Tag Archives: truth

Did God Not Say “You Should Have a Jet”?

How Do YOU Hear from God?

God gave us the bible so that we may know Him more completely, hear from His wisdom, and come to saving faith in Christ. The bible also self proclaims itself “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that” you and I may be equipped for every good work. (see 2 Tim 3:16-17) 
As a self proclaimed Charismatic Calvinist, I believe the gifts of prophecy and hearing from God audibly are in effect even today. However, I also believe that these gifts must be tested against scripture for veracity.
If we are to demolish not only strongholds, but also “every high and lofty idea that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” and take thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ), then it logically follows that when we hear about a mystical experience someone has had with God we have a responsibility to weigh that experience against what God says about Himself in His revealed word. The word is our plumb line.

Why Am I So Bent Out of Shape?

I just watched the video below. If you care to save yourself a 3 minutes of cringing, I’ll cut to the chase: there is a popular version of the gospel that promises not only health and wealth, but is used to justify the lavish lifestyles of the many who preach it. Prosperity gospel is no gospel at all. The Good News Christ came to proclaim was about eternal prosperity (salvation from sins) not riches and material blessings merely in this life.
 
As you listen to supposed men of God tell you what God told them, the first place any Christian who believes in sola scriptura needs to go is STRAIGHT to the word to make sure such revelation LINES UP with the truth… Go ahead, watch the video and you’ll understand why I’m steaming mad. Then, ask yourself: would the God of all compassion tempt any of us with material prosperity by asking us if we think He’s limited in His ability to give you temporal wealth?
NO. Jesse Duplantis claims God asked him if he thought God couldn’t deliver more than just a jet; challenging the power of God as if God were limited in His ability to bless. Now, this is a fair challenge, but there are two paths you can go down – the same one Satan tried to get Jesus to go down in his tempting and the one Jesus went down when He rightly used the word of God to straighten out the Liar and Accuser of the brethren. The question in question is: “is God limited in His ability to bless us?”

Wisdom Quote-02Limiting God?

Is God limited? Yes: an omniscient God can never learn anything new. Amen? He can never be surprised. Amen? He cannot lie nor sin. Amen? God is limited by His own attributes and must be, or He would cease to be God.
Better… His generosity with worldly wealth IS limited by His love, kindness, and WISDOM – just read James 4:2-3. If you don’t have material prosperity, it’s not because God can’t be trusted or you think God is so small or you haven’t “claimed it” in Jesus’ name. Sometimes in His wisdom and patience, God withholds material prosperity because He knows, all to well, that the more we have, the easier we can be tempted to use it for our good and factor Him out. The more wealth we have, the more self-sufficient we can become. God built us to rely on Him, surrender to Him, and trust in Him, not our stuff. 

Understanding God

God inspired, preserved, and protected the original manuscripts in order that we may know Him, not merely about Him, better. Biblical literacy is crucial in an age when so many have not only an understanding of what the scriptures do say, but also what they want them to say. Test all wisdom against the criteria in James 3:17. If it passes that muster, move forward to other passages and test it further. Be on your guard, saints. There are many false preachers preaching this garbage and more yet to come in this dark age. Lift up the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) and send the devil packing.

Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Mayhem

How it Went “Down”…
     On the morning of January 21st, 2013, as on all Inauguration Days, there are dozens of events, speeches and breakfasts in the nation’s capitol. This year was no different in that the usual invites went out to the usual VIPs, power brokers, politicians, and leaders. But, this year, a bold word was spoken at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast by a man, a Messianic Rabbi, named Jonathan Cahn. In his own words, he stated that his message would not be politically correct, nor political, rather Biblical.

     He wasn’t joking and he delivered on his promise. For 35 minutes, he unfolded the truth that America is a nation in the early stages of Divine judgment and that we have time to repent and return to God as a nation. He urged us to pray in that direction… The biblical parallels he drew were stunning and the idea that prophecies thousands of years old could be unfolding on American soil during the 21st century rang hauntingly accurate.

     His speech was captured on video and made its way to YouTube. By Friday morning, 01.25.2013, I and many of the table leaders from ONE TH1NG had already seen it and forwarded the link on to friends, family, and co-workers. I had opportunity to watch it on Friday morning and immediately ripped and re-posted it on the Seasons of Life Ministries YouTube channel. By Friday evening, it had over 9,000 views.

     By Saturday, it was in the 20,000s and on Sunday morning, just 48 hours after posting it, it had 48,000 hits. Viral by any statistics. That day, we received correspondence from Scott Pinto at Hope of the World Ministries, in Wayne, NJ, Rabbi Cahn’s organization. He informed us that the production company that filmed the event owned the intellectual property and if too many people posted it before they were able to put it into proper distribution (which they plan to do with HOTW) it could wind up tied up in copyright court rather than getting into wide scale, legitimate distribution.

     We immediately complied and took the video down. However, I asked Scott if it would be permissible to put out a transcript of the speech, to which he replied “yes”. So, after hours of regular work and many hours of back and forth between YouTube and Evernote, we have the below transcription. It’s rough and fairly unedited, but you’ll get the idea. It is a long one, but a very worthy read. We look forward to your comments, questions, and reactions.

     Let’s pray for great repentance and revival in our nation while there is still time.

in Christ,

AP
UPDATE: The video has been reproduced and cleared for distribution as of 02.04.2013. It is live, again at: http://youtu.be/bovMw1l056k.

TRANSCRIPT:

     Members of the Presidential Inaugural Breakfast committee, and members of congress who have been here, Senators, Representatives, Ambassadors and delegates from other nations who are here, ministers and people of God and friends and media. We are gathered here in Washington DC, America’s capitol city, on January 21st, 2013 the morning of the Presidential Inauguration with one agenda and one purpose to come before the Lord and in His presence to seek His face and pray for His blessing His will and His purposes for its presidents, its government, this nation and its people. It is fitting that we do it this day which, more than any other, represents the future of America. We are here to inaugurate God’s own purposes. We have come here from every part of this land and from every background and persuasion to stand before the Almighty who transcends politics, movements, and men and before whom Kings and kingdoms rise and fall. Presidents change. Political parties come and go. Nations ascend and descend before Him who changes not. But He remains the same yesterday today and forever. We come before Him before whom men and women, kings and prophets, peoples and nations have come from ages past… come before Him to seek His face in troubled times. We come to pray for America. 
     But, how do we do that? How do we pray for this nation? Do we pray for riches, for power, for the success of national agendas?
 

