The “AA Model” of “Doing Church.”

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Many of us may come from different church models and traditions. I am not writing this article to undermine any of these. My desire is to present my thoughts on a model of “doing church” that I have not seen practiced before. I had searched the web, and it took me a while to find an article that was similar to my idea. I say this because I do not believe in original ideas. There is essentially nothing new under the sun. I did find an article by David Fitch which I will share here. http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-how-to/168717-david-fitch-church-gathering-should-be-like-a-good-aa-meeting.html my article is in no way meant to be a copy of his, but one expressing my thoughts on the subject. I do love many of the points in which he expressed and will follow a similar format. I will admit I have pondered a model of doing church this way many times. Especially when I sit in an AA meeting and listen to those who speak ill of the church, but find God in the rooms of AA.

This article will not be able to speak to every ecclesiological concern. It is my own personal belief that regardless of how one “does church” we probably are not doing it perfect. Or should I say, there is no perfect church. Or maybe church isn’t supposed to be perfect, after all it is operated by humans. Jesus said, it takes two or more in his name, seems pretty simple, but boy do we know how to complicate things. One of my concerns in writing this article is the enormous task that the current church places on its pastors and leaders. Read the shocking statistics here http://www.pastorburnout.com/pastor-burnout-statistics.html  we have all heard of the latest scandals within many of the denominations in the world. I also believe that the body of Christ is the church; which is all of us, is not as active in the world as it could be. The “AA model” for lack of a better name at the present is a basic model that I would gladly see used by church planters across the world. In fact it probably does exist somewhere out there already.

So what is this ecclesiological model that I think may be so great? I am a member of a self-help group called Alcoholics Anonymous. As I have attended meetings throughout the years and I have often thought that this would be an excellent way to have a gathering of believers. I attend many meetings and I always leave feeling like I have been blessed by God. Many times I enjoy going to AA meetings more than church. I guess that doesn’t say much about me. What I will say is that AA doesn’t promote yet is often filled with people every day of the week. It is a very simple model which includes a servant leader not a paid professional, a body of people, chairs, tables, and coffee. Think of how much money would be left over for actual ministry in the community with that kind of set up! No rock star like worship service, flashy lights and videos, not one person who addresses the congregation over and over every week. Just people in unity sharing in the hope of Jesus Christ through teaching, fellowship, and prayer. It probably would not be so far from what the last supper or early church gatherings were like. Let me also make it clear I am not against flashy lights and videos, or minister preaching on Sunday. I am just here to express some thoughts for future church planters.

The Body

First I want to address the body of believers who gather together on Sunday mornings. Many churches have a time of fellowship and then sit and listen to the leaders of the church. In an AA meeting there is what is called a chairperson, a servant leader who gives a reading or small teaching that is normally about five minutes in length; sometimes less. The members of the meeting go around the room and give their thoughts and insights on what was read. I suggest that the same could be done within the church. A servant leader a non-professional clergy man or woman gives a small teaching, then allow the body of believers to give their thoughts and insights of the teaching to one another. Often during an AA meeting it is not the actual teaching or reading itself that I learn from, but the thoughts and insights from others. The apostle Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 14:26 “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” (NIV) How many times have you been asked in church if you have a word or a hymn, or much less a word of instruction? Yet this is what the church is about. Often times in AA meetings people will say that “God uses people to speak to them.” I completely agree, I have heard God speaking to me through people in many places outside the walls of a church building. Through the words of each believer the body is edifying each other and being edified. The message is given by all of the people not just a single person. The church is the body of Christ, how appropriate that Christ himself teach us. Obviously I do believe even within this structure that competent leadership is needed to guide the body. We still need pastors and deacons, yet the pastors and deacons will be tent-makers. With an emphasis on the priesthood of the saints sharing in the work of the Lord. In AA they have what is called sponsors, a sponsor is someone that takes a new member under their wing and guides them on their journey. The AA model of church would call on its members to be active in the discipleship of new members. The discipleship is not only conducted by the elders of the congregation but by all of the people within the congregation. Everyone serving each other as Christ served his disciples. I believe this is not a new way of doing church but actually a way in which church was done from the beginning.

