Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's In It for Me?

Why are we Serving the Lord?

That's a good question for all Christians to ask ourselves from time to time.

In Malachi 3:14, we read about people being confronted with sinful, self centered motives for serving the Lord.

They are asking, "What "profit" is there in serving the Lord? It is clear that what they really care about is, "what's in it for me?"

In 2 Timothy 4:3, we read the apostle's warning to Timothy of the skewed motivations he will encounter in those who claim to follow Christ but in reality only follow their own lusts.

God's people would not be heaping teachers to themselves who lead them into deception, doctrines of devils, error, apostasy (and they are presently doing just that in record numbers), unless there was something in it for them.

Paul spoke of the time when many who profess Christ would cease to endure sound doctrine. Are we living in that time now?

Why are we serving Christ? Is it time to pray the prayer found in the Psalms, "Test my thoughts. Search my heart...?

Friday, August 29, 2008

The File Has Been Corrupted

In exodus 32, Moses is instructed by the LORD to get down from the mountain because the people had “corrupted themselves.” What exactly does it mean to be “corrupted?”

To most of us, corruption means filth, vice and perversion. So if we don’t fit into those categories, we feel quite safe from corruption, don’t we. But are we really?

The following example comes to mind:
As I was working on my computer, I recently received a message from my anti-virus program that said, “RISKWARE. HIDDEN INSTALL.” That was alarming. I was informed that there were a couple of programs installed and running on my computer without user interaction. In other words, these programs were just doing their own thing without my permission or knowledge.

They had somehow managed to slip by the security systems I had in place and were now writing their own files in my system, while, at the same time, were altering other files. Healthy files on my computer were becoming corrupted.

Listen to this commentary here, or scroll down to continue reading:
video

How could that be, when, on the surface, everything appeared normal?

I called my PC tech and was told that although things appeared normal, and my computer seemed to be functioning just fine at the moment, the RISKWARE, unless gotten rid of, would continue to write its own files, while altering others. And one day, when enough critical files were altered, my computer would be effectively destroyed. How long would that take? It depends, he said, on how fast the RISKWARE worked.

Even though a computer can function with some corrupted files, it is not something that can usually be ignored indefinitely.

What happens when a file is corrupted?
1.) It loses functionality. It no longer executes commands correctly
2.) It becomes utterly useless—destroyed

But isn’t it interesting, that the results of corrupting a file are not always immediately apparent? Things can roll happily along for quite some time…until the file that has been corrupted is needed. Then, it will either zig when it should zag, or it simply will not respond at all.

RISKWARE. HIDDEN INSTALL! How in the world does that happen? In my case, something harmful had been injected into my system through something which appeared to be safe (remember the story of the Trojan Horse? The gift that rolled through the gate of the city, that was, in reality, a hidden bunker harboring enemy troops?). I had downloaded a program that was acting as a hidden bunker for this RISKWARE, a malicious virus, that had now made my healthy system its home and was working stealthily at corrupting it—writing its own files (one right after another), and altering others. My system was slowly but steadily changing—for the worse.

And I was assured by my tech support, that the situation would continue to deteriorate, until one day, my computer would lose functionality altogether. It would become completely corrupted…and crash.

Aren’t people like that? Can’t we function, apparently quite normally (sometimes for a very long time), even with a few corrupted files? But even so, it is a serious thing when we allow the situation to continue without intervention.

Through His risen son—Christ Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and His Word—the Bible, God has given us all things that pertain to LIFE and to godliness. But we are the keepers of the gate. Jesus said we must be DOERS of the Word and not hearers only.

If we are hearers only, and not obedient to the word of God, RISKWARE will infest our lives and spirits—writing files on our hearts that oppose God, His word and His Spirit, altering our attitudes until we are changed—for the worse, no longer responding to the Spirit of God, or to others, as we should—as He intended. We become hardened to selfishness, pride, materialism, blatant sin and destruction. Our conscience no longer bothers us. We become comfortable inviting even more RISKWARE into our lives by watching things on television (movies or DVD’s), listening to things on radio (CD’s or MP3’s), or participating in activities that once we knew were wrong and would have made us feel badly—but no longer. We are headed for destruction and don’t even know it. Our lives, and the lives of those closest to us, are adversely affected. Our relationships are damaged or ruined. Our physical, mental and emotional health is adversely affected. Our faith is eroded and headed for shipwreck.

Without intervention, we are on a collision course with utter destruction—we are going to crash. And Jesus said when the crash comes, it will be a big one.

But if we hear His word and act on it (are you reading your Bibles every day, always picking up today where your left off yesterday?), our system defenses will work properly. The RISKWARE will be detected and gotten rid of before we become completely corrupted. We will respond to the Spirit of the Lord, and to others, as we should. We will function properly as our creator intended. We will walk in the peace and the victory that Jesus promises to those who love and obey Him.

Do you know Jesus as your savior? Are you absolutely certain that you have eternal life that only he can give? If not, open your Bible and begin reading at the New Testament Book of John. We recommend a King James Bible with no chapter headings or study notes.

For more Christian Grown resources, visit our main website at www.HungryHeartsMinistries.com

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sharecropper Christian Radio Short Segment Video Playlist

Segments added regularly, so this playlist will grow

Sharecropper Christian Radio Random Segment 3

Listen to a segment of Sharecropper Christian Radio while watching newly-weds, Mr and Mrs Jonah (They need prayer. They are terribly unequally yoked and not getting off to a good start), a Bible Reading, a commentary, Testimony of Butch Watkins miraculous healing when he destroyed his kidneys by drinking anti-freeze in a suicide attempt, and the anointed music ministry of Tom Beam.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Living Faith -Vs- Dead Works

What is the difference Between being religious (full of dead works) and having a living faith?