     The Scriptures tell us that God hears the prayers of His people. But, we must pray according to His will. If a man has a terminal disease, we don’t pray for an increase of wealth, we pray for healing. If a city lies in danger of destruction, we don’t pray with flowery words, we sound the alarm. We pray for blessing. But, true blessing only comes in the will of God. So, the truth must be spoken, as well. We must pray according to the truth and we must not be afraid to speak the truth.We must give voice to what must be spoken. We must sound the alarm that must be sounded. We must address what must be addressed and so the message now will not be politically correct. Nor, will it be political. It will be biblical. It will be true. And, wherever it falls, let it fall. I will not hold back. And, if I offend you, I apologize that I cannot apologize for offending you. [Audience laughs] Without truth there is no love. On a day that so embodies the future course of this nation, it’s critical that we both pray and speak the truth. 

     In Ancient times, there is a nation known as the kingdom of Israel. It had been founded on God’s word, dedicated to His will, consecrated to His purposes, and God blessed it with prosperity, power, security, peace, and a place at the head of nations. 
     But, the people of Israel made a fatal mistake. In the midst of their blessings, they turned away from their God. They began to remove Him from their lives. Step by step, they ruled Him out of their culture, out of their government, out of their economy, out of the public square, out of the instruction and lives of their children. They ruled Him out of the kingdom. They would still at times invoke His name. But, increasingly, it rang hollow and meaningless. They had made themselves strangers to the God of their fathers and their foundation. 
     And, as God was driven from their lives, they brought in foreign gods and idols to replace Him – gods of sensuality, materialism, violence; idols of wealth and carnality, sexual promiscuity. They abandoned the ways of God, the laws, the standards of God and… for immorality. As the prophets cried out to them, they now called evil good and good evil. What they once knew to be immoral, they now celebrated. What they once knew to be right, they now warred against. It was a culture turned in upon itself. It is a civilization at war against the very foundation on which it had been established. And, the righteous, who simply remained true to what they had always known to be true, were now vilified, mocked, marginalized, labeled as intolerant, increasingly banned from the public square, and ultimately, persecuted.

     The nation’s culture grew increasingly vulgar, godless, and, and darkened. They now ridiculed, mocked, and blasphemed the name of God. It is as if a spiritual amnesia had overtaken the kingdom, as if they had never known God or His ways. And, they descended into the darkest of sins of nations that surrounded them: they offered up their children as sacrifices to the gods on the altars and the fires of Ba’al and Molech, and they now stood under the shadow of judgment and in danger of destruction and God called out to them to return, come back, be saved from destruction. HE sent to them seers and prophets to wake them up, call them back, but they wouldn’t listen.  They mocked the prophets. They persecuted them. And, they hardened their hearts and finally, something happened that brought them into the first stage of judgment.

     But, there was another nation or another civilization that was likewise founded on God’s word, dedicated to His will and consecrated to His purposes and from its very exception, America. Those who came to these shores centuries ago, to found a new civilization did so by dedicating it to God, committing it to His purposes and glory from the beginning. America was to be a city on a hill, a civilization to which others would look. It was to be a holy commonwealth and so they modeled it after Israel of the Bible. They brought forth its first government in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God. They established its first school system for the purpose and teaching of the word of God. They foretold that inasmuch as America would follow the ways of God, God would bless it, in fact that it would become the most powerful, most prosperous, the most blessed nation on earth – the head of nations. And, it would all come true.

     America would become the most blessed nation on earth, a refuge for the world’s exiles, a light for the world’s oppressed, a beacon against the dark forces of tyranny that threatened to engulf the world. America was blessed with prosperity, with peace, power, security and a place at the head of nations. America had been blessed as no nation in the history of this planet has ever been blessed. [applause, “amen”]

BUT…

     Something happened to the city on the hill. As the people of ancient Israel, in the midst of their blessings, committed a fatal error, so have we. We too, as a nation, have turned from God. We too, as a nation have removed Him from our lives. Step by step, we too have ruled Him out of our culture, out of our government, out of our economy. We, too, have ruled Him out of the instruction and lives of our children. We, too, have made God a stranger. And though we still, at times, invoke His name as a nation, it becomes increasingly hollow and meaningless. We have made ourselves strangers to God. And, as we have driven God from our national life, we have brought in other gods and idols to replace Him – gods of sensuality, violence, wealth, carnality, sexual promiscuity. And, as did Israel, so too, we have abandoned the ways of God and the laws of God for the ways of immorality. 
     The nation that was established to bring the word and the light of God now fills the earth with pornography. We, too, now call evil good and good evil. And, what we once knew to be immoral, we now celebrate. And, what we once knew to be right, we now war against. American culture has also become a culture turned in upon itself, a civilization at war against its own foundations. And, those who simply remain true to what we have always known to be true are now vilified, mocked, labeled “intolerant”, increasingly banned from the public square, and ultimately, persecuted. 
     We’ve now reached the point, this day, when a minister was driven out of the public square, banned from praying at the Inaugural for the simple reason that years ago he had preached a sermon simply saying that the Bible clearly has always said that is sin. It is a new America in which one can be banned from the public square simply for believing the Bible, where profanity is treated as holy and the holy is profane. A new America where the Bible is treated as contraband and nativity scenes are seen as dangerous. 
     Our culture has grown increasingly godless, vulgar, darkened. We now, too ridicule, mock, and blaspheme the name of God. It wasn’t that long ago that American television closed its broadcasting day with sermons about the Lord. Now, our televisions and computer screens are filled with words and images once unimaginable and God and Jesus have now become objects of comedy and mockery. 
     It’s as if a spiritual amnesia has overtaken America and the Lord asked Israel “can a nation forget its God?” And yet, Israel forgot and now we, too, have forgotten. America has forgotten her God. And, we too, as a nation, have partaken in the darkest of sins tomorrow is also a milestone of history. Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the day America legalized the killing of its unborn children. Forty years tomorrow.
     Israel offered up thousands of its children. America has offered up millions. Fifty million souls are not here today. Fifty million will not be here watching or cheering at the Inauguration. They are silent. For, their lives were legislated out of existence. Even from this city. And, in order to hide the magnitude of our moral descent, we redefine words and change their meanings on this and other sins. And, yet, a thousand apostate ministers swearing on a thousand Bibles will not change a jot or tittle of the Word of God. Though silent, they cry out in bearing witness to the darkest of our sins and God hears them. And, as He spoke to the ancient prophets in Israel, so His words echo down to us: “When you lift up your hands to Me in prayer, I will not listen for your hands are covered in blood.