Fellowship and the Breaking of Bread

Next I want to address one of the most important sacraments in all of Christendom. The Holy Eucharist also known as the Lord Supper, and communion. A side note for my fellow Protestants the word Eucharist has been used since the first century and simply means in the Greek giving thanks, being thankful, or gracious. As an Evangelical Protestant I know there is a vast difference in beliefs from our Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. The AA model which I propose until a better name is given will look at the earliest Christians and examine how they conducted the Lord supper. We all know that the early church loved to eat. Also we the modern church loves to eat. I would never want to change this! Many people have different ideas on how the Lords Supper should be conducted. The earliest writings state that the Supper was conducted on the Lords day. These are non-canonical such as the Didache and writings by early bishops yet have been proved to be trustworthy in regards to the historical record. This would be once per week. Often in our churches we celebrate once per month. Obviously an AA meeting does not conduct a Lords Supper. So how do we implement this commandment into an AA model of church?

Due to the autonomous nature in which I would want each congregation to possess, the churches may receive the Lords Supper how they wish. As long as it is done in reverence and respect. Not a regular meal, or done without inspection of your soul. I suggest a service once per month which is only dedicated to the Lords Supper. A time for reflection and prayer among the congregation. Followed by good fellowship and a meal. The whole meeting being dedicated just for the Lord’s Supper. Fellowship takes place throughout the week, but there is just something about fellowship when we are gathered together. A time to talk, eat, pray for one another, and just enjoy each other’s company. We need each other in many ways and celebrating the Lords Supper and having a lengthy time of corporate fellowship is important for the health of the church. The unity that I believe that will take place within the church through the Lord’s Supper will heal and strengthen the body and keep our eyes focused on the Lord and his soon return.

Cult of Personality

The last section was not so controversial. Unfortunately this next section addresses an issue that I may receive some grief from. The cult of personality of most congregations is the pastor. I do not know the exact statistics of the matter or think that there is any way to really solve the problem of cults of personality even the early church had them. We all love a celebrity preacher. Many of whom are called and used of God greatly. It is we the people who follow the man or woman forgetting the head of the church is Christ. How many times do pastors leave a church to serve another only to be followed by a section of the congregation in which they left? Or many people will find another church altogether. The only reason for their appearance on Sunday morning was for a show and speech from the same guy over and over.

I propose in the AA model that elders selected by the congregation be in charge of the pastoring. These pastors would not be full time professional clergy but clergy whose responsibility is spread out so that no man or woman may hinder the congregation financially. Nor a cult of personality formed. Also no one man or woman would be the only “leader” but all the elders work together for the edification of the church. Essentially the elders may come from all walks of life. None should be forced into leadership but only if moved by the Spirit. The elders are subject to the congregation and accountable to one another. I have not thought far enough ahead if bishops over the congregations would be appointed. I suppose that upper leadership would be necessary if the model caught on. Speaking in this way it seems I am creating a denomination although that is not my intention.

Issues of concern

Obviously this article is very limited in nature. There are many issues involved in church planting and even more when planting a new style of meeting. Or maybe an old style that is rebirthed. Much work would have to be done while the congregation developed. It would be an exciting time for a new church. Just as in AA meetings which have many meetings throughout the week, the AA model would have many meetings. This is truly a family that doesn’t just meet on Sundays. A place of no condemnation, no judgement, a place of freedom and joy in the Spirit. Rich, poor, sinners, and saints, we are all the same.

So many times I have heard in actual AA meetings how they were drove from the church for their behavior and held in condemnation by legalistic attitudes. It truly breaks my heart.  I know that there is a major section of society who are not even in recovery that feel the same way. I have often said that recovery, AA, and treatment would be good for anyone regardless of addiction. It would be my desire to see an AA model of church offered to the unchurched or those leaving the “traditional” church.