In Matthew 23, We find Jesus preaching hard and having a regular hissy fit with the religious leaders of his day.

But before he started rebuking them, he was careful to instruct his followers not to rebel against the "God-instituted" authority of that day (whose leadership was admittedly flawed and coming to a swift end). After that, he proceeded to flail that authority for all it was worth--publically.

He pointed out that even though they said the right things, they did not do the right things.

In chapter 23, Jesus warned his followers to, "do what they say (speaking of the scribes and Pharisees, but do not do what they do."

So, from this, we know that it is possible for a person to say all the right things and still be wrong.

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus did not say, "Ye shall know them by their words." He said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."

**Although the scribes and the pharisees were in a place of legitimate authority and were not false prophets, per se, the things Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7, can be very valuable in identifying the false prophets Jesus warned about in that chapter.

Having said all that, let's look at Dead Works -Vs- Living Faith.

Living Faith is rooted entirely in love and relationship. The Bible says living faith works by love, while being "religious" is always rooted in dead works.

It is possible to be saved and at the same time have our lives filled with dead works?which almost certainly choke out the living faith we should be growing in.

When Jesus swung his spiritual 2x4 at the religious leadership of his day, he pointed out how beautiful their outward appearance of holiness was.

Dead works are seductive. They appear beautiful. They feel good (read Proverbs 14:12).

They are very deceiving. Dead works can cause us to adopt a form a godliness while missing the real thing entirely.

Jesus said those who appeared to be so holy and spiritual, were nothing more than elaborately, beautifully "decorated" grave sites. They were walking dead men. Their faith was not alive. Under the lovely veneer of religion, they were full of putrefication and stunk to high heaven.

That is the case with all dead works.

And what was worse, those who looked to them for instruction in the ways of life--became like them--putrefied, stinking, children of hell. Read Matthew 23:15.

Jesus called those who depended upon adherence to rituals and the visual reinforcements of religion "blind fools."

Jesus did stress that obeying the written Word of God?the scriptures?was always
the right thing to do, but he clarified that by saying that it is the spirit?not the letter?that gives life (23:23).

The spirits, those personal non-benevolent entities, that deceived the blind religious fools of Jesus' day are still alive and well today. And they still
produce only dead works and death.

In seeking to establish their own righteousness, many, along with the scribes and the Pharisees, have rejected the righteousness that comes only by faith in the shed blood, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ?without rituals, works or visual reinforcements. Read Romans 10:2-3, then proceed to 9-13.

Blind, religious fools do not believe they have rejected God's righteousness. There is no way we could convince most them that they are not?of all people?most holy--definitely most spiritual.

But too much of their faith is rooted in ritual, in visual reinforcement, in their own works, activities, will-power and ability.

Because of that subtle deception, many are deceived into thinking they have living faith, when in reality they are keeping company with the scribes and the Pharisees?the very ones Jesus called the walking dead.

Don't we want every part of our faith to be living?

If anyone one feels they can connect with Jesus better through any religious ritual, ceremony or by adhering to a set of activities, rules and regulations (even ones we establish for ourselves), this is not living faith. This is being religious. All such things are dead works. They are useless.

In God's eyes they are worse than useless?they stink.

Does the presence of religious pictures, symbols, images such as Jesus, crosses, so-called angels or icons of any sort give you comfort and help you feel holier and closer to God?

The Bible forbids such things and makes very clear that those who resort to visuals do not possess a living faith.

Such practices are merely religious, providing a façade of faith toward the true and living God, and a façade of spirituality, i.e., dead works.

Jesus, the Creator, is not revealed in icons, images or symbols. He is only revealed in things that were made without human hands.

Jesus, the Living Word, is revealed within the pages of the God breathed, written Word of God?the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus, the only way, the only truth and the only life, resides within those who belong to him. He is always there. He requires no ritual or visual reinforcement-beyond faith and obedience to the scriptures, in order to activate his presence and power in our lives.

In reality, these visuals detract from his presence, which needs no help from us besides a surrendered life.

We are commanded in the Word of God, the second commandment found in Deuteronomy chapter five, verse eight, not to provide ourselves with any
image.

The scriptures say, "Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed." Faith without visuals is the purest faith.

It is a spirit of idolatry which drives people to desire visuals. We need to "see," but our sight must come only through eyes of faith.

And faith is what...?

The substance of things hoped for?the evidence of things "not" seen.

The scriptures are clear that it is sin to provide ourselves with visuals intended to reinforce our faith or to advertise our beliefs to others. Using visuals to advertise our beliefs to others is not being a witness. That is also a dead work... Not a living faith.

The religious leadership of Jesus' day did all those things?and taught others to do them as well...

And Jesus exposed them?publicly and undiplomatically?for the blind, fool hypocrites that they really were... (Matthew 23:5).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Let's All Be Positive and Just Get Along Shall We?

We hear the word "Pharisee" being tossed around quite liberally these days.

Many Christians today define "Pharisee" as someone who is always "finding fault" with others. We recently heard one pastor use the scripture passage in Mark 7:1-15 (where Jesus called the Pharisees "God hating hypocrites") as a basis for coming to the conclusion that we should always say positive things and that we should never say negative things. We had a difficult time understanding how this conclusion could be reached in light of Jesus' accusations against the Pharisees recorded in that same chapter. Rather, the focus was only on the “negative” words and “fault finding” of the Pharisees themselves without regard for the absolutely evil intentions which lay behind them—which was to gather evidence they could use in order to have Jesus, the Lord of Glory, put to death.