     The city on the hill has grown darkened. Its lamp has grown dim. Its glory is fading, for God is not mocked. No nation can war against the very source of its blessings and expect its blessings to remain.  And, as it was with ancient Israel, the city on the hill now stands in the shadow of judgment.

     How does judgment come to a nation? After defying all of God’s calls and warnings, the nation of Israel would experience something unprecedented. It was the opening stage of national judgment. God removed one of Israel’s blessings. Years before its destruction he allowed it’s hedge of protection to be lifted up. He allowed an enemy to make a strike on the land. It was a wake up call. To avert national destruction, to wake them up. Nothing else would reach them. The strike was limited and temporary. The nation was now given a period of time to turn back to God or enter into judgment. The first opening Biblical sign of national judgment is this: the initial removal of the nation’s hedge of protection.

     So, it comes to pass that in America on September 11th, 2001, its hedge of protection was lifted. An enemy was allowed to make a strike on the land. It was temporary and contained. It was the wake up call – we all sensed it, even if we didn’t say it – and for a short time, it looked as if America would wake up, as if we were on the verge of a national revival. People flocked to churches and spoke of God. And then, a few weeks later, it was all over. There was no revival. There was no change of course because without repentance there is no revival. America continues down its spiritual descent. But now, it did so with even more fervor. Eleven years, now, after 9/11, the nation stands not closer to God, but much farther away.
     As I saw the smoke rising from New York City on that day, and when I stood at the corner at Ground Zero, a revelation began coming to me. The revelation would take the form of a book called “The Harbinger”. 

     The Harbinger was released last year. And, from the first week, it became a best-seller, spreading across the nation and now even it’s reaching into Capitol Hill. The revelation of The Harbinger is this: There exists and ancient mystery that lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the American economy, a mystery so precise that it actually reveals the actions of American leaders before they take them, the exact words of American leaders before they speak them, a mystery so exact that it gives the actual dates, even the hours of some of the most dramatic days in recent history. 
     In the last days of ancient Israel before its destruction, 9 harbingers – 9 prophetic signs of national judgment – appeared in the land. Those same nine harbingers are now reappearing on American soil. Some have appeared in New York City. Some have appeared here in Washington, D.C. Some have involved the highest leaders of the land, even the President. They’ve touched every realm: political, economic, cultural, spiritual, affect every American and every American’s fiuture. 

     The harbingers are revealed through an ancient scripture, the vow that Israel made after that first strike of warning. It appears in Isaiah 9:10. Instead of repentance, they responded to God’s warning with defiance. They said this: “The bricks are fallen down. But, we will rebuild with hewn stone. The sycamores have been cut down, but we will plant cedars in their place.” What they were saying was this: “God, you won’t humble us. You won’t cause us to return. We’re going to continue down our course. We will continue to abandon Your ways. We’ll defy you. And, even more than before, we will do so by our own efforts. We will rebuild and we will come back stronger than before. This vow of defiance would seal their fate, usher in their destruction. And, it’s the key to the 9 harbingers. We don’t even have the time here to begin to open up the mysteries of the harbingers, except to say that they are all manifesting to America. And, just to touch quickly on a few. 

     The fifth harbinger is.. in the book… is “the stone of judgment”. For this to manifest, a particular kind of stone must be chiseled out of mountain rock and placed on the ground of destruction where the strike occurred. Three years after 9/11, this stone of judgment appeared and was lowered in the pavement… on the pavement of Ground Zero. A ceremony took place around it. American leaders proclaimed vows of defiance over the stone. 

Harbinger #6 – the sycamore at
Ground Zero
     The sixth harbinger, the sign of the sycamore, a Biblical warning of national judgment. For this to manifest, a sycamore must be struck down in the ground of destruction. In the last moments of 9/11, the last tower came down, crashing down it sent a shock wave and a beam and it struck an object. The object was a tree. The tree was a sycamore. The biblical sign of national judgment, the sycamore, is fallen. 

     The seventh harbinger in Hebrew is called the “erez”. The sign of judgment, this one appeared in the sky at the corner of Ground Zero two years after the calamity. 

     The ninth harbinger is the vow of judgment. The vow of bricks and sycamores, Isaiah 9:10 the very…  in the very utterance, its very utterance in the last days of Israel would lead to the nation’s destruction. For this harbinger to manifest, an American leader would have to proclaim the vow and from the capitol city, proclaim a vow of judgment, and it would be linked, it would have to be linked to 9/11. If you see this happen, know that it is stunningly clear that your nation is in danger of judgment. On the day after 9/11 the United States Congress gathered at Capitol Hill, not far from here, and they gathered there, the place where the Inauguration will happen today, to give America’s response to the calamity, just as ancient Israel had presented its response to the calamity in Isaiah 9.10.  

