Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gnostic Gospel


Is what this world made of bad, and only what is of heaven good?


There is much confusion about the seemingly distinction between the physical and the spiritual. Is it not it true that the physical blood of Christ purchased our spiritual redemption? So, is there really a distinction between the two? Current Christian thinking has a far to Gnostic approach to the Kingdom of Heaven, then what is taught by Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and the other writers of the New Testament collection.
People do not seem to grasp the fact that God our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness, and by our trust in his resurrection as our complete rebirth is complete. We now live a life in the body through faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. The life we live now while working out this salvation is by Jesus to increase his fame. To pray to God and say, I know I am nothing and have nothing good to bring you, except by your grace is not a continual prayer for someone who is not now nothing but has been made to be a “son of God” or heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.
There almost seems to be a Deistic flavor to this Gnostic interpretation of the Kingdom as well. Heaven is some other realm where the Father dwells and is beyond our reach. However Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is near. We are read also that the return of Christ is near. Neither of these usages of “near” has anything to do with time, but space. The Kingdom and the return of Christ are close, right next to us.
James taught that true and pure religion is this: to look after widows and orphans. In other words to do something actual and physical for people is the true spirituality. To say to someone I’ll pray for you, or do you want to talk, is well and good, but if that is all we ever do, is there any action to our faith? Is our faith working out our salvation by interacting in a physical world with eagerness to do good?
It is by the physical blood and body of Christ that we are who we are now, a people of the Anointed One. To separate the laws of physics, biology, chemistry and the like from what is “spiritual” is not only a non-ancient Jewish thought, but a non-Christian ideology as well! Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, which means to love God by every facet and fiber of your being, down to the very cellular fusions and bioelectric impulses.
There is no sacred and secular to a Christian, for by our connection with God all we do is done in the presence of the All Mighty! Live accordingly.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Great Commission


Jesus said, go into all nations evangelizing them and bringing them to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Spirit.
Actually the word used by Matthew, when writing what Jesus said, was the Koine Greek word mathēteuō.  This word is a verb and its etymological root word is mathētēs, which means (a) disciple. The verb, as all verbs do, denotes action, which in this case is the teaching or instruction of another who is to be the “disciple.” So, what does any of that have to do with the great commission? Follow this to the end and it will be clear.
Jesus made his disciples simply by saying, “follow me.” Those to whom Jesus spoke agreed to be his disciples by following him. Their great statements of faith did not come until later. Their baptism was more than likely before their commitment to follow Jesus (Acts 1:21-22). Their union with the Soul of God (Holy Spirit) was after their discipleship from Jesus had ended. So, what is discipleship?
Discipleship (as referred to in the Bible) is an ancient practice of education and training. Consider a master potter maker taking on an apprentice; this would be a close resemblance to discipleship. The apprentice would study with the master, learning from him the trade. Not only would the apprentice learn how to make pottery but learn the tools and how to make specialty tools. The apprentice would learn how to market the products, acquiring new clients as well as retaining customers. The apprentice would spend great amounts of time by the master’s side in order to learn all of this. Jesus, a Rabbi, was training his disciples (apprentices) His brand of Judaism. Being that Jesus is the Son of God, his brand was God’s heart.
The point being, that the hearers of “go make disciples of all nations” would not have taken that as “go get people to follow me (Jesus).” They would have understood that as, you are now trained as Rabbis go and call others to follow you in order to train them, and baptize them in the name of Father, Me, and The Great Soul Connecting Us. (The baptism was more of the conversion or declaration of faith.)
Today we keep calling people to follow Jesus, yet where is the discipleship? Where are the trained, training others; follow me as I follow Christ? Telling people to read their Bibles, be a part of a local church, pray as much as you can, and listen to your pastor; is not discipleship. Our call to discipleship does not necessarily mean we must quit our job or sell our business, but it has to be far more involved in the re-training of people’s minds than the one to three group meetings a week allows for.
Go, and make disciples, find someone and say 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fear God