Some may say, what about sound theological teaching? If you do not have a professional pastor how would sound teaching be taught? Well the early church made due than so can we. In fact all of the body should be able to “pastor” for a day if need be. We created a profession of professional preachers that the early church condemned. Paul went to great efforts to not take any monies from congregations he served. Also out of thousands of denominations around the world that claim the will of God, I know for a fact not a single one has the whole thing right. In a sense we are all a little bit heretical because true orthodoxy is lost. I think that the canonical scriptures and creeds of the early church give us a guide in how we should live out our lives as Christians. That being said none of us will get it 100% right. This was the struggle for the early church and the reason why a New Testament was even put together and creeds developed. The focus should always be on Jesus and his people, the body of Christ on earth. Our salvation through the cosmic action of his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit and his guidance on earth giving the people comfort and power to live our lives as followers of Christ. If we stay submitted to the Spirit in the best way we know how, everything will work itself out.

Vision into reality

I have always felt called to preach the word and pastor his people. Often within my denomination one must plant a church in order to be able to do such. Not planting a church for my sake, but for the people. Especially those in society who are on the fringe and maybe wouldn’t feel welcomed in the current church models. The whole idea would be pointless without a passion for people and a desire to see others come to the knowledge of Christ in their lives. A church without a lot of doctrine which hangs us up, a church that comes together with all our uniqueness. Do I plan on planting a type of church such as this? Yes, I am. I would love to turn this vision into a reality. I am in prayer and waiting for the time in which I believe God will say go, and I will go! If you like this idea and have the opportunity do it. Plant an AA model church or call it whatever you want. Contact me with ideas and suggestions I will humbly receive them all.

     

    

          

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Do You Speak in Tongues?

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Do you speak in tongues? Yes I do, but do you and why? Being raised Pentecostal and choosing to continue in the Pentecostal tradition as an adult, speaking in tongues has never been a scary or foreign topic. I have spoken to many Christians outside of Pentecostalism who have a variety of opinions on this matter. Most of the opinions come from cessationist, those who believe that there was a gift of tongues given to the early Christians but that after the days of the Apostles it ceased along with the other spiritual abilities such as healing, and prophecy. Those of us of the Pentecostal persuasion are considered continuationist, because we believe all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to the church on the day of Pentecost and have continued on up to the present day.

I love spirituality and the mystical nature of Christianity, I was born to be a Pentecostal. I always figured if God is alive in the world, he is speaking to us through spiritual means. God is spirit, he is doing miracles every day in each one of our lives; we just have to look for them. I believe he has also given you and me the ability to perform miracles for the kingdom of God. We are spiritual beings, this means we have spiritual abilities. This is awesome! Yet many conservative fundamentalist find it scary. Why, I really don’t know or understand. Jesus said himself, “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7, NIV) The NIV translates the Spirit as Advocate others say Comforter, basically the same thing. We know then that the Spirit of God is upon the earth. Jesus is no longer physically with us, but the Spirit is. Most Christian traditions believe in the Holy Trinity and would never deny this fact. But what about that gifts of the Spirit, specifically the gift of tongues also called glossolalia. Many Pentecostals believe that tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. While my opinion differs from most mainline Pentecostals I understand why it is used. Spirit Baptism is another article. Today the focus is just tongues. So tongues it is. It is considered by some the least of the gifts, a personal gift, yet also a gift that can be used in the church under proper order. Such as when one may be able to interpret what the Spirit is speaking to the congregation. I have seen this take place many times in my life, although I speak in tongues daily I have never interpreted. Listening to a message in tongues and hearing the message interpreted is a holy experience to behold. It is part of the joy of being open to the Spirt of God and his gifts. It is also an amazing powerful experience to speak in tongues; but what is tongues you might ask?

Where did tongues come from?

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As a Pentecostal Christian, I might look to the Biblical text to find out where tongues came from and of course look to the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2). What about prior to Acts 2 was there tongues before the coming of the Holy Spirit? Possibly. Some would look to Saul the first king of Israel “He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 19:25, NIV) to put it in a better perspective the ISV states that Saul was “Caught up in prophetic ecstasy.” Scholars often define tongues as a “disjointed, highly pitched, ecstatic series of ejaculations, similar to tongues spoken in times of spiritual awakening.”1   The book of Samuel also says the people thought he was among the prophets. This is interesting. Did all the prophets experience the gift of tongues during ecstatic experiences? It is a good question, without a solid answer. The Holy Spirit of God is God, and is not limited by time and dates of man. He has the discretion to do what he wills among us.