     The man appointed to speak for the nation was the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle. He makes his way to the podium and presents the nation’s response. At the end of his speech, the words of the ancient vow that bring national judgment came forth out of his mouth. He says this: “There is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that I think speaks to all of us at times like this.” He says “the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone.” Then, he speaks of the tree that is struck down. He speaks it without even realizing there is an actual tree at Ground Zero that’s being discovered that day. He speaks of the stone of judgment that will go up. It will come to pass three years later. 

     He has no idea what he is doing, but the vow of judgment is pronounced. Israel’s vow of judgment becomes America’s and is recorded in the annals of Congress. It is ominous. It will set the nation’s course. It will lead to the next national shaking that will not involve buildings, but will be the implosion of the American economy itself, the collapse of America’s economy that still affects everyone to this day. In “The Harbinger” it’s call “the second shaking”. And, behind this second shaking, this economic implosion, lies a stream of ancient Biblical mysteries. We don’t have time to speak of these now, except to mention one mind-boggling reality.

     There was a day given in the Bible, called on the Hebrew calendar the 29th day of Elul. Once, every 7 years on that date, Elul 29, the nation’s financial accounts were wiped away. All accounts of credit and debt wiped away. It was originally meant to be a blessing, but as the nation had driven God out of its life and pursued idols and wealth, a sign.. it became a sign that was condemning the, their rejection of God and that struck the financial realm. The peak of the collapse of the American economy took place at the end of September, 2008.  On that day, the stock market crashed 777 points, the greatest crash on Wall Street in America’s history. When did it happen? The greatest collapse in Wall Street history took place on the 29th day of Elul, the exact day given in the Bible to strike a nation’s financial realm that has driven God out of its life. And, the same exact day, the same exact hours.

     But, Elul 29 is part of a seven year mystery. What happens if we go back 7 years from the greatest crash in American history? It takes us to September, 2001, the month of 9/11. But, something else happened. That month. The other greatest stock market crash in American history to that date. When did that take place? The other greatest stock market crash in America took place on the exact same Biblical day appointed to strike a nation’s financial realm that is under judgment. 

     The two greatest collapses in American history up to those dates both happen on the exact same Biblical day, at exactly seven years apart to the Biblical day and hour. And there’s a prophetic mystery here. Behind everything we’re seeing, God is alive. There is a prophetic warning in this and that is: if America does not return to God, it’s prosperity, and we will see the end of the prosperity and the end of the American Age as we know it. 

     Since The Harbinger was released, that which was foreshadowed in its pages is actually coming true. The harbingers and the mysteries haven’t stopped. C.. they’re continuing to manifest. In fact, one of them took place this year. It involved the President, who is about to be inaugurated, at Ground Zero, this year. And one of the mysteries of The Harbinger is called “the mystery ground”. It actually involves this day. The inauguration, or rather the first inauguration of which this day is the continuation. It was the day that America as we know it, it’s part of the mystery why we’re here. It was the day that America, as we know it, came into existence. April 30th, 1789. It was the day the first President was sworn into office, the Inauguration of George Washington. Washington placed his hand on the Bible, and then he gave the first ever Presidential address. And, in that speech, on America’s first day, as a fully born nation, Washington said this. He said “the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” 

     What was he saying? He was saying “America’s blessings are based on its relationship with God. If America ever disregards or forgets or turns away from the eternal rules of order and rights, the laws, the precepts, the standards, the ways of God, if America ever departs from these, then the blessings of God will be withdrawn from the land.” This is the prophetic warning embedded in our national foundation. And, it is coming true in our day. We are now witnessing America increasingly disregarding the eternal rules of order and right which God has ordained. And, the warning is, that if we do so, the smiles of Heaven the blessings of God will be withdrawn. 
     When judgment came to Israel, the destruction returned to the same ground where the nation had been dedicated to God, the temple mount. The calamity returns to the nation’s ground of consecration, dedication. After Washington gave that prophetic warning, he and the nation’s first Senate and House of Representatives all proceeded on foot from Federal Hall, the place of the Inauguration to a site especially chosen for the nation’s first government to pray and dedicate America’s future to God. And, that’s what they did on that first Inauguration on America’s first day as a formed nation.  They prayed and committed the nation’s future to God. That was the nation’s consecration ground. If we can find out where that ground is, we will have a mystery.

