Also the common counter used by some people concerning the issue of getting baptized in the Spirit was the second baptism (or experiential baptism if you are so inclined) you find in the book of Acts was necessarily delayed because the Apostles needed to check out want was going on first before it could happen (in other words they need to see if the people were OK to receive it and give the people their blessing or approval) Thus today - since the Apostles are gone (big mistake right off the bat) - God has combined the two and there is in reality just only one baptism today and the people who talk about a second one (or an experiential one) are misled or deceived. Brothers and sisters, according to the book of Acts some people waited (most likely because they didn’t know of it, or the experiential nature of spiritual baptism) (and this wait can parallel the wilderness experience) and some people in the scriptures received it right on the spot (which can parallel the direct route to the land) (but once again the wilderness can be a controversial point in this whole motif, for you will find Jesus even going back to the wilderness (actually being led by the Spirit) - after he crossed over from Egypt and entered the promised land as a babe - to be tested about things. As an adult He left the promised land full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) and when He came back (that is crossed over again) He would come back in power (Luke 4:14). Brethren, this motif [or ‘object lesson’ (John 3:14)] (and some people use the word “type” here, but the word has pretty much lost it’s meaning; 1 Corinthians 10: 6 uses the word “examples;” “object lesson” is much better. In other words all of this is a way of God showing us something], this motif of Egypt, the Wilderness and the Land (a coming point) is a motif that is found in scripture and to understand it is to understand a lot (God‘s purposes, what He‘s “up to” in the world, what He‘s “up to“ with us, etc.). Brothers and sisters, I know the issue of the baptism of the Spirit can be controversial in some churches but however you want to argue the point there is in fact another realm of Christian existence and it centers around the things of the Spirit. If you really want to argue the “one baptism” angle fine, but your making a mistake in coming against or downplaying the real and significant experiential nature of that baptism and the role that plays in the Christian walk (which was so amply demonstrated in the book of Acts and the epistles. An anointed life that has all power, authority, giftings and much fruit). Brothers and sisters, there is a real - almost second - or - in fact second - experience in that countless Christians have talked about in their lives their lives which made a world of difference in regards to things. If you want to argue that it is just the difference between the positional angle of things vs. the experiential angle, fine, but it does not change the fact that the spiritual life is in fact a real experience and being baptized in the Spirit (however you want to argue the point) is a much deeper awareness of what everything is all about, and then some. The spiritual life is reality Joshua - This person who along with Caleb led Israel into the promised land. Joshua (Y’shua) is the Hebrew name for Jesus [Jesus was the name the Greeks understood for Joshua, kind of like Juan for John and the name “Jesus”(at least for the Greeks of the day) stuck, and we still use it to this day. His actual name was in fact Joshua and if you were there in the day that is what you would have called Him]. “…you shall name Him Jesus” [or Joshua (Luke 1:31)] Brethren, there is significance behind names and this name is a significant object lesson (or type) brought into the new covenant for us to understand what God is trying to say to us in regard to all these things, and that is just as Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land, so Jesus (Joshua in the Hebrew language) will too lead His people into a land full of provision and anointing! The River Jordan- Represents the baptisms of the Spirit [and remember Moses, who represents law, was not allowed to enter the land]. When Elijah failed (after confronting what some believe is the final enemy of the land Jezebel [which was the queen who had THE unfaithful spirit, which is seen again in Revelation 2:20 - called by the same name - and described as a spirit that can lead Gods people astray). It also got the greatest prophet who ever lived, John the Baptist. (See Revelation 17 and 18 for more on this for it’s also a deceptive spiritual system that is in the world today (an unfaithful system) that does not follow God and leads them astray as well). Anyway, after confronting it Elijah had become afraid for some reason (1 Kings 19:3) and rather than confront it ran away. God came to him twice about the matter, once just talking to him about it (1 Kings 19:9) and later in demonstration of His power over all (1 Kings 19:11-13), but Elijah wouldn’t budge and offered the same excuse. Elijah was loved by God, and still loved after he gave his excuse but was told to anoint Elisha in his place (1 Kings 19:16), for God’s determination in confronting these things as well as His purposes continue]. Brethren as a side point while God give us leeway in regards to a lot of issues (See Appendix D) the concept of being unfaithful to His purposes (whether individual or corporately) is a serious concept (but again there is latitude here (Appendix D) and God can lead people differently (Appendix K) Anyway after Elisha - his replacement - was called into place, Elijah went backward through the paradigm through Jericho [the second thing and the very first enemy confronted by Israel in the land (2 Kings 2:4)], went to the river Jordan (the first “thing” Israel confronted) smacked it with his robe (which then divided just like when Israel entered the land) and left (2 Kings 2). You may feel bad for him but you factor in Malachi 4:5 and Revelation 11:3-12 he’s going to get a chance to start all over again. God in His wisdom and infinite grace is going to allow him to get another shot at it (and I have no doubt of the direction he is going to come from). I find it interesting that before Jesus had to confront the same type of thing (the unfaithful city Matthew 23:37) that Elijah had to confront (Elijah dealt with Samaria which was the capital of Israel, not Judah and had really become unfaithful and a haunt of the major spirit) both Moses and Elijah appeared to him. If you read the scriptures both men were greatly used by God and when confronted by this spirit both failed (Moses in unfaithful disobedience and Elijah in his fleeing of it and not desiring to confront it again). I have a feeling that both these men appeared to Jesus to encourage Him not to fail in regards to these things (which he Himself was about to confront) - possibly with advise (and remember Jesus was fully human with all it‘s whatever) encouraging him in God, ministering to him just as the angels ministered to Him in the wilderness and an angel would later strengthen him in Gethsemane). The Land - “and He brought us out from there (Egypt), in order to bring us in (to a land of blessing and provision)” (Deuteronomy 6:23). The motif of the promised land (and all that is behind it as well as all that was to come) is a very very powerful motif. Which again is a land with fruitfulness (that is the fruits of the Spirit or the milk and honey if you will) and provision (that is the giftings and anointing of the Spirit, or the oil and wine if you will). In many ways the land parallels the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Get the enemies out (whoever or what ever they or it is) and get the land (that is you) under divine control. The Giants - The first people Israel saw when they went to spy out the land. They were big and it scared many of them right into unbelief. Later one even scared Saul and all of Israel (1 Samuel 17:11) David had the courage to deal with him and he dealt with him (or “it” if you understand the motif of what giants - in part - can represent in new covenant thinking and that is thoughts. Big negative thoughts about things, God, and His purposes on the earth. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Especially negative thoughts about yourself. Giants can also represent actual spirits that were indeed cast out of people in the new testament. Unfortunately there is a whole other side to this. In regards to the larger picture here when Satan fell he was cast down upon the earth. The earth became his principle sphere of influence (VERSE NEEDED prince, power). After Satan fell to earth God - had the gall (from Satan‘s perspective) - to plant a garden in the earth (that Garden of Eden) and to give a new creation - man, dominion over it and the earth. Satan - who was already present in the earth in his fallen state (remember he spoke through the serpent) was obviously not happy about this (I’m guessing he though that in some way he had dominion over the earth, since that is where he was cast down to) and decided to test this new creation man to see if he would actually follow God (which God in his manifold wisdom wanted him to do). Brothers and sisters, like all creations of God (as mentioned in Appendix footnote C:7) man was also tested but he failed the test. However what Satan did not know was that if a being does not want to follow God that is their prerogative (for the time being), but when they start to mess with what God is doing (as Satan had just done), judgment will fall and it’s just a matter of time before things get under control again. One could say that God let man fall to deal a final blow to Satan (Genesis 3 verse), and then redeem man because he - unlike Satan - was deceived in his sin (this is just speculation for indeed sin is a mystery verse). One can also say that God created man to take these angels places in the realms of authority that they abandoned (which is speculation on my part base on Jude 1:6; Ephesians 1:20, 23; 2:6), as Romans speculates in regards to some parts of this issue in Romans 9:22; but may not be so based on Ephesians 1:21’s “far above” remembering that we are His body and are seated with Him. If that be the case we would be above angels in some way, and since we are going to judge angels [(1 Corinthians 6:3), probably in regards to their ministering (Hebrews 1:14)] this may be the case (See Daniel 10:21) (I think it‘s more than just the demonic). Brethren (good) angels have their own problems (Revelation 12;7), God will eventually win (Revelation 12:8), but since a third of them left and followed Satan (VERSE NEEDED) they themselves are not only busy helping and fighting for us and God’s purposes on the earth, but some are probably trying to fill the places with the authority that they did not have previously (which was left by the angels who left) and are “still learning” a thing or too if you will. Either that or just the effort involved trying to get these “angels” out of the heavenlies themselves (and God knows what these beings are saying or doing or how they are mixed up with the good things on the earth (VERSE NEEDED wheat and tares) is enough to for them to deal with (and again we are going to judge them in regards to these things for what they did and did not do effects us). Also brethren remember even though Satan was cast down to earth (VERSE NEEDED Genesis Ezekiel Mathew) and that became his primary sphere of influence (VERSE NEEDED prince and power) he still has access to heaven (VERSE NEEDED Job) n an accusatory capacity (VERSE NEEDED Job, Zechariah 3:1-10, Revelation) and until ground is removed - at least in our lives - him and his angels still have access to that realm. Sisters and brothers it’s not a easy time for everyone until the end of all this come about - and it will come about. According to Daniel 10 our prays as well as our fastings help things along here. Aside from the effect that it has on God I think it helps the angels along with things - in an encouraging sense - for it shows them that we care (But we are not fasting for their sake and whatever they do according to Daniel 10 and other places is from the Lord). However brethren in regards to some things it can in some “sense” be a two way street as well (in other words it‘s nice to know that people care. Remember that no one was standing with that angel “firmly” except Michael which could be for a multitude of reasons and people not caring could be one of them [‘from the first day (of his 21 day partial fast) his words (prayers) were heard” but it took 21 days for the angel to press through. I think that angel may have been encouraged by Daniels continuance in regards to things, but we are not to focus on them (VERSE NEEED) but the Lord ] (See Appendix I; and Sustaining Revival footnote C:7 and C:8 for more in regards to our possible help in regards to these things). However, brethren whatever is the case here when man did fall he was brought under the dominion of Satan because he obeyed him (Verse) and the one who is obeyed is boss (Romans 6:16). The thing is this we are born into this preexisting mess, and at birth are loaded with baggage and no where near given a fair chance of making it. God in His power - at the cross - defeated Satan with his angels (who still obey him) and that victory (positionally) with all it means (which in part is given us the ability for us to deal with the baggage and pre-existing mess in our lives) is given to us the church, however in our experience to make that victory so we may still need to deal with these spirits - who are still fighting - and one of the tools they use to achieve their impossible goals of victory is to lie and speak to us through our thought life. Brethren, this is reality and although we are not to be overly focused on spirits they are there, are part of our warfare [probably about a third, the other third being dealing with “the flesh” (Appendix H; that is we control our bodily desires they do not control us. Our body (as well as our spirit) is also in part what the land represents); and the other third having to do with dealing with present world system of thought (1 John). Sisters and brothers the world, the flesh and the devil are our enemies (in no particular order)] However, it is important in regards to our spiritual warfare to remember that they (Satan and the angels that fell with him) do in fact exist and they do in fact do this kind of thing (as well as other things too) and I want to point out here (for those who are maturing, and for those who aren’t well… ) that if this happens to you that to hear a thought from another realm does not necessarily mean one is possessed (or controlled) by a demon (for an example of control see Luke 22:3 or see Ezekiel 28:1-11 and watch the language sift in verse 12 onward to see who was really behind that particular earthly power of that day). Nor does it mean that one has a demon either (Mark 9:25; Matthew 17:15-18). Brethren, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness - if you follow the story - most people would probably agree that at least the first temptation - which came from the devil mind you - came right into His mind and that was the medium he functioned through - thoughts, speaking thoughts in particular. The devil was not standing in front of Him at first, however once he and his thoughts about things were recognized he may have openly manifested himself. Brethren, both he and his angels (which do the same kind of thing mind you) - do exist. However even though this is so we are not to be overly focused on the devil or his angels, Jesus did indeed conquer them and rendered them powerless over us [except when we believe the lies which they can speak into our lives in the same manner. Lies (just simple thoughts that come into our life) that we catch and don’t catch, and they can come form others, lies happen to be their main weapon). Brothers and sisters, once again this is something that we are not to be overly concerned about but just aware of and we are to be mindful that these beings are indeed there and there is in fact another dimension to our experience (as well as communication in that dimension that can have nothing to do with possession) that can take place on that spiritual realm. To realize this and recognize this is to our advantage. Especially in the area of our thought life (In regards to the operating on this dimension see Peter having something revealed to him by God and speaking thus (Matthew 16:17) and later (the same chapter), having someone not nice speak through him (Matthew 16:23). The medium though which this happens is like a “sixth sense” part of our being (a part that is usually rejected by modern psychology), and is a neutral spiritual medium through which any spiritual being can express something (“spirit talking to spirit” or God’s Spirit, or a spirit talking to ones spirit. Brethren, our essence is spiritual, “trapped” in a body (Luke 8:55). When one goes to be with the Lord it’s their spirit that goes on and they - in their spirit - go on communicating and interacting, but on a non physical level. Most people ignore this part of our being (psychiatry will tend to treat people who believe in it and function in it, but in reality it’s really because they don’t understand it or understand what is going on) but it is there, it is in essence what we are, and communication does go on on this level). Brethren everyone functions on this level whether they realize it or not [and if you go on to read Chapter 7, spirits and their influence, particularly indwelling spirits, is an area God wants to deal with next (particular since this is the main area where God last left off in the renewals of the 1990‘s, right before they ended). Brothers and sisters in regards to all these things, especially on this side of eternity, when one looks at the bible one must realize that the bible is a actual and factual written record of peoples experiences with God (and both Spiritual and spiritual experiences as well) and it’s not wise to be ignorant of them or what (the factual) stories were all about. Read the scriptures and find out “what’s up” and try not to make the same mistakes (if they were made), and also spend time study the victories - and how they were accomplished - over these things. Also realize that the victory over these things, in fact over everything (Ephesians 1:20-23) has already been accomplished and that someday - when God has finished His purposes in the earth (which in part entails I believe displaying a church in complete victory over these things, remember according to Ephesians 1:21 Jesus is seated FAR ABOVE all these things and according to verse 22 &23 we are his body and are therefore seated with Him. See chapter 2:6. Brethren there is no reason why - in our experience - this should not be so (and there is no reason why Romans 8:19 can‘t have meaning here and now. People do press ahead). Anyway brethren, someday, after all is done and God has accomplished all His purposes on the earth [which includes getting as many people as possible saved (Matthew 24:14)] all these things will come to a rather dramatic end (Revelation 5-22) and we will actually see His full victory displayed. The heavens literally will be pulled back and the people of the earth will actually see God the Father upon the throne - with His Lamb (Revelation 6:14-17) who together were victorious over all these things. The Lamb who conquered all (Ephesians 1:20-22), will come (Revelation 19:11-14) to enforce His victory upon the earth, and the spirits (Satan) who is behind the deception of the nations (Revelation 20:8), will be bound up and dealt with (Revelation 20:1-3). God‘s kingdom with it’s divine order (and the peace that follows that order) will come upon the earth (Revelation 20:4). Brethren, life is more than what you see be smart [also in regards to the actual physical manifestation of that victory by Christ, correct action (repentance and returning to God) can usher things along here (Acts 3:19,20)] Brethren, God has positionally given the church that victory, let’s make it so in our experience. Let’s deal with these lying, deceptive and unfaithful spirits - in our experience (in part by looking at some of the object lessons mentioned in this footnote) and manifest God‘s positional victory in the earth today! (See Appendix C and well as Appendix footnote C:7 & C:8 for more in regards to this. Also see Appendix M for more on Satan). Jericho - the first of many enemies (or fortified cities) that God’s people had to confront in the paradigm. Ephesians 6:12 talks about groupings or hierarchies of power in spiritual dimension (also see Ephesians 1:21). Jerusalem - the goal of the paradigm (that is everything it represents). The Rest - a concept that may be placed before the Jerusalem concept depending on what you are talking about, but it centers around this verse. “So the Lord gave Israel all the land (again the land motif) which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them, the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all had come to pass” (Joshua 21:43-45) Also see how the Book of Hebrews jumps all over this paradigm "Therefore, let us fear lest while a promise remains of entering His REST, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (They didn’t believe it!)... Today if you hear his voice, Do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them REST, (He did give them physical rest, Joshua 21:43-45), He would not have spoken of another day after that. (i.e. a day of Spiritual rest) There remains therefore a Sabbath REST for the people of God” Hebrews 4 And brothers and sisters he’s not talking about “the Sabbath” here. And see what Jesus Himself says about it. “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden an I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28,29) Brothers and sisters, again, if you look you will find a progression of things in scripture and if your church is progressing in God you will, as mentioned before, not only will you talk about the fivefold message of the gospel - and not only talk about the powerful overcoming life of the new creation (with it‘s fruitfulness, giftings and anointing) - but you will also probably talk about the warfare that new creation is up against within the paradigm of the land.(in other words you will talk about “the land” in all it’s experiential progression. Brethren the warfare God’s people are up against (in their world and in their thought life) often parallels, in many many ways, the warfare that Gods people were up against when they entered the land). “ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (like Israel), but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations, and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every though captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) The problem with the children of Israel is that they did not realize that they would - in part - have to fight for that rest. They were not expecting the giants. Brethren, the enemies need to be conquered, both in our thought life and in reality before there is full and complete rest (also following the example Jesus set in life is a major plus) (Appendix D). Therefore brothers and sisters, get busy studying about the land and what various things represented. You will find such treasures there. Again, there is just so much here. Chapter 7 7:1) Brothers and sisters, in regards to what the main “service” usually centers around today [preaching or teaching the word (1 Timothy 5:17)] , there is nothing necessarily wrong with those things. However the way things are today this activity encompasses the entire main gathering together of the saints at the expense of many other speaking gifts. Again there is more than one speaking gift and to say that only one thing will transpire when the saints gather together - while possible - is a pretty poor view of the richness of Gods Spirit. Brethren, what I am saying here is that the priority (or the priority service) or main one is one in which everyone gathers together to use their giftings, NOT the one where just one person - who happens to have a speaking gift - shares. If you are going to center on one gift like this - unless it is of great urgency - it would be best to leave that kind of thing for a night where it is not as urgent as the urgency of using all the other giftings together. [Which again in most churches would be a week night [and it might be better to do it this way anyway, for most people work during the weekdays (and some very hard) and probably wouldn‘t mind sitting back to listen to an enjoyable word for “a while” before they too have an opportunity to share (or operate) - if that be the case]. 7:2) In regards to public altar calls, I understand the classic salvation reason for giving them in front of the congregation (that is the church) and that is for the sake of public testimony, but biblically speaking that is what baptism is about so I would not force someone who responds to a salvation message to come up in front of everyone, nor make people feel like they have failed if they don’t come up. Also in regards to doing personal ministry in front of people (in the case of deliverance for example) is another thing I question - not so much of it’s value - but in regards to the actual effectiveness of the transaction (that is: one may get to the point where “people watching“ becomes a consideration etc.). This is not good for the sake of sustaining revival and would most likely have more effectiveness in another setting [and I mention deliverance because this seems to be where that last move of God stopped (and it may have been for more reasons than just failure to recognize what the things were that were manifesting themselves in people]. Brethren, personal ministry or any kind of personal decisions in front of large groups - with the exception of baptism - is something that people who are into the show mentality try to encourage and highlight in the “service” of the saints. Again, for the sake of effectiveness (or lasting effectiveness) and the sustaining of revival I think a lot of these kind of things are better done in another setting (especially personal ministry), thus sustaining revival (unless of course God leads different). The dynamics of large church meetings tend to work against a lot of things. 7:3) This is a difficult subject for one is dealing with a number of issues (positional holiness vs. experiential holiness, levels of conscience (See Appendix O), private vs. public behavior (that is: ‘meat unto idols’ issues), but basically - on the whole - you are dealing with the definition of sin. Some things to remember when defining sin in regards to the subject of holiness. First off sin does exist. Second, we are positionally holy before God, so when trying to define what sin is, we are basically talking about it in relation to holiness in our experience (See Appendix H). This is an important thing to remember when talking about the subject of blessing , but quickly we are blessed therefore we “do” obey and because we do obey (or listen to God, whether it’s something in the written word )(see Appendix D for more on this) or something we hear directly from God) because we do obey (or listen) we experience more of Gods blessing in our experience. It’s a circular kind of thing which is ever progressing upward - as God leads us - into the ways of life, but the starting point is realizing (or reckoning) that the finished work of the cross is indeed finished, we are therefore blessed to begin with and moving on from there (For those who feel differently on this issue, in regards to further blessing let me ask you… If God tells you to do something and you don‘t do it or do the opposite will you experience blessing or fullness of blessing? Certainly there is something to obeying God’s written word (again see Appendix D, especially the part on principles of faith hope and love) and / or listening to a still speaking God in regards to experiencing blessing - in our experience)(see Appendix H for more on this) . Brethren, here are other some things to remember when defining sin - in our experience. A) Acts not done in faith are mostly likely wrong therefore sinful (see Appendix D). B) It’s God - through the Holy Spirit - that convicts the world of sin, not people per say ((VERSE NEEDED)). In other words don’t accept anyone’s judgment of you if you don’t feel condemned for a particular act you did. As long as your conscience isn’t hard. C) The conscience - as just said - can also be used as a guide for wrong action (not conviction from God per say), however with the conscience you are basically dealing with private issues (‘meat unto idols’). In regards to the public arena it’s not a good overall standard, at best a rule of thumb. The reason being is because the conscience matures (that is: there are levels of peoples understanding of things. It‘s progressive, or a progressing feature of our being. For example: what you thought was wrong yesterday, may not be wrong today (an example ‘meat unto idols’) (see the authors book “Understanding Christianity” for a further elaboration on this issue, also see Appendix O). Brothers and sisters, in regards to holiness, purity and sin in the absence of any other guidance the conscience can help, but can be a very relative standard when manifested in the public arena and should not be flaunted, especially in the church. It is not a rock hard guide for judging other peoples convictions [For example: you can’t be adamant about certain things (as in “how can that person do that?”), and should always factor in other things when looking at other peoples actions (like are we dealing with life issues here?, Is it possible God is leading the person to do this or that?, etc. and so forth)]. Once again - because it matures - you can’t really use it as your only guide for a definition of sin (public and sometimes private), (and this is especially true in regards to using other peoples consciences in reference to the judging of your own behavior or convictions about things. At best it is a private guide that regulates action). However even though all this is true again remember that when acting on ones convictions publicly is that it might be wise to be careful about flaunting ones conscience. You don’t want to cause other people (that is people with weak consciences) to stumble ((VERSE NEEDED)). When defining sin (in relation to holiness and purity) acts of conscience is one area where there may be a genuine difference of opinion among God’s people, hence - unless God or life says different - it might be best to keep certain “controversial” convictions to ones self (Again see Appendix O in regard to ones conscience). D) Even though there is relativity in regards to some things (the conscience) there is firmness (See Appendix D for an elaboration on this point) and unless God says or guides differently living your life on the principles of faith hope and love is not a bad idea. Outside of these three things one could say that acts done or deeds demonstrated may not be pure and holy and may in fact be sinful, especially if they are not done in faith. Brothers and sisters, when viewing scripture as a guide for defining sin it’s helpful to view it as default teaching on issues that carry weight unless God or life says to you something different on the issue (again Appendix D) and unless that happens there does appear to be some areas we don’t go (2 John 1:9) Brothers and sisters, there is nothing wrong with scripture, and the reason it’s ‘firm’ is not so that God can be hard on us, no. It’s firm because in many ways it points us in the direction of the default way OR the way of life [little children, stay away from idols ((VERSE NEEDED)); children obey your parents ((VERSE NEEDED)) , etc]. (again see Appendix D for an elaboration on this point). Brethren, you really don’t want to go around worshiping idols, and unless a parent is pointing their child in the wrong direction, their advice should - at the minimum - be considered (again the default way of looking at things). Brothers and sisters, even though law and the progression of life (generally speaking now) do not mix (for example a mature adult is not treated like a child), there are beneficial things about using rules and regulations in certain situations, for example… 1) When you are interacting with a child (as in: “this is the way it is” ). 2) when you as a mature person are interacting with someone who is weak in conscience. 3) when you are dealing with laws that genuinely have to do with the boundaries of life (do not worship other Gods). Again, unless God or life says different, scriptural teaching is a guide for the saints on general questions, and while there may be genuine disagreement on some issues, others are pretty firm - unless of course God or life says different (and once again read Appendix D for a further elaboration on this point). In regards to the issue at hand… “some … churches… have no idea of the things that are necessary to maintain “a cleansed state” and because of that cannot guide believers into anything other than a subjective holiness and a relative purity.” Brothers and sisters, at the beginning of ones Christian walk there is a relative purity among Gods people (Christians are learning and coming from different perspectives) and as they grow there is a holiness they move towards that can be subjective in regards to where they are at in their level of maturity, but as they mature things begin to congeal and unless God or the flow of life says different we do live our life on principles (not laws per say, but principles) - principles found in scripture (selflessness, self control, etc. see Appendix H). As the after for mentioned principles of faith hope and love (or the lack of them) can come into play in regards to the definition of sin, such things as lack of self control (and the issues that surround that) can have a bearing on (experiential) holiness. Dealing with “the flesh” (or bodily needs, desires and wants), and getting them “under our feet” so that we control them and they do not control us has been traditionally what a good part of manifest holiness. Some churches can deal with this stuff and are far too loose (in practice) in regards to these matters. Just teaching people to live by the principle of leading a selfless life would help a great deal in regards to some of these matters. Brethren, this is a big area that is covered in Appendix H (and D somewhat), for to say that we are cleansed positionally and are cleansed experientially are two different things and lack of experiential holiness will have a bearing on sustaining revival. Brethren, there are things believed (positionally) and things done or not done (experientially) that helps us maintain that cleansed state which is so necessary for the sustaining of revival. (7:4) “the sustaining of the corporate flame” In regards to healings and deliverances there is nothing particularly appealing about a group of sick and weakly people who claim to be a light of revelation to the world and are just the opposite. Especially since we have full and complete victory over these things. This area, especially in regards to worship (and aside from all the other areas already mentioned in this book) are areas I feel God is going to major in next in the world today, with real lasting and significant healings and deliverances. Brothers and sisters, I’ve been both watching and experiencing the hand of God play out in the world for quite some time now and as said before the last place it played out in a significant way was the revivals of the 1990’s [which not only messed up in regards to where God wanted to go in regards to worship, but came to a standstill when they confronted the issue of deliverance which again has bearing on healing - at least certain types [Mark 9:25 (Deafness and Dumbness) Matthew 17:15-18 (Epilepsy) also see Matthew 4:23, 24; 8:16 in regards to the issue healing in general which is also part of all this.VERSES VERSES ] Brethren, I firmly believe - aside from the things already mentioned throughout this book (which by the way concern mostly supportive areas of a move of God) that the next area God is going to focus on will be these two areas (especially since it seems that this is where He “left off” when one last looked), and especially in regards to their relation to worship. And yes there will be others areas He will concurrently deal with (and if you read the Appendixes of this book, particularly Appendix E,F and G you will see I am speaking of things in regards to intimate personal relationships). And things about relationships did come up in the renewal of the 1990’s with couples being divided over what was going on (and He does want to deal with some of those things). However in regards to the intimate relationships (which again is something He wants to deal with and are mentioned in the Appendixes), I do believe that this is also something that He is going to deal with quickly and again concurrently, within the parameters found in those Appendix’ s (E,F and G) and it is not going to be something that is going to be overly focused on (nor should be) (See Appendix J). Also, brothers and sisters, in regards to the issue of the corporate flame… If you read the book of Revelation you see seven stars as well as seven golden lamp stands mentioned in Chapter 1 - with Jesus in their midst. The seven lamp stands are churches, and the seven stars are angels that oversee the churches (Revelation 1:20). The seven churches are mentioned by name in Chapter’s 2 & 3. Brothers and sisters, there is a lot to expound there, but I want to point out the fact that according to the book of Revelation individual churches do appear to have a their own individual corporate flame (which was represented by the lamp stand) and it does shine in the darkness. Brothers and sisters these lamp stands (or flames) can also be removed from a church under certain circumstances (Revelation 2:5). We need to be careful. All this talk about sustaining the corporate flame (and all that goes into that) is no joke, for light and revelation is in fact a drawing power, which combined with God’s manifest presence in our midst (Jesus among the lamp stands) and doing the things necessary to sustain it (so our lamp stand is not taken away) is what sustaining revival is all about. However brethren, in regards to this corporate flame we do want to work on it, particularly when we gather together (and you may want to re-read chapter One of this book), but once again, in regards to the relationship part of this flame, while relationships are important (and again I don’t want to denigrate them in the slightest for they are part of the corporate flame no doubt, again Chapter 1), there are other things that are part of that flame too (again just read Chapters 2 & 3 in the book of Revelation, and by the way some of these issues are also addressed in some of the Appendixes as well). Brethren, relationships are important but it’s not something that God wants to spend an overly amount of time on (He just needs to straighten out some things so the body will “glow better” and function better together in the supportive nature of what it does). Sort of like a quick pit stop for some very quick (and lasting) maintenance. Dealing with the things that need to be dealt with and moving on. [Just a side note. In regards to the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation a question you might want to ask yourself is regarding the number 7 is does it just mean just ‘perfection’ (as some people who study the use of numbers in the bible point out?), or are there only 7 prominent churches in the world at any one time? - again, the candle stand). And by the way the churches mentioned in Revelation are city (maybe even regional type churches), not just a single church per say, which may or may not help you in the interpretation of that Chapter] However you may view that section of the book of Revelation, the corporate flame mentioned there is of importance. If your gathering together as a church does not have one, what’s the point? The Appendixes Why Appendixes? Some writers will write a book and leave issues or questions open and thus - will write another book to answer them. Other writers will answers the issues left open in the appendix. This is what this book does. Brothers and sisters a lot of these Appendix’s stand on their own as a separate work and can be used as such. If you read the Appendixes some go well together with others and I would advise - if you are going to publish the Appendixes as separate works - that you consider publishing some together (just do a little editing). (Appendix C, D and H go together as well as E, F and G). Since this work - as with all my works - are “public domain” you can do with the appendix’s (as well as the rest of this book) what you like. If you want to publish them as separate works (in whole or in part) go right ahead. You have my permission to do so (and you don’t have to inform me or put my name on the work). You can also sell the work at a profit to yourself, I know it cost something to do so - an investment of both time and money and I view you as fellow co-laborers. For me just to have this, or any one of these works circulating in the world is reward enough for me (and God takes care of my needs so don‘t worry). Brothers and sisters as said in the preface of this book there are things of importance in this work and the idea of me doing anything that might stop or hinder these things from going forward (for example copyrighting this book and holding unto that copyright - which in turn can be reflected in the purchase price of this work), it’s just not something I want to do. Again this book is public domain. Anyway, the following list is the complete content of the Appendix’s. They are in the order that I made reference to them as I was writing the rough draft of this book (in other words in no particular order) (However I did split up Appendix the topic found in C, D and H for easier of reading). Also, like the book Sustaining Revival itself, the Appendixes have footnotes. They are separate from the books footnotes and are listed by the Appendix first (that is A B C etc.) and footnote second. For example “A:1” means Appendix A, the first footnote (or the first footnote in Appendix A). The labeling is done for the sake of easy reference (and if you print these Appendixes as separate works, this type of system can help) Again, feel free to do with the Appendixes as you wish Appendix A: Denominationalism (How Established Mainline Churches Got That Way)…Page 000 Appendix B: Advise to Worship Teams [If You Have One (or Them)]………….…..Page 000 Appendix C: Revelation: General and Special (or Specific) (Scripture and a still speaking God)…...Page 000 Appendix D: Commandments: Dealing with teachings of the Past……………… Page 000 Appendix E: Relationships (Non-Traditional )…………………………….........Page 000 Appendix F: Marital Relationships (Non Traditional)……………………………Page 000 Appendix G: Altering a Marriage Covenant ………………………………...... Page 000 Appendix H: Holiness: Positional and Experiential…………………………… Page 000 Appendix I: The Teachings of Latter Rain………………………………............Page 000 Appendix J: Relationships and their Place in God’s Purposes………………… Page 000 Appendix K: God’s Direction ………………………………………………….Page 000 Appendix L: Congregational Support of Ministries………………………………Page 000 Appendix M: Satan………………………………............................................. Page 000 Appendix N: Maturity: A Major Goal in Life ………............................................Page 000 Appendix O: The Conscience: A Maturing Thing…............................................. ..Page 000 APPENDIX A Denominationalism How Established Mainline Churches Got that Way To understand the nature of sustaining revival (or the new reformation), it would be helpful to understand something about how many established churches became the way they are. Back in the first century when the Church first started, there were controversies about things, particularly doctrines. We see an apostle mentioning how some people are not interpreting another apostle correctly (2 Peter 3:16) Also we see John fighting wrong doctrine (Gnosticism) in his 1st epistle. The first century was a fight for the gospel, the accurate gospel. After the first century things got worse in regards to these matters. Newer false doctrines and newer false teachings began to arise (docitism etc,) and the churches in major cities (which more times than not had a part in finding the smaller, and sometimes extended, small town churches) began to exert a lot of influence (in the place of the Apostles) in the settling of disputes among believers - especially in these smaller towns. What happened was that believers in town or even rural churches would argue about things and if the local small town church (or churches) couldn’t resolve the issue then people would begin to say things like “what does the big city church in Antioch have to say about this? (in other words the bigger local city church), or what does Alexandria say or even the church at Rome say?” This trend to deferring controversial matters to big city churches is what is known in church history as “The Rise of the Bishops.” (A:1). It was primarily because of these false doctrines and the peoples attitude of deferring matters to the larger city churches (because for them their opinion carried weight) that authority of structure began to rise in the church at large and it began to become more and more narrow and more and more restrictive, and centralized and very top-heavy in power (and it would eventually spawn the rise of the Papacy). Also these large city churches (which as said before usually had a part in the founding of the smaller town churches) tended to appoint (or send) people from their own churches to find and or rule over these local town churches. Doing this led to things called the arch diocese (or parishes or jurisdiction) which began ruling over the smaller dioceses, parishes or jurisdictions. Since the leaders of these small churches were - in time - eventually appointed by the “head church” they “owed” something to the head church. Thus these large churches rose even more and became more and more able to maintain the power and hold they had over the area (and the people began to have less and less say about things). Eventually they would become some of the denominations you see today, some of which - particularly orthodox ones - can be traced precisely to this kind of thing going on. Power and Authority on the City level Power, Money, Buildings, and the Show The Roman Catholic Church (and other orthodox churches) For some reason (in my opinion pride), a lot of these large city churches also began to focused on the externals (e.g.. buildings etc.) and began to become very large in numbers. They became focused - if not consumed - with the idea of raising money for different things, but most notably buildings (does “building fund” sound familiar?), and this went on particularly in Rome (just read about some of the things that were going on before the reformation). Outside of Rome, “mother” city churches (diocese) with their residing elevated elder also had to have large showcase structures (which as time went on, became the cathedrals we know today. Notre Dame etc.). The city of Rome (again being a very good example of this, being the center of the empire and all), had to have the ’showist’ buildings of everyone (and as time went on they even got Michael Angelo involved in the design of some things). In regards to Rome the church in this city (which began as a local group of believers, see Acts 2:10 where you will find some visitors from Rome at Pentecost, as well as the book of Romans 16:1-16) - because they were in the capitol of the empire, for reasons mentioned previously, began to have a very big say in controversial matter between Christians in certain cities (not just towns mind you, but cities) or in large sections of the empire. Most notably controversies between the cities in the eastern part and the western part of the empire. When a controversy erupted over an important issue (let’s say the deity of Christ as an example), people would tend to think ‘well what does the Roman church (that is: the church in the capitol of the empire) think about this (or that)’ and that in time started this trend to just defer and inquire of the church at Rome and its leadership (Rome’s leadership) which in turn led to the church at Rome thinking more highly about themselves then they should have. (A:2) And again all this attention led the leadership in Rome to founding (and moving into) very large buildings in the city (again showcase type things) for people when they visited Rome to see (I believe Augustine - who was a great theologian - got physically sick when Rome was sacked and later on if you read about Catholic Martin Luther - who desired to reform the church, but ended up leaving - one of his great desires as a monk was to visit Catholic Rome just to see it. It had literally became a pilgrimage for many people). Once again, the larger city churches founding of the small town churches and the small town churches deferring maters to the larger city churches began the founding of a large power structure within the church which became concerned about externals and eventually external “showie” acts which - if performed before the people - brought it’s participants into God’s grace (again external show type of things). The church was, believe it or not, beginning to become a show in which everyone sat down - faced forward - and watched. [Oh, and by the way, the very old main line denominational churches that left (or don’t recognize) Rome’s authority (Greek & Russian Orthodox particularly) are no different than the Roman church in most of these matters and are almost identical to what that church does. The main observable difference is that they don’t claim to be THE church (except - at times - for their own culture, and if you look at the reasons why they do that, the political is usually in the background. Again power issues)]. Power and Authority on the Town level Protestant Churches (post 1500 reformation) After the eastern half of the Roman Empire left Rome, there was another leaving within the western half. This started with a Catholic monk named Martin Luther (and as a result a substantial part of Germany left Rome’s authority. Today’s Lutheran churches reflect his view on things). John Calvin and Zwingli reformed things even further (and as a result the Netherland area left Rome’s authority. Today’s Reformed churches reflect their views), and of course King Henry VIII left Rome’s authority over the issue of divorce by questioning what rights the bishop of Rome had over the bishop of Canterbury (a very good question; and as a result, not only England, but what would become the entire world wide English Empire - would leave Rome’s authority) (Today’s Anglican / Episcopal churches reflect his view on Papal Authority, as in there is none) Brothers and sisters, things were not looking good for the church at Rome and it’s argument that it was the only true church in the world (and as a result all other churches should listen to them and be under their authority). People in the western world were leaving in droves. Why? Because the people in the Western world were starting to read the bible on their own (it was just starting to be translated in the language of the people, and people were not reliant on the Latin Vulgate - a version of the Bible that only priests, scholars and people who knew Latin could read [in other words they were very reliant on what ‘the few’ (mostly the priests) were telling them about God, His purposes and the church]. When people started to read the bible, they saw how far off Rome had gone and left] (A:3). Non - Hierarchal Protestant Churches Brethren, as central authority was being rejected (that is the Papacy), medium and smaller church authority began to take it’s place. The papacy was first rejected, and then the bishops were accepted in their place [in the ‘earlier leaving’ of mostly eastern churches, the bishops were and still are called Metropolitans (the word “Metro” meaning city in Greek (CHECK) But for some reason, even though these churches rejected the papacy they themselves continued with the idea of a ‘mini - papacy’ and put for themselves a ruler over their smaller city bishops and called him a Patriarch]. However in the West, later on during the second leaving of Rome - after the bible became translated in the language of the common people and people began to read it (A:4) - the ‘leaving’ or protestant reformation continued to unfold (which for some had stalled in the East, most likely because of the non translation and non-distribution of the bible in the common language of the people) (A:5). As people in the west began to read the bible the (position of the) bishops themselves (who were behind the leaving of Rome) were seen as a glorified elder by the people therefore they themselves were being rejected and the term elder (as in fellow elder in the plurality of elders) took their place (A:6). And by the way the Cardinals - which I believe are an overseeing position of the Bishops themselves - in other words the Bishops bosses (again another non-biblical position in the totem pole of power) - were rejected along with the Bishops as well the Monsignors . Again, because people were beginning to read the bible they understood the way the hierarchy (or God’s biblical order for the church) should be and made it so. Pastors as de facto Popes or Patriarchs Small Localized Authoritian Type Churches Brothers and sisters for some reason there became a trend in the local churches for one elder to stand out among the others and for one reason or another actually begin to rule over the other elders. (it could have started innocently maybe a church could only afford to pay for one elder so they picked one to do the full-time work of the ministry while the others would do their ministry to the congregation after work hours, maybe one was more gifted in speaking, I don’t know). But this in time proved to be a major error for it became in effect a mini - papacy. with no real checks and balances especially if the “head” elder were to go into error (and believe me they did), and as said before this type of thinking did lead to the idea of a Papacy During the reformation and afterward when everything from the Papacy to the Bishops (at least in true progressing churches) was done away with and power was beginning to become decentralized. This decentralization also stopped in many churches at the point where one elder within a local body would rule over the other elders (usually the head rector), and for some reason this overall paradigm continues in many churches and is still with us to this day [It’s so interesting to me that people who attack the Roman Catholic church for their hierarchy (most notably evangelicals) turn around and use the same argument to justify the ruling of an elder over the other elders in their own church. It is totally the same argument (A:7). Congregations who are truly progressing who happen to be under this kind of system either try to reform it or since they have no real say in what goes on tend to “vote with their feet” and leave (again what happened in the Reformation) . It’s such a shame. Power once attained has a vested interest in keeping itself in power even if it has to resort to appointing and / or ruling over the other leaders in the church (That’s a sure sign that something’s wrong). It’s just the way the Church has been (and Israel for that matter, since they also rejected the ruling of the judges and elders and wanted a king). Again when the apostles appointed elders they were thinking of the original old testament idea of leadership where the plurality ruled under the head [that is: God under the old covenant and Christ (God) in the new]. They were not thinking of what goes on today in some churches (which amounts to ‘kingship‘). I could go on with this...(i.e. ‘elders who rule’ does not refer to elders who rule over the other elders etc VERSE NEEDED.). But a main concern (if not the main concern) behind that particular system of leadership (i.e. a plurality) is to keep churches from going into error. Even though this decentralization stopped in many churches at the point where one elder within a local body rules over the other elders, and even though for some reason it still continues in many churches to this day. The Reforming of Church Structure In the 1900’s when the church became uniformly aware of other offices in regards to church government - even though it would be questionable whether “the one elder ruling over other elders” was ever replaced in some churches - because of the acknowledgement of other offices within the church (A:8) you will find a attempt by many groups to go back even further than previous groups and expand the offices in the church to include at least apostle and prophet (See Appendix I). The Reforming of the Church Service Also in the 1900’s when the gifts became manifest (A:9), you will find attempts by many groups to go back to the idea of what a biblical church service should look like and as a result you will find either giftings being used sporadically in the main service or smaller services set aside from the main service where the use of gifts were less restrictive. All of this leave us to where we are today, expanding the offices (or appointments) in the church (BEYOND Apostle and Prophet) to the other nine or ten offices and subsequently expanding our understanding of the use of gifts in the service (and brethren, you can use gifts outside the service as well, but in regards to the thrust of this Appendix ‘the continuing reformation of the church’ particularly the church service, it’s in those areas I wish to address my remarks). The General Reformation of the Church Brothers and sisters, if you have read the previous two footnotes (A:8 & A:9) you’ll get an idea of what areas I, as well as others, feel that God wants to deal with next in regards to the church itself. Some of these things may be new to you and some may not, but without trying to steer you one way or the other on these issues (in case you have not read the footnotes) I’ll just quote some scriptures and let them speak to you in regards to these things. As you read them, ask yourself given these verses, in what areas do you think God wants the church to deal with next ? Once again, for your consideration In Regards to Church Offices (or appointments)… “Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men… And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and (the word “and” is not in the Greek) teachers” (literally He gave pastors-teachers) (Ephesians 4:8, 11) “ And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles (4th), then gifts of healings (5th), helps (6th) administration (7th), various kinds of tongues (8th). (1 Corinthians 12:28) “Now you are Christ’s body (that is the church)… All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? (1 Corinthians 12:27, 29, 30) In Regards to the Use and Recognition and of Gifts… “Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to EACH ONE is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (that is everyone has at least one gift). For to one is given… 1) the word of wisdom through the Spirit, 2) and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 3) to another faith by the same Spirit, 4) and to another gifts of healing (plural) by the one Spirit 5) and to another the effecting of miracles (separate from the gifts of healing) 6) and to another prophecy, 7) and to another the distinguishing of spirits, 8) to another various kinds of tongues, 9) and to another the interpretation of tongues But one in the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to EACH ONE individually just as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) “and since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy. According to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; of he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (Romans 12:6-8) In Regards to the Church Service… “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… and be subject to one another(s) (giftings etc) in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-21) “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16) “What is the outcome then brethren? When you assemble, EACH ONE has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26) Everyone functions in a manifestation of the Spirit. If this is not happening in your church this, (along with offices and the actual structure of a church service) are most likely areas that God wants your individual congregation to deal with next (also don’t forget to deal with the issues that support a lot of the work of God in the world which are found in the book Sustaining Revival itself). The New Reformation The Reformation is Upon us Once Again Brothers and sisters, God always seems to be reforming his Church, getting it back to the baseline if you will, with each passing generation bringing things a little closer to the way things are suppose to be. He want’s a powerful demonstration of His victory over all on the earth today. We don’t have to wait until His Kingdom comes to partake in that victory we can have it now (Behold the kingdom of God is among you VERSE NEEDED). Earlier in this Appendix I mentioned denominations such as the Lutherans, Reformed, and Episcopal. These three protestant denominations (protestant meaning they are protesting Rome), they are the old school heavy weights of protestant thought and, find their beginnings in the 1500’s, since then God has continued to reform His church. In North America a reformed brand of the Episcopal came over with the Pilgrims, which off shot into the Plymouth Brethren (where everyone sat in back to back pews and waited on the Holy Spirit to speak through someone) Later on another reformed brand of the Episcopal came over with John and Charles Wesley and the Methodist Church was born. The Reformed church itself (sometimes called the Dutch Reformed) continued to reform itself - first with the breaking from the mass (which the Episcopal and I believe Lutherans still hold on to even this day) and centered the service around the preaching of the word (which is what the Pilgrims and Wesley’s would emphasize and do) and you eventually ended up having the 1st Reformed, 2nd Reformed etc. The reforms instituted by Martin Luther (whose church was still followed the mass - but began to preached the recovered word of God as well) his reform splintered, and splinter groups from the Lutherans came over to the Americas and brought with them their own views of theology and lifestyle. Groups and theologies began to clashed together and then harmonized into what was called the first Great Awakening in this country in 1700‘s (Great Awakening meaning a national consciousness of the existence of God and his purposes) and the Baptist church was born (John Edwards “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” was a noted sermon that influenced this Awakening along with the circuit preaching of Charles and John Wesley) That awakening also led right into (or developed into) the Second Great Awakening. Splinter from the reformed (The Mennonites) would come over to the Americas and with the Amish combined with the Quakers and Shakers would emphasized life on this side of eternity with the simplicity of Christian living and practical experiential holiness. And their combined influence would lead right into holiness movement of the 1800’s The Nazarenes (which was a splinter holiness group from the Methodist), and some Church of God churches, find their beginnings in this era These groups (their influence, teaching and emphasis) would combine with up the Baptist movement that had already begun in America in the first Great Awakening and as a result you would have the very beginnings of what would turn into the evangelical movement in America. And by the way some churches during the holiness would become ‘legalistic holiness’ and one group combined up with another group that expected Jesus immanent return (they had actually picked a date) and you had the beginnings of the Seventh Day Adventists However for those who actually followed the movings of the Spirit of God, God’s reformation continued and He poured out His Spirit at the turn of the last century which began and turned into (or developed into) the Pentecostal movement of the 1900’s (many of whose churches teamed together to become the Assemblies of God denomination of today which was a uniting of - baptized by the Holy Spirit holiness churches under what I would call the ‘catch all’ banner phrase of ‘we are the gathering together and the uniting of the many different assemblies of God’). however not all Pentecostal churches belong to the Assembly (which again became and is a denomination. AG) (A:10). However for those who did accept and followed the reforming moving of the Spirit, the reformation and restoration of God’s Spirit went even further and went into even greater reform under the Latter Rain Movement in the 1950‘s (see Appendix I), (which were and are still are independent, non-denominational, Spirit filled, gifted churches, which restored (at the minimum) the recognition of lost offices (not just possessing gifts mind you, but offices, namely Apostle and Prophet) to the local church body, and also restored the impartation of things by the laying on of hands (not just conformation - as in some denominations, but impartation, which may include the offices of Apostle and Prophet) (A:11) . The Pentecostal Backwash All of these moves (but especially the Pentecostal movement), had a ‘backwash’ in the Lutheran, Catholic and Episcopal churches in the 1970’s and the Charismatic movement was born (Charisma (sp) the Greek word for gift). (It was through this movement that the writer of this book came to know the Lord). Also during this time a former Quaker pastor (who had joined up with the evangelical Calvary Chapel in California) was also influence by this backwash regarding the gifts (which happened to be was rejected by Calvary Chapel - which is something you see in the church, people go so far in reforming things and stop) anyway that pastor (John Wimber) left that church, followed the movings of the Spirit, had home meetings, and those home meetings developed into what we know today as the Vineyard movement (or church) (A:12). and led us to where we are today. [And it was all because a Catholic - much troubled in soul - monk named Martin Luther got away from the philosophical arguing (which again is pretty much all the Catholic church engaged in thanks to Thomas Aquinas) and read the bible and found out that a person is saved by faith - not works - and as a result, his much troubled soul disappeared (A:13). Brethren, the solution and hope for the church today, God’s church, as it was for those before us, is to read the Bible to see where it is the God wants us to go. Brethren, we really don’t want to fall back on old denominational traditionalism. Also, it’s always helpful for us to remember and see that God is on the move (He’s not stagnant), and part of ‘that move’ has always involved His hand guiding and steering His people (that is: the church) back to where we are suppose to be. A paradigm of ‘continuing reformation’ until we as a people get back to where we are suppose to be. The Future of Gods Church Brothers and sisters, I talked about denominations in this Appendix. I also talked about where many thing should be in regards to those issues, especially concerning gifts and offices, however another thing I’d like to mention, outside these things, would be God’s desire for many people to start fresh in regards to all these issues, a clean slate if you will, and that would involve the starting up of new individual churches. [Personally I have little hope that denominations will ever reform to where they are suppose to be. There is too much ‘top heaviness’, too much structure, too many bills to support all that, too much vested interest to keep things - for the most part - going as they have always have been. (and quite honestly in regards to a lot of these areas, if confronted with them I’d expect them to do lip service to a lot of these things with no real lasting changes. Brethren for them to get past 1 Corinthians 1:11-13 would take almost a miracle and unless that happens it‘s probably better to start afresh)]. Brethren in regards to the starting up of new churches it would be best if these new churches were knowledgeable of one another’s existence, even loosely affiliated (like in ‘pick up the phone and let‘s do something together’), but definitely non-denominational, and would work together for common community goals (outreaches, witnessing, basically ‘bloom where you are planted’ kinds of things). This type of outreach, even combined outreach would be a logical outcome of ‘body life’ [in other words you want to tell the world the good news - whether it’s through demonstrations of works of faith (Hebrews 6:1), or just plain street and / or friend to friend witnessing, you don’t want to keep good things to yourself]. Brothers and sisters, the starting up of new churches can be started as simply as beginning to open up your home to a bible study and watch and see what the hand of God does (that is which gifts become manifest etc. Be open to that). And if your bible study grows (unless you have a big living room, or have different parts of the body meeting at different times or nights) possibly and cautiously and prayerfully consider renting something (A:14) with the full knowledge - because of growth (in other words the way life is) - that a split is probably on the way at some point (Read footnote___, and appendix____). Brethren, in regards to the meetings, once the gift of Pastor/Teacher becomes manifest, (even though there are other giftings and offices and you can focus on those offices as well), when this office / gift becomes manifest you’ve got one of the major ones which is going to help in the building up of the body (Pastor/ Teacher being one in the same gifting or office), and everyone should throw their support behind the person (A:15)[and for those who are hesitant (because they think someone else should be the pastor teacher)] they should realize that the beginnings of a new church may be on the way so they may be right in regards to the other persons qualifications, however their place of ministry may be for another place and another time. Also realize that the person is not ‘in charge’ of things (remember the plurality of elders rule), but because they do have a major manifestation of the Spirit of God that will help tremendously at the start of a new church you’ve got something to work with and should not ignore. Here are some things to consider if you start a new church… 1) In regards to your Pastors formal education you have no need to worry or be concerned for you do not have to be formally educated to be a pastor (at least in the United States), not even grade school [so don’t worry about formal qualifications (A:16)] Your church may want to make out a statement of faith, or a creed of what you believe - even if it‘s just for your own sake - but that’s up to you [If I did make out a statement of Faith I would certainly hit on the major points (The Godhead, the Divinity - as well as the Humanity of Christ, Salvation, The Holy Spirit, Sanctification, the Offices as well as the recognition and uses of in the service and what you believe about the more than overcoming Spiritual life of a Christian), and you might want to hit upon some family related issues as well (that is: what your church believes about divorce and remarriage, a man with more than one wife, blended families etc.) Brothers and sisters, if you do this you don’t have to go into great detail about these things, just what you believe about them is more than fine (and if anyone has questions about doctrines or these issues and you don’t know the answer you can refer them to the pastor (prophetic ministry etc.), or have them talk to any fellow member of the congregation. [Statements of Faith (that is what you believe about things) are common in churches and can be helpful to help explain things - quickly - to people who may visit (brothers and sisters, it’s nice to have one even for your own sake and you could probably fit the whole thing on a sheet of paper)]. 2) In regards to calling churches names, I really don’t see a need for it (other than possible legal reasons for which I can‘t imagine). Brothers and sisters, I would strive to just call yourself either “a Christian church” or “home church” and if you need to put something down on some paperwork just put down one of those two names. 3) If you start a church I would not identify yourself with any personality or teacher or leader. (For example the Lutheran’s with Martin Luther, or even modern Rhema churches with the Hagin’s). Brethren, I am very wary of this kind of thing for it locks people in and typecasts them too. Sisters and brothers, you are your own people and your own personalities and giftings. If you like a particular noted “popular” person, you can say something like “I agree with their teaching on whatever“…., but that should be about it. The only person you want to lift up and exalt is Jesus; and the only person you want to say you are following is Jesus too) 5) Again DO NOT START A DENOMINATION (that is getting a group of churches together and calling yourself by some name). I have found that denominations eventually will, for some reason, stop the flow of life and also resist necessary change (Maybe not in the first generation of people who started it, but by the second and third generation - their often identifying with what God DID - evidenced by the codification of it by the first generation - just does something to the free reforming move of the Spirit of God). Brethren, denominations, if you look at them often times they are like people building a monument to what God did [and then resting on their laurels and pointing to the monument (which happens to be the denominations name or what it represents) for all the world to see]. Again if you are concerned about your work going forward do not start a denomination. Be an independent church. Just be loosely affiliated with one another. Brothers and sisters, also many denominations today also act like mini-bishopric’s who oversee whatever it is any one church is doing and may have a say in it as well, even your pastors employment. Whatever one may think of the things Jimmy Swaggart went through in the 1980’s as well as his relationship with the overseeing Assemblies of God, he did not want to step down, but the denomination (the Assemblies of God) made him do it. He eventually left the denomination and became independent. 4) In regards to matured gifted people in your group of loosely affiliated churches, try your best to have all the individual churches outside “their” church remain as independent of them as possible (you and your people may never mature, and probably won’t if you flock around their ministry). This kind of thing of people flocking to churches that have it’s members obviously flowing or “things happening” has caused a lot of collateral damage to what God wants to do in the church overall. At best, if you need some impartation of their spiritual gifting immediately (for whatever reason) maybe one could visit a church like this, but that is about it. It’s best to stay where God has planted you. You will never mature. Brethren,, too often these kinds of people are not mature at all but even though maturely flowing in their gift are looking (or are tempted to look) to expand their own ministry (at the cost of yours by the way) (you may also want to reread Chapters 1- 5 of this book) and will not only guard encroachment on it, but will also view people who come to their services as a means to that expansion (again the one man paradigm thing). Once again, unless you really need something it’s best, for your own maturity (as well as the maturity of your own giftings sake) to stay where you are (Brethren, we don‘t need any more mega churches or people trying to expand their ministry by - in effect - starting what amounts to de facto denominations with groups of people who follow them) . We need people (congregations) to mature, especially in the giftings that God has given them [again you (and your people) may never mature, and probably won’t if you just flock around people with matured giftings, and you may become very passive in regards to things as well]. In regards to your Pastors formal education you have no need to worry or be concerned you do not have to be formally educated to be a pastor (at least in the United States), not even grade school [so don’t worry about formal qualifications (A:17)] Your church may want to make out a statement of faith, creed, or confession (1 Timothy 3:16) of what you believe - even if it‘s just for your own sake - but that’s up to you [If I did make out a statement of Faith I would certainly hit on the major points (The Godhead, the Divinity - as well as the Humanity of Christ, Salvation, The Holy Spirit, Sanctification, the Offices as well as the recognition and uses of in the service and what you believe about the more than overcoming Spiritual life of a Christian), and you might want to hit upon some family related issues as well (that is: what your church believes about divorce and remarriage, a man with more than one wife, blended families etc.) Brothers and sisters, you don’t have to go into great detail about these things, just what you believe about them is more than fine (and if anyone has questions about doctrines or these issues they can see the pastor (prophetic ministry etc.), or just talk to any fellow member of the congregation. (it‘s not a big deal. You could probably fit the whole thing on a sheet of paper). A Final Word on the use of Gifts in the Service Again, the gifts, their use in the service as well as the recognition and / or appointment of church offices (or appointments) is the baseline that the church has been struggling to get to - for centuries now - where everyone not only has a part in the service (that is: the free to use their gifts; re read chapters…..) but also are able function in their office or appointments God is going to have and manifest a victorious church in the earth today and people flowing in their offices and giftings are a major part of that formula for success. Brethren these giftings as well as the restoration of these eight (or nine depending on how you view evangelists) offices (or “appointments” 1 Corinthians 12:28) for the church are the base lines that God has been, and still, even to this day has been attempting to restore (through body recognition as well as the pouring out of His Spirit) to the church in our age [Apostle and prophet - as an office (or appointment) - was restored (or recognized) under Latter Rain. See Appendix I]. Brothers and sisters, once again, in light of all this the idea that a service is a one man show is ridiculous (and the longer this paradigm goes on the longer the church - and God’s purposes on earth will suffer). Remember the Reformation was about reforming the church, let’s continue to reform it according to God‘s Divine order. My Own Experience Brethren, in regards to my own experience in these matters, particularly in the use of Gifts let me relay to you some thoughts. I myself have been to thousands of “services” in my life (and some actual services as well). The ones that are the most memorable and the most powerful in regards to the manifestation of the Spirit is where everyone sat in a circle and the pastor would give a short word (while sitting down in the circle) and people would sing and worship God - and give prophecies, words of knowledge, words of encouragement, words of healing (actually deliverances as I reflect on the meetings although not all sickness is related to spirits) and so on. These meetings - which again were powerful - were meetings where everyone felt free to “move out” as best they could in the Spirit (and most all would and many times they would also ‘hit the mark’ when they opened their mouth in what the Spirit of God wanted to say or do). Brethren, in these services that I mention (biblically correct services mind you) there was no particular order, they were in a particular place and the pastor - if he gave a word - could give it at any time - (and at least once - as I remember the meetings - he did not give a word (or teaching) at all, but I do remember he always said something, even if it was very little) and people themselves always seemed to be very open to the moving of the Spirit of God. Brethren, I could not begin to tell you about the heaviness and drawing power of the Spirit of God on those meetings. God was there and everyone knew it (and everyone responded to Him as well). These meeting were in an Episcopal church, on a week night, up in the loft of the church building, during the Charismatic out poring of the Spirit of God in the 1970’s. I was 16 and 17 years old at the time, came from a Catholic background was not saved and at first laughed so much -at the people - when I first came to the meetings that I’m ashamed to admit it now. However one thing I could not deny (even at the beginning) was that something was very different about what was going on and every time I walked up the steps to that loft to go to the meetings I felt the physical weighty manifestation of the presence of God [and “the service” (at least the corporate part) may not have even begun and again I wasn’t even saved, figure that? Brethren, because of the presence of God in those meetings I kept coming back (and I stopped laughing at the people) for what the people had at those meetings was real (this was reality). It was I who was not living in reality. Looking back at those meetings people were already there praying and interceding and worshipping before the service started (and that‘s when I would sometimes enter the meetings, before they started, and I would feel the physical weighty presence of the Lord), but once the meetings started things began to happen (and manifest themselves too) Brothers and sisters, those kinds of meetings - where most everyone contributed - left a mark on me that I’ll never forget, and I have rarely felt such a presence of God in subsequent services since. Pastors (or one gifting) cannot do it all (even though some try). It takes a team effort to bring about what God wants to do. Having Your Own Experiences Brothers and sisters, I knew someone who went to a Christian bookstore a stop to look at the biographies of great men and women in God. The person who worked in the bookstore came up to my friend and said “stop living other peoples experiences and have your own”. I think that is a good piece of advice. As you go on in God and things begin to “come together” for you and you begin to understand God and His purposes don’t be afraid to move out in faith concerning your gifts (of giftings) especially in your corporate gatherings. (and I would say most of you, because of the way your church may be, may have to get away from your churches service model to function (at least in the gifts), and sadly maybe even leave your church if necessary and start a new to function in them or to function in your office (or appointing) Again, scripturally everyone has a least one gift (and you yourself could have more than one). Brothers and sisters, regarding your gifts, don’t be afraid to fail (at least at first). If you can, (and this is what I suggest) try to get together with a group of like minded - ready to cut brothers and sisters some slack - believer’s who don’t mind if you make an innocent error, or step out too far in faith, or presume things that are there but are not (in other words everyone getting together with like minded people who know you and are also just starting to walk (and like most anyone who just starts to walk (or fly), everyone understands that you may “fall down” until you learn a few things. Therefore it may be comfortable to do this (that is practice your giftings) among known friends (A:18). Sisters and brothers, we need the full functioning of the body of Christ in the church to bring about God’s purposes in the earth today. Brethren, in order for us - as a body - to display His manifest victory in and over the world (the flesh and the Devil, those three things are often mentioned by Churches as the main areas that God wants to publicly display His victory) we need to correct things including the wrong paradigms don’t help to support that victory, especially in the church. Let’s get started. “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together, by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ… we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head even Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, 15) Don’t be afraid to “move out“ in faith regarding your gift, particularly among friends. A Final Thought Regarding the Roman Catholic Church Brothers and sisters, a final footnote in regards to the Catholic church (from a former Catholic who now just considers himself a Christian. Not Protestant, Not Catholic, just a Christian). Brethren, I know Catholics who are saved, baptized in the Spirit and are going to heaven. And there are some very good examples of Christian people within the church (and Protestants like them too). I personally like Augustine, Thomas Kempis, (was brother Lawrence Catholic?) I also liked reading some things the very modern Thomas Merton wrote. Also I like the rulings of early church councils on different matters (and by the way no protestant today would disagree with them either). However, in case your wondering, the basic problem with Catholic church (aside for the things I have mentioned in this Appendix) is that a lot of things are about earning grace and favor from God - which - scripturally speaking is a major point of contention with the protestants, especially in regards to the forgiveness of sins [and you have the question of earning favor from Christians who have passed on into eternity before us (the saints)]. And in regards to the statues of the saints… these statues in some Catholic cultures are treated with an unbelievable amount of respect. They are carried through the streets on feast days like the statues themselves are holy. Also the Greek church, still does this kind of thing, but they do it with the paintings on the wall (Icons). Russians Orthodox churches also do this kind of thing as well (A:19). Also in regards to the Catholic church you have serious questions concerning works in regards to salvation (both protestants and Catholics got it wrong, if you combine the two verses each camp centers around it‘s not faith or works, but works of faith. See Hebrews 6:1). However the Catholic church with it’s over emphasis on works - which is so clearly seen in regards to getting people out of purgatory (another point of contention with protestants), by paying for masses to be said for them is not what salvation is about [you can’t do things apart from faith (like paying for masses) to usher the benefits of it along] for salvation. Faith (that is works of faith) is part of the formula (Hebrews 6:1). Brothers and sisters, aside from these issues the problem with the Catholic church of today is that you have mixture of good and bad, and it’s very hard to sort it out (and this is what trips people up when they are thinking of leaving). However, for me, all this combined with the non-biblical tradition of the church (which can be very heavy) and the lack of the preaching of the gospel (the true and full gospel) was enough to make me leave. Listen, God has used the Catholic church (there was a time when you would probably find more ‘saved’ people within that church than outside it hence “the mixture” from their contribution to the church that is hard to sort though), but the Churches failure to reform their ways to a more biblically correct model and get away form so much error (rote prayers, stations of the cross, which were originally just pictures on the wall explaining the gospel for people who could not read, and have become a sort of obligation - or means of grace if preformed, brethren, concerning the issue of grace if you read the bible the idea of earning grace is something that is anamatha to just about everyone who read it. Grace by definition is something that is not earned or deserved) Brethren, I could go on with things concerning the Catholic church (the saints are enough to write a book about), but brothers and sisters if you are Catholic, you can appreciate the church for the good (again lot of good people and even good scholarship in the church), and still leave - and go to heaven - without having to deal with all this stuff. [and If you want to stay in the church go right ahead, but realize that there is A LOT better out there - and you are never going to reform it (not completely), the tradition alone is an immense thing to sort through]. Also brethren, if you are considering staying and rededicating yourself to things honestly if you look around how many truly practicing Catholics are there out there who are actually able to live their lives according to church doctrine, tradition, and what amounts to arbitrary rules and regulations that come from one person in Rome (I would guess not the majority), and of those who do truly practice their religion how many actually agree with everything the church does and teaches - hook line and sinker? Almost nobody Brethren there are some Catholics who agree with everything, but in my former Catholic experience it’s the people who passively accept church rule and rarely think things through (and I don’t think they represent the majority of Catholics today). Most Catholic people I have found disagree with quite a bit (again evidence by lack of church attendance, lifestyle whatever). If you rededicate yourself and properly think things through you will probably end up leaving -again so what‘s the point. My advise, separate the good from the bad, take the good and just leave. Again you can do a lot better somewhere else. A Final Word on the Paradigm of Continuing Reformation Brethren, we need to be careful here and I’m speaking in reference to Christian Cults. A Christian cult is a group that claims to be Christian, but in fact denies major Christian teaching (for example the Godhead, the Divinity - as well as the Humanity of Christ, The Holy Spirit, Salvation). Brothers and sisters, there are “christian” groups out their that love this paradigm (for example the Jehovah Witnesses, the Moonies and especially the Mormons as well as many other smaller groups). What you need to do when running across any group that clams to be an extension or reformation of Christian teaching is to ask them where they stand on these four issues. [Every Christian cult that I have run up against will “cave in” regarding the person and work of Jesus (In the epistle of 1st John what various groups said about Jesus was also a test of authentic {the Gnostics})]. Brethren there is wiggle room in regards to some issues [lets say in regards to how one should live their life on this side of eternity. Some Christian groups may overemphasize a particular aspect of this (let’s say in dress, lifestyle or communal living) and as a result may appear “cultish” but in fact are not]. But brethren on these four issues there can be no compromise. Sisters and brothers, remember there are spirits of deception out there (see Appendix C). Islam (which is a religion) will buy into this paradigm, and will keep God, and Jesus humanity, but reject His divinity and as a result reject salvation (and if you study Islam you will find that He didn’t even die on the cross). Again be cautious in the use of this paradigm. It is a true paradigm - for this is what God is in fact doing in regards to the church (that is continuing to reform it and again there is wiggle room here, particularly in regards to lifestyles), however remember when speaking to other Christians (or people that claim to be Christian) there can be no compromise in regards to those four issues. If there is, and you or your group still claim to be Christian, you will fall into the category of a “christian” cult. APPENDIX B Advise to Worship Teams If You Have One (or Them) Note: If you read Chapter 5 you will see a discussion on the difference between a worship team and a band, also you will find in Chapter 5 a discussion on the nature of music, specifically spiritual music in relation to the service, and in the footnotes of Chapter 5 a discussion on the nature of acoustic music. Brethren, I will also get into all those things here (However if you need to review what has already been written you can reread Chapter 5 of this book as well the discussions starting in the Footnotes of Chapter 5, point 5 and onward). However the main focus of this Appendix is “Advice to Worship Teams.” Why have a Worship Team? This is a very good question, particularly if you are dealing with small group meetings where you may only “need” one or two people (thus this Appendix may in some regard come down to semantics), however a worship team - in my opinion - is two or more people who get together every so often to talk about, pray about, and even fellowship about worship related issues. They will also look through (that is sort out, or sift through) appropriate music for congregational singing as well get together to practice (at least one rendition) of a song. Brothers and sisters, the thing about music is that - generally speaking (unless you are an accomplished musician) - it’s not as easy as it looks [and if you disagree, let me tell you in my experience even accomplished musicians would like to hear at least one rendition of a new song (even if they have the sheet music in front of them), a preferably practice it before they publicly play it (however very good musicians can improvise an unknown song on the spot as long as someone is at least singing a version of the song). Brethren, if you have a church with just one person playing a guitar or something, yes you do not have a team, but never the less most of the above (as well as what follows) will probably still apply (and for those who frown on the term “team” for more than one musicians, you can call “them” anything you want. Usually they are called “the musicians” in many church (that is when publicly addressed as in “will the musicians come forward”) which is actually a term I prefer, however people who are in that ministry seem to be addressed as “teams” on most every other occasion, so take your pick (it really doesn’t matter except “team” gives the title “musicians” a more tight nit, supportive of one another, flavor to the aspect of their ministry [and it is a ministry of the church (also in regards to the service you can address the people in that ministry by their first names as well, which is probably even better). Brothers and sisters in most services the team (or musicians), their individual ministry (to God, and to and to the congregation) will take up a substantial part of the service time (as a result this Appendix is of no small importance especially in regards to the continuing reformation of the church and church service)]. If your church has a team I would encourage you to photocopy parts of this Appendix and hand it to them (this book is not copyrighted and is public domain). Also if you are considering starting a church, or have just started one, it may be wise to look over this Appendix in it’s entirety. There is some studied advise here and it is written in exhortation form to be of encouragement to your team (and again it will help in regards to a significant part of your church service). Brothers and sisters, I’ve watched and have been part of this ministry for the church. Also, I have been to literally thousands of “services” in my time as a Christian and some real services as well. Again the advice in this section is studied (and prayed about) and will probably be of use to new teams, so again I encourage you - if you read this appendix - to make use of this advice (or at least pray about it). Brethren, in case you are of a different opinion (that is the “just get in their and flow” mentality) there is nothing wrong with taking the time out to study music, technique, form and a whole host of other things as well. Once this is done it’s very easy to relax - in the Spirit - follow His leadings and flow (and again there is benefit for teams to get together and practice as well). Also, two last things before I start… first if you belong to a church I would advise you to pay your worship leader [however you may want to define that position for it is not necessarily the lead singer. Most teams or musicians have someone in their group who is of “greater” importance to the team (that is they spend significant amount of time in that particular ministry - especially in “off service” hours), and again since this aspect of the service can take up just as much time as the other part (s) of the service (generally speaking now), to not pay someone who spends so much time practicing, praying and reviewing material for the sake of the congregation and God’s purposes is not right (and it may also free some worship leaders up from other employment so they CAN spend more time in their ministry) Also (number two), if your church has a budget make sure it includes money set aside for materials the team and worship leader may need. It’s only right (or at least allow them to submit bills to the administrator for reimbursement). OK Here’s some Studied and Prayed about Pieces of Advice (as Well as some Exhortations and Encouragement) For Worship teams and their Leaders (Please take the time to think about - as well as meditate upon - what is being said. The advise that is written is practical and some of it is written in exhortation form for your encouragement). First: You can Make a Difference! 