What about other faiths pre Pentecost and even today? We do have knowledge that spiritual awakenings and ecstatic experiences take place in mystical traditions around the globe. Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, various shamanic traditions and mystical religions incorporate speaking ecstatically. Yet this surely is not the Spirit of God? No it is not. The Spirit of God is only moving through those of the Christian tradition because the Spirit is only going to point us to Jesus Christ. Then what the heck is these other religions doing? Is it the devil? I don’t think it is the devil I have another answer. I believe it is within our biology and spirit to be mystical beings. We are spirit after all. We are only temporarily living in these earthly temples. It is no wonder that other faith traditions are able to be speak in tongues because it may just be an ability that is in all of us.

The Christian experience of tongues that is still active today was initiated by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. This ability to experience this awesome spiritual activity is available to you. All through the book of Acts one can see how tongues was passed from believer to believer, often through the laying on of hands. This leads us to examine how one can receive the gift of tongues.

How can I experience this gift?

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Pentecostal denominations usually have doctrine that shows the process leading to the experience of receiving tongues. Many Pentecostals and many within my own denomination look at tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where I disagree. I believe that we receive the infilling of the Spirit at the time of salvation. All of the abilities that the Holy Spirit may give to us are already within us; it just needs turned on. While many Pentecostals like to look at speaking in tongues as evidence of Spirit baptism, it is not an absolute. It is impossible to theologically know for sure. Sure we can derive a doctrine from the biblical text but so has 10,000 other groups, movements and denominations.

In short the answer is faith. If you want to experience the gift of tongues, you must have faith that you already have the ability. Remember you’re a spiritual being. Also after you receive it you must be able to believe what you are speaking is the gift of tongues. Often times as in my experience it was through the laying on of hands by my pastor. I not only spoke in tongues I felt the power of God moving through my body like electricity, it was a powerful spiritual experience. You must to let go of doubt and believe. Some Pentecostals believe that one must first be water baptized, while this may be ideal. I know it is not necessary, I have seen unbaptized believers speak in tongues. Although I highly suggest all believers to be baptized in water as the Lord commanded. I want to add that speaking in tongues should not be a one and done experience. It should be the beginning of a life long journey into a powerful prayer life that is beyond natural. So step into the supernatural and enjoy!

So what are the benefits?

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Actually this could be one article in itself. There is many benefits for the Christian who have realized that they have been filled with the Spirit possessing the ability to perform spiritual acts such as tongues. Paul tells us that in 1 Corinthians 14 how people should speak in tongues. He tells us that we are speaking directly to God, that it is not the cognitive self which is praying but the minds or spirit; the true self. In my opinion, many of us do not know what to pray for in the body, tongues will allow your spirit to communicate to God’s Spirit and tells God exactly what needs to be spoken. This is supported by Paul’s letter to the Romans, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26, NIV) Tongues is a form of prayer that can be done all throughout your day in order to keep yourself better attuned to the Lord.

Paul states that we edify ourselves by speaking in tongues. Scientific research shows that speaking in tongues actually gives a boost to the immune system up to 40%. See for this and more medical benefits. https://beingunderthenewcovenant.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/medical-facts-about-speaking-in-tongues-%E2%80%93-carl-r-peterson-m-d/

Speaking in tongues brings one closer to God. It creates a shift in consciousness that allows the Spirit to speak to us in a way that ordinary prayer does not. Many receive a message in tongues for the church. Another brother or sister who is present may be able to interpret the message. Speaking in tongues allows you to be humble and not pray for your own interest but the interest of your true self. A person will receives peace of mind and better emotional stability. It allows us to pray without ceasing, to relieve ourselves of the stress of the day, and most importantly it is something I believe that God wants us to do. Jesus told his followers when he left to wait until they receive the Spirit. The first thing that they did after receiving the Spirit was to speak in other tongues.  This is the power that created the universe on the tip of your tongue we just need to have the faith to receive.

