Don’t Justify Yourself While Walking in Darkness – Tim Conway

This is what it REALLY MEANS to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Video description : “To be walking in darkness does not just mean that you are living in scandalous sins, but it means your life is not regulated by the Word of God. Do you start out your decisions by what you want to do and then come to the Bible and say “I hope it lines up”? Yet when it doesn’t you just kind of justify it away? Rather to walk in the light is to start out with the Word of God and let it control your decisions.”

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The Hebrew Roots Movement Simply Explained

By now I am sure that many christians have heard something about the Hebrew Roots Movement. Even more is that there are some who have been involved in it to come out of it’s clutches of being under the law and departure of the grace of God. It has gained momentum in christian churches and circles because of the seduction of thinking that one must go back to their ‘Hebrew Roots’ in order to understand God and His word better. Though one might gain some insight with some of this knowledge, ultimately, one will not end up abiding in Christ but just quite the opposite. This is a link to an article that explains the  Hebrew Roots Movement very simply and to the point. If you don’t know much about it I encourage you to get familiar with it because many are being seduced by it and thereby becoming bewitched as the apostle Paul warned the church of Galatia.

The Hebrew Roots Movement

http://www.empoweredbychrist.org/the-hebrew-roots-movement.html

 

Peter Wagner responds to Todd Bentley’s affair. Backpeddling?

To: Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Team
From: C. Peter Wagner
Date: August 12, 2008
Subject: Todd Bentley’s Character Crisis

Most of you would be aware that the Lakeland Ledger broke the news publicly that Todd and Shona have decided to terminate their marriage. In Canada this requires a nine-month “separation” before official divorce proceedings can go into effect. I am quite upset by this development, and I know you will be also. I am now receiving a large amount of “I told you so!” email and I must say that my friends have a point. This has taken the lid off of a number of related character accusations against Todd that are now coming in which I might have dismissed previously, but no longer can do so off hand.

Let’s take some time to process this. Todd was officially, publicly aligned with the Revival Alliance, so the three of you {end times note: John Arnott, Bill Johnson & Che Ahn} should definitely make some kind of statement, probably sending it to Steve Strang. Let’s not sweep this under the rug with a “touch not God’s anointed” as has been done with so many similar issues in our morally soft charismatic environment.

Meanwhile, I called Chuck Pierce for help, and he sent me the letter I am attaching with this here. Chuck has some very encouraging insights for us.