The Chapel at Ground Zero, which averted destruction
because of the sycamore.
     Where did it take place? It happened in the nation’s capitol. But, the capitol then was not Washington, D.C., it was New York City. Where? The place where they dedicated America to God on its first day as a nation. America’s consecration ground is Ground Zero. America was dedicated to God at Ground Zero. The ancient mystery the calamity returns to the ground of the nation’s ground of consecration. And, it was on that ground that the harbingers appeared. It was in the soil of America’s consecration that that sycamore grew and was struck down. It was there that it all happened. And, on 9/11 a shock wave went forth from ground zero and struck and object. It struck Federal Hall, the very place where Washington was sworn in and where he gave that prophetic warning of what would happen if America ever turned away from God. And, it struck the foundation of America and put a crack in the very foundation of Federal Hall. But, all around Ground Zero, every building was ruined. They were destroyed. Except one. Which one? It was the little stone chapel in which they dedicated America’s future to God. And, why was it protected? It was protected because there was an object outside the chapel which absorbed the full force of the calamity. The object was the harbinger – the sycamore.
     You see, the purpose of the harbingers is not to consign a nation to judgment, but to waken it to redemption. It’s a message of return. The voice of God is calling this nation to return in prayer, in humility, in repentance, and in hope. And, here we stand today, on the 21st day of January, 2013 in the capitol city on this same day, the continuation of that first inaugural day, and on that first inaugural day, they gathered together in prayer and consecrated America’s future to God, and here we now are, who are of that future for which they prayed. And, we are now gathered together in the prayer gathering of that day, before the Almighty. And, we stand here, centuries later, in witness to God’s hand of faithfulness and blessing on this land. But, we stand here also, in witness to the fact that America has done exactly that of which the.. the we were warned that first day by Washington never to do. We bear witness that we have turned from His eternal ways and the order of right. We have turned and are rapidly turning as a nation away from His face. We all know it.
     And, that is why it is so crucial that we have gathered here today  in this place and on this day. For, very shortly, the President will place his hand on an object. He will place his hand on the Bible and we say, and we appeal, and we say “Mr. President we come here to pray for America, for its government, for you, its leader and for its future. We pray for your blessing and your prosperity in the will of God, because only in the will of God can we know true blessing. The answer is not found in the agendas of man or political parties, but the answer is found in upon that object upon which your hand will rest, upon the Word of God. For, everything else will pass away, but the Word of God will abide forever. So, it must be asked in respect, can you lay your left hand upon his Word, the Word of God and then with your right hand enact any law that would go against it? Can you invoke the name of God to assume the presidency and then in any way endorse anything which clearly wars against the ways of God, that you invoke. Can you stand in the city named after our first President and perform the act that he first performed on that first day and ignore the warning he gave that day to this nation? Can you do all that and disregard the eternal rules and order of right which heaven itself has ordained? Can you utter the words ‘so help me, God’ if you should in any way take part in leading a nation farther from God that you invoke to help? We pray for your blessing in the will of God. For, if a nation that once knew the Almighty is called to return to Him, then so too, must the one who leads it. You will hold in your hand the Bible of Abraham Lincoln. But, do you not know what Lincoln said and did in the midst of the darkness that engulfed this land once before, the darkness he saw as the righteous judgment of God? 
     Lincoln issued a call to the nation. He said this: “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence on the overruling power of God. To confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow with the assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations are only blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that this awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but punishment inflicted upon it, upon us, for our own presumptuous sins to [unintelligible] the land of national reformation as a whole people? We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserved us in peace and multiplied it and enriched and strengthened us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power. To confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
     So, Lincoln set forth this call to America to repent, to turn to God, to seek His mercy and soon after that call went forth, the tide of war began to turn that would ultimately lead to national healing. The words of Abraham Lincoln ring out to us today that those nations only are blessed whose god is the Lord. Has this nation grown so far from God that we cannot even imagine a president doing so today? Mr. President, if you seek, if you look to Lincoln as your model, then dare to follow him in his actions. 
[applause]
     For, all the politics and all the parties and all the inaugural balls and all the voices of political correctness and all the, all the sounds of applause will grow silent and still and we will be left, each of us, all of us, to stand before the Almighty. And it will not matter then how many votes we won or how much praise we garnered. Only the we were faithful to Him and to His word. The voice of Lincoln now cries out to us and pleads with us let us humble ourselves confess our national sins and pray for forgiveness. As it is written in the Word of God – “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land.
[applause]
     We have come here on the 21st day of January, 2013 to the capitol city on the day of the Presidential Inauguration for that purpose, to humble ourselves and pray and to seek his face and to turn from our evil ways. The time is late, the hour is critical. A great nation proceeds in rapid spiritual descent and these, the signs of warnings and judgment are manifesting in this land. The shadow of judgment is upon us and for those who would ask, “How, in light of judgment, can one be saved or safe?” we give the answer: The word in Hebrew for safety and salvation is Yeshua. Yeshua is the name, which we know in English as “Jesus”. Outside of Him there is no safety. But, inside of Him there is no fear. It was for Him. And in His name that this nation, this civilization, this city on the hill, named America came into existence. And it’s only in Him and in His name that its problems can ultimately be answered. He remains the answer, the light, in the darkness, the hope when all other hopes are faded and gone. 
     And, to all who will come He will receive and He calls out “Come, for all you who hear this message and you dwell in darkness, it’s time to come and you will not be turned away.” And for all you who know Him, you, His people. It’s time to put away any shade of darkness and compromise and take up the mantle of your calling. It’s time to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world you were called to be in truth, in power, in love. It’s time to light up the darkness. It’s time to be strong. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to be radical. The watchman is crying out. The trumpets are sounding. The voice of the Lord is calling to this nation, saying “Return! Return!” Let the world go forth, let the power of God be seen in this land! Let revival burst forth like a mighty river! The voice is calling – prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His path, let every mountain and hill be cast down, and every valley be lifted up and let the crooked way become straight, let the rough way become smooth, the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken “Qum e ore iki va oret.” Arise and shine, for the light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen on you in the name above every name Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Light of the world, the Hope of America, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the glory o His people, Israel, Amen and amen and amen, to Him be the glory. 
END TRANSCRIPT

Men Step Up Goes Co-ed?!

     The short answer is “no”. Men Step Up, Gwinnett is still a place where men can go to think out loud. But, a few years ago, Kelly Talamo sent out an email telling the guys who regularly gathered at the Cabernet Steakhouse on Friday mornings that he sensed the Lord leading him to step into content development and out of running the MSU venue every week. For a while, the Cabernet went dark on Fridays.

     But, a few years ago, Dan Diaddigo had Ron Dunn step up to lead a very similar truth & lie environment where men could be spurred on to the truth of Christ. Today, ONE TH1NG meets every Friday morning from 7AM to 7:55 on Windward Parkway at the Cab’. Below, I wanted to share with our readers Ron Dunn’s note regarding the truth about a lie we’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, bright and early.

So, What’s the Co-ed Thing
     Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – the tag line that got you to read this article in the first place. My bad… For years, women of all ages have been begging to know what it’s like to sit at the same tables and chew on the same issues their husbands or boyfriends or guys in their church get to talk about each week. As of this Fall, Ron has added a unique “re-run” to the mix: ONE TH1NG Co-Ed. On Sunday nights (this is the LAST Sunday for 2012) from 5PM to 6:30, men and women will gather at the Cabernet to look at a lie, learn from the truth, and be truly set free by the Word of God.

     Mark your calendar. Call your sitter. That barking you’re hearing is me hounding you to show up this Sunday (and only this Sunday for the remainder of 2012) at 5. No food, no admission, just show up as you are, hungry for the Truth.