In my opinion my personal ability to speak in tongues, as well as being around the phenomena is a holy and powerful experience. It brings your walk with Christ to another level allowing you to experience God in a refreshing way. I know there are detractors who believe that this is “strange fire” yet like many things all I have to say is, if you don’t know I can’t explain it. Speaking in tongues is one of the best benefits of being Pentecostal and I encourage you to speak in tongues as much as possible. If you have not yet tapped into your ability, use your faith that God has given you and begin your new journey in the Spirit. Blessings!

Notes

  1. Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984. 1137.

  

For the Love of Money

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Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV.

Lawyers, sometimes you love them most of the time you hate them. That being said the legal profession is essential to the United States. They help balance our society, yet just as society is imperfect so are the lawyers. Many in whom seek to reach their legal tentacles into every part of everyday life. This can mean many live in poverty along with others not being able to achieve advancement because corporate America is afraid of being sued. We live in a lawsuit happy nation, with money being the motivator. Of course it doesn’t help that “we the people” play along when it is in our interest. The cycle of greed continues and I suppose we are all guilty at some point or another. This article is not one that is designed to bash lawyers; I had an amazing attorney fight for me when I needed it. This is an article that will go down many paths from felons seeking employment, individuals trying to better themselves through references, as well as illegals within the country who cannot find work because of their status.

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One of the biggest problems facing HR managers today is the fear of being sued for negligent hiring. Like most rules on the books they start out with good intentions, but oh that love of money. Paul spoke to Timothy telling him “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). It goes both ways business desire to hire the best employees to profit their company and rightfully so, yet companies are intimidated by lawyers. Lawyers who will sue a business if said employee commits and act on the job in which negligent hiring can be proven. So these bully lawyers keep people out of work and entrapped in poverty. I have known many good companies who would hire reformed felons if it wasn’t for negligent hiring lawsuits. This is not just effecting people with felonies such as myself it is also effecting those with misdemeanors. We literally have millions of disenfranchised individuals in America. A new slavery of sorts. Oh of course you could say well you break the law you do the time. Except in the United States many times the time that is served is life. We live in a country in which draconian and puritanical laws are still in existence and once you are convicted of a crime it is a sentence of a scarlet letter for life. Rehabilitation is only a copout and the desire to keep a social class of slaves is fueled by the criminal justice system. Background checks are the norm for hiring in most companies and often the major intention is the fear of a negligent hiring lawsuits. What in the world did the country do before background checks? Well if history tells us anything it was doing a lot better than it is now. I know many people including myself who have a desire to work are unable to secure gainful employment. We are constantly turned down because of a criminal background. I like the quote from one of my favorite movies “The Kingdom of Heaven” The son comes to the father and says “I have committed murder” the father responds “haven’t we all.” Jesus spoke of murder taking place in the heart of man through hateful thoughts towards one another. I am mentioning murder it is obviously a hyperbole. Most people convicted of murder are sent to prison for life and most of the time it is justified. I am speaking about individuals such as myself who have never been to prison but still have a criminal history. Yes I have done wrong, I have paid for my choices, but should it be for life? Many companies have good hearts and would give many people second chances yet because of the possibility of negligent hiring they cannot take any chances. So what do we do? We cannot find work and we are not in prison. Many of us eventually do find some sort of manual labor after a duration of years, many just get fed up and end up back committing crime. Heck if society isn’t going to give you a chance then what’s the sense right? Wrong that is not the way to go about it. I decided to go back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree and have almost completed a Masters. I actually have a goal of continuing if accepted into doctoral studies of religion. I find that academia being fairly liberal is also very accepting.