Does Mark chapter seven really teach that everything that comes out of our mouths should be "positive" and that we should never be like the Pharisees and say things that are "negative?" Can “positive” be defined as always being good? Can “negative” be defined as always being wicked? Many, in these last days, say the answer to these questions is, yes. But does the Bible teach that this is so? Can the Pharisees in Mark chapter 7 honestly be cited as biblical examples of these false definitions of the words positive and negative? Can we stay true to scripture while minimizing and transforming the hypocritical, extremely dangerous, God-hating, scripture hating, murderous Pharisees into simply being "negative, fault finders" who could not "get along" with others?

How about the fact that in that same passage of scripture we read that Jesus made no effort whatsoever to "get along" with the Pharisees? What about the fact that he also "found fault" with them and said "negative" things to them by calling them God-hating hypocrites?

Can anyone argue that calling someone a "hypocrite" is a negative statement? So how do we reconcile that with being told to never say anything negative? Was Jesus being "wicked" when he attached such a non-affirming label to the Pharisees and negatively accused them of secretly hating God (drawing near to him with their mouths but their hearts were far from him)?

We have heard Christians minimize and transform the scripture that commands us to "love the brethren" into one that simply tells us to always "get along" with everyone. One pastor said that if anyone could not "get along" with people, then the Bible says they are not saved.

Always "getting along with everyone" is a shallow and utterly false interpretation of the biblical command found in 1 John to "love the brethren"—especially so if one observes that the passage in question, which tells us that we can know we have passed from death into life if we love the brethren, is dealing with the example of one man, Cain, who hated his brother, Abel, so much that he murdered him.

Is there any way this verse can be used as a good example of simply "not getting along?"

No, there is not. It is possible to “not get along" with someone without hating them. And it is possible to hate someone while putting on a very convincing public show of “getting along” with them. The example given in 1 John, is an example of one man who was in total rebellion against the Word and will of God and absolutely hated his brother who was completely submitted to the will and word of God.

Cain considered the blood sacrifice offered by Abel to be undesirable, "negative," i.e.—bad. With his offering, when he brought the beautiful life-affirming fruits of his labor before the Lord, Cain certainly kept everything on a very upbeat, "positive," level. He could not see the sense in killing an innocent animal (The sacrifice of Christ is called obscene by some who profess to be Christians). But when God rejected Cain's "positive" life-affirming offering, Cain had no qualms about murdering his own brother.

In light of this scenario, which is the background for John’s statement about loving the brethren, can we honestly say that not "getting along" is evidence that we are not saved? No, that is definitely a shallow minimization and entirely inappropriate definition for 1 John 3:14.

The Bible is clear that we should always speak the truth in love. But can speaking the truth appear to be "negative" and even be the cause of conflict? Jesus said that he would pit mothers against daughters, sons against fathers and brothers against brothers. Jesus said that he did not come (the first time) to bring peace but rather a sword. Jesus made it obvious that speaking and standing for the truth, contending earnestly for the faith, as the Bible commands us to do, will cause conflict. Jesus identified Abel as a prophet. Abel spoke the truth. Abel became the first martyr. And he died at the hands of his brother for standing for the truth--not because they simply could not "get along."

Can we unequivocally say speaking the truth will always sound positive? There are many examples in scripture where the truth, even where spoken in love and compassion, does not sound up-beat or optimistic, and indeed can be very bad news. Read Luke 23:28-31.

We are commanded in scripture to confront sin among the "brethren." That is a loving thing to do although as first it may seem very "negative," (not up-beat and optimistic--gloomy?) even when confronting the brother or sister in meekness and love as we are commanded to do. We are commanded to confront the sin of teaching false doctrine as well as sins of immorality. In fact, the sin of teaching false doctrine—heresy—is so serious, that we are commanded in scripture to admonish a heretic only once or twice before separating him from our company altogether. Could anyone misconstrue that as a negative (offensive) action? Sure they could. But they would be wrong.

Many Christians today are refusing to contend for the faith by taking up the centuries old mantra of, "In essentials Unity. In non-essentials liberty. In all things charity." It is a serious mis-application of the meaning of this saying, which can be traced back to the Protestant Reformation, if it is being used in regards to doctrine. The reformers never compromised on matters of clear biblical teaching. They allowed themselves to be imprisoned, tortured and killed before they compromised the clear teachings of scripture. The Bible says the world is not worthy of these Christians, yet who can say they were always careful to say only “positive” (optimistic) things and worried about “getting along” with everyone?

If a brother or a sister is blatantly practicing sin and refuses to repent of and forsake that sin, we are commanded in scripture not to even sit down and take a meal with that person—does this sound "positive?" (affirming) No, it does not sound positive. But it is scriptural and good fruit always comes of being obedient to scripture. The Bible instructs us to openly rebuke those that sin so that others may fear the consequences of sinful behavior. Does this sound positive (affirming)? Hardly. And, sadly, this command is being disregarded on a wholesale level within churches today. Ironically though, even though those in the church who practice sin are routinely ignored and treated “positively,” (in a manner which affirms their sinful choices) those who are contending for the faith, as the scriptures command, are being openly rebuked...so that others may fear the consequences of dissenting when false doctrine is being taught. This is wrong and it is wicked.

This business of positive, negative and always "getting along" with people is not about true, biblical, Christian unity. It is Satan’s counterfeit of biblical Christian unity. The definitions of "positive and negative" (which refer to energy or electricity—not to good or bad) have absolutely nothing to do with biblical concepts but have everything to do with psychological / New Age concepts of positive and negative which denote optimistic, pessimistic, good, bad, affirming or non-affirming or offensive.