1) Brethren, your team can turn the world upside down. Don’t underestimate the power of the Lord you are worshipping to work though you and make a difference in your life and the lives of the people you are worshipping with. Your worship team (and that includes you), can open the gates of heaven! Musicians, worship the Lord as you play, for He loves it when we do that [and don’t forget that according to the Gospel of John He is actively looking for worshippers too! (John 4:23)]. Brethren, you - and your team - publicly worshipping the Lord as you play will also have the added effect of helping the congregation to worship too (being an example and encouragement and all). Thus as a result you never know what God might do. How he might respond when He finds a whole group of people that He is seeking! (again John 4:23). [Brothers and sisters the presence of God often accompanies worship. I have found this to be true many times and it something you can actually feel and discern. Again, don’t underestimate the importance of what you do or how it can contribute to what God want’s done in your group meeting. Be encouraged]. Leaders, remember, lead… and people will follow. Regarding the Introduction of New Songs 2) Generally speaking brethren, try not to introduce more than one new song to the congregation per service [unless the second song you are introducing is already pretty popular in the Christian community (for example: “Our God is an Awesome God” etc. then you would probably just play it). Brothers and sisters, I have found that introducing more than one new song per service can be a bit overwhelming for the congregation and can break the Spirit of worship. Also try not to introduce a new song at every Sunday service either, at most I’d say once every 2 or 3 weeks. [Except if your church has a lot of people coming and going and you have a lot of people who just show up sporadically, then you could probably just play new songs without any introduction (as in: we’d like to teach you a new song). In such circumstances as these you can probably bend “the rules” especially if you are doing simple choruses (also you can bend them with small group meetings too). Generally speaking large group meetings tend to be inflexible in regards to some things. There’s just something about large groups dynamics. [Personally, when a church gets so big that a sound system needs to be purchased to address the group that should be a red flag that serious issues need to be addressed before the church proceeds in getting one - if it should proceed in getting one]. Regarding Ending a Song 3) Most every song you do will end on the same chord you started with (as well as the same tempo - except for celebration songs which may build up speed as they are being played). Some songs will fade to an end, some may join up with another similar song (in the same key), some may lead right into a ‘worship break’ and others may just end and lead to silence (or even a break where the speaking gifts become manifest). Most songs when they end, more times than not, will have the chorus of the song repeated 2 or 3 time before they end (however I have seen songs ‘pick up’ again after they “ended” because it was obvious that God did not want the song to end. Someone and or the congregation will continue with it). Brothers and sisters, if you do a known song and it doesn’t seem to be working out don’t be afraid to end it before you planned to end it. Sometimes things just don’t work out for a song. [However, the first song or two (or even three) you do in the service you should probably play through what you planned. (People may not be ready for worship, or are just distracted, so if you are taking queue from the congregation don’t), however once they “get in the flow” (by possibly following your lead) if you do a song that is obviously turning out to be a real “clunker” to the congregation you can try a “punch” if you feel you made the right choice in your song selection (see # 10 below) or if for some reason it’s just not working out you can just finish up the verse or chorus and end it. And if you do “just end it” don’t worry about it either, move on. (and by the way if such a situation arises it might be a perfect time to introduce a new song to the congregation for “the flow” was broken (that is: “We’d like to take this time to introduce a new song to everyone...”). And if the new song doesn’t get you back in the flow try - after you finish the new song - try to pick out something that will. It could also be that it was not the songs “fault” but just that everyone needed a good exhortation to worship too. And PS. Honestly many songs out there are not inspiring at all (they will kill worship). I went to this one church and most of the songs they did - although they were very current - the words tended to be of the nature of “feely this feely that” and very few would I consider to be praise and worship material. It was sad. I remember very distinctly that people were trying to get into the flow (or just keep a flow going) but they had a hard time. (I was amazed the worship leaders didn’t pick up on it). Picking the right songs would have made a tremendous difference with that group. A tremendous difference. There is Nothing Wrong with Silence 4) As said before a song may lead right into a silent part of the service. Silence can be good after a song. (Don’t feel you have to fill every moment with music). People - after a song - may have already entered in the presence of God and be worshipping without the music. Silence can - at times - be the most appropriate thing to do (follow the Lord’s lead). Also He may want you to start moving in a different direction (that is: ministration, repeat a just sung song, or do something not on the “set list” etc.). Taking the time to be silent before Him will help you hear what He may want you to do. Another thing, some people in the congregation may be looking for a silent period for God has put something on their heart to say (a prophecy or an exhortation) so although you don’t want to do things in a set way, if the Spirit leads you may want be open to a silent time in regards to some or most worship service you do (but again getting in the flow is what you want to do, if there is any plan that is the plan. Once you get into the flow God will lead you in regards to what you do and when you do it) Worship 5) Worship involves more than just singing the words to a song. Therefore learn to vocally worship not only during a song but also - as a team - BETWEEN the songs as well. One way a team might do this is to pick out the root chord (usually the first chord) of the song you just did and go back and forth between that chord and the 5th chord in the scale (that is: if the song was in the key of G the 5th would be D. If the song was in C the 5th would be G). [the song Yahweh does this - but not at the end of the song, but during that worship interlude towards the end of the song - (between Eb and Bb or E and Bb I believe). Give it a listen if you don’t know what I’m talking about]. If your team worships in this simple chord progression just go back and forth between those 2 chords and strum or (pluck out) the notes in both chords - slowly - and praise God as you do so (For example you might say... “Praise You Lord,” “Thank You Lord,” “We worship You Lord,” “You are Great God, You are Mighty and Awesome...” (It can be a genuine sincere example of what worship is about to the people). In regards to ‘saying something’ during the interlude the song Yahweh does something like this during it’s own worship interlude when the worship leader says “You were faithful to Abraham, You were faithful to Moses, You were faithful to David and You are faithful to us today... and we worship Yahweh”). Brethren, doing such things as this is really what worship (and worship teams) is all about. To me it’s the dividing line between one team and another. If fact - if you not familiar with this type of thing you might want to “practice it” during worship practice and gather the team in a circle and worship the Lord together as a team. Just say what in your heart. and it’s OK if two or more people are praising and worshipping at the same time. It sounds very OK [other examples of this kind of thing is found in this footnote (B:1)] Another thing you can do in regards to worship (or a worship interlude) is to just play though part of the song (as it’s written) but play it through without any vocal accompaniment. Just close your eyes and vocally worship during it (and it’s ok to silently worship too, it doesn’t always have to be loud or vocally expressed). I seem to remember hearing this ‘playing through part of the song’ done on some of my older music tapes, but not so much in the new (but it‘s fine and there is nothing wrong with it). Also, you can also stay on the same chord for a while and worship during it, but it might be best to slowly pluck out the notes if you do this because it can quickly become tiring on the hearers ears. Maybe some kind of strum / pluck pattern will make it last longer. Regarding New Songs 6) Try to keep current with new material that’s out there and vary it a little (think outside the box). There are a lot of independent - non main stream - musicians out there too, so if you get a chance check them out. Don’t always go “main stream.” You can also try writing your own material, and if it’s good, introduce it to the congregation. If you read about Hillsongs, they broke from what every other church was doing and started to do this very thing. At first not many people seemed to like it (and I think people left over it), but it did eventually catch on (and most likely because they had some really good songs. Also the musicians also being encouraged wrote more, and once the ball started rolling…). Regarding Practice 7) Brothers and sisters, don’t forget to practice, and after you finish you may want to practice again. Also don’t worry about using a music stand in front of people. Especially if you are doing a lot of new material. If you need it you need it. Also in regards to singing, try an have a separate part of the practice time set aside just for that. Brethren, if you have a number of people on the team singing a song learn to sing in harmony (that is singing the song in the same key but each person singing on different notes within that key that sound well together). It does sound nice and this “effect” can also be ‘a hook’ in regards to bringing people into a song (see the next point). Also generally speaking it is usually better to have one person sings a little bit higher than another (and if you have a third person they in turn sing lower than the other two). Everyone singing on the exact level or same note is monotone and is not complementary of one another and the only thing is does is tend to increase the volume of the singing and can sound monotonous. Regarding Technique 8) Learn about hooks, punches and bridges (or vamps). * A “hook” is something that draws people into a song (such as a leading note or sliding into something). It could also be something in the songs arrangement (such as holding off the percussion and bass sections until after singing the first chorus through. I’ve noticed that when the bass mixes up low notes from a lower octave the last time though a song it tends to draw people into a song too). A hook could also be something in the vocal arrangement like a participating congregational vocal echo (even between the genders) which tend to get people interested, or it could be an exhortation by the team while everyone is singing (for example “Come on now!). All these things are good and can be helpful, but they are not to be done in a manipulating spirit and they are not something that’s done all the time (and it doesn’t “work” all the time either). It’s just something that teams can (and do), occasionally use to help the congregation (and even themselves) be drawn into a song where they in turn can start to worship and as a result may meet the Lord (which is a main purpose your worship team, to help people enter into His presence). Sisters and brothers, don’t be afraid to change the arrangement of songs either. People can get board of an arrangement and not even think about want they are doing. Try arranging things a little different every now and then and don‘t always do it like the recording. Doing such things may help people be drawn into what is going on and also help with the public worship that follows the song after it’s finished. * A “punch” is something that drives the song home (as opposed to doing something to help people be drawn into it) and it usually involves either bringing in all the instruments the last time though (that is: a crescendo) or again something in the vocal arrangement [that is: holding off of a worship teams vocal crescendo until later in the song (which if done is usually done during the singing of the song that last time through)]. Mostly ‘a punch’ involves raising the song a half step or a step (that is a fret or two) somewhere from about the middle of the song (or last time through) clear through the end. In case you haven’t noticed this happens a lot in praise and worship material and it does tend to give the song an extra “punch” at the end that may help to drive the point of the song home. And it doesn’t have to be on the recording for you to do it either. You can do it with most any song. Brothers and sisters a “punch” is also something you might want to consider using if a good worship song is falling a bit flat. [and you can do it on the spot too (which a good team can do to save a song from becoming a “clunker”) but there should be some kind of signal from someone that your switching keys]. [and if and when you do this please don’t put it out of the range of the congregation either. I went to this one church once and every time they did “Shout to the Lord” (which in one of Hillsong’s recorded versions has this just mentioned step increase) they put it out of the range of the congregation and peoples voices would start “cracking.” If they were going to continue to do this (and it was a planed thing) they should start the song out in a lower key]. Violins brought in at the end of a song (or during the chorus) usually give a song an extra punch too. As a side note, (and this is important in regards to doing step increases) if you listen to most recordings of songs they are done by people who can not only sing, but have a range of singing (that is they can sing well in more than one octave without their voice cracking). You have to be careful of this when you look at the sheet music for songs that have these step increases in them. If sheet music is arranged “correctly” (that is for every day common man singing), it should start off in mid range (middle C) and it will probably say so above the first measure ( “arrange in middle C” or something similar). If the sheet music is arranged “incorrectly” (and by incorrectly I mean it reflects the vocal range of a “professional” singer who may in fact be singing out of the range of most of the people who are looking at the sheet music) it will probably not say anything about the middle range arrangement above the first measure and may reflect the actual recording (which could be in the middle range, but you’ll have to check). Brothers and sisters, the average common person has a limited range (usually around the middle) and I have found that if you play those “ to the recording” “professionally” arrange songs the way they are written most peoples voices will again crack during the singing. Brethren arrange all your material for the middle range of singing (not necessarily starting out on “C“ but starting your material in the middle range (or octave) of singing). If you don’t and introduce it to the congregation - at the minimum you will hear peoples voices starting to drop off and the singing volume start to decrease (and people should be participating). * A bridge (or vamp) connects 2 parts of a song and are usually short introductory measures (2-4-ish) that sets up the next section. [Traditionally a vamp was a short interlude the orchestra played while the singers got themselves ready to “belt one out”(it was basically a cue to the singers that gave them the time to get out of their chairs and make their way to the forefront)]. Today vamps have worked their way into music and are still used to set up next sections of songs (they are used almost like an expectant pause). In the studio recording of the song “We Fall Down” there is a 4 measure vamp between the 2nd and 3rd part of the song (after the sax interlude) that actually sets up the “punch” where the song is actually raise a step or two. A vamp - if it’s nicely done (like this one was) - can actually be a hook that draws people into the next section of a song. [If you look at the chord sheet for “You Are Near” (mentioned in footnote B:1) that really nice worship break is actually called a vamp]. Again, a hook, a punch, and a vamp does not have to be in a recording for you to use it, but you can make them all part of some of your arrangements and even worship during them - especially bridges. Also a vamp (or bridge) can also be a worship progression that follows the scale from the root (key) of a just played song to a different root (key) of the next song that will be played by the team (But you have to know your scales to do this). Making Misstakes 9) Brothers and sisters, don’t worry too much about hitting a wrong note. Sometimes the error falls into the same scale of the song that is being played, thus you can “get away” with a lot. However even though this is so we should still practice. We shouldn’t be sloppy (I seem to remember the word “skillful” associated with the playing of instruments in the scriptures). It’s Not a Performance 10) Brethren, it’s not a show, never was. Music and musicians should not be in a “performance” mode or way of thinking. Sisters and brothers, I don’t know if you have ever seen a professional musician “play a piece” but you are not playing “a piece.” Again you are not “locked in” to any arrangement and can vary things on the spot (that is speed things up a bit, slow them down, even repeat verses or choruses if necessary). When your good and are not overly concerned about things you can actually begin to flow with the Spirit. Personally I don’t see much of any difference in listening to a person or group give a performance of a classical song of old or listening to an actual recording of the piece. You can sometimes pick out things here and there, however when people play a piece of music they are pretty locked into the arrangement. You probably want to vary things a little or if you don’t you might as well just put on a recording and walk away. Another thing, music / musicians should contribute to the corporate act of worship, not take away or distract from it (which can happen with a show mentality). Once again, it was NEVER “a show.” Distractions (that is light shows, the teams attire, appearance, flashy instruments, even “the way” in which they may physically “play” a song etc. can all be very distracting). The whole “showie” nature of some “services” today can be a little much, it’s like everyone wants to be the center of attention - but is God? Brothers and sisters you need to use wisdom in this and all aspects of the ministry God has called you too. PS: What I mean by ““the way” they may “play” a song” is that some people when they play are actually “into” the song and it shows by their attitude and physical movement. I’m not sure how to explain it [and I don’t want to lock worship teams into a stiff way of playing or discourage them from being very animated at all. Also, I certainly do not mean to say that a song (particularly the words) cannot effect the musicians in an animated way either], but in regards to this it’s like the musicians when they play can get into this “grove of a professional performance mentality” and it shows in their movement (an element of pride maybe even a little arrogance?). It’s like someone needs to go up there and give them a good smack. Also one musician trying to outdo other in regard to volume can reflect an element of pride as well. Brethren, being “into a song” (even in regards to “getting into the beat”), is something you will see in secular musicians and is inappropriate trait for a church musicians to have. If your going to give off any attitude - “broken” might be a part of it - especially in regards to worship, and in regards to celebration - joy. Concerning Set Lists 11) Brethren, sometimes teams will have a “set list” of songs that are going to be played (that is “we as a group ARE going to play THESE songs. Our list of songs is set”). Brothers and sisters, for the new generation of worship teams there is rarely such thing as a true “set” list. In the future (and the time is now), teams (as well as individuals) will be so so open to the movings of the Spirit that they will be able to switch gears (with songs) at a moments notice. Now that does not mean that we should not have some kind of plan (or list) before we play, in fact it would be nice to have a general idea where the Spirit wants to go - especially if we’ve been in prayer during the week - However... (well just read John 3:8, and realize that that may not end up being the case). And brothers and sisters, I would suggest that your team have the complete list of your known songs broken down by category before you on a music stand somewhere (that is: The healing songs are...the warfare songs are... the celebration songs are... the ministration songs are.. the worship songs are.. the praise songs are... the teaching hymns are... the petition songs are...). Brethren, it would be a very good idea for you to do this for it will save you some “thought time” if the gears are switching. However since the picking of songs usually involves a little more than just picking something in the same category of the flow (picking something in the same key) have the keys of the songs written next to each song on the list as well. Maybe even color code them so if you have a choice between certain songs in a category you can quickly pick the one that is in the same key that you were just playing in (switching key’s at the wrong time can break “a flow” with some people). Again brethren doing these things (a category list) can help in regards to “thought time” of the vein one is flowing in and having the keys written next to the song does help one to stay in and maintain a certain flow uninterrupted. Over all these two things help a lot. Also - if you have to switch keys - as mentioned in point 8 a vamp (or bridge) if done rightly - can be a non-distracting worship progression that follows the scale from the root (key) of a just played song to a different root (key) of the next song that will be played by the team (But you have to know your scales to do this). Brethren a good team can play their songs in any key, on the spot, however since that can be a hard thing to do practicing bridges -at your practice - from one key to another can help maintain the flow of God‘s Spirit in the meeting. Repeating Songs 12) Don’t be afraid to extend a song or do a song over again either in the same service. I’ve seen this done many times and its very acceptable. Music is Subordinate to Words 13) Generally speaking music (that is: the instrumentation) should always be subordinate (that is lower in volume) to (or than) the words (which should be of higher volume). There are some rare instances where this may not be true, such as God trying to direct through instrumentation and over ride the congregational singing, however except for this generally speaking this is a very good rule to follow. The congregation should be able to hear the worship team sing. Also brothers and sisters the congregation should be able to hear themselves sing as well, (I cannot tell you how many modern day “services” I’ve walked into and could not hear anyone except the team). So again brethren music’s volume (for the exception of the one thing I just mentioned - and if there is any other reason I can’t think of it), MUST BE subordinate to THE VOICE of the team and especially to the voice of the congregation. Instrumentation has a supporting role (not an overriding role) and may even follow the leading of the congregational voice (Brothers and sisters, sometimes the congregation is more in the Spirit than the team is and can unintentionally lead the team (that is they repeat a chorus when the team wants to end a song). I’ve seen this happen and it can be funny to watch a team try to catch up with what the congregation - and the Spirit is doing). Be Open to Someone in The Congregation Starting a Song 14) As mentioned in the last point concerning congregational leading and that is be open to someone in the congregation starting a song. Particularly during a silent time or if you are waiting on the Lord as to what song to do next. However if someone starts a song you feel is clearly not in the Spirit you can let it drop (that is not go along with it), or if in doubt just play it through once and once doubt is removed, and it’s clearly not the direction God wants to move in, again let the song drop and just move on to something else. This - on the spot starting of a song - can be a hard thing for a team to adjust to, but the congregational starting of songs does happen (and God does move upon people to do that very thing). Again if you’re are not sure what to do, just play the song through in it‘s entirety and see what happens (God is able to, and can move in more than one direction in a service, but you need discernment). Also in regards to the congregation starting songs, be aware that congregations will more times than not start off songs in a key that your music is not written in, so unless you can adjust to their singing key on the spot it might be better to have the congregation just sing the song through WITHOUT instrumentation - until you reach the end the first verse - and as soon as they finish singing the first verse, pause for a second, hit the chord in the correct (which will in effect stop the singing of key that it is in) and start the song off in the key that you know the song in. Brethren, one of the problems in starting a song off in the wrong key is as mentioned before that you may get to a point in the song where everyone’s voices will crack, so… unless you can really think ahead, starting the song over again after the first verse is sung in the correct key (or at some other point) is probably a good idea. Again on the spot improvisation can be hard, but there are ways to adjust. Play Good Music 15) Brothers and sisters, music should be good as far as music goes (so you may want to get busy if you are writing your own material, and remember it doesn’t have to be complex to be good). Good music (by itself) will most likely stand the test of time (that is if it has good wording) and will be sung over and over again by the congregation (s). Badly constructed music (which can include overly complex music) can be a chore to sing even if it’s words are greatly inspiring. Music like this is often dropped by congregations and quickly forgotten. Brothers and sisters, as I said in the beginning of this section there is nothing wrong with studying music. Certain cords go with certain cords [and certain scales are accepted or rejected by certain cultures. For example in western culture most use the “doe ray me” scale (or something close to it), in eastern cultures they use a different scale all together (think of Indian or Asian music) which is usually “rejected” by western ears. An obvious example of rightly studying music would be knowing the scales that are accepted by the congregation you are “playing” for. If you belong to a western culture and write a song using eastern scales, unless the make up of your congregation is mostly eastern, they will have a very hard time going along with what you have written (and there are other things to know besides this. Again did you ever wonder why some songs are “hits” and played over and over again by congregations while others are not?)]. Brothers and sisters, once again unless God leads you differently (that is He can just give you a song with words, melody, voicing etc. even on the spot) there is nothing wrong with studying music, especially the way music is constructed. It can make a difference in your success as a team or even a song writer. (Personally I have found that as far as the underlying music is concerned, simplicity of chords as well as simplicity of chord progressions is usually the best way to go, especially in regards to worship music. However if you want to do something different usually just a more complex, nice sounding chord(s) or chord progression can make a difference in a song as well). Also don’t forget to choose songs (or write songs) with good lyrics. No poorly worded fluff. You’d like lyrics that “hit the mark” every time. Also try and stay away from songs whose only appeal is the beat (I‘ve seen this done many times by teams in meetings and I usually just sake my head when I see it). Remember: The Service has a Spiritual Nature to It “But an hour is coming and now is when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 3:23,24) 16) Brethren as you can see in the just quoted verse the service of the saints has a spiritual dimension to it. Now this is not to say that there isn’t a physical part to our worship (the raising of hands, dancing etc both of which are called an “act of worship” by some people). However what was just quoted by Jesus in the Gospel of John (John 3:23,24), is of no small importance and should be emphasized by the team every now and then through exhortations, especially since it’s people who worship in this fashion that the Father is actively seeking. Brothers and sisters, I don’t want to get into a lot regarding the spiritual aspect of the service, especially since it is covered in other places in this book, however I do want to say here that there is music that tends to over emphasize the “soulish” and or physical aspect of things at expense of the spiritual. [that is it can be overly emotional or “soulish” (remember body, soul and spirit as some people view human makeup (B:2), for example “soul music” which I feel is correctly named for it is extremely emotional (which is what “the soul” emphasizes or represents in this common threefold division of mans makeup - the emotions)] this type of music is just too much and is just one of many types of music that does not belong in the service [and if it is in the service (let’s say along with other kinds of music, for example “the blues” which again is extremely emotional and I‘ve seen done, and not only is it emotional but it emphasizes a negative aspect, or feeling in regards to emotions (that is: self pity etc, once again the blues)] all this can break really the moving of the Spirit and at the very least sound awkward when done. Brethren in regards to soulish music (or overly emotional forms of music) the spiritually discerning among you (and hopefully you) will have their ears perk up if these as well as other kinds of music are being played in the service, and the reason this is so is that you will be in danger of frustrating what God wants done in regards to the spiritual aspect of the service. (and if you as a team are in a position to see the spiritually discerning in the congregation if you play a questionable song “take a peek” at how they are reacting to the song while you are doing it) (B:3). Brethren, since this Appendix regards advise to worship teams (as well as advise concerning appropriate music for congregational singing) I would suggest that if you have an established group of songs that you do, that you go through your song books, or if you are just starting out putting together a worship team song book that you get some kind of a “spiritual filter” regarding a ‘sifting process’ in your choice of music and focus on the music that emphasis the spiritual [and not so much the overly emotional or physical aspect of music (B:4)]. Remember God is spirit and is looking for worshippers. The genre of Worship music (as with all genres) has it’s own particular beat (on the softer side), melody ( that is “lovely” or a loving type of attitude ), and tone (that is it’s not harsh, heavy or weighty). Generally speaking these “rules” are true and are found in most worship and praise material (B:5) [Brethren, in regards to all these things and how they effect the sustaining of the work of God I have found that there were (and probably still are) too many soulish (that is emotional) revivals out there that had no spiritual substance to them, where every one seemed to have a “good time” and nothing was accomplished in the Spirit (and part of the reason this was so was because of the type of music that was being played at the meetings). Brethren, you can argue the emotional aspect of music both ways, but there is such a thing as “too much” emotions and certain music (genres) do tend to do that kind of thing (again emphasize the soul or emotions). Also there are forms of music that do tend to work people up. Once again, in regards to your sifting process in regards to your choice of music, music that tends to produce negative feelings (and there is tons of research to support this as well) this too needs to be avoided in the service of the saints (SEE LATER POINT). Playing such music does not help nurture, cultivate or even sustain the presence of God in a church, in fact it can both hinders it and causes the presence of God to leave (why play sad songs?). Brethren, I don’t understand “the hows” or the mechanism behind how music effects people, but it just does and just like drugs effect the body, music can effect the soul (or emotions) in the same way (and some drugs are of very questionable value). Again, if you want your worship team to be successful and productive (or if you are trying to put together one) you need to be spiritually discerning and weed out stuff that just doesn’t belong. Remember: Melodies from a Redeemed Heart “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… (Ephesians 5:18,19) 17) Sisters and brothers, this goes with the last point. Scripture says we are to make melody with our hearts to the Lord (that is a melody from a redeemed heart). Melodies are not chords per say, nor a chord progression, but the way in which words to a song are sung (If you hum a song you are most likely humming the melody). If you listen to modern secular music on the radio, except for pop (which is usually a light, sugarcoated, upbeat form of music, also what I would call romance type of music and any music that sounds “happy” ), most other forms of music - particularly among the youth - tend to be on the other side of the spectrum (and that is heavy, somewhat depressing, self pitying, angry, even prideful). The words of these songs as well as their melodies reflect all these points - and more. Brothers and sisters when choosing songs (or even writing them), try and get “the feel” of the melody that is being chosen to support the words. Of what practical value is there to play music (or choose melodies) that tends to emphasis negative emotions (that is the things that those with unredeemed hearts focus on or major in). Brethren, have a redeemed heart and there are melodies that reflect and revolve around that truth. Be wise and choose them (B:6). Also, if you look at the just mentioned verse it talks about “spiritual songs” (which is another place melodies can come from and I’ll go on with this point in the next section), however let me say here that aside from melodies that don’t support words from a redeemed heart, there are also melodies that don’t come from either Spirit or the redeemed heart, but come from solely the mind [and not soul (or emotions) either]. If you listen to jazz it’s almost all mental. [Most everything comes in on the “off beat”, it’s sung on an off beat, and some singing as well as instrumentations are flat. Unless someone does something to soothe it out (some people call soothe out jazz “smooth jazz”) you need to listen to it with your mind to understand what is going on]. Aside from “soul” music mentioned in previous point, Jazz is another form of non-spiritual music that does not belong in the church service. Not only is it not from a (redeemed) heart, but it mostly mental and not spiritual at all (and for me, while I can “appreciate” from a mental sense what is going on, it’s usually not a relaxing form of music, and there is a bit of an edge to it in it‘s pure form). Brethren, stay away from melodies that are not from the heart, a redeemed heart in the service of the saints. Most are easy to pick out and will quench the Spirit. Play your music with Spiritual “feeling” 18) Brethren, just because I talked about some forms of music being overly emotional (or emphasizes the emotion or soul) that doesn’t mean that the music we “play” is devoid of feeling. If you look at regular sheet music (particularly piano sheet music) there will usually be a little notation on the top concerning the type of “feeling” the piece is to be played in. As I said before we don’t want to be locked into an arrangement of a song (in other words “play” it any way you feel led) however, when you “play it” I encourage you to not just “play it” but “play” it with some feeling. Brethren, Get in the Spirit and see what kind of feeling He would have “played” behind the song you do with the congregation. (in other words should the song be played in a soft, light, bright! happy, joyous, or celebrant type of way). Brothers and sisters, if you get in the Spirit He’ll tell you what to do (He is a person you know). Know the Threefold Category of Appropriate Music “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord… (Ephesians 5:18,19) 19) While some people might want to expand these categories to include such things as anthems or marches (etc.) what you find in scripture is a threefold division of appropriate music for congregational singing. Psalms Hymns and Spiritual Songs. While one can go back and forth about different things within the categories they are categories and basically they are defined as followed * Psalms (Most Praise, Worship and Celebration music will fall into this category) - Psalms refers to the book of Psalms which is a collection of the lyrics of songs that were sung in the Temple and Tabernacle (however some may have been of private origin and could have just been sung privately). The word psalms basically means songs [and the song of all the songs belongs to another book, the Song of Solomon (which is called the Song of Songs in some Bibles a title taken from the first verse of the book)]. (B:7) Psalms are a good source of inspired lyric material for the writing of songs and believers are directed to make use of them in Ephesians 5:19 by providing the melody from their heart. Most of the psalms (or songs) lyrics revolve around the praise and worship category of music with celebration being a close second which is probably why the apostle tells Christians to make use of them. If you look at some psalms you will find musical notations (for example “Selah” which may mean “to pause”, also notations to the music director of the temple concerning the melodies that were to be played behind the lyrics). The melodies behind these songs have been lost which again is why Ephesians 5:19 talks about making melodies (for these and other types of songs) with your heart. As said before The Psalms - which were written by a number of different people - are a good source of material for the writing of new songs for the church (if you are of that mind) and are a good reference point to use (because of their emphasis on praise and worship) if you are in the process of sifting through material. Brethren, in regards to melodies the thing about the psalms is this, while there are joyous psalms (that is the celebration category of music) you will also find not so joyous ones, and the question of whether sad psalms (or songs) should be sung in the service of the saints with sad melodies is a legitimate question (B:8). Brethren, let me give you my opinion on this. I once went to a meeting where a prominent person in the church was diagnosed with something that was not good and most everyone had just found out about it. For some reason the worship leader picked out a song (it may have been a hymn of old) that was so depressing sounding and the lyrics were probably along the same line (and I can’t remember what song it was), but I do remember the response of the people to the song. People were crying, the person who had the diagnoses was sadly hugged by at least their spouse. For me, if anything the song (or songs) that should have been played that day - particularly since we live in a day when we have so much hope (and knowledge and giftings) - should have been the polar opposite, and that songs of faith and hope (In other words that God is one the move and He will provide an answer for the dilemma - if we turn to Him in faith). Brethren, while I don’t want to be adamant in regards to saying NO to these type of sad songs (or sad psalms) I do question their value in the service (where their should be hope). If they are to be written and sung anywhere they “should” in my opinion - be sung in private (B:9). Once again, Psalms are inspired lyrics that Christians are directed to make use in their song writing (but one is not locked into them as ones only source of song writing material) (B:10). Again, most psalms (or songs) fall within the Praise and Worship category [for once again the book itself was a collection of songs (or lyrics) that were sung in the temple (and tabernacle). Celebration songs will also fall into this category as well]. Brethren, when the apostle talks about the Psalms as a category of music for Christians to use, he is not only directing them to make use of it’s lyrics but he is also talking about making use of the psalms own threefold division of music (that is Praise, Worship and Celebration). In other words he want sisters and brothers to praise worship and celebrate when they gather together. [and in case you are wondering “Praise songs” (that is: proclaiming songs directed at the Lord) are, for the most part, written in the second person ( "thou art, you are, your etc." ) but they can also be written in the third person. ( "He is ! " ), but are usually written in the second person. Worship songs, on the other hand are generally written in the first person ( "I" Love You Lord ... ) These are just general rules. * Hymns (Mostly Teaching type songs) - People might disagree with what my definition here (and one can make the case that Hymns are just songs written outside the use of the Psalms that were passed on from Christian to Christian, however since it does seems like you are to put a melody to them that may not be the case), but for me a hymn is a song whose primary purpose is to teach and written to emphasize doctrinal beliefs (that is what we believe), rather than geared towards praise and worship material per say (although they can be written that way). Granted you will find teaching type songs in the Psalms (Psalm 103;136), (and again someone might quibble with me here) but since the Psalms were written mostly for the temple / tabernacle service and mostly sung to God (which is where you will find most of the Praise and Worship genre falling, that is first, second person type of thing), rather than about Him and His ways (which is to teach or teaching type of a song, which again you will find in the Psalms, but many of them are written in a prayer form with exhortations, reminders, requests and thanksgiving (again first second person kind of thing, when teaching does happen in the Psalms it’s usually in the form of a reminder and is put many time in worship / praise form. Especially praise) Brethren this being so Hymns seem to be a separate category than the psalms (and again the psalms major in the praise, worship and celebration genres) For a teaching type of song (Hymn) see the song of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:19,22; 30-45) Also the verse found in __________ seems to be an early hymn (He was vindicated by angels (VERSE NEEDED), and some believe Ephesians 5:14 was as well (which just happens to be stated not long before the verse concerning the threefold division of music). Brethren, Psalms overall - because of what they were written for (Tabernacle / Temple service) were mostly praise, worship and celebration. see Tabernacle of David statement Once again, you may disagree with my definition here (and I don’t want to be dogmatic about it), but either way you look at it there are songs out there whose primary purpose is to teach and if you look at what is commonly called hymns (at least by today’s definition - while you will find Praise and Worship in there) most Hymns seem to do just that. Again Praise, Worship and even Celebration (which constitute most of the Psalms) are distinct from what a Hymn is, when Ephesians 5:18 makes a distinction between different types of music this seems to be the distinction it is trying to make. The Use of Hymns in the Service Today Brethren, today the word “Hymn” is often taken to mean something old. While this definition of the word is often true in progressing churches, it’s not necessarily so, for any song that is geared towards teaching or proclaiming or reminding people what they believe about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, life here and now and the life to come as well as any doctrine, belief or theological truth can also be called a hymn. If you visit different churches some congregations will not sing certain songs (or hymns) because they do not believe what is said in a particular verse (or will skip a certain verse). I find this kind of thing funny when it is pointed out to the congregation as well as when congregations who don’t believe women should teach men sing hymns (or teaching type songs) written by women. Aside from the funny angle about hymns, they are serious business and if you listen to them will draw distinctions between denominational churches. If you visit denominational churches and look at the hymns that are sung you will find that they will write and sing hymns that reflect there own particular nuance concerning a particular doctrinal belief. If you visit churches, particularly established denominational churches it’s just something you might want to take note of and observe, that is what it is that everyone is singing [just for the sake of education (and who know it might be of help, particularly if it is a true nuance)]. Brothers and sisters, personally I like hymns. They remind one about the things that are important and can cause a spark of faith in ones life that can lead to great things. If you as a song writer have some very cherished doctrinal beliefs (that of course are scriptural) write a hymn to reflect those beliefs (using modern melodies of course). Who knows? they may catch on and God can use you to change the world. Brethren, as a worship team try to include at least one hymn (or hymn type song) in your “set” list when you gather together (unless of course God says different) . They are of importance, and it’s good to be reminded every once and a while of the important things we - as Christians - believe (and if you have new Christians in your congregational meetings the importance of singing them is obvious). Brethren hymns do not have to be old, there are modern Hymns (and I know that in evangelical circles of at least one “contest” where “the hymn of the year” is awarded a prize - which I think is inclusion in the hymn book’s next edition). Hymns are still written (B:11). Once again, Hymns are more focused on teaching (than praising the Lord per say). They are (in case your wondering) mostly written in the third person (B:12) and sometimes they talk about something "impersonal" (like a place: heaven; or a thing: God's Kingdom). This ‘third person aspect’ is true especially in the older hymns. Hymns can also spark an attitude of worship and you can worship during them. During the last supper scripture says that Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn (VERSE NEEDED). * Spiritual Songs - in regards to spiritual songs the following story might be of interest to the song writers on your team - especially if your team wants to do their part in sustaining revival. Brethren, I once read an interview with a popular secular musician [who’s group used to be listed (and rated) as a Christian group in a - I believe, noted, Christian industry newspaper - which gave Christian groups songs ratings concerning Christian content (and I believe melody) - a group that has now become secular]. Anyway I once read an interview as to where the songwriter in the group got his songs. If I remember the interview correctly he said he got up in the morning with a certain deep feeling or emotion and drew from that emotion as ‘his source’ (that is he wrote music and lyrics around that emotion. The emotion was his inspiration). Brothers and sisters, generally speaking the process of song writing is... there is no one process and anyone you does this will tell you the same. I take note of this one musician because he (or his group) used to be of a Christian “nature” and now has clearly digressed into something else (In other words the group may have once drawn as it‘s songwriting source from the spiritual and now it draws as it source from the emotional. Today, if I ever hear this groups songs played on the radio I don‘t think anyone who would call them a Christian group anymore. They have clearly digressed into another realm). Brethren the songs in this category, “Spiritual songs” have as their source and origin the Spirit of God. Their melodies, while they may have feeling are not rooted in the emotions per say, but in the Spirit and their primary effect is on the spirit [not the soul, or emotions; and not the body]. Again these type of songs effect the spirit of man and their proper response usually involves the raising of ones hand upward, or kneeling before the presence of God (for they do help to bring that about). They - because of what they are - can be done spontaneously done in a service - by anyone (including someone in the congregation), or can just be given to someone - anytime actually, and written down and “played“ for the next congregational meeting. Most of these type of songs - if not all - are praise and worship type of songs. Whose lyrics are not necessarily form the psalms but are “made up” by the person themselves. Many (at least the worship ones) are of an intimate nature, and in my experience all are done slowly (or as some may say “worshipfully”). I would say most songs that people put in the praise and worship category whose lyrics are not from the psalms - if you looked into them - you have a good chance of finding their beginnings in the things of the Spirit [or have as their source the moving of the Spirit of God on the songwriter life (in other words they did not wake up one morning with a deep emotional feeling per say and write a song around that feeling, but the Spirit of God came upon them and they began to play their instrument in the Spirit, or just sing a melody in the Spirit, or maybe even just write it down). Toronto is a very controversial move of God, and without getting into a lot of things (and I do believe it went off track), but at their beginning David Ruis was there as the worship leader and had (and this is just my opinion now) at least one of these songs if not more [I Love you Lord (more than life)](B:13) . Most churches - even today - will not play this song for it is too intimate, but they played it (David actually wrote it) and this, as well as other material, and the general worshipful atmosphere over there led to a greater opening of the Spirit of God (they just needed a little more discernment). If you want to, look at the words to the song and listen to it, especially the chorus. Basically, as said in the beginning of this section, any song whose beginnings is in the Spirit of God and whose primary effect is on the spirit of man (not the emotions per say, or the body) is a Spiritual song (B:14). They can be spontaneously done in the service and - in my opinion slowly done, and most praise and worship material (outside the use of the psalms) will fall into this category. Personally - after 30 years of experience in different churches and attending “services” and actual services in many different denominations I would focus on these songs more than the Hymns, and more than the Celebration genre, not that there is anything wrong with either genres, but it’s during the praise and worship genres (where most if not all spiritual songs reside), it’s in these two genres that most of the business between God and man is transacted, and that is what you want, something happening between God and man (that is the congregation). (and again the Psalms will mostly fall within this category as well). Brothers and sisters, I’ve probably sifted through 1000 songs in my life so far and these type of songs are easy to pick out (actually they stand out) (B:15). Brethren, this may be new to some of you, but either way ask God for discernment regarding your sifting process in choosing material for congregational singing. Find the songs that are rooted in the Spirit of God and “play” them (or author them yourself) (B:16). Don’t forget to spend time in God’s Presence 20) Sisters and brothers, don’t forget to spend time in God’s Presence individually and as a team before you lead people into Gods presence. It’s not just a matter of being attentive (or awake) or energized enough, but getting in the flow of the Spirit of God. Teams should probably be the first to get in the current flow, especially since their part is in the first part(s) of most services (B:17). This will in turn help others get in the flow. I don’t want to sound mechanical here, but if the worship team cannot help lead Gods people into His presence maybe the fault lies in the fact that the worship team has not spent enough time themselves in His presence to be of any real value to the worship part of the service. Again spend time in His presence before you lead people. Then you’ll know what to do and how to lead. Also, in regards to God’s manifest presence it would be helpful if there was no unfinished business between you and God and that as far as it depends on you, you are at peace with everyone and everything (that is you‘ve not only dealt with any sin by confession but have done what you can to make any amends if need be). Study other Genres 21) Brothers and sisters, there are other genres besides the main three (Praise Worship and Celebration) and can be used on “special” occasions. There is the Petition Genre which is basically a prayer put to a melody (For example “Let Your Glory Fall” or “Shine Jesus Shine” ). There is the Healing Genre (For example “I am the God that Healeth Thee”). There are songs geared for Ministration (which are of a soft toning) and there are Warfare songs (which can be very celebrant). A Side point: The Gospel Genre For some people Gospel is a genre all by itself. Gospel is not easy to define especially since there are cultural overtones to the definition (black gospel is different than white gospel), however for me when I think of gospel I think of it mostly as a style of singing rather than the songs themselves. I’ve been to a least 3 churches that had black worship leaders singing songs that I knew, but they sang them in what I would call a “black” gospel style (which is very very free, almost a freeform style form of singing). To me black “Gospel” would be impossible to teach for - when properly done - it’s more about getting in the flow of the Spirit of God than learning about technique per say. On the other hand, although I am not overly familiar with “white” gospel - the little that I have seen of it looks not as free, but often “canned” and too rehearsed (but like I said I am not overly familiar with it). However I have made some observations regarding the differences (and you will find differences), in what I’ve seen between to two different forms (and these are just generally speaking kinds of observations). 1) The difference between “Black” and “White” Gospel is usually found in the number of participants and the freedom of those participants to deviate from the melody of the piece being played. “Black” Gospel - at it’s highest expression- may be sung with one lead singer, or a number of lead singers, which in turn are usually backed up by a (large) choir. White Gospel, on the other hand, is usually sung in more in a "quartet" type of a setting with no choir. You will probably find it’s singers singing more in harmony (See previous point 7) then you would find in “black” gospel. 2) In “Black” Gospel, any one of the lead singers may deviate from the piece being sung by singing the next verse ahead of everyone else. (or for that matter repeating the verse that was just sung before singing the next verse). There is also freedom for the lead singer (s) to hold a note (in the same key) longer than the other lead singers when there is a chord change, (but not too long) and.there is much, much, much " Praising The Lord! " in "back melodies," much singing the songs with "feeling", much exhorting the congregation to join in the worship (that is: "sing it now!", "come on!"), and usually much expectation that God will "move" in the service (And if the lead singer feels that God has begun to move in the congregation through the just sung song, there is freedom for the leader to begin the song again, even after it has "ended.") The margins are very wide here (B:18). “White” gospel - while you may see these elements in the singing (hence it qualifies as “Gospel” style of singing) - seems extremely mellowed and toned down (B:19). Once again I think “Gospel” of more than a style of singing rather than the songs themselves. There is much one can learn from watching this style if you happen to come across it. It usually involves a large number singers (which I like), many participate and the differences between the two forms seem to be levels of “rehearsedness” (if I could use that phrase), and how much one deviates from the “way” the song was written or practiced. Also in regards to actual genres it seems to be that “black” gospel will emphasize praise music while “white” gospel will emphasize worship music (which may explain it‘s mellowed and toned down aspect). Go Acoustic 22) And this in part goes concerns the nature of the instruments that are being used in the gathering together of the saints, specifically the use of the electric guitar. Brothers and sisters, if services are to get smaller where everyone is to contribute (Reread Chapters 4 and 5 of this book as well as Appendix A), the question of a sound system is already a legitimate question, however to bring in instrument’s (an electric guitar for example) that requires some type of sound system support and as well as instruments (particularly that one) that many people associate with worldly performance (that is the show angle of a gathering) is another question all together. If your church has one of these or is at the threshold of becoming “modern” and wants to “update” it’s instrumentation I’ve made some observations here about that and include them here for your consideration (and you may want to reread Footnote 5:8 of Sustaining Revival for some of the following points are from that section). First, in regards to “show type instrumentation” the service is not a show. What the heck are you doing? What are you thinking? In regards to the electric guitar in case you don’t know it’s origins was actually in the show (actually it was brought in as a swing band instrument in the 1940’s I believe). Brothers and sisters, God want’s his people to get away from this idea that the gathering together of the saints is in any sense a show (and if you do look at the guitars most are very colorful and or stylistic and are made that way to attract attention to “themselves.” This type of thing is not what the gathering together of the saints is to be about. People, especially kids and teenage boys for some reason do notice them. We are supposed to be focusing on the Lord). Also in regards to “modern” instrumentation itself another reason why I believe God wants us to get away from the them is that God wants us to do something about the type of instruments that are used to praise His holy Name. [For example: in regards to the electric guitar most truly professional classical musicians wouldn’t dream of putting anything electrical on their instrument (pickups for example or an attached mike) for it would interfere with a pure sound]. A stradivarius for example with pickup glued (or screwed) onto it would cause a people who are interested in a pure sound to have a fit, they would never allow it). God I believe is the same way and wants the purest sound to be used in the praising of His Name for He is worthy of it, and not only that we should give it to him. And this is only one thing that I feel that God wants to do about instrumentation (and I do believe David made instruments that were to be used only for the praising of God’s name) [Brethren,, these things may sound strange to those who have not thought about things along these lines before (I do realize that), but if read footnote 5:8 of this book it will give you an idea where I am coming from). Brethren I think part of the problem some people may have with this point may be the simple fact that people don‘t believe God is specially present at meetings where two or three are gathered together in His name. A lot of the things in this point (and Appendix) are rooted in the understanding of appropriateness for the presence of God, and not to distract from it or hinder it or cause it to lift]. In regards to the acoustic, other reasons God I feel that wants us to “go acoustic” (and you can seek the Lord about this yourself) and I mean truly acoustic. A) It’s more honoring to God for a person to blow through a flute or horn rather than having a machine doing it (think of organ here). Rememebr, when a head of state is welcomed he / she is usually greeted acoustically by music (I’ve never seen a recording thrown on). In fact often times when an important person arrives somewhere in the world and is greeted there may in fact be some form or some sort of acoustical greeting. Why? it is more respectful or appropriate? (something is going on in the thinking there). I’ll leave it for you to decide. B) When ever I listen to something “lovely” (by any kind of group or genre) it’ s most always done acoustically. Why? it is more appropriate, more fitting, more intimate or personal? Once again I’ll leave it for you to decide (again something is going on in the thinking here). Brothers and sisters since we are to be focusing on the music where most business is transacted between man and God, that is praise and worship (see point 19), most of that music is indeed intimate and personal. If this is so, the question of a church going acoustic is a legitimate question. Therefore if a church is going to go in any direction in regards to updating their instrumentation that is the direction they should be going in. Brethren, there are other things I could mention (and I’m still sorting thorough some things on this (B:20), but once again there is something here. Something about all this that’s very true). During the reformation music and instruments were dealt with by some groups. I don’t see why - now that God is on the move again - there shouldn’t be a major house cleaning concerning worship - particularly when worship can take up half the service (and I do want to steer clear of legalism and methodology, but again there is something going on in the thinking here and again something about all this that is very true about all of this). Brethren, I truly believe that if a “professional” Christian musician wanted to go away somewhere to spend quality personal time with the Lord, and he or she had a choice between bringing an electric guitar with them or an acoustic guitar. I would say that most - hands down - would bring the acoustic with them because there is something more personal and intimate about it. Brethren, remember we want to do things that help sustain God’s moving, not hinder it or even cause it to “lift.” Pray about this [and by the way if you disagree with this point go back to the original question here and ask yourself - if the services are to be getting smaller - why bring in things that need amplification? (B:21). And then from there ask yourself about the question of intimacy and what instrumentation would be appropriate for that kind of thing (that is: the inner tabernacle or secret place). Again, I think part if people have a problem with this point part of the problem may be the simple fact that people don‘t believe God is specially present at meetings where two or three are gathered together in His name, and what’s respectful or even appropriate for that . Again, most of the things stated in this section are rooted in the understanding of appropriateness of the presence of God and not to distract from it or hinder it or cause it to lift]. Again pray about this if you have any questions. Finally 23) If you want to do something different (and “professional” musicians will do this on occasion as well) try “cutting your teeth” singing and playing your instruments (with the accompanying worshipping of course) on street corners or in parks. I have a feeling that this is where worship teams of the future will spend some of their time anyway. Brethren I hardly have any experience doing this myself (when I was younger I went to a mall once to do this with a group of people), however I do have a lot of experience street witnessing and one thing I want to advise people that may do this is that you will most likely move from place to place (as the Spirit leads) so leave out amplification (A sound system would be like lugging a ball and chain around with you. Also, staying in one place with a sound system tends to smack of a show that people approaching from a distance may want to avoid). [Brethren, again I am very hesitant about using these things and unless you feel like you have no option in the matter I would leave them ‘out of the equation’ (again, reread the last point in regards to some of the reasons why, especially footnote B:21). Brothers and sisters, my advise (for those teams that want to do this) is get a few instruments together with a few singers, find a corner (or a section in the park) and face each other in a circle and sing a few songs together (3 or 4 praise and worship songs should do) and see what happens. The atmosphere of the place will probably change and after you finish the songs (if people have gathered around and for some reason you don’t want to speak them) just go up to them and say “We have something for you” and hand them a track (and it might be nice have a special tract of encouragement for Christians who may have gathered around too. Maybe something about a deeper repentance or the higher call - you can write all these things yourself), and after you finish handing them out just move on to another street corner or section of the park. Sisters and brothers, in regards to street witnessing (even this kind of witnessing) is not a big deal (B:22) - particularly when you are with a group of like minded people (and besides it can be fun to meet other people, particularly people from other churches who will often stop and talk and may even fellowship), but like I said you really don’t have to talk to people. Also, if you want you can just have one person address the group that may gather around but after the speech - if you follow up - try to focus on the unsaved and not the Christians that may have gathered around. Unless you are doing an outreach to fellow Christians I have found it best to keep the conversations between the brethren short (maybe if you hit it off with someone meet them for coffee later or have them join you in your witnessing). Brethren, in regards to worship someday I’d like to do this kind of thing for I think it could make a difference in a city or town, especially if the worship team is singing praise and worship material. There’s just something about those kind of songs that is so powerful and can bring down the presence of God. ____________ Brothers and sisters, I conclude this Appendix with a modified essay I once wrote regarding the beat (or the question of “bounce”), in regards to the celebration genre. Even though I think we should emphasize and play the music where business is transacted before the Lord - we do in fact celebrate before the Lord and there is nothing wrong with playing celebration music every now and then. The main question about celebration music, particularly since there are so many beats or different genres to choose from is what is it? (or more precisely “What is a celebration beat?”) In my looking at the different Christian genres - as well as secular genres that also make a claim for celebration music (or a celebration beat), I’m isolated a few things about the nature of what I feel is appropriate celebration music in regards to the service of the saints, namely that it has a “bounce” to it. This “bounce” seems to be something that is true, and found across the board in all cultures, in what I would call - generally speaking - “joyous music” which would also be played on “joyous occasions” such as weddings and dances. [However, having said this, there are still other genres out there that also make a claim for the celebration beat, whose music does not have this bounce, and can cause confusion among Christians since they also make a claim for being “joyous” (yet at the same time there is “a check” in many peoples spirit concerning the appropriateness of its playing in regards to the service of the saints]. Therefore again the question of “What is celebration music?” is a very legitimate question, particularly in regards to congregation meetings (of which I am concerned about here) Brethren this following essay may be of interest to you if you are considering playing that genre in your congregational service and may help you sift through the different, very questionable, Christian music that is out there that makes a claim for being “celebration music.” The Question of “Bounce” in Celebration Music Brethren, God is looking for Worshippers, but even though that is the priority for worship teams there is no reason why we cannot celebrate before the Lord - especially since celebration was part of the tabernacle of David (VERSE NEEDED). But what is the celebration genre? Celebration is about bounce. If you want an example of bounce in secular music listen to a polka. It’s very lively and has a certain bounce to it’s beat. In Jewish music ‘bounce” can be heard in the “Hava Nagila” (and the dance done to it is called the Hora). In Christian celebration music ‘bounce’ can be heard in such classics as “God is Good all the Time .” To define bounce is not too hard, especially if you are listening to the bass line (which could be played by a multitude of instruments). In older Country music ‘the bounce’ is usually played by the bass (let’s say instead of hitting the ‘A’ 4x’s in a row (that is 4 whole notes A A A A ), one would alternate the ‘D’ note (directly below it) with the “A.” One would then play each note as a half note (for example: D-A, D-A, D-A, D- A or the opposite (CHECK try with another guitar to be sure). This is the 2/2 beat. In Hispanic music, most notably Mexican, this “2/2” beat is true as well. Sisters and brothers, This is bounce. In the song “Shout Your Fame” (Hillsongs), the bounce is heard very well in the Intro: [C – G – Am – F (4X)]. However it is done by the horns. This is an example of a good modern sounding bouncy song. Again, even though God is looking for worshippers, there is no reason why we cannot have some celebration every now and then. Note: Some bounce songs can also be played worshipfully! (or more slowly), which is an added bonus. Brethren, when looking at and sifting through the many different types of music out there that claim to be the Christian celebration genre, but are very questionable in regards to playing it during the service of the saints is there are some other things (besides bounce) to consider … 1 ) Is the music “danceable?” - There is music ‘out there’ that one can jump up and down to , but is really hard music to dance to. Remember: dancing is part of the Celebration genre. In regards to some of these songs that claim to be celebrant you might want to consider slowing things down a little (that is: arranging things a little differently. Even in the just mentioned song “Shout Your Fame” there are parts of it I would do differently). Brothers and sisters, in the back of my mind, when I’m judging Christian celebration music I’m always thinking ‘Is the music “danceable?”’ Also, another “danceable” thing to consider when defining the Christian celebration genre is if is danceable what kind of dance are we talking about? Dances reflect the Spirit, spirit, even attitude (or emotions) behind the music, and certain dances go with certain types of music (I don’t think we going to “bump and grind” in the service, not that anyone does actually does that in the service - which again is what I am concerned about here: the service- and there is music that lends itself to that kind of thing). The tango (music and dance) is definitely a No -No in the service (like I really need to say that), and if you listen to the words of “Twist and Shout” (of which genre claims to be celebrant) you’ll see the problem with that particular genre and dance [and brethren, even though “pop rock“ is considered celebration music in the world, the dance which shows the spirit (or attitude), behind the dance (which in the just mentioned song happens to be lust evidenced by the appropriate words given to that song in that genre (and beat), (“shake it up baby, twist and shout” “come on you‘ve got me going now, work it on out” ). The resultant spirit or attitude of the dance shows us that even though it might - in some peoples understanding - be celebrant, it is not an appropriate form or genre of music to be played in a congregational meeting] (again I don‘t understand why music effects the emotions and even body movement but it does and certain genres effects these things in different ways and we need to be careful as well as discerning in regards to these matters). And brethren, in regards to dance, there are dances ‘out there’ that are rooted solely in the music. [Actually the spirit behind a song can probably be interpreted through its dance (interpretive dance is actually an art form)]. Lust is very easy to pick out. Brothers and Sisters, there is and are acceptable dances that are appropriate for the service and there is music that supports the dance. Again, we need wisdom. 2 ) As just mentioned, the type of music is another thing to consider when defining the Celebration genre. Is the music itself “hard?” Is it “driving?” Does it have an “edge” to it? or is it on the lighter side of the spectrum and have a ‘leaping like a lark’ quality to it? Again does the music you are considering playing make people want to “shake it up” of something similar? Again wisdom. 3 ) The “feel” of the music is another thing to consider when defining the celebration genre (it’s not solely about bounce - but bounce is very important). Ask yourself...how do I feel or what feelings come to mind when the music I am considering playing with the congregation is being played? Also ask yourself ‘How do I feel after the music has been played’ (which is another good question to consider. Again music can play on the emotions). Brethren, remember when defining the celebration genre you MUST remember the definition of the word “Celebration.” It’s not something “heavy” or “driving” or “hard” or “pounding” and it’s certainly not something “dark” sounding, but it’s something that is joyful and happy. Brethren, sifting through “the feel” of the music is a very important part in defining the celebration genre. (Even unsaved people can discern things like ‘the feel’ behind music. You as worship leaders, musicians and composers should be able to do the same). Again, ask yourself, are the “feelings” that are experienced during and after the song ones of happiness and joyfulness (the celebration genre) or are they ones of heaviness, hardness or even a weighed down feeling (other genres). Also in regards to sifting through “up” music are the feelings that are left after the song is played ones of hurriedness or even frenziedness? (which is another genre all together that is often confused with the celebration genre), or again even lust. Brethren these are all things that need to be considered in regards to our sifting process (B:23). Examples of Celebration Songs with Bounce Brothers and sisters, in regards to the service of the saints if you want to get an idea of what I feel are appropriate bouncy type sounding songs that are acceptable for congregational meeting I include some of them here. (and please note, some of these songs - even though they aren’t written in a bouncy way - can still be played that way, while other songs just don’t sound right even when played in that fashion (again too heavy, hard or were originally written in a driving sort of way). For me this is a main standard I use when judging celebration music - and that is can “bounce” be worked into the song and it still sound right? - phrase-ology and all), as well as some of the other things mentioned in this essay... Again, if you want to get an idea of some of what I feel are appropriate modern sounding bouncy songs for the service (and I’m speaking of true Christian celebration music here) they are as follows… 1) Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing) - A song with implied bounce. Although the bass may not sound very bouncy in the song, it could be, if it wants too (Actually a bassist could have a field day with this song - especially if he knows his scales). Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing) is a ‘middle of the road’ celebration song (that is: not too fast, not too slow) with again the potential for a lot of emphasis on its bounce (However remember - you don’t have to emphasize the bounce of the song for it to fall into the celebration genre. It’s there whether you ‘hear’ it or not. It’s something you ‘feel).’ 2) The River is Here - Probably the preeminent celebration song of the mid 90’s. I have yet to see this song done by a team without someone in the congregation actually dancing. DON’T SING THIS SONG SITTING DOWN! 3)We Will Dance - A Celebration song at the slower end of the spectrum. A good introductory song to sing for congregations who are not used to singing any kind of celebration music. At the very least you should have “hymn people” moving around, possibly hopping up and down, maybe even doing “the two step” in the pew. You might even find some of these dear brothers and sisters itching to out get into the aisles and a few actually dancing. 4) Let Everything that has Breath Praise the Lord - Another song on the slower side of the celebration spectrum. Nothing wrong with a slow dance every now and then. 5) God is Good all the Time - As mentioned previously in this Appendix. 7) Jesus, We Celebrate Your Victory 8) We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise 9) In Him we Live - Great faster paced celebration song to sing every once in a while. 10) He is the King - A song where the chorus is written in the celebration mode. 11) Mighty is our God 12) My Life is in You Lord 13) I Will Call Upon the Lord 14) He is the King of Kings 15) Great and Mighty is He 16) Are You Washed in the Blood? 17) There is Power in the Blood 18) The Blood Prevails - This and the two above songs can be combined into a medley as with many older types of celebration music. Most older celebration music was written exclusively in the 2/2 beat all of which can be combined into medley’s Songs that Don’t Work in the Service In regards to other genres that are not particularly celebrant brethren there are other songs (or genres) played in Christian circles (or different churches), that should not be and as far as songs go, these songs really - at best - don’t “go anywhere” and at worst lead the service in a direction you don’t want to go. You may not want to take my word for it, but my opinion is an opinion that’s been sharpen over years and years of attending many different services in many different settings in variety of churches and church gatherings. In regards to honing your sifting process for appropriate congregational music I give these as examples of what not to play in your meeting. Brethren, I WOULD NOT play these any of these songs in any kind of church gathering for not only are they not celebrant but they do not fall under the genres of Praise, Worship. They are as follows... 1) Ancient of Days - The song tends to lead the service in a rowdy area. The last time I saw it played it seemed like one of the leaders in the church cut the song short (one of the drummers was on the fringe of getting “into” the song). Song is heavy. Trying to put it to a celebration beat makes it even worse. 2) More Love, More Power - Too brooding. Leaves a bad feel in my spirit both during and after it’s played. Where’s the funeral? 3) Come, Now is the Time to Worship - Song is not played worshipfully for one. Also, it’s a little too heavy and a tad too driving for celebration (can’t dance joyfully to it). Words are nice. You can recite it as a poem in front of the church if you want, but as a song...no... get rid of it. 4) This is the Day (The Spirit of the Living God is upon Us) - Again another brooding type of song. And there are plenty of others. Conclusion Brothers and sisters, a good rule of thumb when sifting through material to “play” before (and with) the congregation is… if you can’t raise your hands joyfully to the Lord while doing the song it probably isn’t Praise and Worship material. Also, if you can’t dance joyfully to it, it’s probably not celebration music either. Also remember in regards to our “sifting process” of appropriate congregational music we are looking for a melody from a redeemed heart as well. Melodies that tend to be “downers” are questionable especially in an age where we have so much hope and so much revelation. One more thing. Above all brothers and sisters, don’t ever say that the Spirit of God is moving when in really it’s just the reaction of the people to the music (like some concert). Music can “help” in regards to certain things, but music alone doesn’t bring “the reality” Other things need to happen. There have been to many “soulish” revivals that went no where. Brethren, have a Spirit of discernment, and learn to separate soulish realities from Spiritual realities. Also remember the definition of the word “service,” as well as the spiritual nature of it. APPENDIX C Revelation: General and Special (or Specific) Scripture and a still speaking God Biblically revelation is defined as sudden understanding or comprehension or awareness of something that either one did not know before (Luke 2:9-11), or possibly that one did not know that they knew before (as in “I didn‘t know I knew that” Romans 1:19; 2:15). It can be like a light goes on in the “inner person” and something either “dawns” upon them or is given directly to them (that is the revelation) from a source outside themselves, most notably from God. Again revelation (or more precisely “to have a revelation”) is defined as a sudden comprehension or understanding of something that someone did not know, or did not knew they knew before. Biblically there are two kinds of revelation found in scripture. General (which everyone is given) and Special [which is specific and directed to (a) certain individual(s)]. Both are given by God. Both General and Special are theological terms (and as with all theological terms) help people define and understand what scripture is talking about. General Revelation General revelation is defined as something (that is an awareness or understanding) that everyone is given from the day they are born, or are able to grasp (or derive) from what they see around them. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth (of God’s existence) in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident within them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20) “For the heavens declare the glory of God… (VERSE NEEDED) “in that they (the gentiles who do not have the written law) show the works of the law written in their hearts…” (Romans 2:15) In regard to these verses, first the existence of God, biblically speaking there is no such thing as an atheist [and if someone claims to be, they have willing turned away from what is written in their heart (through what is seen) - by God - and have harden themselves to that fact (that is they “suppress the truth“ Romans 1:18) and are therefore without excuse before Him in that matter (Romans 1:20)] (C:1). Second, in regards to basic “ethics,” biblically speaking, there is no such thing as a person who does not have a basic understanding of right and wrong [that is: “the works of the law (are) written in their hearts…” (Romans 2:15)]. Brethren, evidence of the internal law being that people will actually go through a guided reasoning process before they do things (Romans 2:15). In other words WHAT are they (that is their conscience) reasoning with? Answer. The internal law that is written on their hearts (C:2). Brethren, no matter how you view that verse there is no getting away from the fact that one is responsible for their actions (See Appendix D and O for more in regards to conscience and law). Special (or Specific) Revelation Special (or Specific) Revelation, like General Revelation, is also defined as an awareness or understanding, but it’s a sudden awareness or understanding from a special source and that source is usually directly (or indirectly) from God. “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you… (1 Peter 1:10-12) Brethren, basically what you have in scripture is a progression of revelation where God leads His people from one point to another in regards to their understanding of things and His purposes (Ebenezer (VERSE NEEDED): God has brought us this far) . If you look at the beginning of the Bible and compare what people knew then to what they know now, and compare that to the ultimate revelation (that is the book of Revelation), one can see plainly this progressive fact. With each revelation (that is a special revelation from God that is given) will often entail an appropriate response from His people [which usually involves belief and follow through (or action)] and therefore responsibility and accountability to maintain that place (or new ground) of understanding of things and not go back. One can also see this progression in scripture in regards to God revealing to Moses Who He in fact really is (and that is Lord in regards to all these so called “gods” that Moses was about to entangle with Exodus 6:2,3). Non Christians and Revelation Many people in the world today are caught up in the general revelation realm, particularly the unsaved. Many religions derive their existence from this general revelation realm and what differentiates many religions from one another is not so much how much they understand what is written within them, that is the law (which the mixed philosophical-religions will seek to understand) but also the degree to which they “suppress… truth” written within them by their unrighteousness [which is mostly where the pure “religions” if you will, will - if you look at them - often lie or dwell, that is they are suppressing the truth about God (Romans 1:18)], [also in regards to these “pure” (non-philosophical) religions their generally ungrateful attitude towards God shown at the beginnings of many of them, evidence by their failure to give Him proper honor due Him as God [that is they basically ignore the true God (Romans 1:21)] and /or followed other concepts or in fact followed “others” didn’t and doesn’t help in regards to these matters either]. Therefore… “they became (and become) futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was (and are) darkened. (They were and still are) professing to be wise (but) they became (and still are) fools, (because they) exchange(d) the glory of the incorruptible God for an image (of anything, for example)…the form of corruptible man … birds…four-footed animals…crawling creatures” (Romans 1:21-23) Therefore God just let’s them go and gives them over to these “gods” they are worshipping (which if you look around and study it the “gods” are actually deceptive spirits who were either there at the beginning or came in later after these people began following other ideas of God or worshipping other things aside from God), however brethren God gives these people over to them with the hope they will eventually “bottom out” and turn to Him. Brothers and sisters when people turn from God (and His truth) what else is there, but lies? If people turn from revelation (light) what else is there but darkness? If people believe lies about God and His purposes (which usually start from spirits), deception will come in, and with deception, (more) spirits come in, and with the entrance of spirits more deception comes in and as a result - as lies build upon more lies other (spirit based) religions will come into existence as well (C:3) (and there are quite a few ‘spirit revelation’ religions in this world), and all this happens because people suppress the basic truths about God which God has revealed to them concerning His existence, eternality and divinity. Again, since they are not seeking God (Acts 17:27) but are going away from God, in the other direction (most with their track shoes on), God just lets them go and gives them over to their darken hearts (Romans 1:24) with the hope that they - in the depths of their despair will once again “bottom out” and eventually turn to God for help (1 Timothy 1:20 also see Acts 17:27) (C:4). Spirit Based Religions Brethren, if you look at the world today most eastern religions (as well as some others in the western world) will fall within the above category (C:5). The people in the actual religions themselves are so entrenched in deception, and have “progressed” so far down the line that some not only worship and revere animals (paganism), but are also worshipping the spirits (of deception) that came in when they began to do that very same thing. And they do eventually “bottom out.” In my experience with spirits (or the spiritual realm) these spirits want be acknowledged, revered and worshiped. People that get caught up with them (C:6) and actually have a relationship with these spirits do eventually go down a dark path and the people themselves have a generally fearful attitude (or right on the edge of fear), and don’t have any real abiding peace (C:7). Voodoo, Paganism, Great Spirit of the Earth Worship (which also masquerades as the American North American Indian religion which is in reality paganism with a smattering of voodoo too, don‘t buy this stuff that the North American “Indian” religions of the western world are “respectable.” They’re not and again startle the line between voodoo and paganism. Also the Indian religions of Central American - (at least some) seemed to have in the past digress even further down the line with these spirits and in actual practice were no different than the blackest forms of witchcraft. Brethren, Wicca, Witchcraft in general, Séances and Mediums all this stuff belongs in the same veins of deception as some of the major worlds religions that are caught up with these deceptive spirits, but happen to be more egregious and avert [in your face kind of stuff - except for the North American Indian of today who for some reason thinks his religion is somehow different than voodoo (they do do the same dances) and somehow different than paganism (they do overly revere animals to the point of worshipping “the spirits” behind these animals, which is what paganism is). Again the American Indian religion is not respectable. Santeria is also the same way in regards to the respectability issue, probably because they bring in the Catholic saints to worship (but ask them about the whole bunch of spirits they worship, as well as who it is they are in fact sacrificing the chickens too?). Again, spirits, but spirits of deception who in the end want be acknowledged, revered and worshiped. In regards to this Appendix brethren, they can be a source of revelation (Acts 16:16), but it’s slanted or tainted (with some hidden purpose) or just plain wrong and in error and because of this believers need to be careful and are told to test (questionable) things that they hear from people (1 John 4:1-6; 2:22). The reason being because of the deceptive revelation (and error) spirits are noted for (C:8). Theistic Faiths and Revelation There are religions that are theistically based (that is they believe in the existence of an all good all powerful God), but since they contradict in regards to such major issues as salvation something is obviously going on - usually the work of a spirit (or spirits) of error. [and brethren, all theistic religions can’t all be right since they all contradict, either one is right or they are all wrong (but since we know through experience that the all good, all powerful, and very personable ONLY God does exist, and we also know through experience that He desires to communicate with His creation and make Himself and His ways known, we also know that one religion is indeed right and the rest are indeed in error. Logically this has to be the case). Also brethren, in regards to spirits, it is obvious that they are influencing major religious though about God in the world today. Since one of the things spirits major in regards mixing truth with error something is obviously going on in and if you do a comparative study on them you will find this to be true. Religions that have an intermediately spirit at their beginnings (for example Islam with the “angel” Gabriel; and the Mormons with the “angel” Moroni SP? {Mormonism is actually a Christian cult C:9} are always to be highly suspect (C:10). Even new religions with new revelations are to be treated with caution. Brothers and sisters, I want to briefly talk about the other two major theistic religions in the world today (Islam and Judaism). Islam, which has got caught up with these deceptive spirits and as a result rejected much Christian revelation and went back to old, and Judaism which failed to progress into new revelation. Islam Islam (which is talked about at length in the book “Understanding Christianity” by the author) is without a doubt a religion that falls within this category of a religion brought in by a deceptive spirit (the angel Gabriel according to Mohammed), but if you look at the Koran (which the “angel” gave to Mohammed) it is a slippery sometimes seductive revelation that mixes up revelation concerning the true God with old revelation and outright lies (for example: Islam would reject what the true angel Gabriel said in Luke 1:32 that Jesus would be called the Son of the Most High, for according to Islam God had no son (it‘s blasphemy). Also according to Islam Jesus never died on the cross, hence Islam not only rejects his sacrifice on the cross but also would reject the resurrection (both of which are major tenants for salvation). Brethren, there is nor will there ever be any kind of reconciliation between Islam and Christianity (C:11). They - as religions - will never get along with each other. This deceptive spirit was brought in by one - namely Mohammed - who, while acknowledging the existence of God, went in part back to the law and even further rejecting huge chunks of Christian revelation (C:12) - major error here (See “Understanding Christianity” by the author of this book). Islam - if you study it - is a religion that doesn’t work (that is it doesn‘t bring people into a right relationship with God), misunderstands redemption, the personhood of God, rejects a good deal of the New Testament and aside from these things, picks and chooses what laws in the Old Testament to follow as well. Except for the entrance of a spirit of deception (which did happen) (C:13), it’s almost like a religion someone just made up on the spot using themselves as the only criteria of truth [and believe me if rejecting the divinity of Jesus isn‘t a tip off that something is wrong (which is another thing the religion believes), I don‘t know what is]. Judaism Judaism (which is also talked about in the book “Understanding Christianity” by the author), is something separate and distinct from other religions in that you are basically dealing with people (and I am talking about observant Jewish people) who have failed to progress into new revelation (or the new covenant which was promised by Jeremiah and Ezekiel). Basically what you have in regards to observant Jewish people is that they are caught up in revelation that is correct, but for another day. [Again when I use the term “Jewish people” I am mostly talking about observant or orthodox Jewish people. Whenever I study other branches of Judaism: Conservative, Reformed, Liberal, particularly reformed and liberal I am amazed by how much they - in getting away from the Mosaic Law - begin to look like Christianity in practice, especially liberal Judaism) (C:14). Anyway, In regards to Orthodox Judaism (and especially so), while they can be very unaccepting of Jesus as the Messiah, they can also seem to tolerate or even like evangelical Christians because evangelical Christians not only like the state of Israel (C:15), but also like them. [Brothers and sisters, someday I’d like to write a book on Judaism and Christianity, but basically in regards to the Messiah, Judaism only sees the future victorious part of the Messiahs reign (in the earth) and not the suffering part (Isaiah 53), in which He had to deal with the powers behind the powers of the earth first (that is the spirits and the “ground” the spirits had for their spiritual attack, namely sin). Brethren, this needed to be dealt with before He could come and reign on the earth in complete victory over the earth (in other words the spiritual realm needed to be dealt with first)]. Brothers and sisters, in regards to modern Judaism (whether Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed or Liberal) this failure to see that Satan needed to be dealt with (that is the power behind many powers that be, again see footnote C:3), before the Messiah could reign is a major problem with Jewish thinking. This dealing with Satan by the Messiah is the very first promise given by God to mankind of what the promised Messiah would do (Genesis 3:15)] (in regards to the truth of this issue see Ezekiel 28:12-19 and see who was really behind a particular power at the time. Also see Daniel 10:12,13, 20,21 in regards to this. Brethren, there is a hierarchy of power in the heavens just look around the earth and you can see it‘s effects. (See Appendix M as well as Sustaining Revival footnote 6:9) Satan is mentioned as a reality in scripture. He obviously needed to be dealt with (and again this is a promise in scripture - the very first promise - of what the Messiah would do). The Messiah and this scriptural fact transcends all branches of Judaism. The Messiah is something far more than a political figure (C:16). Brethren I can go on with these things, but aside form this the worst one can say about the state of observant (or orthodox) Judaism today is that there is a veil over their eyes to the truth about things (VERSE NEEDED) and when one turns to Jesus the veil is removed. Some may want to bring in the fact as mentioned before of a partial hardening (Romans 11:7, 25) towards some because of this rejection of Jesus [“a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing” Ecclesiastes 3:5 and this is a time to shun embracing. Brothers and sisters, it’s complicated but you have to think about things in terms of relationships. (See Numbers 14:40-45 for insight) and as you read it also remember that - except for two people - that whole generation did not enter the land]. However, once agin I want to remind you that in regards to orthodox Judaism (or orthodox Jewish teaching), you are not dealing with religious revelation that is in error (like in Islam), only old revelation. God’s accomplished His purposes with the revelation of the Mosaic Covenant and has moved on into the promised New (non Mosaic) Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31; Ezekiel 36:26) (see Appendix D for questions you may have in regards to any overlapping of teaching in regards to both these covenants). However, brethren, in regards to ones Christian attitude towards Jewish people, like with people of an Islamic background one should be Christian, however scripture does elaborate on this further and in general - regardless of where Jewish people come from regarding the Mosaic law (or Covenant) - our attitude should not be one of arrogance.. “do not be arrogant towards the branches” (Jewish people) (Romans 11:18) Also… “do not be conceited…” (Romans 11:20) But, Keep in mind “…God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be…” (Romans 11:1) And, “…they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be… (Romans 11:11) Also Remember “…from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of their fathers (Romans 11:28) “and they (the Jewish people)…if they do not continue in their unbelief (concerning Jesus) will be grafted in (to the promised New Covenant), for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:23) And, “Brethren, my hearts desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1) And that should be our attitude as well Brethren, I think Christians need to see what has happened to some Jewish people is a temporary situation which will be resolved by God in time (Romans 11:25-27), and until that time comes, salvation has come to the gentiles - in part - to make Jewish people jealous (Romans 11:11) [that is even in their present hard state towards the gospel, God is still pursuing them, causing the unhardness to lift for some, by giving gifts and what not - to the gentiles - in order to make Jewish people jealous with the hope that they too will want what the gentiles have, thus coming over into the new covenant with all it‘s promises and benefits (In other words if in their jealousy of what the gentiles have (gifts and what not) accept Jesus as their Messiah they will get the same giftings, benefit from the same promises and be grafted into a covenant - that actually works (compare Joshua 24:19, 21,22 - with Judges Chapters 1 and 2) A covenant which by the way is actually their’s (Jeremiah 31:31) which the gentiles are grafted into (Romans 11:17) and that was promised to them by their own prophets. Brothers and sisters it is not a gentile covenant, or a covenant with the gentiles, we (or they if you are Jewish) are grafted into it, that is the new covenant is in actuality a Jewish covenant made with the house of Israel)]. Brethren, if this is done, and they turn to God in prayer concerning all these things the veil over their eyes will be removed, and they - seeing Jesus as their Messiah, will enter into a right relationship with God. They will no longer be rejected, but be accepted, and embraced once again [for the sin that was separating them from God is no longer there - Jesus, the lamb of God, died (that is took the rap) for those sins]. Brethren, believe me when I say that God has not rejected His purposes with the Jewish people on the earth today, nor regarding the nation of Israel. Even in their present hard state towards their messiah (Jesus), He is still after them and some day they too will - as an entire group and nation - enter into everything that God has ever promised them from the beginning of His promises to Abraham even to His very working in this present hour. God loves them - as a group and nation - and is once again in our very day pursuing after them. The time of the gentiles (compare Luke 21:24 with Romans 11:25) is about to draw to a close (Matthew 24:14); Israel in becoming a nation is once again becoming the focus of God purposes, and if you look at those verses one can see that the end of the ages is near at hand (C:17). Brethren, once again, Christians need to see this Divine love towards the Jewish people and again need to remember (in case some feel superior) that the new covenant (which again was promised by the prophets) was again not made with the Gentiles, but with the house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31), and Gentiles are grafted into it (Romans 11;17). In other words there is no reason for “bragging rights” or any reason to have an “conceited” attitude”(the book of Romans comes against an attitude of superiority or “arrogance” that some people might be tempted to have in regards to the Gentiles - at the exclusion of some Jewish people - entering into the riches of God‘s promises. Romans 11:11-24 ). Another thing I think Christians need to remember (and that is have a correct attitude about ) is that, as said in the footnotes, one of their main purposes on the earth is to make Israel (that is Jewish people) jealous (again Romans 11:11, which again, the reason being so that they too will come over into the new covenant), and this “correct attitude” does not involve persecution or some of the other things that have gone on in the name of “Christianity.” I would exhort Christians (or I should say “Christians”) if tempted to think otherwise concerning these things [which if any I’m talking about probably only be a few] to remember that… “from the standpoint of God’s choice they (the Jewish people) are beloved for the sake of their fathers” (Romans 11:28) And as a result have a “beloved” attitude about and around them. If you are tempted to think otherwise about these things, you are to come against that attitude if for no other reason that they - as a people - are a “beloved” people in God eyes (C:18). Brothers and sisters, again remember that God is no where near finished with Jewish people as a group nor as a nation and again someday they - as a group and nation - will enter into everything God has promised them from the beginning of His workings with Abraham even to His workings of and in this present day. The kingdom of God will be restored to them with all its land and all its promises Having a correct attitude about this (and even about them) will help some if not all enter into the covenant - their covenant - that will lead to that wonderful day. “Now if their transgression be riches to the world, and their failure be riches to the gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be… for if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be…? (Something great and wonderful no doubt; Romans 11:12,15). ____________ Brothers and sisters, I can go on about these things (particularly other religions), but my point is God exists, He is not passive, but very active in the world today and does reveal things, both generally and specifically (or specially) to His creation. In regards to general revelation (and I’m specifically speaking of non-theistic religions), in case your wondering, there is enough revelation around to make mankind (and that is everyone who lives on the earth) “without excuse” when they stand before Him (also everyone is given a basic understanding of appropriate behavior as well). Therefore, in regards to the final judgment, because God has given everyone this basic knowledge and we can go to Him in regards to questions about things (that is He still communicates with His creation) and on top of that we have His written word that explains everything to us, God is totally “off the hook” and blameless in regards to any negative outcomes of peoples lives (and I‘m talking about eternity here). Brothers and sisters, once again everyone has enough revelation to get them started in life and again “God (has) made it evident within them” (Romans 1:19) [and if people rightly respond properly to that revelation, God will give them more (Acts 16:9,10)]. Now in regards to the issue of a still speaking God…. Christians and Special Revelation Christians believe in general revelation. It’s the question of special revelation where you will find the most disagreement among Christians today. The thing about special revelation in regards to Christians is that Christians have a God who is not stagnant, but active in the affairs of men, and this being so, Christians allow for (or at least should allow for) the possibility that God can and will still speak today. Sisters and brothers, God is alive! And personable, and had and still does have a desire to communicate with His creation. Why would He not? If fact for those who truly know Him and are in a proper relationship with Him He speaks all the time. Brethren, in regards to a God who still speaks, for some reason this idea is anathema is some circles of Christianity, and in others circles relegated only to a “warm feeling” or a “touch of heart” by God. The idea that one can still hear His voice, or be lead in a substantial way by God is amazingly rejected by many traditional denominations [and for those in these traditional denominations that allow for some kind of leading, they usually reserved for missionaries being called to another country and except for that and their unique calling, God generally leaves the rest of His people on their own. (Sort of like here are some basic guidelines for your life - good luck, I‘ll see you later)]. Sisters and brothers this idea of a distant God is ridiculous, the scriptures say that Jesus (God) is the same yesterday, today and forever. That is what He did yesterday, He still does today and will do forever (In other words if He spoke yesterday, He still speaks today. Amen). Brethren, God is still on the throne and works in the same way He always has, He still speaks even to this day and if - for the sake of argument - He is silent in regards to something it is an awesome silence (that is something may be going on and He’s waiting for people to stop and look to Him to find out what it is that is going on, and why it may be that He is not speaking in a particular circumstance or situation). The Gifts and Revelation (God still Speaks through People) In regards to special revelation there is another avenue God still uses to still speak to his creation (aside from scripture, internal guidelines, and as just mentioned speaking directly to an individual) and that is through people themselves. If you’ve read Sustaining Revival as well as Appendix A you will see that the gifts, namely the prophetic still exists. That along with some of the other speaking gifts (whose revelation - by the way - is on the same level as the prophetic) is and are other evidencs that revelation still goes on and God still does speak today. Brethren, the word of God still exists today and many of the people who are given that word to speak are involved , some fully involved, in the restoration of Gods purposes on the earth - in this very hour, even now. People need to perk up and listen. There is so much correct revelation around, as well as understanding of Gods purposes and direction (see Appendix K) that there really is no excuse for not knowing what to do in any given circumstance - whatever the circumstance is. If one can’t tap into The Source directly for some reason one can tap into people who can tap into The Source [or one can always fall back on internal revelation (which is given to every man) or fall back on correctly dividing up and interpreting the word of truth]. [Brethren, I can also go on with this line of thought here, but in regards to this Appendix, specifically this section of the appendix concerning special revelation, I wanted to point out the fact that God is still very active in the affairs of men, He cares for his creation, and He is not locked into this paradigm (which some Christian believe) that in effect says that He put both his hands over His mouth 2000 years ago and He can’t speak to anyone anymore. Brethren there is really no excuse for not knowing what to do in any given circumstance. Brethren, in regards to this issue it’s important to understand that God is God and His nature is not one of silence, but just the opposite and that is getting actively involved in things. This being so revelation still exists even to this day. Thus in regards to studying the issue it’s important to realize these facts as well understand the different divisions of revelation itself (general and special), and the divisions that exist within those divisions too, particularly the divisions within special revelation [Direct (that is from God and Scripture), and Indirect (that is through people), (which in regards to this book will be helpful in understanding the content in the following Appendix’s D,E and F. This is why I wrote Appendix C)]. Brothers and sisters, in Appendix’s D, E and F, I will deal with some common objections to the viewpoint of a still speaking God, as well as the issue of why and how new revelation can and does replaced old. Again, God still speaks and is active in the affairs of men [which again can be something frowned upon by those who feel God no longer speaks - and believe me I understand the concern here, especially in regards to the issue of new revelation, and by new revelation I mean you can write what God told you on the blank pages in the back of your bible and what was said to you is on the same level of scripture. Brethren, like it or not most missionaries who come from denominational churches (church’s which frown upon this view by the way), will say at the very least that their calling was and is on the same level as scripture [that is what they heard about going to a particular country (their calling) was a direct revelation form God]. If you listen to missionaries talk they will talk about their calling in the same terms that people use to speak of the solidity of scripture. There is no difference. Brethren, obviously God still speaks, and believe me He does more than just lead missionaries to a particular country. But once again regarding this appendix, I wanted to explain, elaborate, and hit hard upon all these points concerning revelation particularly the point that special revelation still exists today - for everybody (and not just for the writers of scripture) and draw a distinction between special and general revelation, with special revelation being something that we can draw upon today when needed. (And again Appendix’s D, E and F will deal with questions that come up in regards to these issues)]. Brothers and sisters, we have a God who still speaks today and still leads His people into the ways of life and truth [The complete book of Acts (written after Jesus left), The book of Revelation 1:10-3:22; and 1 John 2:27 are just some of the scriptures you can look at if you have serious questions about this view point (and for some brothers and sisters this idea that God still speaks is something that may take some time to get used to). Once again this appendix is just a set up and introductory for some things to come]. APPENDIX D Commandments Dealing with Teachings of the Past Few people alive today follow every single rule and regulation found in the Bible. The question becomes what criteria do you use to sift through and sort out which rules (if you do follow rules), or which principles (if you do follow principles) you follow. [There is also another option in regards to how one can live their life and that is by following only the leading of the Holy Spirit [which may at time parallel rules, or commandment, but is not necessarily locked into them]. The thing is unless you are living life totally in that realm (when God turns you turn), most people follow, at the minimum, principles to live their life by, and a smattering of rules and regulations (for example Love God with your whole heart, Love the brethren, Don‘t do anything to anyone you would not want done to you etc. Brothers and sisters most Christians will try to follow at least the first of these three rules or principles, if not more)]. Rules and Christianity In regards to Christianity, as much as Christians are not under the law, most Christians follow, or at least try to follow some basic main laws or commandments found in scripture. Again, to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength’ is a worthy commandment to follow. I don’t think any person who is against Christians following old covenant law would argue with that commandment. Also, no Christian would violate the admonition concerning not to worship idols either (so we have at least two commandments that should be followed, and brethren there is probably a small handful of similar type of laws or commandments that are in the same league as these) (D:1). The thing about following all the “important” laws or commandments (commandments is what some Christians call the “laws” found in scripture) is that there is such a thing called life out there that does not easily fit into (or fit neatly into) all guidelines most Christians use for their lives. With the exception of the after for mentioned basic main laws, what happens when life runs up against some of the more common “rules” Christians follow can be a number of different things… 1) They hold unto law (or rules / commandments) and throw life out the window (or let life slip by). 