Ron’s notes:

If it feels good…

      It looked good.  It was a delight to the eyes.  It was desirable.
(Genesis 3:6)

      This wasn’t the first time Eve saw the tree.  She passed by it many a day.  It was positioned in the middle of the garden.  On this day, however, Eve was looking at it through a different lens.

      Her emotions were engaged.  She was feeling it.  She wanted it.

      Satan engaged Eve in a well crafted conversation, then slyly slipped a pair of shades on her eyes and said look again though my lenses.

      Now, lets be clear.  Despite what Flip Wilson might say, the devil cannot make us do anything.  When we came to Christ, Satan lost power.  He was defeated.  Christ overcame him by the greater power of His sacrificed blood.

      Satan can’t force sin, but he does suggest it so vividly that men chose it on their own volition. 

      Satan created an image of God and of the tree that paved a path for Eve to take the forbidden fruit.  

      With his skills to deceive, He perpetually tries the same with you and me.

      Eve wasn’t seeking sin; sin was seeking her.  On this day it looked desirable and permissible.

      Satan would have us believe that he is where fun and freedom reside, so party here and party on.

      Truth is no one has more fun or feels better than God.

      What a bummer…all these people thinking they went to the fun party only to find out they missed the best feel-good a person can experience.

      Lie #6 is: If it feels good, do it!

      If it feels good… I mean really good… and lasts forever…. then you are giving glory to the God who created you, drawing near to Him.

      Join us at the tables as we unpack this uncommon truth and refreshing freedom.

      This Friday morning at 7 or this year’s final Sunday night COED at 5, we hope to see you at Cabernet.

– Ron

No Joke…

Prov. 26.18-19
Like a madman shooting
    firebrands or deadly arrows 
is a man who deceives his neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

Men Stepped Up, Ray Ortlund, and Monday Morning Momentum

Author’s note & pet peccadillo:
     Today, apart from being incredibly grateful to Ray Ortlund for His obedience to God in writing such a timely post as we’ll dive briefly into, I also can’t resist the temptation to play Spelling Nazi. Kelly Talamo named the environment “Men Step Up”, because in his words “lives change when men ‘step up’ to the Truth”. 


     I can’t tell you how many times I hear people ask “Hey, are you going to Men’s Step Up this week?” Okay, I can, I’ll just wind up gritting my teeth into dust… You get the point… I’ll step down off the soap box and put away my red pen. It’s not like I don’t occasionally invent my own words or brutally murder a rule or two of decent, English grammar…

   
Spurring One Another On…

What happens at the tables never
stays at the tables. Praise God!

     This past Friday morning, I had the opportunity to “bring it” at Men Step Up, Gwinnett. Essentially that means I was tasked with standing up in front of a crowd of guys, (many of whom intimidate the heck out of me from a spiritual standpoint), and “provoking” them toward a discussion that would take place at their tables.
     These weekly discussions are proctored by a table leader and outlined by about 4 or 5 questions on the front of an index card (see picture, right). The back side of the card will normally have a lie on it that many of us have either bought into, wrestled with in real life, or both, as well as a few select lines from scripture that either individually or collectively debunk the lie.

Men Step Up is a gathering where the lies of the enemy collide with the truth of God’s word. For more information,
go to http://www.menstepupgwinnett.com/

     If you’ve been reading the blog at all last week (Part 1, Part 2), you know we’ve been talking about the context for current struggle, trial, aggravation, etc. as a lead up to that event. I had planned to present this morning’s post as a combined update/devotional on the topic. However, it seems the day after I spoke, Ray Ortlund posted an article that capped off our discussion perfectly in a mere 20 sentences.

     So, here it is in its entirety with a brief send off from me at the end:

(Please, visit Ray’s blog from time to time at this link: Ray Ortlund. Original post here.)
     “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.  Let your garments be always white.  Let not oil be lacking on your head.  Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 9:7-9
     We could take any of three approaches to the daily experience of this earthly life.
     One, this present experience is all we have, our only chance at a little happiness.  But absolutizing this life puts enormous pressure on us, intensifying our desperation and pushing us toward doing stupid things.  Worse, it cuts us off from the endless love of God in Christ.
     Two, this present experience is a stepping-stone into eternity, which is all that matters even now.  This broken world is more to be endured than enjoyed.  Indeed, this world and everything about it are an embarrassment to any serious person.
     Three, this present experience is brief, non-ultimate and good.  While it lasts, it is to be dignified — not absolutized or despised but dignified — as a gift from God.  This life is a mixture of grace and tragedy, a good creation marred by our human folly.  So, the wise seek the things that are above, where Christ is (Colossians 3:1), and they receive with thanksgiving the good things God gives here and now (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
     The first approach is the unbelief of visceral idolatry.  The second approach is the unbelief of pious negativism.  The third approach is wisdom.  It is biblical, humane, sustainable.
Have a good day.

Be Encouraged:
     The fact that Ray & I have never met and yet he wrote the perfect synopsis of what we were talking about on the very same day, he’s dead on point here. In last week’s post and our discussion at Men Step Up, we concluded that eternal rewards are the context for current suffering, that current rewards are no indicator of eternal and Godly appreciation, and that when it comes to rewards, we have a three tiered “compensation plan”:

  1. One time paycheck: “Atta boy!!!” (remarkably temporary, a la Matt. 6:2, Matt 6:5, Matt 6:16)
  2. Royalties only: “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (see Rev. 2 & 3) or
  3. Earthly Reward and Eternal 401K: “do everything without arguing or complaining. (Phil. 2:14)”, “Enjoy life… (Ecc. 9:8)” and “I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Rev. 2:23b)” 

     I was amazed at how pertinent this message was for the guys in attendance, at that moment. It may well be pertinent to you right now. Regardless of its relevance in your current season of life, this is a topic neither you nor I will fully grasp in a handful of blog posts or even conversations with godly men and women – this is one of those things that requires the illuminative power of the Holy Spirit to make clear and present in our everyday mindset. It may also require diligent and thirsty searching of the scriptures.