The New Age / psychological concept of always being positive and never being negative cannot be found in scripture. Indeed, the language is loaded, and the way we currently use the words, "positive and negative," cloud understanding, shrinks vocabulary, reduces capacity for critical thinking, and turns us into mindless automatons spouting propaganda using slogans such as, Always be positive! Never be negative! What in the world does that mean anyway? The word "positive" has simply become a slang term for several different words that have completely different definitions—and the same goes for the word "negative."

Examples:
Positive = CERTAIN: "I feel certain..." -Vs- I am positive..."
Positive = OPTIMISTIC: "keep an optimistic outlook..." -Vs- "positive attitude"
Positive = UPBEAT: which would be very similar to Optimistic

Negative = PESSIMISTIC, looking at the what can go wrong (not to be confused with trouble-shooting, which is a good thing if not taken to extremes)
Negative = OFFENSIVE

Suggestion: Consciously choose words which clearly describe what we are attempting to say rather than inserting all purpose slogans which are not true to the meaning of what we are trying to communicate and that narrow our thinking and cloud our understanding and perceptions.

On the subject of "always getting along," scripture does not teach that everyone should always "get along." If that was the case, then Jesus, our primary example, would have been a dismal failure as a Christian. He never attempted to “get along” with everyone, but always spoke the truth. And what about the prophets? How many of them made certain their words always sounded "positive" and made certain they "got along" with everyone?

The concept of everyone "getting along" simply cannot be found in scripture either. It can, however, be found in interfaith ecumenism. Interfaith ecumenism is Satan’s counterfeit of Christian unity, a reverse, demonic, unity based on rejection of scripture as our final authority for faith and doctrine. In fact, interfaith ecumenism, the goal of which is a one world religion, operates on the basic concept that holding to any doctrine—at all—is divisive and therefore should be rejected in favor of "unity-at-any-cost." Sadly, many Christians today are falling for this counterfeit and promoting a sinful, compromising, unity which does not tend toward life.

At the tower of Babel, God made very clear what he thinks about the concept of unity at any cost—which is Satan's and the coming world leader's, the anti-Christ's, goal. God deliberately caused division at Babel in order to stop the evil of unity-at-any cost from progressing. However, in these last days, God is permitting interfaith ecumenism, unity-at-any-cost, Satan's counterfeit of biblical unity, to progress. A shaking is taking place within the Body of Christ, and God is allowing this shaking to happen. In fact, the Bible tells us that He is the one who is doing the shaking. This is happening in conjunction with the apostasy that is sweeping the Christian church at this time. Many are falling away—being shaken loose, just as is prophesied in 2 Thessalonians chapter two. Only those who refuse to be shaken loose will receive a kingdom which cannot be moved. The great apostasy, the falling away, predicted in 2 Thessalonians chapter two, is going on right now, and those who are sounding the alarm, contending earnestly for the faith, and plucking brands from the fire, are being libeled as divisive, hard to "get along with,” and negative.

The Word of God clearly predicted the flood of lies and deception that is being spewed from the mouths and pulpits of what, at one time, were Bible believing pastors, churches, and denominations. And the Bible tells us that the coming of Christ, and the revelation of the anti-Christ, will be preceded by a time in which many will "fall away.” We know that we are no longer looking forward to that time but are now living in it.

Too many pastors are entertaining their congregations so well, that Christians are not catching on to the fact that, in between and through the jokes, they are being deceived. Even congregations that have not, as yet accepted the mystical, contemplative spirituality, or the false Prophetic Movement (both movements are sweeping through the church at lightning speed) are being spoon-fed ecumenical, purpose driven lies, and are being indoctrinated into—and accepting—the most basic concepts of the coming global religion of the anti-Christ which will consist of exactly the things being promoted so aggressively in almost all churches these days.

Things such as:
• Always be positive. Positive is always good
• Never be negative. Negative is always bad
• Never criticize. Criticism is always bad
• Never Judge (even though we are commanded in scripture to judge)
• "Get along" with everyone (If you don't, it is sign you are not saved)

These things are not biblical. What ever happened to Christians "trying the spirits" by comparing what is being said from the pulpit with what the Word of God actually says?

Many pastors deliberately frame blatantly false statements with humor. This is a common and very effective maneuver used by those who know they are making statements that cannot be backed up by scripture and that would be offensive to and challenged by Bible reading listeners if not sugar-coated and camouflaged by cheap, comical words and antics.

Many pastors are still holding onto a few things that are good, but our hearts are grieved by what we are seeing and hearing almost everywhere we go these days. We are also convinced that there are many Christians who are still holding fast to the faith delivered once for all, but they do not seem to be contending for the faith as the Bible commands.

Why?

Are they simply not catching the deception spewing from their pastor's mouths? Or have the false definitions that positive is always good, negative is always wicked, and that loving the brethren simply means everybody "getting along" succeeded in intimating them into holding their peace for fear of being labeled "Pharisees" or even worse, "not being saved at all?"

The type of leadership employed by pastors who are attempting to execute a paradigm shift within their congregations is one that uses dialectics well. Dialectics, when facilitated skillfully, produces "group think." People tend to have a herd mentality anyway, but group think is a much more insidious form of this mentality. Group think deliberately and aggressively pits the GROUP against the ONE who would dare to think for his or her self. This concept is used successfully by all totalitarian governments(of which the government and religion of the anti-Christ will be) in silencing dissenters. But this type of leadership is not for the Church of the Living God and is certainly not taught in the Holy Scriptures nor inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.

Yes, we hear the word "Pharisee" being tossed around quite liberally these days...

And it is an unfortunate shame that it is almost always used in reference to those who love the written Word of God, read it daily, are willing to contend earnestly for the faith, and believe that the scriptures are the final authority on all doctrinal issues rather than someone's opinion, feeling, or extra-scriptural revelation.