2) They “go with life” and say the heck with law (or rules / commandments) 3) or they get very close to the line of violating the law (rules / commandments) without going over that line Without getting into a whole thing about the total amount of laws found in scripture (D:2) Jesus said that all those laws (and I’m including most of the reiterated ones found in the New Covenant - including the ones Jesus Himself mentioned as well as “new” law or commandments found in the epistles) is that the vast majority of these laws can be summed up by two just two basic commandments and they are ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength’ (VERSE NEEDED) And ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (VERSE NEEDED) (or the inverse which is don’t do anything to anyone you would not want done to you’ or “…however you want people to treat you, so treat them…” (Matthew 7:12) Jesus Himself said that all the old covenant law (which again some of which is reiterated in the new covenant which is an important point) - as well as all of what the prophets said (that is their basic thrust and goal) hung on these two commandments (VERSE NEEDED). In other words if you are worried about following commandments, just do these two and do you fulfill the law (D:3). The Elaboration of Law in the New Covenant When I speak about the reiteration of law in the new covenant [that is law in the old covenant you find reiterated in the new, and there are other things mentioned in the new that you will not find in the old (for example things regarding church government, relationships between the sexes, etc). When I speak of law being reiterated in the new I am not speaking about these ‘newer’ things (however I will deal with them]. Brethren, in regards to the reiteration of law if there is a problem it’s not so much in the summing upward concerning those laws (that is seeing the two principles they are derived from), but if there is a problem it’s in the elaboration of these two laws (or the summing downward), or the taking of other ‘dependent on’ laws aside from these two - which again happen to be the elaboration of the two main laws - and repeating them or drawing from them as their source for new covenant teaching (or principles to follow). Let me say this about all these things… 1) Your Life may Parallel Things Written in the Law Let‘s be honest, your life (at times) may parallel some thing written in the law. For example if you are living your life on the basis of not doing anything to anyone you would not want done to you (“love your neighbor as yourself” in other words unless God leads differently you are living you life on the basis of that principle), some of these elaborated on “laws” (or commandments or principles derived from laws of the old covenant) fit right into that kind of loving lifestyle. In other words law (or commandments) can be a reminder of how the Spiritual life (generally speaking) might play out in ones life (that is if you are living it and drawing from His power correctly, and again God (or life, Matthew 12:3,4) can always override things. Brothers and sisters again, you don’t have to know a whole bunch of things about what to do and what not to do in life according to 1 John (VERSE NEEDED) you have no need for a man to teach you have an anointing. If, generally speaking you live your life on the basis of principle and one of them happens to be ‘not doing anything to anyone you would not want done to you’ (which is really not so bad a principle to live by. Brothers and sisters if you are going to live by any “human relation” principle this would be the one, which again is “love your neighbor as yourself” which again is one of the commandments that all the laws and the prophets hang upon (D:4)]. If you do this brethren, you really don’t have to “worry” about a lot of these laws (or elaborated on commandments) for they fit right in. If anything these elaborated on relevant “laws” (or commandments) show themselves as not such a burden. Brethren, the apostle John in his epistles (who by the way also comes from this ‘summation angle’ as well) sums up the commandment part of Christianity by writing that the Jesus’ commandments are non-burdensome for they revolve around the concept of love. Again if you as a Christian happen to fret about following commandments - if you read his epistles - you’ll find out that there is really nothing to fret about. Unless you actually like to go around hating people (which is evidence of one not being a Christian by the way. 1 John 1:9) the Christian life is not that hard, actually it’s pretty easy. “and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3) However, even though this is true remember we don’t have “a relationship” with commandments (whatever they are), but we have a relationship with a living and still speaking God. 2) Your Life will not Parallel Everything Written in the Law Anyway, so don’t Worry Brothers and sisters, you may be a champion of law, but let me tell you your life will not parallel everything written in the law concerning how you live your life, even if you divide it up into the common categories of ceremonial, civil and moral [and in regards to those who champion “moral law” let me tell you few people today would take their disobedient child to the town authorities to have them stoned (even if such a thing was allowed) they - especially because we live in an age of grace - would try to get their child help in ever way possible (counseling, therapy, medication etc). It’s just the way things are. You have to remember when viewing Old Covenant law the reason why some of those laws were written the way they were] (D:5). In regards to human relationships. Again, if you live your life on the basis of not doing anything to anyone you would not what done to you (loving your neighbor), one must remember that in regards to that commandment, many of the commandments found in scripture in regards to human relationships are only an elaboration on that point (in other words even though we are not under law they are not bad). [and if you read footnote D:5 you will see that in regards to the harsh laws found in the old covenant one would see that those laws were given basically as “riot act” laws that were used to clamp down on everything and I mean everything (basically a “lock down” type of situation) were almost “nothing” was allowed (“shut up” “kept in custody“ {Galatians 3:22,23})]. Brothers and sisters since our lives will NOT parallel every law found in the old covenant when reading the old covenant (unless you are a head of state dealing with emergency measures (D:6) you want to stay away from a lot of these laws that revolve around the concept of extreme social justice to make a society that has really “gone off” right. Old covenant law is the same as a parent saying… All right, “THAT”S IT!” if this is the way you are going to be and if this is the way you are going to behave there will be no privileges (nobody gets away with anything) and not only that I’m going to lay down the law! and here it is! (Galatians 3:19) When the prophets talk about loving the Lord your God (in regards to following laws as evidence to prove it) some of them are very restrictive laws which were written in the extreme - for reason. You have to remember the times, the hardness of hearts, the complaining, the bickering, the mistreatment of one another (some of whose solution is reflected in those laws). Sometime the prophets just wanted to set thing right socially (while at other times they’d appealed to the higher law compassion and mercy depending on what was going on) (D:7). Brethren, as said before the New Covenant view of Old Covenant law is something that people were in bondage to (“kept in custody“ “shut up” under Galatians 3:23), in other words a lot of it hindered them and restricted their every movement (and not just the extreme things they might do), the people under the law were again in something similar to a “lock down” type of situation ( again “shut up” Galatians 3:23), until faith came along [or learning to live your life on the basis of faith (and trust) - and having the power, wisdom and authority to do it]. Before faith came, we were kept in custody (again a jail type of situation, or a situation that restricted your every movement) under the law, being shut up to the faith (that is living your life on the basis of faith and trust) which was later to be revealed.” (Galatians 3:23) Sisters and brothers the law was just not a happy thing to be under. Again, you were purposely put in bondage to it so you couldn’t move (“held in bondage” Galatians 4:3). Children under Law Brethren in regards to this point it’s important to point out that the law was also given to children and if you consider yourself not a child (that is mature or maturing) the law is not for you. Once again it was given for children (Galatians 4:1) and not just for any children, but disobedient children (Galatians 3:19) who again did not live their life on the basis of faith and trust as their earthy father Abraham (who was not under the law) did (Galatians 3:6-18) “Now I say that as long as the heir is a child… he is under guardians (think of “Guards” here) and managers (that is people who manage or regulate things) until the date set by the father” (Galatians 4:1,2) The thing was living a life under this type of situation (the law) would lead one (should lead one) to be desirous of something better (a different and more mature lifestyle per say, again something better, for life does not always “fit” law). Brethren, as people grow they mature and desire a mature way of living (for example a teenage wanting to get away from rules and regulations and stay out later). If you read the scripture, this is exactly what went on by the laying down the of the law. It set things up for the coming of the Messiah who would in part free Gods people from living a lifestyle “under bondage” and teach them and show them what a higher lifestyle - a more mature lifestyle of faith and trust was and is all about (See Appendix N). “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ (or the Messiah).” (Galatians 3:23) “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized though Jesus Christ (Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah. Both mean “anointed” or the anointed one) (1 John 1:17) Brothers and sisters you have to remember all these things when viewing Old Covenant Law and factor it in (that again the people were not only in a “lock down” type of situation and many of the laws written then reflect that viewpoint, but that they were also immature in regards to things as well, especially living a life of faith and trust). Brethren, the best you can do when looking at the law (and again I’m talking about those laws that deal with human relationships, the ones about loving God - for example by not worshipping idols - are obvious) is to look at them and derive some basic principles to live by - particularly on the ones that elaborate the law of loving your neighbor (that is what‘s involved in that and how that might play out). Brethren, overall you really don’t want to bring law (especially the “riot act” laws) into the new covenant (D:8). (for example when studying the concept of right relations between the brethren (which is a good concept) an “eye for an eye” (which again was the equivalent of someone saying “THAT”S IT!”) is not the way you want to go. Also, you really don’t want to bring the attitude that was behind the law into the church as well… “…for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, to perform them” “ (Galatians 3:10) The idea of going back to the law of God, while it might sound nice is naive. The point of the new covenant is to live a life on faith and trust, not live a life based on law (or rules and regulations). This is so much the thrust found in the epistles and is where Jesus was coming from as well. “...why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). 3) However even though your Life will not Parallel everything Written in the Law, there is Nothing Wrong with Taking Note of anything Written in the Law Concerning “How Love Plays Out” (D:9) Brethren, these elaborated on laws (or principles) regarding let’s say… the love of the brethren (D:10) and the love they exhort Christians to have for one another should be taken note of for love does make the body grow together (that is it is a mechanism behind the growth ((VERSE NEEDED)) and remember love in and of itself is a better way to build up the body than the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). However brethren, even though this is so, the love that we are to have for one another is not a “wishy washy” type of love (which is usually the fear behind some people in regards to following basic default guidelines or principles regarding interaction between the brethren), but a responsible type of love. [For example (to quote an extreme view of this) it’s possible to turn people over to the devil until they lean a lesson ((VERSE NEEDED))] However, this aside in regards to Old Covenant Law on the issue of love, even though we are not under “law” and don’t have to follow it, there is no reason why we as Gods children cannot derive some basic principles to live by concerning the laws of love that were expressed in that old covenant which included relations between the brothers and sisters. (for example some people may not want to charge a brother or sister interest on a loan for they agree with the principle of love that was behind that law). Brethren, I really don’t want to get into a whole thing about this - particularly since we are not under the law anymore and you can look over those laws yourself and derive for yourself principles to live by if you choose, however I do want to express in this point again that there is nothing wrong with taking note of how the concept of love “played itself out” in regards to the enacting of certain old covenant laws and in the absence of any other kind of leading of the Spirit of God can be a good reference point. “Therefore every (old covenant) scribe who has become a (new covenant) disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasures things (of the) new (covenant) and (things, or treasures out of the) old (covenant).” (Matthew 13:52) Brethren, it’s to our benefit to know what these treasures are. 4) When viewing Law (whether the two “base” laws or “elaborated on” law) remember the thrust of Jesus Teaching First brethren, again remember that Jesus Himself said that all the old covenant law (some of which is reiterated in the new covenant [which is an important point to remember in regards to the teaching of scripture on questionable issues. That is, is the old covenant teaching repeated in the new] - this, as well as all of what the prophets said (that is their basic thrust and goal) hung on just two commandments (VERSES NEEDED). In other words if you are worried about following commandments, just do these two (that is love God - which means following through with what He personally tells you to do, and treat people as you would have them treat you, which is directly related to the first commandment) and if you do these two you fulfill the law. Second , and more to the point brethren, one must remember that the basic thrust behind Jesus teaching was life over law (see appendix and appendix). In regards to this a major point of contention He had was doing a work of necessity on the Sabbath (which was a major “no no”) for the sake of life) (VERSES NEEDED) (D:11). What Jesus did was not just of necessity, but it was also the mature, grown up way of looking at things (not the babyish way of looking at things as is “oh, oh, what are you doing?”) Brethren even though the two base laws (or two primary laws) should - for our own sake - be followed, the elaborated on laws (or secondary laws) have a lot of wiggle room for the sake of life - especially those laws that were given to guide immature people and immature relationships (in fact remember that we are not under any of them, but still, as mentioned in the last point they can be a good reference point in regards to issues where we have questions about an appropriate thing to do in a particular situation). Brethren, in regards to some of these willful violations (of what many people would consider appropriate rules in secondary laws - if you will) these are all personal decisions (again since we are not under them, no one is holding you too them), however because some of them do have at the minimum good suggestions (that is they are trying to steer you in an appropriate response) it would be wise for the sake of our own fruitfulness (that is: what we are going to put on the table when we stand before God - and we are going to stand before Him) that in regards to some of them to at least consider them in our decision making process, before we make decisions [again they are (that is the appropriate ones) are at the minimum good suggestions to follow]. However overall brethren life always was and still is more important than law [and if you have any question about this ask any fireman who goes against the law of not running a red light to save a life]. Brothers and sisters, when looking at Jesus in regards to the law and in regards to some of the things He said about keeping it (Matthew 23:2,3), you have to see Him in context and that was He was talking to people who were under the law. His ministry (that is most of the Gospels) was pre-resurrection (also the Holy Spirit had not been given ((VERSE NEEDED)) [This again accounts for some of His lawful teachings, for example telling the people to listen to the Pharisees (who were extremely legalistic), as opposed to the Sadducees, (Matthew 23:2,3) and in regards to tithing (His verse about tithing), which in the post-resurrection life by the Spirit is replaced by the non-obligation concept of “giving” ((VERSE NEEDED)) Brethren, we are not under law anymore, however in regards to that issue the New Covenant does derive a principle from that law (2 Corinthians 8 & 9). So you can see how this law to principle works (See Appendix L for more on the principle of congregational support of ministries)]. Once again brethren, when viewing the teachings of Jesus it’s important to remember that He was trying to move people to a place of faith and one needs to sort through the various things He said, and realize that He was in between two covenants, trying to talk to people who were under one and making points or principles about a particular subject (like in regards to listening to the words of the legalistic Pharisees and at the same time point things out concerning life) in order to prepare them for what was coming after his death and resurrection (that is the New Covenant, which is about living a life of faith and trust and includes the baptism of, and leading of, and teaching of the indwelling Holy Spirit - who leads His people into all truth) (“The Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17); “He will teach you all things” (John 14:26); He’s another Helper just like Jesus (John 14:16,26) (D:12). Brethren, in regards to this issue remember that… “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.” (Luke 16:16) We are talking about a new way and a new approach towards life, and it’s the indwelling Holy Spirit that would give people the ability to live this new kind of life, which again had yet to be given (VERSE NEEDED) so even though the Gospel was proclaimed, people were still “under law” however Jesus would on occasion speak to them on that level Brothers and sisters, in regards to the issue of life vs. law if the issue of life vs. law should comes up, it would always be preferable to flow with life. Even though this is so, there are still serious questions concerning the parameters of that life (D:13). Take for example plant life. Every plant needs a certain amount of sun, air, water and dirt (or minerals). Plants can vary quite a bit in regards to these matters (different plants need different amounts of these elements and require different types of environments), however some sort of a combination of these four things are needed for plants to survive and mature. Those four things are parameters of plant life. If you go outside these parameters and leave one of them out life ceases (D:14). Scripture also says in regards to this point that “anyone who competes as a athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5) The “rules” mentioned here are - at them minimum - the basic parameters of life and if you read the new covenant many of them do not revolve around law per say but revolve around the question of whether the motivation behind a particular word spoken or deed done, is faith, hope, and or love (see 1 Thessalonians 1:3 in regards to this threefold division and if you read Appendix G you will see a further discussion there on this, as well as in the Conclusion of this section). Outside of following the leadings of the Holy Spirit this is the new way of living, the new way of living ones life. Not in regards to “the letter” which does not move, but in regards to the Spirit that flows with the way of life (a way which is “regulated” - if you will, by this threefold parameter). Brothers and sisters, in regards to this point in this section it’s important to remember that the focus of Jesus was life not law. When He talked about law in the old covenant it was this principle that overrode those laws (Matthew 12:1-12). Also, when we speak of following the commandments of Jesus we include this commandment (or principle) of Jesus as well. Also remember that life flows within certain parameters and the parameters in the new covenant often revolve around the question of whether the motivation behind a particular word spoken or deed done, is faith, hope, and or love. Again brethren, as with the conclusion of the last point it would be healthy and to our benefit to consider these things (or parameters), in regards to the questions life can throw at us [and in regards to the two base laws (or primary laws) of the old covenant which are brought into the new it might be wise to derive some basic principles to follow in regards to them, particularly regarding what one would consider appropriate “elaborated on” or secondary laws to follow for in the absence of any other kind of leading. The reason being is that again they can, at the end of the day, have a bearing on our own fruitfulness. In other words it’s in our vested interest to consider them, especially the ones that consider (or reflect on), someone’s needs above our own]. 5) When viewing Law [whether “base” (or primary) law or “elaborated on” (secondary) law] remember the progression of Understanding in Apostolic Teaching And this goes with the last point concerning viewing the Gospels as a recording (or a snapshot in time) regarding what was said [or even a persons (not Jesus’) understanding of an issue] at a point in time (and believe me this is probably the most controversial point in this Appendix). Brethren, if you read the book of Galatians you will notice a few interesting points… 1) At first an Apostle (called by the Lord) went around for years preaching a Gospel he wasn’t completely sure about (Galatians 2:2) (however it‘s important to note that he did not write any biblical epistles during this time). This apostle later went to the other apostles in private lest he found out that he had the wrong gospel - that is “run in vain” - and didn‘t want to be publicly embarrassed [and listen most people might understand where he was coming from since he did not previously know the other Apostles (except for Peter and James, Galatians 1:18,19) or have the other Apostles privilege of having been with and heard the teachings of Jesus first hand. He was working through things on his own and all of a sudden doubt came into his mind. However the point here is that he wasn’t sure (not about something small but about something as big as the gospel and that did not stop him from speaking (which is a big point). [and yes, Galatians is probably the first book that he wrote so one can argue that everything he wrote subsequent to that doubt is he is confident about [and Jesus did promise Him revelation (Acts 26:16)], however the fact that he went around preaching something he had doubts about (and again as I said this “progression of Apostolic understanding” is a controversial point, but it is something that is in the back of my mind and I say it for your consideration) but the fact that he went around preaching something he wasn’t completely sure of, brethren, when this apostle writes something in an epistle I have questions about, I wonder (D:15) (and I know this smacks right up against the most common view of inerrancy but again it’s just something that is in the back of my mind). 2) If you read the book of Galatians (which again is a very early book) the writer mentioned people “coming… from James” (Galatians 2:12), with a contradictory message of as to what the Gospel was about (and I do understand the point here that just because people ‘came from James’ does not necessarily mean that James agreed with what these people were doing or with their teaching. However the book of James (if it is the same James that the people came from) is also a very early book (those two books are probably the first epistles to be written) but is a very controversial book as well (Martin Luther wanted to take it out of Bible). Let’s take a look at another verse in regards to James and his possible slant on the gospel and subsequent influence on early Christianity… “And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly, and the following day …(we)… went … to James and all the elders of the church… and when they heard (our report)…. Began glorifying God…(but) …said… “You see brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who believe and they are all zealous for the Law. (He was speaking of the Christians in Jerusalem. A church that he had tremendous influence over Acts 21:18-20) Brethren, I have no problem with the book of James and I have no problem reconciling the controversial verse regarding justification by works - if you see it as it was written meaning works of faith (Hebrews 6:1). However my point is ‘people from James’ (an apostle, and both James were called apostles Galatians 1:19 ) did come with a contradictory message. There was definitely a progression of understanding somewhere here, where it lies is the question. 3) If you read the book of 2 Peter (2 Peter 3:15,16) you will see him talk about an apostle whose teachings are difficult to understand (in other words Peter bears witness to a progression, that is someone - whether you agree with him or not - was ahead (or “ahead” of other in regards to his understanding of things). Brethren, there is a progression of understanding of things [which seems to be reflected in the epistles. For example you see a quite a bit written in regards to the gifts in 1 Corinthians (a book that was written in the middle of what some would call the Christian century), however if you read the book of 1st John (which was written towards the end of that century) you will see that the gift of teaching (which is a major gift) is practically disregarded (You have no need for a man to teach you, you have an anointing)]. ____________ Like I said this “Progression of Apostolic Understanding” is a controversial point in this Appendix (and you may want to reject it, and I do go back and forth about it, however I make mention of it for your consideration) and just as the Gospels are a snapshot in time of the events of the day, the epistles might possibly (in regards to some issues, certainly not salvation) be regarded in the same way as well (Martin Luther would probably say “Amen” to this view point, for again he did want to ditch the book of James). Brethren, when looking over the teaching of the apostolic writings in the epistles (or letters) they wrote one might want to ask themselves if they were - on the one hand doing away with the law - in order to set up new law (which some people will view the epistles as, and that is, a new set of - written in stone - rules and regulations). I really don’t think so (at “worst” when speaking in terms of “rules and regulations” - if looked at it within the entire context of Christianity - are speaking of how - generally speaking - the Christian life ought to play itself out. There is leeway but we are all going in the same general direction). Brothers and sisters, in regards to these things try and remember that the basic thrust of the teaching of the Apostles and that is living a life of faith (trust), hope and love and not having “a relationship” with rules and regulations (that is the commandments of the old covenant), but having a relationship with a living speaking God [(certainly that was the thrust of Jesus teaching for the covenant to come. A covenant that was not going to be based on law (or again a relationship with a bunch of rules and regulations) but a active, living, ongoing relationship with a still speaking God]. Brethren, when the Apostles give commandments regarding how the Christian life ought to play out they usually circle around these issues [faith (trust), hope and love with one another and God], and not just doing things for the sake of doing things (and if you are “doing things” it‘s how these three or four things are demonstrated in your actions of the things you do indeed do). Again, the apostle John in his epistle (1 John) in regards to “his” commandments has very simple commandments which revolve around these concepts, but mostly the concept of love (which is the major motivation behind a lot of activity and action). “and this is His commandment that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” (1 John 3:23) If you read the epistle his basic thrust is that if you are “in the faith” (that is living a life of faith) the evidence that you are correct and not in deception are five basic tests, and a lot of these tests center around love (love of God and love of the brethren), and how this love plays itself out in action. Brethren, the apostle John, in speaking about love, is not laying down a whole bunch of new rules and regulations [in fact they are already well known commandments (VERSE NEEDED)] but is only asking the brethren to focus on the proper motivating drive behind ones behavior (which comes from a good heart, a self examining thing if you will on how that proper motivation - if you have it - plays out) Brethren, if it‘s there and is evidenced of this proper “playing out“ you pass the test and are in the faith. And Brothers and sisters, in regard to the overall teaching of the apostles in general (and it might be wise to consider this if you have a high view of inerrancy and disregard this “progression of apostolic understanding” point ) remember that… 1) Some things are spoken as a commands, other things are spoken in the tone of a request, or a plea (and you might want to divide these things up, especially if you have a high view of inerrancy). 2) Some things are along the lines of a generalized (temporary) opinion (all createns? are lazy (VERSE NEEDED)), tales fit for old women (VERSE NEEDED) which again if you have a high view of inerrancy you might want to separate these generalized (temporary) opinions out from things that are solid. Or just opinions in general (1 Corinthians 7:40) 3) Some things that are written are backed up with a doctrinal argument and some are not (which may help one separate commands from requests or pleas) Brethren, if you are favorable towards this point concerning the “progression of understanding” in the epistles, you no need to worry for if you come across questionable things in life (and compare them to something you may have a question about in scripture) you can just tap into and God and ask Him about them (D:16). 6) When viewing the Teachings of Jesus remember that there is a progression of Apostolic Revelation Even though the apostles progressed in their understanding of things they were promised revelation (VERSE NEEDED) and were given it (and after separating the things mentioned in the just previous point you will find it). In regards to the teachings of Jesus on divorce (D:17) you will find an elaboration in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 which is not found in the Gospels . In this elaboration you will find the word play “I say, not the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:12) and in conjunction with this chapter concerning different types of relationships you will find at the end of the chapter a statement that “I also think I have the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 7:40) These verses concerning divorce and remarriage are a controversial issue, but I just wanted to point out here that one - under the inspiration of the Spirit - can elaborate on something Jesus said (that is kind of “fill in the blank” or answer the “what about this?” kind of thing) which is not found in the gospels and still be correct. 7) When viewing Law (especially “elaborated on” law) remember the Concept of a “Maturing Conscience” Law is law whether it’s “base” law or “elaborated on” law. The two basic base laws (Love of God and Neighbor) is probably something you do not want to violate, especially love of God. However the elaborated on laws (that derive as their source these two base laws) at least some of them (and some people may say most of them) can fall under the realm of conscience (D:18). Brothers and sisters, by faith one can leap over a wall or run through a troupe. However some people today do an “end run” (D:19) around the troupe (or commandments) which is great - for it will - by faith - work. But sometimes you have to deal with some of the troupe. Brothers and sisters, letting your “conscience be your guide” (that is your soft redeemed conscience) falls under the heading of a principle for Christians to follow (and there is nothing wrong with it). Some people live their lives this way. Brethren, as long as your conscience is soft and your spirit is open to the leadings of the Holy Spirit (which is the preferable and higher lifestyle) I see few problems with leading a conscience driven lifestyle. It’s OK (Also see Appendix O in regards to your conscience). 8) If you come from the perspective that Apostolic Commandments concerning Relationships between the Sexes and Church Government are solid things, remember you are mostly Talking about the Default way in which things are Done (In other words God can override it at any time) (and once again I want to remind you that if you are living your life on the basis of only following the leadings of the Spirit of God, or have a very liberal view of the concept offered in point 5 concerning the progression of apostolic understanding, you don’t have to read any of the things written in this chapter and in fact, you might want to skip it). Brethren, how people live their own individual life is one thing, but - scripturally speaking - how they are in regards to their intimate relationship (s) with the opposite sex, as well as in their general relationship (s) with the opposite sex - within the parameters of a church - may be another matter. The Genders and their Relationship with Church Government In regards to New Testament verses on the genders (particularly women) and their relationship with church “government” (particularly male leadership) a previous point concerning the “progression of understanding in Apostolic Teaching” in regards to those verses is offered for your consideration, as well as the reading of Appendix A. However - if after reading those two things - you still feel confused - realize that there is in fact a way that God operates (that is: there is an order in which the Spirit of God “likes” to flow and operate) and brethren, even though the preferable way to be led is the overriding leading of the Spirit of God, outside that (if there is such a thing) church government will lead (which is usually seen in “the smaller matters” of the church) [and by church government I mean the elders (D:20) (which may or may not be male dominated, but more often than not is. Brethren read on to understand why some churches may be lopsided in regards to this issue or just may have not thought things through {as in not accepting “the progression of Apostolic Understanding“ or the things written in Appendix A concerning anyone can lead}. And sisters and brothers this “defaulting to male leadership” or “deferring to men” is still is a very controversial issue). Brethren, again the ruling of the elders in a church is the default way in which things operate and are done (and this structure parallels the original and preferable government of Israel in that no one but God was in charge of Israel, there was no King (or one person in charge) and He ruled through a plurality of elders (once again see Appendix A on this). Again, its this system - with its male leadership - that seems to have been carried over into New Testament churches. As to why, I’m going to take a stab at it in the next section. The Genders and their Relationship with Each Other Brothers and sisters, in regards to the relationship between our genders, generally speaking there seems to be a default way in which things flow between them (or us) - when in relationship - and that has been described in such words and phrases as “one gives and one takes,” or “one provides and the other receives (the provision),” etc. Brethren, in case this is all new to you, at the minimum men and women are different physically [generally speaking men are taller and constructed with more (upper body) strength, hence when looked at physically, the term domineering (or dominate, which are terms that also happens to fit in with “the above” or “directional terms” of giver and provider), and - physically speaking - is an understandable term, generally speaking now], and most women seem to be the opposite in regards to height and strength so at the minimum in the physical realm there seems to be something that reflects (or suggests) “a directional flow” (D:21) Aside from that, the sexes are the same in that they are both man (or human) and seem to have the same needs, but in regards to those needs they seem to have them in differing proportions (which again may reflect something of “a direction” of things, or a flow when in relationship with one other) And Brethren, although women usually do have equality in the work place (to which I agree), if women had a choice there would probably be a general preference in the way women (and men) would like things to flow at home (and that is for the women to be provided for, especially when raising children and for the men to do the providing) I think women “blossom” into what their inner makeup (D:22) when treated in a way that would be seen as ‘someone loves me for they are doing and providing all these things for me’ and men do feel “superior” (in a direction sense) when they are able to provide for their family (like it’s part of their own inner makeup and they do feel better about themselves) Brothers and sisters, I am speaking just generally for observable data which is available to everyone. On the surface of things there seems to be a direction in which things “should” flow. The normal default way things “ought to” be (D:23). Brethren, however you may want to view this issue - in Christ (or you may want to substitute “in the Spirit” ) - all are equal (VERSE NEEDED). In other word if someone is in the Spirit (or even just life or circumstances dictate), things can be different here (and both men and women have extremely good advise on things. If making decisions and seeking advise, why limit yourself to one gender?) Brethren, even if the sexes are inherently different people can overcome (or learn to deal with) inherent things once recognized and “overcome” them if necessary (but the genders have to realize that they have a tendency to do, or have a tendency to think of things in a certain way or pattern before they can “help” themselves in these matters - and again I’m speaking to both genders [and brothers sometimes situations need a “woman’s touch” ( or a woman’s point of view) on a matter - again if there is just an inherent disposition, and ladies visa versa too]. Brethren remember the Spirit of God can override anything (even innate dispositions - if they exist and if they are in the way) especially for the sake of life, but all of these things (that is the predispositions - which seems to be where scripture is coming from) are behind the default way found in scripture (that is if you agree with the scriptures) regarding women’s role in relationship with men in regards to church government and the home (and there may be some truth here about these things that one needs to acknowledge before one can “get past it”). Again, when viewing apostolic commandments concerning relationships between the sexes and church government, if you agree with them, remember you are talking about the default way in which things are done (In other words God can override it at any time) Reread Appendix A if necessary, especially on the use and distribution of gifts). Brethren, I would not be overly adamant about scriptural admonitions like they are written in stone. If it was then God would not call women to the mission field - which almost always includes the teaching of men - which scripturally speaking should not happen because of the scriptural admonition against women teaching men (which again is a progression of Apostolic Understanding on an issue) (D:24). Even in the most rigid view of scriptural rules and regulations you will find exceptions to things. Also brethren, women do work outside the home, do do physical labor, do lead households etc. and so forth and God gives women the ability, grace and (head) wisdom to do such things. Brethren, even God can override the default way of doing things. Especially when men abandon their position as husband, head of the household and/ or provider. 9) When Viewing the Law Remember that at Least one Old Covenant Law (if not more) was given as an allowance which God didn’t want yet permitted. “They (the Pharisees) said to Him (Jesus), Why then did Moses command to give…(your wife)… a certificate and divorce her? He said to them, Because of the hardness of heart Moses permitted you….” (Matthew 19:7,8) Brothers and sisters without getting into the debate going on in these verses (or the fact that a law was given by Moses) a point is made that a law was given in scripture that was not God’s intent (that is He didn’t “want” it), yet He allowed Moses to state it because of the circumstances of the people (that is their hearts were so hard He permitted them to do what they wanted to do in this circumstance). Brethren, this law (which was influenced by the condition of peoples hearts) has ramifications for us in regards to viewing other laws in scripture and one can legitimately ask themselves if there are other laws in scripture that may have been influenced by the circumstances of the people as well? [Brethren, the whole idea of people, a church or society at large “going back to the law of God” - while a noble concept on the surface - unless it’s looked at more closely and explained as to what is meant by the concept is naïve. Also brethren once again remember that we as Christians are not under the law anymore anyway so such a debate - while it may be fruitful in regards to deriving principles for Christians to live by, would - aside from that - be mostly meaningless to Christianity]. “But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law.” (Galatians 5:18) A Quick Summation on How to View of Scripture Scripture (and when I talk about scripture I’m talking about things that are for this covenant and I can’t peg “ progression of understanding” to) scripture to me is - at the minimum - default teachings (or fall back positions) to rely on in the absence of any other kind of guidance (but we have to remember that we have a God that still speaks to us today). Why do I use the word default? Basically (and most people generally agree with this, and that is) in the absence of any other kinds of guidance (and I’m including the leading of ones conscience on matters) and / or unless God or life dictates different, things (that is again the things I can’t peg a progression of understanding to) will stay pretty much as they are. This is the meaning of default (or fallback position). Brothers and sisters if for the sake of argument, things in your life get out of control, you can always go back to basic default teachings or fall back principles in scripture to gain control of your life (these things are pretty solid things to stand on - unless of course God, life or your conscience says different). Brethren to conserve and preserve some of theses cherished teachings (or principles) that have - in effect - been passed on to one generation to the next is not necessarily a bad thing. Although I am not a fan of tradition some of these default teachings - in the absence of any other kind of guidance - do have value. However, even though this is true, once again there are definitely exceptions to things to these default positions and these exceptions may again include guidance from sources outside the scriptures. Brethren, in regards to these exceptions and other kinds of guidance (and this is just a generally accepted example of this kind of thing) if you look at the ten commandments for instance (most of which are repeated in the new testament), if you actually look at them there seems to be actually exceptions to some of them, especially in regards to the repetition in new covenant. (It’s almost like they have a comma after them rather than a period. It’s kind of like using the phrase “except in cases of…”) For example… 1) “You shall not steal” (but when the Lord Jesus had need of a donkey He told the disciples to take one, and if anyone were to ask why your taking it to tell them the Lord had need of it Matthew 21:2,3). In other words you have an example of the Lord overriding a previously established written law with fresh revelation. 2) “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” (which was something big under the old covenant) is something that is not only regulated to a matter of conscience in the new covenant (Colossians 2:16) (In other words conscience can override law), and if you actually study the issue, it (the Sabbath and it‘s observance) has actually been done away with in the new covenant (Galatians 4:10) as a result believers are basically encouraged to just live their lives. And this kind of thing is true of other laws (or scriptures) in the old covenant as well. Again these are just two examples of how commonly accept guidance can override previous revelation (or law or commandment), even in regards to something a “solid” as the ten commandments (Also take a look at what some of the apostles did in Acts 21:15-26 and compare that to the commandment about bearing false witness). Brethren, even though these things are true we do not live with an “anything goes” attitude but filter out our actions through (a soften) conscience, and asking the question “will life result from a particular act” as well as asking the Lord about it (or following the leading of His Holy Spirit) However, brethren, if, after you consider or do some of these things, and for some reason are still a little unsure about doing a particular action (maybe you did not “press into God” enough in prayer and possible fasting for an answer) and as a result are still a little unsure as to what to do in a particular situation, once again in the absence of any other kind of guidance (which for us includes a still speaking God, and for that reason we should pray and fast for answers) things (that is things in the new covenant which again can’t be pegged to a progression of understanding on an issue, and is not dealing with a life or death situation as in Acts 21:15-26, that is a flow of life issue) - (and don‘t forget life over law is a major principle in the new testament) things in life will most likely should stay as they are. “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in (a still speaking) Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12) Again, this is the default way of looking at things, and the default way of looking at life. Brethren, it may be helpful for you to view most new covenant teaching (especially if you are not acquainted with the things of the Spirit) as default teaching on issues that carry a lot of weight (unless of course God says to you something different to you on a particular the issue) (And remember, since we have a God that still speaks to us today, we can always ask Him). XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Proof Line and Verse Check _________________________________ 1) Date of release needs to be set. 2) Page Numbers in Books Table of Content (and appendixes) and on pages themselves 3) find any “verse needed” scriptures and look them up 4) On the last pages of this book you will find some sample ordination forms you can if you had to (or at the very least they will give you some ideas as to what one can look like if you wanted to print one out) Copy it and enlarge it… 5) Old A:15 (and anything else) 6) Brothers and sisters I’m 50 years old and have been saved for almost 35 years (I write this book in 2008), 1:1)most likely last thing to work on, in possible rewrite section XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Conclusion Brothers and sisters, I have heard about societies who have had authoritian leaders dethroned and the people don’t know what to do with themselves (or are fearful of their new found lifestyle) and as a result are willing to accept something similar to what they had. I have also have heard of societies who have pretty liberal lifestyles and want to go back to some kind of religious law (usually the law of God or what their society views as the law of God). Let me say this about that. If God has given you the right to do something (that is you are no longer under the authoritian law of the old covenant and are able to do what you want in situations) why would you want to go back to that kind of lifestyle? (that is give up your rights and go back to law) or accept something similar to what God’s people were once under (that is make up a whole bunch of new rule and regulations to put yourself under). This is not life, nor flowing with an ever unfolding - changing for the better - lifestyle of faith, trust and love. Brethren, again, the idea of “Going back to the law of God” (let‘s say biblical law) - while a noble concept on the surface - is a very naive concept. People who say such things don’t know what those laws were about, why some were given or and how harsh some were. They were basically given to a very rebellious group of people who needed them to guide every little behavior and are equivalent to someone reading the “riot act” on a society (in other words… ‘You want to worship and follow other God’s? You people want to complain and go back to bondage in Egypt and worship the god’s I delivered you from (with great miracles and demonstrations of power?) You people want to complain that what I am doing is hard and that I am unjust? I’ll show you what the justice you crave for is really like - here’s law and you are going to follow it. It will not only keep you in line, but it‘s also going to be ‘statute upon statute, precept upon precept’(Isaiah 28:12,13)(another verse) until it breaks you of that craving for justice attitude’). Brothers and sisters, this kind of attitude (while appropriate given what God was dealing with) is behind a lot of things written in the law, which again were given a very rebellious group that did not do or walk in the ways of their earthy ancestor Abraham. Once again, if you have doubt about this about this viewpoint, according to the book of Galatians the law was given for disobedience (VERSE NEEDED) and that is where it’s coming from, but extreme disobedience). It got to the point where God would no longer lead them but sent His angel to lead them because of the way they were (and that is their rebellious heard heart) You just don’t want to base a society nor a church on those laws [and by the way this rebellious hard heart is something that is indicative of society in general (the humans situation) and would be unfair to peg to any group of people]. Brothers and sisters, as a society or even a church, you really do not want to go back to a lot of these laws (D:25) these laws (if you have any doubt about this, read how restrictive and intolerant today’s civil riot act laws can be on a society. People get shot on the spot (and that is what you have in regards to some of these old covenant laws, but it’s done by stoning for a multitude of reasons). Brethren, you can derive ‘principles to live by’ from some of these biblical laws, and the laws that speak of how one “should” behave towards brothers and sisters you might get a thing or two out of, and except for the obvious ones about worshipping God only, there are not a lot of redeeming things written in there. They can be very harsh and unforgiving and were given to a very rebellious group of people. Brethren, we are not under law, but are given the right to live life with “latitude.” Once you have rights you want to be very careful about doing anything to give them up (which means going back to what was) or eroding them in some way. The new found lifestyle we live under is a life of faith, trust, hope and love. If there are any guiding principles to live by it‘s those. God does not Leave us on our Own Brethren, even though this can be true (that is we are not under law), we are not without guidance and God does not leave us on our own in regards to matters. In the beginning of this Appendix, I wrote that few people alive today follow every single rule and regulation found in the Bible. This is true. The question then becomes what criteria do you use to sift through and sort out which rules (if you do follow rules), or which principles (again, if you do follow principles) you follow in life. We have our conscience (a God given thing), and it is progressive relative to our maturing. This is of help. We also have the guiding principle of life over law, (that is life issues are more important than law. Remember the two trees in the garden of Eden). However, as good as these things are we do have another helper in these matters. Brethren, Jesus promises us “another helper” in John 14:16 and by that He refers to the Holy Spirit (the word “another” means someone in the same quality and manner that Jesus himself was a “helper” to the disciples). However this helper is within us (John 14:17) and will guide us (John 16:13) in the same manner as Jesus did (John 14:26; also see 1 John 2:20,27) We are not left on our own (John 14:18) As mentioned in this Appendix many times we can just draw from that source and leave the question of the sifting process alone (forget this thing about rules and regulations as well as principles to follow). But for those who still like to derive principles from things life over law is a good place to start. Brethren, aside from just following the Spirit of God [which is preferable and again may at time parallel rules, or commandment, but is not necessarily locked into them], in regards to any kind of sifting process you might have, it may be helpful to remember the points (some of which were elaborated on in this section), and they are… 1) Acts not done in faith are mostly likely wrong therefore sinful (Romans 14:23). There are three principles found in New Testament writings that have bearing on our profit and profit for God and they are the principles of Faith Hope and Love. These principles, particularly acts (or works) of faith are to be part of everything we do as Christians and are to be factored into our Christian walk. Faith linked with our works (or act) or works (or acts) linked with our faith is a paramount principle found in scripture, and is a good principle (again if you follow principles) to follow. Brothers and sisters, if you are contemplating doing something and “faith” is not part of the equation or factored into it in some way - unless you are talking about piddly things - the act in question may not be a good thing to do. This point is elaborated on in Appendix E, but generally speaking every act should be done in the faith that it will lead to “something better” (however you may want to define that term “better”), and things should probably not be done for “just the thing itself” (unless of course “the thing” is of some value or help which can fall under the term “something better” but use your head). However in regards to relationships doing the thing just for the sake of the thing itself can mean viewing people as an object or “using people” (which can be a faithless self centered kind of activity and is something we probably want to avoid). Once again any act not done in faith is most likely not the right thing to do [and knowing the right thing (of faith) to do and not doing it is sin (James 4:17)]. Brethren, all acts between brother and brother, sister and sister, brother and sister should lead to “a closeness” and some kind of lasting “ties” even if it is just a close friendship. It’s just the fruits of something when joint faith is factored into the equation (that is you have faith that the act will lead to something better, and it does) Every act should not be meaningless, but bear fruit in some way (that is something good results from it), again to not have that happen - in regards to people - is to objectify the persons or persons involved, and nobody likes being used. (And unless you do away with the final judgment, the question of sin is going to come up, and one of the definitions of sin found in scripture is anything not done in faith is sin. This being so, in regards to the final judgment, it might be wise to run all significant acts past this “screening process” to see if faith is involved in or factored into that act. Once again since there is going to be a final judgment it‘s only to ones own benefit to do this). Brethren, it would be wise to factor in faith into our actions, if not sin may be present. 2) Once again, aside from just following the Spirit of God [which again may at time parallel rules, or commandment, but is not necessarily locked into them], in regards to this sifting process, in the absence of commandment (or rule, regulation etc) it might be helpful to remember the concept of Love (and not a wishy washy type of love either) as a guiding light in regards to the choice of appropriate action, especially in regards to actions between the brethren. “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together, by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) Brethren, according to 1 Corinthians 13 even the use of our giftings must be processed through love, for without love there will be little to no lasting fruit in anything we do. This being so if one is looking for a principle to live by (and according to 1 John this is not a burdensome principle to live by ((VERSE NEEDED)), in the absence of the leading of the Holy Spirit on a matter, or lack of an appropriate scripture, having love factor into ones decision making process (as well as the just mentioned faith) is not a bad idea, especially in regards to the final judgment. Brethren, for just as faith will be used as a guide to determine whether a particular act is sin, love (which is factored into that faith, or the motivation which is behind an act of faith) will be used as a guide to determine whether a particular act bore the lasting fruit that is necessary for rewards (D:26). Therefore in the absence of any other kind of leading (The Spirit of God, or a rule or regulation or commandment or principle to follow) factoring love into the consideration of a particular act, that is: “would I want that thing done to or for me, or to or for someone I love?” Would not be a bad idea, for again it’s in ones own best interest to do so. Brethren, remember the goal of Christian teaching "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith" (1 Timothy1:5) 3) Again, aside from just following the Spirit of God [which again may at time parallel rules, or commandment, but is not necessarily locked into them], in regards to this sifting process, in the absence of commandment (or rule, regulation or principle) it might be helpful to remember the concept of hope. Doing things in the hope that fruit will result [and just as love is the motivation behind an act of faith, hope concerns expectancy and is also the drive (or fuel) that keeps one going]. Brothers and sisters there is a three fold division found in scripture of the things which are important. Faith is one of them, love is the other and hope is the third “We give thanks to God always making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith, and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of God and Father” (1 Thessalonians 1:2:3) And once again… “love never fails; but if there are gifts… they will (someday) be done away (with)… for we know in part.. But when the perfect comes the partial will be done away with. When I was a child (using the gifts etc), I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man (that is reached a mature state), I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly (that is not in a perfectly clear or full way), but then face to face (that is you can’t get any more clearer, you are seeing not an image or reflection of something but the actual thing itself), now a I know in part (this is it, a progression of apostolic understanding), but then I shall know fully just as I also have been known. But now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) In the 1 Corinthians verse, even after the gifts pass away (that is in heaven, and maybe even on earth depending on where you are at. That is you reached a mature level as to who needs them) (D:27), there will be three principles that remain and will guide all action and people and that is faith, hope and love. In regards hope it might be helpful to remember the following verses… “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare not calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) “without hope people perish (VERSE NEEDED) Brothers and sisters, faith hope and love are all very similar concepts yet different enough to warrant different definitions. Again - in regards to our purposes here - hope is defined as an active expectancy (that is a mindset or attitude) that something good is going to result from a particular act (or word spoken) (in other words the belief that something good and beneficial is going to happen because we did a thing in faith and love). Brothers and sisters, it’s this “expectant attitude” that helps and makes the difference behind a lot of activity. Even in the world people will say that “attitude is everything” and while that may not be the complete case here it is certainly part of the “formula” for “success” and does make a difference. Brethren, we don’t want to be “mechanical” about things, but these three things combined with the leading of the Spirit of God will lead to success every time [and if you don’t think so you have the wrong attitude! and probably have unbelief (that is little to no faith) as well]. Again, if you do things if faith with love behind it as motivation and with in the hope that something good is going to result from it - these three things - are very good principles to live by and it’s a good idea to factored them into ever act or word spoken for the future. (And Brothers and sisters this is not a “psych-up” thing or hype, this is reality and is how we are to live our lives. If you don‘t think so maybe you really don’t believe or understand the gospel and need to sit back and contemplate what is going on in your life - particularly the motivation behind what you do and say). In Summary Once again the new covenant view of law is something that people were in bondage to, in other words it restricted their movement, hindered them, it was not a happy thing to be under. Old Covenant Law - particularly when one considers the severity of some of those laws, and why they were written that way - is not where you want to go in life. We are to be a people of grace (and with the hope for something better). At best one can derive principles from them and they can be a reminder of how love might play out in regards to some things, but that is about it. Brothers and sisters, a maturing conscience, and listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the voice of a still speaking Jesus is much greater and much preferable than having a “relationship” with rules and regulations and following them as well (and in reference to listening to a still speaking Jesus in regards to overriding law, it would be helpful to remember that that is the basic thrust found in the story of Matthew 12:1-8, most notably verses 6 and 8) and is also elaborated on further in the authors book “Understanding Christianity.” Brothers and sisters we have a Lord who is still alive and still speaks and guides even in this very hour. Learn to tap into and listen to Him). Life, brothers and sisters is the preferred way to go in life and is the flow we want to flow with. In the absence of revelation “principles to live by” can help, but it’s life and what causes, supports and benefits ones life, it’s those things we want to flow with. Brothers and sisters you want to live and while there are parameters to life [that is outside the leading of God, you want to do things in faith, hope and love, realizing that in not doing things in faith, hope and love or just living ones life “in the opposite” of these will lead to death (and that is not where you want to go). Again these three things are the parameters to life (read where John was at in his epistle), if you stay within these parameters you will live] Also, brothers and sisters, we need to remember and understand that as we consider these things that there is enough variation within those parameters (variations meaning: immature conscience vs. a mature conscience, or levels of faith and understanding of things for another) that there is enough variation within those parameters concerning the various acts one can do (or have done for them) (for example “acts of love”) for there to be “wiggle room” in regards to many different things. Brothers and sisters, God is not a prude and wants us to enjoy life here and now. “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self- abasement.” (Colossians 2:18) Try not to think of the Christian life as a person living on a mountain top all alone in absolute denial. “… let no one act as your judge in regard to food and drink.” (Colossians 2:16) As long as we factor in the basic principles found in the gospel (keeping ourselves under control (See Appendix H), and considering others needs above our own, in other words - in regards to ourselves - moving in a selfless direction, while remembering the threefold parameters of life, there is more than enough room for fun. “You therefore, beloved knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3:17) Brethren, according to scripture the abundant life is a selfless life, but again that does not mean we live like some monk on a deserted island, but just that we are considerate in our approach to life [that is when interacting with people we considerate of where other people are “coming from,” or where they “are at” - and consider their needs (and place) above our own (we don’t want to be a stumbling block to others)]. Therefore brethren, once again the Christian life is a selfless (that is considerate) life. Sisters and brothers, when all else fails, if confused on what to do in a situation, we can always ask God. “He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27) APPENDIX E Relationships Non Traditional Ones One of the things that the church needs to realize in the newness of the new generation is that there are other kinds of relationships between people besides traditional ones and as a result the church should not be judgmental. In this Appendix I will cover the three most controversial ones: Non Traditional Covenant Heterosexual Relationships; NON-Covenant Heterosexual Relationships; and Homosexual Relationships (which can be both covenanted and non-covenanted). If you haven’s done so already I suggest you read Appendix D in regards to commandments and dealing with the teachings of the past. It may help to “soften” you up (and be a little more open) to different possibilities (or arrangements) for living ones life. Non Traditional Covenant Heterosexual Relationships You may want to read Appendix F for a summary of terms, roles and possibilities in regards to these types of relationships (this Appendix is more a general overview to them). Also you may want to read Appendix G if you are already in a traditional heterosexual relationship and wish to move into a non-traditional one. If you have the authors book “Walls: Guidelines for Healthy Christian Relationships” the following section on non-traditional heterosexual relationships is mostly from there and is written mostly in the form of an exhortation. Brothers and sisters, the biblical model is all over the place in regards to covenanted heterosexual relationships (and if you have read your bible you know this to be true), also since we are not under the law anymore (Appendix G and D) God’s people, especially a new generation of God’s people should be more accepting of change in regards to these - especially in congregations (Brothers and sisters, the older generation was in may ways wrapped up in legalism and things they considered “proper” (E:1) and there are so many different kinds of heterosexual relationships to which God approves, AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM, that we really need to open our eyes to more possibilities for our lives and our communities. The reason people enter into these type of relationships (which are listed below), are personal, and they don’t need to be elaborated on by anyone. Why most Churches have fallen into the mindset that there is something wrong with these types of relationships is beyond me, especially since many of them are life long. They are as follows: Husband and wives, Husband (man) and concubine (See Judges 19 where a concubine’s spouse is called a husband; and by the way concubine is such an old term, modern terms may include consort, companion, paramour, courtesan as well as lover or soul-mate). Also a man and his life long mistress. All of these are approved types of relationships (that is: you are dealing with covenants and / or agreements), and the arrangement and provision to keep such relationships going - as well as the details of their arrangements - can be as varied and as creative as one can be (See Appendix F for more on this). Brothers and Sisters, generally speaking, when people are adults, it’s up to them to decide what is the best way for them to live their lives. If they want to enter into a full covenant with someone or a partial covenant with them - it’s up to them. What business is it of others what the type of, or what is the nature of, or what are the details of, a legitimate personal relationship between available men and women who desire to enter into a life long relationship with one another? Who cares if it’s a full or partial agreement. If God has no problem with it why should anyone? Brothers and Sisters, what may not be “ideal” for you, may in fact be ideal for someone else (especially as people grow older). People really need to leave other people alone. Again, the reason people enter into these type of relationships are personal, and they don’t need to be elaborated on by anyone. Why most congregations have fallen into the mindset that there is something “wrong” with these types of relationships is beyond me. Especially since God approves. Therefore people, especially God’s people should be more accepting of change in regards to these areas - especially in congregations. (Once again, the “Biblical model” is all over the place). [Note: you have to consider yourself mature to read the following two sections of this Appendix. The reason being is that there are ‘stepping stones’ or logical steps of consideration to both of these areas and if any step is missing (or not carefully contemplated) it might not go well for the person involved. In other words brethren, unless the flow of life or God says different it might not be wise to “jump into” these two areas, but to think before you jump]. NON-Covenant Heterosexual Relationships But Jesus answered and said to them “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures, or the power of God. For in the resurrection they (that is men and women) neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:29,30) “Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women with wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork…” “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode… Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, …” (Jude 1:6-7) Brothers and sisters, according to scripture angels are not without gender, but have both gender and non covenanted sex For in the resurrection they (that is men and women) neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30) and guess what? I don’t think the follow verse applies to what I’m going to say next but it is close… “And I… was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:4) Redeemed people are the same for once they are on the other side of eternity (or resurrected E:2) they - in regards to their relationships with each other “are like the angels in heaven.” (Again reread the first three verses of this section and think about what is being said). Brothers and sisters, at the resurrection we get a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-50) and the new body we get, if you study the scriptures, has senses… 1) We can see with that body (VERSE NEEDED) 2) We can hear with that body (VERSE NEEDED) 3) We can even eat with that body “And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11) “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until the day when I drink it new WITH YOU in my Father kingdom” (Matthew 26:29) Again, the new body we get - IS NOT WITHOUT SENSES and according to the 3 introductory verses to this section we can and will have sex with that body as well. Un-covenanted sex. Brothers and sisters, in regards to the afterlife there is not a lot written about what is on the other side of eternity. However in the book of Revelation heaven (God’s throne) will come down and becomes part of a new earth (VERSE NEEDED) and we also seem to be given homes of some type (which also seem to have already been prepared for us ahead of time and probably come down with the new Jerusalem (VERSE NEEDED) “In My Father house (that is the place of God’s dwelling) are many dwelling places; if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) These home (or dwelling places) are probably up there now [and if these homes (“mansions” in the King James Version) are like the homes we have now they will have at the very least walls about them (in others words privacy)] Brothers and sisters the thing about un-covenanted sex in the after life (whether speaking of angels or between men and women) (and by the way if you asked people to make a list of what they’d like to see in the after life, most people, probably the vast majority of people would put sex on the list. So this should not be such a shock since again we are dealing with what may be considered as paradise and God wants people to be happy), again the things about un-covenanted sex in the afterlife is that because we are in the presence of God there is not a problem, however on this side of eternity there may be problems with that kind of thing, particularly since His guiding presence can be so hard for some people to sense. On this side of eternity (unless you are dealing with mature people who “know the score” and are secure in themselves) the problems with un-covenanted sex can be many, particularly among the young. For one children can result (and I’m not sure what goes on on the other side of eternity with this, but there is a verse in Revelation that talk about myriads and myriads of beings before the Lord (VERSE NEEDED)). Also brethren, people can be very judgmental in regards to this issues, especially of women [which most women (and mature men) rightly see as a double standard], for me women seem to get the worst of it, for there is not as much value (as with men) concerning the sexual act itself (because it’s more about intimacy and a whole host of other things) and women can be so easily used, even abused. For these reasons (as well as some of the reasons mentioned in the following guidelines) are the reasons why it’s so frowned upon in scripture (E:3), especially since we are a fallen creation prone “to the negative” rather than the positive. Once again, where we get on the other side of eternity things are different. If this is so what has changed only that we are nearer and closer to the guiding presence of God in regard to all action and behavior and there will be no “prone to the negative” about anything (and people in scripture do “press ahead”) (E:4). Brothers and sisters un-covenanted sex between consenting people who know the score and are considerate of one another (and you might want to read the conclusion of Appendix D here as well concerning basic parameters and principles of faith, hope and love that govern activity between Christians), but sex between people such as these is no big deal (but quite honestly, because of the way things are in this fallen word the more private such an activity is the better it would be for all concerned (E:5). Just Some General Guidelines 1) Respect: People are people, not objects. Brothers and sisters people have an inherent worth and value and when they are giving of themselves and are used they know it. Again, people are people. Don’t “objectify” them, but respect them. 2) Emotions: The emotional attachment the comes with intimacy can’t be underestimated and can and might very well effect other relationships (for example if someone who is already in a relationship takes on another relationship - at the same time - they may become a little “off balance” in their treatment of the first relationship - now having a foot in both worlds - until they learn to adjust. Also the person in the first relationship who “let go” may equally become a little “off balanced” until they learn to adjust too). Emotions, particularly intimate emotions are not always easy to handle, and are attitudes that just arise from ones being and are something that people learn to control . Brothers and sisters, one needs to be aware of this and factor in the possibility that previous relationships might be effected if one party gets involved in another’s life and that things may change “attitude wise” until everyone learns to adjusts (Personally I think that these kinds of non-covenant intimate relationships are only for the mature and people who are able to “handle” things - especially their emotions - if they should come up to the surface. These types of relationships are not for the immature). 3) Comparison: Since you may be involved in more than one relationship the subject of “comparison” may be something that unfortunately comes to mind. It may be important to realize that unless it is something that needs to be worked on - that there little a lot of people can do about things (and it‘s something I would not talk about). Brothers and sisters, intimacy has to do with other things besides the physical and it might be wise to focus on those things. 4) The Past: Unless you are dealing with a need to know situation [and unless a person for some reason offers up information about their past (whatever that might be)] it is in the past. If the past is important to you then talking about what is important to you is what you do BEFORE you get involved with someone, not afterward. Just realizing that everyone has a past in some way even if it was just an school yard “crush” on someone might help people in regards to some of these matters. (and personally I think it’s just better to leave things alone here). 5) Possessions: People are not possessions, they don’t belong to anyone but God. If you happen to have an active ongoing, productive and fruitful relationship with someone - thank God (but it may be only temporary or it may last a life time). Either way, if it ends or changes to allow someone else in the relationship (brethren we are not talking about a marital relationship here) then that is just the way it is, and one needs to be mature about it (for once again the person never belonged to you in anyway anyway - and they have and always will belong to God) Brethren, remember we don’t own people, but people are their own individuals and willingly choose to enter into relationships and or withdraw. Even though there might be some sort of lasting ties that result from intimate relationships it’s helpful to remember that those ties can only go so far. We don’t ever end up “owning” the other person and they are able to enter into other relationships if they choose. 6) Faith, Hope, and Love: If you read the conclusion of Appendix D you will see that the parameters of life are faith, hope and love. There three things regulate all activity concerning life and it’s related issues and should also be factored into any kind of relationship in this area. Remember any act not done in faith is sin (again see Appendix D) and in regards to this issue any act done without the view that it will lead to something better (E:6) would be a sinful act. Again, people are not objects and if someone enters into this kind of relationship with the hope that something good will come out of it - that is the proper way to view things (and again it may in fact be a life long relationship, especially when one factors in the concept of love). 7) Impermanency: This has been touched on in the previous points, and that is - because of the way these relationships are set up - and the things people may be looking to “get” out of them (but please reread Point 1 here), they may not last. In the afterlife, I think there is benefit to becoming intimate with a lot of people (things get imparted to one another - intimate beneficial things, intimate experiences etc.), but even there intimate relationships (between the sexes) don’t seem to be something that are (necessarily) permanent (for there is no marriage there) Brethren, there is always a direction that God moves and that is forward and upward, and one needs to always be prepared (again because of the way these relationships are set up) that one has “gotten” all they are going to “get” out of the relationship (at least for the time being) and that one (or both) people may “have to” move on to spend time with someone else (but at the same time remaining close, very close friends with the previous person). Brothers and sisters if you want a permanent relationship (and these can be permanent) but if you want some kind of “guarantee,” you know where to go. Once again because of the way these relationships are set up I think one needs to be prepared for change (E:7). Just thank God for each day you have each other and try to “get” the most out of it . 8) Virginity: If you have not been married, loosing your virginity is something you may want to think about. The reason being is that you may have to tell the person you want to marry about your past and that may have a bearing on whether the person will want to marry you. I think we need to be realistic about the way thing are with some people in regards to this issue (particularly among the young) and factor that into our decision to go further with this issue if you are thinking of living this kind of life (even temporarily) Brothers and sisters, “untouched” people of both sexes have a certain value with some people in regards to their initial meeting of the opposite sex when they are first dating. Everything is new for the young and the discovery of things together can be part of a necessary bonding process that might help people through the first stages of their lives. Brethren, this is a sensitive subject and is not easily addressed and certainly the mature who are confident in themselves can overlook these things, if they are things of importance (which is why I said at the beginning of this section that one needs to be mature to read on). However, sisters and brothers at the end of the day all this passes away to a mature way of looking at things (and if you don’t think so concerning this side of eternity, certainly all this goes on on the other side) which is where we are going, and going with “these things” one way or the other. 9) Intimacy : Don’t forget that relationships have to do with communication and one of the ways people communicate is thorough language (in other words intimate relationships have to do with other things besides sex, they are about getting to know one another). Sex is just one form of communication - and intimate form, but a form of communication nevertheless. Language is another form and can be and usually is more precise (in other words if you are desirous to have an intimate relationship … don’t forget to spend time, maybe a lot of time talking and getting to know one another). (And P.S. if people share intimate things or details about whatever, they should remain between the people involved in the relationship. One of the points of an intimate relationship is to be able to open oneself up and share intimate things or concerns in a safe nonjudgmental atmosphere. Therefore unless there is cause to do otherwise, things that are shared with one another in an intimate relationship should stay between to people in that relationship and not be shared with others outside that relationship (unless of course you have a different understanding at the beginning of the relationship and are involved in and have very open relationships with people. In that kind of case it doesn‘t matter). But again unless there is cause to do otherwise it might be best to keep certain things - if not all things - between people who are in relationship with each other private (that is between the partners themselves). 