“Unsaved Neighbors” – Puke!

I had an “Evangelical Christian Republican” (my label, not his and this may be an unfair label and in fact, I hate labels so I am sorry for using one) arguing with me this morning on Facebook. He was explaining to me how Socialism is a failed system and we can’t level the playing field for those who were born without privilege. I’m not a socialist by the way, but I do believe that if we’re going to tax our society we should use those tax dollars to help EVERYONE not just the large corporation and in fact not at all the large corporation but rather the individuals in need. I also would argue that we as a society should do whatever we can within our power to make sure that both health care and education are human rights. There should be some limits… but we’ve got to have the conversation and not just shoot it down because we believe it is “communism” or “socialism.”

Everyone is born into different economic situations, and more importantly, everyone is born into different families and some of those families aren’t as caring, supportive, and as encouraging as others but everyone should have the same opportunity.

The following statement really aggravated me…

“The Kingdom of God is made up of believers that have a super-natural ability to love their neighbors as themselves. With this Spirit inspired ability comes the Wisdom of God. Thus the Kingdom of God is ruled by Christ through the power of the Holy Ghost. The early church in Jerusalem demonstrated this love in very practical ways. To expect our unsaved Neighbors to live this way without the power of God within them is extremely naive.”

I don’t have any unsaved Neighbors bud! I have neighbors. PERIOD. Although they may not have come to the same beliefs that I have about Jesus, they are humans and they are LOVED by God regardless of their theological conclusions. It is my job to show them and proclaim to them the love of God and I don’t love them more or less or differently because they are or are not “believers” in my mind. I realize that my friend here isn’t saying “piss on un-believers” but what he is saying without doing so intentionally is that there is a difference between us and them. That BS IDEA has to be crushed. It has to come to an end. I have to suppress the desire to label “evangelical Republican Christians” and “Religious idiots” and we all have to do whatever we can to love and leave the doors open for all.

Click here to listen or hit play below:

The Kingdom of God is within you…

I’ve thought on this for a while… Not sure where to go with this or how to apply it. But it is interesting.

Would this change anything for you….?

What if the great coming of God in His glory…. was Jesus on the cross? What if the glory of God revealed to man was miraculous forgiveness?

How would that change your eschatology?

How would that change your orthopraxy?

Something to ponder….

I really believe the Spirit of God screamed out to me today…

I’m going to share this exactly as it happened because I think that there is important stuff in the details. I was sitting on the loo (I’m avoiding the word toilet, because if I sound a bit British in your mind I can get away with saying more I believe for some odd reason) today (actually it will be yesterday when I post this…) and reading Facebook posts on my phone when I read a post from a friend who I completely love and totally respect. The post included a humble statement about having what he didn’t deserve. Another friend posted a more self-depreciating statement that included a line about deserving hell.

Both of these friends are men that I love and respect and would never want to offend.

At first I made a joke and agreed in principle with both friends, but moments later something in my spirit screamed… I really think it was the Spirit of God shouting no. A thousand words came rushing to me at that moment and I believe they really came from God. I can’t repeat what I believe God said to me in His words… so I’ll try to express what I felt after hearing from God.

I felt overwhelmed with joy about how incredibly much I am loved. I felt overwhelmed with how much God loves my friends, how much He loves you, and how much He loves your friends!!! I almost instantly found myself screaming at the horrible crap B— Sh-t that my friends had just posted. I wanted to scream over and over and over… I wanted to type over and over and over… BS BS BS BS BS BS BS BS BS…. this is a sack of lies, this is crap, this is total BS! You don’t deserve hell! You deserve to be placed in the Louvre Museum because you are God’s Masterpiece! NEVER again call God’s masterpiece trash deserving of fire and torture!