The sad fact is, that it is usually the one's using the word "Pharisee" to begin with, who fit the description Jesus applied to them in Mark Chapter seven, verses 1-15.


To listen to an enlightening and very relevant interview on this subject, visit http://hungryheart100.tripod.com/sharecropperradio to hear an interview with James Sundquist, author of, WHO'S DRIVING THE PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH.

http://HungryHeartsMinistries.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DEFINITIONS of Contemplative Spirituality and Spiritual Formation

Contemplative Spirituality: A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).

Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement.

More Information:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chrysalis Walk to Emmaus

What is Chrysalis?

Chrysalis is the youth and young adult version of its parent movement, Walk to Emmaus. Chrysalis walks (or retreats) are called “flights” for 10th through 12th graders and “journeys” for young adults ages 19 through 24. Participants in the 72 hour retreats must be sponsored by alumni of previous retreats.

Walk to Emmaus is an adaptation of a Roman Catholic movement, Cursillo de Cristianidad, which means "little course in Christianity." This movement, designed to empower persons to “Christianize their environment,” originated in Spain in 1948.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s Episcopalians, Lutherans and several non-denominational groups offered Cursillo. The first Cursillo weekend in the Episcopal Church was conducted in the early 1960's with help from Roman Catholic sponsors in the Diocese of Iowa. The doctrine taught in Cursillo was traditional Catholicism. In 1978, The Upper Room, which is the Spiritual Formation unit of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church, adapted the program for a primarily Protestant audience and began to offer it under the name The Upper Room Cursillo. The name was later changed to the more ecumenical Upper Room Walk to Emmaus.

The Upper Room of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church sponsors both Chrysalis and Walk to Emmaus and offers them through local Emmaus groups around the world. Although connected through The Upper Room to The United Methodist Church, The Walk to Emmaus is ecumenical.

Most Christians believe the ecumenical movement is simply a movement for more unity among believers. That is not the case. The ecumenical movement was spawned in the Vatican with the express purpose of returning the separated brethren (Protestants) to the Roman Catholic fold. Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis groups contribute to this purpose by introducing protestant believers to spiritual disciplines which include meditation techniques that have been, until more recent times, uniquely eastern and Roman Catholic in nature.

Before leaving for home, participants in the Chrysalis and Walk to Emmaus three day retreats are introduced to the concept of the Fourth Day. Fourth Day living includes follow-up with ongoing small group get-togethers and resources that Upper Room Spiritual Directors hope will continue to provide “spiritual guidance and nurture” to Chrysalis and Walk to Emmaus initiates. Recommended resources include authors who are Roman Catholic mystics such as St. Teresa of Avila and the Desert Fathers who are the Fathers of Contemplative Prayer. Books by Evelyn Underhill are also recommended as nurturing and guiding resources. Underhill was an Anglican mystic who believed that mysticism (meditation/contemplative prayer also known as “The Silence”) was the vehicle in which all religions could come into contact with the "Absolute" (God) however one perceived him to be—clearly not a concept found in scripture nor compatible with the exclusive gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father and to eternal life.

All denominations are participating in Walk to Emmaus retreats which are extremely seductive. Participants leave them claiming to be completely renewed, committed to Christ and on a spiritual high. It is difficult to argue with such lofty concepts as Emmaus walk initiates are encouraged to pursue—concepts such as piety (giving our hearts to Christ), study (giving our minds to Christ), and action (giving our hands to Christ). But we must remember that Satan can and does appear as an angel of light. His ministers masquerade as ministers of righteousness.

These Chrysalis and Emmaus Walk spiritual renewal retreats are nothing less than a potent blend of rat poison. Rat poison is 98-99% good stuff. And the higher the percentage of good ingredients the poison contains the more of it the rats are likely to ingest. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how good the good stuff is, it’s that tiny 1% of bad stuff that kills the rat.

For more information on Walk to Emmaus see:
http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/walktoemmaus.htm

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning

A Review of Brennan Manning's The Signature of Jesus
by John Caddock

The teachings of Manning are very dangerous. There is a seductive quality to his writings. He reports grappling with and overcoming fear, guilt, and psychological hang-ups and difficulties, including alcoholism. He gives the impression that he has a very intimate relationship with God and that he has insight to a superspirituality. He regularly meditates and reports having many visions and encounters with God. He is an extremely gifted writer who is able to tug at the emotions of the reader while at the same time introducing ideas that the reader would immediately reject if they were not cloaked under this emotional blanket...

He promises readers that if they apply his teaching they too will gain this same intimacy with God as well as freedom from fear, guilt, and psychological hang-ups and difficulties. This is very attractive. Manning's prescription to achieve this is not by traditional prayer and by the reading and application of the Bible. Rather, the means to this end is a mixture of Eastern mysticism, psychology, the New Age Movement, liberation theology, Catholicism, and Protestantism.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Contemplative Spirituality Defined

Contemplative spirituality (also known as Paschal Spirituality) is the teaching that spiritual growth and true spirituality occur by contemplation not of Scripture or even of scriptural themes, but contemplation of God through emptying your mind.

This movement began in the Roman Catholic Church

Contemplative prayer, Centering Prayer and Soaking Prayer are all the same thing. Those who practice such things are called mystics.

Contemplative prayer is a practice derived from Eastern mysticism. More and more Christians are turning to Mysticism.

The desert fathers (Roman Catholic monks) are the fathers of contemplative prayer in the west.

Mantra meditation is the basis for contemplative prayer.

Francis Schaefer defines Mysticism as nothing more than a faith contrary to rationality, deprived of content and incapable of communication. You can bear witness to it but you cannot discuss it."