10) Reputations: This is one area that people have legitimate concerns about, particularly in the workplace. Therefore it might be best to keep these type of relationships secret especially if one partner request it (and I mean secret forever). 11) Requests: If someone makes a request about something consider it, particularly if it has to do with where people are at, or sensitive issues. Also be willing to concede things of no real importance for the sake of the relationship. 12) Your Self Worth: Remember whatever side you are on in these kind of relationships your self worth and value (that is your self esteem), are found in what God thinks of you not what others may or may not think of you. If a relationship you are in should end, or be modified (that is the person you are in relationship with should enter into another relationship at the same time they are having one with you) that does not necessarily mean that you have failed, or that you are no good, or any other kind of “worthless” thought. It just means that life has moved on (and it’s possible that you may be “moving on” in some capacity as well). Brethren, the point is that one should never get down, or overly down on themselves in regards to anything in their life that seemingly changes for the worst - God is in charge [also no on is perfect in regards to everything anyway and we are all “on our way” to that perfection. Brethren, few couples can provide for one another’s total needs, wants or desires. Most couples (that is individuals within couples) have friends, sometimes close intimate friends that help provide for what is lacking in spousal relationships. It’s just the way life is. The important thing to remember in regards to all this is once again what God thinks of you not what others may or may not think of you. Also once again it’s important to remember that your self worth and value is found in God, not people (and once again that is what He thinks of you - not what people think of you). 13) Brokenness : Again, in regards to relationships unexpectantly ending, “ending” or being modified, don’t forget the Christian concept of brokenness. If for some reason you are not happy with any kind of modifications in your relationship with someone remember that God sometimes allows things “to happen” to us to break us of negative character traits in out life, for example pride. Brethren, if you are unhappy that a relationship you are in should end, “end” or be modified and for example feel humiliated, allow God to work that humility into you life in a positive way (few people if any are the center of all creation) and that pride may have been a factor in the relationship ending (or being modified). Also, allow God to break you of ALL the negative things in your life (by using the negative things that happen to us in a positive way) so He can fill you with traits that are of value to the kingdom of God and His purposes. In regards to some of the reasons behind why relationships end (or are modified) they may or may not be overly important, but your attitude when or if they are modified is. Brethren, remember these kind of relationships are non-covenant, non-committal to begin with. Being happy for the other person who is leaving or is modifying something may be the mature thing to do and is a good place to start with a mature outlook. Do not become hard or bitter, but soft (it may have nothing to do with you). Also remember that maturity is a goal of the Christian life (See Appendix N). Brothers and sisters, if you view the negative things that come at you in life as new opportunities for God to begin positive character traits in your life, life gets a little easier [and by the way this is what He is usually up to anyway and that is breaking us so the light within (the Character of Christ) can come out)]. Brethren, see God “coming at you” in regards to everything that happens to you. He is in control and He’s always up to something good. Also brethren, seeing things from His perspective not ours is usually helpful [“come up here and I will show you” (Revelation 4:1)]. Wanting what God wants for us not what we want is also helpful too [also who knows what’s around the corner. This is what faith is always about. (and don’t forget the concept of hope as well (which concerns our attitude). Hope manifests itself as an expectancy that God is on the move and is up to something good)]. Also brothers and sisters, remember that God sees and knows everything (Genesis 29:31). Nothing “happens” to us that escapes His notice. 14) Non Covenant Relations among the already Married: Brothers and sisters, if you are married and are having (or your spouse is having) a non covenant relationship with someone (that is you mutually agreed to modify your relationship), remember that Who, What, Where, When and Why are personal questions who’s information is voluntarily given - if at all [Particularly what (happened), where, when and why. However the question of Who may be a legitimate question (E:8) as well as When if there is a question as to who is watching the children]. Brethren, once consenting people within a marriage mutually agree to alter the terms of their marriage, couples might be walking around on eggshells for a while until they feel comfortable exchanging information, (particularly information in regards to relationships that are found to be of value and are productive in some way. Also you may want to reread previous Point 2 here). Brethren, honesty with one another should always be a goal (especially in regards to “the who”), but once again (and I can’t stress this enough) the giving of any other information is questionable and if given is given voluntarily. Sisters and brothers if you agree to alter the terms of your marriage agreement (see Appendix G) things can change for the better or the worse (hopefully the better), but one needs to be prepared for both possibilities. However spouses - at the minimum - if they go ahead with their new arrangement should still “be there” for one another particularly in regards to extra marital relationships that may sour (and someone needs help or guidance). Also brethren, you need to factor in the fact that jealousy (which in part comes from the idea of “ownership”) has been dealt with in a substantial way BEFORE one agrees to alter the terms of their arrangement. The mature should be happy for one another (not angry, bitter, or thinking badly of one another as in “good riddance” or similar sort). Once again, any extra marital intimate information if it exchanged within the marriage, is voluntarily exchanged and should not be forced, [and spouses in altered arrangements need to be prepared for the fact that the information they may “want” to hear may in fact never be given, and spouses - once unknotted (or loosely unknotted) - are able (and should be able) to do what they want in these matters] (and personally I would not exchange “outside” intimate information with a spouse for I fail to see the point in doing so). Brethren, once again, you need to be mature for this kind of arrangement and realize that there is an upward progression towards that maturity with levels of comprehension, and understanding (and once again remember there is always a direction that God moves and that is forward and upward). Also brethren, one needs to factor in some things before you agree to alter your arrangement. Particularly jealousy and the idea of ownership (for if one person in a marriage shares personal things and become physically intimate with others outside their marriage, there may be an emotional “linking” that will result with the “other person”. “Original spouses” may (at least temporarily) find themselves not at the (full) center of things anymore and that can be hard if one was overly dependent on a spouse for their self esteem etc. Factoring in a period of adjustment is probably wise). Also, one needs to be prepared for the possibility that the new relationship may not be temporary, and the new marital arrangement (that includes a spouse with an outside relationship), may in fact become permanent (E:9) (and if both spouses are not “loosely unknotted“ from one another, but truly unknotted one needs to be prepared for the possibility that the marital relationship could end completely). Brethren, if you like permanent exclusive arrangements, and you are married, I’d advise you to think twice before you alter the one you are in. However if both people in a marriage go forward with this and find it not as productive as the relationship they were in, they can always go back (many many couples who don’t agree with what is written in this Appendix get past extra marital relationships and go on to live happy fruitful lives. That should be no different here, particularly in regards to spouses who mutually agreed before hand to alter their marriage arrangement, having both had extra marital relationships and having both found them to be wanting). 15) Finally, you may want to read the authors book “Walls: Guidelines for Healthy Christian Relationships” for more insight into the things that make for healthy relationships. and P.S. don’t forget to have fun! [Brethren, just a quick ‘summary addendum’ to this section for the topic here is important and I do want to be clear about some things. In regards to these non-covenant intimate relationships basically you are talking about relationships that are voluntarily, could be temporary, but may in fact be life long - especially if children result [individuals are usually forever bound in some fashion by their children; for example, support payments, graduations, weddings, births etc. If you end up having children in these kinds of relationships you will most likely continue to see each other on occasion (Children usually make relationships between parents somewhat non-temporary)]. However, this aside, in regards to these non-covenant relationships, when you factor in the “general guidelines” you are most likely not talking about a fling per say, but something that in the end is fruitful and productive (that is the relationship is more than just “helpful,” and brethren although I can make a positive case for “helpful” relationships, in regards to it’s lasting fruit, particularly when one stands before God, it’s a questionable case, but I‘ll have to think about it some more). Sisters and brothers, people who don’t want to get married (again) and who desire to enter into intimate non-covenant relationships with others are basically talking about entering into voluntary non -binding relationships. If there is a commitment again it is voluntary (that is one willfully consents to everything involved in an intimate relationship, nothing is forced) and because there is no binding commitment (as in a marriage) everyone also understands that the relationship could be ended (or “ended”) by either party at any time. Brethren, these kinds of intimate relationships are not for the immature, but again for people who can handle things (particularly if one party happens to have an intimate relationship with another person at the same time. That kind of thing usually only mature people can handle). Also, if one party desires to “end” it that can be a very upsetting thing (but the mature have already prepared themselves for that possibility). However if these type of relationships should end, if they were entered into using these general guidelines they should end as close and good friends (and for that reason could be started up again in the future). Brethren, if you disagree with what is written here and again want a more “permanent” exclusive relationship you know where to go And PS: you can combine what is written in this section with the marital and non-martial relationships mentioned in Appendix F to bring those kinds of relationships “up to date” or give them a mature “upgrade” of some sort (To understand how already established marriage covenants can be modified in this way see Appendix G).]. Homosexual Relationships This will be new territory in regards to many in the next generation of Christians and unfortunately for some I don’t feel from the Lord to “neatly trim” this subject (and this is not a cop out, it’s just how I feel) however I do want to say some things about it. Brothers and sisters, you can get very close to a line (if you believe in lines. See Ruth 3:6-8 and 2 Kings 5:17-19), and can actually go over the line for the sake of good intentions [see 1 Kings 1:1-4 and Genesis 38:26; and in regards to Genesis 38:26 see in whose genealogical line that “good intentions” action was incorporated in (Matthew 1:3)], and you can even willfully violate a command of God for the sake of those good intentions (2 Chronicles 30:18-20) without getting in trouble with God. In regards to the general revelation argument against homosexuality found in scripture (Romans 1:18-32), if one reads 1 Corinthians 11:14 and compares it with Acts 18:18 one might possibly see an exception even to that (E:10). And don’t forget Ester Brothers and sisters, the idea behind “intent” (that is the intent behind a particular act) is a legal principle in the law and can mean a world of difference in regards to a judgment of “right or wrong” (that is correct action), behind a certain activity (E:11). If there is life in Homosexuality (and I think there is) it is life in the intent and is found there in that intent. In my own personal opinion (if you want to know and speaking of it from a mans perspective ) in regards to the actual act itself - even though one may ascribe life to the intent - it is a low act (and by low I mean - and this is my un-experienced opinion - that I cannot imagine that the actual physical feeling the male gets if he does the act is as high as the feeling he would get if he had sex with the opposite sex, and in regards to the woman / woman homosexual act I would think that having something inside her (a penis) would have a higher feeling than just finger manipulation). And again, I am inexperienced in this but whenever I have had something inserted in my rear end by a doctor, it did not feel good (and I have heard that when heterosexuals have sex in a non-missionary style it will eventually hurt the female for she is made (designed) to have it inserted front wise). Again this is my non experienced, yet considered opinion (which God can override at any time). Also I have heard that in regards to oral sex it does not taste good at all (and that is putting it mildly), and that in and of itself may be an indication of something. At best all this is something someone might visit (for some reason), but like visiting something you don’t dwell there. However all these things aside, I do feel that there can be life in regards to the intent behind the act (and I know am breaking from a lot of traditional Christian teaching here), but I feel from the Lord not to neatly outline any or all the acceptable intents behind the act. I do what to say some things to those who believe there is a line in regards to this issue and that is how close you can come to it without going over it, and I’m going to do so by the rhetorical question method…. First…. Did you know a person can love the same gender more than the opposite gender? “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as himself (1 Samuel 18:1) And David speaking about Jonathan “…Your love for me was more wonderful than the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26) Second, did you know that a person can make a covenant with a person of the same gender? (E:12) “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:4) “And Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, he love him as he loved his own life” (1Samuel 20:17) Third, did you know that a person can love the same gender to the point that they have no problem kissing each other? “And they (Jonathan and David ) kissed each other” (1 Samuel 20:41) And finally, did you know that a person can love the same gender to the point that they have no problem taking off their clothes in front of the person ? (see David and Jonathan after they made a covenant) “And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with… his belt” (1 Samuel 18:4) Another verse? Now I’m not saying David and Jonathan were homosexual (in the classical sense) but they were obviously in love with each other and it was OK. Brethren the definition of homosexuality is not as neat as you might think, it’s just not. Jonathan and David loved (people of) the same sex more than people of the opposite sex. Therefore (and speaking primarily to the next generation of Christians coming up through the ranks) if two people of the same sex come into your gathering, and they sit next to each other and are obviously in love with each other and care about each other well then that’s just the way it is (and I would leave them alone and if they need to sort out their lives in regards to some issues, give them time to sort out it. Brethren, God usually gives everyone time to sort out their lives. (You might want to read Appendix H in regards to “giving people time” issues) APPENDIX F Relationships Marital Relationships: Non-Traditional For those who want a more stable relationship other than the ones outlined in Appendix E there is marriage. However in this appendix we cover Non- Traditional marital relationships. In other words a man with either more than one wife or a man with different types of wives. In order to understand more about non-traditional heterosexual relationships in might be helpful to briefly talk about the traditional one. Marriage is defined [biblical / legally speaking (F:1)] as a covenant between two (or more people) where… 1) promises are made both ways 2) and people are called husbands and wives (F:2) 3) and the woman (full wife) has full rights over the estate (F:3). The union of one man and one woman (exclusively) is usually thought of as an “ideal” (which can be a relative term) and the agreement that they have with each other is usually described as a full covenanted (or a full agreement) relationship with each other. In this relationship the man is called a husband and the woman is called a wife (that is a “full“ wife), and they both have equal and exclusive (that is and non - inclusive) rights over each other and the estate [In civil law these estate rights are “a given,” biblically speaking - only a full wife has these rights (see the section on “Summary of Terms and Roles” later in this chapter)]. Again, this is marriage. In marriage the estate is a preeminent thing. In non- marriage arrangements it is not. What I’m going to do here is challenge your biblical definition of the word ‘marriage’ and point out some other possible - biblically approved - living arrangements between Christian men and women today. [And Please Note: In regards to the following kinds of relationships there is the implicit understanding that men and women are different. When they enter into relationship with each other they have the same needs but usually in differing proportions. For men sex is a big thing (could be #1), for women it is not usually #1 (things that revolve around relationships usually are). In regards to the following types of marital relationships that is why they work the way they do and in the direction they do (that is one man towards more then one woman). Again, if you want a more stable (secure, solid) type of relationship then the ones outlined in the previous appendix, and marriage (that is non-traditional marriage) is the level you are on [or even desire, brethren I am not criticizing marriage (1 Timothy 4:3)], this is the way and direction these stable type of relationships work [one man towards more than one woman. Reread the section in Appendix D on “The Genders and their Relationship with Each Other”). Sisters and brothers, unless you can see ahead and function on the level of the way things will be in the future (See Appendix E), (that is you’ve reached a relatively mature level - especially if you are already married - and can not only mutually agree to follow “the general guidelines” mentioned in that appendix, but also mutually understand and accept the possible outcomes of that type of arrangement), - if you desire to enter into a relationship that contains multiple partners, you probably want to stay within this particular “towards” parameter. Marriage between one Man and two or more Women In this arrangement the man makes promises to the women and the women make promises to the man, but the women don’t necessarily make promises to each other. In other words if the husband should be ‘called into glory’ the women are not only free of their relationship with him, but - since they didn’t make promises to each other - are totally free of one another. They can both get remarried. In this arrangement all parties are in full covenant relationship with each other and all parties have equal rights over the estate (that is they are all “full partners“ to use a business term). The women are view as wives (plural), and they are “full” wives (or full partner’s), in the estate (an important point). Two NON - Marital Relationships between one Man and one or more Women Biblically (and legally speaking) marriage is a term that deals with the estate. If you are in relationship with a man and are not married to him you have no rights over the estate (F:4). Only women who are in relationship with a man and are married to him have rights over the estate (and a man can be married to more than one woman). However, biblically speaking there are two exclusive relationships a man can have with a woman where she can be called his wife (and he her husband) and yet not be married. One is where the woman is dependent on the estate for support (yet is not a partner in the estate), and the other is where she provides for her own support (but again is not a partner in the estate). These two differing types of exclusive - non-marital - relationships, however in both types of relationships the woman are still called wives (Again footnote F:2) and they are detailed below. 1) A Wife who is Dependent on the Estate In this arrangement a man is in relationship with one or more women who are not full wives, but (as far as their standing in the estate goes) since they dependent on the estate for support, could be called a number of different things. Biblically the old term is concubine (or in some societies “minor” wives, a title which reflects their standing in the estate). However they are still as much of a life long exclusive partner to the man as the full wife, but again are not partners in the estate. Biblically speaking (or should I say traditionally speaking) the children that result from this type of arrangement are given gifts, not inheritances (Genesis 25:5,6) Brethren, Abraham married his concubine after Sarah departed (compare Genesis 25:1 with 1 Chronicles 1:32) he was already in a legitimate exclusive relationship with a woman which happened to be non-marital, hence the distinction However, I’m not sure there is all that much difference between full wives and dependent wives in the eyes of God and the proof text in this has to do with David’s punishment when he sinned with Bathsheba (God said his WIVES would be given over to another 2 Samuel 12:11). If you happen to look at the story it was actually his concubines (the older term for the distinction between to two) that were given over (2 Samuel 16:21,22). In other word when we talk about the differences between women in exclusive relationship we are talking about a man made (societal /estate) distinction, not so much a God made distinction, that is to say that to God, they (that is women in exclusive relationships) are all the same - wives, but to the men they are in relationship with there can be a difference between full wives and “partial” ones (which again revolve around estate issues). And by the way, a concubine was not a sex toy, just a wife who has no rights (or very limited rights) over the estate. She may have had a prenuptial agreement or understanding. She was provided for, and the children of the relationship received gifts. These were personal decisions which were agreed upon by everyone involved. I don’t think anyone was force to do anything. Again, this is a NON-Marital state. Therefore since she is not a full partner’s in the estate (a marital position, remember the first section of this Appendix), the woman (or wife), in this case is mostly a beneficiary of the estate (once again a non-marital position). And remember, just because the woman is not married (in actuality a legal term, or a term recognized by law that makes legal distinctions between relationships) it does not mean there isn’t some sort of agreement or understanding or provision for her existence as well as any children that may result from the relationship - especially since it is a life long exclusive relationship. Nor does it mean that the man is not “husbandly” towards the woman (see also Judges 19:2,3 about a story concerning a concubine (that is: a life long exclusive partner) - and her husband) Now for the second type of non marital relationship… 2) A Wife who is NOT Dependent on the Estate. This type of relationship is found in the book of Isaiah (VERSE NEEDED) where a woman will provide for her own needs in return for taking on the name of the man. The implication is that it’s pretty much a one way type of covenant (or arrangement) hence they are not married [Remember marriage is defined as a covenant between two (or more people) where promises are made both ways]. The man in this case is (strictly speaking now) under no obligation to provide for the woman therefore since there is no (substantial) ‘two way promise’ he is not married to her Also, as in the previous relationship the woman has “no” rights over the man’s estate (again see F:4) It’s questionable in this case (strictly speaking now) whether the man could be called a husband (unless he nurtures and protects the women in other ways), but the women - I would say - are wives (that is in a life long exclusive partner role, for this seem to be what they promised in return for using the mans name). [however one could make the argument that the men are husbands because of the giving of the mans name. In other words it technically fit’s a definition of these kinds of major relationships (That is: promises going both ways)], but the man can just agree to be called the woman’s husband and take care of her (It is possible she has her own estate and want’s to keep it separate form the man’s) Now, as to the question of her standing in the mans estate? The woman is related to (for she has taken on the mans name), but not a dependent (or a beneficiary) of the estate (for she has a very prenuptial agreement or understanding). Conclusion Brothers and sisters there are other types of relationships between men and women besides the ones mentioned. There are different combinations of these (for example a full partner in an estate that works) as well as relationships that are based on levels of maturity and understanding (for example a friend who happens to be of the opposite sex, not an acquaintance mind you, but an actual friend. See Appendix E) But for the stable (secure, solid) day to day living arrangements that most people have today, my point in outlining what I outlined here is to acquaint a new generation of Christians of the different possible living arrangements between Christian men and women today. Different possibilities for their lives, and be accepting of them and not be judgmental. Brethren, these are all personal decisions. And since biblically speaking, a woman can be a wife - and not be married if woman enter into these “differing types of wives” relationships they - because of the way some people are - might be wise to keep the details of their arrangements to themselves (that is: are you a “full” wife or “minor” wife). (And I would advise full wives to keep their mouths shut about the standing of any other wife in the household, for it may just happen that if your husband should ‘pass on’ you yourself may find yourself in a similar situation as the other wife or wives, and I‘m sure you wouldn‘t like that kind of thing done to you). Just say about each other… “this is my wife husbands other wife _________ ” And if a man is speaking singularly about a minor wife just say… “this is my wife _________” and keep the details private. Also all wives should be able to say “this is my husband _________” Again remember, just because the woman is not married, does not necessarily mean that there is not some sort of arrangement or provision from the estate and that the man is not called her husband and the woman his wife. Brothers and sisters, remember…the biblical model is all over the place. And by the way, in regards to non-marriage relationships you can still have a ceremony where promises are made and one is pronounced husband and wife. The only thing is I would not call it a marriage ceremony - but maybe a celebration ceremony? (Sometimes people do have ceremonies to celebrate their love for one another) Brothers and sister’s remember when I started this chapter I stated that I would challenge your biblical definition of marriage? I think I did. A quick summary of what has been discussed… A Summary of Terms Marriage - A term that everyone has their own ideas about, but it is actually a legal term (or a term recognized by law) and has legal implications. Biblically speaking marriage is defined as a covenant (arrangement) between two (or more people) where… 1) promises are made both ways 2) and people are called husbands and wives 3) and the wives have full rights over the estate. Legally speaking (and this is true today) it deals with the question of who has the (first) rights over an estate. Biblically speaking when men marry, the women they marry become “full” wives, not minor or partial wives (or to use an old term concubines). Again, marriage is the avenue or means by which ‘a spouse’ becomes a full partner of an estate. It gives a person standing (partner status) concerning issues that concern and revolve around the estate. Only the wives who are married have this partner status. Wife - Legally speaking (from most civil, secular, and non biblical perspectives), a wife is someone who a man is married to and has full rights over the estate. Biblically speaking there are “full” wives and “minor” or “partial” wives, and the only woman who has full rights over the estate (that is a full partner in the estate), is the “full wife” (In other words the woman the man is married to) The dividing line between the “types” of the wives is marriage. When women marry they become full partners or “full” wives in the estate., until then (that is if they are not married), they are “minor” wives (minor in the sense of their relationship to the estate, NOT their relationship to the man). Brothers and sisters, a woman can occupy one of three positions in relationship to a husband 1) A full partner of the estate. 2) A beneficiary of the estate. 3) Related to, but not dependent on the estate. Again, in all three positions a woman may carry - from a biblical perspective - the title of wife - but again, since the term ‘marriage’ - from a biblical perspective - revolves around people who have full rights over the estate (that is a full partner’s), if a woman is not a full partner, even though she may carry the title of wife, she is not married to the man she is in relationship with [in other words - from a biblical perspective - the nature of their relationship - while proper - is something else (she is ‘a beneficiary’ or ‘related’ to the estate). Marriage is a term recognized by law that deals with estate issues. Now this is not to say that a person who is a beneficiary of the estate cannot become a full partner (see Abraham married - that is “partnered” - his concubine or life long exclusive partner after Sarah died) Again, biblically speaking a wife, can be “part” of the mans estate, but not necessarily a person who has full rights over the estate. Biblically speaking only a wife who is a full partner in the estate is the person a man is married to, in other words a woman can be a wife and not be married (F:5). Minor Wife - minor in the sense of their relationship to the estate, NOT their relationship to the man. As far as their relationship with the man goes they are on equal footing with the full wife. “Minor wife” is an old term as well as the term “concubine” which was also used to describe the position. They are not sex toys (I had to say it), but again occupy a legitimate man made social distinction that deals with questions of the estate (that is the disposal of the estate of the husband) A pre-nup or will acts in similar fashion (in other words a minor wife will probably have a pre-nuptial agreement or understanding). Again she is not a “full” wife (that is: she doesn‘t have full rights over the estate), nor is she married (a term that has legal implications) to the man she is in relationship with, but yet does have an intimate relationship with the man (just as much as the full wife has). She may or may not be taken care of, but usually is, unless there is a one way covenant. Her (their), children traditionally will receive gifts from the estate, but people are allowed to do what they want in this area. One Way Agreements - An agreement where a man is under no financial obligation to the woman (women) and hence is not married to them, yet some type of relationship is taking place (Note: we are talking about things from a religious perspective, from a civil or legal perspective - if the relationship (or understanding) were to fail - a woman may be entitled to legal benefits if there were children). The man may be called her husband and the woman may be called his wife. In regards to this particular type of covenant, (the woman’s - or wife’s standing in the estate), the woman is related to (for she has taken on the mans name), but not a dependent (or a beneficiary) of the estate (for she has a very prenuptial agreement or understanding). Again she’s not dependent on the estate, she’s independent of the estate, (that is: she has no legal part or standing in the estate), she’s an independent woman. Estate - When a man and woman get married, the property [that is: that is the land, home, vehicles, household items, etc.] as well as the money [that is the stocks, bonds, retirement funds, and / or bank account(s) etc.] they accumulate over the course of their marriage is called an estate. As people get older it can be substantial (or maybe not) in either case there might be a legitimate question as to the standing of a new addition to the household - particularly if there are children from the original marriage who stand to inherit, or questions about support in old age. Brothers and sisters, a lot of these issues that are talked about in this appendix - especially titles - revolve around the issue of the estate so it is an important topic. The question of the standing of a new partner (that is: are they a full partner of the estate? Or are they mostly a beneficiary of the estate? Or are they related to, but not dependent on the estate?) - while woman who occupy all three standings (or positions) may be called wives - biblically (and probably legally speaking) - the women who do occupy these positions - are different types of wives with differing rights (or no rights) over the estate. Terms and titles are exactly what you find in scripture to differentiate the different types of spousal arrangements, and they help define the different roles (or positions), people play in relationships. There is nothing wrong for a woman to talk this over before hand in order to understand what she may be getting into (that is “who’s who” and “what’s what” as far as their standing in the estate) Titles [if there are to be titles and again they should be something that is understood (not talked about) and kept private] ensure that there are no surprises, everything is ironed out before hand and understood (a prenuptial agreement works in the same fashion). Titles (as in the titles mentioned on these pages) also help husbands identify and explain what type of wife they are looking for (or could possibly afford), for a life of life long companionship as well. And brothers and sisters, these positions are personal matters that concern the people involved in the estate and are not subject to outside judgment. The titles only reflect the persons standing in the estate and have nothing to do with the relationship itself. Inheritance - From a traditional biblical sense an inheritance is what is given to children of the wife (wives). Gifts - From a traditional biblical sense what is given to the children of non-married partner, but again people are allowed to do what they want in this area. Especially so since we are brother and sisters in the Lord. Summary of Roles 1) Man - From a Christian woman’s perspective a brother in the Lord and a different gender than herself. Reread the section in Appendix D on “The Genders and their Relationship with Each Other.” 2) Husband - generally speaking, nurtures, protects and provides. He’s more often on the giving end of things in regards to his relationship with women, than on the receiving end. 3) Woman - From a Christian mans perspective a sister in the Lord and a different gender than himself. Reread the section in Appendix D on “The Genders and their Relationship with Each Other.” 4) Wives (Three Kinds) - generally speaking a wife is a woman who willingly gives self over to a man for nurture, protection and provision, She’s more often on the receiving end of things in regards to her relationship with men, than on the giving end. A) “Full” Wife - From a biblical perspective a full wife is a woman who is married and as a result has rights (that is a full partner) in and over the estate. A woman can be a wife and not be married (that is a wife in name without rights over the estate. See the next two sections on this, The input of the “full” wife in regards to the man taking on another “full” wife is paramount since the man is not the only full partner in the estate. Also, the question of how a woman becomes another full wife may in fact be related to what she brings to the estate [See Possibly David and Abigail on this (1 Samuel 25:40-44)] or it may be something that is just granted to her, or it may be something she may not want since she may be very well off on her own. B) A Wife who is Dependent on the Estate - from a biblical perspective a wife without rights over the estate and gives herself over to a man for nurture, protection and provision. She may have a pre-nuptial agreement (or understanding) (In times past there were such a thing as ‘lesser” or “minor” wives’ which were also called concubines in scripture) not lesser in quality or substance (see the Godhead as an example), or lesser in regards to their relationship with the man, but lesser in regards to their “position” regarding the estate. Again in regards to a man being in relationship with a woman and NOT being married to her, see the story where Abraham married his concubine (compare Genesis 25:1 with 1 Chronicles 1:32). In other words Abraham was already in relationship with her and not married. And again these women were wives (compare 2 Samuel 12:11 with 2 Samuel 16:21,22)]. Brothers, the input of the “full” wife in regards to the man taking on another wife is important here as well because there would probably be some sort of provision from the estate. Remember “full” wife and “lesser” or “minor” wife are ONLY legal terms that designate rights over the estate (or power of attorney etc). The woman is still the mans wife and the man is still her husband (compare 2 Samuel 12:11 with 2 Samuel 16:21,22; also see Judges 19:2,3). Brothers and sisters, even if these terms didn’t exist there might still be a legal name for a wife who did not have rights over the estate (and again, these are personal issues that are not subject to outside judgment). Once again the term “lesser” or “minor” wife acts like a prenuptial agreement that legally designates a role of a woman in regards to the estate, C) A Wife who is NOT Dependent on the Estate (One Way Covenant) This is found in Isaiah (VERSE NEEDED) and unlike the “full” wives arrangement or the “dependent” wives arrangement it does not involve the estate of the man (F:6). Therefore with this arrangement the input of the other full wife (or wives) and or other dependent wife (or wives) is not as pronounced. Brothers and sisters the estate is under no financial obligation to the woman (women) for they are not married, and it was a agreed on arrangement. Yet there is some type of relationship is taking place (Again, please note: we are talking about things from a religious perspective, from a civil or legal perspective - if the relationship (or understanding) were to fail - a woman would be entitled to child support). The man in this type of relationship may be called her husband and the woman is called his wife. Summary of Possibilities In Regards to Non Traditional Marital and Non-Marital ‘Joined Together’ Heterosexual Relationships Please note: Once again the term “lesser” or “minor” wife refers to their standing in regards to issues that revolve around the estate. All “lesser” or “minor” wives (that is dependent and independent wives) are on equal footing with the “full” wife in regards to their relationship with the husband (whom they all share). Also there is nothing wrong for a woman contemplating these kinds of relationships to talk things over with the man and household - before hand - in order to get an understanding as to what she might possibly be “getting into” to ensure that there are no surprises (that is “who’s who” and “what’s what” as far as their standing in the estate), (a prenuptial agreement works in the same fashion). Also there is nothing wrong for a woman to put preconditions of her own on the table in regards to certain things (for example the amount of other people the man is in relationship with, and I outline the various possibilities next) - but these are private matters. Again, titles [if there are to be titles and again they should be something that is understood (not talked about)] should be kept private The summary of possible relationships are… 1) A man and his (full) wife (A) (full partner in the estate) 2) A man and his (full) wives (A’s) (full partners in the estate) 3) A man and his (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wife (B) (no rights over the estate) 4) A man and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent ) wife (C) (no rights over the estate) 5) A man and his (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wives (B’s) (no rights over the estate) 6) A man and his (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent ) wives (C’ s) (no rights over the estate) 7) A man and his (full) wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wife (A+B) 8) A man and his (full) wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent ) wife (A+C) 9) A man and his full wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wives (A+B’s) 10) A man and his full wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” non- dependent ) wives (A+C’s) 11) A man and his full (major) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wife (A’s +B) 12) A man and his full (major) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent) wife (A’s +C) 13) A man and his (full) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wives (A’s +B‘s) 14) A man and his full (major) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent) wives (A’s +C‘s) 15) A man and his (full) wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wife and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent) wife (A +B + C) 16) A man and his (full) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” dependent ) wives and (“lesser,” or “minor” non-dependent) wives (A’s +B’s + C’s) and with this one I’ll end for you can get into different combinations with this like (A + B’s + C, and so on) Also brothers and sisters, if you want you can combine what is written in this section (which are basically solid and stable relationships - the non-dependent wife being a possible exception) with the non-covenant relationships mentioned in Appendix E (which tend to be more flexible) to give these type of relationships a mature “upgrade” of some sort (To understand how established marriage covenants can be modified in this way see Appendix G). APPENDIX G Altering a Marriage Covenant Can a man (or couple) who vowed “you and you alone” or “forsaking all other’s” bring another person (or partner) into his (or their) relationship? Especially in cases of ‘changed circumstances?’ Understanding Vows in Relation to Law The purpose of law (whether biblical or civil), is to govern social behavior. To look at the world through legal eyes would be to look at a black and white world. Everything that happens is basically right or wrong, no if’s ands or buts (G:1). Vows (or oaths or swearing), have a place in societies where ones word is just not good enough. Only ones word with the addition of a vow will do (G:2). The logic behind vowing is that when one vows (or swears) is that there is an enforced statement to a higher power (judges and or God) that says you will tell the truth on the particular matter. When done in civil court it’s an appeal by the witness to a judge (who oversee the swearing in ) for him to see his word as true and not only that but to punish him or her if they lie under oath (G:3). Also, to make sure a witness tells the truth the bible is often brought into a court of law and when one puts ones hand on the bible and swears (which most all courts of law make witnesses do) that is the courts way of bringing in another higher power (God) into the picture and the reason this is done is that if the witness for some reason does not take the court seriously at the very least there is the hope that they will take God seriously [and in making the person swear on the bible there is also an appeal by the court to God to notice what is going on, keep the witness in line (“so help me God”) and punish the witness if they lie]. Brothers and sisters, swearing (or taking an oath) is serious business (G:4). To up ones word a notch is no small thing. In regards to a court of law if one lies under oath a penalty will be due from both heaven and earth and the witness will get a double “whammy” from both God and civil judges. Christians and Vows Brothers and sisters, under the old covenant there were rules and regulations given to govern the use of vows (basically under what circumstances they were to be accepted). However under the new covenant vows are discouraged and to put it simply, ones word should be enough. In other words, don’t move things up a notch (as in “swearing to tell the truth” a court of law) simply let you yes be yes and your no be no (which is equivalent to affirmation “oath” in a court of law, that is you are affirming to tell the truth), anything else (that is: putting someone under something in addition to the “Yes or No” - a vow or swearing) is actually evil (Matthew 5:33-37) (G:5). The concept of society going back to ones word being good enough (which Christian are to do), rather than enforcing ones word with the use of vows has interesting implications in regards to marriage. If the new covenant marriage ceremony is done correctly, what links the partners together is not one’s vows [or wedding vows, for they (that is vows) are not to be exchange], but what links people together in the ceremony is ones word (or wedding words). According to Jesus ones word should be enough (and in regards to marriage it’s good enough to keep people together). Anything else in addition to this (that is to enforce ones word in the sense of binding, irrevocable vow) would be evil (G:6). Understanding ones Word In regards to wedding words (not vows mind you) and then rephrasing of the original question that was asked in this section - and that is can one change ones word (not vow) in regards to unforeseen circumstances (Now your starting to get the picture), just generally speaking, is almost always socially acceptable to change ones word (that is a promise) in regards to unforeseen circumstances, because one is only dealing with ones word (we are imperfect). This is especially so if it’s mutually agreed upon by the parties involved , whether business and personal (G: 7). If this is so, why shouldn’t it be also true in regards to wedding situations where vows had been repented over? Brothers and sisters, the new covenant is not about putting people under that higher level concept of vows that locks them into an agreement no matter what. The new covenant is about putting people under a more acceptable level (where ones word counts, and that is, in my opinion, ones word as far as one sees it at the time). Jesus did not want to put people under that higher level of functioning, but to put them under a more real way of doing things. According to Jesus to vow in regards to marriage is evil, and evil can be repented over (and I’m taking about people who were married under the old concept of wedding vows. They too can repent of that concept and be open to change - if circumstances dictate) To some of you this may seem way too different (and it’s probably new to most of you) so what I’d like to do here is to take you through a progressive walk through the scriptures, one section at a time, starting with basic things about vows (keeping wedding vows in mind), and moving on from there to higher things. What I’d like you to do is to start off with the common idea many people have about vows (or swearing) and that is they are an iron clad irrevocable thing that lock people in and cannot be changed no matter what, and lets find out if - scripturally speaking - you are right. And by the way, if you know that as believer we are not under law and are to live a life of faith and trust, and know that the issue in regards to life - is life, not law, and there is such a thing as repentance. Then you may want to skip this Appendix and move on to something else. I write the following with basically the new believer in mind. OK, brothers and sisters let’s begin! And take our progressive walk through the scriptures using the rhetorical method (and please, before I do I want to remind some of you that I am speaking of things from a religious perspective, no a civil one per-say. In other words if a man who was married under the old idea of marriage, “became enlightened” in regards to this issue and decided to look for another partner (or some sort), his life might still become a living whatever and his wife might still divorce him. Brethren, just because you are enlightened in regards to this issue does not mean that you are immune to the consequences of your actions. And once again, if you were to lie in court under the affirmation option you can still be punished regardless of whether you put your hand on the bible or not. In this appendix, we are primarily talking about things from a mutually agreed on religious (Christian) perspective and not necessarily in regards to civil laws. We are also talking about repenting of the concept of vows (replacing it with the concept of a promise or pledge) and it primarily being a mutually agreed upon thing (not that it can’t be a one way thing - for the sake of life, but again in this section we are primarily talking about a mutually agreed upon thing). OK, let’s go… Understanding Vows So you think vows are solid?, that they lock people in?, are iron clad?, and cannot be changed?, lets find out if you’re are right. 1) Brothers and sisters, did you know, that vows could be repented over under the “Rock Hard” Old Covenant? There is a chapter that deals with repenting over difficult vows. “Again, the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man makes a difficult vow…” (Leviticus 27:1 and following) If you read the chapter it concerns the making of difficult vows. It expressly says that if the person who made the vow considered it to hard to fulfill (unless the vow concerned something dedicated to the Lord), the person could pay a fine and be released from it. Now this verse in Leviticus is part of the rock hard laws of Moses. As we can see even that covenant was not as rock hard as you might expect and offered people some leeway. Another verse? _____________ 2) Brothers and sisters, did you know that vows could also be annulled under the “Rock Hard” Old Covenant ? First, a woman’s vows can be annulled by her father “But if her (that is: speaking of a daughter living under the roof of her father in her youth) “But if her father should forbid her (that is forbid her from fulfilling her vow) ON THE DAY he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will forgive her because her father had forbidden her” (Numbers 30:5) Also, a woman’s vows could be annulled by her husband “But if ON THE DAY her husband hears of it (the vow), he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the Lord will forgive her (Numbers 30:8) Again, we find another chapter that shows us that the definition of a vow being a rock solid thing is not as true as one might think. Women - under certain circumstances - were offered quite a bit of leeway in this area, one in regards to her father (that is) (1) if the vow was said in her youth (2) and she was living in her fathers house (3) and he annulled it on the day he heard about it - which could be quite some time from the actual date of the vow and second, in regards to her husband (that is he was also annul it). I think the idea behind it is that the person who was head of the household needed to keep control of the household and could not have people doing things independent of their authority (for they - as head - have responsibility in this area and would be responsible). Therefore God - for the sake of the head of household - allowed grace and latitude in this area. They could override vows. Still not convinced? How about another verse? ____________ 3) Brothers and sisters, did you know that vows could be also not be accepted in the Old Covenant? “In respect to an ox or a lamb which has an overgrown or stunted member, you may present it for a freewill offering, but for a vow it shall not be accepted” (Leviticus 22:23) Brethren, if you were going to make a vow and part of the vow included the offering of something that wasn’t right, then the vow would not be accepted and therefore voided. How about another verse? ____________ 4) Brothers and sisters, did you know that vows could be (or were allowed to be) creatively adjusted? (Two Examples) “And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If Thou wilt indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lords, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering. So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand… (then afterward) When Jephthat came to his house behold his daughter was coming out to meet him, and it came about when he saw her that he tore his cloths and said, ‘Alas my daughter you have brought me very low… for I have given my word to the Lord and cannot take it back. So she said to him, do to me as you have said… only let me alone for two months (and he did as she requested)” Judges 11:30-40 One really wonders about Jephthah and what he meant by the word sacrifice. There are different ways to view the concept of sacrifice here, some take it simply as it is, others view it as a sacrificial vow concerning the life long virgin hood of his daughter (Judges 11:37 see also verse 39). Brethren, people do vow stupid things in scripture (Saul (VERSE NEEDED), book of Acts (VERSE NEEDED) about people not eating till they get an apostle), but because this vow concerned something that was to be set apart for the Lord (see Leviticus 27) he was afraid to touch it [once again I want to remind you that we are dealing with law here and even though there was latitude here in regards to some things, other things seemed to be iron clad. Remember law was not a happy thing to be under (Galatians 3:23; Acts 15:10 and see Appendix D as well) that is why you have this creative type of adjusting going on. See the next example]. However, this aside. Whichever way you view the story, once the daughter (the subject of the vow) became aware of the vow - even though she was under the authority of the person who made the vow, she was allowed to add a request to it - which was granted (actually I could think of better requests that this - if you take the story in the worst possible way, she could have added - ‘ok, but just don’t do in until I’m extremely elderly‘). Again, the point of the matter is that the vow had wiggle room, even though it concerned something that was set apart for the Lord it was no so iron clad that she could not adjust it or delay it’s implementation. To put it simply she was allowed to adjust or delay a vow that was made and it was OK. The second example… “Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpath saying “None of us shall give his daughter to (the tribe of) Benjamin in marriage“…and (as a result) the sons of Israel (became) sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today. What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn to the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage”… Then the elders of the congregation said… “Behold there is a feast of the Lord… in Shiloh… And they commanded the sons of Benjamin (to) lie in wait… and watch, and behold if the daughters of Shiloh come out to take part in the dances, then you shall come out (of your hiding place) and catch a wife…And it shall come about, when their father and brother complain to us, that we shall say to them, “Give them to us voluntarily, because we did not take for each man of Benjamin a wife in battle… nor did you GIVE them to them , else you would now be guilty (that is guilty of breaking the corporate oath) (Judges 21:1-25) This story can be summed up as doing something rash, sealing it up with a vow, and then trying to figure out a way to get out of a vow that turned out to be no in ones best interest. The elders of Israel became very creative in regards to this matter and it did work. What they did was, in effect, keep “the letter” of the vow (that is: they did not GIVE wives to Benjamin), but broke “the spirit” behind the vow (for they let Benjamin TAKE wives for themselves) and it was OK. . And as a side point - since this section deals with vows in relation to marriage - this creative use of the concepts of Give and Take can still be used today, especially with people who are locked into this unbiblical concept that vows are unchangeable. In other words if you have trouble with the concept of not being under the law anymore or happen to straddle the line on this issue - in regards to marriage vows - if you as a man vowed to your wife “you and you alone” or “forsaking all others” and let’s say for the sake of argument want to take on another wife (see Appendix F), what he could do is say to the potentially new wife.. “listen, I made this vow about whatever, therefore I can’t take on another wife, however you can give yourself to me (and take care of your own needs) and you could still be my wife (that is we can have this relationship), but you can’t… whatever” Brothers and sisters, it would basically kind of be this back and forth reasoning in regards to this issue until the person(s) who made the vow could live with the arrangement which in effect keep the letter of the (original marriage) vow, but - like Israel - violates it’s spirit (and believe it or not, doing this kind of thing was OK. No one in Israel condemned Israel concerning this because I think everyone in Israel realized that they made a vow over something that just wasn‘t right). Thus, once again, in regards to the issue in this appendix which we are working our way through (that vows are solid, they lock people in, are iron clad and cannot be changed) we see another example which illustrates the point that vows are not as solid as one might think. In regards to marriage. If vows were wrong (to the words of Jesus they are evil), and one has trouble with the concept of not being under the law anymore (that is they want to follow the laws of vows on this issue or happen to straddle the line here), you - according to scriptural pretexts’ - are allowed to use your head to find creative ways out of them (and again this creativity was something that was done under the old covenant) and it would be OK. Therefore, in regards to the situation of “changed circumstances” if you have trouble in regards to this issue of vows “work it out” until you can live with what your conscience allows you to live with (and work on that law mentality while you are at it too) By all means do work your way through it, especially if what you vowed was wrong. Still not convinced? 5) Brothers and sisters, did you know that the Law - which you may be so concerned about keeping - was given because of bad behavior (disobedience; Galatians 3:19)? [and by the way if you - as a Christian - are reading this and still have this idea that vows are solid as solid can be, I think by now you have to realize that that is not true (and you could probably talk to any knowledgeable Jewish person about this as well). Also, as a Christian you should realize that since we are not under law anymore (many verses in scripture) - and that would include all these laws about vows - that this is probably where you should focus your attention in regards to the issue at hand {that is adjusting a marriage covenant}, and trying to get this understanding into your head). Once again, in regards to the new covenant, vows are equated with evil (a strong statement, Matthew 5:37) and evil can be repented over. Brethren, now ‘ones word’ (or promises) is the basis of solidifying things, and this lowered threshold does has implications in regards to “unforeseen circumstances” with this issue. Things can be change - especially if it’s mutually agreed upon ]. However if you are not convinced… lets go on. In regards to the just mentioned point… Civil law is no different than biblical law. Let me quote something from the beginning of this section… “The purpose of law in a civil society is to govern social behavior. ..Vows (or oaths) have a place in societies where ones word is not good enough. Only ones word with the addition of a vow will do” Even though we should do our best to follow through with our word, again doing things on the basis of ones word (or a promise) is not as binding a thing as doing things on the basis of a vow. Therefore one can be released from it. In regards to law in general let me quote something from the book Understanding Christianity (by the author) about the new covenant… “Law (as in the laws of Moses), was given to man because of disobedience (Galatians 3:19) and scripturally given to children until they learn to live a life of faith (Galatians 3:22-26). If you read the account of when the law was given - what were the children of Israel doing? Worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-35). It’s no wonder that when Moses came down from the mountain - after God gave him the law - it stated things like ‘Don’t worship anyone or anything but the Lord your God’(Exodus 20:3); ‘ Don’t make images (or idols) of things and call them God’ (Exodus 20:4-5) etc., and so forth (my paraphrases). People were not treating God - nor - if you look at the other laws - each other correctly. Later still, because of their continued disobedience. God ended up giving them even more laws - or commandments (600+ total an exasperating amount), all on how to behave and what to do. Obviously there were major problems with people’s behavior. Brothers and sisters, before the laws of Moses were given, people lived without written law, biblical law, like civil law is written in part because of disobedience (and if you study the history behind many civil laws there was probably a violation of trust somewhere that enacted these laws). Without getting into a whole bunch of things we are just not under these biblical laws, and as Christians we are to live a life of faith and trust (look at the appeal of an apostle in Acts 15:10). Brothers and sisters, if you trust someone you don’t need rules and regulations to regulate every aspect of the relationship. Think of it this way. There are two houses, both have six people living in them. The first house has 2 parents and 4 very young children. There are tons of rules in that house to regulate behavior and make everything run smoothly. They are actually written on the walls in the house and cannot be changed. In the second house there 2 parents and 4 adult children. There are practically no rules except the rule of love and consideration of one another for everyone is an adult. If there are problems in the household they try to fix them and they do their best to mutually agree on the best course of action. There is a lot of leeway in that house, leeway that you don’t find in the first house for life (particularly adult life) does not neatly fit into the rules and regulations of every day life (G: 8). Sisters and brothers, it’s the same way in regards to the new covenant (the gospel). If people are living a life of faith and trust with one another, are considerate and talk things over - who needs a bunch of unchangeable rules and regulations to regulate behavior? It’s as simple as that. Law was given in large part because people were not living this kind of lifestyle with one another to begin with, therefore like the house with very young children (who may have trouble even listening to their own consciences) an extra source of the same kind of guidance was needed to be given to enforce correct behavior with one another (sort of like a “Here look!” kind of thing). However a life of faith, trust and consideration (which the second household had) overrides law between people. This is what the new covenant is about. In regards to the question in this section… “Brothers and sisters, did you know that the Law - which you may be so concerned about keeping - was given because of bad behavior (disobedience; Galatians 3:19)?” And in regards to the subject of this Appendix (that is taking on another spouse), as long as you realize that we are not under law anymore, but are to live a life of faith and trust, if one mutually agrees upon the arrangement - what is the problem? (G:9). OK, lets go on. ____________ The New Covenant in Regards to Marriage “Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband… but now we have been released from the law, having died to that which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit, and not in oldness of the letter” (Romans 7:1,2, 6) “Brethren, I speak in terms of HUMAN RELATIONS (that is how humans view covenants), even though (the human covenants we know about are)… only… mans covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one (1) sets it aside or (2) adds conditions to it…why then the law? (which was added to God’s covenant with Abraham after it had been ratified), it was added because of transgressions (bad behavior) (Galatians 3:15,19) Romans 7 speaks of the concept of marriage in terms of “law”, Galatians speaks of covenants as something that - according to humans terms - cannot be changed (which is still how a lot of humans view them). What I find interesting about the above verses (particularly Galatians) is how little support there is concerning this idea that a marriage covenant is rock solid. Look at Galatians. Man’s view of covenants is different than Gods view in that something can be added to it. “though it is only a mans covenant (that is man‘s view of covenants), yet when (the covenant)… has been ratified, no one (1) sets it aside or (2) adds conditions to it” [but yet God added something to His covenant with Abraham, the law (Galatians 3:15,19)] For God, the definition of a covenant is something that stands, but is also something that can be altered, depending on circumstances. Particularly in regards to unbelief (see 1 Corinthians 7:15 which just happens to speak of a marriage covenant). The thing is this, if God could alter a covenant why can’t man? Whether it’s a ‘big altered thing’ or a ‘little altered thing’ what is the difference? Especially in regards to changed circumstances. I think in regards to 1 Corinthians 7:15 you can easily make the case that something could be added (altered) to and in regards to a marriage covenant because of disobedience (and we are talking about people here). Romans 11:17, 24 also brings out this point. “but if some of the branches (some Jewish people) were broken off (of the covenant because of their unbelief), and you (Gentiles, because of your belief)…were grafted in among them (that is: among the tree of believing Jewish people)… how much more shall these (the unbelieving Jewish people) who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree (if they believe)” (Romans 11:17, 24) Covenants are not necessarily permanent, especially in regards to unbelief (that is not faithfully following through with ones end of the deal) this was the thing Jesus ran into when He encountered people who believed that they were in the covenant just because they were the physical descendants of Abraham ((VERSE NEEDED)). Things can change in regards to covenants particularly if there are problems (such as unbelief) (G:10). Let’s go on with our stroll through the scriptures… Understanding ones Conscience in Regards to the Law of Marriage Brothers and sisters, again there is a progression of understanding and insight found in scripture (that is why we are taking a stroll). Dealing with the issue of law is one thing (which actually is pretty easy, involved, but easy). Dealing with the conscience (the next topic on our stroll) can be another matter. The conscience is internal law given by God to man to regulate behavior, it predates as well as takes the place of written law (See Appendix D and footnote D:18). Sisters and brothers, everyone has a conscience. Brethren, the conscience is a funny thing for it actually matures with age and will actually supersede written law as it matures (and because it is a form of law itself, will supersede it‘s previous understanding of things as well) (See Appendix O). What usually happens is that as Christians realize that we are not under law anymore, slowly but surely, they start breaking out of a law mentality and start flowing with the flow of life mentality (usually in my experience one of the first issues Christians deal with is doing any kind of work on the Sabbath. [Moms and dads who prepare meals for the household on the Sabbath, or have to work are trailblazers in this area]. In my experience the conscience pretty much deals with the basic parameters of life, mostly a ‘broad stroke’ kind of thing that God can override [if circumstances dictate (Genesis 22)], or if there is a change in God’s purposes (Acts 10:10-16), and once again it does mature with age (an important point). It’s most common basic function is often described as a little voice inside your head telling you not to do a particular act, BECAUSE you would not want that done to you and it contributes to the reasoning process that goes on before an act is done [“their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Romans 2:15)] . Brothers and sisters there is nothing wrong with having a good conscience (VERSE NEEDED) but you have to realize that it does matures with age. A lot of the maturing centers around life related issues - which may in the end violate biblical law [the maturity’s hallmark being where one operates not in terms of what is right and wrong (the way the law works), but in terms of what causes life and what does not. Again, the way the God of life works]. . Let’s look at what Jesus said about King David (again keep your marriage related questions in mind). Again Jesus speaking… “how he (David and his companions), entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat...” (Matthew 12:3-4). David violated law for the sake of life - and Jesus said it was OK [Also, see Luke 6:6 when Jesus heals on the Sabbath “Is it lawful... to save a life...” In Luke He’s trying to point out - by asking the question, it’s very absurdity. Of course it’s “lawful,” (even if it’s against “the law” or a persons or groups understanding of it)]. Brothers and Sisters, life (that is life issues), are always more important than obedience to law (G:11). This is one area (the violation of biblical law) where peoples consciences do need to mature (The book Understanding Christianity by the author deal with this subject in detail as well as Appendix D, N and O). Brothers and sisters while there may be legitimate debate on how far one can go in regards to overriding ones conscience in certain matters (outside the leading of the Spirit of God), however in regards to the laws of marriage… I’ll let you decide? (Also see Appendix O for more in regards to your conscience). Understanding the focus of Jesus Teaching It’s about life not law As we continue our stroll through the scriptures from one level of understanding to another (again the progression). Let’s look once again at the teaching of Jesus (that is what was it He was focusing on). Once again, the story of David… “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath through the grain fields, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick heads of grain to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.’ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions; how he entered the house of God and they ate of the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath (Laws) and are innocent? But I say to you something is greater than the temple is here. but if you had known what it means, I desire compassion, and not sacrifice’ you would have not condemned the innocent. For the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:1-8) The statement concerning David’s activities not being lawful ,yet OK, (in other words justifying an illegal act) is a rather shocking statement by Jesus that is often overlooked (and when it is looked at, one may wonder how Jesus could possibly say such a thing?) There are a few things to note about these verses that might help us gain insight into Jesus thinking (which also might be helpful in regards to the topic of this appendix) . 1) Life is more important than law. 2) Having compassion on someone is more preferable than following law. Again, “but if you had known what it means, I desire compassion, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7) 3) Listening to Jesus (“something greater than the temple is here”) is greater than following rules and regulations - again because He is greater (actually the disciples were just flowing with the flow of life, they couldn’t care less about following the Sabbath law and it could have been because they knew Jesus was with them or would correct them if they were doing something wrong). 4) Also, you can violate the law - and because of intent (that is going with life over law) - still be considered innocent (“you would have not condemned the innocent” Matthew 12:7). Brothers and sisters the focus of Jesus was life not law. I think one should remember that as one considers the main question in this discussion and that is Can a man (or couple) who vowed “you and you alone” or “forsaking all other’s” bring another person (or partner) into his (or their) relationship? Especially in cases of ‘changed circumstances?’ Based on Jesus teaching in Matthew 12 alone what would you say? I would say yes. Understanding Faith (that is a life of Faith) Brothers and sisters the new covenant is about living a life of faith and trust with one another. “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (the Law)…” (Galatians 3:25) The purpose of law was to confine and box people in until one was able - by the coming power of the Holy Spirit within - to live a life based on higher things than that. Statue upon statue measure upon measure until… (VERSE NEEDED, Isaiah?) In other words a life of faith and trust. One of the things that being under law did was to lead one to desire higher things and a higher way of living. However because the Holy Spirit had not been given yet ((VERSE NEEDED)), one needed to wait until that day came. Now that He has come we can live the life that was promised us, a life of faith and trust with one another, not based on rules and regulations but from the life and power of the risen Christ within. Brethren, in regards to this new life and the issue at hand - marriage. Also in regards to its related issues, let me expand the discussion and ask you now that we are no longer under the law and can live the life of our choosing, what can you live with? Can you live alone? Or do you have to have something to have a relationship with? Do you need a plan? Do you need a promise? Do you have to have a commitment? (if so, is it sealed with a vow or a kiss or nothing) Do you want a full or partial relationship? Do you even want a close relationship? Or would you rather live a free unattached life (and anyplace you lay your hat is your home?) What about marriage (the subject of this Appendix)? Or would you really rather be single? Or would you rather just have a close friend? Is marriage with free benefits on the side the life you are looking for? Or just a care free life with no responsibilities? And is there such a thing? What about children, child raising costs, and their college education. Will love pay the rent, the auto payments or insurance premiums? Will God pay the rent, the auto payments, or whatever if you just sit there and don’t do anything? What about your retirement - if it comes to that, or is everything just a matter of faith and which ever way the wind (the Spirit of God) flows is where you go with no real earthly planning to speak of? Do you have the faith for that kind of lifestyle? If so, God bless. Where are you at in your relationship with God? Can you actually live a life of faith and trust alone? (that is faith and trust in God?) Brothers and sisters I have a feeling that many individual people live through most of the life choices listed above at one point or another in their lives (not all of them, but a good deal of them, single, married, just having a friend etc). Given this and the wealth of experience that is out there, not only observable, but to inquire of, you have to ask yourself (in regards to the main topic of this discussion and quite possibly the subsequent avenues of thought) - outside the leading of God. What is it that you really want out of life? (pause and honestly fill in the blank _____________) and do you have the faith to live that kind of life? Brothers and sisters, in regards to the various life choices mentioned here if you asked for my advise I would say that since most people do not like to live alone and or desire sex on a somewhat regular basis that marriage or the other permanent (or “permanent”) options outline in Appendix F (or some of the non permanent options outlined in Appendix E) should be considered. If not, since most people seem to desire some kind of human interaction on a regular basis, a close friendship, at the minimum seems to be in order. Therefore unless God or the flow of life is leading you otherwise, living an overly wild or unplanned lifestyle may not be in ones best interest (G:12). In regards to relationships things at that stage seem to be very superficial and relationships close to meaningless. However, the way in which one lives their life is very much a personal decision and it is possible that people at various stages of life desire different things and view all these matters differently. Again, unless God or the flow of life is leading you to do otherwise having a basic plan for ones life - that includes other people - is not necessarily a bad thing. Even temporary relationships can be helpful. Conclusion “Anyone who goes too far…” (2 John 1:9) If you look at the above verse it directly follows the commandment on love (which is the teaching of Christ). Love is the guiding light for all actions and is behind everything we do. Things done outside love should be reconsidered. Now this is not to say that there isn‘t a time for discipline (or like matters) ((VERSE NEEDED) God chastens all His children), but even with that love is still the motivation (that is love for the disciplined to do the correct thing or walk in the correct way) Brothers and sisters, now that you have been set free from the law of marriage, what are you thinking? If marriage (or the type of marriage you had) was not what you want you can now live the life of your choosing. What kind of lifestyle do you have the faith for? What is it that you can live with? Brethren, to me life is like a ballpark with no back fence, as long as you stay within certain parameters you can hit, or score, or make an unlimited amount of points about things. The hits can be right field points, center field points, even left field points (and some people do like scoring in left field a lot), but all the hits - as long as they are within the foul lines (the parameters of life) - are all OK. Brothers and sisters, sometime you can talk to people about a controversial issue (such as a man taking on another wife after he vowed “forsaking all others”) and you can go back and forth about things (the back an forth being ones understanding of the parameters of life) and sometimes you come to the conclusion that - while the answer to a particular question is ‘outside’ of where the “game is commonly played” (again there is no back fence) - because it stayed within the parameters of life (that is: inside the foul lines) doing such a thing - while controversial - is OK (maybe left field, but OK). [in other words, since one can imagine a circumstance where such an action would be permissible, a legitimate point (or hit) was made (even though it may be far outside the realm where the “game” is commonly played (remember no back fence), again, because one can imagine a circumstance where such action would be OK, a point was made] [and brethren, I don’t think that this kind of remarriage issue is outside of where the game is commonly played. These kinds of relationships (even a man with a committed woman ‘on the side’ which is pretty much the same thing - and goes on all the time by the way), are not that strange (and I’m speaking about a mistresses and some wives do know about these things and because of social stigma don’t publicly acknowledge them). Brethren, if congregations would recognize these relationships so that people could be up front about them and allow for them to become legitimized (for example a second marriage), the world would be a better place [for this is after all they lifestyle they desire (or have chosen), and Appendix K may give you further insight into this if you yourself think that this kind of lifestyle is not for ones best (these issues can be very relative)]. Brothers and sisters in regards to my illustration about the ballpark. Even though there is no back fence in our playing field, we - in regards to these and other issues - don’t want to go outside the foul lines (that is: the parameters of life), whether you play on a little league field or a major league field you just don’t want to go outside those lines [actually I have found that it’s the league of the players (that is: major, minor, little league), and the size of the field they play on is the reasons behind a lot of controversies. In other word some people are playing with people who are either beneath or outside out their league on fields that are either too big or too small, hence the arguments]. Now granted there is controversy about the rules of the game, but they mostly have to do with the maturity of the individual [in other word if you violate certain rules - and again they do change depending on which field you are on [major, for adults and minor, for children] (G:13), if you violate those rules it will not be for ones best. Brothers and sisters, thing have changed in the new covenant regarding certain rules (kind of like the difference in rules between the American and National leagues) - however it’s the basic principles of behavior that stay the same in both covenants - for example don’t do anything to anyone that you would not want done to you etc. In other words even though the league rules have changed (which in our case can somewhat parallel differences in rules between major and minor leagues), the basic parameters of life have not (the foul lines). ____________ Again…“Anyone who goes too far…” (2 John 1:9). And keeping all that we talked about in mind (especially alternate non-marital lifestyles in Appendix E)… Brothers and sisters, the apostle John who wrote the above verse was an apostle famous for understanding the concept of love. He understood what Christianity was about and if you read his letters he is not very big on commandments (and the only ones he pretty much concentrates on have to do with love and they are non-burdensome). John was very free in his thinking about things. Having said that he also wrote the above verse about if “anyone goes to far…” so he had something on his mind. John wrote this verse in a letter we call 2nd John, about 60 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. John witnessed a lot, he saw a lot in regards to the church, and talked to and had fellowship with all the apostles. He knew where everyone was coming from. He also spent 3 years watching and listening to Jesus. John also knew first hand what the gospel was about. (Again, love and the non-burdensome commandments regarding on how love plays out), yet he knew that people - because of the lack of commandments - could go too far in their thinking about things as well as their actions concerning appropriate behavior. Brethren, one of the apostles John had fellowship with said this… “anyone who competes as a athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5) There are basic rules that regulate the game, and (for the sake of argument), unless God, the flow of life or a mature conscience says different, the act of going outside those rules is “going to far.” If you read Appendix D and E you may gain some insight as to what those rules are. They basically have to do with the true parameters of life and revolve around the question of whether the motivation behind a particular word spoken or deed done is faith, hope, and or love (see 1 Thessalonians 1:3 in regards to this threefold division). [in other words - outside the leading of God (who happens to flow with the flow of life) - would a person in love with God - and the brethren - do such and such a thing(s)]. Brothers and sisters it’s hard to actually write out all these commandments (or foul lines) in part because there are different types of players playing on different fields and ones maturity in regards to certain things determine them, however the conclusion of the athlete/rule verse may be helpful here.. “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7) Brothers and sisters, God will help you in all these areas that concern you, but at the minimum commandments that have to do with love (1 Corinthians 13) are must principles to follow because they have to do with the flow of life. Brothers and sisters if you read Appendix D, you will notice that I am not big on law, but more flow with the flow of life. I think that is the way we should all be, but that is not to say that there aren’t true parameters to life out there [even 1 John talks about staying away from idolatry (1 John 5:21, which is his very last point). In other word would a person in love with God worship idols?]. I could go on with these things here (but, again read Appendix D if you want to gain more insight into these parameters, but let me conclude in regards to this topic. Final Words Sisters and Brothers, regarding the main topic of this Appendix (the taking on of another spouse, again if that‘s the lifestyle you desire and have the faith for, in other words the level of understanding you are at) it might be wise to end with a piece of advise. Brothers and sisters it would be wise to be cautious about getting involved in another relationship, I am not saying not too, but it may be a life long decision and that means you are going to have to live with it for quite some time. In regards to marriage, you want to be pretty sure about things before you take the plunge (again). Scripturally speaking I have no problems with a person repenting of their vows and taking on another spouse - if it was mutually agreed upon by the first wife. Scripturally speaking - even if it was not agreed on by the first wife I would have no problem with it - if the decision met certain criteria [and it might be wise - unless God says different - to be “center field” here regarding these criteria (that is respect, talking things through, etc.)]. However, in regards to this, listening to a God who still speaks today and flowing with the flow of life mentality is what you are looking for in regards to this. It’s as simple as that) Brethren remember, as you revisit your first marriage vows (if that is where you are coming from) and making them into new promises (or pledges) (G:14) to one another so you can take on another spouse you are not “divorcing” the first marriage (and it might lead to that if the inclusion of the second spouse is not done in a proper way), but only modifying it (or altering the words spoken, reread the beginning of this Appendix). Also remember that when you did speak your original vows you said them to one another, not to God (and this fact might be helpful in regards to some peoples consciences in regards to this area, and is particularly helpful in regards to the issue of mutual consent issue) Also, brethren, if you alter the words of your marriage covenant I would not go around saying I made a mistake either (G:15). If a mistake was made it was in the making of the vow (and not being married in ‘yes, yes’ terms) or in regards to the “you and you alone” or “forsaking all others” part. I would just say that in regards to taking on another spouse that the decision to limit your first marriage between two people was not for ones best (once again your first marriage wasn’t a mistake, as in ‘I made a mistake getting married.’ If there was a mistake made it was saying “you and you alone” (or “forsaking all others”) and or getting married on the vow level - which again - according to Christian thought - is not the thing to do (again for Christians it’s an evil thing to lock yourself into something ((VERSE NEEDED)) , for you don‘t know how your life is going to play out) and again to say that evil can‘t be repented over - as in reducing vows to pledges, or just desiring to live a life of faith and trust with one another instead of dealing with relationships on the basis of law - is ridiculous). Also, brothers and sisters I do want to point out here that there is nothing wrong with being married (1 Timothy 4:1-3), I am not going in that direction with this, however if it’s done it should be done on the basis of promises or pledges not vows. But once again, these are all personal decisions and in some part, personal criteria which are not subject to outside judgment. Brother and sisters in regards to the original question… Can a man (or couple) who vowed “you and you alone” or “forsaking all other’s” bring another person (or partner) into his (or their) relationship? Especially in cases of ‘changed circumstances?’ The answer once again is yes, and it more than ‘squeaks by.’ APPENDIX H Holiness Positional and Experiential Brothers and sisters, how you view the subject of holiness revolves around your view of Jesus (that is the basic thrust of where He was coming from, His teaching) as well as what His work of the Cross meant and did for those who believe. When studying the subject of holiness some people like to break up the subject into the various viewpoints championed by various denominations and talk about it that way (that is: it’s instantaneous, or it’s progressive, or a second work is needed etc.). Others like to talk about in terms of positional vs. experiential and expand on it from there. If I’m going to discuss it, what I’d like to do is to start off by asking questions on where one stands on various issues [for brethren, it’s how one answers these questions that determines where they stand in regards to the various viewpoints of Holiness and therefore one need not be influenced by various denominations etc.], (and as a side point the discussion about holiness here is nothing new and has been debated as far back as “biblical times” (read the book of Galatians or look at various verses in the other epistles where the discussion came up), I have a feeling that most all the denominations [except for the Wesleyans;), and of course legalist Christianity :( ] have bit‘s a pieces of the truth in regards to this issue. We just need to put all the views - that fit - together). Anyway here are the questions are, and answer honestly… 1) Define what it means to be holy? 2) Is there a relationship between holiness and the law? 3) What is law? 4) What was the purpose of the law? 5) What was the basic thrust of Jesus teaching? law or life? 6) Did Jesus come to put people under the law, or to set them free from the law? 7) Did the Apostles desire to put people under the law? (Was that why they were sent into the world? Was that what they preached when they preach? Law?) 8) What is grace? Is grace given in order to give us time to line up our lives with the law or line up our lives with what God wants us to do? 9) Is “the law” and “what God wants us to do” the same thing? 10) Does, will or would God ever want us to violate the law? 11) How do you view Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac? 12) What is the role of faith in a believers life? 13) What makes one holy? Lining oneself up with teaching (whatever they or it may be), or belief (that is just believing God)? 14) Is holiness something that is instant or progressive? 15) Did the thief on the cross go to heaven and why? As I said in the beginning where you stand on these issues determines where you stand on the various viewpoints on holiness. Generally speaking most people see and understand the instantaneous and progressive aspect of holiness [which can also be put in such terms as positional (that is we are instantaneously positionally holy before God) and experiential (that is our positional holiness before God is progressively unfolded in our experience). (and brethren, both these viewpoint are true) However what happens is that some Christians (or denominations) like to emphasize one aspect over the other (and this is just generally speaking, evangelicals the experiential aspect and Charismatic’s and Pentecostals the positional aspect) Also within what I would call “the evangelical base” (and I use the term broadly), you will find various groups that dabble in the law (and that is our experiential holiness will be reflected in the law in some or all ways). This “dabbling” within Christianity to me is no different than what goes on within the various branches of Judaism who also dabble with the law, and in regards to Christians, the Amish (and what not), taking over the roles of the Orthodox Jewish people, and other Christian groups taking over the roles of the Conservative, Reformed and Liberal aspects of that religion (and again I use the term “evangelical “ broadly). Brethren, I think if you put all the - what I would call - correct aspects of denominational truths in regards to the matter at hand (that is put all the views - that fit - together), you are going to find that there is relativity in regards to the issue of holiness depending on where you are coming from in regards to your faith and conscience. Where God is leading you and what God is trying to accomplish in your life (H:1). Brothers and sisters remember life is about life not law. Jesus will emphasize this time and time again in His teachings. Sure life may follow some sort of form, but then again it may not follow known form, but flow outside the box (of the law per say) and not be apparent as to where it going to the person involved in making a decision in his or her life (H:2). Thus a “leap“ of faith is involved in filling the gap of ones understanding. Brothers and sisters, if you are following the basic flow of the questions asked in this Appendix you will see that the answer in regards to the subject of “What makes one holy ?” (which is what we are talking about), revolves around the subject of ‘believing God’ and ‘following what the Lord wants you to do’ rather than following a bunch of rules and regulations. Abraham believed God and a lot was reckoned to him by that belief, and Abraham continued to believe God - even when God told him to do something that in many peoples minds was very questionable - and because of the belief (that is his trust and faith) God said even more to Him. Brethren, if you spend time studying the subject of holiness you will find that - aside from the sanctifying power of being set apart by God for His purposes by believing and obediently following through with what He tells you to do, holiness and purity will come down to a number of things for a Christian… 1) Realizing that the finished work of the cross is indeed finished. That positionally before God there is nothing we can do to add to our holiness. In other words if Satan / the Devil were to come against you for some reason and say you are a sleazy no good whatever, you CAN say NO! that’s not true. I may have made a mistake, but I have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus and not only is His blood good enough to cleanse me from my sin, but it’s also good enough to make me sparkling clean - IN FACT I am sparkling clean (that is holy and pure) before Him. Brothers and sisters, Christians need to realize that this is true no matter how they may feel. Feelings have no bearing on truth. Believe me when I say that to believe and say that the blood of Jesus is not good enough to cleanse you from your sin is not only an insult to the Father, but also heresy and you better repent. In regards to regaining experiential holiness after you make a mistake (whether large or small), or after you sin (whether large or small) the answer is just to repent (that is change direction and do the right thing(s). And by the way the blood of Jesus will break curses over your life as well. 2) Another thing holiness will come down to (and some people might use the word “purity” here) is realizing that positional holiness will always play out in our experience in some way [and this is true even if you live your life on the basis of only listening to Gods leading, in other words if you listen to Gods leading and “follow through” you are holy, sanctified (which means “set apart” which also involves setting yourself apart for God) and pure]. In regards to laws some may find questionable to violate [and here is where the issue of relativity and conscience may come in (see Appendix O in regards to your conscience)]. there is nothing wrong with saying… “Generally speaking unless God or the flow of life says different… this and that is true.” and for some “This and that” can refers to - at the minimum - principles to follow, or principles to live our life by in the absence of any other kinds of guidance (which includes the conscience). Brothers and sisters, in regards to experiential holiness and the public doing of, let’s say “questionable acts.” If someone were to question why you are doing such “a questionable act” (publicly or even privately) and “God or the flow of life” is not the answer… maybe one should think twice about why we are doing what we are doing. Particularly if it is done publicly (However remember in regards to public behavior we are NOT under the law anymore so maybe the other person needs to grow up a little). Again, positional holiness will play out in our experience in some way. The testimony of people who have gone before us as well as the testimony of scripture finds this to be true. And brothers and sisters, I have found that one of the main ways this holiness plays out is in regards to a selfless life. That is a life that considers the needs of others above ones own. Remember the abundant Christian life is a selfless life, ‘greater love have no man that he lay down his life for his friends’ (VERSE NEEDED) also ‘he who loses his life for my sake will find it’ (VERSE NEEDED) Holiness generally speaking now, outside the leading of God will more times than not flow in this selfless direction and if it’s going to follow any manner or form it would be this one. “ We know love by this; that he laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16) 3) Another thing holiness will come down to (and again if you spend time studying this you will find this to be true) is realizing that God still speaks today and He is a Living God. And one should allow for the possibility that He might lead a person outside of established norms or laws (again see footnote H:2). Brothers and sisters, God is a God of life, not law. The thrust of Jesus teaching (if you responded to the questions at the beginning of this Appendix correctly) was life not law (again see how Jesus contrasts law with life in regards to King David, Matthew 12:4). Therefore NOT LISTENING to the leading of God’s Spirit especially in life changing situations (the crossroads), may actually lead one to become unholy (or un - set apart) in ones experience (or to use another word ‘unsanctified’ or ‘not being fully dedicated to the Lord’), therefore, because of ‘half-heartedness’ (or being caught up with a bunch of rules and regulations) you may find yourself in a place God doesn‘t want you. (But don’t worry God is famous for getting His people out of the muck and putting their feet back on a solid rock. God will always show us the way out of situations that are not His will, but we need to listen and obey) Again, God is a God of life, not law. The flow of life will follow the flow of God’s Spirit (that is the flow of an abundant selfless life will follow the flow of God’s Spirit). Brothers and sisters, experiential holiness will follow life (except sometimes in regards to public behavior concerning other peoples consciences. In those cases - even though life may say different - life may have to willingly, lovingly wait (except again for people who really need to grow up in regards to the Christian faith. You may, by your act, need to make them aware of, and give them a little push into the broadness and scope of life‘s possibilities. However see the next point) . 