Blessings,
Peter

C. Peter Wagner
President, Global Harvest Ministries

Chancellor, Wagner Leadership Institute
719-262-9922

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An Update on Lakeland from Peter
August 25, 2008
I was in the San Francisco airport on my way to Singapore and Indonesia when the news of Todd Bentley’s separation from his wife became public on August 12. When I arrived back home last week, I found that Doris had received and replied to around 1,700 emails and the stack of correspondence on my desk was unbelievable. It took me the rest of the week to catch up!
During the week I was gone, a major watershed occurred regarding the Lakeland situation as most of you would know. We are now on a new playing field. Lakeland Outpouring I, in which Todd Bentley was the main figure, is now history. Lakeland Outpouring II, in which Stephen Strader of Ignited Church is the main figure, has begun.
The Present
It will sound surprising to some, but Lakeland II in Ignited Church, which you will remember was the original host church, is going very well. The big crowds and GOD TV, of course, are gone. Ignited Church seats around 700 in the main sanctuary and Stephen Strader reports that on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings they have to use their overflow room. It is comfortably filled on week nights. The morning training sessions continue with a couple hundred every day, and teams continue to move daily into the streets of Lakeland spreading the gospel. Percentage-wise the dramatic miracles and healings occur nightly with probably a higher percentage of salvations on a daily basis. Support from local pastors is improving considerably. The most interesting report is that every night some 30 percent are first-time attenders, meaning that people are still coming to Lakeland from the outside to experience Outpouring II.
Speaking of the public figure going down the tubes, Todd Bentley now carries the label of a liar and a deceiver. I’m sorry to mention it, but I felt personally deceived in the same way when Ted Haggard’s sin was exposed and he was immediately removed from ministry. In the Lakeland I case, I am elated at the way things are turning out. The Revival Alliance with whom Todd was aligned on June 23 has kicked into action with a vengeance. Ché Ahn and Bill Johnson, like me, were overseas when things broke, but John Arnott stepped up to the plate and moved in apostolically. It has since become clear that Todd’s Fresh Fire Board could not have handled the situation, Stephen Strader and Ignited Church could not, nor could any of his other close friends. Only the Revival Alliance could. I am delighted that they are not buying into typical charismatic soft morality, also called “greasy grace” or “don’t touch God’s anointed” or “mercy must triumph over judgment,” phrases that have been used on other similar occasions as convenient religious cop-out excuses. They’re proceeding in love, but it is tough love..
Since this is an update, I will share some of what I know about what is happening with Bentley, but not all because some things need more verification and it is up to discernment of Revival Alliance what and when this will be revealed. Suffice it to say that there is more than I am going to mention.
First of all, Todd has been removed from public ministry until further notice. He has resigned from the ministry he founded, Fresh Fire, so he is no longer a part of that board. It has become clear that he indulged in periodic drunkenness. He has no intention at the moment of reconciling with Shonna, nor does she with him. Their marriage has been torn for years by his emotional attachment with at least one other female whose physical contact went beyond hugging and kissing and holding hands. Enough said-maybe more details will be revealed later-but it was clearly immoral. All of this was skillfully concealed by lying and by swearing close associates who had observed his behavior to secrecy. Stephen Strader, for example, knew nothing of this before June 23. Apparently some of his board members did, but they did not have the ability to deal with it.
The Past
I hope this is the last time I will have to address the past. It is now history. But as history is written, I feel that I have some responsibility of helping to have history be written accurately, especially since I have turned out to be a lightening rod for a number of severe criticisms.
Most of you know this, but let me reiterate to keep it on record. Previous to around the middle of June, my interest in Lakeland was about a 2 on a scale of 1-10. Then I got a call from Stephen Strader, the host pastor who was a member of ICA, which I lead, with a passionate appeal for apostolic intervention because chaos and confusion had begin to invade the Outpouring I. Toward the end of the hour we were talking, I received one of my infrequent direct words from God: “Alignment!” Just one word, but I knew I had a divine command and responsibility.
Once I knew that God had assigned me to initiate some sort of apostolic intervention at Stephen’s side, I began praying and consulting with close colleagues. In less than two days I discovered that Todd Bentley had no formal, established apostolic alignment. I asked God how I should proceed, especially since I had no inclination to attempt an apostle-evangelist approach and expect that Bentley would submit to or even listen to what I had to say if I made an appointment with him in Lakeland. I felt that proper apostolic protocol would be for me to deal with one or more peer-level apostles to whom Todd had aligned apostolically. Since as yet he had no such alignment, I began asking God how such an alignment might come about. He directed me to my close friend, Ché Ahn, who himself is apostolically aligned with me and who also had been close to Bentley for years. Ché agreed that the best apostolic protocol would be for Todd to align with the Revival Alliance if he were willing. Ché called him and Bentley agreed to submit publicly to the Revival Alliance.
At this point some disagreements arose. I have already mentioned that I was consulting with several apostolic colleagues whom I trusted and whom I know trusted me. It is very necessary for us to understand exactly what the disagreement was about. It was about the most appropriate apostolic protocol for the occasion. After prayerfully listening to the different points of view with careful consideration of what was being said, the decision had to be mine. I believe that God’s word to me about “Alignment!” had to be directional. I concluded that the best protocol was to do the alignment first, then deal with the issues that had been raised. My other friends disagreed and urged me to deal with Todd’s problems first then do the alignment. I respected their point of view and I was very sorry that I had to follow God’s leading for me personally instead of taking their advice. It was not a comfortable decision.
Now let me address what was behind much of their disagreement with my apostolic protocol.
They were concerned that if I appeared on the platform with GOD TV, many viewers would interpret it as my personal endorsement of everything that was going on in Lakeland I, and since they were so closely associated with me, they would be implicated as well. This was a legitimate concern, and one I seriously wrestled with as I made my decision. If I went to Lakeland and presided over the alignment, some might well take it as an endorsement. It was a risk, I knew. Let me say personally that all my life I have been a risk-taker instead of a play-it-safe person, and I have taken many hits for it. As an example going to the jungles of Bolivia as a career field missionary when I was 25 with my wife and a one-year-old baby girl was a serious risk. Both that daughter and another who was born in the jungle without medical attention came close to losing their lives during those five years. And we were criticized for our decision to take the risk by many, including parents!
Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as “crazy!” However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I’m sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect. The point I am making is that I am no stranger to taking risks and living with the fallout.
One fallout from Lakeland I is that several have resigned from ICA and other organizations that I lead because they no longer want to be identified with me. Others are still upset.
I want it understood that I did not go to Lakeland on June 23 for Todd Bentley. I had never met him personally. I had no knowledge of and little interest in his ministry. I went because I received an apostolic plea to help bring order to the confusion and chaos that was sweeping through the body of Christ worldwide because of the television. I went strictly for the body of Christ at the invitation of the host pastor of the Outpouring I.
The final question is: Was it successful? Looking back, I praise God for using me and others to help bring order to confusion, which is one of the chief biblical tasks of an apostle. Stephen Strader, who has been keeping records, affirms that the evil that the prince of the power of the air had been subtly introducing into the Outpouring I started to be exposed and unraveled the day after the alignment, June 24!
Spiritually, this is very understandable. Just about every leader I knew had discerned that Lakeland I was a mixture of the godly and the ungodly. We were praying in one accord that the evil would be separated from the good. My take is that God had decided to answer these prayers and in order to facilitate His process, He assigned me and the Revival Alliance leaders and others who were with us to align Todd Bentley apostolically for the first time in his life. When we did this publicly, spiritual transactions took place in the invisible world that would not allow the enemy to maintain the veil of secrecy he had carefully placed over the Outpouring. The evil was exposed, Revival Alliance had the authority to deal with it, and the net result is that order is replacing chaos in the body of Christ.
In my section above on “The Present” I gave you some details. Believe me, they are only the tip of the iceberg as I just learned from a new phone call even as I was writing this paper. The proper apostolic structure, happily, is in place at the time of crisis!