Mystics claim that God cannot be defined by systems of doctrine. They maintain that western rationalism has crushed the knowledge of God and that we must return to a more intuitively (non-biblically) received knowledge.

The New mystics maintain that all religions should immerse themselves in the myths of their tradition because there is power in the "collective unconscious"

For the New Mystics, the use of biblical language bears no resemblance to the faith taught in the Bible. For example, the call to salvation is actually a call to a transformation of consciousness to be psychologically awakened to the unity and oneness of all creation.

Contemplative Spirituality Promotes Universalism and emphasizes ecumenism

Those who embrace contemplative spirituality eventually graduate to ecumenism which deepens over time to an extreme ecumenism which includes non-Christian religions and all "faith groups." The gospel of Scripture is ultimately rejected and a view that all are saved (universalism) is adopted.

The New Mystics frequently use the phrase "unconditional love" to express universality.

Thomas Merton (popular among protestants) a roman catholic contemplative author, says one can work within the Christian traditions but view universalism as the broader truth

Brennan Manning (popular contemplative author) in his Ragamuffin Gospel teaches that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ mean that all are redeemed. I. E. no one needs to get saved—all are already saved because of what Christ did.

Brennan Manning understands the deeper issues of contemplative spirituality. He writes: It is important to realize that when contemplatives speak of knowing God as your Father/Abba, they are not referring to regeneration. They are referring to achieving a level of intimacy with God, "intimacy with Abba." They view all people as heaven bound. The issue for them is becoming a mystic whose experience of God transforms the life and hence the world. Their ultimate aim is to usher in a new world

Manning's attitude toward the Bible: “I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself. In a word-bibliolatry. … I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants (pp. 188-89).

http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1997ii/Caddock.html







Friday, February 15, 2008

Spiritual: Define It

Over the past 12 months, I have heard more people describe themselves as "spiritual" than at any other time in my life. And the interesting part is, that those describing themselves as such do not even claim to be saved--although one did admit to carrying a Bible while traveling (sort of as a good luck charm?).

  • How do we define "spiritual?"
  • Are we aware that there is more than one spirit and more than one kind of spirit?
  • Do we know that it is the Spirit of God that is making us "spiritual?"
  • How do we know?
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 tells us that we, as Christians, have not received the spirit of the world, but rather, the spirit which is of God. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us that the world (the kosmos) and things that are of the world, the people, the earth itself as it presently stands, the system of the world, and the spirit of the world, are all living under the shadow of a death sentence. In light of that knowledge, can we say that simply being "spiritual" is necessarily a good thing?

According to 2 Corinthians 2:12-16, being spiritual is defined as having the mind of Christ and being taught by the Holy Spirit of Almighty God.

1 John 1:1-4 informs us that there is certainly more than one spirit we can be influenced by and instructs us in the only way to tell the difference between the Spirit of God and spirits of the world who counterfeit the spirit of God. 1 John 4:3-4 goes into great detail in identifying the spirit of antichrist, which is the spirit of the world, and verse 4 clearly states that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is come is not of God.

This verse is not as simplistic as it appears on the surface. Verse 4 is written in the imperfect tense [in Greek], which is synonymous with the perfect tense in English. It is not written in a simple present tense. The imperfect tense indicates ongoing action—permanence.

Because of the tense this verse is written in, it makes very clear the fact that Jesus not only came, but when he arrived, he was already the Christ. This rules out the concept of many Christs in conjunction with what is known as the "Christ Consciousness. It is very important to understand this fact as there are many who teach that Jesus was not the only Christ. Jesus himself warned that many false Christ’s would come. Fortunately the scriptures give a foolproof method for identifying the true Christ among the plethora of false Christs.

Jesus did not become the Christ as some claim. He was born the Christ. The phrase “is come,” being framed in the imperfect tense, tells us there never was a time when Jesus was not the Christ, and there never will be a time when he will not be the Christ.

Jesus, the only Christ, was born in the flesh, died in the flesh, rose in the flesh, ascended in the flesh, lives continually (remains perpetually) in the flesh, and will return to this earth in the flesh (Luke 2:11, 1 John 4:3-4, 2 John :7).

So believe not every spirit! But test the spirits to see whether or not they are of God.


Part of this article was excerpted from the book, REDEMPTION: Bible Prophecy Simplified, which is free for download at www.Lulu.com/JocelynAndersen Print copies for your reference library or to be used as gifts are also available at Lulu.com. To read more articles by Jocelyn Andersen, visit www.HungryHeartsMinistries.com .

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Inerrant Holy Scriptures

It may surprise modern-day Christians to know that the Holy Scriptures are inerrant. Below is a statement found in the majority of Statements of Faith these days:
  • The Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God....

Is anyone aware that if a statement like this is true, then we would all do well to trash all of our Bibles. At the very least, regulate them to the, "Confucius Says..." category. Because, according to this statement, only the original autographs are inerrant, and there are no original autographs in existence today.

Thank God those who write such blasphemous nonsense into their statements of faith are wrong. The scriptures are clear that God promised to preserve his word to every generation. That means that the generation of today still has the inerrant Word of God.

Even though none of the original autographs have survived the centuries. The infallible, indestructible Word of the God--The Bible--has.

For details visit www.Lulu.com/JocelynAndersen and read Bible Version Debate: Why? The book is offered free for download. A print copy is available to share with your friends and family.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Church is Selling: Who's Buying?

Money, Money, Money, Money ...Money!

Money is the bait. Ancient, "historic," Christian traditions is the hook. Contemplative spirituality is the line. And a paradigm shift straight into a panentheistic hell is the sinker.

I had been really stumped as to how certain blatantly unbiblical heresies have managed to take root within the evangelical Christian Church to the alarming degree that they have, until I stumbled upon [at least part of] the answer while researching something else entirely.