     Be encouraged, be spurred on, and be aware: That Day is coming when we will all receive rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. May your inheritance be great and may you enjoy this life and the one to come.

in Christ,

AP

Context is King – Care for a Crown?

       
   
 

Want one of these in your 401K?

Context is King.
     But, Jesus is the King of Kings and He offers not only salvation for those who believe, but also some desperately needed context for our worldview.

     Trials and troubles and annoyances and tragedies exist. No getting around that in a Genesis 3 world. So, Jesus gave us a heads-up – “In this life, you will have troubles.” But, what is the context in which we are to interpret these troubles? In chapter 15 of John’s gospel, Jesus has just spent a bunch of time telling his disciples some bad news: the world is going to hate them “for no reason (John 15:25)”. Then He moves forward into the “you will have trouble” part of the speech. As if the “they’re going to hate you” part wasn’t bad enough, He explains two things:

  1. “I’m telling you this so you won’t get freaked out when it happens. I’m giving you a heads-up now that I’m on my way out.” (John 16:1 – paraphrased)
  2. “It’s going to be so bad, people are going to try to kill you because of me, thinking by killing you they’re serving Me.” (John 16:2-4 – paraphrased) “So, what do you guys want for dessert?”

    Can we skip to the end of the story? For some context?

The End That Satisfies the Means
    Here’s why “the end of a matter is better than its beginning… (Ecc 7:8)”: At the “end of the story” – Revelation 2 & 3, where God dictates seven letters for John to address to the seven churches in Asia Minor, Jesus reminds them who He is. “I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (v. 23)… To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations (v. 26)” At the Bema seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5.10), believers in Christ will receive their eternal rewards, including many crowns promised throughout scripture.

    Bottom line – in a world where trouble is the everyday landscape of our walk, everything you and I do [within God’s will for us and that’s not done with selfish motive (Mt. 6:2, Mt. 6:5, Mt. 6:16)] will be repaid with eternal reward.

     So, here’s the compensation structure when it comes to persevering under trial:

  1. Get paid now – “Atta boy!!!” (remarkably temporary)
  2. Get paid in eternity – “I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” or
  3. Both – “do everything without arguing or complaining. (Phil. 2:14)” and “I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Rev. 2:23b)”

     We’ve been warned. We’ve been told it won’t be easy, but given the Holy Spirit to guide, empower, and protect us. We’ve been given the context of our trials, persecution, and our eternal rewards. We can take the recognition from men now or we can take a rain check in our eternal 401K. What would you prefer, a compliment that lasts a little while or a portfolio that lasts forever?

    If you’re a man within 30 minutes of California Dreaming in Duluth, GA – do whatever you have to do to get there tomorrow morning (Friday, 05.11.2012) at 6:30 for Men Step Up. There, we’ll be thinking out loud about the lies of the enemy and the truth that sets men free, specifically this stuff. Hope to see you there!

AP

Monday Morning Momentum Minute

Times of Trouble

     For those of you close to us, you know our family has been going through quite a time as our teenage daughter has begun an outward wrestling with her identity in Christ. She’s been given great tools and great teaching, but in the confusion of her adolescent brain (remember those days? I do… and shudder) has chosen destructive paths to express her long bottled up emotions. This is not an indictment against her, rather a recounting of the facts as she and we have discussed them. For her privacy’s sake, we’ll draw the line here in terms of detail. Let it just be said that we are fully committed to and currently engaged in getting her all the help she needs as she navigates this exponentially complicated season of her life. Her commitment to this process, moving forward over the next 90 days and beyond, is between her and her Savior – or, as we say “a vertical issue”.


Rest in Peace
     Recently, a friend and mentor of mine verbalized his observation of my “stable” state of mind and attitude in the wake of all she’s done to herself, and by extension, to us as a family. I didn’t even realize how stable & peaceful I was feeling at that moment. In fact, I was torn with whether or not to even mention it here so
publicly for fear of taking credit for something that was so far outside of my own doing. But, there you have it: it wasn’t my doing. I wasn’t keeping myself in peace [Is. 26.3] by intense concentration or fierce labor of the body, I had merely decided not to fight against the all powerful God whose name is “Master of the Universe” (Adonai, melech ha olam). With regard to all Brie is going through, Cristine and I have acknowledged that God is in control and despite the fact that we disagree with His methods of sanctifying our daughter (and again, by extension, us…) at this time, we trust Him to have a far better plan than we to accomplish His ends.

     Then, today, as I was reading Jim Cymbala’s “Spirit Rising”, I noticed Cristine had circled one line in Francis Chan’s introduction – “It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh is no help at all. (John 6.63)”

Praise the Lord.

The Truth

     The truth was right there in black and white. Mere paragraphs from one of my favorite and misquoted verses in scripture: “if you hold to my teachings, then you are truly my disciples. And, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8.31-32)” And, there I was – set free by the truth that my flesh (my natural tendency to do things in my own power and will) was of no help in bringing me peace and stability. At any given moment, we have a choice – we can wrestle with God (which very rarely pays off – see Gen. 32.35 and Gen. 18 for examples) in our own strength or we can yield to the Spirit.

The Hard Question:

     Are you striving or trusting, right now?

Be Encouraged:
     Jesus made a big deal about the Holy Spirit – “…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)” If it was better for Him to go and the Spirit to come, shouldn’t we expect more of the Spirit in our lives? YES!!! I didn’t feel any tingling in my bones, didn’t glow in the dark, didn’t even speak in tongues – but when my mentor mentioned my demeanor, I did notice the peace that I had no part in creating. I simply yielded to the Spirit. That promise and peace are available to you, and all who call upon the name of Christ with a pure heart. Isn’t that NUTS?! Just for the asking and the yielding. You don’t have to wield an axe and chop down a forest, you just have to sit and rest.

So, sit. Rest. Know that He is sovereign and you are His.