No good parent would want to see their son or daughter crying out that he or she wasn’t good enough. No good father would want his daughter feeling worthless. I can’t imagine that God finds any joy in your believing that you are deserving of hell. Yes I’m familiar with Jesus’ story in Luke 18 about the two men praying. I get that, but that doesn’t mean that God wants us to go around trashing His handiwork over and over. Confess your sins… SURE. But in all actuality what Jesus’ story was speaking to was a man who admitted his weakness rather than his “bad”ness. Repent, beat your chest, have remorse… but then GET UP and believe that GOD is making you. God is recreating you. God intends for you to become His wonderful masterpiece and it is time that you quit calling God’s creation crap!

There was a warning placed on Facebook tonight…

I’d rather you hear it from me…

There was a warning placed on Facebook tonight about me, Josh McDowell and my friends at aplacetotalk.

I want you to be warned because, as I’ve said 100’s of times – I want you to hear from God and not from Josh McDowell. If God has spoken to another human being and asked Him to warn the world about me, I want to be helpful to that man and to God.

There was not a direct attack at anything that I’ve said or done, just words like “dangerous deceiver”, “pseudo spiritual garbage”, “false teacher”, “poison” and “urine”.

I’ve been taking some ugly shots for a few months now, and it seems to be escalating.

I was talking to a good friend the other day. He had just discovered that there were some people out there that don’t respect me. I was trying to explain to him why people don’t like me and the spiritual things that I talk about and write about. As I struggled to put it all into words (quick short sentences) that wouldn’t take all day to explain – I realized that I’m thinking about and coming to believe a lot of theology that people in the past have been killed for teaching.

I’m writing a book now. I’ve completed the first chapter and intro so this type of stuff has really compelled me to get going on that front. I guess I’m saying the latest round of attacks against me will be good for me. Iron sharpens iron and trials from the enemy help us grow. So whether these attacks are from above or below, I believe God will use them for my growth.

I’m going to share some random thoughts here in quick bullet points… this may help you understand where I’m coming from and what I’m teaching.

– Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Him (Jesus)
– Jesus is the exact representation of the Father (God the Father)
– The Jews were confused about God, and God sent His Son to reveal what He was really like
– We’ve all been confused about God from time to time’
– I love the bible, but I’m very careful not to make it an idol
– I believe Jesus is the Word (logos) of God
– The bible contains words from God, and words about God but it isn’t God
– I totally reject the concepts behind TULIP – the theology that is referred to as Calvinism today
– I don’t think that man is so depraved that he can’t turn toward grace
– I don’t believe that God only elects some for His love
– I don’t believe that Jesus died just for those He elected
– I don’t believe that God forces anyone to turn to Him
– I don’t believe that God keeps us against our will
– I don’t think John Calvin would be a TULIP Calvinist if he were alive on earth today
– In spite of the fact that there are places in the English translations of the scripture that say that God hates sinners and that we should hate mother and father if we want to follow Jesus, I believe those ideas are totally false and not the original intend of the authors.
– I believe that God is Love
– I believe that God’s primary characteristic is LOVE
– I trust Jesus Christ alone for my reconciliation, salvation, and daily life
– I don’t believe in the hell that Dante’s inferno teaches
– I do believe in hell, but I don’t believe that a faith in hell is essential to receiving the grace of God
– I believe that Jesus’ death on the cross demonstrated His love for every person ever to live on planet earth, including Osama Bin Laden, Adolph Hilter, Constantine, John Calvin, and even men like the Emperors Domitian and Nero.
– I believe that the concept of a clergy / laity divide is a mistake and shouldn’t exist in the church
– I believe that the Lord’s supper was intended to promote fellowship, real communion, not just another time to condemn God’s people and make them feel guilty about what they’ve thought, said, or done this week
– I believe that we don’t avoid sin by focusing on sin nor by working to do good.
– Instead I believe that we’ll best learn to avoid sin by hearing from God, listening to His voice (via the Holy Spirit) and by coming to know His unconditional love for us
– I do believe that passages like John 12:32, Acts 3:20-21, Romans 5:18-19, Romans 11:32, II Peter 3:9, Psalm 145:9, I John 3:8, Romans 11:36, I Corinthians 15:20-28, II Corinthians 5:14-15, 17-21, Ephesians 1:10, Philippians 2:10-11, Colossians 1:20, Hebrews 2:8-9, Hebrews 2:14-15, Hebrews 10:12-13, Psalm 110:1, Romans 8:34, James 1:18, II Peter 3:9, I John 2:2, I John 3:8, I John 4:14, Revelation 20:14, Revelation 21:4-5, I Timothy 2:3-6, and I Timothy 4:9-11 are under appreciated.
– These passages seem to indicate that Jesus eventually gets what He wants – you.
– I reject parts of the theology of Penal Substitutionary atonement.
– Penal Substitutionary atonement theory wasn’t taught by any of the early church fathers. This theology was first introduced in the 11th century by Anselm of Cantebury
– I attempt to not allow people to refer to me as teacher, Father, or leader based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:8-10. When I discovered that “Pastor” was the word many people used to mean leader, teacher, and father all rolled up into one I decided that I shouldn’t be called “pastor” either
– I do not condemn anyone and I don’t condemn other men who choose to answer to the title pastor
– Some of my best friends use that title
– I’m hopeful about the theology often referred to as apokatastasis
– I absolutely am not a Universalist, because as the first point listed here says, I believe Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Him
– I am hopeful about Christ’s desire and plan to reconcile everything to Himself