I was following the money trail on some interfaith organizations that put on a big show of being "Christian" (but are certainly not the brand of Christianity we find in the Bible), and to my amazement, I found that a common denominator in many of the financial grants, bestowed upon so-called "Christian" outreaches, included a stipulation that the grant recipient commit to the restoration of ancient, historical Christian traditions.

For those who do not know what ancient, historical Christian tradition means, allow me to interpret. In general, ancient, historical Christian tradition means mystical, contemplative, Roman Catholic, Christian traditions. It has no relation to anything protestant, evangelical or biblical whatsoever. In particular, it means the tradition of a Christianized form of eastern meditation called contemplative prayer (also known as centering or soaking prayer).

In application and experience, there is little to no difference between transcendental meditation and contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is transcendental meditation. But instead of repeating "ooom," or whatever, the "Christian" meditator might repeat the name "Jesus" or one of the various names of God (or a short Bible verse). The end result for the Christian however, is identical to that of the Hindu or any other practitioner of eastern mysticism. If the Christian mystics get it just right, they will achieve a state of altered consciousness. And if they get it really right, they might even experience a good high. They eventually become awakened to the unity and oneness of all creation, and come to the lofty [though unbiblical] understanding that God is in every one and everything (would that understanding facilitate an acceptance of a one world religion?).

Back to the money, since the Bible obviously does not support "Historic Christian Traditions," and is not a major, or even minor, component in leading protestant evangelicals down the contemplative path to mystical oneness. It seems there are those with deep pockets willing to take a crack at buying out evangelical Christianity. And they do not seem to be hurting for customers.

Take, for instance, The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program which has at its core, a commitment to recover the wisdom of the Christian tradition for our contemporary situation (that's code for contemplative). The foundation boasts of investing more than $29 million dollars into more than 700 congregations since the year 2000. The Lilly Endowment also feeds other grant foundations which are "enriching contemporary religious life by an appreciative recovery and critical re-appropriation of the riches of the Christian tradition."

Congregations are being paid handsomely, through grant monies, to allow their pastors the "privilege" of attending clergy renewal retreats where they can travel, worship, explore their faith, and recover the wisdom of historic Christian traditions together with leaders from many denominations and quasi-Christian religions.

The hopeful result of these retreats is of course to bring Christian leaders into a more ecumenical and universalist mindset, which would logically be the first step to ultimate acceptance of a one world religion, which would conceivably include all faiths and religions.

In looking at the retreat rosters for the year 2000, I expected to see Universalists, Unitarians, Roman Catholics and some of the more ecumenical protestant congregations participating in the clergy renewal programs. And I did see them. But I was shocked to see that, from the very beginning, traditionally conservative Christians such as Baptists and Mennonites were among grant recipients and retreat participants as well.

What is worse, the number of conservative congregations selling out by sending pastors on these heretical retreats has been steadily increasing, with each passing year seeing more and more denominations participating. Among grant recipients for the year 2007, there were many more Baptists than were represented in the year 2000. There was more than one Mennonite congregation, a Moravian congregation, and a Church of God.

The following is an excerpt from the National Clergy Renewal Program 2014 press release:

“Since 2000, more than 1,900 congregations across the nation have received grants in the National Clergy Renewal Program to support the renewal programs of their pastors. Congregations in the 2014 program received grants totaling more than $5 million. Christian congregations were invited to apply for program grants of up to $50,000. Up to $15,000 of the grant could be allocated to fund interim pastoral leadership as well as to support renewal activities within the congregation.”

   The number of conservative congregations selling out by sending pastors on these heretical retreats has been steadily increasing, with each passing year seeing more and more denominations participating. The list of 2014 grant recipient denominations includes:
  • A host of Non-Denominational churches
  • Presbyterian
  • Lutheran
  • Christian Reformed
  • United Methodist
  • Holiness
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Episcopal
  • Congregational
  • United Church of Christ
  • Church of Christ
  • Christian Church
  • Christian Methodist Episcopal
  • Baptist
  • Church of the Brethren
  • Antiochian Orthodox Church
  • Reformed Church
  • Catholic Churches
  • United Protestant Church
  • Community Church
  • Mennonite
     
   All of these received up to $50,000 in exchange for sending their pastors on an extended sabbatical which included a clergy renewal retreat.
   This is frightening.
    And the Lilly Endowment is not the only philanthropist organization buying out the Christian Church. There are many organizations bestowing big bucks in the form of grant money on Christians willing to sell their birthrights for bowls of pottage.

The church is selling, the philanthropists are buying. Do we even want to know who is behind the philanthropists? Who do we know of who might have a vested interest in promoting a one world religion?

It is as our Lord said the love of money truly is the root of all evil.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Five Small Stones...Five Rules for Fighting AND WINNING in the Promised Land

David went up against Goliath in the name of the Lord, with a sling and five small stones. I believe that David was confident that he would nail the giant with the first stone, but he carefully chose five.

I find it interesting that scripture reveals there are… Five rules for fighting and winning in the Promised Land:

1. Never run from the fight (Jeremiah 1:17-19)
2. Never fight in your own strength (1 Samuel 17:45)
3. Know who your enemy is and is not (Ephesians 6:12)
4. Never try to possess what God has not given (Numbers 14:40-45, Joshua 1:11)
5. Possess your land within the allotted time limit (Numbers 33:55, Judges 2:21-23)

I was given an excellent opportunity not to run from a fight when I felt compelled by the spirit of the Lord to take on a $25,000,000 giant without any resources save my God.

I wanted to run from the fight. I was not at all interested in this particular battle. But I know that God does pick fights. And I felt that he had picked this one. So, in obedience, I forged ahead with God (Him dragging me, kicking and screaming, a good deal of the way).