The Future
It is now important to recognize that from now on we have a different playing field. Two separate things are going on. (1) The Revival Alliance is dealing with Todd Bentley and the fallout from his sin that has been and continues to be exposed. (2) I have told you previously about a group of 11 apostles that I have formed into the Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Team. We no longer need to deal with Lakeland I and Bentley as such. However, we have a list of 24 serious issues that have emerged from that unpleasant experience which need to be thoroughly discussed with the conclusions circulated in the body of Christ. If you have seen Dutch Sheets’ recent “A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland” you will get a glimpse of some of the things that we agree need to become standard operational beliefs and practices, particularly in our charismatically-inclined evangelical segment of the church.
It will take time, but our Apostolic Team will get to work on the 24 issues after some of this present dust settles, and we will be back to you!

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And Bill Johnson’s Before and After Todd Bentley’s “emotional affair” statements

Before. (Someone sends Bill Johnson and email asking why he would endorse Todd Bentley)

After it comes out about Todd Bentley having an affair with another women and drinking problem

Pt. 1 of 3

Pt 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPFFTzAaQFU

Pt 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoeIfOAAb7A

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You think the Lord KNEW what was going on with Todd Bentley all along? Why would God tell C. Peter Wagner “Alignment” knowing that Todd was involved in an immoral sin (and idolatry with following demonic angels such as Emma, Promise, Winds of Change, etc and not testing the spirits to see if they are of God) and others were helping keep it secret?

1 Cor 5:1 It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.

1 Cor 5:2 You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

1 Cor 5:3 ¶ For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.

1 Cor 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

1 Cor 5:5 {I have decided} to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Cor 5:6 ¶ Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump {of dough?}

1 Cor 5:7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are {in fact} unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.

1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Cor 5:9 ¶ I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;

1 Cor 5:10 I {did} not at all {mean} with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.

1 Cor 5:11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one.

I don’t think these guys actually heard from God at all. They are trying to play politics. We have seen this stuff in our own country’s government officials when corruption was exposed. This is no different. Aligning Todd Bentley with these guys apostolically was not going to help Todd with the sin he was practicing much less the body of Christ. The bible tells us to expose the darkness not “align” ourselves with it.

Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;

Eph 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Eph 5:3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;

Eph 5:4 and {there must be no} filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Eph 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Eph 5:6  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Eph 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;

Eph 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light

Eph 5:9 (for the fruit of the Light {consists} in all goodness and righteousness and truth),

Eph 5:10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.