A WORD ABOUT APLACETOTALK – The above beliefs are mine, they do not express the beliefs in total of the people of aplacetotalk. The people of aplacetotalk teach, talk, and pray with one another. They are free to believe as they do from God alone. They follow God alone and not a man, except the man Christ Jesus.

A cult requires that every member share a large belief system. A group like aplacetotalk agrees on a few core things and encourages everyone to think for themselves.

Here are the four key things that the people of aplacetotalk share –
#1 We want to be a place where Christ is exalted
#2 We believe that talking in church should be normal
#3 We believe that everyone’s journey toward Christ-likeness should be celebrated (all along that journey)
#4 We believe that every Christian should be a priest – connecting others to the unconditional love of God

Plan of Salvation

Is “Plan of Salvation” good terminology?

I was reading an email I get periodically from a guy about witnessing and passing out tracks, and in the email I came across a common phrase that hit me in an unusual way for the first time. The phrase was three simple words, but the three words when used together seem to cause us to disregard their individual meaning.

The three word phrase was – Plan of Salvation. Have you ever thought about what those three words imply? I hadn’t until last night.

Plan – A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.

OF – Expressing the relationship between a part and a whole: “the sleeve of his coat”.

Salvation – Deliverance from sin and its consequences.

So when we break down the words, we see that the phrase plan of salvation means – A detailed proposal for doing or achieving deliverance from sin and its consequences.

After giving the phrase Plan of Salvation a bit of thought, I realized that I don’t believe in the plans of salvation that evangelicals teach. See I don’t believe that we do or achieve anything in order to deliver us from sin or its consequences. I believe Jesus forgave us of our sins before we even committed them and He proved that forgiveness by allowing humanity to crucify Him on the cross. As Jesus was crucified He even cried “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

See we don’t need a plan for salvation. We don’t need to do anything. Salvation is real, it is done, Jesus forgave the world before we even began to understand God’s forgiveness. The question isn’t “What is the Plan of Salvation?”, but rather “Are you living in faith that Jesus has already forgiven you?”

See salvation is here, the question is do you believe and are you by faith living in that grace?

So, I don’t think I’ll use the phrase “Plan of Salvation” anymore. The plan of Salvation is go and tell the world that God isn’t mad, and He isn’t holding sin against anyone. God loves you and His death on the cross was His way of proving His love to us. You are forgiven, you are free, Jesus has completed the Plan of Salvation, the only remaining question is, “Are you living in the freedom and forgiveness that God offers.