4) Brothers and sister, as mentioned before the conscience (Appendix O), can be associated with relativity and can be a relative thing in regards to outward (or manifest), holiness so it might be wise to cut ourselves and other people ‘slack’ in regards to actions and behaviors (in other words don’t second guess yourselves if you moved out in faith in regards to some thing or things). However, if people (within a church) publicly do things that cause other people to stumble (and I’m not talking about violating old covenant law, per say, but major questionable things) it can cause the corporate flame to flicker. Brethren, a goal of Christianity is to mature in conscience, and granted once again, some people really need to ‘grow up’ about things, particularly things that were from a previous covenant, but even so, we still need to be careful and not flaunt our consciences, particularly in regards to questionable things - unless God or the Spirit of life says (or leads us) differently. Even though we may be able to do questionable things with a clear conscience (which in turn will not effect our experiential holiness), others may not be as fortunate and may - because they don’t understand the reasoning behind the act, or the level that you are at in your conscience - may in fact stumble if they went ahead and did what you did and fall away. Brethren, this is a warning that is found in scripture ((VERSE NEEDED)) 5) Brothers and sisters, another thing holiness will come down to (and this might help you define it in regards to your experience) is realizing that there is a direction God moves in and it’s always forward and upward into the ways of life (and even though we are not under law anymore and are to live a life of faith and trust there are rules (or “rules”) out there that have to do with maintaining the abundant life we have. For example a major rule is to realize that the abundant life is indeed a selfless life. [“He who saves his life will lose it” ((VERSE NEEDED))]. Scripture also admonishes us that we are in a race and to compete in a race one must follow rules (2 Timothy 2:5). Now some of the other rules (aside from selfless living) are obvious (love one another - which is a commandment that is ‘not burdensome’ ((VERSE NEEDED)), but others may not be. Some of the other laws or rules we as Christian follow that will help us win the race are as follows… 1) Law of Recognition: Realizing that God is at work in you to will and to do ((VERSE NEEDED)). Also we need to realize what’s going on within us and recognize the winning and overcoming power, as well as the ability of the Spirit of Christ within to help us. 2) Law of Rest (no striving): God who began this work in you will complete it. (verse). So don’t fret or go about worrying. Have a proper attitude. 3) Law of Cooperation (non-passivity): God is within you, so hey! we need to co-operate with the leading of His Spirit. In other words don’t grieve the leading of Spirit of God - and brethren, He will lead. 4) Law of Reckoning / Realizing: We need to considering the finished work of the cross done in your life - no matter how we feel. Don’t let feelings get in the way. 5) Law of Continuing to Believe God’s Word: (Hebrews (VERSE NEEDED)), Brother and Sisters, even though things are finished and done there still seems to be a progression we need to go through in our experience. (not positionally, but in our experience). Faith, trust and obedience to and in God’s leading is often what is needed. Read the book of Hebrews concerning the people who went before us and see how important it is to continue to believe God in spite of what you see. 6) Law of Living your life according to the Spirit of God: [not according to stone (the Old Covenant Law)], but according to fresh revelation from a living, speaking God. (H:3). Brothers and sisters, in regards to the overall rules of the race of life, life does seem to flow within certain parameters (Reread the last two sections of Appendix D), and even though those parameters expand with maturity there are some things that may not wise to go beyond unless the Lord or the flow of life should lead you there. Your conscience can help you with the flow of life issues. God will give you insight into the rest. 6) Another thing holiness will come down to (and this is something that is often overly focused on by what I would call legalistic denominations, but never the less there is truth in it) and that is realizing that dealing with “the flesh” (or bodily needs, desires and wants) has been traditionally what a good part of manifest holiness (that is positional holiness manifest in our experience) is about. There is a lot of controversy over this aspect of holiness - and I do believe there is and could be a lot of wiggle room here - but the warning of scripture is to be careful of giving the flesh (that is ones bodily desires) an opportunity to ’take control’ of ones lives. Brothers and sisters God has set us free from all that. We control our desires (that is we have authority over them) our desires don’t control us (they can “influence” us, but not control us). We are not servants of these things any longer. Once again I believe there is wiggle room here, but in regards to questionable fleshly acts, following the Spirit of the living God (that is His leading) is the overriding and preferred way to go (and again He will lead). However, I have found that in regards to many areas in this realm He will give us the time to sort things out if need be. ____________ In Summary To sum it up, there is such a thing as holiness in the corporate body of Christ and it centers around following the leading of the Spirit of God - in our experience. Positionally we are holy before God, but the testimony of Christians before us has always been that positional holiness will play out in ones experience. This being so we need to keep an eye out for leading that have to do with this area. The main debate in this area often centers around the question of whether one can do anything to contribute to ones holiness (and subsequently be in a place of blessing as a result). Brethren, positionally we are blessed, however to experience that blessing in our experience may not only require belief concerning certain things but also obedience to “doing” the things that God has told us to do. If we don’t do the things God has told us to do, even though we are bless positionally before God, the blessing in our experience will most likely wane (and we may wonder what went wrong) Brothers and sisters it might also be wise (because of the relativity issue and because of the fact of a maturing conscience) not to say anything about someone’s private behavior (if you see something or if someone open’s their mouth‘s about something (H:4), unless of course God leads you to do so. Once again, a lot of these private areas come down to issues of conscience (and again I have found that God does give us time to sort things out). Also, it might be best to hold your tongue on questionable behavior that sometimes goes on in public overall (again, unless God lead you to do otherwise). You can have an opinion, but remember we are not under the law anymore, so we need to be careful (maybe in regards to some of this kind of behavior maybe you can tell someone to “get a room” ). However, once again, in regards to what I would call “public holiness” (which can be a major thing in some societies) again any behavior - that YOU DO - that might cause people to stumble (that is doing very questionable things publicly without reason), might be something Christians might want to think twice about (again questionable public behavior). Christian hold to a higher standard (which again is to be considerate of where other people are at in regards to some things, and we don‘t want to cause people to stumble). Once again in regards to doing very questionable acts in public. Brothers and sisters you need Gods leading here and I’ll just leave it at that. [More about this overall topic is covered in Appendix D (which is “Commandments: Dealing with teaching of the Past) and Appendix E (which deals with Non-Traditional Relationship, which is pretty much where a lot of the controversy regarding holiness resides these days). The controversy regarding non - traditional marital relationships are discussed in Appendix’s F and G) Brothers and sisters, all the just mentioned Appendix’s are related in some way for all deal with the church in regards to issues that have stopped or delayed revival in one way or another. [Once again the focus of this book is sustaining what God has done (that is: Sustaining Revival)] We as a people should not to be doing things (or believing things) that can hinder it or stop it in some way which is something that most every generation (or move of God) in the past has regrettably done)]. APPENDIX I The Teachings of Latter Rain Check and review (you may want to reread the book feast of tabernacles) Like any move of God there is controversy about things, especially a move that does not focus on one individual but several to many. About 60 years ago a visitation of the Lord happened in Canada which resulted in the passing on of giftings through the laying on of hands and the restoration (or recognition) of church offices that fell out of use in the church for centuries (Appendix footnote A:11 covers some of this). As a result of this visitation of God, the group (or the people who were effected by the subsequent move or visitation itself) took on the name “Latter Rain” to describe what had happened and what the move was about (The name “Latter Rain” comes from the book of Joel (Joel 2:23) where God promises to give His people “the former and the latter rain,” the former being Pentecost (Acts 2) and the later being - at least the awareness of - what was restored to the church starting in Canada 60 years ago. [In other words (and I may be reading into things here, but), Joel 2:23 is speaking symbolically of how God is working, that is in a twofold manner “the former and the latter” and since there was an outpouring at Pentecost (the first or former), there will be also another one (a second, or latter) at the end of God’s purposes as well. What happened up in Canada was (for the people who experienced it and were effected by it) the beginning of the awareness of the final outpouring of God’s Spirit [as in, ‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit’ (Acts 2), but again it’s the “later” outpouring (Joel 2:23 ), (and brethren, even though there is controversy about all these things, whatever it was that happened up there still reverberates throughout the church to this day)]. Basic core teachings There are basic core teachings of Later Rain Movement [such as the restoration of (offices)] to God’s people (in regards to offices specifically Apostle and Prophet), also the impartation of things by the laying on of hands (not just conformation - as in some denominations, but impartation, which may include the offices of Apostle and Prophet). However scripturally the laying on of hands is not necessary for these offices, even still the laying on of hands can be associated with the passing on of gifts (1 Timothy 4:14) which in Timothy‘s case - even though he was an evangelist - he also seems to have occupied the office of a Pastorate (or Pastor Teacher). Brothers and sisters, God is free to do what He desires in these matters. He can call people, or pass things, like offices / gifts down through the laying on of hands. “…teaching (as in Pastor-Teacher). Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery”(1 Timothy 4:13,14) However even though there is controversy about these two things, the main basic core teaching regarding Latter Rain has reference to the fullness of the land that God wants people to enter into (which is really Great Stuff! See Sustaining Revival footnote 6:9), and there are a few controversial teaching as well 1) The mature man teaching (which is covered in Appendix footnote D:27; also see Appendix N and O in regards to maturity) 2) The end time company of overcoming believers (I:1). 3) and of course the name “Latter Rain” itself (I:2). Brothers and sisters, if you are interested the main book that is used - kind of like a textbook in regards to Latter Rain teaching - is the Feast of Tabernacles, by (warnock?)… The basic premise of the book is that all the feast of the old covenant find fulfillment in some form in the New Testament - except the feast of tabernacles, which will be fulfilled during the millennial REST (an important Later Rain term or concept …rest), what happened up in Canada about 60 years ago was the beginning of the awareness of it’s (the rests) existence. Also, we can enter into the benefits of this rest BEFORE the fulfillment of the ‘feast type’ rest that happens during the millennium. Like I said, some teaching are controversial (but not this one about ‘rest,’ Hebrews talks about this ‘rest’ as well (verse), but once again there’s little doubt that the Latter Rain visitation (correctly of incorrectly named) and subsequent movement was a move of God on the earth and the fruit of which once again, remains to this day [I do believe the Charismatic movement (which effected mainline denominational churches) in the 1970’s can trace itself to Latter Rain‘s restoration of the laying on of hands as well as it‘s implicit emphasis on gifts]. Brethren, I do like the book (The feast of Tabernacles), and again the main teaching in the book concerns ‘the rest’ of God. The book has been widely distributed among those who know of the move. Brothers and sisters, if there is a problem with the move it may have to do with the fact that there was a lot of input (or opinions) from people who were effected by the move trying to describe - scripturally - what it was all about and then describing themselves as ‘latter rain’ (people) APPENDIX J Relationships and their Place in God’s Purposes In one of the footnotes of Chapter 7, I made reference that God wants to deal with relationships concurrently along with the different things He wants to do in the earth today. The reason I said concurrently is because relationships by nature are not the main focus of Gods purposes (unless there is a problem), but are always more of a supportive role in regards to those purposes. However they do have a place and can be very beneficial. They do help. Brethren, at the end of the renewals of the 1990’s (which did not end by Gods doing) I remember spending a lot of time trying to get things back on track in regards to music, theology and relationships. One of the things I saw during this time was that the subject of relationships (which by the way did come up during the 1990’s in regards to things and seemed to parallel Jesus teaching about a sword dividing) was that marriage issues needed to be dealt with in the church [I remember writing something called the Babylonian Outcalling in regards this issue and it had to do with believers getting out of bad marriage covenants (J:1)]. My point here is that the subject of relationship needed to be dealt with then in regards to God’s overall purposes, and it still to this day needs to be dealt with in regards to those issues as well as others (but like then to deal with it within the overall context of the general move of God). Brothers and sisters, again in regards to relationships and their place in God‘s purposes, if they were ever to be a point in a move of God (again unless there is a significant problem), they are never to be the main point or focus of what God is doing at the time, but a short (er) concurrent point (for again they are by nature something of a supportive role in regards to things, never the main role or focus. Again they are something that helps (J:2). If people were in proper relationship with each other (which would be a goal of a move of God if He were dealing with relationships), even non-traditional relationships, the question of what does this mean within the overall context of what God is doing will come up? All of which brings us to today - years down the line - still dealing with the same general issues that I dealt with back then along with relationships, and still - at the same time - trying to “get the good” of what was, get it out of the mud (the book Sustaining Revival itself) - and get things back on track where God left off (and where He left off was dealing with the powers of darkness in the areas of deliverances. Subsequent healings, and everything else related to their works and deeds (see footnote 6:9 in Sustaining Revival and Appendix C for back ground), and all the while at the same time trying to concurrently deal with the subject of relationships and their bearing on a move of God (Appendixes E and F & G). Brethren, if you look at this book in it’s entirety you will see a number of things in regards to getting things back on track (reworking the idea of what success really is, getting people to not focus on money, buildings, power etc) , almost all of which concerns the supportive angle of a move of God. In regards to those supportive relationships, particularly the different types, there may be genuine differences of opinion in regards to things (and I think I’ve tried to address all the major issues in the Appendixes), but brethren, since this appendix is about relationships let me go on to say little more about them and their proper place in regards to God’s purposes…. 1) Even though relationships are not to be the center of what is going on (unless there is a problem that needs to be addressed) relationships are indeed a goal of the church, that is proper relationships (in other words we need to be in right relation with one another which also means to be connected rightly with the head of the church (Think of the church using the metaphor of “the body of Christ”…. In other words if everything was working properly the “body” would be not only in right relationship with one another but also with the head “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22,23). The body is not disjointed from the head. 2) Since unity with one another (that is moving together as one) is a goal of the church (John 17: (VERSE NEEDED)) we who are in relationship with each other want to move together and therefore be close to one another and have nothing between us. If the head says move, the body should move. To not have an arm or leg or finger obey and go in another direct (or not move at all) is typical of a earthy body that is diseased and not in unity with the parts around it (and is not listening to the head as well). Believe it or not this is the way most of the church is today. The head is in the right place, and giving correct instructions but the body is kind of.. well .. Not functioning as it should. “not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments grows with a growth which is from God.” (Colossians 2:19) Brethren, we all need to find our place in the body (arm, leg, hand, eye, ear etc.) and not only listen to God but move in unity with the parts around us (we are all on the same team, and unless God says different should all be moving in the same general direction). 3) Since the goal of the churches instruction is love (1 Timothy 1:5) we who are in relationship with one another need to love one another. Love can manifest itself on three different levels in scripture… A) Philos (sp) - friendship or a brotherly or sisterly love we can have for one another B) Agape - a deeper form of love usually (but not always) manifested between a husband and wife C) Eros - sexual love Brothers and sisters, for too long the church has majored in Philos (sp) and Agape, which is not bad, but has been almost repressive of Eros and has narrowly restricted the areas in which it can function (that is: between one husband and one wife). With Appendixes E and F & G the avenues in which eros can manifest itself has been expanded. For the church to recognize this expansion (particularly between and husband and more than one wife) should not be hard (for again the biblical model is all over the place). Brethren in regards to intimate relationships we need to be open to new possibilities for our lives and the lives around us. However, in regards to the issues mentioned in Appendixes E and F & G we need to remember that even though the churches attitude may change and people may end up having new options for their lives (which is great), once again relationships are not an end in themselves, for once one has what they want the question of what does it mean within the context of what God is doing (which is where the real meaning is found) is inevitable . Brethren, we need to realize that that is the main point of them, the supportive angle and if God does allow change in this area we should not be overly focused on this change [for again relationships are only supportive in regards to their purposes in a move of God and not an end (or at least a major end) in themselves]. Therefore if change in congregations does happen we in the church should quickly begin focus on not only what do they mean within the context of what God is doing (and the answers to that would be mostly personal), but what’s next as far as God’s purposes on the earth is concerned (and these new relationships should help one another support that “what‘s next”). God’s overall purposes are the main goal. Supportive things support those purposes. Brothers and sisters, in regards to relationships (and again they are important for they do help), let me conclude with something I wrote in Chapter 1 of this book about love… “Love is the glue that holds the body together as it grows together in unity. Without love all our giftings, and the things we do are nothing. Nothing!, just wind, just sound, ‘a clanging gong’ that means nothing to our own benefit, and as a result will have little to no effect on what God is trying to do (1 Corinthians 13). … love is a major goal (for the church) to shoot for, aspire for, it will bring about the unity on the body. Remember its ‘the unity’ (with the head and one another - the body) that is a light of revelation of the true nature of the church to the world… (John 17 (VERSE NEEDED))… Again revival has to do with life, and the “life of God” starts by revelation and understanding particularly of that fact… (with the church being a physical example of the preaching and teaching of the good news of Jesus Christ). Brothers and sisters, when the world sees the church - with all its fullness - in action, they believe. Brethren, the end of the matter, the purpose of our lives is to bring glory to God, but one of the means to make that so is by acts and words of love to one another. Love builds up the body of Christ (and it’s a better way to build up the body than using ones gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). Brothers and sisters, there is no such thing as a loveless revival. Any revival that lacks love will probably not last very long. Brethren remember that relationship are of help but that they are also a type and image of the relationship between God and His people (Ephesians 5:32). They teach us things about that relationship. At the end of the day that is what you want and that is where you want to go. They help us understand that truth and while they can be fun and productive they are not the end of all goals. A relationship with God is. “This is eternal life that they may know Thee the only true God…” (John 17:3) Not one another but God (and this is not just life, but eternal life). Once again brothers and sisters, relationships have a place among God’s purposes, but within the context of the overall plan of God they are of a supportive role (and a supportive part of any move of God). The different areas that God wants to deal with next in the world both concurrently and after He deals with relationships are found in the book Sustaining Revival itself particularly chapters 6 and 7 as well as some of the Appendixes. At the end of the day God wants to pull the darkness away from our eyes, expose the deceptive unfaithful spirits that are behind that darkness (again see Appendix C as well as Sustaining Revival footnote 6:9 for back ground), and have us enforce the victory Jesus displayed over them and totally overcome them in our own experience What are some of the things we are to over come? - their lies (with the system of though they produce in the world, the church and our lives) - their works (the sicknesses, disabilities etc. that they can have an active part in (Matthew 9:32-34 VERSES. One of the reasons Jesus came was to destroy the work of the Devil (VERSE) - the Devil (along with his angels) are very real]. - and deeds (the things they have done that have lasting effects in the world and our lives, and in regards to our lives to deal with these things the best we can). Remember there is a very real spiritual dimension to reality that is often ignored. Brethren to do these things as well as to bring forth His manifest presence in our midst - so that it remains - with all its power and authority (which will help us with all these things, that along with the power and understanding of the overcoming life). Also with brothers and sisters, in regards to all these things to help another, supporting one another, as well as the things that go into the sustaining of that presence and sustaining revival. Sisters and brothers God wants us to get to know Him better, together and His ways, as one. He want people properly functioning in their gifts - together - and together for us to progress on to our way to maturity - with all that that entails for all this is really what our lives are all about. “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:19-21)” I can’t wait. Brethren, however you want to take these verses God is indeed resorting things to the church today, in front of our very eyes (Reread Appendix A if you have any doubt). In the just mentioned verses you can see the principle of repentance and returning being linked to action from the Lord. The church needs to do those two things and start focusing on her major priorities and start functioning in its divine order and deal with the things that help support and sustain that order and a move of God in it’s midst [and in regards to the acceptance of new types of intimate relationships in the church, for the church to be universally in acceptance of them as quickly as possible. Remember if God allows for this possibility for peoples lives who are we (or you) to say different? Also, if you or your church is hesitant about these things remember, it’s really not that hard for a Christian church (which understands Christianity), to deal with any issues that surround their acceptance (especially regarding change in mutually agreed, committed non - traditional life choices) Also remember, it’s in ones own best interest, ones own self interest to be gracious here for you yourself don’t know how your own life is going play out in future, nor do you know how God may lead you or someone you love]. Sisters and brothers, positionally the church is victorious over all these things, but in it’s experience it is often weak and sickly and these things should not be and we - as a body - need to manifest that complete victory in the earth today. Brothers an sisters for the sake of God’s purposes we need to move together into what God wants to do (and keep relationships within their proper context). APPENDIX K God’s Direction In the Old Testament you have a story about some tribes who settled (for land) outside the greatness of the promise(d) (land) - and God allowed them to do it (VERSE NEEDED). The tribes who did not settle for “second best” went to fight against the tribes who had settled, but were swayed by their argument [which was: that these tribes would still fulfill their obligation to help the brethren (the other tribes) and also that the covenant still applies to them even though they settled for what amounted to - in this particular case - second best]. As a result the other tribes agreed with their argument, went back to their own place and let them be. Brothers and sisters in regards to some of the topics in this book - particularly relationships, as well as the ability to do what one wishes in life, people can argue some of the points both ways and believe it or not both be right, especially when one factors in the issues of relativity, maturity of conscience and the directions ones individual life is taking there could be wide latitude in regards to these things (K:1). Also, some people do indeed press ahead into different things, particularly what’s coming next (K:2). However, sisters and brothers, even though these things are true, the issue of the general direction of God - particularly in regards to public direction (with people on so many different levels of maturity) - is still an issue, for ‘where people are at’ does get factored into things before God publicly moves (K:3) [and brethren God is not stagnant and does move us on from one place of maturity to the next, so for ‘change to happen’ in our lives is not to be unexpected (John 15:2) our (that is everyone’s) continued fruitfulness is what is in mind]. Brethren, in regards to this although there could be wide latitude in regards to various individual and specific issues (for whatever reason) when viewing the General and Specific direction we must remember that He is always moving His people to His very best (as with the land) and unless God says different that is where we want to be. However brothers and sisters for people to fight over rights, the rights to do what one wants in regards to these matters (rights that everyone has), or to fight against the right for someone to “settle” or to desire what amounts to “second best” in some peoples opinions (however you view some topics in this book) is ridiculous. There is God’s best and there is not God’s best, and there is also a “relative bestness” in regards to these things as well (a third option) as well as absolute worst. Brethren, all roads that God has not explicitly forbidden (See Appendix D for more on this) are permissible therefore not worth fighting over, but the best is always preferable (and once again there could be relativity in regards to this issue). Brethren, in regards to the relationship options for ones life - this is where relativity (the third option) can play itself out. For me (and this is my opinion) as long as faith, hope and love are factored into relationships (which makes for fruitful and productive relationships) most everything (if not everything) is permissible - even settling for something that most people would not see as “the best” however for you it is not only best but preferable. Brethren, anything less then faith, hope and love factored into a relationship is tantamount to using people [which believe it or not can be permissible depending on intent (1 Kings 1:1-4]. In regards to the non-traditional marital options for ones life outlined in Appendix F, brothers and sisters generally speaking God is moving in the direction of one man and one woman relationship (for generally speaking the split between men and women on the earth is 50/50 ish) (Also see footnote E:1 on this), however to say that this is the ideal for every person in the world, or that God is not moving specific individuals publicly in a different direction (particularly since some people don’t want to get married or - as the genders get older - and the split becomes lopsided in regards to more women) - is not right. Sisters and brothers scripture comes against this general direction “ideal” as something solid and written is stone (especially in regards to relationships) so people should be prepared for change here (See Appendix footnote N:2). Brethren, personally I would never tell anyone that is in any kind of non -traditional marital relationship that they did wrong, that this is not an ideal situation for them, or that they had settled for second best. These are personal decisions, usually made by responsible people. A “one man one woman” relationship for people who are involved in a non-traditional marital relationship may not be an ideal situation for them (and they don‘t have to explain why either). Individual decisions in regards to this particular issue is not worth fighting over. Also, brethren, in regards to Homosexual vs. Heterosexual acts to say that God doesn’t have a preference in this area is ridiculous for parts of the genders anatomy’s are obviously made to go certain places, however to say that intent cannot influence homosexual decisions here is also ridiculous (see Appendix E for more in this). Brothers and sisters, in regards to any kind of non-traditional lifestyles once someone factors in “responsible concepts” [which include the already mentioned faith, hope and love; as well as consent and other similar types of things (see Appendix E for more in this)], the door to more and more possible options for ones life becomes widen and more open. Sure one can argue the issue of using people back and forth as well as the issue of what actually is second best, but the preference of God’s direction (which can be personal), is always His very best and when one factors in the concept of relativity in regards to this issue as well as the ability for one to do what they feel is best for them in regards to certain matters, there is wide latitude here. Brethren, not everyone lives on the same latitude (or altitude). A Word on Majoring in the Minors Brothers and sisters even though people have the right to settle for second best in life (and I myself am making no judgment on the issue because of the issue of relativity, especially in regards to marriage, or relationships between the sexes ), there usually comes a point in this progressive thinking where the next best thing in regards to certain issues may bear little to no fruit. Just because God has given Christians the right to live a life of faith, hope and love (and not under a bunch of rules and regulations) does not mean we should have an “anything goes” attitude. Sure we can be open to anything - especially if led by the Spirit, and we can also consider different options for living our lives, but at the end of the day God wants profit, He wants fruit. Brethren there is a final judgment and there are many things out there where the fruit of doing such a thing is very questionable [and the possible damage (or damaged fruit) that might result in doing such things - especially openly - is something one may want to consider]. Brethren even though there is wide latitude in regards to certain issues unless God says different there is not so much latitude as to lose direction. At the minimum there is a general direction God is going in and even though people have wide leeway in regards to things - especially for the sake of life - some life (or lifestyles) are questionable and one can legitimately wonder if one should be spending time (or wasting their time) on them. An example? How about the right to walk around in drag. Brethren, this in many peoples opinion one of the “lowest” public lifestyles one can have and is probably a good case in point. Remember brothers and sisters you can make an argument for just about anything in life and can justify almost anything to yourself, but can you justify it before God? Someday you are going to have to. Given this I think we need to be careful about how one - at least publicly - leads lifestyles which bares questionable fruit - if any at all. Sure I can make an argument for walking around in drag, but why would I want to? And if I did, and as a result people started to do it, the thought would come to my mind “what have I done?” “what’s the fruit in this?” “what about the possible damage to oneself and others?” Brethren, in regards to all actions what’s the point of doing anything if there is no profit in it, especially to God? Sisters and brothers, “What’s in it for God?” [that is “what‘s God‘s cut?” is He going to get anything - particularly (some) glory - out of this? How about honor and thanks? ] are probably questions we ask ourselves in regards to things. Also “at what cost?” (both public and private and possibly to oneself), might be another thing to consider, especially the question of whether His purposes will go forward in our lives (or in the publics lives) because of the particular act or allowance. Again God wants fruit - good fruit, He wants profit and it’s to our benefit to produce it. Brothers and sisters, let me finish by saying… do what you want to do in life, say what you want to say, but remember you are going to have to answer for everything you’ve done and everything you’ve said so with that in mind be both wise and careful. If people you encounter in life want to major in the minors, and major in things that are questionable and bear little - if any - fruit they will never be more than the second best in the world (at best) and have been passed by. Brethren, we want to major in things that bear a lot of fruit before the Lord. It’s to our profit to do so. APPENDIX L Congregational Support of Ministries Who Deserves What “Let the elders (plural) who rule well be considered worthy of double honor (payment), especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scriptures says (a principle from scripture), “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing.” and “the laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17,18) In Chapter 3 a point is made that not that there aren’t ministries that don’t deserve congregational support, but they have had there say and it’s time to talk about other ministries and their role and their (self) support that may be needed to sustain them in regards to revival [that is basically taking it out of your offering (or principle of tithing if that is where you are coming from)]. Brothers and sisters while there are 8 or 9 offices in (or for) the church depending on where you put evangelists) (Appendix footnote A:8) and at least 15 giftings that can go with those offices (Appendix footnote A:9) for the congregation to support all the ministries in a full time capacity - unless the church is rich [or a rich person(s) who can distribute their money so that there would be provision for all, or has an outside benefactor(s)] it may be hard to do that. Now this does not mean that you cannot take payment out of your offering for yourself in regards to your own ministry (what ever it is), but if your ministry falls into the primary ministries of the church or your church has these primary ministries they do in fact deserve support from the outside as well (and there may be a “pecking order” here). In regard to that pecking order… As said in footnote A:8 you can interpret Ephesians 4:8,10 as possibly the primary four fold ministry that moves into a new area to preach the gospel and establish a church (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor-Teacher). They may not come in the order of their listing (see the church at Antioch where the evangelist came first then an apostle VERSE NEEDED), but they might, but all have a part in the establishment of a church. In regards to the sustaining of the work (as well as in the sustaining of revival) that is where the other offices mentioned in footnote A:8 come in. Apostle, prophet and evangelist may or may not stay, but the pastor-teacher (who is the shepherd and teacher of the sheep) usually does as well as the remaining 5 offices. However it’s the four primary offices - if they are in your church - that deserve support. They know what to do - in a foundational way - to get things not only established, but going as well. If your church decides that everyone deserves to be supported in a full time capacity (that is all it’s members are getting a salary from the church coffers) and is able to do that, that is great, for the sustaining of the work and the sustaining of revival however in reality such a thing may be hard to work out in actual practice (although some church may be able to figure out a way to do it - which again would be great for the sustaining of what God want’s to do, and God is not so small that He cannot do this). However I do want to point out that if the entire source of the income is coming from within the church itself - unless you have rich people (or a source outside itself) - the church may in fact become too large in numbers to do that (mathematically speaking) and as a result may have too many redundant gifts and too many redundant offices (with it’s inevitable too many cooks in the kitchen). Also once again the thing about having a building to support such a large group and the potential for that to take away money for the sustaining of these ministries (which has been talked about in chapter 4 of this book) is another potential problem along with the inevitable church split (that can happen for a number of reasons) which can have a huge impact on the churches coffers is something else to consider here. My point is this, as far as who deserves what in regards to congregation support in your average everyday church will probably depend on where you are in the progress of the work of God in your midst (that is are you establishing it or sustaining it), who is there and why? Ideally a church that has been established and is sustaining that establishment will have a plurality of elders ruling it with all the offices present (however in regard to Apostles they will most likely be people who are either there temporarily or are in fact budding apostles and are there to help - and learn a thing - or to before they leave. Apostles generally speaking are always on the move and on their way out, but if called to a church can remain there for years. In regards to Prophets, a person with the office of a Prophet (which should definitely be supported by a local church) may be called out of the church to minister some where else for a period, but because they themselves are not necessarily pastors (that is they themselves may need pastoring) they always need a home base to come home too, so either way (establishing a work or sustaining a work) they are to be part of a local assembly and because they have a primary ministry (that again is necessary for even the sustaining of the work that is established) they again deserve congregational support. Evangelist - which are very similar in regards to these “having a home base” things as well, also deserve congregation support [for me the payment of Evangelists along with the payment of the worship leader (who can be an elder who works hard) is of great importance in regards to a number of things]. In regards to the four primary ministries Pastors (as in pastor- teacher) are usually “self” sufficient kind of people - the exception to the rule kind of thing - and unless they are “off” and need correction can function quite well - as an individual (and for the congregation) and because of that particular manifestation of grace within them are usually held up as a valuable source of light, revelation and truth (at least in a reserved sense) and are usually regarded as the “main” office (particularly because they shepherd the other ministries). If the congregation could only afford to pay one office in a full time way that “deserves” congregation support this would probably be the one. For again they can be and are self sufficient in regards to things (for the sake of argument they probably don’t even “need” to go to church in regards to a number of things for they can shepherd themselves), but unlike Apostles and (some) Prophets and Evangelists will reside within the church and are therefore a valuable source to and for the church (but again only a source). (Apostles and Prophets being a source of light, revelation and truth in a non-reserved sense - strictly speaking that is. Brethren in actual practice the giftings that go with these offices can often overlap, for example a Prophet may give a teaching that draws on reserve truth and not be a Pastor- Teacher, and a Pastor-Teacher may give a word in the prophetic and not have the office of a Prophet etc.). As far as congregational support of ministries and who deserves what depends on a number of things. If push came to shove the primary ministries deserve support regardless of the phase the church is in (establishment or sustaining). For this to actually happen in most church priorities need to be established in some congregations - particularly in regards to where they may be spending their money (building, the show etc). Often times these people (particularly prophets and evangelists - which churches do have) are out working secular jobs and should be present in a full time capacity, especially evangelists [in regards to the prophetic being there with the Pastor they too should be on salary and be there for not only do they help one another, but will also help keep one another in a relative balance of where a particular congregation is at (Pastors -Teachers with the tendency to preserve and conserve and the Prophetic with the tendency to move past and move on)]. Also brethren people in churches are at different levels and the prophetic can be very helpful with those members of the congregation who are on a more advance level. It is a very complementary office of the pastorate, however it has it’s own field of expertise (for again - like the other offices - Prophets do not necessarily posses the gift of Pastor -Teacher and may need pastoring themselves (and Pastoring is more than just the ability to draw upon reserved truth). Another reason both ministries should be present with one another to help keep each other “in check” if need be (Pastors tend focus on commandment rather than principle and Prophets - because of their tendency to flow - might weight all anchors and need a second opinion). Brothers and sisters, these things aside most of the problems in churches today either reside in the pastorate (and their priorities), and in the eldership in acceptance of wrong church paradigms or wrong paradigms of ministry (in other words their priorities are messed up as well). Brethren as said before in this book most pastors need a good swift kick in the butt. The majority of them - the vast majority of them would rather have a nice building - and pay for a janitor to clean it - before they will pay for these other ministries. If we got the four primary ministries - the four foundational ministries - on the payroll things should start going in the right direction and once things have been established we can talk about the other ministries - that are so necessary in the sustaining of the work - being compensated in some way as well. [And PS: once again I would definitely “sneak” or put the worship leader in - along with the four foundational ministries - for payment as well. If you read Appendix B you will see how important that ministry is (and it is a foundational ministry in regards to the service of the saints. It can take up half the service)]. APPENDIX M Satan “The Son of God appeared for this purpose that He might destroy the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) (this is taken from the authors book “Understanding Christianity” - slightly edited ) Satan (The Devil) was in the Garden of Eden (1). This is brought out by the prophet Ezekiel “you were in Eden the Garden of God” (2). Jesus also came to destroy the works of the devil (3). One of the main means of the Devil to achieve his ends is deception (4), and just as he tempted and deceived Adam when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (5), so in the same way he can also deceives us (6), - as well as the nations of the world (7), by trying to get them and us to do things (or think things), in terms of right and wrong rather than life. Satan is called by Jesus “the ruler of this world”(8), he is also called the prince of the power of the air (9). Angelic princes on - both sides - have power (10). When the Devil tempted Jesus he showed Him all the Kingdoms of the worlds in a moment and said they have all been given to him (11). Jesus said that His kingdom was not of (the people) in this world (12) (the word “church” actually means “outcalling” or ones called out! and the world is probably going to hate them for it (leaving them) too (13). Satan has blinded most people in this worlds minds (14), especially in terms of life giving issues (15). He is a definite presence that needs still needs to be dealt with in people’s experience (16), and he’s dealt with through the preaching of the full message of the cross (Death, Burial and Resurrection as well Ascension and Ruling and Reigning). The gospel. According to Christian thought Satan has been given the final blow at the cross (17). Jesus resurrection proved that the main thing Satan had to control people fear (18), could no longer use to control them. If people could rise, be resurrected - in the flesh - his main form of control had been defeated. And he lost - big time (19). Before the Kingdom of God can come Jesus had to deal with the power(s) behind the Kingdoms of the world (20). A lot of people don’t realize that the Messiah needed to defeat them first, once this was done then everyone could enter into His complete victory and conquer them (that is “the powers” both spiritual and otherwise) in their personal life, throughout society and throughout the nations of the world as well. Even before Jesus conquered them He had power over them (21), but now He’s proved it. We can enter into that victory - His complete victory as well (heal, deliver, set captives free - raise as well, just like Jesus did) (22). “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleans the lepers, cast out demons…” (Matthew 10:8) Jesus said his followers would do even greater works than He did, and most of that comes down to faith (23). It’s a battle, but it’s a battle that has already been won! We need to press on in victory and enforce it and not fall into the deception of dealing with issues of right or wrong rather than life. When you start looking at things in those terms you begin to give Satan “ground” in your life. Remember this is his main temptation, to get people to eat of that tree and not flow with life (the tree of life).. Brothers and Sisters, hesitation and doubt in a person’s personal ministry (which we all have as believers ) does not help the Spirit of God flow. Chose Life Always! APPENDIX N Maturity A Major Goal in Life In Appendix O you will find a statement that spirits want to lead people in any direction but forward (where God is leading His people) and by forward I mean onward towards maturity. Brethren, people can be the same way as well in regards to things. They can like where they are - and stay there (like the tribes that refused to go forward into the land), or they can even want to go backwards [like the people did in Jeremiahs day when some actually went back (or went backwards) into Egypt]. Although it’s not necessarily a bad thing to stay where you are (for you can look at that particular story in a number of different ways. See Appendix K), to backslide (that is: give back ground that you once had), is usually not for ones best. Brethren pressing on to maturity - and a mature faith - is a lot of what Christianity is all about He gave gifts to men” … and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors - teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the statue which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7,8,11-13) Sisters and brothers we are not to be immature, nor locked into an immature state forever When I was a child (using the gifts etc. the parallel he is drawing), I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man [that is reaching a mature (perfect) state, again the parallel he is drawing], I did away with childish things.(1 Corinthians 13:8- Brethren some of the things mentioned in this book revolve around the issue of growing up (maturity) and along with that maturity comes benefits (for example on the physical level if you can be mature enough to follow the general guidelines mentioned in Appendix E you will see what privileges I am talking about. On the spiritual level if you read Appendix footnote D:27 such mature benefits may extend to one functioning beyond giftings and then some). Brethren since we are all going to go in the same direction (leaving the law behind and pressing on to a mature state), our lives together are going to have (or will have) the same basic parameters mentioned in Appendix D, (See “God does not Leave us on our Own” Point 3) of faith hope and love as we mature as we associate with one another. Therefore there are not only guidelines for our maturity, but over all there are a lot of nice things too look forward to too. God Expects Society to Mature as Well We - as believes - are not the only ones expected to mature, but as society itself believes, they are expected to mature as well. Brothers and sisters, in regards to this maturity every man and woman on the planet has the basic internal law of God written on their hearts ((VERSE NEEDED). As diverse as societies can be, if you look around every society which based on civil law will have the same basic laws governing public behavior (which is evidence of this internal law). Even though mature public behavior has it’s issues (See Appendix K), maturity (or mature people) since they are not under law (See Appendix D and O) will also have the individual option of private behavior that goes outside of these basic laws (which means having relationships that operate - not on the basis of law - but on the basis of faith and trust (Appendixes E,F and G). Brethren, in regards to the law the last thing mature (or maturing) people should desire is to live a life under rules and regulations. As people grow they mature and as they mature they desire a mature way of living (for example a teenage wanting to get away from rules and regulations and stay out later). Living life as a child under rules and regulations (which is what the law is) would lead one (or should lead one) to be desirous of something better as they grow (a different and more mature lifestyle per say, again something better, for as one grows they begin to realize that life does not always “fit” into law), especially as one matures (as in trust me mom and dad, have some faith. I have faith that I know what I am doing and don‘t need this rule about coming home early to regulate my behavior). “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.” (Galatians 3:23) Brothers and sisters we are not under biblical law anymore (N:1) and as individuals are all progressing to a place of maturity which again involves mature activity and a mature way of looking at things. In regards to society in general because of a revelatory reasoning involved in individual maturity (See Appendix O) you will find that there are mature consciences and immature consciences among people (which includes cities, states and nations; again it’s a progressive ever growing thing that matures in and towards a walk of faith and trust) So we as maturing individuals need to be careful in regards to public behavior (Appendix K) In regards to some issues, issues of relativity, and societies maturity of conscience (Appendix O) often come into play. Granted some people really need to mature about some issues (and in regards to those I have no problem doing them publicly), but in regards to other issues it might be better to keep them private (that is to do them privately), only because of where people are at in regards to the maturing process. Some actions may need an explanation and if not given may cause Mature people and a mature state (country / nation - if one actually existed) would not be forced to follow law per say, but would follow the more mature thing and that is the basic parameters of life (again Appendix D, See “God does not Leave us on our Own” Point 3). Brethren, in regards to God’s overall direction to societies in general God does have an overall direction and call to nations, and aside from the main one (“that they should seek God Acts 17:26,27), it basically it deals with people as a whole maturing (both physically and spiritually), and the issues that often revolve around that [the spiritual has already been mentioned, however in regards to the physical, self sufficiency, and, and, and as far as political a safety net for the immature, and those who really need it through no fault of their own, (not necessarily for those who purposely refuse to grow up. Brethren, people are not to be dependent forever. Children are dependent, adults are not)]. Until God’s kingdom comes and all who are entering it enter as mature perfect persons (who live by the parameters of faith hope and love), we will be living in a mixed society where some rules (laws) can be changed - as people mature - and others will remain the same (while others concern areas of privacy where civil law has no real say.. “the right to privacy” ) Maturing Christians with one Another Brethren while we as individuals are not under old covenant law in the new covenant (See Appendix D) in regards to our relationships with one another and we don’t want to be under civil law either (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) (N:2). Brethren there does seem to be a distinction in scripture between relationships with one another and our relationships with society in general. Basically brothers and sisters are on the same page of living a life of faith and trust with one another where you as Christians are not on that level with society in general (Jesus would not entrust himself to any man for He knew what was in man (VERSE NEEDED)). Because we as Christians have “graduated” to a new level of understanding of things we are entitled - as mature graduates - to the full benefits and privileges that come with living a life of faith and trust with one another. Again we are not under law with one another, nor do we treat one another in a lawful way per say (again 1 Corinthians 6:1-8) but in living a life of faith and trust it entitles us to override laws in regards to ourselves and to deal with issues among ourselves as we see fit. Maturing Christians and Society In regards to Christians relationship with society at large since many people are not mature and cannot operate on the level of faith and trust (See Appendix ?? on operating on the basis of ones word alone) there is such a thing as civil laws that regulate behavior (or relationships) between people (for example sign a contract with witnesses and get it notarized too) so even though maturing people are not under law in regards to their relationships with each other (as in a handshake will seal a deal), I am not speaking of doing away with civil law in regards to our relationships with society (you may need it). So even though I portrayed the way a mature utopian society would work and will work [Appendix D, See “God does not Leave us on our Own” Point 3 that is: when everything passes away there will be faith hope and love (1 Corinthians 13) and operating under these principles are the true utopian (or Kingdom to come) principles and boundaries of life], unless today’s societies overall could mature to that place again we need at the minimum basic civil law (and the fear of that law being enforced by law enforcement officers) to function (however again as individuals we are not under it in regards to our relationship with one another). This aside, again in regards to our relationships with society in general, we are to be wise as serpents (VERSE NEEDED) (that is don’t be stupid or naive), and also to be harmless as doves (VERSE NEEED) (you are not out to get people). Scripture is full of other references in regards to our general attitude towards the world as well pray for leaders, (VERSE NEEDED) as far as it depends on you be at peace with all men (VERSE NEEDED) etc. (VERSE NEEDED) If a leader somewhere in the world were to accuse Christians of burning down a city (as Nero did in regards to Rome), the world should be aghast and not only not believe it (for their experience with Christians and Christianity would be just the opposite), but would rush to the Christians defense Christians and Individual Maturity Again pressing on to maturity and a mature faith brothers and sisters is a lot of what Christianity is about. Again… He gave gifts to men” … and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors - teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the statue which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7,8,11-13) The darken spiritual world [as well as people who follow the religions these spirits set up] desire to lead people in any direction but forward (where God is leading His people), and will usually lead them back into some kind of law (as with many religions. See Appendix C) or it may just be the case as with some legalistic “christian” religions (or cults) be a “religion” entirely made up by an individual themselves using themselves as the sole guide of truth (Colossians 2:20-23) [which at the end of the day also usually involves some kind of law of “do’s” and “don’ts” (and again by forward I mean onwards towards maturity)]. Also brethren there are people who don’t even “have religion” (or even some who do - even Christians) who for some reason don’t to mature, or even try to press on to a mature state. Again this is not what Christians or Christianity is about. Maturity is an end goal of life. Brethren, we as believers who follow the living speaking God don’t want to go in any direction but forward, so again we as individuals need to expect to mature (which involves mature viewpoints about things) and welcome maturity - along with it’s privileges and responsibilities - with both arms (few people want to stay a child forever - and by child, scripturally speaking, I mean someone who is not only under the law, but also needs to be under law as well). See Appendix O for more on maturity. APPENDIX O The Conscience A Maturing Thing The conscience (See Appendix D and footnote D:18), is a reasoning part within man based on an internal sense of right and wrong (good and evil), but matures to a place not operating in terms of right and wrong (like the tree in the garden of Eden), but operating in terms of what causes life and what does not (the tree of life). It also in its mature state follows the basic parameters of life (again Appendix D, See “God does not Leave us on our Own” Point 3). Regarding the Law, this internal sense of right and wrong predates written law “For when the Gentiles who do not have the (written) Law (of Moses) do instinctively the things of the Law, these (even though) not having the Law…show the (evidence of the written law)… written in their hearts…” (Romans 2:14,15) and still to this day can take the place of written law in society (whether cities, states or nations) (O:1). This internal sense of right and wrong is given by God to man to regulate basic, elemental (Galatians 4:3) behavior, there is no such thing as a person who does not have a basic understanding of right and wrong [that is: “the works of the law (are) written in their hearts…” (Romans 2:15)]., , evidence of the internal law being that people will actually go through a guided reasoning process - with their conscience - before they do things (Romans 2:15). In other words WHAT are they (that is their conscience) reasoning with? Answer. The internal basic, elemental (Galatians 4:3) law which is written in their hearts The conscience is pre-programmed (for lack of a better phrase) with basic, elemental rules and regulations (internal law) to begin with, but as people experience life it matures through revelation and reasoning (for example “there are no other gods therefore it‘s ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols” or such). Brothers and sisters think of things in terms of actual children. Children are put under a sense of outward elemental (Galatians 4:3) law from parents and society until they mature (which in regards to being released from their parent authority varies, but in regards to society is usually 18 - 21 years old). “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child…although… the owner of everything…he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we (before Christ came), were held in bondage under the elemental things (the law) …” (Galatians 4:1-3) God’s children were also put through this progressive thing in regards to being under outward law until the date set by the Father which was the appearance of the Messiah (Christ). The thing is we still have this sense of internal law within us that parallels the written law of God and even though we are not under the written law of God we (with and through our conscience) still have to deal with it’s “rules or regulations“ or “suggestions” when dealing with the issues of day to day life until we are no longer children [or have (ignorant) childish views about things, but mature]. “When I was a child. I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) External written law stays the same (written on stone) the internal law (or internal rules that regulate behavior) does not for as one matures things change and maturity’s hallmark being where one operates not in terms of what is good and evil (the way the law works, think of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden), but in terms of what causes Life and what does not (The Tree of Life). The uppermost realm of correct and appropriate behavior. The thing about maturity is that it seems to take time (just think of it in regular every day terms) and for a person to “be released” from the actual inward law I have found often involves a revelatory reasoning process about things (again the thing about meat sacrificed to idols) and unless your reasoning by revelation process can overcome or see it’s way through a particular situation it’s probably best to stay where you are on whatever matters. Especially since there is nothing necessarily wrong about some of these basic internal senses of appropriate behavior (See Appendix D), it is a basic guide given by the Lord to guide behavior and unless you have a revelatory reasoning about a particular issues you don’t want to harden yourself to it (you want to maintain a good conscience and not go beyond where your conscience - or reasoning - is at). Again maturity takes time (and unless you have a revelatory reasoning about a situation why harden yourself to a form of guidance?) However, sisters and brothers as one begins to experience Life one begins to see that - as Galatians says - the law is indeed elemental and does not grasp the fullness of situations that Life can throw at it. So like it or not - unless you like staying a child forever - you are going to mature beyond it and the maturity will involve flowing with the flow of life and operating, not so much on the level of “rules and regulations” per say (old covenant), but operating on the level of faith and trust (new covenant)] (O:2). Maturity is a Progressive Thing We are all progressing to a place of maturity (See Appendix N) which again involves a mature way of looking at things. Because of this revelatory reasoning you will find that are mature consciences and immature consciences among people (which includes cities, states and nations; again it’s a progressive ever growing thing that matures in and towards a walk of faith and trust) This mature walk may again may parallel some things written in the law (again See Appendix D), (or even a person with a weak conscience, for at them minimum one does not want to cause a person to stumble), but it may not depending on the circumstances. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable (so at the end of the day I may end up following things written in the law). All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (that is I control my body and it’s desires and not the other way around). (1 Corinthians 6:12) In regards to written law the mature conscience - since we are not under the law - will have questions about secondary laws (see Appendix), but certainly not the 2 primary laws (see Appendix) [and again there is nothing wrong with having another guided reasoning process about things - especially in the absence of direct guidance form the Lord - as long as come to correct conclusions about things and don’t go beyond the level of revelatory reasoning of where your conscience happens to be at. “This command I entrust to you… my son… that … you may fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regards to their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18,19) “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith…” (1 Timothy 1:5) The Conscience and Basic Parameters of Life The conscience (being a reasoning part within man) aside from dealing with the law also deals with the basic parameters of life (again Appendix D, See “God does not Leave us on our Own” Point 3). It is also a ‘broad stroke’ kind of thing that God can override [if circumstances dictate (Genesis 22)], or if there is a change in God’s purposes (Acts 10:10-16), but once again it does mature with age (an important point). It’s most common basic function is often described as a little voice inside your head telling you not to do a particular act, BECAUSE you would not want that done to you (a basic parameter) and it contributes to the reasoning process that goes on before an act is done. Sisters and brothers, everyone has a conscience. Therefore because we are at different levels of understanding about things we need to be careful about publicly flaunting it in regards to certain areas. If people don’t understand the reasoning behind a particular public act per say (See Appendix K), or the level that you are at in your conscience - they may in fact stumble if they went ahead and did what you do and fall away. Brethren, this is a warning that is found in scripture ((VERSE NEEDED)) Also in regards to us, since it is part of our internal makeup even though we are not under the law, it does help us in regards to - at the minimum the basic parameters of life - and therefore it’s best to not only understand it, but to learn to live with it (again since it is another form of guidance outside the leading of the Lord). Also it’s best to let it mature thorough a revelatory reasoning process about things - particularly in regards to areas of elemental law (again, which was written for children) Brethren let it mature in regards to things (remember the other tree in the garden was about life). Since revelation is important in regards to this maturing reasoning process having a living ongoing relationship with a still speaking God is very helpful in regards to our maturity. Appendix Footnotes Please note: These are not the footnotes for the book “Sustaining Revival“ but are the footnotes for the Appendixes. The footnotes for “Sustaining Revival” are found on page ?? Appendix A Footnotes A:1) In regards to the rise of the bishops in the church it’s one thing to talk about elders and deacons (terms that most people are familiar with), but where did the office of Bishop come from? If you belong to some established main line churches you probably have such a position in your denomination (some churches call them overseer’s), but is it biblical? The Terms Bishop and Overseer If your church has Bishops or Overseers it might be helpful to realize that biblically there is no such position (not in the sense that it‘s used today and that is lording it over other congregations) - and again - as said earlier in the Appendix - the position can be trace back - in part - to the early days of the local town church deferring matters to the large city churches [which is where today’s Bishops particularly in Catholic, Episcopal and Orthodox churches usually reside (Brothers and sisters, you are not going to find them in small towns), also in regards to other main line protestant churches (which are more comfortable with the term overseer - which in effect is the same kind of position], you will probably find them residing in the larger cities as well. In regards to the actual term “Bishop” (King James Version). The actual term is overseer in the Greek and is used interchangeably with Elder in Titus 1:5 and 7. Paul wrote Titus to appoint Elders (Plural) in every city (Titus 1:5) and a characteristic of these Elders (Plural) was that they were to be Overseers of the work of God [Titus 1:7 again the words are used interchangeably which is important, and again the term “Elders” is in the Plural (which is a very important point to remember too)]. Also in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 there are just Overseers and Deacons mentioned as well as their qualifications. Note the term elder is not used. In other words Paul does NOT mention 3 positions in the church [Bishop (overseer) , Elder and Deacon), but two [Overseer (or Elder / Bishop -in you want) and Deacon]. That’s a pretty important distinction. Personally what I think began to happen is that the administrative elders (which were to be paid 1 Timothy 5:17 since it was probably a full time position), began to stand out among the others Elders (since they - in their position - probably held the purse strings to the local small town mission churches or splits which the city supported) and being in such a position eventually they began to elevated themselves (or be elevated) in the eyes of these smaller small town churches, even if that was not their intent (and again the trend by small town churches to defer matters to the larger city churches didn‘t help either). Anyway, the term “Bishop” eventually worked it’s way into the vocabulary to distinguish these people from the other Elders (which had the effect of separating them from the other elders in the large city church) and it eventually became a position separate and above the other elders. Again there are only two positions mentioned by Paul in the Church (Elder and Deacon / Deaconess). Not three. A:2) In regards to the church at Rome thinking more highly of itself as it should especially their current thinking that it is THE church of God , the universal church (Catholic meaning universal) and salvation is found nowhere else is a claim that is resoundly rejected by most of Christianity today (which also includes the author of this book who used to be church attending, practicing, Roman Catholic, who by the way has also been through most all the sacraments, and went through eight years of Catholic schooling - with nuns). Brothers and sisters if you happen to be Roman Catholic let me give you a few facts… 1) They may claim to be the only church, but their main influence is surprisingly not universal, but pretty much just in western Europe, and not all of western Europe at that (Russia rejects their claim, a good part of Germany rejects their claim, Holland and England as well). Their main sphere of influence in western Europe is pretty much just Italy, France and non-Muslim parts of Spain as well as some smaller European countries (Poland is their main sphere of influence in eastern Europe). Also there is influence in Central and south America (however evangelical Protestantism, especially charismatic evangelical Protestantism is making great and significant inroads (actually eroding their base). Same with Africa as well. 2) The Protestant reformation of the 1500’s (under Luther and Calvin), which split up a lot of Europe had a predecessor much earlier when practically everything east of Rome left the “authority” of the church and went on to maintain their own independent authority [the Armenians, Greek Orthodox, Syrians and Egyptian Orthodox (or Coptic Christians) to name a few]. Again for Rome to go around claiming to be the only church - when one looks at the world, especially most everything east of Rome - is ridiculous. 3) Their claim that Peter was the head apostle and established the church at Rome - (established being what I was taught) is not scriptural. As mentioned in the Appendix there were people from Rome at Pentecost (Acts 2:10), and the book of Romans the church was already established (and Peter is not mentioned in the last chapter). When Peter does show up (1 Peter 4:13) it’s years later. The idea that Peter was the head apostle is rejected by Galatians 2:6 [“those of high reputation what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality;” also see where Peter is rebuked for his behavior by another apostle in Galatians 2:11 - not being a leader there (nor recognized as such); also see where he himself calls himself only a “fellow elder” (1 Peter 5:1). Brothers and sisters, Peter never claimed such authority. And again he equates the writings of another apostle on equal footing with that of scripture so this ex-cathedra thing is out too. To tell you the truth if the other apostles caught wind of this kind of thing… 4) Even if you think he had such authority (which is usually claimed in the ‘keys to the kingdom’ verse (VERSE NEEDED)), the idea that somehow this authority is passed on (apostolic succession) is not backed up in scripture [show me a verse, and by the way if you study Islam this is precisely the difference between the Shiites and Sunnis, Shiites believing that authority is inherited and passed down (but through descendants of a noted figure in Islam) and Sunnis believing that it is held through the individual mullahs or clerics] Brothers and sisters this idea of superiority is not the way the church of Rome (or the church in or at Rome) saw itself at the beginning. It wasn’t till much much later (maybe the 300’s) that you had this modern day concept of the pope. If people want to make the case for Rome being the head church because Peter was the head apostle (not true) and established Rome (again not true) and he passed down this idea that the head of that church would always be the head of Christianity [which again if the other Apostles heard of this (as well as the other things) coming out of the mouth of Peter, they would have a righteous fit], if you are going to use that argument then you would really have to say that the church at Jerusalem (and believe me there are churches in Jerusalem most notably in the Armenian quarter) have the real weight behind the claim for being the head church. For Peter was there at the Jerusalem Churches founding, he gave it’s first speech (Acts 2:14) and Peter’s (that is: the first pope) calling was not to the gentiles (as in the people at Rome), but to the Jews (Galatians 2:7). Your thinking is in the wrong part of the world and should be more east (and if you are going to make the argument for unbroken apostolic succession - in Rome - one really doesn’t know the Roman churches past at all. [it moved from Rome to Constantinople, to France, (and I believe you had two people claiming papal power at the same time at some point), also the written out line of succession before the rising of the papacy carries very little weight (for there was none), you had some real scoundrels on the throne - as well as women. The idea of the city of Rome being somehow holy (as in the Holy Roman Empire) and Rome always being the city at the center, and the idea of continuous “apostolic succession” - all of these things and lines are broken (even from their own thinking and perspective) all over the place]. Brethren, in regard to the Roman Catholic Church there is no continuous line of succession and even if there was so what, a lot of cities in the world can trace their churches founding to an apostle (which Rome can’t by the way) and if you look at the argument to justify that kind of system they are all weak and self serving types of things. Brothers and sisters, the whole idea that the Roman Catholic church is THE church is (I don’t even think there is a word for it), but basically if you study it’s rising (aside from the cities churches deferring to it) it was all about political power and how to maintain that power and really doing ‘a reach’ to justify it scripturally (that is it‘s claim to be the head church). Once again the church became very political, again being in the center of the empire and all, and it even got to the point of which person had the right to crown the emperor of what became the Holy Roman Empire - the pope or the emperor himself. (The Investiture Controversy). Someone had enough of this stuff and crowned themselves thus diminishing the churches influence in that country that lasts even to this day If Rome was not the center of the empire all these things never would have happened. A:3) In regards to how far off Rome had gone one of the things that the Catholic monk Martin Luther was amazed at - when he actually sat down to read the bible, was that the bible had stories in it. Up to that time - thanks to Thomas Aquinas - monks and priests spent their time arguing and discussing philosophy, not theology or even the bible and as a result were into the signs and types of aristotilian thinking (Aristotle being where Aquinas got his most of his stuff from). Thus you have things about images (statues, crosses etc) and what they represent and what you can “get” from them etc. It was like no one was even reading the bible. However once the bible became translated into the language of the common people and people began to read the bible things began to change. A:4) In regards to the English language Tyndale and Wycliff were the first people in the west to translate the Bible in the English language (which caused so many problems with established church authorities when it was read that later King James of England gather together some scholars and had an “official” translation of the bible made in the English language [as a side note the King James Version of the bible is dated (and has even been updated by people who like the old language), it‘s rendering of the Old Testament is still very good (for the old manuscripts you had then - with the exception of the dead sea scrolls - you still have around today). However it’s their translation of the New Testament where you have the problems [for since then they have found many more manuscripts (and much more reliable manuscripts by the way) to use in the translation]. If you ever go to a church that knows it’s stuff, you will find the King James (if it is used) constantly being corrected by those who know Greek in regards to readings in the New Testament, For example there is a (VERSE NEEDED) that says we can go boldly before the throne. The Greek really says “confidently” (and there is a lot of that kind of thing in there). And wrong translations of words can have an effect on theology and a persons subsequent actions. Also it’s not only that but words have changed their meaning. For example, “Charity” meant something different then, then it does now. Brothers and sisters, if you want to build correct theology and have a correct understanding of things make sure you have a somewhat updated version of the bible (In the English language the first attempt to update was the REVISED Standard (or RSV) version of the bible (the revision of the King James). (Personally I use the New American Standard (NAS). The original American Standard (AS) (which was an attempt to translated the bible in American English and followed and updated the Revised Standard) is pretty good, but it’s been updated when they found more accurate manuscripts (hence the title NEW American Standard) Most people agree that as far as studying goes the NAS is the best bible to use in regards to American standard English. A:5) In regards to “the service” in the eastern Armenian church they still - even to this day - use the arcane Armenian language, kind of like what you see today in some churches today that still use of outdated and antiquated King James English language version of the bible [A similarly arcane language (Shakespearian English) that no one speaks any more but somehow it’s kept (in the service or read personally) because it has almost become a “holy language”] Also, in regards to the keeping of the older language in non-western churches you have this cultural / political thing that goes on as well. Ethnic pride etc. that keeps people locked into what they are doing in regards to keeping an old language in the service). This does not help further reformation of the those churches and they are in many ways locked into this old “time warp.” Brothers and sisters, regarding the keeping of the older version of ones language in the service (which you will still find in some Protestant churches), this is exactly what happened with the Latin language being kept in the service for so many years (it was just the official language of the Roman empire which was kept in the service as the language itself changed into Italian, Spanish and French), and since the Catholic Church had their bible originally translated in that official language (the Latin Vulgate), and people did not want to change (for again it became like a holy language) they kept that rendition of the scriptures in the mass as well - actually the entire service continued in that language until about the middle of last century when people began to question what was going on (and because of the way authority was instituted it took them over a thousand years to change in regards to something as basic as that, much longer in regards to other things though). The things today about using the antiquated King James Version in the service is that you can still understand most of it - so far - but give it another 1500 years (and knowing the way people are I would have no doubt that in 1500 years you will still find some churches using it for the very same reason the Roman Catholic Church kept the Latin Vulgate in the service for so long a time) [and in regards to this point I do believe in the Greek Orthodox Church still they use Konie (sp) Greek in the service (that is the actual language most of the New Testament was written in) - once again an older version of their own language that - like the Armenian church no one speaks any more (The author of this book has a Greek teacher who had a PHD in Greek who went into a Greek restaurant and could not understand what they were saying). Once again you have a case where the language had changed, but because of this false notion that - because ones bible was originally written in, or ones cultural/ethnic bible was originally translated in that particular language of that day, that somehow that version of the bible and that rendition of their language is holy and is carried over into the service. Again this does not help the further reformation of those churches for “the service” is what most people go to and God’s purposes for those churches (and countries) tend to stall. Brothers and sisters, I could go one with this but let me say that the purpose of the word of God is to be understood and since churches today throughout the world need to progress, things need to change. What I am saying is that - at the minimum - if you can’t understand what is being said when the (old translation of your language) word of God is being read or have a hard time understanding it - update your version of the bible (and certainly your service - if applicable). In regards to the use of Shakespearian language in the service what does “to wit” the Spirit of God mean in 1 Corinthians? Beats me. Why use this version then? Also if you want to believe correct - or more a correct theology - in regards to some issues, the updating of your version of the bible is paramount. Brothers and sisters, language always changes - always (Regarding English, read Beowulf or the Canterbury Tales and see how far you get). Again, if you asked me to recommend an American English version of the bible - for study purposes mind you (not devotional purposes whose versions tend to try to give you an expanded “sense” of what is being said - which is OK in regards to some difficult to understand verses in bible - but as a result are a little more loose in the translation - so I would not build any major doctorial beliefs on them without checking a more studied version) But again, if you ask me, as I said in the previous footnote I would recommend the NEW American Standard version of the bible (just standard American English, and of good scholarship). (However for devotional purposes pick just about anything you want, but once again before you make any decisions regarding major doctorial beliefs check your devotional version up against the New American Standard version. Also, for the understanding the underlying Greek beneath the English version I would use Weusts expanded translation of the Bible. It‘s very good). A:6) In regards to a plurality of elders ruling, this was how ancient Israel was ruled before the people sinned and asked for a king. Not long after the reformation the common Christian people as well as non-layman (that is: the professional Christian people with a vocation towards Christian ministry) who were beginning to read the bible, read about this old system and saw how it was carried over into the New Testament church. As a result the people as a whole rejected not only the pope, but also the cardinals, and the bishops, and had a great desire to get the church back to this non central, non authoritian base line (especially after they had seen what it had done). Brethren, if you go back to the beginning of the church the trend of the Apostles was to preach the Gospel and establish a church. They would stay for a while (teach and encourage) and then they would move on and leave a governing body to rule in their place (that is the elders). This is what the people who were just starting to read the bible primarily saw. Elders ruled and they were a ruling plurality Again, it was this goal (the governing plurality) that reforming western protestant churches would shoot for and for some eventually end up with. However since people are people and power is power what began to happen as hierarchal authority was rejected was in some churches smaller centralized non plurality authority began to take its place that is with one elder (usually the pastor) being in charge and all the other elders following his lead. (in other words in regards to some churches the continuing protestant reformation either stalled at this point, or backtracked and lost some ground that it had gained). A:7) The common arguments that authoritian churches uses (actually authoritian pastors use) to justify their positions existence are usually self serving arguments and are non-scriptural. In most cases these pastors (maybe “pastors”) are people who either founded the church or were very instrumental in it growth. As a result this founding (or being used by God), somehow this privilege entitles them to special rights over everyone else - in perpetually. Most people I have found end up leaving these kind of churches for it’s usually impossible to deal with these people. Everything in one way or another is about them and the one man show type of philosophy (reread chapters 1-5 in this book). Authoritian pastors can be very intolerant of any one with similar giftings and the list just goes on and on and on. In regards to the common arguments used to justify this type of thing let’s deal with the main one in regards to this point… There is a system of order. “ And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles (4th), then gifts of healings (5th), helps (6th) administration (7th), various kinds of tongues (8th). (1 Corinthians 12:28) “Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men… And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and (the word “and” is not in the Greek) teachers” (literally pastors-teachers) (Ephesians 4:8, 11) If you want to make that argument - that there is a system of order from the following verses…you “can,” but realize that you are dealing primarily (but not always) with a flow in which these gifts manifest themselves. The flow itself is an order, but it does not always work this way and it’s not necessarily an order of “listening to.” (for example: in reality evangelists are not before pastors in regards to taking care of the congregational needs). If you combine these verses with verses concerning elders leaders are not to be ruling over each other to being with, much more the pastor - teacher ruling over the elders. Biblically speaking nobody rules (rules as in kingship) over anybody, and people do listen to one another depending on what is going on. “but when Cephas (an Apostle) came to Antioch, I (a fellow Apostle) opposed him to his face…” (Galatians 2:11) “A certain prophet (2nd in the order of giftings / offices) named Agabus came down from Judea and coming…took (an Apostle - 1st in the order of giftings / offices) and said, ‘This is what the Holy Spirit says…’ (Acts 22:10-14) “ So then those who were scattered… made their way to Antioch, speaking the word (Evangelists?) to no one except to Jews alone…But there were some of them …(who)… began speaking to the Greeks also (more Evangelists?) preaching the Lord Jesus…. Saul (an Apostle) (was also brought) to Antioch… Now (in) time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and [said something, and the body listened and Saul - an Apostle (1st in the order of giftings / offices) followed through] (Acts 11:19-30) [Brothers and sisters, Antioch was the place to be, everyone was most likely acting as elders under the headship of the King] “Paul and Barnabas…being sent on their way by the church (concerning a matter, and when they got to where they were going)…the (other) apostles and the elders came together to look into (the matter). And after there had been much debate (among everyone).. Peter stood up and said…(then) James answered saying… Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders with the whole church to send.. with Paul and Barnabas - Judas called Barsabbas and Silas… also being prophets themselves … (Acts 15) If you look at the verses no one is superior to anyone (and in reading the list in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:8, 11 it’s interesting that the prophetic is number 2 on the list. In most churches prophets are almost always subservient to the Pastor - Teacher [again a kingship type of error, but once again the Spirit is not locked into following this order anyway, it really depends on what is going on (For example, if the person with the gift of Administration (# 7 on the list) gets up and says we don‘t have the money to pay the pastor and here are our options, unless God says different, his gifting is front and center and everyone is going to listen to him (or her) - especially the Pastor. Again, these listings are just default ways of looking at things - if nothing is going on. Brothers and sisters, once again, in regards to this “system of order” found in scripture we are dealing with a ‘generally speaking’ kind of thing. It does not always work this way and it’s not necessarily an order of listening. According to scripture there is no head elder, but a plurality that rules. Nobody rules (rules as in kingship) over anybody, and people listen to one another depending on what is going on. Sisters and brothers scripturally speaking, there is no such thing as authoritian anyone (reread the just quoted verses)- and this is especially so in regards to board/elder meetings at the church. Especially so. Again a plurality of elders - in regards to leadership in the local church - is the correct biblical model to follow. And it always has been too. A:8) Brothers and sisters there are more than just one office in the church. Most people think of churches having just one office (usually a pastor) and the church is ruled either by the pastor (that is the one office), and or the elders (whose “only” office or “gifting” for some usually happens to be they are old enough or have been around long enough to be considered an elder and thus give advise). It’s just the way it is. Brethren, according to scripture there are about 9 or 10 offices within your church (depending on where you put evangelists and the gift of languages), and in regard to these church offices, this is another base line - aside from the use of gifts in the service - that the church has been trying to get back to for quite some time now, the first attempt being in the 1950’s in regards to the office of Apostle and Prophet [and to tell you the truth most people out there don‘t even realize that there are other offices in the church aside form the one (pastor-teacher) or maybe an additional one or two more]. Sisters and brothers, here are some assorted verses, with commentary on The Offices (or “appointments” in the church) within your church. “Therefore it says, When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men… And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers” (the word “and” is not in the Greek literally pastors-teachers) (Ephesians 4:8, 11) “ And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles (4th), then gifts of healings (5th), helps (6th) administration (7th), various kinds of tongues (8th). (1 Corinthians 12:28) Brothers and sisters, these people are in your church whether you recognize it or not and whether they themselves realize it or not. It’s just the way it is and if your church has about a dozen members you can count on it. Brothers and sisters, based on 1 Corinthians 12:27 28, I am of the opinion that every believer has an office (or “appointment” again 1 Corinthians 12:28) either within the church or - based on Ephesians 4:8,11 - outside the church (that is evangelists - and it is possible to argue that because every Christian is a part of the body of Christ that evangelists also have another ministry within the church as well). Brethren in the previous footnote I pointed out something about the flow in which the Spirit of God operates. Now in regards to this flow (and I do want to point out that you can interpret Ephesians 4:8,10 as possibly the primary four fold ministry that moves into a new area to preach the gospel (see the church at Antioch where the evangelist came first then an apostle) In other words it’s not a system of order per say - anyone can take the lead. But again, in regards to this flow… the eight offices mentioned (and or “gifts” in the general sense of the word Ephesians 4:8 - and if that is the case you are dealing with