Eph 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

Eph 5:12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

Eph 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Eph 5:14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

Eph 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

Eph 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

Eph 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

God wouldn’t lead his people into such a thing. Nor would God be a part of tricking His people into believing that Todd Bentley was carrying the presence of God and imparting HIS anointing while secretly sinning. This is unholy. We cannot mix what is profane with the holy. Ministering in the Spirit is holy. To have the full measure of the Spirit like Jesus had requires godly character and denying the lusts of the flesh and all sin. Not distort God’s ways through aligning up with such people who are found as liars, deceivers, and immoral. Todd should have conceded when these men decided to come and support him in the fear of the Lord rather than deceive them. But these men who claim to be leaders are not walking in the Spirit otherwise God would have alerted them to what was going on with Todd Bentley for the safety of His flock. This should be a lesson for us all to get know God for ourselves and stop looking to men for spiritual experiences or to know God…That was the purpose of God giving us the Holy Spirit so we could know Him personally for our selves. To know the Truth and walk in His ways and not in the ways of deceived men. Everyone involved should be repenting to God and the Body of Christ for their horrible leadership and not being in the position they ought to be in as supposed “leaders of the church”  who didn’t protect the sheep but fed them to wolves and hirelings to be plundered and spiritually molested.

2 Chr 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Its time to repent and turn to the Lord and hope he will be gracious and merciful to us and forgive us our tresspasses. Not play politics. Everyone who endorsed Todd Bentley are deceivers and they need to come clean and get right with God and stop hiding behind their positions, titles, reputations, and organizations. These things just distort the true image of the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one whose ways have been perverted by these same leaders. They want the Body of Christ to trust them and support them then they need to get honest and repent in sincerity and truth. Its not about them anymore. Its about being conformed to the image of Christ and rightly representing Him according to HIS standard and pattern. Not the “christ” they have created in their own image that manipulates and distorts the true character of our God in Jesus Christ. We don’t want their perverted christ. We want THE CHRIST who is THE TRUTH. You know the One who said “not my will but yours be done.” The One who gave his life as a ransom for many. Are any of you supposed “leaders” willing to give your life as a ransom for many? Are you willing to get out from under the alliances of deceived men. Men who pervert the ways of God to their own destruction. Men who only care about protecting their own investments rather than HIs investment, His people.
John 10:1 I ASSURE you, most solemnly I tell you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way (elsewhere, from some other quarter) is a thief and a robber.
John 10:2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:3 The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice {and} heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out.
John 10:4 When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:5 They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers {or} recognize their call.
John 10:6 Jesus used this parable (illustration) with them, but they did not understand what He was talking about.
John 10:7 So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door for the sheep.
John 10:8 All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not listen to {and} obey them.
John 10:9 I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture.
John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have {and} enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
John 10:11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks {and} lays down His [own] life for the sheep.
John 10:12 But the hired servant (he who merely serves for wages) who is neither the shepherd nor the owner of the sheep, when he sees the wolf coming, deserts the flock and runs away. And the wolf chases {and} snatches them and scatters [the flock].
John 10:13 Now the hireling flees because he merely serves for wages and is not himself concerned about the sheep [cares nothing for them].
John 10:14 I am the Good Shepherd; and I know {and} recognize My own, and My own know {and} recognize Me–
John 10:15 Even as [truly as] the Father knows Me and I also know the Father–and I am giving My [very own] life {and} laying it down on behalf of the sheep.

Who is of Christ? How can you know?

I know there has been alot of confusion out there among the body of Christ as to those who are of God and those who are false teachers, prophets, apostles, decietful workers, and false christs…We either get conditioned to the teachings of men who stray from the context of the word of God by His Holy Spirit of Truth that instruct out of their own understanding portraying it as the truth….or if something is spoken of as true it gets criticized for not being true by those who are preaching another gospel not of Christ or HIs Spirit….So I just wanted to take the time to point out who Jesus identifies as those who are of God from His own words in the bible…

John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am {He,} and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
John 8:30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
John 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine;
John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
John 8:33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.
John 8:35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.
John 8:36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.
John 8:38 “I speak the things which I have seen with {My} Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from {your} father.”
John 8:39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus *said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.
John 8:40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.
John 8:41 “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”
John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
John 8:43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? {It is} because you cannot hear My word.
John 8:44 “You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature,} for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
John 8:46 “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
John 8:47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear {them,} because you are not of God.”
John 8:48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
John 8:49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.
John 8:50 “But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.
John 8:51 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”
John 8:52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets {also;} and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’
John 8:53 “Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out {to be?}”
John 8:54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;
John 8:55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.

So from this discourse between Jesus and the Jews we see that the Jews were believing that because they were actual descendents of Abraham that made them of God because of the promise God gave Abraham concerning his descendents…But because these Jews didn’t believe the words of Jesus that put them diametrically opposed to Him…Jesus said that because His words had no place in them that they were liars and their father was the devil and that the devils deeds they do.. which gives us indication that we can know those who are of God just by this short discourse…

Those who are of God and are His true disciples
1. Those who continue in the words of Christ letting His word have place in us and keeping His word above all others.
2. Not doing things from our own initiative (our own will)
3. Doing what pleases the Father
4. Loving Jesus by our obedience to His word
5. Hearing, Recognizing, and believing the truth when it is spoken.
6. Speaking what is true only.
7. Only giving glory to God and not self.