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Why can’t a person better themselves and actually get a good job? Who said we cannot be the societal changers of the world? We can be the catalyst for change in the coming years! I urge anyone who is feeling hopeless to take up the call of right living. Jesus has accepted you even when no one else will.  The God who has created the universe is the same God that can open the doors and make the impossible possible. Jesus said “believe.” My brothers and sisters who have a background do not give up hope. Do not go back to crime. I know society does not understand but as our numbers grow so does our power.  We serve a God who reached out to the likes of us.  He didn’t come to those who are well, but to the sick.

My second issue with the negligent hiring lawsuits is that companies are even afraid of giving out a professional reference to a perspective employers. I have recently dealt with this in my own life as well. I find it very disturbing that lawyers are even going after companies who give professional references. They will sue companies that provide a reference if he or she turns out to be a “negligent hire.” So now everyone is scared to speak to each other because of lawsuits. While lawyers many times help people receive freedom it is the blood sucking brood of vipers who plague us with their lawsuits who are destroying the fabric of society. The EEOC says that a previous employer must give dates of hire, and must tell the perspective employer if they would hire again. I guess that is something, but the EEOC has much more work to do. Congress has much more work to do. Yet I don’t know if they work? Hmm. Legislation must be passed to end negligent hiring lawsuits. The end of negligent hiring and background checks for most jobs must take place. I understand that there are careers that because of my poor choices I cannot do. I accept that but I will not accept being a slave. Such legislation if passed would literally put an end to most disenfranchisement of felons, and help the advancement of citizens in the workforce.

My third issue is not one that has much to do with negligent hiring but with illegals trying to find work. Yes I am liberal on this issue. We cry and complain that illegals are sucking the social services dry, yet we will not let them work. We say that they are taking “our” jobs but they do the jobs nobody else wants for very low pay. So who are the true criminals? Well if we let them work they would be paying taxes and would not need social services. Easy answer to a big problem, yet in all honestly the three situations that I am addressing money is the major factor; just don’t love it. If people can take pride in what they do and earn a living wage business would boom. Buying and selling would go through the roof. The so called American dream could still be had. Yet the lawyers and bankers have been getting in the way so long by stuffing their pockets most people do not even know what the American dream is anymore.

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The early church prior to the 3rd century had it together. The book of Acts gives a small window into what life was like. People gave to each other holding nothing as their own. They lived in community and the Christ consciousness was alive in them. I believe that we are in a time of awakening on the earth, and also within the body of Christ. Jesus loves his church and desires his church to be one. The elimination of denominations and divisions that keep us from being united are being torn down and a free range church is rising. There will be those left in the walls of buildings and institutions clinging to human fundamentalism instead of the way of the Spirit. Most of the modern Protestant doctrines were created by men in the last couple hundred years who at the time seemed radical. Yet many of us perceive them as biblical fact. John Darby Nelson who gave us dispensationalism basically a hypothesis that cannot be proven nor disproven. Dispensationalism and eschatology go hand in hand Darby divides time into periods both past and future based on biblical text. A cool idea but not necessarily true, and was a radical idea at the time. Also the rapture, also an idea based on biblical text whom many attribute to Cotton Mather. While the orthodox and catholic church dismiss the rapture it is popular in my breed of Christianity. I am not trying to knock these theories, I am saying they were radical during the early 1800’s. They are now common place and often taken as fact by some. Now we have new ideas that are alive in the church. I believe it is because of the global consciousness that is leading the world into Christ consciousness. Part of this is being Jesus to each other, living out the scriptures in our lives, not out of fear of damnation but out of love. Being a Jesus follower and living life as Jesus lived his.

I know that I have gotten off track. Yet I think that it all comes together when we live in community as Christians. I have been wanting to address the evils of negligent hiring practices along with the idea that change while scary can be a good thing. I believe that everything is spiritual in some way, everything is divine. It is okay to mix social issues with our faith.

We can try to keep people out, people who are created in the image of God. People who just didn’t have the moral luck that maybe some of you had. You may be wishing to advance yourself in the country and find yourself unable to because of the evils of the love of money. This sin which has bound and chained our country. From my article “No Borders in Paradise” you will know that I don’t believe in borders or illegal immigrants because we are all people of the earth united under Christ. All people should be given a chance to be a part of society despite their mistakes, legal status, and social class. We should all have the ability through hard work to advance ourselves in this world. Yet for this to be possible I think a complete restructuring of society is what is needed. I do not really know what this looks like, but I am working on it.