You are forgiven, you are free, you are no longer condemned, Jesus came to forgive the world and He is here and you are forgiven. Get it, forgiven! Good News, you are forgiven!

If you want to be “saved,” live free knowing that you are forgiven. Living in belief, will change your life and save you from so many problems in life. Believe in who Jesus is and what He did and you are living in belief, faith, grace! Congrats!!

My 2 cents on Halloween…

Today I read a friend on Facebook complaining about churches and Trunk or Treats. I began to comment without much thought. However; as I typed I began to hear my heart and I believe the heart that God is shaping in me and I wanted to share that comment here (My friend’s name is Lynette):

I remember thinking just like you Lynette. I preached a sermon one year before Halloween encouraging people to stand against the evil holiday, about a year later I had a choice to make – help with an event at the church on Halloween or sit back and complain about it. I decided to help, by the end of that event it was my baby to handle for the next years. Two years later on Halloween we had over 25,000 people show up and many heard the gospel. I knocked on doors delivering prizes for months after that event, many times people prayed prayers with me beginning a conversation with God. Today, I’m not planning events like that… I think God has me on a different journey but I’m not going to fuss and condemn anyone for where they are on their journey either. Today, I’d rather have a beer with someone or play poker with them and really get to know them instead of just knocking on their door and pushing them toward something they don’t understand. But, I’m not going to condemn the old way either… instead I want to celebrate the journey.

If we aren’t careful we’ll spend all of our energy fighting instead of loving and being light. Jesus said they will know us by our love.

I know Halloween loving Christians and Halloween boycotting Christians, but I think it would be wise for us to love and respect both.

I know Democrat Christians, and Republican Christians and I think I understand the reasoning for both. I happen to be a more of a libertarian leaning Christian (Ron Paul style Libertarian) but I’m not going to say that you aren’t a Christian if you don’t vote my way. I skimmed an article today called why I’m a Democratic Christian and I saw good points.

In Ezra the religious Israelite people decided that the only way that they could obey God was to divorce their wives and put their children in the street all because they married Moabite and other foreign wives but in Ruth, Boaz is called the Kinsman redeemer for marrying a Moabite woman. I think those who took Ezra’s leadership were wrong, but I understand their journey. So there you have two bible books that have opposite messages… beware of seeing only black and white in a world where evil pretends to be good and sometimes is better at looking good than the better truth loving people. What I’m trying to say there is this, If the devil entered a “Christian of the Year” contest at most American Churches he would win by a landslide.

Sometimes following Christ isn’t easy and clear-cut. In fact, the key to the Christ life may include disagreeing and challenging one another without judging and hating one another, iron sharpening iron.

I’m getting ready to study dispensationalism, a theology that I totally disagree with in hopes of better understanding dispensationalists that I love. Why, because iron sharpens iron.

Lynette, I remember 7 or 8 years ago realizing that I didn’t have any lost friends… I realized that I was only hanging out with religious people. The problem was I simultaneously realized that I had insulated myself from everything that religious people might crucify me for. I’m still too insulated today, but I’m trying to learn to be IN THE WORLD enough to know and impact the world. The salt is no good in the shaker, and the light has no value under the bushel. Remember Jesus was called a winebibber and a drunkard. He didn’t get that reputation by standing outside the bar protesting its liqueur license!

Have a beer today with someone who hates religion and could care less about Jesus and then maybe we’ll all learn something about loving people who don’t think like us. That’s my 2 cents!

God regretted making man?

Genesis 6’s flood story is a bit troublesome to me, but I’ve always been told that God gave the people 120 years to repent and nearly 100 years of Noah’s preaching to repent and join him on the ark building and eventually on the ark.

Today I decided to read again about that time… the 100 to 220 years of opportunity for repentance and I couldn’t find it in the scriptures. Where does the bible speak of Noah’s preaching repentance before the flood came?