It seems an odd statement for someone who is supposed to love us.
We are made in the image of God. This is not to say that God is like us. We reflect God in our creativity, imagination, love, intelligence and many other ways. This again is not to say that God loves the way we do, imagines the way we do, has the same intelligence we do. Therefore, to fear God is not to be afraid of him like he is a monster but to understand his ability is far beyond that of our own.
Just because a grizzly bear is wearing an apron and holding a teapot, does not mean you should fear it any less. You might not know if it will attack you, but it could. The same can be said of one in the wild amongst the trees and rivers. There is a common theme amongst animal lovers who are attacked by their exotic pets. These people project their own feelings of affection onto the animal, which is not capable of the same emotional responses. It is healthy to fear a wild Grizzly bear as well as one in captivity who is cared for by humans, because both bears have the capability and capacity to destroy you.
Too often, we as humans try to impose our limited sense of love and understanding upon God. The result is a lack of genuine respect for whom and what God is. Is God going to destroy you like a wild grizzly? Probably not, but could He; yes. To fear God is not to be afraid of Him like he is a monster, but to have a proper perspective on the fact that He is Creator and we are his creation. Like the bear, God is bigger and stronger, but more than that God is smarter, more imaginative, has a greater sense of creativity, and is much more knowledgeable than we are.
As a wise man said, “Fear God and don’t do stupid.”

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Knowledge


Where does knowledge come from? God or man?

The Disciples were "un-educated" people. Their instruction did not come from their society's standards of education, yet they were at the head of the movement that altered the world’s history. Yet, today's churches require a "Christian" equivalent to our society’s education to be a minister... A high GPA is the beginning of wisdom; or the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it just needs to be finished out with an accreditation from man? Something seems to be amiss...
The area of Galilee was an interesting area filled with people of zeal for the Hebrew Scriptures. Jesus picked his first followers from an area filled with home schooled, synagogue saturated communities (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). They, were not schooled in the rhetoric of the Roman Empire like what Paul (Saul) would have been. His education, he considers loss for the sake of Christ. (Philippians 3:4-7)
Where is the church going to be in the decades and centuries to come if they continue to reject those who are not educated by our societies’ educational system? Jesus could have chosen the people from the most affluent, schooled, and politically connected people to be his first followers, but he picked those who were from families that loved the Lord God with all their will, actions, and life. Jesus knew that “true” wisdom comes from God. Those willing to be “schooled” by the very Soul of God will be those filled with knowledge and not information.

Monday, August 13, 2012

True Religion


Perspective is the key to “good” religion.
I have a no religion shirt, which has on the backside the words written Embrace Jesus. No one can argue the point that many “bad” and destructive things have been done in human history using religion as a cover. From nations and people groups to individuals, religion can be used for selfish purposes. What is it that makes for “good” religion? Perspective or definition is the key to that answer.
James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Many point out that the orphans and widows would be those people who are poor in that ancient society. Therefore, they make the point that we should care for the poor. I have no disagreements with that assessment. However, are these people overlooking something more?
The widows and orphans are the neglected and victims of that ancient societies political and social structure. Widows and orphans would be completely dependent on others and have nothing to be able to sustain them. Single mothers can find work in today’s society, and un-married women can be quite successful (as well as married women). Therefore, the idea of a widow being poor just because she has lost her husband is not something that is epidemic in our society as it was to James’ readers. So, who are the victims of today’s political and social structure? One of these is the students of this nation (not that they are the only). Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those from ages 15-24. Many churches still see ministry to the young as teaching them bible stories and showing them that church can be fun. Yet they do not engage their minds on what true discipleship is and show them the reality of God’s presence. Many pastors want a “youth minister” to run some programming so that the church looks better to it potential prospects. Moreover, many pastors do not view the “youth minister” as a leader in the church, but simply the youth person. This view of the person seeking to reach the students is also telling of the view of the students themselves.
It is not just the students who are “loners” or dressing odd that are susceptible to the suicide problem, but also many students who are “popular” and doing well academically. Students live in an academic system that looks over the individual in favor for the corporate all the while the philosophy of our society is “me.” They are inundated with age equivalent peers, while the “world of adults” is non-age specific. These factors plus several others has led to an entirely different culture among the young that leaves them suspect of adults and cling to their “friends.” Church is therefore just another adult place and they typically do not open up in adult places. They may comply for a while and show some interest, but once they are in college or out on their own, their worldview, which classified church as not really a place for me, manifests. Many walk away from not only church but also faith in the reality of God’s presence and the power of the resurrection of Jesus. In many ways, the students are the victims of our society. True religion will look after the young of our nation and not persuaded by our culture!
Be true!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Comment