But the main thing that stuck out to me in this whole discourse for those who are of God was THOSE WHO KEEP HIS WORD…Keeping His word is not the act of performing miracles, signs and wonders though these very things do happen as a result of preaching Christ… keeping His word is not claiming something is of God just because a person says so no matter who they are…Those who continue in Christ’s Word and keep His word not departing from it or mixing it with our own ideas or sayings to the death of self…it is found in those who will risk dying and and being portrayed as false or extreme because they forsake all this world has to offer to gain Christ and become a person who upholds His word at all costs. Even denying yourself of recognition for anything or any attainments we achieve to give Him ALL recognition, praise, honor, and glory. Not seeking wealth or fame in the eyes of men or material possessions as a standard of being “blessed” by God. But to suffer ourselves in order to be a reflection of His word even if it kills us. This is, I believe, the ultimate call of the elect of God.

The New Jesus by Nance Gregg

Here is something my mom sent me today by email that I thought was pretty good…
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I hate to be the one to break it to you, Jesus, but it looks like you’re pretty well out of a job. Your followers have decided to replace you with someone more in keeping with the times, and the times apparently call for a new, improved Savior – one who is okay with torture, adores a good war, and just generally kicks butt. Let’s face it, Lord, it’s not like you didn’t have a good run. Two thousand years is nothin’ to sneeze at in the Son of God business. But the whole Prince of Peace shtick just ain’t going over as well as it used to back in the day. These Christians we got nowadays don’t want to hear about turning the other cheek, being thy brother’s keeper, loving thy neighbor, yadda, yadda. They’re just not into that Do Unto Others thing, and would much rather have a Do Unto Yourself kind of credo, if you get my drift. What they want to hear is that accumulating personal wealth was part of your divine plan all along. They want to get on their cellphone and order a Green Prayer Cloth of Prosperity to place on their Bible as they pray for that promotion-plus-raise-plus-stock-options – and know that if they act now, they can get two for the price of one donation. They want to hear that things like hating Muslims, homosexuals and Liberals were only left out of the Commandments because your Dad could only fit ten on the tablets, and inadvertently left off the really important stuff. So what they’ve done is they’ve come up with a new Jesus, one created in their own image and likeness. (How’s that for irony?) And because the new kid on the cross is willing to see things their way, he’s catching on with the Fundies like a burning Bush (ha, ha, made you laugh!) Yeah, this New Jesus is something else again. You won’t catch him blessin’ the Peacemakers and talking about that goodwill towards men crap (although I understand that if the New Jesus preaches forgiveness for adulterers and fornicators, especially if they happen to be elected-to-office Republicans, that’s appreciated). Yes, sir, this New Jesus is ready to rock. If people on the other side of the world stand in the way of good Christians having the oil they need to get their Mercedes to church on Sunday, well screw ‘em. If sick kids are going to be a drain on taxpayers’ dollars, screw ‘em. If the workers are going to start demanding decent wages, screw ‘em. And for God’s sake (no disrespect intended), let’s hear some positive parables about how the money-changers in the temple were really the good guys, and how that eye of a needle that rich men have to pass though to get into heaven is actually big enough to accommodate an SUV, fully loaded! You see where this is going, Jesus? (Being all-seeing and all-knowing, I kinda figured you might.) You’re just an acoustic guitar with a simple lyric about brotherhood and compassion in a world of fix-it-in-the-mix muzak for the masses. Now, I don’t want to say you’re out of business entirely. You still got some people down here who believe in you just the way you are – that is, just the way you’ve always been, before the mega-rich preachers in the mega-churches started advertising a more pliable Savior with a more palatable agenda. Hey, don’t get me wrong, Jesus. Your real fans are still out there. If you don’t hear them cheering as loudly as you used to, it’s just because they’re being drowned out by the megachurch megaphones blaring hatred and bigotry from every corner, selling this New Jesus who will do their bidding. Sorry to be the bearer of these bad tidings, but if you’re going to insist on sticking with that as you do to the least among you, so you do unto Me act, it seems you’re going to have to start getting used to playing to smaller crowds.

Author: Nance Greggs
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