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Finally I want you to be positive. No that Jesus loves you. He is with you. His will is only in your best interest. Life is tough, it really wasn’t meant to be easy. We need to take the path of least resistance and follow the Spirit of God and not the spirit of humanism. The Spirit that says that all things are possible. The Spirit that cries out that there is no limits, no ceiling. That even when we have barriers in society they can be removed. Rules can be broken, don’t break the law but rules always have exceptions. Whether you’re a person like me with a past, someone trying to advance their career or here illegally and desiring to cut out a life for yourself. It is possible like our master said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Blessings!

Path of Least Resistance

hfdhgszThe path of least resistance for many Christians seems like a foreign concept. Many American Christians desire to be at friction or war with our neighbors who happen to be different than us. Many, when thinking of “the path of least resistance,” will think of taking the easy way out, this is far from the truth. In fact the path of least resistance is the much harder path.  Now I know that many can and will quote scriptures that seem to be contrary to taking the path of least resistance. So let me tell you what the path of least resistance is, ready for this “To trust God in everything, to be at peace within yourself knowing that God is in control of all, to follow Jesus through the knowledge of the scriptures, becoming less associated with the self-will and increasingly transformed into God’s will.” Ultimately the goal is to rid one of self allowing one to enter into God. Jesus said For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:30) Jesus also states Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34) So forget yourself! If you want to read a book about the path of least resistance start with the book of Acts. The Apostles especially Paul followed this path he suffered shipwreck, prison, beatings, and finally death all while singing praises to God. Paul knew the secret which is not a secret at all. Paul did not have self-will he had God’s will. We do not have to force people into God’s will in fact it cannot be forced or bought it must be received.

Today in America we try to change people so much that we can end up forgetting that there is a God; who actually does the changing. We create resistance only to drain ourselves and make Christianity look like an ugly stain on society. We protest Gay marriage, guns, drugs, crime, abortion, and every other moral objection that comes out of our ten thousand plus denominations. Don’t get me wrong there is a war on Christianity yet our fellow man is not waging this war, the war is being waged by Satan and his fallen angels. Paul writes to the Ephesians telling them “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Instead what do we do, we damn our fellow man to hell because they happen to be different than us or believe in a different political opinion, dress differently, come from a different culture or have a different type of theology. God loves these people too just as much as He loves you and me. Being in opposition brings irritation, only to makes you irritated, discontent, and unsatisfied with life. While you are thinking you’re on the road less travelled your actually taking the broad road of irritated, angry, and frustrated people. This is not the road to the kingdom this is the road of the fundamental Christian based on outdated American theology that came about in large part due to the Civil War and the argument over slavery. (That’s another article)

Let me show you a better way, or let me let Paul show you a better way.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13)

Paul understood that we can be annoying, irritated, and angry people, but these attributes will not win anyone to Christ.  Yet faith, hope, and love the three attributes that make up our true selves are used by the Spirit to draw all men unto Him.  When we step out of ourselves and into Christ we see that there is not a war on Christianity in America there is a war within us that becomes enraged when we see the country going the way in which we don’t agree with.  Let me finish with a proverb.

There was a man who won a car in a drawing, all of his friends were happy for him and expressed how lucky he was for winning such a nice car.  The man didn’t smile or frown just simply said “well maybe”

The man decided to take his new car out on a Sunday afternoon for a drive. While driving his car he was involved in a terrible accident that destroyed his car and landed him in the hospital. His friends came to him and said, how tragic that you have been injured and your new car destroyed. The man said again with the same attitude “well maybe”

While the man was in the hospital a storm came upon his town and a tornado demolished is home, again his friends visited him telling him how lucky he was to be in hospital during the storm. I am sure you know his comment.

Often we do not know the beginning from the end, but if we trust God for the outcome in all things we will be exactly where we need to be. At the center of His will.