A comment via email and my response

     My hope is that this blog will become a place to discuss philosophical things of theological importance. I've decided to share a response I got via email to help promote this hope.
I looked at your blog and read the posts and frankly I am not sure what kind of feedback you would want and the reason is because a blog is the opinion of the person who is writing the blog. Your view on a subject that you want to share and that is good for the person who blogs and those who blog back give their opinions back to you.   I hope you would honor the Lord through it (Colossians 3:17) and as you draw closer in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ your blog will reflect that personal relationship with the Savior Jesus who died on that cross for us to live eternally with Him (John 3:16). I would remind you that scripture is God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and that the philosophy of man is fleshly (John 6:63).

    Philosophy of man is fleshly, but what is the philosophy of God. Jesus presented different philosophies to the listeners of his sermon on the mount. They had been taught different things than those in which he was teaching, (“I say to you”). Jesus also taught that when he goes away the Father will send the Holy Spirit (Advocate).
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 The Spirit is teaching us philosophy (how to think and how our world operates). The Spirit will not only help us to recall what we have learned from the Bible, but will teach us all things. To ignore such an important work of God’s Spirit, by only relying on what has been said in the past, is a pitfall and is not reliance upon God, but reliance upon man! No truth will come that will flat out contradict the truth in “scripture,” though further understanding and clarification of purpose may. I agree that the scripture came by revelation from God, through the lives of his followers. To say that the Bible is the only place that God can speak and that he cannot speak through his followers today is again, a reliance upon man and not God. For it is man that coppied the scriptures, man that stored them. Man that has found the ancient texts, and man that has translated them into varrious languages. The Bible is translated into numerous versions and the word parakletos (advocate) has even been translated differently by the NIV in the past 10 years or less. Can someone argue that God in his soverignty has been looking over all of these steps even now, every translation process so that the “true” meaning is not lost? Sure, but to agree to that would be no different than stating that some preacher on Sunday is delivering the very breathed words of God, for they came to his mind from the soverign God. "Fleshly" lives consist of lives with no reflection upon who they are or what they believe, they are simply driven by instinct of emotions in response to the stimulation surrounding them. My words are full of the Spirit for the require someone to consider them and either reject or agree thereby giving God a chance to inspire ideas into their lives.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Love

Is love a title wave of strong emotion, or simply an action by force of will?

Have you found your “soul mate,” “true love,” “the one”? Is this even a valid question? I say no. Romance in movies is usually about finally finding that one person that completes the two parties. In my own experience, I believed that God led me to my wife, and that we were supposed to be together. As if it were his plan, to play cupid in our lives and have us “fall” in love. “Falling in love” is another statement that misses the point, as if you can fall out of love with someone. Also, the distinction I heard Chelsea Handler make in a movie once; “You can love more than one person but you cannot be “in love” with more than one person.” If love is this title wave of emotion that is so strong, why is it so fickle? Again, I say it is not. Love is a conscious effort to put another’s concerns, passions, interests, and all around everything above your own.
Jesus said it this way, “No greater love has a man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 Love is sacrificial! Love is submissive! Love ignores self, and gives all it is capable of giving! To fall out of love is simply a choice that a person makes where they have decided to care more about their own well-being than that of the other. It may be warranted, and have justifiable reasons, but it is not love that failed, rather the person failed to continue to love. Our world, and more importantly our Church, could do with a better understanding that love comes by act of will.
Love takes intentional thought filled action, not emotional response to stimulation. Here is a simple test. If an action meets these four criteria, you can be sure it is love.
1.      Is what I am doing or about to do motivated primarily to benefit another?
2.      Am I more concerned about how I will look, by doing this or simply doing it for another?
3.      You do not feel like being supportive, and sacrificial, but you do anyways.
4.      Am I thinking of other ways to make this more about “you” than me.       
God is Love, let us also be love.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Spirit and Soul

Is there a distinction between the two or are they of the same essence?