Peace. Really – rest… in… peace.

in Christ,

AP

Monday Morning Momentum (Alright, 3:42…)

     This week is anything but “business as usual”. So, instead of trying to articulate during an inarticulate time, I’m letting Tenth Avenue North run the Monday Morning Momentum Minute. They’ve said it much better than I can and if a picture is worth a thousand words, the chalkboard in the background is worth a million bucks. Have a great week – you are loved.

     Thanks, for all of your prayers on our behalf.

in Christ,
AP

Monday Morning Momentum Minute

“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Pet. 5.7)”

     Yeah, right.

     Ever think that? Ever been in one of those moments where the hammer is about to drop on your life, your job, your deal, your carefully orchestrated plans and all you can think of is how “this is just not going my way”, or better, a four letter word or ten cross your mind or lips? When I’m in the middle of an anxious moment – everything’s falling apart, the deal is unraveling because the CFO’s got a buddy who’ll do it cheaper, the finance company’s moved from phone calls to foreclosure/repossession – I’ve had friends email me or text me or even tell me “cast your anxiety on Him…”

     Being in the moment, the hardest thing to think of is anything other than the moment. Last week, in discussion with a group of men the question was raised “How can a man take his own kids into his home, whack them in the neck with a hatchet, fire off an email, and then burn down the house, killing himself and everyone in it?” I thought about the story of Josh Powell and immediately could only think of another, nearly unrelated story that happened 5 years ago – when my younger brother pointed a .380 at his own chest and pulled the trigger on a Monday morning in January.

     The answer to the question came swiftly “That guy would have to believe that this was his best or only exit from the situation he was in.” In conversation with my brother even a week or two after he tried to take his own life it was clear that he was weighed down by the anxiety that comes from believing a lot of lies (over a long period of time) about what’s possible, what’s probable, and what the most “viable” outcome of his situation (pre-gunshot) would be. Josh Powell had to believe that his best option was murdering his own kids and taking himself out in the process. But, both my brother and Powell were at the far end of a very dark tunnel that neither of them had to go to.

     Today, consider this – if you are “in Christ”, you have a very large target on your back, just like me. You have an enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He will lie to you every chance he gets and he has no friends, only “servants”. He will plant seeds of deception in your life and do everything he can to keep your focus on what’s now, what’s not possible, and a very limited menu of viable outcomes. However, you also have an ally: the living Christ, whose Spirit lives in you to confirm truth and comfort you in your fears.

     It’s trite to say “this too, shall pass”. Though it be banal, its cliche cannot take away its truth. Time will pass, this situation may leave marks and scars. But, it cannot last forever. Jesus never wanted us to ignore our troubles or trials, rather to grieve our losses, seek His comfort, and “let endurance have its perfect result so that [we] may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” As my friend Greg Ford says – “I wrote it on the inside windshield of my truck – trials are necessary.”

     My prayer for you this morning is that if you’re in a “limited menu” moment, you will heed any or all of what scripture says regarding anxiety. Don’t minimize the moment or the fear, rather press in to God with your concerns and pray He helps you unravel the lies before they begin to grow like kudzu, strangling your hope.

    “If you hold to my teachings, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8.32).”

I bid you peace, but peace in freedom.

in Christ,

AP

That Day Update

     “That Day” was (and continues to be) a fantastic success. In April, Men Step Up (Gwinnett) celebrated 5 years in ministry. They thought the best way to celebrate it would be to invite every guy who’d ever walked through the door at the Gwinnett location to come back any Friday in March. On top of it all, they decided the best way to cap off a series about “the value of being present” was to have a dinner theater production of “That Day”, where the main character gets to see the value of the presence (or lack thereof) of a godly man in the lives of those around him.

     So, they hired us to perform this one man show (“two man” if you count Rolin Williamson, who played [awesome] guitar and sang [awesomely], or “14 man” if you include all the characters I play… But, you get the point) at Crosspointe Church, in Duluth, GA. The house was sold out at about 150 people – men, women, and children, who came hungry for truth, food, and entertainment. Thanks to California Dreaming and the Lord sustaining me through this 90 minute “monologue (?)”, none left disappointed.

     California Dreaming had appetizers ready for the sold out crowd as they piled into the performance room watching video clips of Men Step Up testimonials/interviews. Rolin Williamson offered up a sweet version of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to set the tone for the show. Then, after a few moments of awkward silence, Dan Matthewson (Aarron Pina) busied his way to the stage with an abrupt opening line that defined the character from the outset: “Can we just get to the point, please?! I hate wasting time…”

Annette Creekmore listens as John Woodward shares his
reflections on eternal rewards at the judgment seat of Christ.

    Aarron delivered over a dozen characters in a moving first act, making for a very suspenseful intermission. During intermission, attendees were treated not only to a fantastic, catered dinner, but a family style rendition of “table talk” Men Step Up style. Audience members who had just witnessed a man “unprepared for his own judgment” got a chance to wrestle with scripture and their own thoughts on what their judgment will really look like. Rob Marbury, an audience member, said the show took him “beyond salvation”. Bullseye.

     The second act proved equally moving and poignant. After great performances by both Aarron and Rolin Williamson, Casey Sanders led the crowd in a brief “popcorn” forum where participants got to share their reflections on the show, the performance, and the truth of God’s word. Gears were definitely turned, hearts were moved, and paradigms stretched. Another bullseye!

      In fact, Aarron received a standing ovation and by the time everyone who wanted to talk or ask him questions was done, it was almost an hour before he could get out the door! Wow – God really “showed up”. In the coming months, a local singles ministry hopes to have us perform for them, and a private party is planning to have us in Dallas, TX for a command performance. Additionally, two business men who attended April’s performance will be talking with Seasons of Life later next week about how to put the show in front of several groups of local Christian business owners forums later this year.

    Once again, nothing like we had planned. But, as God ordained, a thousand times better. Look for more updates on Twitter, Facebook, or our web page at www.thatday.info.