Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Widespread Apostasy: A Call For Unity

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-23 ESV)

We are living in an time of widespread apostasy in the Church of Jesus Christ. Many of us have fallen away from actually living the life of discipleship in our private lives. We have been transformed into the image of the world, instead of growing in the likeness of Christ. Even those of us, that have spoke out against the "prosperity gospel" of the west, live as undisciplined consumers, for the most part.

 I feel that God is issuing a wake up call to the Church through this presidential election, in the United States. The leaders of Christian demonstrations, and movements, that still believe in the authority of Scripture, and the Lordship of Christ, should call for repentance and unity in the Church. Our love and unity is the greatest evangelistic strategy, to reach a lost and dying world.

 If you are a part of the Reformed, Orthodox, or mainline Evangelical Church that values the authority and inspiration of Scripture, you need to reach out to the Pentecost/Charismatic believer down the street from you. They too have a high view of Scripture, even if we might disagree on some secondary doctrines, that don't pertain to salvation. 

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV)

It's time to wake up and see the real enemy in our society, it's Satan and his evil hierarchy, in the unseen realm. These demonic beings are causing division in the Church, and creating chaos and causing havoc in society. The Church that lives in unity, will be an overcoming Church, and be able to stand against darkness. But first we must allow God to remove the darkness from us.

 As my friend D. G. Spillman wrote to me recently, "There is an inner health and beauty that comes from the cross-pollination of spirit-based perspectives among those sold out to the Lord. I say, find as many sources as you can from hearts you trust, because we all, like brother Paul, are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling . . ." - Bobby

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A Christocentric Mysticism

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
(Psalm 34:8 ESV)

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5 ESV)

All followers of Jesus are called  to "taste and see that the Lord is good." The person who thinks on Jesus and embraces the cross-centered life, puts themselves in a place to experience God's presence more fully. A mind focused on the exalted Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places, will attract the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

Spiritually feasting on God's word, and drinking of his Spirit, releases the benefits of truth to our souls. Joy and peace can't be learned or earned, they can only be experienced. "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11 ESV)

Our calling is to abide in the Vine, so that we can "bear much fruit." The fruit of the Spirit can only come from being connected to the river of life. Our growth in the Spirit comes from the throne of God, and it is the result of Gods grace. We can't earn God's presence, we can only position ourselves spiritually to receive Him. 

Some warn against meditation and contemplation, and rightly so, because it's possible to fall into error, if our minds are not informed by truth, and sound doctrine, But, meditating on the truth of Scripture, and praying it back to God, as opposed to emptying your mind is a safe passage into the presence of God.

We are called to have "the mind of Christ" and we must remember that Jesus is our source of power, and the cross is his instrument to change us. The power of the cross is trans-formative to our nature, when it is embraced. - Bobby

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Follow Jesus

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22 ESV)

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62 ESV)

When we begin to embrace heavenly realities, our earthly existence is transformed. The harsh realities of life do not disappear, but our perspective shifts from this present age, to the age to come. When we begin to embrace discipleship as Jesus taught it, we begin to be awakened to the shallowness of  much of western Christianity. Many churches that people attend today seem more like pep rallies, than places of worship. The emphasis is on a surface level reading of Scripture, a good pep talk from the pastor, and a focus on the felt needs of the congregation. If you have a pastor and elders in your Church that model the life of Christ, and call you to do the same, count yourself blessed. There are signs of a spiritual awakening in some Churches today. I see many young people who are being challenged to think through hard biblical texts, and the implications of walking them out.

At this present time much of the church in the western world is too distracted by self-improvement programs, politics, and personal prosperity, to grasp the call of Jesus to "follow me." Regardless of what many popular American preachers are saying, the call to follow Jesus is a radical commitment that may very well cost us some of our health, and our wealth, and yes, maybe even our lives. Then again it may not. God gives wealth to those to whom he sovereignly chooses. But health and wealth are given for the glory of God, and the advancement of his Kingdom, not to fulfill our personal lust.

God cannot be manipulated by taking his word out of context. Healing and material provision are "the children's bread" but the Apostle Paul went through seasons of both poverty, and prosperity, but experienced contentment just the same. Maybe we should start a contentment movement as opposed to a prosperity movement. In the eyes of much of our seeker friendly, materialistic, comfort driven Church culture, the Apostles would be considered failures in our day. They walked away from successful business, and in Paul's case, religious prominence, and respectability.  But in God's economy they were highly successful students of their master, Jesus Christ. - Bobby 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Everlasting Dominion

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV)

Jesus is the King of an indestructible Kingdom. America may fail, or cease to be a nation as we know it, but God's Kingdom will stand forever. The Kingdom of God will have dominion over the entire earth, and the great leaders of nations will cower at his appearing. Jesus demonstrated the superiority of his Kingdom over Satan's at his first coming, during his ministry on earth. And at his second coming, he will destroy all darkness, moral chaos, and establish his kingdom rule and order. Until that day we are called to do the works of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus name.

Jesus invaded human history through a teenage virgin girl, and was born in a humble stable in Bethlehem, and lived a life of simplicity, submitting to The Father. His next appearing will be as a warrior King, who will make every wrong thing right, and end all injustice on this planet.

Followers of Jesus have access to the power of the Holy Spirit, and can live in the reality of this Kingdom now. Even though we can't experience perfection in this age, for the most part, God's people are settling for less than he is offering. His offer is an overcoming life, lived in the presence of God. And to empower us to live in light of eternity now, as co-heirs with Christ.

God offers us a heavenly perspective as we watch "the nations rage" and the "Kingdoms shake." The Father imparts spiritual transformation and the experience of living life, "from one degree of glory to another," for those that choose to participate in Kingdom living. Disciples of Jesus are called to be over-comers in this life, so that we can demonstrate the power of the gospel, and to lead others to experience in part, the age to come, now. - Bobby