Pneuma and psyche, spirit and soul, inner life and inner life. Both Koine Greek words can be translated to mean inner life. God is spirit and we are called to love God with all our soul. Could it be that these two words are in reference to the same life force? I would like to put forth a different idea on what is considered the “spiritual” realm. Ancient people classified or described things they experienced in terms that were knowable or at least fathomable for the time. Bioelectric transmissions, cosmic plasma electro-magnetic fields, and our modern use of electricity was not something they could fathom. The electric charge in synaptic fires in our brain carries information from one spot to another. Our modern use of electricity transmits information as well. Electric charges can be found in all plasma and since nearly (99.999%) all things visible are in a plasma state, our entire existence is electrical. Outerspace is a vacuum, however it is permeated with the plasma of solar "Wind" What if this electric interface is the spirit. Not to get into a new age philosophy, but that the very Soul of God is not like humans in their organic state, but an infinite network of electrical transmissions that function similar to how our brain transfers information.

This means that when the Soul of God (Holy Spirit, Counselor, Comforter) comes to dwell within us, it is in our very brain that he dwells. That infinite network of life intimately connects to our thoughts, ideas, knowledge, wisdom, insights, hopes, and dreams. John15:26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (John 14:23-28 is superb for understanding my thoughts on this as well.)

Jesus, being the Son of the Living God, did not have a soul-hybrid (for lack of a better term) like we do. He is the Word of God in organic form. Jesus was that infinite electrical network encapsulated in a biological human brain. He never once had the fear of death as we do, and thus was able to be free from the “instinct of me” for his entirely earthly life. We struggle to let go of old pathways of bioelectrical communication and rely solely on the Soul of God. Where our biology fails us, the Grace of Christ claims victory!
You are not alone!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

What is sin?

Is it simply an action that is forbidden which makes it a "sin," or is it the motives behind the action?
           In the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus starts to show a different ethical insight that most of those who worshiped Yahweh did not hold.  Jesus preaches more about purpose and the “whys” of many other teachings. He offers up the reason why you should not swear on earth and states that at the “heart” of an oath is agreeing to something and that by adding all this extra collateral, you are admitting that your word is as good as the “evil one’s” word. He talks about how if salt and light do not fulfill their purpose then what good are they? He clarifies that our purpose is to do good deeds so that those who see them may glorify God, for the work He has done in and through us. He also talks about that if you do something good for another in order to be looked well upon by people then that is all you are going to get as a reward. Your motivation was selfish and therefore your “good” deed was not so good.

            I contend the same would be true for “sin.” Sin by its very nature is a self-focused desire brought into fruition. If the motivation behind an act is not sinful (self-motivated) then is the act in of itself sin? No. Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians would seem to back up this statement in regards to meat sacrificed to pagan gods. This may seem like I am trying to turn everything grey, or to make excuses in order to condone certain actions. I will say that there are actions, which cannot be non-selfish, and therefore, those actions will always be sinful. Jesus brings up murder as an example. People can use an excuse to argue their “basic goodness” by stating they have never hurt someone else. Jesus, contends that if you call someone a dumb sheep (a crossbreed sheep, but statement is much like our use of the alternate word for donkey) or a fool that you are guilty of the same sin as murder (hate and selfish desire to consider your life better and more important than another’s life).

            Those who want a checklist of sins, to abide by are not living in grace through the power and presence of the Soul of God. Instead, the checklist folks are living by law and through their own prideful power to adhere to the list. We need a much more reflective view of “sin” to be able to understand who Jesus wants us to be and not what Jesus wants us to do. The distinction is in the motive. Are our actions being governed by a list of not-to’s in which we are concerned about making sure “I” am a good person (in which self is the focus)? Alternatively, are our actions being governed by a sense of loving others and devotion to showing God glory? When Jesus told the woman caught in adultery “go sin no more,” he was not saying go now and stop doing what you have been doing; instead he was saying go on and stop focusing on your life as if it is what is important. He gave her an example of what it is to give grace to others, and wanted her to live her life likewise. 

Go, be self-focused no more!