nine “gifts” not just eight - but one gift - evangelist - is not for the church per say, think about it), again the following eight offices (or “appointments” ) are mentioned in scripture for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28) and again I do believe that the order mentioned here represents (or reflects) a system of operation that seems to reflect the moving of the Spirit not the system of government (again its not a governing kingship type of thing) once again elders who are in submission to one another. Elders, elders, elders. Again, in regards to this flow (and by flow I mean in part that the first person in the room that is going to sense it may be the Apostle (since they usually have a lot of gifting etc.), then the prophet, then the pastor - teacher etc. but once again if you look at the previous footnote this is not always the case, that is why you have a plurality of elders rule. Anyway in regards to this flow…). Apostles - Are number 1 on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). And they are in your church as well. Brothers and sisters Apostles still exist (why would they not? If you look up the word Apostle in the New Testament you will find out that there were more than 12. The office just continued. Romans 16:7). In regards to the term “apostle” biblically speaking the actual title means “one sent” and if they are in your church they were either sent there for a particular purpose (Acts 16:9) or are on their way out (Acts 15:36) (and that is that God has them there preparing them to minister in another place, most likely a place that has not been visited by God or a place that has not been visited by Him in some time. Basically Apostles are breaking new ground kind of people. In regards to apostles “ruling” in a church I have no problem with Apostles - who pass the test - ruling over (or even appointing elders / deacons) in a local church or churches in which they have been sent if need be in the beginning of their ministry to a local church for some reason, [but remember even Peter went into error (Galatians 2:11), so be careful here, elders will probably be “self-demonstrating” of their position and also in regards to deacons according to Acts 7 it was the congregation who choose them], but as far as a “budding” apostle ruling in your midst, I think you can be open to that fact (particularly since they seem to have a multitude of giftings), but you need wisdom here as well (for the reason they are there is most likely because they still need to learn a thing or two) Again the correct biblical example is for an Apostles to be subject to other apostles (or elders see 1 Peter 1:5) (a plurality of elders so to speak) as well as being subject to another’s giftings within the local church (Ephesians 5:21). (again if you have any questions about any of this look at the previous quoted verses - while there may be serious questions out there as to whether apostles actually posses all the gifts - as some Christians maintain (and if you look at Ephesians 4:8, 11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 you kind of get the idea that they may not, because of the separation of offices), again while there may be serious question as to all their giftings they’re definitely gifted people, and if sent by the Lord their words carry weight). Once again, apostles still exist, they are probably in your local assembly as well. They have (or will have) weighted say in matters when the Spirit moves, however they (just like Peter in 1 Peter 1:5) consider themselves as fellow elders and are subject themselves to one another’s giftings. Brothers and sisters, however you view the gift (or office) biblical speaking they don’t stay at a church forever, but if after starting a new church leave behind a governing body of elders to rule and guide the church (and not centralized one person - authority). And if visiting (or sent) to an established church may correct wrong paradigms of ministry if need be (3 John 1:9). Sisters and brothers, in regards to the issue of a plurality ruling, apostles more than anyone realize that nobodies perfect, nobody has ‘arrived’ and they want everyone to keep everyone else in check. That’s one of the reasons why they established a plurality of elders in scripture ruling a church. There are to be no papacies, no authoritian pastors, everyone is subject to the King and the King alone (that is the Lord of lords). Prophets - These are second on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28) Brothers and sisters, prophets still exist, again why would they not (and who would not want to listen to a prophet?) It’s a “distance seeing” gift as well as a gift that shines a light upon things. It also points the finger. One thing I find interesting is that the prophetic is number 2 on the list of giftings in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:8, however in most churches today that recognize the gift (or office) they are never paid (as far as I know) and as said in footnote A:7 they are almost always subservient to the Pastor - Teacher (which is at least third on the list - and paid, again a kingship type of error, but once again the Spirit is not locked into following this order or operation anyway, it really depends on what is going on) Brethren in regards to the prophetic, as people begin to seek the correct biblical model for their local church this gift will become manifest in at least one individual. Man or woman, and again it is an exciting gift for it sees things before they (or it) happens. This gift is a wonderful manifestation of the counseling and guiding ability of the Holy Spirit for a church as well as ones own individual life. And if you as an individual don’t have it you can (1 Corinthians 12:31).Seek God for it. A Word About Evangelists Evangelists - Are not listed on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28) however are mention on a list of “gifts” (in the general sense of the word (Ephesians 4:8) that are given to the church. (Ephesians 4:8, 11) (There are people who think of them as the #3 office and whether they are an office, a gift and or a manifestation of the spirit of God I would definitely put them on the payroll) Evangelists who usually find churches (or bring people into the church) can serve a temporary leadership until other giftings become apparent. If they stay in a biblically correct model for an established church they will usually spend time on the outside of the church preaching the Gospel (street corners, going door to door etc.) In incorrect models of churches they will stay in the church preaching the gospel again and again and again to the congregation (and that constitutes “a service.” To me when I see these kinds of “churches” they are not churches but… I’m still not sure what they are, nor what their meetings are (unless of course they are having continual altar calls) I do know that the evangelist in these kinds of cases need to be sat down and guided to a more correct path for the use of his or her gift ) Also notice that they are NOT listed as an “in the church” ministry “ And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles (4th), then gifts of healings (5th), helps (6th) administration (7th), various kinds of tongues (8th). (1 Corinthians 12:28) Again they are given to the church for it’s (salvation) ministry, but they are not for the church, for the church is already saved. Evangelists are not to be talking in the service, service after service (if at all). They certainly have a place in the service in the sense that they can be open to a manifestation of the Spirit (they may have a prophecy just like anyone. You don’t have to have the office of a prophet to have a prophecy), but their main grace and “gifting” is outside the church. They have a place in God’s economy but it isn’t IN the church. Also for those who are “into” this system of listening order among the gifts or offices (that is if you take Ephesians 4:8, 11 as a system of order and it always works that way with no deviation). If there is listening going on in regards to this gift it’s listening in regards to the flow that an evangelist has in regards to their place in finding a church [that is God has uses evangelists in a ‘front of the line’ ’first wave’ way to call together a group of people who know nothing (that is why they are in front of the pack). Also, God may entrusts the congregation to the evangelist (that is he is “in charge“) until they lean the full Gospel]. Again he is up towards the front in the order of offices or “giftings.” Then when he’s done his job he moves on (or if he stays in the church he is out on the street) Again, some people take Ephesians 4:8, 11 as the end all to end all order of giftings or ministries or offices (5 fold ministry, 4 fold ministry) but it should be noted that in 1 Corinthians 12:28 this gift (or office) is not even mentioned [the only “out” (aside from it not being an “in the church” ministry) may be that Evangelist are solely an office and not a gift [I don‘t see a gift of evangelisms’ listed any where in scripture), in other words people do not posses the gift of evangelism (nobody does), for there is no such gift and “Evangelists” in Ephesians refer only to people who have the office of Evangelist. That is: an evangelist is someone who preaches the Gospel probably in a full time capacity]. Also in regards to this in 1 Corinthians 12 there are 8 “appointments” (or offices) mentioned (not just 4 or 5) and again the gift of evangelist is not mentioned. Conclusion? While there an office of an evangelist there is no such gift per say everyone is to preach the gospel and you don’t need a special gift to do it. However I do I think that the people who do do it have a special grace. It‘s not easy to go door to door or go up to people you don‘t know and start witnessing) Personally I like people with this “gift” (manifestation) or office (and I do think there is a manifestation of the Spirit of God involved when people preach the Gospel, and I know it takes a certain grace to occupy any office). People who center around this manifestation of the Spirit are usually fun to be with for they more than likely understand to full gospel, and are full of grace and mercy in their personal lives. Teaches (or Pastor-Teachers) - Third on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). (Read Evangelist for why they are not # 4) In the 1 Corinthians 12:28 list of offices (or “appointments”) the term “pastor” isn’t even mentioned as a position in the church, but teacher Biblically speaking if you compare the two verses on teachers (1 Corinthians 12: 28; Ephesians 4:11) you will find that Pastors - Teachers is the same gifting in the Greek (that is it’s really one gift in two parts) literally “pastors who are teachers” (Ephesians 4:8, 11) The word “and” (as in pastors “and” teachers) is not in the Greek therefore for those who champion God’s use of 5 fold ministry (Apostles, Prophets Evangelists, Pastors AND Teachers) it’s really a four fold ministry that he uses (as in a building has four walls, a foundation has four sides etc.) Once again they are the same gift (and they really are if you think about it), but one side of it may refer to a more academic side of the gift and the other side a more personal side of the gift (in other words the ability to practically apply theological truth to peoples lives. Pastors / Teachers are basically synonymous terms. This is no small matter for the misunderstanding of this verse in the Greek has lead to all sorts of problems, especially it’s uses to enforce the one man show paradigm where people in the church - who (aside from the pastor) also have this gifting are not fully recognized and are only allowed to function in an academic sense of the gift and not allowed to do personal ministry (in other words they can teach Sunday school, but cannot counsel) This has been my experience in over 30 years of visiting, watching and being part of different churches (in other words there can only be ONE pastor, somewhat like a hive can only have one queen bee). Also I have found that pastor-teachers who have this gifting in a church (who happen to be under a full time pastor) will bow down to this type of thinking (you can actually see an unhealthy broken attitude about them) and pretty much just throw themselves into the “academic” side of the gift and leave the practical application of theological truth (the counseling etc) to the “pastor.” Brothers and sisters, these things should not be (and I do think most churches need a good kick in the you know where because of this). If anything people with this gifting - who are not fully recognized by the congregation - should be told of the other half of the gift and encouraged so they can get ready start another church. In regards to the gift of pastor-teacher if there is one gift that most people pick for purpose of full time financial support it is usually this one. It is an important gift. What you as an individual and as a congregation believe about things does determine how you act to a certain degree, and “what you believe” is the domain of Pastor-Teacher. However I do want to point out that there are other giftings and offices out there that deserve support. In the list of giftings and offices of Ephesians 4:8,11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 apostles and prophets are mentioned as number one and two, however in actual practice almost all churches leave these people to fend for their own. Also some of the other appointments for the church could probably use support, especially as the office becomes manifest and are needed in a full time capacity. Brothers and sisters, pastor - teachers deserve support (they do) but when the “pastor” (or people) decide to take extra money and put in into a building or redesign the interior of a church - over and above supporting the other ministries - something is wrong. I can’t tell you how much the church has suffered because of the failure to support and or encourage all ministries in some way. Revival has so often waned because of it. Miracle Workers - Forth on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). While a person who is healed can say a miracle happened if a gift from another person was involved with that healing it was more than likely it from a person with the gift of healing than a person with the gift of miracles. A “miracle worker” is an office (or ’appointment”) separate from that. What’s a miracle? When Jesus feed the multitude with just a handful of fish and bread that were put in a basket (s?) VERSE NEEDED that was a miracle (also see Elisha who did something similar with just a jar of oil VERSE NEEDED ). Today, a miracle worker may do something similar concerning any need or, if you just look at the other miracles in scripture (walking on water, raising the dead etc.), they may do these things (or type of things) as well. Now this is not to say that people without this gift cannot do these things. They can. By faith one can do a lot, even move a mountain (VERSE NEEDED) however according to scripture there are people whose gifting focus or center around these kind of activities [ I remember (and this is the best I can remember the story) listening to a woman talk about the floor boards of her house becoming wet and warped and she commanded them to straighten out - and they did. This type of thing is nothing to people whose grace centers around this gift] . Healers [or people with the gift of healings (plural)] - Fifth on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). This gift is plural (in other word their may be people who specialize in only certain types of healings (which some people believe), or it just may be one grace (gift) manifesting itself in many different ways. There are all kinds of sickness mentioned in scripture (as well as their root causes). People whose grace centers around this gift can get right to the point of the matter (that is the root cause) and heal. It’s interesting to watch this gift work. Usually people with the gift get a specific “word” about something and move out in faith to effect a healing. According to scripture (James 5:13-17) people with sickness cause by sin (and I want to mention here that not all sickness is caused by sin, nor is all sickness caused by a spirit), can also call the elders of the church, confess their sin, have them anoint them with oil, and be healed. This - I believe - is separate from the gift (or office) of healing (and I do want to point out here that many of these gifts overlap and are not the exclusive “property” of anyone) Brothers and sisters, according to God’s word (Genesis 6:3) people should be living to be 120 years old (which is in agreement with the outer limits set by science as well). If you feel like you are going home earlier than that, unless God has revealed to you the reason why you might want to seek out a person with the gift of healing in your assembly. (See Appendix I as well as Appendix footnote D:27 for another slant on all this) Helpers - Sixth on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). For some reason today people with this gift view themselves as ushers (if that is the kind of church service you have), or parking lot attendants or janitors. While this may be “so” people with this gift will either help out the entire church in general (in a physical helping way), or work along side of other spiritual ministries in and outside the service and are able to fill in any gap that may manifest itself (for that is where their grace is). It can be a very power gift. Brothers and sisters, people with this gift are not slaves, rodies or anything of the sort (even though they are often treated in a roadie fashion), but they come along side of other ministries to help and as a result reap profit for themselves - which may in fact be financial. They are like utility players in baseball who know a lot about all the “positions” and again can practically fill in for, or may in fact be able to fill in for anyone (kind of like handymen). Spiritually they spend most of their time helping other offices (or “appointments”) within the church (If you read Romans 16:1-16 you may be able to pick out a few people with this gift). Administrators - Seventh on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). Usually the people with this gifting are on “the board” of the church or get together with the board. They are often, but not always elders. This gifting usually concerns the financial condition of the local church - but it is not limited to that (for examples some churches may have someone with this gifting working in a secretarial capacity at times, therefore this gifting would be helpful in scheduling appointments etc.) Basically people with this gifting - administrators - “run” the church. They keep things running smoothly (usually behind the scenes) and make sure bills are paid, people are kept informed, paid etc.. They like “Helpers” fill in the gap (or oversight) left ministries (they manage things) and will try to “connect” them together as well (again making sure things flow together and run together smoothly, for even though people have gifts they are imperfect and may leave things undone or disconnected from other ministries). Even though administrators are number seven on the list of appointments (or offices) of the church they are in many ways “in charge” of the church - again their title “administrators” bearing witness to that fact (personally I think it was the elder with this gift (or office or appointment) at the church of Rome who - whether innocently or not - not only “took charge of it,” but took it over). Languages (tongues) - Eighth on the list of “appointments” (or offices) for the church (1 Corinthians 12:28). Basically it’s an office (or “appointment”) that helps people speak or interpret peoples languages from other cultures. According to the list of 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 there are two gifts that revolve around this office (speaking and interpretation). I’m not sure that person with the appointment is required to have both gifts, but on the surface you would think they might. You see the ability to speak another language at Pentecost - the beginnings of the church (Acts 2:4-6). A:9) Brothers and sisters, people have gifts and everyone has at least one. There are those who quibble over the meaning of the words gift (as in residing) vs. effects (manifestation as in ‘coming upon’) in 1 Corinthians 12:1-6, but if you compare those verses with Romans 12:6-8 the words are used interchangeably and in actual practice the end result is still the same (and has no bearing on the service of the saints). “but to each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7) “And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us ” (Romans 12:6) In other words if this was true and you walked into two different services where in one, the gifts ‘came upon’ the congregation and manifested themselves and the other where they have previously ‘resided’ in them and subsequently manifested themselves you could not tell the difference between the services. Both services would be the same (also I‘m not sure the people themselves would be able to tell the difference either. The only difference I could possibly see is that it may be a little easier for one to flow in a residing gift for they are familiar with it but the Spirit would still manifest itself through the person in the very same way in either case and it would come down to the person being open to be used by the Spirit more so than recognizing how the gift or manifestation is coming through them per say). Brothers and sisters, whether you view gifts as something that resides in you (in a permanent way), or comes upon you temporarily all contribute, all have something to say or do and the things we do or say are indeed marvelous (1 Corinthians 12:8-11; Romans 12:6-8). It has no bearing on the service of the saints. Personally in regards to the debate between the two different viewpoints I feel we all have gifts in a permanent sense (Romans 12:5,6) especially since we all seem to have an office of some type, even if it’s ‘helpers’ (and you would think that everyone would have a least one gift to go with the office they have). However we are to be open to other manifestations of the Spirit coming upon us (which may in fact be permanent giftings that other people have) for again if you compare the two section on gifts it does look like the words are used interchangeably [and even if for the sake of argument this is not true you can still get any gift, even the greater gifts for God is not stingy (1 Corinthians 1:31). Why waste time arguing over “residing” vs. “coming upon you” when not only is the net effect still the same but you can spend that valuable time seeking the greater gifts? -and get them to boot. People waste time over silly things. Once again in actual practice the end result is still the same (and has no bearing on the service of the saints)]. Again the service with it’s manifestations of the Spirit of God (whether permanent or temporary) are the base line the church has been trying to get back to for some time now. We need to be open to God using us and speaking through us. In regards to offices and their giftings if you study the list of offices you will notice that some of them parallel the gifts (Prophet / prophecy; Pastor - Teacher / teaching; Helps / service). The gifts are tools that reside in the offices but like tools they can be taken up by anyone whom the Spirit leads to take (and the offices can have more than one tool or more than one specific gift) Gifts are permanent (Romans 11:29) and cannot be taken away for an individual. In regards to a person not knowing what their gifting is it’s been my experience that Christians (who don’t know what their part is in the body of Christ, how is that possible?) will often center around the office (or appointment) of ‘helps’ until they feel a leading into a particular calling (however some Christians never ‘break out’ of the help ministry - for that is their calling (or part) in the body of Christ. They love to help and you can see it on their faces (and since “helps” highest expression is to become knowledgeable of all ministries, the brothers and sisters whom God has called to this office become extremely valuable to the purposes of God and again can practically fill in for (or actually fill in for) ministries that become vacant every now and then). They know a lot about a lot of different things and may have multiple giftings. Brothers and sisters, as said in the previous footnote there are eight (or nine - depending on how you view evangelists) offices (or appointments) regarding the parts of the body of Christ. There are also fifteen (or sixteen- depending on how you view 1 Corinthians 7:7 regarding celibacy), however for our purposes there are up to fifteen giftings a person can have regarding the office he or she holds. These giftings are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 as well as Romans 12:6-8 and although some obviously center around a office, because ministries overlap, these giftings are not necessarily the exclusive domain of any one office - but again since offices (or appointments) do center around certain things or activities, certain giftings will also go hand in hand with the offices as well. Again these giftings mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and are as follows… 1) The word of wisdom 2) The word of knowledge 3) Faith 4) Gifts of healing (plural) 5) The effecting of miracles (separate from the gifts of healing) 6) Prophecy - “if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge” (1 Corinthians 13:2) 7) Distinguishing of spirits (1 John 4:1-6 the spirit of truth vs. the spirit of error) 8) Various kinds of tongues 9) Interpretation of tongues Other gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8 are as follows… 10) Service - 11) Teaches - 12) Exhorts 13) Gives - “in liberality” 14) Leads - “with diligence” 15) Shows Mercy - “with Cheerfulness” Sisters and brothers, how do you know what gift you have? Well… you can always spend time with the Lord and ask Him. Also “what do you “feel” like doing?” in regards to an office or appointment may be a good question to ask yourself and then see if you have the necessary gifts (grace) to accomplish that task (and if you don’t - and you still feel like doing what you want to do - there is no reason why you cannot ask the Lord for that gifting. Brothers and sisters, it’s been my experience that people - as they seek the Lord - just fall into their office (or “appointment”) and flow with it’s gifting. For example a new believer may give a prophecy and they just naturally seem to focus their attention (that is their prayers, fastings and seeking the Lord ) in that particular area. They are usually not “flippant” people (that is: just saying anything) but will usually practice becoming extremely sensitive to the Spirit - testing spirits - and will eventually (if not immediately) hear directly from God. Someone with the gift of teacher may find themselves doing a lot more studying then other believers in other offices (or appointments) and may go into the pastorate in a full time way. You walk into their house and they may have a ton of books on a variety of Christian subjects (again they are just following and flowing in their interest or calling or gifting). You may also find them counseling people (that is if they are not “beaten down” by people who are already in the pastorate - which I have seen too many times). People who effect miracles are always full of faith type of people. If there is an obstacle they will be the first to say “so what?” ( or what’s a matter is God too small or not powerful enough to help?). Very quick to turn to God type people. If they follow their grace they will do miracles. People with gifts of healing look at sickness as a opportunity to see God work. They parallel miracle workers in a lot of ways, but concentrate on the body. They - in the Spirit - see connections between things (that is, you are sick because…), and God will use them to heal people. This is a gift I wish I had and someday I think I’ll look into it and seek it out more. Generally speaking now, as said in the previous footnote a person according to scripture should live 120 years [Genesis 6:3 And again this seems to be a general fact in life, that is: no one really lives beyond this, and if they do (as you will see occasionally in scripture) then they are truly blessed by God]. However, if a person goes to be with the Lord before this time, generally speaking you are dealing with… A) Martyrdom (Hebrews 11) B) Sin, which needs to be confessed (and/or forgiven) is present. And the sickness may remain until it’s done (this also includes abusing ones body) C) Someone in authority over the person (let’s say a parent) cursed the individual (inadvertently hopefully). Again something that needs to be dealt with, broken. D) The person may have inadvertently cursed themselves (again something that needs to be broken and dealt with) E) or a few other things Brothers and sisters, this kind of teaching is very unpopular in some denominations and people can get very angry if you even mention some of the above things, nevertheless - for progressing churches - all these things are found in scripture, they are true and people need to come to grips with what it is they really believe about life, particularly God‘s word.. Brothers and sisters, there are “laws” present in the world (let’s say gravity) and it’s there whether we recognize it or not or whether we agree with it or not. It’s the same thing in regards to the with the above mentioned reasons. Listen, God said that man would live 120 years, if he does not live that long something else is going on, but don’t worry, even then God has provided a solution by giving His body the gift of healing so that they will live long productive and healthy lives (yes sin and it‘s effects can be forgiven!). [And again see Appendix I for another slant on all this concerning a group of people who may indeed overcome everything] Getting back to the Offices (or appointments), of the three remaining, Helpers, Administrators, Language Speakers. All have at least one - if not more than one - of the 15 mentioned gifts And God works all these gifts together to bring about a mature body (or church) for the sake of his glory and testimony in the earth. PS Some people consider celibacy a gift (1 Corinthians 7:7) and if it is it’s does not seem to be a gift in the traditional use of the word “gift” (as in a manifestation of the Spirit), but more of a gift to be content in regards to ones state of being. A:10) Many individual Pentecostal churches are independent of the AG some of which are the size of denominations or may be denominations themselves. For example The Four Square Movement under Amie Semple McPherson are independent of the AG, The Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA) churches under AB Simpson (sp?) which was in existence previous to the Pentecostal movement but had a visitation of the Spirit of God at some of their meetings during the early 1900’s and were influenced by the same outpouring of the Spirit of God that the AG churches were (their statement of faith sounds purely Pentecostal), they remained independent of AG. Some Church of God’s are still independent. Brethren if you study it there were probably a multitude of reason why a number of churches banded together to form the AG (retirement benefits, help with insurance premiums maybe even getting together to formalize the education of it’s ministers through a denominational school, which they do have etc), but once again not all the churches that were effected by this outpouring went along with what these churches did (that is form a denomination) and wanted to remain independent of that kind of thing [Denominations tend towards formalization and stagnation and Latter Rain ran into problems with the AG (Appendix I) They rejected it, at least initially [and the visitation that had happened, happened to it own (AG) people] - (last I looked the denomination was still standoffish. Again stagnation)]. Also, not all - of what we would call today - evangelical churches accepted or fully accepted the Pentecostal movement, for example The Church of the Nazarene (which, influenced by holiness teaching, progressed out of the Methodist church) would accept Pentecostal teaching and become The Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene and then eventually reject some (if not all) Pentecostal teaching, drop the title “Pentecostal” and return to its Wesleyan roots. Some Baptist churches accepted Pentecostalism - particularly black Baptist churches, and still kept the name “Baptist” on their marquee , however other Baptists rejected not only the movement (which included a talk of spiritual experiences and manifestations with teachings on gifts) but also rejected the paradigm that God still is in the business of reforming His church (in other words the gifts were for yesterday when the cannon wasn’t written. Today, we have the scriptures, we don‘t need the gifts, and or spiritual experiences….) and a lot of these churches formed together to become some of large the Baptist denominations we know today (Southern Baptists, American Baptists etc). (Brothers and sisters, in my opinion Nazarenes and many Baptists churches were unnecessarily shaken up by some of the things they saw, went overboard, and rejected everything. The only reforming I see these days in Baptist these churches is offering two types of services - a traditional one and a contemporary one, and the only foreseeable difference between the two is updating of their song list and a change of instrumentation). Also as an interesting side note for some reason (which could be the rejection of gifting’s by established main line churches) after the outpouring of the Spirit of God in the turn of the last century you began to see people with the gift of healing branch off from many main line churches and become independent of them. As a result you began to see “services” on the outside that centered around that particular gift (tent meeting and what not). Something which was totally unnecessary, but given what the people with the gift were probably up against understandable). A:11) In regards to the laying on of hands, scripturally speaking the laying on of hands is not necessary for these offices, even still the laying on of hands can be associated with the passing on of gifts (1 Timothy 4:14) which in Timothy‘s case - even though he was an evangelist - he also seems to have occupied the office of a Pastorate (or be and do Pastoring and Teaching). “…teaching (as in Pastor-Teacher). Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery”(1 Timothy 4:13,14) Brothers and sisters, God is free to do what He desires in these matters. He can call people, or pass things, like offices down through the laying on of hands (especially since there seems to be an overlap between the gifts and offices. Footnote A:8 and A:9. In other words you may be getting a gift (prophecy) through impartation to go with the office you are also getting (prophet). Brethren, however you view this point Scripturally things can be passed on through the laying on of hands, and again was this point that surrounded the visitation in Canada in the middle of the last century (Appendix I). God was trying to open the churches eyes to a thing or two. A:12) Vineyard (or the Vineyard Movement) are basically independent churches, loosely associated with each other, and claim to be non-denominational (the original church out in Anaheim California - last time I checked - had little influence over the other churches (other than very basic standards). This was done purposely so [evidenced by which during Toronto (see Chapter 6) a lot of Vineyard churches wanted to shut it down or get control of it, but couldn’t because of the way the church was set up. John Wimber (the former Quaker / Calvary Chapel pastor who started the church) was - because of the way he wanted the church to be (independent) - was very wary of inserting any influence over Toronto - and as far as I know didn‘t tell John Arnot (the pastor of the Toronto Vineyard) what to do (although they did talk). (by the way the Toronto service model was very outside the Calvary Chapel service model that John Wimber had adopted which was part of the problem the other Vineyard churches had with Toronto) However the controversy was eventually settled when Toronto left the Vineyard movement and went independent. Vineyard churches are difficult to type but overall I do believe they follow basically an evangelical model in their service (however being very open to the movings of the Spirit of God in the service and the use of gifts (which again was John Wimbers main difference of opinion with old “stick in the mud” Calvary Chapel). [And it was all because a Catholic - much troubled in soul - monk named Martin Luther got away from the philosophical arguing (which again is pretty much all the Catholic church engaged in thanks to Thomas Aquinas) and read the bible and found out that a person is saved by faith - not works - and as a result, his much troubled soul disappeared (A:13). A:13) Actually if Martin Luther went further and compared the 2 verses (VERSE S NEEDED) he would have come up with a more correct and precise doctrine of ‘works of faith,’ (See Hebrews 6:1 on this), but since ‘the faith part’ was so lacking in his life he latched unto that. He and Erasmus argued back and forth about that for quite some time and although vilified by most protestants Erasmus did make some very good points). [Brothers and sisters, being a former Catholic and having, like Luther, left that church (and as a result experiencing so much more of what Christianity - especially experiential Christianity is all about) - I could never go back [It wasn’t until 1962 that they began to do the service in the language of the people (Years behind earlier reformations, particularly of the reformed church. I remember the days of the Latin service. I remember asking my dad what they were saying. And there are still people today that want to go back to that kind of thing, like it was a holy thing, but in reality it was just arrogance on the part of leadership to change the written out language of the service into the language of the common people as the language (Latin) began to change into the various European dialects (which were in effect the common un- formulized street language that the people used which became the Italian, Spanish and French that we know today)., and they kept at it under the guise (or belief) that it that the language had become a holy language and would not budge on change until right into the middle of the last century. Even today the church is still in many areas, hundreds of years behind where God is reforming the church today (and I would hazard to guess that most Catholics feel the same way about this evidenced by their lack of, or sporadic church attendance - and some by their non - Catholic marital lifestyles (that is divorced and remarried or married to non- Catholics, the latter being something some parishes do seem to be bending on a little). Also seeing the non-Catholic lifestyles (which as a former Catholic I‘m aware of) I think are more evidence of this as well (Let‘s be honest here). In my and most peoples opinion it’s virtually impossible to reform large organizations and this is particularly true in regards to the Catholic church. Whatever reform I have witnessed are usually token comparatively to what God is doing in the rest of the church today (and the church will do token things now and then but this with much resistance from the ‘old guard‘). The church needs a major house cleaning, a reexamination of it doctrine and purposes and an update in regards to what God is doing in the earth today. A:14) Brethren, if you do go “the renting route” you had better run it past God for I would say that it’s NOT necessary, however if your home is not big enough there is advantage to having all the gifts functioning under one roof at one time. (if you do rent I would not get something big, for again I have seen so many church splits in my life that I know it’s just a matter of time before it comes and those who are mature need to be prepared for it and one of the things they need to do is not rent an extra large building for not only are you very possibly influencing the service size, but also how are you going to pay the bills (rent etc) when people inevitably leave? [I would try to hold on to a small group meeting - as the church meeting - for as long as possible (possibly forever)]. Also in regards to renting is that one of the things you may need to consider (aside from the things mentioned in Chapter 4 of this book) is the fact that - like it or not - if you do rent a building you may have to consider the possibility of having insurance and paying insurance premiums and basic upkeep. However if everyone happens to be on the same page in regards to insurance [that is if something should happen to some one (and God is in control), everyone agrees to chip in and pay] - that’s fine (However if you do go ahead and rent and pay insurance premiums it may not be all that much anyway, and beside, the buildings owners policy will probably cover anything that may happen outside the building anyway, so that is another thing to consider) Brethren, it’s just that if you rent a building, the way things can be in today’s society, you may have to consider new things (And brethren, looking back at things I‘m not sure I can ever remember a case where someone actually sued a church - maybe once - so maybe it’s hardly worth mentioning) Now if you buy a building and open it to the public, if you get insurance, the premiums will probably be higher than a rental (this is another thing to consider in regards to a ‘renting vs. ownership’ debate that may go on). Brothers and sisters, there is nothing evil about renting or owning, however I would seek the Lord on this issue, especially in light of the things written in Chapter 4 of this book. A:15) A:16) In regards to your pastors qualifications (that is: regarding someone who feels led to and is in fact called into that ministry)… you do want to have someone who follows - the living - still speaking Jesus [to me, this, as well as the pastor believing the major points of Christianity along with the demonstration of the gift of teaching (see Footnotes A:8 and A:9) is more than enough (or at the very least enough) qualifications for a person to be in the pastorate ( and personally I couldn‘t care less about a pastors formal education, again as long as the person is called by God to that ministry, God will take care of anything that is lacking) (in other words you don‘t have to go to seminary, bible college, high school, or even grade school). Also - in regard to the office or appointment or calling to the pastorate, realize that [and I’m saying this to new pastors (and churches) as well as pastors of already established churches and ministries] anyone in your church who has the gift of teaching will also have the gift of pastoring (again the same gift in the Greek, see I Corinthians 12:28 where ‘pastor’ isn‘t even mentioned, they are synonymous, it‘s really one gift in two parts) and as a result should either be recognized as an elder or everyone understands they are on their way - whether they get paid or not (you can do the deacon testing thing - if you really have a question or issue - but they should get out of that as quickly as they got into it for they should be spending time in the word studying as well as in prayer. Service, at least that kind of service is probably not their calling. Again they are on their way [therefore and any help you can give them in regards to this would be beneficial (I know of one church where the paid pastor considered those who led small groups to be fellow pastors)]. Now how this would play out in the meeting of leadership… well again, once recognized (and possibly tested) everyone would be on equal footing whether they got paid or not [Listen, you have to see the church as a ‘on the move‘ paradigm of life that is always on it‘s way to a God ordained split (again the redundancy of gifts, see footnote….on this)]. In the mean time God is raising up fellow - equal footing - leadership that should be seen as such (and paid leadership should not feel threatened or repressive), these are fellow elders, and if and when it comes time for them to leave (if that should be the case, and it probably will be) they should leave in a nice way WITH provision (I know of a pastor who sent his very best people with another raised from within pastor to start another church. That is the way it should be. [And brethren, you have no idea how petty and repressive churches are in regards to the above view. In regards to education - as long as people hold on to the basic traditional broad creed of the church that has been passed on for centuries - they are OK for leadership again as far as their education goes (creed being “I believe in one God creator of heaven and earth…” and it’s usually written out as a statement of faith in some churches, and although it can change somewhat from church to church, the main points are always the same). Also, since these people have the gift which means that God Himself has called them what’s the problem [except for the ‘hoops‘ that “leadership” (in quotes mind you) puts these poor people through - “you got to go to seminary, or at least bible college, also you got to do this, you got to do that” Brothers and sisters, the apostles THE APOSTLES were clearly uneducated men, but they were ‘with and followed Jesus’ and that was all that mattered. You have no idea how much the church has suffered because of this. This combined with the philosophy that the service is a one man show (again “pastoral” problems or the “me first” philosophy you will often times find in that office) with only one person that deserves support (Footnote A:8) has stalled so much of God‘s purposes on the earth]. Most pastors need a good swift kick in the butt. Anyway bothers and sisters we do need new churches. And by the way, in case you are wondering what many established main line protestant denominational churches do in America in regards to the ordination of the pastor (for comparison sake) what happens is a follows: 1) An already established (or a starting out church) who is looking for a pastor will usually contact the regional bishop or overseer regarding their need. This person will pass the word along and the word usually goes out three places A) Ordained pastors in the denomination who do not have a church. B) Ordained pastors within the denomination who have a church (and may want a transfer) C) or people just graduating from their denominational school (and or graduates who are not ordained, do not have a church and want one). Generally speaking this is how things are done (at least in this first step). Some denominations do recognize ‘home grown’ ministry. In other words if a person within the denomination (usually within a local church feels called into the pastorate and the congregation feels the same way about the person, then the denomination will also recognize this and all the person needs to do to be a pastor in the denomination will be to take some kind of correspondence education through denominational headquarters (the Church of the Nazarene will do this, and I‘m sure others as well) 2) After the word goes out, people who are interested in the position will do something that some denominations will call “candidating” and like a candidate for office will “apply” to the church for “the job” [which usually involves some preaching, answering questions (personal and theological) and everyone getting to know everyone else]. If the church likes a particular person (and if multiple people have “applied” for the job) they will call the person back for either more of the same, and or an actual offer). (and somewhere along the line they do talk about practical things like salary, insurance, maybe even housing etc). However the thing that is of interest in regards to this section (or Appendix) is, if the church happens to like a particular person who is a graduate of their denominational school (that is NOT ordained) what a lot of denominational churches will want to do is ordain the individual before they “set them in” as their pastor (and what is meant by “ordain” is to just stand around the individual and lay their hands on them and pray for them (and it‘s usually done by the elders in a particular church). In other words after all the preaching (and usually questioning concerning their doctrinal beliefs) the local church recognizes the gift within them and confirms it during a “ceremony“ called an ordination ceremony (and it can be quite a ceremony on some churches). Brothers and sisters, it’s this ceremony (or the going through it) is what is meant by the word “ordination”. In other word if a person has been through this ceremony they are ordained by the church or denomination). Like I said this is how it works in many mainline protestant denominational churches in America and it’s the date of this ceremony and the name of the church (or denomination) who did that, that the state “requires” in regards to pastors performing official functions (weddings etc.). The state (government) does not get involved in any other qualifications [and like I said previous to this states may recognize what they call “self ordination” in other words people who have not gone through any ceremony but feel that they have been ordained by God and they just put down what amounts to the date they have been called by God on official forms, and for a denomination they may just leave it blank. (Listen the state really does not get involved in a lot of this stuff, a pastors education or even in the recognizing of denominations. If people want to get married by an certain individual of a certain church (mainline denominational or independent) that their personal business. The pastor may have to check off some things on a form (which the individuals get from the town clerk and give to the pastor) and the pastor may have to supply information concerning a blood test (which the individuals get done and provide) but that is pretty much it. If the state gives someone problems in regards to this someone there hasn’t thought things through regarding the separation of church and state, and you may have to do some trail blazing in your area (like homeschoolers did), but you will win in the end for again there is a separation of church and state in regards to this issue. Brothers and sisters, my whole point in this section regarding a pastors qualifications is if you are worried about the state recognizing your pastor - don’t be. If you want to start a church (even an independent non denominational church) and you want to have someone you already know as your pastor (and they have no education in regards to anything), just (and you don’t have to do this, but if it is of that much concern to you) just stand around the individual, lay hands on them (regardless on how you fell about the issue, that is impartation and / or conformation footnote A:11) and pray for them (that is set them into their position in the church with you yourself keeping in mind 1 Timothy 5:22). Quite honestly this (the ordination itself) is the only thing states are concerned about and again that is if the person has been ordained or “set in” in this fashion by an established group [I know of an individual who has been set in (or ordained) by multiple groups (and this can be common in independent churches). If this person wanted to they could take multiple picks of dates regarding their ordination - (as well as the groups that did it) and this person was not playing games in regards to anything. It’s all real (it was just the way their life worked out)]. And in regards to the greatness of America, this is one reason what this country is so great and has expanded so greatly in the progression of Gods purposes in the earth and that is the state does not get involved in all this stuff regarding qualifications of ministry (as they do in some countries), nor in the recognizing of independent churches or denominations (again as they do in some countries) and that is the way it should be. In America any attempt to do other wise really infringes on the peoples (and God’s) rights and desires in these matters (and regarding providing further information to the state, if a particular state wants the address of your “denomination,” just put the mailing address of the house or building where the ordination was done or where they could contact someone for further information (members or elders of the church etc.) Brothers and sisters I wouldn’t worry about any of this stuff, especially if you are starting a church, if you run into problems it would probably be from some busy body clerk who has nothing else to do (or has some agenda). If you belong to a state (most likely a county or city within a state) that is like this - don’t give into these people. If they want some kind of a certificate of ordination - and you feel pressed - just print one up using a computer and hand it in. They would never take you to court and it would never make it, believe me if it ever did get out of the individual clerks office the state itself would back down in a moment. There is far far too much precedent in this country regarding the separation of church and state in these matters and every independent church in this country (which amounts to millions and millions of people) would be a friend - in court - to you in regards to this. Once again my whole point is don’t worry about your pastors qualifications to be a pastor - or even the legitimacy of your church in regards to state recognition. The rights the state has over this is nill to none. Again what most states want in regards to a pastors official functions (weddings) is just the date of their ordination and the group of people that did it. And again in regards to the name of the group, I would just put “Christian church” or “Home church” and that’s it (if they want further information I would just put a mailing address where a person in a clerks office can contact someone and if they want an official certificate of ordination or something, and if they want one, once again just make one up, and try your best to make it look nice, maybe even giving a copy to your new pastor (but unless your adventurous try not to submit it to the state in crayon, you really don‘t want to tweak peoples noses unnecessarily) . On the last pages of this book you will find some sample ordination forms you can - if you had to use (or at the very least they will give you some ideas as to what one can look like if you wanted to make one up). You can cut them out and go to a copy machine and enlarge them if you wish. Honestly, just a statement on a piece of paper attesting to the fact of ordination, dated and signed by at least two witnesses is more than enough. So and so was ordained by our home church on 6/26/08 and we the members of the church (or elders of the church) were there and attest to that fact. (name and address) (name and address) Again you don’t have to go to Seminary, Bible college or any of that stuff to be a pastor of a church - not in this country. The person who married me and my wife never had time for any of that stuff and took a correspondence course - and you don’t even have to do that. Brothers and sisters, the apostles would never have made it if you had to do any of these things before you begin to minister and believe me God still - like the apostles - calls people who will not or never be able to go to a seminary, bible college or even take a correspondence course through the mail. Once again you don’t have to do any of these things to be called by God into the pastorate, and even to be ordained. As far as the U.S. government is concerned (unless states recognize self ordination) all people need to do is lay hands on a person to confirm (or impart) the gift (or office) that God has given them (that is ordain them) and that’s it Bothers and sisters, if the church (which can be independent of denominations, that is non denominational) thinks a person is OK than the government recognizes this as well. Unless you are doing some kind of scam, they just don’t get involved in these matters. A:17) Again (and I do want to emphasize for I feel it may stop congregations from forming a church or people going into the pastorate and that is) in regards to government recognition of your pastor (in America), as said in the previous footnote there is such a thing as separation of Church and State in this country. In other words anyone - regardless of education - can become a pastor (also there is such a thing as self ordained ministry, in other words people ordained and called, not through the presbytery (or laying on of hands, or ordination), but by God. Whether the government recognizes this or not is not important as far as a person ministering goes nor is government recognition of this important for a person calling themselves a pastor, however some states may have an issues about this in regards to a person performing official functions such as a marriage (so you have to check your local state laws concerning that particular issue. In such a case the person will be able to minister and call themselves a pastor, and be called a pastor by the congregation but if the state does not recognize this they just cant perform a marriage). In states where this “self ordination” (or “self-ordained”) is a problem (which is what some people call people who consider themselves ordained but not through churches) pastors may have to fight in regards to (this like the early home schoolers did) however the fight may be only on the level (again check local laws). In regards to those who feel called by God and don’t mind the congregation laying their hands on them to confirm that calling, performing a marriage ceremony is not a problem for they - as far as the state is concerned - are ordained (by the congregation) and can go ahead with official functions. All they may need in regards to paperwork is to have the date of his/her ordination and possibly the name of the church they belong to (which again can just be “Home Church” like some kids put “Home School” in regards to official documents). In regards to self ordained ministry that is recognized by the state what one would need is the date of his/her “self - ordination” (which in this case would be the date he/she felt called by God, and from our perspective God ordination) and possibly the name of the church you belong to. However in regards to ordained ministry through the presbytery or denomination, again unless your church is running a scam, the government has no say in regards to the legitimacy of this at all (and they don’t get involved), and this includes independent church’s whether they meet in a home or building. Once again, the greatness of America and why this country is so blessed [that is God is able to bless it through all kinds of ministry because the government does not stop and is not able to stop, nor control His ministers, His congregations and therefore His purposes on the earth. He does want to bless the earth and it would be wise for governments on all levels to leave His people alone in these matters. A:18) Sometimes doing things among in small group of friends can be beneficial for those who are just starting out in the things of the Spirit and are concerned about the possibility of public failing in a larger setting. Although not necessary if you belong to a body who understands this (and therefore you can ignore this advice) some people can be very judgmental in regards to failure (or “failure”) and may not be open to a person a second time around (it‘s more their problem than the person who is “moving out‘s“ problem). Therefore you might want to consider starting out in your gifting among friends before doing it in a larger setting. Also the confidence level of the one who is moving out in the gift might be build up by doing this kind of thing as well. Brothers and sisters, most people when they learn to walk (or even birds when they learn to fly), tend to fall or stumble over a few things until they learn - by experience - a thing or too. However if one is already acquainted with the things of the Spirit (and knows they belong to a non-judgmental congregations if one does not see immediate results) then there should be no problem here. In regards to failure (or “failure”) in any setting (among known friends or not) If you move out in faith - let’s say - in regards to the gift of healing (or gifts of healings) and you fail realize that… 1) You may not have failed, you may have hit a roadblock of un confessed sin that needs to be pressed through, and the person needs to take home what you said about their healing - which you did in fact see - and bring it before God (they may have personal business to transact before God) 2) You did fail (Ugh), because you presumed something that is not there (double Ugh) (as in the person did not sin, something else is going on) 3) or… you did not fail, but did not succeed either because the person just didn’t have enough faith to be healed (see the verse where Jesus could not do may great works in a particular area because of the peoples unbelief (VERSE NEEDED) . Unbelief has been known to stop God). In cases like this it might be helpful to encourage people in their faith before one speaks a word of healing. 4) You did fail (another Ugh) because you failed to see that a spirit was behind the sickness. Also it may be a very powerful spirit (and we are dealing with a fasting and prayer issue VERSE NEEDED) 5) or… I don’t know, but I do know that God heals, He does have people in the congregation with the gift of healing, one can also go to the elders for that healing and He has promised us in His word that we will live a relatively long life (Genesis 6:3) and this is a fact whether we believe it or not and if we don’t and have problems with it remember we don‘t want to be like to children of Israel who did not mix the word they heard with faith (VERSE NEEDED). If we go to be with the Lord before this something else is going on. Anyway, my point is, since the corporate gathering is important for the body of Christ (that is the body is more than one part), and the functioning of the complete body of Christ is necessary for the purposes of God in the earth, don’t be afraid to step out in faith regarding your gifting. If you fail or “fail” it could be for a number of different reasons (and if you are afraid to “move out,” get together with people you know and trust who will not judge you, understand what is going on and will be there for you and support you as you learn to walk or fly). A:19) And sisters and brothers, I do know that Greeks as well as Catholics (and probably even the Russian Orthodox) will deny the “worship” angle on this (I have talked to a Greek Orthodox priest on this, and again I grew up Roman Catholic), but I really don’t see a difference in actual practice (think about it). Again these thing are treated like they are holy themselves, and if you - for the sake of argument - were to desecrate them in some way you would probably not be thought of nicely by these churches and the question of whether you actually committed a sin would be something that came to the mind of some people. In the bible the bronze serpent on the pole was eventually destroyed during what was in essence a reformation of the people because the leader of the people saw that the people were revering it (VERSE NEEDED) (and that is beyond just something man made per say, it was something God told man to make). A lot of these things need to go. Appendix B Footnotes B:1) Here are other examples of this type of worship A) If you listen to “The Secret Place” with Kent Henry he does this in-between the 1st and 2nd song moving slowly between 2 chords. The group itself does this for about 7 measures with the 8th measure vocally silent and shorten to lead into the next song. The background worship is obviously rehearsed (which is OK) but after about the 3 measure Kent begins to loosen up a bit. B) In “You Shine” by Hillsongs there is a new chord progression after the song “In Your Hands” (I’m So Secure) that lasts many measures. This is a good example of longer group worship between songs. Also, you can find on Kent Henry’s web site instructional material for all kinds of chord progressions. I know this sounds like a plug (and I don’t mean it to be), but I’ll “plug” anything that might be helpful and include it here to help worship teams around the world understand what is a major aspect of public worship (if they don’t already know what I’m talking about). Brethren it may be of use to some to whom all this is new. Also the worship teams at Hillsongs also are noted for doing this kind of thing (longer worship) during their songs too. This is probably one of the reasons why God has blessed them with such powerful songs. They know what worship is all about. C) In the two part song “You Are Near” (For This Cause - again Hillsongs) you will find probably my most favorite Hillsong chord worship progression. It last 2 measures (which proves that worship doesn’t have to be long) but is so anointedly done and the chorus of the second part of the song (which the worship interlude leads up to) is so so powerful that it stands on it’s own apart from the song and can be used - by itself - as a worship chorus for worship teams any time any where. It is so worth a listen. And by the way, in case you didn’t pick it up you can worship during the singing of verses and choruses too (it’s just that the free ‘non-boxed in by verses of choruses’ “stuff” is more spontaneous, fun, exciting, natural and you never know where it’s going to lead. It can open the doors of heaven (and it does “tickle” His heart whenever we worship Him) and His subsequent presense can give teams so many outright clues as to the direction that God wants to go. (Songs by themselves are many times just a framework for worship, but that’s not to say that songs are wrong in any sense. I’m just saying that there is more to worship than just singing a song). B:2) “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edge sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). The soul in this case is not the soul as in the old term for a mans spirit, but the soul refers to the emotions or the emotional make up of man. B:3) Brothers and sisters in regards to the emotions and their effect on either writing music or being effected by the music one can argue this point both ways, but I think everyone knows there is a difference between “soul ISH music”(emotional music) and spiritual music (that is music that effects the spirit). Brethren even if you only believe that man has just a body and soul (or spirit), (that is man is not a trichotomy, but dichotomy), music does tend to be emotional (or “play” on the emotions). Brethren too much emotions at the expense of the spiritual (especially regarding emotions that are questionable as it is, lets say certain forms of rock that tend to bring about hard even rebellious feelings) is not good. After 30 years of attending, partaking in and watching various church meetings and seeing most all genres done certain forms of music do not belong in the service of the saints. Brethren, in regards to the physical aspect of music, that is another story. There are certain forms or genres of music that “encourage” to “shake it up” or shake their butt (I no I don’t understand why or how it does this or has this type of effect on people, but it just does. There are also certain forms of music that basically work up people). Brethren, these genres are too of very questionable value in the service of the saints (a service again being something that emphasizes things of the spirit or the spiritual angle of the gathering). Remember God is looking for worshippers and those who worship Him must worship in spirit (John 4:24) Brothers and sisters, if for the sake of argument you are going to go with or allow for the existence of ALL forms and genres of music (basically every form or genre of music has it’s proper place and setting, which I myself have a hard time doing, but for the sake of argument) most of them (the controversial ones) will probably fall in the “secular setting” category and that is where they should be played (Most discerning people will tell you these things anyway and even an unsaved person who walks into a meeting when questionable genres are played will also question what is going on as well). In regards to the point brought out here, brethren if you have a hard time figuring out the appropriateness of a particular song (too emotional or soulish, or too “physical” in it’s response) - if you play the at a meeting - try to take a look at the people you feel are spiritually discerning in your congregation and see how they are reacting. If they are partaking in the song and seem to be entering in because of it (not in spite of it), than you may be OK in regards to what your are doing (also you can always go up to them afterward and ask them what they thought of the song too). B:4) Regarding this “spiritual filter” of sifting process in your choice of music one thing I frown upon is any song that starts off in a minor key. Songs that start off in that keying tend to be “darker” (however you want to describe the term) “This is the Day” (“The Spirit of the Living God is upon Us”), I believe is one example of this. Also “More Love, More Power” (CHECK) Brethren, you can talk to any secular musician concerning this point and they will agree with it. Minor keys do have their place (that is they do reduce the tension that is built up in major chord progressions also if you feel “sad songs“ have a place in Gods purposes they will usually have a load of minor keying see point…. )., but to start off a song with it usually sounds ominous. Brethren, although I do not want to be adamant about this point, however these kind of songs are something I myself stay away from (very brooding). However in regards to other spiritual sifting filters the pervious mention points more than suffice. Remember try to emphasize the spiritual aspect of music [and not so much the overly emotional or physical aspect of music. B:5) The term “Praise and Worship” are two different genres usually group together as one by most people. The reason being is that the melodies, beats and tones of both genres are very similar however the main difference between the two genres is that Praise songs (or proclaiming songs) are, for the most part, written in the second person ( "thou art, you are, your etc." ) but they can also be written in the third person. ( "He is ! " ), but are usually written in the second person. Worship songs, on the other hand are generally written in the first person ( "I" Love You Lord ... ). Praise songs can also be written in an upbeat way (like a celebration beat), while worship songs are usually not. Again more “light” on the softer side, not heavy, harsh and certainly not dark. B:6) Sisters and brothers, If you are having a hard time following this talk about melodies and appropriate melodies that support wording (or verses), what you could do is watch a movie regarding, let’s say ‘relationships that go back and forth’ and listen to the soundtrack the producer (?) chooses to support the different scenes. Soundtracks (and I’m not talking about songs per say), are specifically blended, molded and crafted to be of an appropriate “nature”. A high strung sound track with a lot of major chording and fast beat (which produces tension) would not be chosen (nor would be appropriate) for a love scene lets say, but more an action type scene or movie. Love scenes are usually of a softer toning or quality. Commercials - which can be fun to LISTEN to - do the same kind of thing. People actually get paid to line up appropriate melodies to what is being said (that is the wording, just like a song) and if they don’t line up appropriate melodies, they will be quickly out of a job. Brethren as with any soundtrack (whether commercials or movies etc.) composers interpret (or score) “the feel” (or emotions) behind various scenes - musically ! Brothers and sisters, except for what I have written about a melody from a redeemed heart (which the unredeemed may have a hard time understanding or accepting) there would not be a person in the “soundtrack profession” who would disagree with anything that I have written here. (Personally I would go to God concerning any questions regarding appropriate melodies for congregational meetings (as well as understanding what I am talking about). Brothers and sisters, I just write this because this is nothing new here and secular people (if their opinion is of importance to you) would also agree with what I am writing here as well (I myself hardly ever watch TV or movies, but if I do, I sometimes take note of what the secular profession does regarding the appropriate use of melodies, but I won’t take my queue from them. Again go to God). Once again, none of this is new and I’m not out in “left field” in regards to any of this talk about appropriate underlying melodies behind the wording of songs]. B:7) The Song of Songs (or the song of all songs) are lyrics to a songs whose melody has been lost. The lyrics (or verses) to the song refers that which you would think a song of all earthly songs would probably refer to and that is a relationship between a man and woman (which some rightly believe parallels the relationship between God and His people). B:8) Brothers and sisters since we live in New Testament times with so much hope and knowledge of things (which, even though the reference about singing Psalms (Ephesians 5:19) comes from the New Testament, they in the Old (which is where the sad Psalms come from) when they were written did not have full insight (Revelation) into the victory to come. Again, because the Psalms are directed to by an apostles for Christian to use as source material the question of using the sad psalms is still a very legitimate question. B:9) Also in regards to sad melodies, particularly questionable sad melodies (and there are questionable one) let me say this. “The Blues” is a sad introspective melody that goes over the line into hopelessness. If you were fro some reason going to choose a sad melody for a song (and why would you write one when God can even raise the dead - which is the ultimate example of where a sad song would be appropriate) If you have your heart set on writing a “sad song” I would not chose the blues as a supporting melody but something that is a little more watered down that has more than usual minor chording, but whose lyrics (and even supporting melody) ends in some kind of hope (even the most “depressing” psalm, psalm 22 “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me” has hope written in it which was probably reflected in the supporting melody). Again I question the value of singing sad psalms especially in regard to congregational singing, particularly so since that we live in an age of so much hope and insight. If you are going to go in that direction I would do my best to tread very lightly and not dwell upon it. B:10) I have heard that there are some groups that will not sing anything other than what is written in the Psalms. Brethren, if you study what is meant by spiritual songs (which is also mentioned as a category of music in Ephesians 5:19) one can already see an exception to that “rule” (also one can make a case that the term “hymns” found in the same verse just means songs written outside the words of Psalms - see the next footnote) And of course the obvious example of “outside the psalms” source material would be the scripture themselves. However this aside, brothers and sisters, inspiration can come in many forms. Unless you yourself are locked into a definition of inspiration as something that happened a long time ago and will never happen again [which by the way is not biblical (Acts 2:17)] I would not be afraid to use material outside of the psalms and be open to the Spirit of God using people to write songs using their own words and sing them in the gathering together of the saints. Brethren, the more I go on in life the more I can see that inspiration is still alive and well (did you ever see someone speak something that you knew was from God? It was (1 Corinthians 14:24,25). How about a teaching or sermon that was “anointed” brethren it wasn’t just anointed something else was going on). Once again, brothers and sister Psalms are inspired lyrics that Christians are directed to make use in their song writing (but one is not locked into them as ones only source of song writing material). B:11) Some examples of modern hymns (and whether they have received inclusion in a modern day songbook or not…?) are... “I Believe in Jesus” by Marc Nelson; “This Kingdom” by Geoff Bullock; The Chorus of “Awesome God” by Rich Mullins; “Your Beloved” by Brent Helming; “God is Good all the Time” by Don Moen and Paul Overstreet; “God of Mercy” Vineyard, (I Love Your Ways) and “I Belong to a Mighty God” (AUTHOR; Be Magnified Integrity 1993 ). And for a modern hymn written in the old style see “There is a Redeemer” by Melody Green - Sievight. Perfect for a “traditional church” whose worship music is in transition (Wow‘s Red as well as Keith Greens, “The Ultimate Collection). B:12) I have found to be common in mostly older Hymns (which once again are usually more focused on teaching than praising the Lord), and may talk about something "impersonal" (a place: heaven; or a thing: God's Kingdom (again a third person kind of thing). Which again, is different than Praise songs (or proclaiming songs) which are mostly written in the second person ( "thou art, you are, your etc." ) However praise can also be written in the third person. ( "He is ! " ), but are usually written in the second person, and both are different than Worship songs, which are generally written in the first person ( "I" Love You Lord ... ) Brothers and sisters these are just general rules (or the boundaries that define the genres, and there is such a thing as genres). If you study this topic you will find songs out there that are difficult to identify and cross “boundaries” (that is they have a foot in more than one genre). There is nothing wrong with them, but they overlap genres and are just difficult to categorize. B:13) Like I said there is no one process to song writing and things can be very mixed. In regards to this song the writer could have had a feeling of overriding love toward his creator and the Spirit of God “took over” from that point, or it could have been something from the “get go” from God [however you view it (or however he views it) there is something different about this song]. Brethren, it’s really hard to make any of these categories in this section something that are iron clad. However they are in fact categories and there does seem to be things that gather around the principles that are found in them otherwise scripture (and people) would not make the distinctions between them. Again, I would say that most praise and worship material has as their origin the moving of the spirit of God in the songwriters life. There is something about that material that sounds different than most other type of songs and the only thing I can trace it to is the activity of the Spirit of God. B:14) In regards to Celebration songs (which usually make people want to get up and dance - which is more than OK in the service of the saints) they will generally effect body movement more than praise and worship therefore you can argue that since there is legitimate celebration before the Lord (and the source of some Celebration songs is the Spirit of God) you have inspired songs that have an effect on the body, that is dancing, jumping up and down etc., however in regard to the term “spiritual songs,”(which also have as their source since the Spirit of God), since they primarily effect the spirit of man (and believe me there are songs that do just that), they are not found (at least primarily) in the celebration category (which has a major effect on bodily movement) but mostly in the praise and worship category. Brethren once again the scriptures say that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth. Therefore the primary response that an act of worship has - in regards to music - especially since worship songs are of a slower pace, would not be dancing but if anything either the raising of the hands or a bowed or kneeling position of some sort. Brethren after sorting through more songs than most people have sorted through (for the sake of worship team music) I have found that most of what I would call true “spiritual songs” (that is those whose primary effect is on the spirit of man) will indeed fall into the praise and worship category, and not the celebration category. Praise and worship is the main domain of spiritual songs (that is those whose primary effect is on the spirit of man) and most will reside there (To me it has always been a stretch for people to say that dancing is an act of worship. While it can be true, scripturally it’s not the primary worship response to the Spirit of God on ones life. Again the raising of the hands or even a bowed or kneeling position ) Brethren, in regards to hymns they too can also have as their source the Spirit of God, especially hymns that are worshipfully done. You may find some spiritual songs in that category as well. B:15) I would say that in regards to spiritual songs that - at the very least - if you look through praise and worship material, even though there may be disagreement about some parts of certain songs that most people will agree that most chorus’s of good praise and worship material are indeed inspired (even though again some stanzas are sometimes questionable). There is something about good praise and worship material (especially the chorus’s) that resonates in your spirit as something from God (it’s beyond a feeling of heart per say) In the 1970’s - when God was no doubt on the move with the youth in America - a number of the spiritual songs that were written then were written only as choruses. Later (and this is my opinion after studying the progression of Christian music in the last half of the last century), people began to take obviously inspired choruses and add verses to them which - in my opinion were of questionable inspiration (that is the melody behind them was questionable, which if I‘m not being clear is the part where most of the spiritual song resides and that is in the melody, however the words can be - and usually are - part of the inspiration as well). Most song writers - who added questionable chorus’s - should have left the song alone in the simplicity that God gave it. Brethren when trying to pick out and choose songs (or just write material) there is nothing wrong with just choosing (or writing) a songs chorus and leaving it just like that [“We Fall Down” by Chris Tomlin (which was written in the 1990’s) is written along those lines]. You can also, as you yourself sift through music, just pick out and play what you think are inspired chorus (or verses) and leave the rest of the song alone ( “Awesome God,” by Rich Mullins, and “Holy Ground” by _________ may be examples that fall into this category) B:16) When choosing or writing a song try your best to stay within the threefold categories of music presented in the epistles in the service of the saints, particularly songs whose authorship is clearly of the Spirit and effects the spirit of man. I don’t find any great lasting value in songs that do otherwise. Brothers and sisters, in regards to good music I can take any psalm and put it to a chord progression and give it a melody, but would I say the resulting song was inspired by God? Most likely not and there are a lot of songs out there like this. Again you want to try to stay near the songs you sense have the hand of God on them, and want to set these songs apart from “the rest” of the songs that are out there for the congregation to sing. Once again since some “Christian music” is obviously centered around and gravitates towards the things of the flesh (that is emotions, or just plain old fleshly reactions and responses), except for appropriate celebrations songs, you want to steer clear of that type of music. Brethren, a good deal of celebration songs are like this and you need wisdom in sorting through them (and I do want to be careful here for again there is nothing wrong with celebrating before the Lord but - generally speaking now - you have to see it for what it is and that is it’s a genre that deals mostly with the flesh. Most of the songs that effect the spirit of man will again not be in the celebration (that is fast category) but in the slower praise and worship category). Brethren, unless God says different try and concentrate and focus on genres where business is mostly transacted between God and man (that is the praise and worship genre). Yes, you can still sing hymns (especially worshipfully done ones), and yes you can still celebrate, but - again unless God says different - focus on the things that are of most importance first and then see where God leads. Brethren, also consider the fact that if there is such a thing as music that has as its source the Spirit and effects the spirit of man then there is of necessity such as thing as its opposite. Be discerning and be wise as well. B:17) This may be true because music can help get people into a flow because it is something that flows itself (look at the prophet in (VERSE NEEDED) asking for a minstrel to play before he himself gets in “the flow” of the prophetic). Thus music can have an effect of the gifts manifesting themselves which - if you read Appendix A - is where we want to go in the services. However I have been to services - although not many - where music came in later, (and one where I think there was no music at all). Brothers and sisters as musicians it’s important to be in the flow of Gods Spirit before you minister or at the very least be sensitive to that flow, especially since (and I don’t want to lock people into any format) you are more times than not at the front end of most services. Brethren, the Spirit does flow (John 3:8) and your sensitivity to that flow is of great importance (and the gifts that are so needed may - in some regards - depend on you). B:18) Personally, I love many of the facets of “black” Gospel [Not the driving beats of some of its songs which can be very exhausting on the songs participants (and not much different than Rock and Roll), but many of the other facets just mentioned in the Appendix, that is: it almost never sounds "canned" (like white Gospel often does), it's always fresh, not usually done as a performance and if rehearsed certainly not overly rehearsed. Brethren, in regards to singing, the thing about the free style element you will find in “black” gospel (which is the thing that really separates the two forms in my opinion) is that you have to be careful. In one church I visited the gospel leader did something during the singing of some songs that I would call “raw gospel” that is it was so free that it went outside of form and it had a cutting edge to it. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was distracting. Unless God leads different you want to stay within generally accepted “rules” regarding musical form otherwise you are dealing with noise, not music and it can be hindering to what God is trying to do (that is the singing itself can be distracting if the worship leader is too too free). Another thing, several years back I listened to what was said to be the top ten gospel songs or artists and I was saddened by what I heard. A lot of it is was what I would call purely soulish music and I didn’t sense any spiritual content in the songs or the individual styles that were being sung or played at all (and I like and can go with a lot of different styles of Christian music and I do like the “black” gospel style). I just couldn’t listen to all of it (maybe the individuals were just “passing through” with a particular “hit” song or style, and who knows who picked these people or songs), but I make mention of this here because if you want “to go” with the “black” gospel style of music (as with any style of music) you need to remember to emphasize the things of the Spirit over and above the things of the soul (again emotions) or the things of the flesh (which would be dance), and again I hope what I saw was a passing thing. Brethren, if you want to listen to a group of white people that “stole shamelessly” from black gospel and “got it right” listen to Hillsong material. They did it (and probably still do do it) very well. (and Brothers and sisters I use the phrase “stole shamelessly” is jest, however I would encourage you to do the same in regards to any musical style you see out there and seems to “work.” Don’t be afraid to take techniques from other people, other groups or other anything. Especially if it is of help. Most people learn in large part from others anyway (to which the prideful will usually not admit) however since we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord, on the same humble team with the same goals who cares? Take, borrow and steal. Whatever works ). B:19) Which is not necessarily a bad thing when dealing with pure worship music. B:20) For example: in regards to using intimacy as a guide for determining things I used to wonder about such an accepted thing as the piano [the reason being that you are dealing with something between you and something (namely the strings), and that is keys, hammers etc.] but then I realized that it was a percussion instrument not a stringed instrument per say and if you ruled the piano out you would have to rule out a lot of percussion instrument as well (as well as a person using a guitar pick) [and in regards to the use of an electronic keyboard I used to go back and forth about that but I can’t get past the imitation of sound issue and at most - in regards to the use of electronics with a piano in the service - I would allow for a mike outside the piano to carry the tune (let‘s say for example if people could not hear the piano (see B:21)], however I’m still sorting through most of it [and brethren, you can make endless arguments about things but one thing I‘ve found out concerning these type of “what if” situations (which are always there by the way) is that they more often than not water down or side step the main issues at hand, certainly run against the general direction God want’s to go in, and for the most part there is almost always something else going on behind the objections (which is the real thing that needs to be addressed). Brethren if and when ‘the exceptions’ are allowed they usually end up being fragile exceptions (and if legitimate reasons, delicate, and perhaps even beautiful or wonderful depending on what you are talking about) but they are again overall something on the side (almost like a good side show - which in regards to this issue the one man something can really like) however not the center of what is happening or what God wants to do). Brethren, if you have problems with this section you may want to ask yourself whether you actually believe God is there at your group meetings, what a group meeting is suppose to be about (as in not an overly large group or show), and then progress from there]. B:21) Again, I do want to steer away from legalism here (for example if - for the sake of argument - you had a church full of people who were hard of hearing, then of course you would have the option of amplification available to you), but the thing I have found (and this is one of the reasons I frown upon bringing it into a service) is again if the services are to be getting smaller (which most likely includes people not facing frontward, but towards one another) why would do you want to go in the amplification direction to begin with? Most people who do want to go in that direction what to do so because their congregation is too large (and needs to be split) or they want to expand the size of the congregation (which is not what we are looking for), [and if your church is getting so large that you need amplification to be heard it might be a “heads up” from God that it’s getting near time to split the congregation in two separate churches (Reread Chapter ___)] Brethren, once again you can go back and forth about these types “what if” situations forever, but the point is if we are to be going in a smaller direction in regards to congregational meetings, and that direction includes issues of holiness, intimacy and what is appropriate for the presence of God (and I realize that holiness / sanctification has always been a controversial point on this side of eternity, which is where some of the controversy in this point resides) but aside from that, the point in regards to all of these things do have legitimate bearings on the direction that many modern churches are going in today and need to be considered. And listen, if for the sake of argument you had a group of people in a “correct” size congregation who could not hear a speaker (for they themselves had a hard time hearing to begin with and the speaker had a soft voice on top of that), then you can do the math here (and God sees your heart), but if what is in your heart is to get away from the direction that God is has been wanting to move for quite some time (and go you to go back to the “one man” kind of thing) forget it. Brethren because of the way people are, amplification should be a last resort (or last option) for any congregation. The temptation for dominate people with refined speaking gifts to go back (and it will be a step back) is so great that it would be a last option for me to consider in regards to any kind of group meetings - and if a mike was ever used - would be used with the utmost caution and sensitivity to what God is doing. [Brethren. The whole thing about using a mike changes things. You can often see it and hear it in the attitude of many speakers when they use it (they begin to talk “at” people rather than talk “to” them). I don’t know what it is about the thing but another problem I have with it is that it tends to create distance between people too. In so many ways it can be counter productive to the direction that God wants His people to move in (smaller groups, intimacy etc.) and would be the option of last resort for me. Brethren, a lot of this comes down to the direction God wants to move in and what is your intent in using amplification if in fact you are going to use it. God know your heart and if what is in your heart is (in regards to these “what if” situations) is to take things in a different direction than God is moving in He is going to pass you (and probably a good part of your congregation) right by and you will end up with what I have seen time and time again and that is groups upon groups of weak immature Christians who never matured in any of their giftings and as a result Gods purposes for their congregations came to a standstill [Meanwhile “the one man something” is in the forefront of things and many of the people in the congregation (that should be in full time ministry) are out working secular jobs because of the power, money, buildings and “success” mentality of the one man something, and the church split that should have happened never really did or is in fact happening very badly - with damage - and it’s all because you had it in your heart to take the church in a direction that God did not want it to go in]. Brethren, we really don’t want to go back (or backwards here), but go forward into God‘s purposes for His church (Reread Appendix A in regards to these things) (and believe me there are people out there who are looking for any thing they can find (any loophole etc.) to go back (and in effect bring people back). It has always been the case - people wanting to “go back.” Beware of them) (during Moses and Jeremiah time (VERSE NEEDED) ) B:22) Like I said street witnessing isn’t really a big deal, but let me give you some words of advice. I remember when I first street witnessed I would continue to talk to the people who obviously didn’t want to talk. Since then I’ve learned that if you talk to anyone (let’s say if you go ahead with this as a team and after you finish singing you hand out tracts and talk) unless God leads you otherwise you only talk to people who want to talk or ask questions. Like I said it’s not a big deal and even if you don’t want to hand out tracts and talk after you worship (for what ever reason), then just don’t (and possibly leave it to others), but do try to spend time praying before and during the time you do this, particularly for people with open hearts and that you would be discerning and of right attitude. B:23) Brethren, if you’re into “celebration” songs whose dances are rooted solely in the music do the dances at home or possibly even a wedding (but don’t forget about the issues of modesty in public). And by the way, I am not a prude, I do recognize that there is such a thing as fun music to dance to - which is not appropriate for the service, but is OK in social realms [(like wedding receptions or a Friday night out)(and by “fun music” I mean music that has no spiritually redeeming qualities at all, it’s just fun, for that sake of fun). Brethren, if you desire to express yourself (that is your soul, emotions, feelings) you can, both inside and outside the service. You misunderstand me if you think, I think, a service should be devoid of emotional content, but we need to be wise as to what the focus of “a service” really is and emphasize the spiritual, and we also need to recognize that unnecessary distractions (like deviating into “fun” for the sake of fun) is not what the service is about. Also, you - as worship leaders - should be able to recognize when the congregation and the team is “into” the music. Brethren, what ‘goes on’ on a dance floor is not to be what ‘goes on’ in a service. For obvious starters, you’re not going to dance with someone in the service, and there are many other things I can mention too. The service is never to be confused with a discotech or a rock concert and it shouldn’t look like one either. Instrumentation, light shows etc.)]