The fight concerned an unemployment claim that I had no intention of filing, because I did not feel I had a valid claim in the first place (I had been down that unemployment claim road before and lost). But the Holy Spirit reminded me that I did indeed have good reason to file the claim, and that I was to do it.

When I was first offered the job in question, I was promised certain conditions of employment. And I accepted the position based on those promises—promises which were never kept. The Spirit of the Lord reminded me that I had approached my employer many times about resolving the issue of the broken promises. I had forgotten that I had documented our communications about this issue, and the results of each.

So reluctantly, in obedience to God, I filed a claim—and I was turned down flat. The claim was denied based on lies my former employer told concerning the original terms of my hire.

I was not upset at all about the denial. I suppose I had not really expected my former employer to do any differently. I was now ready to let the whole thing go and accept that my money (both wages while employed with them and the unemployment benefits that I was rightfully entitled to) had been stolen from me by a $25,000,000 corporation. That was a bit more money and power than I had. And I knew little ole me wasn't up to taking on this Goliath.

I had obeyed the Lord. I had filed the claim. And I had lost. What more could I do? I was relieved the whole thing was over with.

But it wasn't.

The Holy Spirit proceeded to instruct me to write the CEO of this corporation (A man who names the name of Christ often in his public and private speaking) and tell him that God was holding him and his family personally responsible for wages that were held back from his laborers by agents acting on his behalf (in addition to a separate company that handled payroll, most major positions in the company I worked for were held by members of the CEO's family. It had been a family owned business before becoming publicly owned).

Yes Lord, I am now going to become known as a religious fanatic who fancies herself a prophet as well. But, in obedience, I wrote the letter and mailed it.

After sending the letter—which I thought would end my participation in the whole thing once and for all, I was surprised that I felt led of the Holy Spirit to appeal my claim. I did not want to appeal the claim. I was not feeling a great deal of faith concerning an appeal—actually I was feeling no faith at all concerning an appeal, and I hated even the thought of going through the appeals process.

My husband didn’t have any faith concerning this appeal either, but was supportive of my efforts. He said that the emotional closure (my efforts would provide) would be good for me. But I knew I was hearing from God. So feeling no faith whatsoever, I filed the appeal and asked the Lord to count my obedience as faith.

A hearing was scheduled, and I prayerfully participated. I knew I could not win this on my own. My former employer had not only lied about the terms of my employment, my job title, and my position with the company, but unknown to me, had changed my new hire documentation and sent altered information concerning the terms of my employment to the payroll company—terms I had never agreed to.

When the payroll company mailed me their forensic evidence, and I read it, my strength left me. The original documentation that I had filled out, had signed by my supervisor, and had personally faxed into the payroll/staffing company was missing. It had been replaced with falsified documentation that I had never laid eyes on.

I was now faced with the fact that I had no documented evidence to affirm that what I was saying was true. And falsified as it was, my former employers had documentation to support their lies.

Two of my former supervisors promised to testify in my behalf at the hearing—one had been present when I was hired and had heard the promises made to me. The other had been very involved in my efforts to get our employer to stand by the original terms of my employment. But in the end, neither of these supervisors testified at my hearing. Things had boiled down to my word against my former employer’s false documentation.

Amazingly, another hearing was scheduled in order to give my witnesses an opportunity to speak on my behalf (I did not ask for the second hearing and, although they indicated a willingness to speak, each cited scheduling issues and did not speak at that one either).

While I was waiting for the second hearing, I decided to look through my paperwork one last time. I began searching through the employment folder my employer had given me. This folder contained copies of the altered documents—I had never looked through the folder again after filling out the original forms, having them signed by my supervisor, faxing them to the payroll company, and then turning the originals over to my employer. Even worse, I had not taken the time to make copies of the original contents. During my final search through the folder, I found a piece of documentation that I realized was one of my original’s—through some oversight, my employer had neglected to remove this piece of paperwork from my folder!

I now had proof that my employer had never submitted my original paperwork to the payroll company. And somehow that one original source document (containing my supervisor’s signature) had been left in the folder along with all the false documentation that had been added.

Unofficial as it was, this document verified that at least part of what I was saying was true, and in addition to that, one of my supervisors (the one who had signed the document) faxed me an un-notarized written statement backing up my claims (and the claims of that lone document).

I submitted the document and my supervisor’s written statement to the appeals board and requested that (un-notarized as they were) they be entered into evidence. The representative of the payroll company was very experienced at fighting unemployment claims, and of course, requested that the unofficial documents be removed from the record. The request was denied.

Those representing my former employer were ruthless in their efforts to keep from me what was rightfully mine. It would have been easy during the appeals process to have become bitter against them. I was sorely tempted. But I remembered that they were not my enemy.

In the end, all of my former employer's expertise, money, power, and falsified evidence did not gain them a penny. The ruling to deny my unemployment benefits was reversed, and I got my money.

Goliath lost.

God picked the fight. I did not run from the fight. I stayed focused on the fact that this was God’s fight—not mine. I stayed focused on who my real enemy was and refused to become vindictive toward the agents he was using. I did not go after anything that God had not given me and was not rightfully mine. And I respected God’s timing. I acted when he instructed me to.

And mercy of mercies…He won!

www.HungryHeartsMinistries.com

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Monday, February 4, 2008

The Midnight Cry: Evidence of a Pre-Trib Rapture

"And at midnight, there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh: go ye out to meet him...and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut...Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour the Son of Man cometh"
Matthew 25:1-13...Read commentary on this passage at:
http://rapturerevelation.blogspot.com/2008/02/matthew-251-13-midnight-cry.html