. And since I raised the topic of “non-service dances”(which may have come to some people mind in regards to this topic) I might as well address it. (And I hesitate to mention some of the appropriate - outside the service - dances here for I am not an expert on them and I’m sure that even within these various dances there are parts of them that could be revised, corrected or improved. Having said that - I cringe here, and I might change my mind later, but here goes...) The waltz is probably appropriate, so is square dancing, line dancing, the polka, possibly the YMCA dance, And I’m sure some others. Brethren, you get the idea, fun music with fun modest dance. As long as the dance is not “butt shaking”, and ones not “strutting their stuff”. Also, if you - as an attached person - are dancing closely with someone who is unattached (or visa versa) - it might be wise to be careful, and that particularly includes the waltz (and you’re unattached it might be wise to not be “bumping into” someone who is attached (or visa versa). Boyfriend and girlfriend included. And if you are both attached…). And brethren, one of the old measures for determining true (Christian) celebration music from false (worldly) celebration music is the shaking of the butt (which I’m sure - and you will probably laugh - has it’s roots in some kind of mating dance somewhere (I’m serious, study dance. If you don’t believe me, listen to the worldy slang concerning the “money making” value behind it shake (that is the worldly worth, benefit, usefulness, importance… “shake that money maker”). Sisters and brothers (particularly sisters), I don’t understand everything why music can effect people in so many ways but it does and there is music out there that does make you want to shake it. Brethren, again not to be a prude here, but the bible does warn us about passion in the word and a lot of worldly celebration music throws itself full force into that realm). People, I have found that the more intense, frenzied and hurried celebration music becomes, the more it leaves the Christian celebration genre and the more it enters the worlds celebration genre of passion. Wild passion. Be wise. [Also, I’ve seen some pretty intense rap videos over the years , where the people dancing with each other are dancing in ways they probably shouldn’t dance in public (at least) and some of this dancing was done to some pretty slow music too, however with an intense beat)] (Rap is a form of music that emphasizes its beat and rhythm - a tip off brethren). Again be wise people. Listen for the emotion or feel behind the song and - as far as dancing goes - back off if you feel it’s getting into areas where you feel it is not appropriate. There are dances of Passion. Also brothers and sisters, there is a lot of music out there that you shouldn’t be listening to at all (of what value is depressing sounding music?) also there is such a thing as slow overly passionate songs to). [And brothers and sisters you may want to bicker with me in regards to some of these comments concerning worldly celebration music, fine, but my main concern is appropriate music for the service of the saints. Even if you disagree with me in regards to some things outside the service, I think most people see my point regarding appropriateness within the service. Let us save the church service primarily for the things of the Spirit]. Appendix C Footnotes C:1) Brothers and sisters, I would not waste my time arguing with someone over the existence of God (that is to go around and offer proofs like Aquinas did). In my experience people have either hardened their hearts to God (that is: are hard to what God has made evident to all), or something else is going on (that is they don’t believe in God because “this and that” happened). Brethren, if people can believe that everything started from a preexisting atom why can’t they believe that everything started from a preexisting God? It’s just nonsense. Brothers and sisters, in regards to the those who have hardened their heart (usually because of “this and that” has happened to them) it can involve the work of a spirit (who keeps reminding them of something) therefore that is the area you would want to focus on (but you need discernment here). In regards to these issues you may want to address the “this and that” in their lives (if you know the answer), but in regards to the great issues of “this and that” in peoples lives - unless you know the answer - it would be morally repugnant to offer one. What you could say in regards to these great issues is that you don’t know the answer in regards to “why,” but you do know that the answer IS NOT that God is not good, or holy or all powerful. Whatever the answer is to whatever it’s not that God is not these things. Brothers and sisters, the upshot in arguing with atheists (and I’m talking about pure atheists here) is not to argue with them. Biblically speaking there is something else going on and if you are going to talk to them you want to find out what that thing is and that is the thing you want to focus on (and want to find out about), (which is… what is going on in their lives that makes them feel the way they do?) Brethren, no one is going to stand before God (which all “atheists” are going to do… whoops) and put forth arguments that accuse Him of wrong (that is being unholy), or not being good and certainly not being all powerful (brethren, there is no greater power). The answers for questions regarding why ‘this and that’ happen lie elsewhere. C:2) In a court of law one of the first things officers of the court (judges, lawyers) ask themselves is whether the defendant is (or was) so mentally impaired that they could not understand that their actions were wrong (and unless you are dealing with someone who was or is there is the assumption and expectation that everyone has a basic understanding of right and wrong within them). It’s interesting that even civil law recognizes the scriptural fact of this internal law written within man. From this basic fact, civil court will progress to whether the defendant actually knew about a particular civil code or not, and then mitigating circumstances etc. C:3) For a good example of a spirit induced religious system of lies upon lies until you actually had such a system of thought that it became a religion, think of the Egyptian’s religion in the past with their gods and the whole system of thought that was behind it [the underworld, the afterlife, things given to help people through the next stage of life, it was actually a whole system of deceptive thought that the people (or nation / kingdom) believed. It‘s really quite sad actually]. Brethren, God (and Moses) was up against all this as well as the Egyptian “gods” (which happened to be a reality) when God was freeing the children of Israel from - what was in effect - slavery to those gods. Although I haven’t studied this aspect of it I’ve been told that the actual plagues themselves were directed against the things that these gods majored in (in other words God was going to show everyone who was boss over these things, in fact everything) which according to the story makes sense. If you read the account the Egyptians [starting with Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8)] - through their gods - were actually able to do things (Exodus 7:11), but God was always able to top it (Exodus 7:12) even as they - through their gods - would continue to do things. It got to the point that the Egyptians gave up, and God just kept on going showing everyone - especially His children, His power and authority over all these so called “gods”) “God spoke further to Moses and said to him, I am the Lord, and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make myself known to them.” (Exodus 6:2,3) It really is an exciting story (if you see it for what it is, and what was done to these “gods”) and that is there is a whole other side to reality, another world than what you commonly see. C:4) Part of the recovery from this “bottoming out” would involve the basic acknowledgment of the truths that God put in and shown every man concerning His existence, divinity, eternality etc (Romans 1:18-20). Once again, I would not waste my time arguing with people - and that include people of other religions - about the existence of the one true God. According to scripture they already know it and are accountable before Him because of this knowledge. Brethren, as in regards to atheists, same holds true here, something else is usually ‘going on’ in peoples lives in regards to this issue (See footnote C:1). C:5) Again some “religions” particularly eastern religions are not so much religions at all but are more philosophies than religions and again find as their source this internal law (and they basically encourage people to meditate and look within one self to find this source enlighten behavior). They - as mostly philosophies of right and wrong - can be interesting to look at (for they are an elaboration of internal law), but are only an elaboration (and discovery) of what every man already has written within themselves. They can be interesting, even appealing to some, but they don’t have any exclusive rights in this area (just spend some time contemplating and honestly reflecting on your life and you‘ll find what they have discovered. No need to put on a robe or climb a mountain). Also in regards to this there are eastern religions that while doing just that (that is reflecting on internal law) are more religions than philosophies. What happened is that as they ‘looked within’ themselves they’ve encounter other “things” (aside from internal law) and the religions - with the spirits (which they had encountered) manifest a system of deceptive thought (through their lies) - and the religions if you study them reflect these encounters. Also, in regards to pure spirit based religions, there are religions that find as their exclusive source spirits (for example: witchcraft, some new age stuff, as well as some especially egregious eastern religions) [Also (and this will be covered more later) there are some religions that have in their beginnings encounters with these spirits of deception, but the revelation the spirits revealed was very slick for it mixed their thoughts (“revelation”) with either old correct revelation from God and or new revelation from God (Islam for example which mixes some of both old covenant and new covenant truth -along with lies, and Mormonism which mixes new covenant truth along with lies as well) C:6) There are people in these religions that get caught up with these things, most always unaware at first (or if aware of them thinking of them as “familiar” of friendly spirits), but the spirits are always up to something, don’t need the people - except for the most part to carry out their plans and could not care less about them. One thing that I need to point out (and Christians need to be aware of this) is that when dealing with people from various ‘spirit based’ religious backgrounds - is that - in regards to culture - that not every person that has these spirits as something prominent in their culture is “caught up with them.” Like with any religion some people only give a token acknowledgment of the religion and don‘t really follow it in their heart, while others may not give any acknowledgement of the religion at all. C:7) Brothers and sisters, the existence of ‘spiritual realms’ - particularly the existence of spirits - is something that is acknowledged by most people in the world. Especially so now that the world seems to be moving out of the modern age and into the acknowledgement of these things [again Moses and the children of Israel encountered these things on their way out of Egypt] But, without getting into the “whys” behind things (see footnote 6:9 in Sustaining Revival) , these spirits (and I’m speaking of fallen spirits here) are beings, and like most beings like attention (which for them concerns being acknowledged and talked about which eventually translates into reverence and worship for some). Without getting into things I’ve encountered them more than once and in regards to a lower level spirit (and there are levels) two of the things I got from one (and I’m not going to get into anything about this other then what was said) and that was 1) “we help out each other” (that is the spirits help out each other in whatever they are doing) (VERSE NEEED) and 2) we “talk about the gods” (that is the lower level ones - which I believe this one was - spend time talking about the more powerful ones) (see Daniel 10:13,20,21; Revelation 9:14,15) Both are exact quotes So even on the spiritual plane of existence this acknowledgement - and even reverence (at least in the sense of awe) takes place. The thing is that that in regards to these spirits (whether small or large) is that they have power, and if one has a relationship with them (particularly familiar ones) - and these being don’t get the attention (or acknowledgement) they want - they can do things in a variety of areas (and God does let them do these thing so that people will “bottom out“ and turn to Him). ((VERSE NEEDED) about service of nations verse my service for insight as well). Brethren people who have a relationship with them (and I’m talking about a real relationship) are fearful of them for this very reason and are not at peace and are always worried about appeasing them in some way. If you look at various spirit based religions in this world (particularly in modern times with such egregious religions such as Voodoo and Witchcraft) this appeasement has lead to some pretty dark things and if laws were not set up in society to overrule a lot these things you would see how dark these spirits actually are and why people who have a real relationship with them are so fearful. C:8) Again, without getting into the why of things, one of the things spirits are noted for is to distract and deceive with the distorted hope that in the end they can insert themselves in the place of God - as a source of revelation - and be worshiped, acknowledged etc.(just like God). Once again, they are beings and like most beings they do like attention (which will eventually translate into reverence). In regards to revelation, the three things they do to get people “off the track” is to… 1) Speak the truth about something (Acts 16:17) with the hope that later (after the trust is gained of the person being used by the spirit) they will use the person to distract and lead people astray and frustrate God and His purposes. 2) They will also mix truth with lies (Genesis 3:4,5). (and this is the major area they seem to work in in regards to the giving of revelation and that is to mix things up (that is truth - to get your attention, and mix it with some error to lead you astray). 3) or they will outright lie (and most New Age teaching falls into this realm). Brethren, even though they lost (and some demons know this. VERSE NEEDED about judging before time. They were very afraid of Jesus and seemed “content” to bid their time in a host) some, particularly Satan himself just keeps on going (Revelation VERSE NEEDED) and had no problem speaking directly to Jesus (VERSE NEEDED) nor appearing before the throne of God (Job). As mentioned in the previous footnote there are levels of the demonic (see Daniel 10:13,20,21; verse about some types come out through fasting and prayer) (also verse about principalities and powers) and even though some powerful ones seem to be locked away in a hell like place [(2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 9:14,15) God knows what they did]. Some keep right at it with again a distorted hope that they can actually insert themselves in the place of God (that is overthrow Him). Brethren, from a non-distorted perspective, the way I understand it, as long as there is “ground” (or Reason, see Joshua 7:13) for them to be around - and unless they go over some line (Jude1:6; 2 Peter 2:4 ), God does let them be [See the verse about Jesus casting demons into the pigs. The Jewish people at the time were not to be eating swine flesh, but since they had pigs there was an implicit accusation by the demons asking to go there (rather than the pit) and it was granted]. For a link between sin and sickness see Matthew 9:2; Make 2:5; Luke 5:20; John 5:5,14 which could be ground for the demonic (Mark 3:10,11), however not all sickness (or deformity) is caused by sin (John 9:3, also see Job), nor by demons (Matthew 8:14, 15; 8:1-4; Mark 7:31-37), however this is not to say that sickness’s (or deformities) couldn’t be (Matthew 9:32). Brethren, as God can - if He desires - use sickness for his purposes (Job 33:19), so He can use spirits as well. Even though they are still around God is smart enough to let them be - and use them (almost like a potter would use a tool on a vessel) - until His purposes are finished, especially if there is ground or some chastening that needs to be done in some ones life (1 Timothy 1:20) (Also for another slant on this see (VERSE NEEDED) about how God left some enemies around so that the children of Israel would learn warfare) [also see Revelation 20:3,7-10 and Revelation 9:14,15 also in regards to how God uses them for His purposes - and in regards to those verses there was ground for them to do those things sort of like when David took a census and the angel slew many as a result, my guess is that all that were slain were those who had asked about the number as the census was being taken, in other words the answer to David’s question or ‘what have these sheep done’ the answer (or ground) was pride. God allows these kinds of things to happen to weed out things [Compare 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 to see how God used Satan in regards to this. See Judges 7 on God‘s attitude concerning pride (which He hates), especially in numbers (God can save with just a few). If you look at the census story “the anger of the Lord burned against Israel” for some reason (2 Samuel 24:1) and it was probably pride and people relying on numbers to protect them and not God. Joab (who fought many battles and knew it was not about numbers), his heart was right (2 Samuel 24:3) and would not completely follow through with it (1 Chronicles 21:6), probably saving his own life. Also, in regards to God weeding out see the rebellion of Absalom against David and the great weeding out that took place of people who were both openly and secretly opposed to God’s anointed]. Brethren, in regards to Latter Rain (see Appendix I) “the move” does speaks about pulling down the demonic from the heavenlies (concurring (VERSE NEEDED)) and what they may mean by that - in part - is - like the story of the demons going into the pigs - the removal of accusational ground in believers lives [in other words if there is no ground (or reason) for the demons to be there, the demons in the heavenlies and on eart have no place to go but down] (see Revelation and Zechariah on accusational (VERSE NEEDED)) Brothers and sisters, I don’t understand everything about what went on up there to bring about the situation the world finds itself in (see Sustaining Revival footnote 6:9 for some possible insight), but it does seems that everything God creates is somehow tested as to whether they wish to willingly follow God or not, and it does seem like the angels - like man - were indeed tested. There have been various theories proposed as to what happened with them (Milton thought that if God didn’t kick out the angels when He did they would have all fallen), but the point is that at least Satan in the beginning did not follow something that was proper (or an appropriate norm of internal behavior regarding his thoughts See Ezekiel 28:15; Isaiah 14:13;14 ) and was dismissed from his place as a covering cherub over the throne of God (Ezekiel 28: 16) and as a result was cast from His presence (or cast down. Isaiah 14:15; Ezekiel 28:17 (VERSE NEEDED) ). Other angels also fell (and may have followed him directly: the workings of authoritian structure, when one falls others may fall in some way, but if this is what happened it was a willing fall) or if they did not follow him directly they themselves may have later sinned in some way later (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4) and hence fallen themselves (some people interpret Jude as angels who themselves went over some kind of line). The thing is God threw them out of heaven (or at least Satan) and unto the earth (He fell like lighting to it) and apparently let them (or at least Satan) do their (his) own thing - on the earth - before the creation of man. [Almost as if to “start” at the bottom (or be “at the bottom” if you will) If you want to do your own thing and not follow proper “whatever” you’re not going to do it heaven, this is where you are going to be]. The thing about Satan is that when he was cast out of Gods immediate presence. He lost his covering position (If a being don’t want to willing follow God, “fine“ go your own way for the time being), however Satan did not get into real trouble until he started to mess around with something God was doing (Adam and Eve) (again see Sustaining Revival footnote 6:9). Brethren, whatever happened when Satan messed around with man His “going his own way” ended and judgment was pronounce upon him [as well as his seed (Genesis 3:15) (that is his angels and eventual followers), for it all started with him Ezekiel 28:16 “the abundance of your trade” ]. Brethren, the rendering of this judgment - the final blow if you will - came at the Resurrection of Christ (and that is nothing - even the greatest tool Satan had in his arsenal - Death - could keep Jesus down). Jesus - in His humanity - conquered death and hence conquered Satan (something that the first human - Adam - could not get past). The Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah overcame him [which is something not only Jesus, but His followers (or His seed. Genesis 3:15) do as well (Rev 12:11; 1 John 2;13; ( VERSES NEEDED)]. Brothers and sisters, the thing is this: fallen angels, even though defeated, are still around in the earth today until the final rendering takes place. It’s a mistake to think they are all in hell (or locked up). Jesus came - in part - to destroy the woks of the Devil (1 John (VERSE NEEDED)). The demonic is still very real, and even though defeated are still evil. In regards to these fallen angels, some demons (that is fallen spirits) are content to just to bide their time within a particular person, but some are still extremely active and powerful and are in the heavenlies [and these powerful one are the ones that have manifested themselves in the past as “gods” in various cultures (and as said before these beings still love attention and still - even though defeated - desire to insert themselves in the place of God with the distorted hope that they might overthrow Him). Brethren, in regard to this, if you look at scripture you will find verses on people sacrificing people to these demonic powers (which were various cultural gods) and there is one particular verse that states that ‘great rage’ came against Israel when a particular King did this - with of all people - his own son that was to rule in his place. When these beings get attention (and different kinds of animal sacrifices still do go on today in spirit based religions) something may happen - particularly against the people of God who live in the particular area (demons are encouraged that someone “believes “ in them) - and brethren there is merit to the view that even though it is a distorted hope that they can overthrow God they (that is the ones who keep on going) do have this “hope” that they will find some hole, something, anything that will enable them to bring about their plans and somehow dethrone God (Revelation 20:7-9), and it’s this “hope” that does keeps some of them going. Brethren, all demons (or fallen spirits) when encountered, are to be treated with caution, but one needs to be especially cautious when dealing with powerful ones. They are not stupid and again are looking for any hole, any accusation they can find with the hope that they can find something wrong with God or His plans, prove themselves “right” (in regards to whatever) and therefore superior to God (in other words, dethrones God). When encountered, you do not give them any attention which in some way amounts to any kind of encouragement. The Gospel of John doesn’t have any of the stories that the other Gospels have concerning Jesus casting out demons. The demonic is not emphasized like the other gospels and it’s not that they don’t exist for John and Jesus didn’t deal with them (John was with there and saw what Jesus did), but John is different in his approach of Jesus Johns main focus is to have the people - and the reader - focus on the solution to ones problems - Jesus [which, in regards to the reader is evidenced by the stories being written in the present tense. Something which is lost in the English translation which in effect heightens the story and brings the reader into it. For example “Jesus said to him, arise… and walk” (John 5:8) is literally “Jesus is (right now) saying to him , arise… and walk. Again this was done to draw the reader into the story (and possibly to have them identify with it in some way as well and…)] However the point is, in regards to John’ s Gospel is to have everyone focus on the solution to ones problems and not focus on the demonic (or else he would have wrote about it), and if any side issue is focused on it’s peoples lack of faith and unbelief in Jesus ability (which is the real problem) again not the demonic (Brethren, in regards to the importance of faith in a persons life in regards to a solution for any kind of hopeless problem see Matthew 13:58) (However in regards to John and the demonic in the book of Revelation - a vision that John did see and wrote about - the veil of the world is lifted and the demonic is clearly seen at work all over the place) However in regards to main point here (that is: giving the demonic too much attention which in some way translates into encouragement) this is exactly what spirit based religions do with their sacrifices (and brethren don’t worry. There is just no way they are ever going to succeed, it’s over, they lost and that’s it. The final reckoning (or rendering) of judgment is yet to come. We are just at a waiting point - if you will - waiting until the full number of people whom God has chosen comes into the fold (VERSE NEEDED) and then the end will come). Brethren, it helpful to remember in the meantime that Satan himself is still at it, especially in regards to accusation (see Zechariah as well as Revelation “day and night“ (VERSE NEEDED) ). Accusations seem to be the main tool to find he uses to find “holes” in things if you will [and again God still uses them (1 Timothy 1:20) and if you are doing something that is not proper and feel tormented (which you may in fact be Matthew 18:34), fess up, repent and go on you way]. Brethren when dealing with the demonic particularly in cases of possession it’s important to find “the ground” (or reason) that spirit(s) have been using to stay there. Once again sisters and brothers, I don’t understand everything about them, but they are around (they do in fact exist) and they are doing their best to frustrate Gods word and His purposes in the earth (which amounts to lies, lies and more lies). They are very active in the religions of the word today, particularly spirit based religions, and it’s not wise to disclude them from your world view of things (they are also very active in the governments of the world, particularly governments that come against God people (Rev. (VERSE NEEDED)). Brethren, even though this is so we are not to be afraid of these beings, but just be aware of their existence and be wise to what they are up to. And because of this we need to be wise in regards to things of our lives and we need to be careful and to test questionable things we hear from people [to see if what we hear from them in regards to these questionable things is in fact from God (or not)]. Sisters and brothers, again God does use them. In regards to believers to purify them “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you (so that when he does)… your faith may not fail, and you when once you have turned again (from following an incorrect or unfaithful way, verse 34), strengthen you brothers.” (Luke 22:31,32; also see Revelation 12:17) And in regards to unbelievers once again He allows them to work havoc in some people lives so that they will indeed bottom out and turn to God who is the source of life (not them). Brothers and sisters God is still very much in control and they are in fact on a leash and can only do so much (Even Satan had to ask permission to sift Peter like wheat) . When the time comes, and God is finished in regards to His purposes on the earth, they will no longer be around. Brethren remember, it’s always helpful to remember that Jesus is Lord, not them (Acts 16:18; Acts 19:13 ). Every knee will bow before Him and proclaim Him Lord (and that includes Satan’s knee as well). Even before Jesus conquered them they were obedient to Him because of who He was (Mark 3:11). Even Satan himself was obedient ( (VERSE NEEDED) of Jesus speaking to Peter ‘get behind Me Satan also verse about “If I cast out Satan…”) Now that Jesus has risen from the dead He’s demonstrated that He is superior to them (again they could not keep Him down). There is nothing to worry about. Once again they (that is the ones who “keep at it”) do probe, do test, do keep on going with the distorted hope that they will find some hole somewhere, some ground, some accusation so that they might “win.” (In regards to Satan see Job 1:9-19; 2:4 -5, also see God‘s response to Job 38:1 and following) Brethren, it will never happen, there is just no way that any created being can ever outsmart or out maneuver the eternal, all powerful, all knowing , all good ONLY God. Scripture says that the fallen angels have lost in their quest to find fault with God, His purposes or His ways (the angels around the throne don’t say “Holy. Holy. Holy” for nothing, it‘s just so true) therefore it’s just a matter of time before the final reckoning comes. Believe it. (and brethren, just for the sake of argument suppose Satan and his angels were right in regards to whatever, what else is there but God? If for the sake of argument they - I can’t even say it - but for the sake of argument, if they overthrew God, what do you have left? Satan’s kingdom (and don‘t kid yourself that there still won‘t be someone in charge if God wasn‘t around - a preposterous idea I know, but for the sake of argument). Now brethren to get a taste of what that kingdom might be like… did you ever see people who follow Satan and worship him? Not a pretty picture. It‘s better to just ignore these beings and follow the living true God). “After these things I heard, as it were, a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; Because His judgments are true and righteous…” (Revelation 19:1,2) “and the four living creatures (a certain type of angel which surround the throne of God)…day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty, who was, and who is and who is to come” and when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever. And will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord God, to receive glory and honor and power…”(Revelation 4:8-11) Brothers and sisters, the angels and elders who sit around the throne are not robots, and again they do say these things about God for nothing. They - being “at the top” - per say (which includes seeing everything that is going on) - and being at the culmination of things (in the book of Revelation verses) have a perspective of things many people may not have - and that is that whatever judgments happens on the earth, God is right ( “His judgments are true and righteous” ). They also see that God is Holy in regards to things (that is no fault is found within His being. He is blameless in regards to any accusation of evil) and they also see that He is truly worthy. Brethren, there is just no way that Satan and his angels are right in regards to any accusation against God. If anything it us that needs an attitude adjustment, not God. “After these things, I looked, and behold a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here and I will show you…” (Revelation 4:1) Brethren, may God show us things from His perspective not ours. C:9) A Christian cult is any group that claims to be Christian, but denies major Christian teaching, usually in regards to issues of salvation, the Godhead (the Trinity), the person and work of Jesus, and or the personality of the Holy Spirit. Any group that claims to be Christian but denies any one of these 4 major doctrines is a christian cult. Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Moonies, are among the major culprits here (and there are many many minor christian cults around as well) C:10) Sisters and brothers, both these religions - as well as others - have gotten caught up in the deception brought about by spirits which mix truth with error, and once again, since they all contradict in regards to major areas, they can’t all be right, someone is obviously very wrong. Brethren, the idea that all roads (that is all religions), lead to a relationship with God is ridiculous. They may lead to a relationship with something, but it won’t be with God (See the authors book “Understanding Christianity“ for more on this). I know this is a controversial point because people in other religions do seem to obviously have a relationship with something, but when the veil is removed it is not who they think it is [for example being a former Roman Catholic I know that there are a lot of people that have relationships with the saints, particularly Mary (all of which, biblically speaking is ridiculous). What (or the whom’s) it is they in fact have a relationship with is not something people who have these relationships are willing to hear about (and these things need to be exposed for what they are and that is relationships with familiar spirits, which is something very common among - for lack of a better phrase - the black arts), and once exposed for what they are - if you can get there with people (the resistance is unbelievable and these spirits do like attention, and people do actually have a relationship with them unaware), but again once exposed that’s when you have and may see some problems (for these things don’t like to be manifested for what they are, especially if they are an indwelling form and don‘t want to leave). Brothers and sisters, Mary is a topic all within itself for she does seem to appear now and then - with revelation. Brethren, I have no problem with God using Mary to bring a revelation if He wished - but I have looked at some of these revelations and it looks very much like the work of a spirit of deception. If you are a Roman Catholic (with me being an ex) let me tell you that Mary is elevated way to much in Roman Catholic though [Mother of God, Immaculate Conception (of Mary by the way), Virgin for life, The Assumption, Co-Redeemer (Check)), so much so that this had to all come from a spirit (again none of it is biblical) and as a result there is much ground (or reason) for a spirit of deception to continue to operate in peoples lives. People need to be careful about what they believe and why and how that belief effects their view of things, especially ones behavior (prayer life etc.). Again read your bible none of these things are in there. Brethren, the idea that God would put people who have passed on to the other side of eternity between Himself and answered prayer - if they are venerated ! (and I’m talking about the saints, which includes Mary), is preposterous (show me a verse?). When I was young I helped move a large statue of Jude from one place to another and was told that Jude owed me a favor (and I should hold unto it for something important). God is the one who answers prayer not the saints (which includes Mary). Mary really has become almost divine in Catholic peoples thinking (and I really don’t see much of a difference in actual Catholic practice). If prayers are answered “by the saints” it’s not because one prayed to the saints it’s because somewhere along the way someone prayed to God - and forgot about it. C:11) In regards to Islam and Jesus death on the cross I once read this article from an Islamic cleric who said that the reason Jesus never died was how could God let such a lovely person with such lovely teaching perish. This statement is a major contradiction of what Jesus said about Himself, basic Christian thought and teaching (as well as fact), and once again combined with the Christ’s Resurrection (of the dead mind you) are the major pillars of Christian thought as well as what is necessary for salvation (they are calling Christianity a bunch of lies) . And it’s not just this cleric if you read the Koran it also says that Jesus never died [which again is obviously the work of a deceptive spirit (in other words the Gabriel that appeared to Mary was not the same Gabriel that appeared to Mohammed. Again Luke 1:32)]. Because of all these things everything about Islam is suspect in regards to it’s veracity and again at the end of the day there will be no meeting of the minds between Christianity and Islam. Obviously someone is very wrong. I also read in the same article that Mohammed (who according to Islam was a predicted prophet to come) was mentioned many, many times in the epistle of Barnabas (which is an interesting book to look at but rejected in the cannon of scripture). I looked at the epistle of Barnabas (double check which book you did skim over his reference) and while it does mention things about a prophet, it does not speak about one to come, but is only making mention of what various prophets of old had to say about various points the author of the epistle (who ever it was) was trying to make. Sisters and brothers, either the cleric was misinformed or outright lying (which is something you will find in that culture, a kind of “yes, yes” when they are not at all sincere). Brethren, overall I think Islam (or more specifically Muslims) want to be accepted in regards to things, particularly in the mostly Christian western world (which seems to be so much of the thrust of what is going on in regards to the non-violent Muslims - and that is acceptance) and socially they can be, as a people, living peaceably in an open society (brethren, we as Christians are not to isolate ourselves from the people of the world, as Christians if God brings people to the house or neighborhood next door it‘s for a reason), however as with any group, they can be and are accepted in our open society as long as they are not violent about what they believe (which is where most open societies will draw the line). [But brethren, as far as their religion being acceptable to Christianity, again unless you want to throw out major Christian belief, doctrine and teaching - it will never happen. There is no compromise here and these are two separate religions [However don’t worry eventually Islam will lose out in regards to the wrong things the believe, for they are wrong and if you actually spend time looking at the religion (or even reading the Koran - which I have almost twice) you can see why]. Brothers an sisters to help bring this about Christians need to get busy and hit hard at the major issues of contention to help change things around. This is a major spirit of error in the world today that has and still is stirring up so much trouble. Christians, as well as Christianity is the real answer to the questions Islam has raised, as well as the answer to the dilemma’s and problems it has posed. Once again, Christians need to get busy )]. C:12) If you argue with Muslims using the New Testament - unless you are fortunate, most will reject significant parts of it (and may say it was tampered with or some sort, like most religions, or cults that acknowledge “some” significance of Jesus will do). Muslims [which is what the Koran (or Quran) tells them to call themselves] will probably reject most of the Gospel of John (which emphasizes Jesus Divinity more so than the other Gospels), as well reject any statements in those gospels as well as the epistles (which is the Greek word for “letter”) that also corroborates that fact. Again the religion rejects huge and significant portions of Christian revelation - particularly in regards to salvation - and again at the end of the day there will be no meeting of the minds between the two religions. C:13) Brothers and Sisters, if you read the Koran there are phrases - at the beginning of some sections - that make no sense (for example: “kaf ha ya ain sad” or “alif lam ra” or “ta sin mim”). The translators don’t know what to do with these phrases and translated them as they are, but for those who are familiar with spiritual things one can see the influence of a spirit here. These kinds of babblings often accompany the influence of a spirit before it begins to speak, and while not necessarily the work of the demonic [for if you are familiar with Pentecostal / Charismatic thought you can see this type of thing with the gift of languages (tongues) - at least among those who are trying to make their way through it]. However in Islam’s case, because Islam’s revelation contradicts so much of Christian thought, that combined with the babblings are a tip off to those who move in spiritual realms that something more than the thoughts of man is going on in the Koran. [However in regards to other chapters in the Koran (that don’t have this introductory phrasing) I think you have the thoughts of the writer himself (which happen to be his own faulty reasonings about things from his own perspective). Except for the influence of the spirit, Islam really is like a religion someone made up and worse. If Jesus didn‘t die for our sins what hope is there?] C:14) From a religious perspective, not all Jewish people are in fact Jewish people. The question of “what is a Jewish person” is something that is debated even within Judaism itself (is it ethnic, religious, both?) Personally when I think of the term “Jewish people” or person I think of people who believe and follow the Mosaic covenant. Therefore you are talking about for the most part Orthodox Jewish people. In regards to the getting away from orthodoxy and looking like Christianity. If you take Jesus out of Christianity what you have left is a liberal form of Judaism (or Jewish teaching). For example when orthodox Jewish people today (who follow the law) get away from the ultra orthodox people (who really follow the law) and start expanding their outdoor Sabbath boundaries of acceptable “whatever” by putting up fishing line on telephone poles inside which such “whatever” is allowed, they - in doing so - are moving away from the rigidness of the law and moving towards what Jesus said in Matthew concerning life over law in regards to the Sabbath. This is liberalism within Judaism (actually within Orthodox Judaism) and is where Jesus was coming from in regards to issues of life. In my book Understanding Christianity I made the point that some branches of Judaism do “like” Jesus (and some do see Him as a great teacher and will even say so) and in my opinion would even accept Him as their Rabbi (for at the end of the day He is one of their own people - of Jewish heritage and culture and background ). However, the “problem” is Jesus was not only a great teacher (and He was), but He also claimed to be the Messiah (which means THE promised anointed one from God) and that by itself is still a stumbling block. However there are Jewish people who not only understand “where He was coming from” but do accept His claim as well [for it was only a partial hardening (Romans 11:25)]. Brethren, again Christianity has a lot in common with liberal Judaism, in fact all branches of Judaism that get away from the law and into the idea of life (Zoe, the Hebrew word for life) over law. C:15) Some ultra orthodox groups will reject the state of Israel and say that the “true” state of Israel can only come into existence when the Messiah comes and restores all things (that is the ushering in of the Kingdom of God). (C:16) However in regards to the political. If you look at the account of Jesus they did want to make Him King by force previous to His entrance to Jerusalem (John 6:15), but He withdrew from them when He eventually entered Jerusalem after spending most of His 3 ½ years of ministry in the surrounding cities and countryside healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead and teaching and preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God - because it was the Passover - Jerusalem was filled with people from all over the nation who had - over the years - experienced all these wonderful things and it certainly looked from all accounts (The multitude (Matthew 21:9) going before Him spreading leafy branches and their garments on the road in front of Him (Luke 19:35) and the ones following Him (Matthew 21:9) saying “Hosanna!” as He approached Jerusalem / the leadership feeling their ‘place’ was threatened John 11:48; etc.) were going to make Him King again. Just look at what the people were saying… “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming, seated on a donkey‘s colt.” (John 12:13,14) (they obviously saw something about the man that qualified Him for this position - if you will, and who wouldn’t want someone like this as King anyway?). It was a triumphal entry for He had won the peoples hearts and they thought of Him as their King and were welcoming Him as such. Anyway this whole thing did not sit well with the religious powers that were present especially since the first thing He did was to go to the temple and cast out what was in effect a strip mall set up within the temple itself of money changers along with the people buying and selling animals (Matthew 21:12). [The religious leadership which were really corrupt (who I heard were profiting from all this stuff, for rather than have this stuff outside the temple - where the Levites would have no control of it - they again had it in the temple itself, which again would have been the domain of the Levite priests), they as a whole had, aside from these things, also compromised the biblical order of things [for example they also had high priests (plural) and according to the scriptures you were only suppose to have one at a time who was only replace on the death of the previous priest. Annas [who himself had been a high priest (John 18:24)] and was still alive was also father in law of the current High Priest Caiaphas [who was High Priest “that year” (John 18:13)]. Apparently they had a yearly rotation going on concerning the High Priest position (John 11:49, 51) and possibly some nepotism going on as well]. Overall when you look at the entire account the leadership was probably correct in their assertion that they felt their place was being threatened (John 11:48) and if Jesus were to be accepted as King (which was already in the multitudes heart) they would lose out. (also see Luke 2:34 in regards to some of this which will now mostly play out in the future). The religious leadership at the time probably had “a good thing” going. Anyway not long after His entry to Jerusalem they rejected Him and went to arrest Him, but could not because they were afraid of the people. The religious leadership had some major problems [even previous to this when they went to arrest Him in the temple they could not and it wasn’t because of fear of the people, their own temple guards who were sent to arrest Him came back empty handed because “never did a man speak the way this man speaks.” (John 7:46). He was a great teacher)]. The thing was Jesus probably would have been made king by the people (who had wanted to do this before) [hence the political - ness of the Messiah and there would have been no need to fear for He was the promised Messiah and not only that but of Who He in fact was], but again He was not one that wanted to be forced as King (John 6:15) but like David to be willfully accepted. However this was not to be the case for He was obviously rejected by enough of the leadership who - being betrayed by Judas tried at night (when the people who would have made Him King were asleep) - all of which He knew ahead of time was going to happen and willfully permitted. [and in regards to the betrayal it was in this sense that the betrayal by Judas is shown for the travesty that it is for had He not been betrayed the Messiah could quite possibly have - if He was given the time to convince leadership [who He had been winning over (compare John 7:48 and John 14:42) teaching in the temple and all] - rightfully taken His place as (the “political”) King and even though we don’t know how that would have played out (See last paragraph) it would have been something that would have been so pleasing to the Lord God for He had demonstrated His worthiness for that position so may times and it was only right that it happen]. However this “could have” situation was not going to be the case for their came a point, if you read the accounts, that the main religious leadership (who was profiting from what they were doing), became entrenched, dug their heels in and were not going to budge (no matter how may people were healed or raised from the dead) and if anything were not passive about things, but actively out to get the person who was being presented as King. Jesus, rather than go on trying to convince people through the demonstrations of His acts (VERSE NEEDED) (He had already, among other things spent 31/2 years doing this), keeping His counsel to Himself made a decision in regards to the matter and just let them - though Judas - do what they wanted to do (once again He was not going to force Himself on them). Again it was His decision (VERSE NEEDED no man takes my life from Me I lay it down on my own accord). [And this is just speculation but I’m guessing that the time it would have taken to convince this type of leadership (which had a vested interest in staying and had to go) - would be far too much time (but I don’t know). Once again He made a decision and in doing so kept His counsel to Himself]. Anyway as we all know, and as the prophet Daniel predicted - to the year actually, the promised Messiah was cut off “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people, and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end to sin, to make atonement for sin… so you are to know and discern that from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah THE prince, there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, it will be built again, with the plaza and moat even in times of distress. Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off, and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.” (Daniel 9:26,27) The answer to the question often posed by modern day Judaism concerning Jesus and the political is something that is often not willing to be heard [The Messiah was there ready to take His place), but as with most prophets of old (and He was more than a prophet), they have a hard time with leadership - especially if they like their place, and are often either persecuted or worse. He was eventually handed over to the Roman procurator Pilate [who was afraid of Him (John 19’8) and made efforts to release Him (John 19:12)] and it was only after Jesus was charged with making himself out to be King, which He also claimed to be in front of Pilate (Matthew 27:11; John 18:37) (and any person that makes himself out to be a King is no friend of Caesar) that Pilates had to make a choice and he made the wrong choice and - against the advise of his wife who was warned in a dream concerning Jesus (Matthew 27:19) was tried by Pilate (who found Him innocent of any charges), but fearing a riot (VERSE NEEDED) (for enough of the multitude had been stirred up - by I’m presuming the entrenched and corrupt religious leadership, for the multitude was with Him previous to this, either that or everyone who was dependent on this corrupt system made sure they were present at the trial) and handed over to be crucified - with the inscription King of the Jews (which the Jewish people who handed Him over did not want, but Pilate apparently believed it enough and also knew they were jealous of Him (VERSE NEEDED) and said “what I have written I have written” (John 19:23). He was the promised King that they were waiting for however He was rejected by the leadership who felt their place was rightfully being threatened. Brothers and sisters the thing is this in regards to guilt that has sometimes manifested itself throughout the centuries in regards to some Christians attitudes towards Jewish people because of this rejection, first off it was not the entire Jewish nation who rejected Him but mostly the religious - political leadership at the time [which again if you study it, particularly what was going on in the temple, was corrupt and had become compromised, for it was less than 40 years after these events (within most of that generations lifetime) that - no matter how you look at it - God destroyed the place). [and by the way not all the rulers rejected Jesus either. Nicodemus (John 3:1) - a ruler, and called by Jesus “the teacher of Israel” (John 3:11) was sympathetic towards Jesus (John 19:39) and tried to defend Him (John 7:50), hence again the political nature of the thing (for the teacher of Israel was with Him), and if you look at the whole account you will find others of standing who were sympathetic as well (Joseph of Arimathea -“a prominent member of the council” (Mark 15:43), who “did not consent to their plan and action” (Luke 23:51). Jesus was winning people over (compare John 7:13 with John 12:12,13) for as Nicodemus said “ Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2) He was also starting to win the Romans (or gentiles) over as well (Remember the centurion whose servant Jesus healed?) He was in charge of a lot of people but again because of the religious leaderships corruptness and their rightfully feeling threatened they were glad when Judas turned Him over]. Also in regards to the actual guilt remember that it was the Romans- the gentiles [who were still outside the loop in some regards (John 18:34,35)] who did the actual crucifying “For…(the Son of man)…will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked, and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him , they will kill Him…” (Luke 18:32,33) [again Pilate’s wife (because of a dream) warned her husband (the procurator or governor over the area who had authority over Jesus) previous to this not to have anything to do with him, yet Pilate went ahead. His hands were not tied, but he had to make a choice, but again made the wrong choice]. However, in regards to actual guilt on the higher level (which is really where you want to be) if you understand the entire account (for there was more going on here than just the Messiah taking His rightful place), particularly the teaching bought forth by John the Baptist that Jesus was indeed the Lamb of God, all of us - by our sins - put Him there on the cross (for if we were not sinning there would be no need for Him to have died on that cross). In other words if you are going to blame anyone for His death - blame yourself. Brethren, putting all these things aside for a moment the thing is in regards to modern day Judaism you basically have the attitude the John the Baptist manifested while in a depressing prison situation concerning Jesus (where his life was on the line and he had a moment of doubt) for he was he was expecting the Messiah to be manifested in a particular way (an earthy conquering way as with modern Judaism) and it wasn’t happening (at least as of yet) as expected. When John sent word to Jesus to ask him about it the scriptures say “At that time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits and He granted sight to many who were blind.” (Luke 7:21) Jesus response to John was that He was dealing with the real issues “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel to them.” (Matthew 11:5) Brethren, it’s not that the political-ness of the kingdom won’t come, it will (Acts 1: 6.7) however something that modern day Judaism needs to see and that is that these are the things - the real things that one would expect the coming Messiah to deal with (the political, which again will come is such small change compared to these things). The Messiah was in fact there, and as Messiah knowing the truth about things was dealing with the real things that needed to be dealt with first (that is the things behind the things that are) “at that time He cured many people of… evil spirits” (Luke 7:21) which again is the first promise in scripture of what the Messiah would do (Genesis 3:15). First things first. However brethren, once again this is not to say that the political - ness of the Messiah - because it was temporarily lost - will not happen, it will, for after He had dealt with these things in a final way (by dealing a final blow to the powers behind the powers that be - Satan - by the demonstration of His resurrection from the dead), He will come back again to set up Gods (“political”- religious) Kingdom. We are in a holding pattern now trying to get as many people as we can into not only the true nature of that kingdom (VERSE The kingdom of Heaven is righteousness joy and peace) , and we do this through not only the preaching and teaching of the gospel of that kingdom (Matthew 4:23), but the now full gospel or good news of that kingdom (Death, burial and resurrection of Jesus) . However the kingdom itself will eventually come, and it will come. PS In regards to what would have happened if Jesus had been accepted as the Messiah by the religious leadership (and this is only speculation for according to Matthew 21:33-46 when He presented Himself as the rightful heir He was going to be rejected. Also see Daniel 9:26-27 and Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 - where it also talks about Him being rejected and dying). However since Israel was being offered a legitimate offer of that Kingdom through the appearance of the King (which again was rejected) some have proposed that if it was accepted (by everyone) He in turn would have been accepted by all of Israel [again He didn‘t want to be forced as king (VERSE NEDED)] , placed on the throne, rejected by the Romans and in some fashion would have allowed Himself to be taken by the Romans, be crucified and thus still be raised from the dead demonstrating God’s power over all these things and either He would immediately come back and set up the kingdom (which He may have indeed have done may since Israel accepted Him), of would have delayed His return and the Jewish nation (instead of the Gentiles) would be out in the world today, willingly, lovingly and joyously bringing froth the fruit of the kingdom to come (Matthew 21:43) and trying to get as many people (Gentiles) as they could into that coming kingdom [through the preaching and teaching the now fuller gospel (or good news) of that kingdom] until the full number of Gentiles have come in, then the end would come. However since (enough of) Israel did rejected Him, we as Christians (that is mostly believing Gentiles) are in the phase (or holding pattern if you will) of primarily being the ones who are not only bringing forth the fruit of the kingdom (along with believing Jewish people) and trying to get as many people into that kingdom that is coming but also together trying to make Israel as a whole jealous (to get them saved if you will) (Romans 11:11) to get them into that kingdom. The ‘rejection of the King and kingdom’ situation has - according to scripture - led to great things for the Gentiles (Romans 11:12 “riches for the Gentiles”), which again has happened in part to make Israel jealous (that is the great blessings that have been and are being poured out on the Gentiles are secretly for Israel’s benefit, for their jealousy of what the Gentiles have is another way ordained by God to bring them back to Him) however, this being so, because of this rejection (Matthew 21:43) we are now in this “topsy turvey” situation of where again the Gentiles - instead of the Jewish people are the ones primarily out there preaching and teaching the good news of the kingdom to come (which again is the fuller gospel of entrance into that kingdom) until the full number of Gentiles has come in (God does love the Gentiles too) then, like before, once the full number of Gentiles have come in then the end will come (Romans 11:25,26). Brethren no matter how you look at it (whether Jesus was accepted or rejected). The Messiah needed to deal with Satan (which again was the first promise in scripture of what the Messiah would do) and He was dealt with by the demonstration of the power of the resurrection of the dead - death being Satan’s main tool of control over the human race (See Appendix M). Verse ‘if the powers…had known they would have never crucified the Lord of Glory (VERSE NEEDED) Also in regards to His death our sins needed to be dealt with in a permanent way [which aside from the Messiah ruling and reigning is once again the other side of the coin here (the Lamb of God). Sins give Satan ground for attack in out lives] “But the Lord was please to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering (for sin)” (Isaiah 53:10. This is an old covenant verse) In regards to the state of modern day Judaism and the issue of Jesus being the promised Messiah the idea of a person being offered up as a sacrifice for sins is another concept that modern day Judaism has problems with. However the lambs that were offered up in the temple were an object lesson of something (Isaiah 53:7) and the idea of a scapegoat for sins is not only biblical (VERSE NEEDED), but it - for examples sake - is something that unfortunately does happen in life (that is an innocent person taking the rap for something). So again this object lesson (or example) is not out in left field, especially since it is found in scripture and among other places in regards to the lambs being sacrificed in the temple (that is: their life for your life). And again “taking the rap” for sins (according to Isaiah 53:10 and many, many other scriptures) is exactly what Jesus willingly did and not only willingly, but freely and lovingly did on our behalf. Sin is what you would expect the Messiah to deal with, and it’s not just “destroying the enemy” per say, but personal sin. “and she will bear a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Personal sin can be very hard on a person. The guilt, the weighing down, not to mention what God thinks. Jesus not only took the rap for sin, but the raps penalty as well (death), and the life that He now has (that powerfully overcoming resurrection life) is given to us. [and the applicableness of the permanency of this forgiveness is wrapped up in who He was in fact was. Therefore there is no reason anymore for the weighing down feelings of guilt, or feelings of condemnation. From God‘s perspective all is forgiven and we can start anew (John 3:3)] Therefore, since this is a promise of what the Messiah was going to do (Isaiah 53:10) also see (Matthew 1:21) since the price for sins has been paid by someone else (the sacrifice of the lamb of God) we modern also Judaism needs to see that have complete and permanent access to God the Father (again the object lesson of the lamb). The veil of in the temple was torn in two when He died [(VERSE NEEDED) again another object lesson]. Because of all this Satan (who was dealt with by the power of the resurrection) also lost in regards to another tool in his arsenal (besides projecting fear of death on people) and that is in regards to accusation. He - because the Messiah took the rap for sin has no ground now for accusation in regards to sin (at least in regards to past sins. In regards to present sins, confession - in the light of what was done on the cross - is the answer). Brethren, once again in regards to the political, the Messiah was indeed there and Israel was given a legitimate offer of the kingdom. However enough of the leadership rejected Him so now we are in this ‘holding pattern’ of making Israel jealous to get them saved (through the gifts and blessings we have received through the work on the cross) and trying to get as many people as we can (both Jew and Gentile) into that kingdom - which is coming and is on it’s way) by the preaching and teaching of the gospel (or the good news) of that kingdom and what it is all about. A gospel that includes speaking of Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension and ruling and reigning over all these things (in fact ruling and reigning over every created thing in this age and the ages to come)]. C:17) One of the sobering things about life today is how close we are to the end of the age [that is when the Messiah (Jesus) comes once again, but this time to set up His kingdom (the promised coming of the Kingdom of God) and “restores” it to the nation of Israel (Acts 1:6)]. However, before this time comes Israel itself will go through a time of final purging called Jacobs trouble (VERSE NEEDED)), a three and a half year period in the midst of a seven year period (actually the last three and a half years) (Daniel 9:24-27; Revelation (VERSE NEEDED)) which culminates with the nation of Israel turning back to God and being made ready - as a whole - to accept Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Once this purging of Jacob (Israel) is complete, the Messiah (Jesus) will come (back) - and not sooner [as some view the rapture (or second coming) found in Matthew 24, and 1 Thessalonians. (VERSE NEEDED)That particular view of the second coming makes no sense (God has always let His people go through a time purging) and scripturally speaking is a stretch. In other words when He shows up it’s going to be a once and final time and He is not going to just show up tomorrow. (and if you want a clue as to when this is going to happen if read the book of Revelation you’ll notice that a good portion of the world has permanently left their residence on the earth before He comes back. ‘no life would be left’ Gospel VERSE NEEDED He waits until the last possible minute to give man every possible chance before He comes back (see Acts 3:19 for a different slant on this verse),- and unlike the last time - this time He - of necessity - sets up the Kingdom of God by force). C:18) It might be helpful to remember that according to Christian thought right before the end comes there will be a final persecution (and purging) of God’s children [both Jew (Revelation 12:13); and Gentile (Revelation 12:17) also see Daniel 12 as well Daniel 7 & 8], and one of the things it says about Jewish people is that during this time “she” went “into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished” (Revelation 12:13). The wilderness according to contemporary Jewish thought (I am told), is the nations (in other words according to this verse there are sympathetic Gentiles who are both hiding and taking care of the Jewish people during this unfortunate last days time). Again brethren, Jewish people are loved by God and God is no where near finished with them (He has a place prepared for them to be both nourished and protected) and if this interpretation of Revelation 12:13-17 is correct (which many people who follow end time thought believe) there will yet be another opportunity for the gentiles to show both their love and Gods love towards Abrahams descendents, but this time right before God’s kingdom comes. (Also in regards to this issue you might want to read Appendix footnote D:27 as to whom might be in that last days company of Jewish people). Also in regards to purging see how God will use Satan (which Revelation 12 is referring to) to purify His children during times of hardship “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you (so that when he does)… your faith may not fail, and you when once you have turned again (from following an incorrect or unfaithful way, verse 34), strengthen you brothers.” (Luke 22:31,32) Brothers and sisters as bad as things may get in those last days, God is still very much in control (again read footnote C:8 in regards to this issue). [and by the way this purging happens when the Anti Christ appears (the word Anti Christ literally means “in place of Christ” or “in place of the Messiah”]. Appendix D Footnotes D:1) Without getting into what these are I what to point out that what the main area of discussion among some people is not so much following foundational commandments but the discussion centers around HOW they are followed [that is: will power (act of will) vs. the power of the Holy Spirit within; or just doing the thing vs. reckoning it so] There is truth in all four of these points - depending on what you are talking about - but by and large it‘s reckoning the finished work of the cross finished and drawing from the leading and power of the risen overcoming life of Christ within. Brethren, to sum it up some things we just do (for example don‘t worship idols), and although we draw from the power of the Holy Spirit (which can be done in regards to, for example not worshipping idols, if you are having problems in this area), the will is involved in our decision making (again you have to make the decision not to do it). If there is an argument in regards to this issue it’s more about levels of faith and how much are we able to draw from the Holy Spirit in regards to things. Also, some disagreements may center around setting priorities in regards to some of these points, rather than arguing about their legitimacy. However overall, in regards to our priorities willfully following (that is co-operating with) the leading of the Holy Spirit, and drawing from the life within is the preferred way to go. D:2) Regarding the number of laws found in the old covenant the total comes to about 600+ rules and regulations [and even though Christians are not under old covenant law some of that old covenant law does in fact parallel the commandments reiterated in the New Covenant (that is the Apostles turn some of these laws into commandments and Christians follow them as commandments or rules and regulations or law or principles). If you include Apostolic commandments that are not found in the old covenant the total amount of laws (or commandments) found in scripture would be higher. D:3) Brothers and sisters, when one talks about mandatorally following old covenant law (which some Christians unfortunately do) when talking about law or commandments even though there are many you are not (that is: if you take the time to “boil it down”) talking about doing and following a lot of things (Love of God and Love of Neighbor) - especially if you view life as just following the leading of the Holy Spirit and all of a sudden become concerned about what He may have you do next or where He may lead (Hint: always in the ways of life). However, generally speaking the Holy Spirit and life in general is just going to lead you to “do” just those two things [and again that is to not do anything to anyone you would not what done to you (that is love your neighbor) and to love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength (and that is to love God)]. Loving God and loving your neighbor (which is what the law is when you boil it down) are not hard or burdensome commandments (and again I want to emphasize this that in regards to this Appendix if following commandments has become a big issue for you, it really isn’t, for once again if you boil them down like Jesus did you are just talking about those two. Also you might want to review point D:1 in regards to some issues that arise concerning Christianity and the following of commandments). However brethren, even though we are not under the law, it’s helpful to remember when viewing what we may think of as ‘relevant law’ that Jesus said that all the law and all the prophets hang on these two commandments (that is they derive their source and starting point from them). Again, Jesus also said that if you do these two things you are fulfilling the basic thrust and point of all those laws (all 600 of them) and all the points the prophets were trying to make (and remember this includes the old covenant laws that are brought into the new covenant as basic commandments, in other words don‘t worry about them, just love and have that as your motivation behind everything you do and you should be OK) [and brethren this is a clue for the prophetic today, if the prophetic sees someone doing something that the person doing it would not want done to them (or they themselves would not want done to them or possibly people in general) it might be a tip off to say something, particularly if the particular act does not reflect anything concerning the love of God in it. Generally speaking now). and once again brothers and sisters in regards to the reiteration of some of these old covenant laws in the new covenant (and this goes for much Apostolic teaching as well since they themselves derive their own reiteration from the principles {laws / commandments} as well as the prophetic of the older covenant) in regards to following these commandments (or rules and regulations if that is where you are at) life is really not that hard. If you love God and don’t do anything to anyone you would not want done to you, you’ve got it. You fulfill the thrust and point of the law. (See Point 2 in Appendix D as to why many of those laws were given to begin with)] D:4) Not doing anything to anyone you would not want done to you is the inverse of love your neighbor as yourself (Also see Matthew 7:12). Sisters and brothers this is not only a good principle to live by, but it is a commandment that is elaborated on constantly throughout scripture (in both covenants). D:5) They (that is the harsh ones) are basically riot act laws that were imposed on a society that basically did want they wanted with impunity. Some of these laws were written in the extreme for reason (the equivalent would be would be a head of state or governor declaring harsh emergency measures and curfews to clamp down on a society that has gone completely awry). Basically if you look at some of the stories in the old covenant what you have are violators (that is law breakers) being stoned (or shot) on sight. You can just imagine how bad things actually were [for example the people were worshiping idols (again and again by the way, and time and time again they were told to put them away). These idols were in effect were other religions and if you read Appendix C you will see that there are actually spirits behind those other spirit based religions (whose gods the idol may have represented, or the people may have in fact been worshipping the physical idols themselves which they did in fact do). Brethren whatever the case is here in regards to these accepted spirit based religions (which the idols in some if not all cases did represent) one can only imagine what the spirits were telling people to do. Hence the harshness of some of the laws). (Also, continue reading this point or if you want read ahead to the conclusion of this Appendix for more on why the law was given). D:6) Emergency measures can be a tough thing for a person in leadership to decide on implementing and that is: what actually constitutes an emergency and balancing that up against New Covenant revelation concerning the treatment of ones enemies which will “turn people around” (Romans 12:20,21) [a concept that is also found in the old covenant (see footnote D:7)]. Brethren, the idea of possibly send people off into eternity with no hope of redemption (which are basically the people the emergency measures would be issued against - the unsaved unrepentant) is a tough thing (compare Romans 13 with Romans 12:17 - 21) and a leader needs insight and leading from the Lord. D:7) If you read the old covenant you will see people pressing through and see that the higher thing (or higher law if you will) was to forgive a situation or to just have mercy instead of justice. God’s justice is always tempered by His mercy by the way and you will see an example of the benefit of this when one compares two major prophets in scripture (Elijah and Elisha) and how very different they were in their approach in the treatment of their enemies [Elijah with fire coming down, which the apostles wanted to do to a city who had rejected Jesus (and Jesus rebuked them over for they did not know what spirit they were of {VERSE NEEDED}) and Elisha (who had a double portion of Elijah’s Spirit and went twice as high as Elijah) who ended up forgiving Israel’s enemies, AND treated them nice, and sent them on their way (and Israel never) had trouble from them (VERSE NEEDED) You can also see people pressing through to the higher law (or mercy and compassion) in the new testament with Joseph (who was living under the old covenant) wanting to put pregnant Mary away privately - BECAUSE HE WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN [Brethren he was not following the law (that is the riot act laws which would mean stoning) for he saw something higher, a “higher law” if you will. Jesus came from the same perspective with the forgiveness of the adulteress whom the people talked about stoning (John 8:1-11)]. D:8) Brethren while this is true and we are not under law in the New Covenant (and we don’t want to be under the law in regards to our relationship with one another) there does seem to be a distinction in scripture between relationships with one another and our relationships with society in general. Basically brothers and sisters are on the same page of living a life of faith and trust with one another where you as Christians are not on that level with society in general (Jesus would not entrust himself to any man for He knew what was in man (VERSE NEEDED)). Because we as Christians have “graduated” to a new level of understanding of things we are entitled - as mature graduates - to the full benefits and privileges that come with living a life of faith and trust. We are not only not under the harsh laws of the old covenant, nor do we treat one another in a lawful way per say (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) but in living a life of faith and trust it entitles us to override laws that are not as harsh as well and to deal with things as we see fit. Brothers and sisters this whole thing about law vs. life (which is in essence what a lot of the argument is here) is an old argument and it’s something that has been debated as far back Jesus (VERSE NEEDED)and apostolic writings (VERSE NEEDED). There is nothing new here. What regulates the decision in regards to overriding law in relationships between brothers and sisters is always faith, trust, as well as mutual understanding and mutual agreement that what is going on is more beneficial (and fruitful) for life then following rules and regulations on a particular matter. These are personal decisions. To look at it from another perspective, if one stands before an earthly judge in regards to the violation of law, if there is an acceptable excuse for it’s violation the penalty can be waved. The same is true here in regards to our violation of law as well. When we stand before God, if we have resolved “our issues” among ourselves and we have no problems God has no problems (VERSE NEEDED reconcile before you go before judge), also fruitfulness, is part of what God is after (profit to and for God is an acceptable excuse in regards to many matters as well). He wants to see a return on his investment in us (parable of talents (VERSE NEEDED)) which was / is Christ who freed us from the law. And therefore has given us the ability to do a wide range of things. Brothers and sisters, in regards to our personal life it’s probably best to sit back every once in a while and contemplate what you able to do with the non-binding lifestyle God gave you in regards to profit to God ? That is in regards to fruitfulness. What did you (or are you) able to gain for God (and yourself) by your (potential) actions? Good fruit? Bad fruit? No fruit? (it‘s all going to come out), so it’s wise to start thinking along these lines and start thinking along the lines of bearing good fruit by your actions (and that the fruit will remain - on the vine - and not fall off rotten or premature). Brethren, again since we are not under law anyway (Acts 15:10) it would be in our own vested interest to expand our horizons (and viewpoints) on the different possibilities for our lives that will bear good fruit to God (that is something of profit),so that when we stand before Him we have something to show Him in regards to a return on His investment (which again was Christ who freed us from the law). However again these are all individual personal decisions. We are all - as individuals - going to stand before God and account for our individual time on earth. Therefore take control of your life. [Also brethren in regards to the concept of law in general (if you are stuck on that point), whether harsh laws or not, forgiveness and restoration is something one should find in the body of Christ (that is mercy over justice, justice being a legal {that is law} concept). Brethren, restoration is always a goal and it‘s better to “let things go” especially if confession - in regards to a private matters - is present. Brothers and sisters sometimes people just need to talk things through]. D:9) Once again I want to remind the reader that if you are living your life on the basis of only following the leadings of the Spirit of God you don’t have to do any of the things written in this chapter and in fact, you might want to skip it. However because things do pop up in the New Testament that do parallel the Law in the Old (mostly what I would call “elaborated on laws” or commandments) especially in regards to how love plays itself out between people and people do sometimes ask questions as to what is going on - (especially since we as Christians are not under the law) - what I want to do here is address the entire issue of law in relation to life from every possible perspective (especially in this point). These issues - especially concerning how love plays itself out - are important issues in peoples lives. Brethren, once again we even though we are not under law (that is we don’t have to follow it) however there is nothing wrong with taking note of things in the law concerning how love would play itself out in regards to human relationships that claim to be based on love. Brethren, unless God is leading differently in regards to areas of love, these things written in the law (that is the laws that elaborate on the law concerning loving your neighbor and or not doing anything to anyone you would not want done to you), the laws that elaborate on these points can be a personal “check” on where “you are at” or where you may think you are at in regards to things. Again there is nothing wrong with taking note of them. D:10) Once again laws (or commandments) that talk about how love plays out in regards to relationships especially between the brethren (Brothers and brothers, sisters and sisters and brothers and sisters) is pretty much what we are talking about concerning the possibility of “bringing in” (or examining) some basic (default) guidelines of how Christians - as God’s children, are to relate to one another [Brethren, remember the law was given in part because of disobedience (and disobedience to what may be an appropriate question here, for example lack of faith and trust for starters), however this aside and even though we are not under it, we, in regards to this issue, are only talking about deriving some basic principles to follow and live your life by in the absence of any other kind of guidance from above) This being so, even though some Christian have a problem with these “elaborated on” commandments I really don’t see what the problem is, for again unless God (not your hard heart) leads differently they are a good reference point and a good fallback position or appropriate way of looking at things [and once again can be a personal “check” in your own spirit if you are doing an appropriate thing in a particular situation (that is if your heart is hard or not hard - if you will, especially towards the brethren)]. D:11) It’s interesting that this issue of working on the Sabbath comes up years earlier during the Maccabees (who along with the rest of the Jewish people were under attack by Antiochus Epiphanes and his cohorts). Some Jewish people would not fight because it was the Sabbath. “But they said, “We will not come out (and fight) …and so profane the Sabbath day.” Then the enemy quickly attacked them. But they did not answer them or hurl a stone at them or block up their hiding places…so they attacked them on the Sabbath day, and they died, with their wives and children and livestock to the number of a thousand persons.” (1 Maccabees 2:34-38) The Maccabees who were prophesied to arise in the book of Daniel as people who “… have insight among the people will give understanding to many” (Daniel 11:33) And as “people who know their God (and) will display strength and take action.” (Daniel 11:32) Said in response to this “When Mattathias and his friends learned of it, they mourned for them deeply. And all said to their neighbors “If we all do as our kindred have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives… they will quickly destroy us from the earth. So they made a decision that day: “Let us fight against anyone who comes against us on the Sabbath day: let us not die as our kindred died in their hiding places.” (1 Maccabees 2:39-41) Granted they were as a people still under the law, however because they had “insight” they saw that for the sake of life law could be amended or even violated and therefore took action. The Maccabees knew their God (Daniel 11:32) And also moved in the realm of faith “Remember the deeds of our ancestors, which they did in their generations… Was not Abraham found faithful when tested and it was reckoned to him as righteousness…” (1 Maccabees 2:52) And the faith that they had involved knowledge that they were doing the right thing and God would support them, and He did. If you go on to read the account you will find a blazing horse coming out of no where supporting them in battle, and in 2 Maccabees 9 you will even see the repentance of Antiochus Epiphanes “under the scourge of God.” So even though one could argue that there was and is benefit to following the Sabbath (that is taking a day off to spend time with the Lord) there comes a point in this thinking where the Lord may want you to do something of necessity. And again all this started when people who (had) “insight” and (knew) “their God” took action and the first thing they did was violate the Sabbath (and by the way 1 Maccabees 2:52 supports the “work of faith” angle in its understanding what Abraham did “remember the deeds of our ancestors” See A:13). D:12) Again, in regards to sifting through Jesus teaching you have to remember the point that He was at an in-between state when He was addressing the people and He was (when speaking to the Pharisees particularly) at times speaking about the Law as if it was still in effect (and it was), but He was trying to prepare them for the New Covenant that was coming. Brethren, the Gospels are only a recording of what He said and need to be sifted through as to what applies to the New Covenant (for example, as pointed out in this point of the Appendix Jesus states in regards to the Pharisees that one should do what they say (which was the law “big time“) and not do what they do (which amounted to hypocrisy) (Verse). Even though there are Christians who talk about following the law there isn’t any Christian today that would say that we should follow the Law “big time” or in the way the Pharisees followed the law. If there was (and they obeyed what Jesus said here) they would not be Christian but most likely be (or the verge of becoming) an Orthodox Jewish person (and again you are dealing with childish vs. mature way of thinking in regards to things too). Again, when viewing the teaching of Jesus we need to sort things out, appreciate where He was at, and see where He was going and where He was trying to lead people (that is prepare them and get them ready for the things to come). D:13) And I’m not speaking of “quality of life” issues in regards to the parameters of life which are usually debatable (that is the fine tuning of ones life), but the “necessity issues” [that is the things or parameters that are truly necessary for ones life to truly exist]. D:14) Even though people are not plants all people seem to require basically the same things to live however since people are different they may require differing proportions of those things depending on their age, the phase of life they are in, and what they may be going through at a particular moment in their own individual life. For example most people require intimacy of some sort. In my own observations men seem to be focused on the physical (or “surfacy” intimacy) in the beginnings of their lives and women more the emotional and spiritual. When people (the sexes that is) get older the whole thing seems to get turned upside down in some way (just my own observations). Brethren, whatever your opinion is on that particular matter, even though people require the same things to live in regards to some of them they may require (or desire) differing proportions of these things in life depending on where they are in that life and particularly what they might be going though in a particular phase of their life. Overall people are similar, yet different depending on some of the just mentioned things. D:15) For example, in regards to a comment this apostle wrote about forbidding women to teach men (1 Timothy 2:12), how do you explain (my experience now) the Holy Spirit using and actually speaking through women who teach - while men are present (that is they are “teaching men” ) - when I can make a “slam dunk” argument - based on 1 Timothy 2:13 - as to why it shouldn’t happen? D:16) Brothers and sisters, once again that I do emphasize that I understand this “progression of understanding” view of scripture (most notably of the epistles) smacks right up against the common views of inerrancy (most notably the high view of inerrancy), but I do think you should know where I might possibly be coming from in regards to some of the things (or issues) that are written in this book, particularly in regards to some of the petty things that Christians argue about (and even divide over) (Appendix A may give you some insight into some of these things, however most of the things written in that Appendix are indeed major things written for your consideration]. In regards to this issue consider the following verse… “love never fails; but if there are gifts… they will (someday) be done away (with)… for we know in part.. but when the perfect comes the partial will be done away with. When I was a child (using the gifts etc. the parallel he is drawing), I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man [that is reaching a mature (perfect) state, again the parallel he is drawing], I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly (that is not in a perfectly clear or full way), but then face to face (that is you can’t get any more, or see anymore clearer, you are seeing not an image or reflection of something but the actual thing itself), now a I know in part (a progression of apostolic understanding), but then I shall know fully just as I also have been known. (1 Corinthians 13:8-12) As you can see from the just mentioned verse there is an admission from the apostle that he only knows in part therefore there is a progression of Apostolic understanding in regards to things, however I do want to point out that many things are indeed solid, particularly such major doctrines as salvation, the Godhead, the divinity - as well as the humanity of Christ, and the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. These four issues (or doctrines) are testified all over the place in the new testament and have been confirmed by many church councils throughout the ages as well. (D:17) The question of divorce (and particularly remarriage) in Christianity is a full topic within itself and deserves a separate book, however I do want to point out here (In case you have read ahead in these Appendixes) that a couple agreeing to alter their marriage covenant is not the same as a couple divorcing. The two are separate issues. D:18) Brethren, the conscience (like the previous mentioned divorce and remarriage) is a topic within itself. To save time in regards to this subject I quoted an entire chapter from my book “Understanding Christianity” and the footnotes from that chapter follow at the end (you may also want to see Appendix O in regards to this issue). If you are not familiar with the conscience in relation to the law it may be of help to you. The quotation starts here… The Law and Conscience When God created man He created a garden for man to dwell in (1). He gave man specific instructions not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (2), (or right and wrong - we’ll get back to this later). This particular tree had nothing to do with life and it’s imparted knowledge would actually lead one to living a way of life which - in the end - actually caused death (3). This tree was so unlike the other tree in the garden - the actual tree of life (4). Satan was also in the garden and tempted man to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (5). He ate - and as a result his disobedience (sin) separated him from God. The knowledge of good and evil (or right and wrong), has caused so many problems between the God of life and man. It has also caused problems between people on differing levels of understanding in society and problems throughout the nations and between nations in the world. This knowledge has nothing to do with life (6), and has led to people making all kinds of bad decisions in their personal life and in society time and time again. Rather than one living a life of faith and trust and asking God about this or that people would rather sit around and debate things in terms of just the opposite (Law), and rather than have a relationship with God, - for some reason would rather live their lives in these terms (of what is right and wrong), rather than looking at things from the perspective of what causes life and what does not [(which the God of life does. Again, “in Him was life and that life was the light (a revelation Matthew 12:3:4) of men (7)].” Sure, one needs to be careful when ones decisions effect other people - but still. The Purpose of the Law Law (as in the laws of Moses), was given to man because of disobedience (8) and scripturally given to children until they learn to live a life of faith (9). If you read the account of when the law was given - what were the children of Israel doing? Worshipping the golden calf (10). It’s no wonder that when Moses came down from the mountain - after God gave him the law - it stated things like ‘Don’t worship anyone or anything but the Lord your God’(11); ‘ Don’t make images (or idols) of things and call them God’ (12) etc., and so forth (my paraphrases). People were not treating God - nor - if you look at the other laws - each other correctly. Later still, because of their continued disobedience. God ended up giving them even more laws - or commandments (600+ total an exasperating amount), all on how to behave and what to do. Obviously there were major problems with people’s behavior. The Conscience The conscience operates in a similar fashion and parallel’s the function of the law (13). It’s basically an internal guide for children (again see Appendix O for a further elaboration on this statement) who do not have the written laws of God and have yet to mature in a walk of faith and trust (14), [the maturity’s hallmark being where one operates not in terms of what is right and wrong (the way the law works), but in terms of what causes life and what does not. Again, the way the God of life works]. This walk may parallel some things written in the law, (or even a weak conscience), but it may not depending on the circumstances (15). This is why living a life of faith and trust in each other - and having a living ongoing a relationship with a speaking God is so important. Pressing on to a mature faith Brothers and Sisters is [a lot - (ed.)] what Christianity is all about (16). Losing ones life in the life giving River of God is also what Christianity is about as well (17) (I’ll talk about his more later). Life is about life, not law. Jesus - who was full of life - came that we would have life and have it abundantly. Christian’s - especially new Christian’s - need to focus on life issues - both personal and otherwise - and not get caught up in “ethical” types of debates of right and wrong. There’s just no good fruit in those types of discussions. Remember that particular tree in the Garden of Eden? No good fruit. Again just as Joshua led Israel (18), so to Jesus (Joshua) will guide His people into the ways that lead to life and wholeness (19), and it may or may not parallel things written in the law - depending on where you are at in your walk of faith. So be ready (20). Footnotes from the Chapter 1) Genesis 2:15 2) Genesis 2:16,17 3) Genesis 2:17 4) Genesis 3:24 5) Genesis 3:1-5 6) Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:3,19 7) John 1:4 8) Galatians 3:19 9) The Galatians, after living a life of faith, were going back to the law. It was like they were starting all over again. This issue of going back to the law is dealt with quite thoroughly throughout the book. See Galatians 3:22 - 25; Galatians 4:1-11; Galatians 5:5; also Galatians 4:19 “My children with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” 10) Exodus 32:1-35 11) Exodus 20:3 12) Exodus 20:4-5 13) Romans 2:14,15 14) Since the law itself was given to the immature or children (Galatians 4:1-3), one can rightly assume that the law written on the hearts of man (Romans 2:15) which is an actual reflection of the written law (Romans 2:14), is also meant for children who do not live a life according to faith (Galatians 3:23-26). Remember - as you live your life - whatever is done - not in faith - is sin (Romans 14:23) 15) Situation Ethics? Circumstances do dictate courses of action. It’s a teaching of scripture in regards to issues of life. Note what Jesus says in Matthew 12 concerning David and his companions “how he (David and his companions), entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat...” (Matthew 12:3-4). Also, see Luke 6:6 when Jesus heals on the Sabbath “Is it lawful... to save a life...” In Luke He’s trying to point out - by asking the question, it’s very absurdity. Of course it’s “lawful,” (even if it’s against “the law” or a persons or groups understanding of it). Brothers and Sisters, life (life issues), are always more important than obedience to law. This is one area (the violation of law) where peoples consciences need to mature. 16) Hebrews 6:1 note the contrast between maturity (or a mature faith); and basic faith (and by the way the “falling away” in Hebrews 6:6 is not sin per say, but apostasy (leaving the faith). (I do believe that that’s the Greek word that is used). 17) Ezekiel 47:5 18) Book of Joshua 19) John 4:14; John 6:35,51; John 7:37;-38; John 8:12; John 10:9; John 14:27 20) Just a final note on the law. Jesus summation of God’s Old Covenant law was in two commandments. Don’t do anything to anyone you would want done to you (love neighbor), and love your God with your whole heart soul mind and strength. (2 commandments!). He said on these 2 commandments hung the law and the prophets (the entire Old Testament) - in other words if you do these two things you fulfill the law. The Apostles see a distinction between Old Covenant Law and New Covenant Law “...not being myself under the law...though not being without the law of God but... (being under a new law), the law of Christ (in other words a new reality)” 1 Corinthians 9:21 Brothers and Sisters, Gods people who were under the Old Covenant could not keep the law. Even though it could be summed up in two commandments, they just couldn’t do it. Look at what Joshua says in his going away speech (This was after they received the law). “The Joshua said to the people “You are not able to serve the Lord, (Joshua 24:19)...and the people said to Joshua “No, but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said to the people “You are witnesses against yourselves...” (Joshua 24:21,22). Joshua was proved right (read the next two chapters of the following book). Look at what the Apostles concern about the issue. “...why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10). Even if someone does “do it” in scripture, they seem to miss the point (Epistles). Therefore God was going to make a new covenant with them and cause them to walk according to His ways (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26, 27) New Covenant law is an internal law (and I’m not talking about the conscience), which is put within God’s people and basically follows the following laws (that is rules or principles)... 1) Law of Recognition: God’s at work in you to will and to do. Realize what’s going on. 2) Law of Rest (no striving): God who began this work in you will complete it. 3) Law of Cooperation (non-passivity): God is within you, so hey! co-operate with Him. In other words don’t grieve the Spirit of God. 4) Law of Reckoning: Considering the finished work of the cross done in your life (Romans) 5) Law of Continuing to Believe God’s Word: (Hebrews), Brother and Sisters, there still seems to be a progression we need to go through in our experience. (not positionally, but in our experience) 6) Law of Living your life according to the Spirit of God: [not according to stone (the Old Covenant Law) which was for children], but according to fresh revelation from a living, speaking God. God’s Old covenant people couldn’t do it, they couldn’t serve God. They couldn’t “walk the walk” so God was going to do for them. And it was “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” “But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God... who were not born of blood (not solely restricted to Abraham’s seed), nor of the will of the flesh (not in ones own power), nor of the will of man (‘you did not choose me, but I chose you’), but of God.” (John 1:12,13) What man couldn’t do for himself, He was going to do for them (Praise God!, and it was going to be done by His Spirit, and NOT the will of the flesh (John 1:12,13). Brothers and Sisters, it’s these laws that the New Covenant - which is promised in Jeremiah and Ezekiel - revolve around. Not the Old Covenant laws. These are the laws (statutes) that are put in our hearts. Once again, where God may lead you may or may not parallel things written in the Old Covenant law - depending on where you are at in your walk of faith. In fact it may very well parallel things written there. But if it does it’s because God’s leading you there. That’s His will for you at this time in your life. Brothers and Sisters, there is nothing necessarily bad about a lot of those laws - at least in a basic sense (or level) - especially if it’s end result happens to be life for you, but - as a Christian - you want to be functioning according to - and on the level of - where the Spirit of God leads you. Not according to law (which has been done away with), or a conscience that needs to grow up a little, but according to fresh revelation from a living and speaking God. This is why spending time with God and getting to know Him is so important. D:19) In regards to this “end run,” if you look at the reforms of marriage under Ezra (VERSE NEEDED) and Nehemiah (VERSE NEEDED) , Esther was not supposed to have done what she did in regards to marriage (VERSE NEEDED) , but Mordecai from the beginning saw the possibility of something else going on. When he told Ester not to tell what group of people she was from (VERSE NEEDED) , that parallels what you find in the New Testament concerning the conscience (if someone puts something before you to eat don’t ask where it was from. That is was it part of an offering to idols… (VERSE NEEDED) (sort of like a don’t ask don’t tell kind of thing) If you read the story Mordecai was operating on the level of faith not law, for he saw the possibility of something else going on - which turned out to be the deliverance of God’s people or life over law. Think about it. Overriding law (which in this case were old covenant commandments) for the sake of life? Brothers and sisters, it’s not only a story found in the bible, but it gets it’s own book. (D:20) Traditionally elders in Israel (as in ruling elders) were people (men) who had lived a good part of their life (hence the term elder) therefore were full of wisdom and advice and therefore could lead. The church also has “elders who rule” (1 Timothy 5:17). The apostle Peter called himself an elder (VERSE NEEDED) as well as the Apostle John (2 VERSES NEEDED)). Biblically speaking you need not be old to rule (1 Timothy 4:12), but if young, it would be helpful to be gifted (1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14-16) In Appendix A the point is made that anyone (which would include both genders) can lead, however, generally speaking in the absence of any other kind of leading (and I’m talking about through the gifted leading of anyone in the body, whether elders or not), when dealing with the just day to day church “business,” the default way in which things are done (that is if you agree with the things previously written regarding the default way), is unless God, life or circumstances dictate different, the elders of the church [generally speaking, which in the default way of looking at things (read on) means male elders] have the rule of things (and if they are good elders they lead with the understanding that things should be left open for God to speak through or lead through anyone which includes women [and brethren scripturally a woman can be given the reigns of leadership (which in effect is an eldership) and can in fact lead and lead well Deborah (VERSE NEEDED) and even though there seems to be a progression of Apostolic Understanding on this issue in regards to some things, overall when speaking of males in leadership I‘m speaking of the default way in which things are done and seem to normally flow [which overall - if you took a poll - most people (more than half) would probably agree with (and the reason behind this usually surrounds the perception that men and women are somehow different)]. Brethren, “Elders who rule” is the teaching of the New Covenant and is how the church government is structured [and in case you missed it “elders” is an office in the church (not a gift)] and the elders of a church can have any of the gifts mentioned in Appendix A. Some even get paid (1 Timothy 5:17 “worthy of double honor”). (Deacons are also an office in the church, but it is an office that is below elders, and not only that but a position that is also “below” the congregation. The word deacon means servant). Brothers and sisters, even though we are not under law anymore, there are statements regarding church government in scripture (that is through the elders) as well as who it is who qualifies to be in that position. If people in a church are looking for direction, aside from looking to God, (generally speaking now), the eldership is where it is going to come from. Why? 1) They’ve usually been Christians the longest. 2) They usually have a multitude of giftings 3) They usually have a lot of experience in regards to life related issues (I seem to remember hearing that in order to qualify as an elder in ancient Israel you needed to have raise children. However if this is so this is not repeated in the New Testament only that - if elders have children - they have them under control (1 Timothy 3:4). However the point is they have had life experience and are full of advise and wisdom. Again they are elder or older. 4) and in regards to their inherent qualifications if you agree with the view that there are differences between men and women and those differences reflect on the default way in which things are done and seem to normally flow (again read on). In regards to (default) leadership you are speaking of the congregation looking to the males (or male eldership) for direction and guidance. For those who want to emphasis the “anyone can rule” angle of this (and if you read point 5 in this Appendix you can make that case by contrasting what 1 Corinthians (VERSE NEEDED) says vs. 1 John (VERSE NEEDED) says in regards to teaching), but if, however for the sake of argument, there was nothing written in the New Testament concerning church government (that is rules and regulations, which again I would call “default” rules and regulations) it would be only appropriate to consult people with a multitude of giftings - as well as life experience (and eldership or “older”ship) - in regards to issues that may come before you or the body. This is just the way things normally work. (however I do want to emphasis that since everyone has a gift we do not have to go to the elders in regards to everything (for example even though if someone is sick and are told to call the elders (VERSE NEEDED), one may go to the person who has the gift of healing (VERSE NEEDED) - (which may be a person who may not be an elder and may or may not be male) and be healed. Brethren, What I am saying is that the rules and regulations you find in the New Testament in regards to leadership [male and elder (or older) ship] - as with other teachings - is a default way of looking at things. The Spirit of God is not locked into any one mode of doing things. Again when thinking of rules and regulations concerning church leadership think of the word “default” (or even a fall back position) and it may help you through some of this. Brothers and sisters, generally speaking the rules and regulations concerning Church Government found in scripture are not iron clad, for in actual practice (and I’ve seen this many times) anyone who is flowing in the Spirit of God can lead and direct as well as give some real practical and spiritual advice on an issue that comes before the church [once again these rules and regulations regarding ruling the church are a default way of doing things for again elders (as in elders who rule), have usually been around the longest, may have a multitude of giftings, and usually have life experience with issues as well)]. Brethren what I have found is regards to “the real problems” with leadership is either authoritian leadership [where everyone’s opinion is pretty much ignored and only one opinion counts. See again Appendix A. this or closed meetings where major or significant decisions are made without the input of other gifted members. In cases like this people either try to reform leadership (again see Appendix A)] or they vote with their feet. Basically one man show type of things [And brothers and sisters, I really don’t see a significant problem in opening meetings up to the entire congregation. Maybe a general statement made at the beginning of a meeting addressing any concerns might be OK however the price paid in not having a multitude of gifts present at meeting can be great]. [Brothers and sisters, in regards to this point, if you have the office of elder in your church (and just don’t view the term in the general sense) as long as the elders that you have are elders who are not arrogant but realize that they can be wrong about something (and are also able to look at things from other perspectives, that is: are open to correction) I really don’t see a problem with the position, especially their plurality of governance. Again even if there was no teaching in the New Testament regarding that office most people would tend to gravitate around experienced members in regards to ‘the faith’ who have flowed and still flow with a multitude of giftings. Brethren, people would tend to gravitate towards these people anyway for advice (and the very act of doing that would in a way make them a default leader), so recognizing this flow and giving these people the position (or office) of elder is no big deal (and again some are worthy of “double honor” because of the time and effort they may put into all of this. Once again, if you have the position (or office) in your church of an elder, as long as they are open to advise, I don’t see anything wrong with elders as leaders, and that is what they are, in absence of any other kind of guidance they are leaders by default]. (D:21) Brothers and sisters I want to be extremely careful here (for I am taking a stab at trying to understand where people were coming from when they wrote scripture and I don’t think anyone has ever tried to elaborate as to why they felt the way they did on this issue. So you may want to cut me some slack here). What I am not saying is that a man or woman giving an impression of something (for example that they are stronger because they are taller or the inverse) is the same thing as fact (David and Goliath). Nor am I saying that taller / stronger people are superior to short / weaker people and it’s very hard to talk about this issue without sounding like I’m saying these things. However, from observable evidence - on the surface now - it looks like God - in making men the way He did (generally speaking now) - was trying to say something (or suggest something) about their roles in life (certainly in regards to physical labor) and quite possibly in regards to their roles with the opposite sex when in intimate relationship with one another (again, “dominate,” provider kind of things). Also brothers and sisters I am not saying that men are superior to women, it’s just that - on the surface - there seems to be “something of that” in regards the direction of their roles again when in intimate (personal) relationship with one another (he who gives, lets say money or provisions for life, generally speaking now, is “above” the one who receives kind of thing). Brethren again the way the genders are constructed (generally speaking now) does seem to suggest something about their (default) roles when in intimate (personal) relationship with each other, but brothers and sisters life is based on more than just observable data so categorically holding to such a view by itself without bring in that other data - especially in regards to the workplace - would be both simplistic and wrong. (D:22) This is a controversial issues that is debated by psychologists and sociologists (as well as anyone who reads the bible), but there does seem to be a differences in the sexes that goes beyond the physical, and although biology and environment certainly influences and enhances those differences there may be some innate differences as well (which may account for some of the scriptural teaching on the matter). In a general speaking kind of thing - if one had to elaborate on the stereotypical differences between the sexes one might say that women (because of the higher emotional proportion of their being - another controversial issue) are prone to think with their heart (not necessarily a bad thing) and men are prone to think with their head. This may account for some of the reasons you don’t find many women in leaderships roles in scripture (although you certainly do find some, Deborah for one (VERSE NEEDED)). That and also because it was (and still is in some regards) “a mans world.” You will at times see women talked about almost as a after thought (VERSE NEEDED)or even excluded (VERSE NEEDED). Although women are certainly elevated in scripture compared to the times in which they lived (In Christ there is no male or female (VERSE NEEDED). Deaconess (VERSE NEEDED) etc.) (D:23) Brothers and sisters, there are also scriptures that deal with an order as well (most notably Ephesians 5:22-33). This too is once again a default way of looking at things (and you need to see most things if not all things is scripture like this, especially since the Spirit of God is not locked into any one mode or way of doing things). For example, in regards to the ‘headship’ relation of the husband over the wife mentioned in Ephesians [that a wife is to “be subject” to her husband (Ephesians 5:22) and “respect” him (Ephesians 5:33)]. Brethren, this is a generally speaking kind of thing (and you can discuss the reasons why this is so) but my point here is - like the just mentioned discussion on church government - this is not a blanket policy in the way things are done. If you look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, if - for the sake of argument - her husband said let’s do this thing together (which may have happened), even though the scripture says for her to be subject to her husband (that is obey him) she did not have to do that thing. Brothers and sisters, this unscriptural idea of absolute authority, especially singular authority in regards to both the issues of church government and relationships between the sexes has caused so many problems and is the basis of so much conflict that it needs to be taken down quite a few notches both here and in society so that things (that is the Spirit of God) can flow in an unhindered way (one person in absolute charge - along with their advice or opinions about things - has shown itself to be incorrect so many times that the whole idea behind absolute singular authority (which is so self serving anyway) is more times than not wrong I’m surprise people put up with it (however when they do it‘s usually under threat of some type which does not bode well for relationships). Brothers and sisters, again one needs to see rules and regulations concerning these issues as default rules and regulations and the following of the Spirit and leading of the Spirit of God is preeminent over all. And again I’m mostly talking about men in personal relationship with women which may or may not extend to the church (depending how you view Appendix A, as well as the concept of the progression of Apostolic Understanding and the preeminence of the leading of the Spirit of God). Unless you are talking about physical requirements for a job (which women - if they work out - can make up for - for example firefighter) these kind of issues do not always translate well in “workplace” kind of issues (for which biblically speaking there are no guidelines and people are not in personal relationship ). Even though one might make an “extended jump” about some things, remember - as with Deborah - some women “have” or have to work, or want to work [and as with the biblical case of Deborah if they do have to work, will work very well at what they do [that is they overcome what may be seen as any predispositions by some and are able to do the job at hand which as with Deborah includes leading men - (and God was with her by the way)] anyway the ability to do the job at hand should be the main criteria used in judging any employee, that is, if they do a job do they do it well]. Brethren, in the workplace (as in the church) there should be - at the minimum - an open attitude towards things and if a position is open both sexes should be given the same equal consideration and even the same fair chance at job positions (and remember, if they are applying for the job God may have called them to do it as well). And brethren, if the sexes are predisposed to see things from certain perspectives which would not be of help in a particular (secular) job, and this is a reason people are concerned, both men and women are able to recognize predispositions (whatever they are) and are able to deal with them, especially for the sake of necessary employment and a paycheck. Again, if the issue of gender is an issue, when dealing with the issue, both genders should be given the same equal consideration and same fair chance at vacant positions (again if you think differently remember Deborah). If either gender can’t do the job that is why they failed. People can overcome and / or learn to deal with things in their lives. call women to the mission field - which almost always includes the teaching of men - which scripturally speaking should not happen because of the scriptural admonition against women teaching men (which again is a progression of Apostolic Understanding on an issue) (D:24). (D:24) Also (and once again), I want to point out that women, in regards to church government, just because of their gender, are often restricted by congregations from various church offices outside the mission field (even if they have the appropriate gifting). Brothers, this “gender issue” needs to be hammered out more, especially in light of Deborah (VERSE NEEDED) for it is an issue that carries weight in some denominations - particularly those who feel revelation has ceased and are stuck in the first century - and I have no doubt that there are many good and capable women in congregations who can’t do what God is calling churches to do because they are either stopped or feel unnecessarily hindered in moving out.”(and again this is one of the points I brought up in point 5 “Understanding the Progression in Apostolic Teaching)” Brothers and sisters, the thing is this… I don’t think there are bibles in heaven (which would be the ultimate way to walk the walk) and the reason being that God’s presence is so powerful and overwhelming that that in itself is enough to lead and guide. If that is so why can’t we have that here? There does seem to be a progression of understanding regarding the gift of teaching in scripture ((VERSE NEEDED) and (VERSE NEEDED)of you have need of no man to teach you…) and if I am correct in regards to my understanding of this then there is indeed a progression of understanding in the epistles concerning these - and other issues (and it’s not that the Apostles were in error about anything it’s just that what they wrote was in part an accurate reflection as to where they were not only at, at the time, but also may have been a reflection of the measure of what the Spirit of God wanted to reveal at the time concerning a particular issue. Brethren, think of revelation as steps that build upon each other that lead upward to the complete truth on a particular matter. “for… know I know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:12) In order to go from one step to another (thinking of God’s people throughout the ages here) one must learn a few things (which from our perspective is what old revelation is - in part - about) and leave a few things behind as well (which from the new covenant perspective includes a lot of “self” issues (See Appendix H). We as Christians are not at the beginning of God’s purposes on the earth, but at the end looking forward. When we look back (at older revelation) we are looking at the steps that got us where we are today (and part of those steps do seem to include where the Apostles were at in regards to some things). Once again… “love never fails; but if there are gifts… they will (someday) be done away (with)… for we (which includes the apostles) know in part. But when the perfect comes the partial will be done away with. When I was a child (using the gifts etc), I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man (that is reached a mature state), I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly (that is not in a perfectly clear or full way), but then face to face (you can’t get any more clearer, you are seeing not an image or reflection of something but the actual thing itself), now a I know in part (a progression of apostolic understanding), but then I shall know fully just as I also have been known. (1 Corinthians 13:8-12) Brothers and sisters, there are still apostles around today (See Appendix A and if you will footnote D:27) and just as in biblical times, God has also called them to labor in the field of the world as well as His very own vineyard (the church). Also as in biblical times (in which some apostles seem to have progress into more insight than other apostles), so it is true today (especially in regards to the “what if” or “what about” issues) Also, in regards to the other issues, since you seem to have a progression of understanding about some things in scripture…again… “for we know in part.” (1 Corinthians 13) that progression of understanding will still continue to unfold, even to this very day. And particularly so since the apostolic (that is ones who are sent with giftings) still exists today. Brethren, what I am saying is that except for the issue of salvation (and the nature of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit) I think there is room for leeway in regards to some issues because of this (or a ) progression in understanding in regards to things (take sanctification for example. One apostles says that he buffets his body to make it obey him (the word buffet means to beat or treat harshly (VERSE NEEDED)), as well as reckoning a thing or two, while another apostle (who wrote 40 or 50 years later) says one only needs to focus on Jesus makes oneself pure (1 John 3:3). Brothers and sisters I’m 50 years old and have been saved for almost 35 years (I write this book in 2008), and have seen and experience a lot. The more I go on the more I see that it’s more about having a relationship with the risen Lord and obeying the leading of His Holy Spirit than it is about having a relationship with rules and regulations (and people do have relationships with these things). Also the more I go on the more I see that a lot of these things in scripture (that is the things I can’t pin a progression to) are just a default way of looking at things in the absence of any other kind of guidance (there are exceptions). Therefore, if this is so this whole Appendix in dealing with the teachings of the past is better dealt with by plugging oneself into the Spirit of God and moving with Him. I tell you the truth, the answer to a lot of questions “out there” particularly the “what if?” or “what about” type things is what does God says about it to you in your own particular circumstance (with it‘s own nuances that no one else may have). Brothers and sisters, His presence is the answer for so may things. And remember what the apostle John (who happened to be the last Apostle to write in scripture) says on these matters… “His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…” (1 John 2:27) Sisters and brothers these things are real! (D:25) however you may want to reread points one and three in this Appendix and remember that, in regards to those points, that following the leading of the Holy Spirit in a particular situation is the better lifestyle than being “under” something. (D:26) and yes both “acts of faith” as well as an “acts of love” bear fruit, but according to 1 Corinthians 13 if love is not factored into the act of faith it, the act will have no beneficial impact on the person who did the act. “if I have all faith so as to remove mountains (which would bear fruit), but do not have love (that is the motivation behind the act is not love, but something else), I am nothing (in other words it is of no benefit to me, no profit and benefit (or profit) deals with the reward angle of things) (1 Corinthians 13:2) (D:27) In regards to reaching a mature level or state. There does seem to be a progression of apostolic understanding which has been covered in this Appendix. Some of it regards the issue of sanctification and some of it regards the use of gifts (and there may be other instances of these kinds of things in scripture if you look). Brethren, if you read 1 John [who doesn’t mention anything about the gifts in any of his letters (which also happen to be the last letters written in the bible)] you will see that the gift of teaching seems to have “replaced” or replaced by an understanding that one has an anointing that teaches you all things [and not only that but you have no need for a man to teach you (1 John 2:27)]. This kind of progression is confirmed in 1 Corinthians (which was written about 30 years earlier) and says that one will someday reach a state where gifts are no longer needed (which for the writer was when “the perfect” (or perfection) comes (and brethren there are people who feel you can reach a relative perfection or perfection on this side of eternity, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (VERSE NEEDED)) Brothers and sisters, in the Latter Rain movement (which again is a very controversial move and is covered in Appendix I) there is a teaching concerning some aspects of what we might call a mature man (or mature church on this side of eternity) is partially found in the main book that has come out of the move the Feast of Tabernacles. (and once again I want to remind you that this is a very controversial move and there are a multitude of people who have had input into this move (that is put forth teaching) claim to be latter rain, and as a result their teaching falls - whether one likes it or not - falls under the category of Later Rain. Now what I am going to say here is either things I derived from that teaching or have heard word of mouth and this concerns the Apostle John (who again was the last apostle to write and seemingly goes beyond another apostle (or all apostles) in regards to some matters (that is he was closer to this mature state) In the last Chapter of the Gospel of John you will find a statement that if all the acts of Jesus were written in detail (which probably includes the ramifications and lasting effects) that probably all the books that would be written about those things “that even the world itself would not contain” them (take this book for example, it’s hundreds of pages long and I wasn’t even there) Therefore John had to pick and choose what stories to write about. One of the stories he chooses to write about is found right at the end, the very last story concerning his final outcome and if one looks at verse 21:22 in the Gospel of John one has to acknowledge the possibility that he (progressed to the point) that he is still around today (that is he has overcome everything and has reached a mature state on this side of eternity). “…yet Jesus did not say to him (John), that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you.” (John 21:23) Also compare this with what Jesus said in Matthew “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28) Sisters and brothers, I have thought about this every now and then and it is something that if true shows you that there is more to the Christian life than just waiting around for Jesus to take you home. There are other possibilities for ones life on this side of eternity In regards to the view that one can reach a level of maturity where the gifts are not needed we need to be sober about this viewpoint. A test (at least in one area) might be if one was healed of something by ones faith alone without prayer (or the use of giftings) from any other individual. This test would be a continual test that would - at the very least - carry you right through to the 120 years mentioned in Genesis 6:3 at the minimum (that is: unless God has revealed to you some other reason why you are being called home early). Brethren, gifts are important and this example is just one of many areas one would have to excel in to get a point where one has reached the level of the “mature man.” It’s more evidence that things are going right (or you are going in a right direction - which again can be relative to the individual). Brethren, once again I would not downplay the use of gifts. I only expounded on this viewpoint which is found in Ephesians 4:13 (that is the use of gifts “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith…a mature man) just to show that there is an end result or a goal to all these things (and personally I do believe this perfection can be accomplished on this side of eternity). Brethren, there does seem to be a progression of understanding of things in scripture and it is reflected in the reading of the epistles in the chronological order they were written in (start with the book of James and Galatians). However brethren, gifts are important and they are of great use (if you are sick or have physical problems you have not reached this mature state and have need of them. Do not downplay their importance) they can be viewed as “stepping stones” (or helps) in various areas until we reach that mature state. “But to each on of us grace was given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men” … and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors - teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the statue which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7,8,11-13) PS: In regards to where John might possibly be (if you agree with this viewpoint) might be since his calling was to the Jewish people (or Israel) (Galatians 2:9) and not to the gentiles per say I would say that he is intermingling with Jewish people (or in the nation of Israel itself) and he has probably been with them from their dispersion in 70AD to this day. I can’t help but wonder (and that is if this teaching is correct) if John is not going to be there at the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25) in regards to a witness of something that is of note (or importance)that concerns the Jewish nation or people “If I want him (John) to remain until I come what is that to you (Peter)” John 21:22 If John is around it is for a reason. Brethren, again, if this teaching is true that is probably where he is now (and before this too) always involved in the Jewish community in some way (and by the way, according to tradition he was last seen at Ephesus - after the dispersion - with Mary the mother of Jesus. “behold you mother“ (VERSE NEEDED)). Again, this is a very controversial teaching (which is developing even now) and is something I go back and forth about. Even if you don’t believe people can progress to a point where they can overcome everything, the God who created the earth and everything in it can keep people alive for as long as He desires (Genesis 5:27), and our lives are always in His hands. Brethren, what Jesus said about his ability (based on His desire) to keep John around until He comes back is true regardless of how you feel on the issue (and it is a possibility that he is still walking the earth today, especially for reason). And if He desires He can keep you alive for that long too [“I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep…” (1 Corinthians 15:51)] . And again… “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28) And brethren aside from what is mentioned at the end of the gospel of John notice that in Matthew “some” is plural (not singular as in there is only one among you who will still be around when that day comes). As to who else is still here from those days, the only clue is that the speech was given to the disciples [and a disciple is a notch up from a believer (VERSES NEEDED) whether that has anything to do with it I‘m not sure (and there is a verse that talks about the 70), but at the minimum it‘s probably some of the other Apostles]. Sisters and brothers I’m sure that whoever it is and wherever they are (among Jews or Gentiles), they are out doing the Lords work somewhere - and then after a period of time move on. See Appendixes N and O for more on maturity. Appendix E Footnotes E:1) If people they were to define what they see as a “proper” covenanted heterosexual relationship between men and women they would probably refer back to the garden of Eden where God created Adam and Eve; not Adam , Eve, Sue, Mary etc. The thing is this, while there is merit to this view as far as direction goes (especially since the ratio between men and women at birth is roughly the same) to say that this is the only possibility for living ones life is not correct (see Appendix K). Also brethren, we are not in the garden anymore and we are not commanded to go back to that kind of a situation either (if people were to do so we would be walking around in the buff). Brothers and sisters, things have changed (and matured too) since those days and it‘s pretty much up to individuals on how one lives their lives in regards to this issue. Brethren, God certainly allows for other type of relationships in scripture and if God allows for them who are we to say different? (However see Appendix N for some concerns). In regards to churches, being open to different types of relationships here - as long as they acknowledge the fact that God’s general direction in this matter is a ‘one man one woman’ type of arrangement (and the people who are opting out for a different type of arrangement understand this) then they (and the people) can go ahead and do what they feel is right - particularly people in their own situation. Brothers and sisters, pastors should especially make a point of doing this (that is making people aware of God‘s general direction) before they marry people under different kinds of arrangements, and as long as they do this, their responsibility in the matter before God has ended (for these in the end are personal decisions and few peoples business). [Also I would not go around advocating this option for ones life particularly since there does seem to be a general direction of God in regards to this matter (and churches as a whole should be going in the general direction that God is going in, especially since they are God’s representative on the earth)]. Brothers and sisters these type of relationships are more the exception than the rule. E:2) The “other side of eternity” refers to the afterlife (that is the life we enter after this one). When Jesus talks about the type of relationships that go on between the genders He speaks of it in terms of after the resurrection (which happens immediately after He comes back (VERSES NEEDED)). Therefore there is a gap between the two events for most people (that is the entering the new life and the getting of a new resurrected body). Brethren if you look at all the relevant verses together there does actually seem to be two bodies we will have after we depart from this life. The first seems to be purely spiritual (which may be what is commonly referred to as our soul or our very substance or essence) and the second, a future one which is as physical as the one we have now [a new heavenly body if you will (1 Corinthians 15:40)] This new heavenly body that we will have (which is the one Jesus is referring to when He speaks of future relations between the genders) is also happens to be called a spiritual body in scripture (1 Corinthians 15:44) but it’s not so spiritual that we cannot eat with it (we will eat in the Lords presence (VERSE NEEDED)) If I had to sum it all up when we depart from this life are in a purely spiritual body (or in some kind of localized presence) however the new heavenly body - with what it entails - will come later after the second coming (or the resurrection). E:3) In the book of Acts you have a joint ruling by the apostles on the issue of sex outside of marriage and in chapter 15:23 you have a statement that it should be refrained from - not for salvations sake, but that “you will do well.” Brothers and sisters, if you follow the general guideline in this appendix (which by the way are very considerate of the issue of “doing well”) there should be no problem with the issue. Also remember that Jesus Himself said that all the old covenant law (some of which is reiterated in the new covenant which is an important point in regards to the teaching of scripture on this issue) - as well as all of what the prophets said (that is their basic thrust and goal) hung on just two commandments (VERSES NEEDED). In other words if you are worried about following commandments, just do these two and do you fulfill the law. Also in regards to this issue you may want to keep in mind that sex without marriage is something that is going to happen on the other side of this life and the reason it’s going to happen is because we have been perfected and have reached a matured state. Therefore if you can be perfect and mature about at least this issue (and all it’s related issues, which again are mentioned in the guidelines of this appendix) there should be no problem with it on this side of eternity. Really, what’s the problem? Except that one hasn’t though things through. Another thing to note is that one of the other things the apostles ask Christians to abstain from in Acts 15:29 (an “essential” thing by the way which also seemed “good to the Holy Spirit”) is “things sacrificed to idols.” In 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 this particular issue is directly regulated to a matter of conscience as well as seeing things correctly on the matter [in other words there is no other Gods (1 Corinthians 8:4-7)]. Therefore this “essential” thing which also seemed “good to the Holy Spirit” is in reality a matter of conscience . A maturing conscience which gains insight through knowledge (1 Corinthians 8:7) (See Appendix O) The ruling by the apostles in regards to this issue was just given in “a general sense.” Brothers and sisters, if this is so about this issue why can’t it be so about the issue at hand as well? (There were only 4 essential things mentioned in Acts 15:29 which also happened to include this particular sexual issue), the only concern I see scripturally is that we need to be mindful of where other people are at in regards to certain things and be careful not to cause other people to stumble (which, if you read 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 seems to be the main concern behind the ruling, thus the “essentials” were given in just a general sense and not something that was set in stone). Sisters and brothers, if you are mature enough to follow the general guidelines in this section there should be no problem. be perfect ((VERSE NEEDED)) Also remember that when Jesus talked about law (which happened to be the issue in Acts 15) His basic thrust was ‘life over law’ and it was this principle that overrode law (Matthew 12:1-12). Thus , when we speak of following the commandments of Jesus we also factor in Jesus’ commandment (and the principle) of ‘life over law’ as well. E:4) Not everything is scripture fits into neat guidelines and there are overlaps. For example even though the resurrection is to come some people were not only raised from the dead by Jesus, but also after the cross you had some newly resurrected people walking around as well. (VERSE NEEDED). Also Jesus was obviously justifying behavior in Matthew 12 that was at the very least frowned upon in the old covenant law as something that was OK for it was not only for the sake of life, but it was part of a new covenant that was coming (which had not arrived). In other words even though they were under the dispensation or covenant of law (Romans 7:4,6; Galatians 3:23); , Jesus was allowing the disciples to “press through” into something that was coming next , and this was pre cross / pre resurrection. John the Baptist was full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), even though the Holy Spirit had not yet been given (to the general public at least) in an internal sense (VERSE NEEDED). [David might possibly be an example or this “pressing through” in regards to the Holy Spirit (Matthew 22:43)]. Brothers and sisters, before the sun rises there is light (the difference between daybreak and dawn) and this “pressing through” into what is “coming down the road” is not something new in scripture and has relevance in regards to this issue (and brethren un-covenanted sex is something that is coming down the road). E:5) In Matthew 12 Jesus justifies the disciples public violation of the Sabbath (they were picking grain) as something that was OK to do for it was something that was done for the sake of life (He even offered a proof text in regard to something King David did as justification that - for the sake of life - it was OK to publicly violate the law). This scripture is again something most people overlook in regards to its significance. Jesus was definitely trying to get people away from living under the law and moving them to living a life of faith and trust (note the contrast). Again, even the book of Acts reflect this debate when the Apostles are wrestling with the issue of the law. In a letter they write to the churches they mention - literally - only a handful of things a Christian “should” do, and they should do them - not for salvation’s sake - but so that they - as Christians - should “do well” (VERSE NEEDED)(and if you read 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 some of these things directly relate to other peoples consciences). So brethren, we as Christians still need to be mindful of other peoples conscience’s especially in regards to this issue. If a person we “are with” starts asking questions about our intent, it’s best to be considerate, back off and talk the situation over. However brethren there is nothing wrong with living a private life that on the surface may seem hypocritically (and even at odds with ones public life), but in actuality is just considerate of other peoples consciences. Since people are at differing levels in their understanding of things and we don’t want to cause other people to stumble it‘s more than understandable. Again, consideration of where others are at is something one may want to consider when dealing with this issue especially since it concerns other peoples private behavior. Thus it may be best to keep all maters in regards to this issue private (and if you have to “condemn it” in a blanket way, think about condemning it in the terms of what has been mentioned in the guidelines of this appendix. Don’t just condemn it totally for that would be hypocritical (if you feel different on the issue), but if one has to deal with it publicly (and you feel different about where people are coming from) just talk about (or ask) why it is frowned upon in scripture [again think of the basic guidelines in this appendix or - if bold enough - and it looks like the person (or people) are relatively mature - ask what the difference is between life on this side of eternity and the other side in regards to this issue and let the people themselves think about and possibly answer the question and then possibly talk about people following basic rules of consideration in their lives (which in actuality is the real problem)]. However it also might be best - if the issue is raised publicly - because of the different levels conscience in regards to this issue - that unless you are able to discern where people ‘are at’ in regards to this, to not address the issue at all or to ask the person who asked the question to speak with you afterward in private (Also see Appendix K and O in regards to this issue). E:6) “will lead to something better” there can be and is a degree of relativity here (that is relative to the individual), particularly if an individual sees ‘acts done’ as something that manifests itself in an upwardly progressive sense. However even though this is so one should not view others (nor themselves) as objects, nor should one view people as a means to an ends (that is using people). Even in such borderline cases as 1 Kings 1:1-4 permission seems to have been given and seems to have been given to a point. Again, people are people, not objects or things. There is such a thing as respect for others and dignity in regards to ourselves. At the minimum these types of relationships have as their objective a ‘close friendship.’ Brothers and sisters, sharing intimate things with one another and being intimate will most likely lead to that - if not more. E:7) Brothers and sisters in regards to being prepared for change I want to point out that if one party should get hurt because they expected that this type of relationship would lead to something more permanent - it’s not necessarily the fault of the other person. Quite honestly if this is what one party expects it would probably be wise to say something up front about their desires so that no one get hurt (for this is not necessarily what these relationships are about). It could be something as vague as “someday I’d like to get married” or “I’d like to be a husband or a wife to someone someday,” and see what kind of response you get [and brothers and sisters if you read Appendix F becoming someone’s husband or wife is not as hard as it used to be for almost any person who wants a husband / wife relationship can have one. (However they may have to consider non-traditional options for their life, but the new relationship would recognized by God as legitimate)]. The different options make it easier all around. E:8) Also, questions concerning unprotected sex may be a legitimate question for some spouses to ask if they are concerned about the “other person” not having been “cautious” in their choice of previous partners (if applicable) or the possibility of a spouse not considering the impact of (new) children in the original relationship. Again, we are talking about unprotected sex. “Being Cautious” is a tough area for couples to address because you are dealing with faith and trust in peoples wisdom, and faith and trust also happens to be the basis of the new relationship. (In other words if a married person is unsure about the “new persons” previous wisdom in regards to this issue, and has unprotected sex with them - and then goes ahead and has unprotected sex with their own spouse - they may be at risk of putting their spouses health on the line). Brethren, if one spouse happens to be unsure enough to request a test of the new person in the relationship before the one they themselves are in relationship with has unprotected sex with them everyone should not be insulted and realize that that is where that person is at, and unless God says no this is ridiculous, go for a test. Once again this is a sensitive area because you are dealing with issues of faith and trust, but there is not much one can do other than put peoples fears at ease. E:9) Permanent in the sense that the relationship may be lifelong (with no financial attachments or living arrangements), or could move to ‘lifelong’ in the sense of both permanent financial attachments and / or living or semi-living arrangements - all of which of course would be personal decisions. (There is more written about those possibilities in Appendix F). However brethren let me stress that the relationships mentioned in Appendix F are quite different than the one mentioned in this appendix for in regards to this appendix both sexes will not be able to call the other one a spouse (that is: a wife or a husband), neither are they married [which is a term that revolves around the estate (See Appendix F)] and the issue of living arrangements as well as the issue of provision (or financial obligation), here is questionable [but once again personal decisions, for example in regards to this appendix and the issue of finances, a man who has a mistress (which classically defined is a single woman without much subsistence) may desire to provide for needs]. Also, the relationships mentioned here - while not necessarily so - are more likely to be kept private (that is not publicly displayed among the already married) then the relationships mentioned in Appendix F (which would most likely NOT be kept private at all), the reason being because this is in many ways a ‘maturity of conscience’ issue. Also the relationships mentioned here have more of a tendency, because of what they are, to flow with the flow of life for their existence then the other relationships. Not that there isn’t life in those relationships and not that someone is always on the hunt or prowl in these, but these types of relationships are open for change and openness leaves ‘room to flow’ and explore opportunities. Also, in regards to relationships that involve marriage or where spouses are called husbands and wives, if you follow the different types of arrangements mentioned in Appendix F (“A”, “B” , “C” ), even though the relationships mentioned here could move towards those types of arrangements [or visa verse, which for the sake of clarity could - in their milder form - be called “N” (or “AND”) relationships meaning ‘in addition to’ the main relationship], the relationships mentioned in this Appendix are in their own separate category (“D” if you will, which mean truly independent relationships - which all these relationships (“A” , “B” , “C” and “N”) could move towards), and are viewed as such [and by the way, the lettering on the different types of relationships mentioned in Appendix F (and this footnote), have no bearing on order or quality. For some a different or even an inverse ordering may actually be the order or quality of life they prefer, especially as they mature. There is no inferiority or superiority to any of these relationships (it really depends on where people are at). Also sisters and brothers, the descriptions of the different types of arrangements between men and women are not set in stone, for example there are many similarities between “D” and “N” relationships and depending of where people are ‘at it’ in their degree and understanding of things it may be difficult for an outside observer to tell them apart. Also there can be overlaps in the arrangements in regards to issues of provision and living arrangements in “A”, “B” and “C” relationships. For example a woman who agrees to provide for her own needs “C” can receive financial support on occasion, or if she needs it, or whatever may be the case. Also, a woman who is dependent on the estate “B” may desire to have a career, or while receiving finances for her own support - since she has no rights over the estate (and neither is she a partner), - work to save money for other reasons etc.] (again see Appendix F for more on these types of relationships). E:10) Even though this may be so in regards to homosexual vs. heterosexual acts to say that God doesn’t have a preference in this area is ridiculous for parts of each genders anatomy’s are obviously made to go certain places, however to say that intent cannot influence homosexual decisions here is also ridiculous. E:11) In regards to legislation regulating (or forbidding) this activity, biblically speaking this is not a legislation type of issue. Without getting into all the issues outlined in Appendix D, even if - for the sake of argument - those who disapprove of homosexuality outlawed it, the idea that unredeemed people can follow any law of God (at least in their heart) is… well I’ll let scripture speak on the issue… “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God., for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:7) The real issue for those who may desire to go the legislation route in regards to this issue (if that is where you are coming from) is to get people saved (or redeemed) so they are able to follow God’s ways (that is whichever way the Spirit of God is leading) and not follow the ways that are contrary. People (whose minds are not set on the things of the Spirit) are not able to follow anything in regards to any biblical law, for again you are dealing with an issue of heart and mind (again if that is where you are coming from in regards to this matter) and according to Christianity hearts and minds are dealt with by preaching the gospel. Brethren, “legislating morality” did not work on a society which not only had all the biblical laws and was also under them (read the old testament, and when it did work it did not work for very long). Brethren getting people into the new covenant with the promise of a new heart and mind is the direction one should go in regards any “morality” issue. At best law just suppresses activity (which is not necessarily bad), but the desire for the unredeemed to break law (including civil law which may in fact parallel biblical law) is still there (and without getting into a whole bunch of things about rules and regulations in regards to living the Christian life, even in this appendix we deal with some “basic guidelines” (or rules) that should probably be in place to regulate activity between the genders (Respect, dignity etc.). Brethren, there is nothing necessarily bad about following some basic guidelines for your life (unless of course, for the sake of argument the Spirit of God overrides them). Following the Spirit of God is always the preferable way to live, however there are some good fallback positions in scripture - if we have questions about things. E:12) In regards to the issue of homosexual marriage…basically you are dealing with semantics here for a covenant is a covenant. The real issue is in regards to the use of the term “marriage” to define the covenant. First let me say that people can make covenant with each other regardless of sexual preference. Second the use of the term ‘marriage’ is a societal term which has been traditional used to define an covenant between a man and a woman. There is not much one can do in regards to how society at large uses words. People who view the term marriage to define homosexual covenants are probably not going to convince people who use it to define heterosexual covenants, therefore it’s really more of a question (for homosexuals) as to whether government will recognize their use of the term to define their relationship (along with the full rights and benefits assigned to that term). In societies where majority rule is rule of the day it’s up to the majority and it’s as simple as that. Most governments who deal with the issue seem to take a middle ground here and recognize homosexual covenants as domestic partnerships that have the same rights as heterosexual covenants (and by the way you don’t have to be homosexual to have a domestic partnership). However some civil governments do use the term ‘marriage’ in regards to these relationships. In regards to the biblical use of the term “marriage,” biblically it’s used in the traditional sense (that is a term that defines a covenant between a man and a woman). If one were to look at the word “covenant” in regards to how Jonathan and David used the word, and did a study on it, you will probably find the same word used somewhere in scripture to describe a covenant between a man and a woman (and then might possible make a case for the use of the word outside the traditional marriage sense in regards to other intimate relationships like Jonathan and David etc.). However, since society defines terms by their usage, it may be a stretch to think that such a use - even after biblical “approved” - would be accepted or even approved at large by a society who has been used to seeing the term used in another way for thousands of years. Therefore in regards to this issue it’s probably best to focus on getting domestic partnerships recognize with the full rights and benefits of marriage rather than waste time and energy trying to get society to redefine a word that again has been both used and defined in another way for quite some time. Appendix F Footnotes F:1) Although the definition of marriage is taking on a new legal meaning (to include homosexual unions) in some parts of the world , I am mostly approaching things from a biblical perspective in this book. If you read footnote E:10 you will see that it may be possible to find an argument in scripture in regards to the etomology of the word “covenant” that would include non-heterosexual unions (in other words the same word, or root of the word that is used to describe the covenant that Jonathan and David made (berith? sp) , is the same word (or has the same root word) which is used to describe heterosexual marriage covenants in scripture. Even though this may be the case, in regards to this appendix I am using the word marriage in the traditional sense. F:2) Biblically speaking concubines (an old term for a non-estate controlling wife, see “Summary of Roles“ later in this appendix) are viewed as wives (compare 2 Samuel 12:11 and 2 Samuel 16:21,22); but they are not full wives [that is they do not have full rights over the estate (see Abraham married a concubine {that is a non-full wife, see “Summary of Terms and Roles” later in this appendix} after Sarah departed (compare Genesis 25:1 with 1 Chronicles 1:32)]. Also see that when Abraham split up his estate, the son of his full wife (Sarah) received the inheritance and the children of the concubines (that is the non-full wives in the estate) received gifts (Genesis 25:5,6). Biblically speaking (and this is from God’s perspective too) all women whom are in an exclusive covenanted relationship with a man are called wives. The question as far as their man made “title” goes (that is if they are “full” wives or “partial” / “minor” wives) are titles again reflect their controlling interest in the estate and are titles which I would not use publicly (for it‘s nobodies business), nor would I view them as inferior. F:3) Again see Abraham married a concubine (that is a non-full wife, see the definition of terms below) after Sarah departed (compare Genesis 25:1 with 1 Chronicles 1:32)]. Also see that when Abraham split up his estate, the son of his full wife (Sarah) received the inheritance and the children of the concubines (non-full wives) received gifts (Genesis 25:5,6) F:4) However, it still may be legally possible (form the civil legal perspective of today) for a woman who was not married (or a partner in the estate) if the relationship ends badly and she can demonstrate she was dependent on the estate - to collect alimony of some sort - if she could make a good case for it. Also, from a civil legal perspective a child that results from an unmarried (dependent) relationship may have some rights in regards to the disposition of an estate, however all children that result from dependent relationships have rights for support from the estate as they grow (See 4:C in the later section on “Summary of Roles” for an agreed on exception to this). F:5) To put it simply… if a man came up to you with his three (different types) of wives, he would be married to one and the other two he would not be. One (the married one), would be full partner in the estate, one - other wife would be dependent on the estate (or a beneficiary), and the other one would be related to, but have no part in the estate (that is she’s not dependent on the estate, she’s independent of the estate, she has no legal part in or of the estate, she’s an independent woman). That’s pretty much it. [and of course the man, being a gentleman, and the women being ladies would not say anything publicly about the one another’s (that is the ladies) status - unless of course permission had been granted. Proper society and etiquette dictate such things (not that there is anything wrong with any of these positions, it‘s just that… well you know the way some are]. F:6) However, if children result from this relationship such an event can effect the estate (if the agreement or understanding should fall apart). Therefore it might be wise for a man to consult ones wife (or wives) before going ahead with this arrangement. Also, from a non-biblical civil legal perspective a child that results from an unmarried relationship, even though the parents agreed on ahead of time for the wife to support the child(en) as they grow, in regards to the disposition of the estate, if the child does not agree with the pre arranged agreement that the parents made in regards to inheritance they may have some legal rights in regards to the disposition of an estate (consult an attorney, local laws and particularly the precedents that have been set in regards to this issue - if this is of concern). Appendix G Footnotes G:1) In regards to biblical law in the old covenant - unless you were dealing with an accident - things were pretty set in regards to punishment (or compensation). The old covenant world was pretty much a black and white society with black and white issues (eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth). In regards to today’s civil law it’s usually the police and prosecutors that see life in black and white. The (new covenant) grace and shades of meaning are found in the defense attorneys, judges and juries that bring out the hidden things of an act in question (or mitigating circumstances). If there are any “if’s ands or buts” they would be found more so under the new covenant than the old (which contained laws that were extremely harsh and unforgiving). Brethren, unless you are dealing with a “riot act” situation (where restoring order and the need to set quick examples is preeminent), you want to be careful about bringing some of those laws (and attitude) into a civil society of today (See Appendix D for more on this). G:2) You commonly see this in a court of law where the bailiff puts a witness ‘under oath‘ and makes them “swear” to tell the truth. When this is done one is basically vowing (or taking a vow) that says you will tell the truth on the particular matter (and as a side point, for those who take the biblical injunction seriously not to swear, there is another option which the court can administer, which is called the affirmation… “do you affirm to tell the truth”). G:3) I think there is an implicit understanding that if one lies under oath it is a serious offence and deserves to be punished. When one swears to tell the truth (or takes a vow) they are moving their word up a notch and with that everything else, they are functioning on another level. G:4) In the book of James he mentions a lot of things but in the very last chapter he says “But above all my brethren, (that is above all the things I wrote about), do not swear, either by heaven or earth, or with any other oath, but let you yes be yes and your no, no; so that you will not fall under judgment.” (James 5:12). Sisters and brothers, to move ones word up a notch is not necessarily in ones best interest - if one happens not to follow through [at the very least you prove your word not to be true, and since most people have not reached perfection on this side of eternity - which includes the foresight to see in advance (that is what’s coming down the road) - the possibility of you not following through with your word is very real]. Therefore it’s best (in regards to just normal everyday human interaction) to keep things on a normal level That is let your yes be yes and no be no). G:5) In regards to a court of law I’m not sure there is any difference between a Christian vowing to tell the truth on a matter vs. a Christian affirming to tell the truth. The only concern I have is in regards to the issue of “the whole truth” which is the reason for keeping things on the affirmation level. If a person who swore (or took a vow) to tell the whole truth were to innocently omit something (or not be allowed to finish) there might be a problem because they took a vow to tell the whole truth (and for them everything was moved up a notch when that happened). However if one affirms to tell the whole truth (and one innocently omits something or is not allowed to finish) the seriousness of the offence - in regards to the level of functioning and consequences - is not as great [However I do want to say that if one affirms to tell the truth (that is to keep things on a normal level of functioning) it is not an excuse to lie - especially in a court of law, for a lie is still a lie, and judges will still punish people who lie (or perjurer themselves), regardless of whether they vowed or affirmed to tell the truth]. Also if a Christian were to be a witness in regards to something and a bailiff were to come over with a bible and ask you to put your hand on it and repeat after me “do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” the proper response would be no, and then explain for religious reasons that you would rather take the affirmation “oath” and have them repeat it in its proper form. Also, I’m not so sure about putting your hand on the bible (I think you are allowed to, or should be allowed to not to). On the surface it just seems like another way (aside from swearing) of “upping“ your word a notch. For formalities sake maybe one can raise their right hand during the affirmation [for you are officially saying that you are giving your word on the matter in question and an “open hand” - in body language talk - does mean that you are not hiding anything] but ones word should be enough. G:6) In regards to being joined together by ones word, this is not to say that just because (modern day Christian’s) are (or should be) married on the basis of ones word only - that they are not correctly married or linked together. Brothers and sisters, if you see the words you exchange as promises, not vows, you are still linked together and the marriage ceremony will still stand as it is. What changes would be the understanding that one is not taking binding, irrevocable vows (or exchanging wedding vows), but are exchanging words on the level of promises (or pledges) to each other (that is “wedding promises”). Therefore, because of this the implication in regards to marriage is that because you are dealing with a “Yes, yes” situation (again promises), the marital linking would not be as strong as it would be if you vowed (which again is in the same league as swearing or taking an oath). It’s just not on the same level as an oath. Therefore if - for the sake of argument now - one wanted to alter their marriage covenant (the title of this appendix), or wanted to do even more (end it), it would not be as bad of a thing as if one vowed to uphold what was said and did not follow through. Now brothers and sisters, this is not to minimize the concept of marriage (and there is another side to this, for example learning patience by persevering through life together no matter what, being committed etc, but these things can be learn outside of marriage too) However in regards to a commitment based on vows, and the issue raised by Jesus not to make them, this does have implications in regards to marriage). Therefore brethren, it’s helpful - before one gets married - to realize what is going on here in case you have to deal with a situation of “changed circumstances” in the future. [In other words breaking your word (which hopefully would be mutually agreed on) is a much lesser infraction than breaking a vow]. However for Christians who have already vowed and face life changing situations (which are personal situations) should also realize something, and that is we are not under law anymore [and that includes all those laws concerning vows], also they too should think about Jesus admonition not to have added anything (vows), to ones word (for it is evil). Therefore as a result if their marital situation were to change [a new spouse is on the horizon, again a personal reason - (which are not subject to outside opinion) - and once again, a life changing situation], it would therefore be an option for the original couple to just] 1) Repent of their old situation (that is: the vows - if their circumstances were to change). Just confess to God that you have sinned in making them. 2) Forget about all those rules and regulations governing the use of vows under the old covenant (some of which are mentioned in this appendix), for once again we are not under the law anymore and that includes the laws of vows (chapter). Also in regards to the implications of vowing - and not following through - brethren, because it was not a correct thing to do to begin with (“evil” according to Jesus), it (evil) can be repented over. Therefore, once again, repent. 3) and move on, and if you get married in the future - remember to pledge (or promise), not vow. (and make sure the preacher does not use the word “vows“ or say the anything about exchanging vows. Ask him to use the word “promises” in it’s place. However even though it’s on a lesser level than a vow a promise still strong enough to make a marriage last). Brothers and sisters, once again we are not under law anymore and once again that includes the law of vows. G:7) In regards to personal issues when dealing with complex things where things are intermingled between people - such as marriage - unless God says different - it’s probably best to mutually agree on altering a marriage covenant before one does it. Peoples lives can be so intertwined and interdependent on one another that any alteration without talking it over first can be destructive (Genesis 44:30). Therefore if the “flow of life” is leading one party to see things differently in regards to their relationship - if God is behind it, it should be something that is seen, or will eventually be seen by both parties (especially if they are jointly seeking God on the matter). Brethren, when dealing with these “flow of life” issues, if they are individual issues that only effect the individual, alteration of ones lifestyle is not a problem, but when they effect others (such as altering a prearranged marriage covenant), the responsibility for ones actions (as well as the actions outcome) becomes much more weighty and it would be best to exercise caution. Brothers and sisters, if God at this time is leading you in the direction of altering a marriage covenant, seek the Lords leading on how to bring about this new “flow of life.” Once again, if God is behind it, it should be something that is seen, or will be seen by both parties and it may just be a matter of patience and prayer before it actually comes about. Brethren, mutually agreeing on major decisions that were prearranged (unless God says different) is pretty much common sense (and you don‘t have to be religious to see that either). G: 8) This is one of the reasons you have judges because there is such a things a mitigating circumstances that explain violation of law and therefore a person - if they have a good excuse - can be released from the consequences of violating it. Again, life does not fit neatly into every circumstance that comes it’s way. There are probably tens of thousands civil laws (and codes) on the books today (and more will continue to be added as time goes on). There comes a point in this whole thing where you can sum them all up in the “law” of consideration or loving your neighbor as yourself [in other words would you want this thing (or risk taken in regards to codes) done to you or someone you love? If not, and you went ahead with it then you probably did not take the best course of action in the matter]. Brothers and sisters if you are considerate of one another there is a lot of latitude in regards to how you can live your lives. G:9) Brothers and sisters, one of the things I find in common in the first four points in this section concerns grace. Even though the Nation of Israel was under law (and certain things were set), there was grace especially in regards to vows. Why should the new covenant be any different? “For of His fullness (Jesus) we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized (fully) through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:16,17) As gracious as the old covenant could be in regards to things, there were still more than enough things written there that in effect put people under bondage (in other words it was hard for them to move around freely). Jesus came with the fullness of grace (that is the grace necessary for believers to live a full and free life). Brothers and sisters we are not under law anymore but under grace. In regards to whether one can graciously change a marriage covenant, of course you can. Still not convinced? lets go to the New Testament (or covenant) and see what it has to say on the subject. [But before I leave this section, I like to mention something here about the tree of life vs. tree of knowledge of good and evil, as it relates directly to the above point (s). There were two trees in the garden of Eden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (it was not the tree of life vs. the tree of death, but the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or right and wrong). Brothers and sisters, not flowing with the flow of life but being concerned about “right” and “wrong” does not lead to life, but something else. Be wary of discussions that revolve around the right and wrong thing to do in a situation, and not the “life” thing to do]. However this is not to say that one should not exercise caution (Again see footnote G:7). (G:10) Again the point in this section is this, Covenants are not rock solid and can be changed. The old idea of just getting someone up to the altar and things will be set forever and ever is not necessarily true. Again according to God’s definition of a covenant (not mans definition of a covenant), things can be altered and added to them (without the permission of the other party, but see footnote G:7 on this), and if God could add something to a covenant why can’t man? Especially if it’s mutually agreed upon. Brethren, in regards to adding something to a marriage covenant (that is altering it), whether it’s a big something or a small something what is the difference? Especially if you heard from God to do so [in other words following the leading of the Spirit (Romans 7:6) and remember God can add things to covenants. He even added people to His - the Gentiles (Romans 11:17, 24)]. Also remember, since we are not under law anymore (See Romans 7:1,2, 6 in regards to marriage law, which includes those law of vows (VERSES NEEDED), and as a result are to follow the newness of the Spirit, what is the problem? WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? Brethren, what may still be the problem with some people is that there are “rules” and “regulations” that regulate behavior (like in the previous example of a house full of adults, even though they are simple rules e.g. consideration, they are still rules) and people may feel that there are more rules than these. Like I said, there is no problem making the argument that a covenant can’t be adjusted on the basis of mutual consent. It can. We are not under the vow thing anymore, vows are to be repented of and promises - as best as one sees them at the time - are to take their place (let your ‘Yes be yes’ and quite honestly you can make the argument that the promises only extend for the day (James 4;13-17). Also, there is little argument that a covenant can’t be ended on the basis on some form of unbelief (which is a form of disobedience). It can be ended (again see the unbeliever argument in 1 Corinthians 7:15). The major problem (aside from the concern that there are other rules out there to follow - which by the way are pretty much dealt with in Appendix D), if there still is a problem comes in when one party want’s to change a marriage covenant and the other party does not want to , or people - in Christian circles - being concerned about public testimony issues (like what problem is there that God can‘t overcome?). A lot of these issues can be resolved in listening to a still speaking God. Brothers and sisters there are so many possibilities out there of possible problems as well to possibilities of degree’s of problems that it’s really hard in this section to deal with these issues except in the broadest possible strokes. I think if you prayerfully approach this section and read it slowly - with the issues that concern you in the back of your mind - God will give you insight into what He wants you to do. G:11) This is the central area of debate of any book, course or discussion of ethics and that is when (or at what point), does life (or life issues) override obedience of law, or do they ever? All sorts of things come in to play [an individuals relativity to the issue at hand as well as their maturity of conscience (Appendix O); in regards to the issue of society’s at large violation of law the violation’s net effect (or benefit gained) by the violation of law would be discussed; also what is at stake]. What usually happens in the discussion is a hypothetical argument is put forth (which has nothing to do with quality of life issues), where someone (or someone’s) is either forced to violate the law or not live. For the individual where they are at in regards to relativity and conscience is where they will end up [Also, in regards to an individuals violation of law, even though you can get pretty close to the line in regards to some issues (2 Kings 5:17-19), this is not to say that there aren’t absolute either [(Daniel 3:1-30; 6:12-17; Revelation 14:9 - 11). See Appendix D for more on this]. Some people may opt to not violate the law and trust that God will deliver them. In regards to society (which usually contains people at all levels of conscience), most will not bend to law, but cave in and the public violation of law will usually happen (or the law will be annulled, or amended first then violated) and life will usually go on [but if the law which was annulled was beneficial, and put there for a reason, the annulling or amending of it will almost always come back to haunt that society] Brethren, “between life and law” can be between rock and hard place issues. Sometimes wrong decisions can be made - especially if the taking of innocent life, for the sake of saving of ones own life is on the table (it’s better for one man to perish that the nation should live (VERSE NEEDED)). However in regards to the blood shed when Israel entered the promised land see Genesis 15:16 in regards to guilt (also see (VERSE NEEDED) ‘until there was no remedy’ in regards to Gods attitude about these kinds of issues). However in regards to overall violation of law right decisions can be made as well (again Matthew 12). Sisters and brothers, because we are living in a state of flux in regards to things and are maturing as well, it is imperative to have an ongoing relationship with the living God who can guide us through the tough areas of our lives. We are not to have a relationship with a rule book, and in regards to individual life choices should - as we grow - be weighted more towards going with the flow of life (that is what causes life to prosper), rather than getting up each morning and consciously or unconsciously examining the rules and regulations of what one should do or follow. There is nothing wrong with basic parameters to ones life but the emphasis should be on life (the tree of life), not right and wrong per say (that is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Children need a lot of rules, adults do not. G:12) In regards to the issue of not being under the law (and thus being open to extremely wild possibilities). In regards to this philosophical definition of freedom. The only truly free beings out there brothers and sisters are the spirits we really don‘t want to talk about. They don’t listen to anybody [and one can also argue that because they are part of Satan’s kingdom they are not as free as they may think, and because God is in control of everything - even now as I write they are on a leash and can only go so far (Jesus statement to Peter (VERSE NEEDED)…Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat). It’s one thing to talk about freedom (in a pipe dream sense) but we - as Christians - are not so free, we ultimately listen to God, who happens to flow with the flow of life (the flow of life being the subject where believers can legitimately disagree, because it can be relative, however the flow always goes in the direction of Gods very best and His highest). God has set us free so that we are able to do the correct thing in our lives (and not in the bondage rut of always doing the self defeating thing). Brothers and sisters, in regards to the law, it’s one thing to speak about not being under the law and to think about all kinds of possibilities, but unless God leads different (or the flow of life says different), most people have to deal with practical day to day issues. To flow with the flow of life usually - not always - but usually means some kind of responsibilities [Jesus had no home for 3 years, moved with the wind, as well as the flow of life, but was listening to the Father at the same time. He could only do what He saw the Father do ((VERSE NEEDED)) Also since we have the life of the risen Christ within, and we are going to go in the same direction, our life is going to have (or will have) has some basic parameters as we mature]. Now granted there are levels of faith and there are people who even today move with the wind (look at some of the apostles and prophets of old) and I’m sure you don’t have to be an apostle or prophet to do so (and it is very possible to live life with marginal responsibilities if you wish). However, you may want to ask yourself - since life is a journey - and I assume you are looking for another partner of some type (or else you would have probably not read this far), do you have the faith for that particular thing your thinking right now? Faith that overcomes everything (law, immature conscience etc). Brethren, I have the feeling that because I knocked down the concept of law in regards to marriage I’ve opened up people to other possibilities for their lives (particularly since we are not under law), and if you want to approach life from the “just living for the moment” perspective, that’s fine, but it does require a lot of faith in regards to relationships particularly in regards to younger women who may have to live with the consequences of their decision (children). Now I’m not saying that there aren’t levels, there are, but given the fact that people are on differing levels of faith and understanding I would expect a multitude of different answers - if I actually asked the readers of these pages what lifestyle they have the faith for? The answer to that question is indeed relative to the individual, and up to people to decide what they have the faith for, as well as what’s the best way for them to live their lives (but at the same time leaving the door open for change. If there is one constant in the world that seems to be it - change. Where you are at today may not be where you are at tomorrow). Brethren, we are not going to settle relative kind of issues on these pages (actually on any pages). At the end of the day you have to live your life as you see fit, however to pause and reflect on things as far as where you are going, as well as a little honest self examination every once in a while (which includes not lying to oneself about things) is indeed productive for life as well as life related issues. Remember there are basic parameters to life (reread the summary of Appendix D) G:13) Brothers and sisters, most illustrations at one point or another break down and this is the case here in regards to baseball. If you study philosophy the only perfect example of anything is the thing itself. Everything you compare the “thing” too eventually fails because the is only an example or type of the thing and not the actual object (As Isaiah said of God… ‘to what will you compare Me?’ Every illustrations of the trinity eventually fails at some point). And as a side point. in regards to baseball not being a perfect example, if you know sports, maybe you can think of another sporting event where - on the minor (beginning) level - there are many rules, but on the major (professional) level there are few (and the major level is progressive and free flowing sort of game), however even thought the rules change between major and minor leagues, the basic principles of both league teams stay the same (love, respect, consideration etc). Also it would be a sport where the basic principles are the boundaries for the game to stay within - unless the umpire (God) says different, and the reasons for some rules (on the beginning level) had to do with the disobedience of the students. Brothers and sisters, there may be no such game (again only the “thing“ itself is the perfect example), but as for now baseball is the best illustration I can come up with. If you want maybe some kind of gladiator event where disobedient citizens (children) were put in gladiator school (under a whole bunch of rules and regulations) until they matured (adults) and then taught to fight the fight or live - within certain parameters… unless Caesar (God) - with a thumbs up or down - said different. Maybe some form of civil gladiator baseball? (For a review of some adult parameters to live by see the section in Appendix E titled “Just Some General Guidelines” that regulate mature relationships) G:14) That is as best as you can honestly see it before God, and if you want rewrite them as you would like them to be. Brothers and sisters, I’m a big fan of talking things out. If you are married and have reached the point of where your understanding of your relationship has changed, talk things over regarding the new parameters of your lives (especially if it is looser than taking on another spouse Appendix E). In regards to marriage today brethren, people write out their vows all the time, however in regards to us, since we are dealing with things on the level of promises we - if getting married (or taking on another spouse) don‘t write out vows (or repeat them), but if we write out anything we write out (or repeat) promises. Brethren, in regards to all these things, unless you have the kind of relationship where you don’t need to talk things out it might be beneficial to air things out in regards to all these issues before you go forward - so that there would be no misunderstandings. Also, because you have factored in a new way of looking at things (the flow of life), and especially if you happen to be moving towards a more looser relationship than bringing in another spouse, try to remember that because of the way life is, you are only both seeing things (or stating things) as best as you can see it at this time. Things could still change in regards to these issues especially as one matures (and everyone needs to be aware of that). G:15) An example of a mistake in regards to a vow would be something along the lines of the current head of the Catholic Church - Joseph Ratzenger(sp?) as a youth taking the Nazi oath. Granted that at the time every able body male took a some kind of oath (or may have been forced to) in regards to that regime so it may be difficult to find people that would condemn him. However, if for the sake of argument - as a youth he became aware of what he had gotten himself into and wanted to recant that vow and fight against the regime few would condemn his doing so. For those who would find fault, I think even they would allow for him drag his feet in fulfilling it and cause as much trouble as he could (so even then you have an example of an oath not being completely fulfilled, at least the spirit of the oath would be violated, if not the letter). Brothers and sisters, vows can be tough issues if one does not see them as something that can be repented of (in regards to the Catholic church and the vocations I think there are degrees of vows they take during their training with the final vow taken before acceptance into the order, and even then, after all that, I as a former Roman Catholic, have seen nuns and priests leave - but that‘s the Catholic Church for you which can be very inconsistent in regards to vows (see their views on remarriage. No if’s and’s or but’s there, and the only hope is to get the marriage annulled - which means it didn’t happen). Brethren, in regards to the issue at hand, ones marriage covenant, unless you really feel that you made a mistake I would not use that word (for one, if you have children they will be heartbroken). Brothers and sisters, with the knowledge - and options - you had at the time you made the best decision that you could (and if you really thought it was a mistake you probably would not have gone through with it). Appendix H Footnotes H:1) Brethren, when you study the scriptures you will find that listening to a still speaking God is preeminent over all views and many of the laws in the scriptures (see Appendix D for more on this and consider the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son) ), and doing that and following through with what God wants you to do is the thing that makes one set apart for God’s purposes in our experience. Brethren, there is noting we can do in regards to our positional holiness before God. That was accomplished at the cross, however the way in which that holiness plays itself out, or unfolds is in part determined by our cooperation with the leading of the Spirit of God within. Our obedience to His leading confirms our holiness (Adam, if he obeyed, would have been confirmed in his holiness and thus set apart for God purposes). So it is with us. H:2) Although the following examples are not the complete case here (for in regards to the prophets they were told why they were doing what they were to do) you will find them in the old covenant being asked by God to do things outside the law in order to make a point about something (for example Ezekiel laying nude on his side to illustrate what is going to happen during the seizure of Jerusalem ((VERSE NEEDED)). In regards to question 10 in the previous section “Does, will or would God ever want us to violate the law?” hypothetically he could ask us to violate all the laws to make a point, and He could hypothetically ask us to do questionable things to bring something about something good as well (Abraham and Isaac), but since we are not under law (or form) anymore and are to follow - as in the previous examples - the leading of God, we need to be prepared to be led to places (or in areas) whose end may not be at first apparent which may violate law. Brethren, God may tell us the why of things (like Ezekiel) or He may not [as with Abraham. Abraham came to the conclusion that God was going to raise the dead ((VERSE NEEDED)), God didn’t tell him, he just figured it out. That is what God wanted to see how much faith He had in God to do the impossible - that is raise the dead, and how much faith did He actually have in God’s promise concerning Isaac. Abraham‘s belief in God promise led him to finding out something about God‘s ability that may not have been apparent to him at first] Brethren, since we are not under law anymore (Appendix D), and are to live a life of faith and trust, who knows where that could lead. To look at life as something that will follow known form (or law) is not necessarily true and even if it did God could ask us to go outside the box (of law) at any time (Matthew 12:8 “for the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath” in other words He can override law). And even though I doubt very much that God would ever ask anyone to do what Abraham did again (there was a reason behind it, and remember He did not allow Abraham to follow through), where God is leading us as individuals may not be at first apparent to us (as in following known form in the law), therefore it is imperative - especially since we are not under the law - to not spend time majoring in what the law says, but spend time learning to hear and listen to the voice of God. Sure where God may lead us may follow known law (Appendix D), but it may not (as in the previous examples) therefore learning to listen and follow through with an attitude of trust that wherever He is leading us is for His glory and our best is a good attitude to have. H:3) Brethren, as mentioned in Appendix D the preferable way to live ones life is following a still speaking God (that is living your life according to fresh revelation daily). However even though this is the case (and we are not under the law anymore), if you read Appendix D there are still principles we can derive from these law and in absence of any other kind of leading there is nothing wrong with looking at them in regards to the issue of how love plays itself out in regards to the brethren (and God). (Reread Appendix D if you have questions about this). H:4) Brethren, I‘ve been saved for over 30 years and still go back and forth about some things. Appendix I Footnotes I:1) Another controversial teaching is one concerning what may be called an apex of Christianity (or the apex of a Christian’s walk and testimony) and that is, there will come - at the end of the age - an end time company of overcoming believers who will not only overcome everything (the mature man teaching) but will also arise at such a place - in their spirit - that they will actually be able to effect the standing of demonic strongholds in the heavenlies [in other words cast them down, at least accusationally for that is mostly what they do (VERSE NEEDED) their main weapon being lies]. They fully believe God concerning all His promises and not only talk the talk but walk the walk in full and complete victory - and more (Personally I like the idea) Think about this verse as well as some similar ones found in scripture “Blessed be the God and Father of out Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) “The he (an angel) said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, form the first day (1) that you set your heart on understanding this (2) and on humbling yourself before your God (see verses 10:2,3), your words were heard, and I have come in your response to your words (in other words prayer had an effect in the heavenlies), but the prince of the kingdom of Persia (a demonic entity who was also stirred up by what Daniel was doing) was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael (the arch Angel), one of the chief princes, came to help me…. But now I shall return to fight against the prince of Persia, so I am going forth, and behold the prince of Greece (whose kingdom is about to be prophesied against in the next chapter (Daniel 11:3,4), is about to come.”(Daniel 10:12,13, 20) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5) Brothers and sisters, some of our prayers may be in regards to blessing, but we need to press through and fight the fight to get them. This is exactly what the children of Israel DID NOT EXPECT when they were about to enter the land [and that is they needed to deal with the giants and the enemies before they could enter into everything (that is every blessing) the land contained) Again See Sustaining Revival footnote 6:8. I:2) In regards to the name Latter Rain… did they correctly interpret scripture? Personally I have no problem with the name (Latter Rain) to help identify the move and I‘m not sure who named it - however if there was or is to be a final outpouring I think it began around 50 years earlier (and you may be able to argue for a 20 year earlier than that date) at the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement. During this time period their were multiple ‘breaking outs‘ of the Spirit of God throughout the world, the most famous in the Americas being Azusza Street in California around 1906 with John Seymour (Sp?)) Again, I’m not sure who gave the movement the name and why they broke (and they did initially break) from what many would view as the beginnings of a final outpouring and separated themselves from it (which would have been around 50 years earlier after the holiness movement) but I did here that there were problems over power authority and acceptance of the visitation by the Assemblies of God (if my memory serves me correctly they themselves were - at the time of visitation - part of the Assemblies of God). And by the way, in regards to the idea that God is on the move restoring things, most protestants will say similarly that God was ‘on the move’ or ‘restoring things’ 500 years earlier during the reformation of Luther and Calvin, but when it comes to the idea that God is still on the move or restoring other things (or other truths) they may hesitate. Why? Part of the promise in the book of Joel concerning the latter rain (and brethren I have no problem with the concept of a latter rain - if you trace it to the modern Pentecostal movement years earlier) is that He will RESTORE and make up for the years that the locust have eaten (Joel 2:25, a verse which is two verses down form the ‘latter rain’ verse) If anyone studies the church there is no doubt that the locust have eaten quite a bit over the centuries. Therefore, it’s understandable why people during the time of the visitation (or who were influenced by it) took the name ‘latter rain’ to describe the spiritual outpouring they were experiencing. Brothers and sisters, Toronto and Brownsville in recent days are / were similarly controversial. I am still sorting out what happened in regards to these things. I’m pretty sure of where Toronto got it’s start from (that is the thing they focused on - in faith - and where they got it from too, that is: the Father’s heart of God), and I also I know where they went wrong as well. Brownsville similarly ‘went off’ as well (one of the major problems with both moves in both cities were that people were attributing things to the Holy Spirit that weren’t from Him. The upshot of all this is that when God moves a lot can happen and it takes time for the dust to clear. God visited Assembly of God people in Canada and they weren’t accepted by the Assemblies of God denomination (or church)check they belong to, so they broke from them and called themselves something else (and they as a group moved on from where the denomination was). In retrospect, when one see the fruit of any move, one can look back and see what it was actually all about. Appendix J Footnotes J:1) Although I never finished the work “The Babylonian Outcalling” was going to be the end result of my study on Divorce and Remarriage in the Church. It basically centered around the concept of the restoration of Gods people to the land as a dedicated people to the Lord and made the point that one of the first things God’s people dealt with when they came back from captivity (Babylon) was their marriages (and it was dealt with even before the walls went back up. Ezra 9:1-10:44) One of the last questions I worked on before laying down the overall study on divorce and remarriage had to do with two believers who had married as unbelievers (that is they made a covenant as unbelievers) and wanted to move on with their lives - apart from one another - and marry other people. What I did was approach the question for the perspective of NO - but it was a stretch to make it so, and it looked like another option was breaking in regards to believers choices for their lives [the first options being the leaving of an unbeliever (desertion 1 Corinthians 7:15); or neglect and or abuse]. Brethren, if I wanted to I could have made the argument for believers in that particular type of marriage to stay together in regards to the testimony issue - but in regards to looking at the marriage covenant from a ‘law’ perspective - it looked like it would be hard to make that case. But I had to move on to other things which includes this book (and by the way I do feel that there are other options - or nuances of choices - ‘out there’ as well in regards to believers choices for their lives (for example Nehemiah / Ezra just telling the believers to leave the unbelievers VERSE NEEDED), also in regards to other options particularly so in regards to a God who still speaks [also since we as believers are not under law anymore in regards to marriage covenants between believers, things can be changed, particularly if it is