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Narrow Way Chronicles: Exclusivity of Inclusion

In a recent tweet I shared:

#Pride, #Presumption, and #Partiality create a culture of self-righteousness and hidden agendas. #churchpolitics”.

I thought it appropriate to elaborate because intent can be misconstrued and I wanted to allow for robust discussion.

Today, the term “inclusivity” does not prompt ideas of church unity. Opponents of the Way continue to do a “bang-up” job in hijacking and perverting the Creator’s intent on certain ideologies that is designed to reflect His glory. The ideology of “Inclusivity” is no different. History teaches that diversity and inclusivity have existed since the beginning of time. The Old and New Testament scriptures clearly show examples of communities that included all races and social-economic backgrounds.  It is only after the coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Christ, do we see intentionality of this idea of Inclusive Communities. ….so let’s not get it twisted. ;-).

The intention of the tweet; however, was addressing my limited time and experience with the subject with regard to church unity. My sincere hope and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be active in guiding my hand to write; as well as an active guide to those who are reading these thoughts.

It is written, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Compassion and True Fellowship

The issue: Are our churches TRULY inclusive? With our drive to expose evil, false doctrine and plant churches, have we created a culture of elite communities? Is the mission still about the Gospel or has the mission become about growing a denomination, positioning for political leverage or making your brand known? Do we reflect true Koinonia or is the local church another social construct that is intended have a “positive” effect on the community? If true Koinonia is the intent, what should it look like and how much of our application is modeled biblically?

I have often been engaged in conversations with persons that boastfully share that they are socially connected with”like-minded” Believers. Notice I didn’t say, fellowship; and, that gave me pause to think (Hence the #ChurchPolitics).

What does the idea of being like-minded mean?

Secular society uses this phrase often. Should I assume that this idea takes on a different connotation because I perceive a spin of conservative Christianity or It is safe to assume that being like-minded is a belief or series of beliefs that is shared commonly through a connection of cultural norms to one may be accustomed; and if not accustomed, Idolize?  We’ve seen this in Charismatic circles.

It is elitism; BKA partiality.

If you initiate a Google search the topic, you will find little teaching or exhortation that addresses this, especially in conservative circles. Largely because most of our siblings still have that big plank in their eye.

Partiality is a sin and it greatly displeases Elohim our God. Because it is hidden, it is easy to deny that we have issues. When we choose to “do life” with people that do not foster sanctification, we stifle growth. Not only of ourselves but others that desire true sanctification.  Jerry Bridges exhorts: “It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that make(s) us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.

Partiality convinces us that God’s choice isn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty or handsome enough, not quiet enough, or charismatic enough. Partiality says this person is not acceptable to my standards. Partiality shows no grace and therefore, shows no love. This is wickedness.

When we opt in for partiality instead of inclusivity we become complacent in our relationships. We are not intentional with the put offs and put-ons, and we do no “one anothering”.  The result is isolation among the saints. This is a dichotomy of true fellowship. Koinonia and sharing the Gospel is what the Father wants and desires for His children. Lastly, partiality is hidden and presumptuous sins. Partiality is heinous and damaging to the Body of Christ.  In Psalm 19:13 the writer prays:

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 

The church is not as inclusive as we like to think we are. Partiality is a real issue, more than we would like to admit. People choose not to bind themselves to a local body because they do not feel loved or safe.  At any rate, Jesus teaches compassion. Though the Savior operated as a prophet, he was remarkably compassionate to sinners. Do we desire or display that same compassion or do we make assumptions about people based on limited information or gossip? Moreover, what are we willing to risk or sacrifice to engage in true Koinonia? If your local body struggles in this area please check out this teaching by Arturo Azurdia of TCP titled “The Antioch Paradigm”.

 

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Blowing the Whistle: Ezekiel’s Daughter Returns to Social Media

After careful analysis, keen observation, and contemplation, Ezekiel’s Daughter will be returning to social media.

Why is this so significant?

Well! It’s significant because  many of my contemporaries, friends, and business associates were dumb-founded, or a bit dismayed because I made the decision in 2012 to disconnect all social media outlets and go off the social media grid. With Facebook going public along with the formulation of covenant relationships  between tech companies and Government agencies, I decided it was time to be disengage and observe….which provided me a unique perspective.

Ezekiel’s Daughter is in a unique position to serve the Body of Christ through social media.(but no Facebook!)  It is; no doubt, a shift in time. Our earthly realm is transitioning into a different culture that is ruled by technology and demonic powers that mirrors those in Ancient Babylon. These powers along with technology and efforts to “dumb-down” society,  has effected and continues to effect human’s ability to engage in an organic and at a superior level.  Additionally,  these intiatives with the use of technology will shape social constructs in society, and thus changing our communication styles. Lastly, social media will be the go-to resource with regard to the delivery of news, events, and government affairs. The day is new, the times are changing and we must be strategic and intentional with our efforts of our messenging.

Ezekiel’s Daughter has committed to:

  1. Declare and Proclaim the Gospel, and the Word of God,
  2. Expose the works of the enemy with the purpose to deliver people from the tyranny of sin and its effects on their life here on Earth, and
  3. Love God’s people by the means of grace by faith, and
  4. Pass on information and prayer requests for the advancement of the Gospel and/or other needs.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter! Looking forward to following you 🙂

ED

To the Church of the West! A Parallel of Laodicea: Same Sex Marriage Is Not Our Issue

nhewy Prophets like the late A.W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill were spot on in their past observations of the American/Western churches. Below are a few observations I found applicable to today’s current climate.

“I’m concerned in my spirit (that) the reason the world goes to hell-fire tonight is because we’ve (the church) lost Holy Ghost fire”.

“God is taking His hands off of America. We’ve had so much light and we’ve(the church) rejected it”

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity”.

“I believe every church is either supernatural or superficial. I don’t believe there’s any middle ground”.

In light of recent events, it is important that the BOC remain focus on a few things:

  1.  Declare the message of the Good News. People are dead and we still have this task.
  2.  Continue to trust and obey the Lord. We already know what the result of this decision will be.
  3. Don’t get distracted and be quick to give an opinion. For the word instructs: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”…additionally it says: Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

With that said, it is now time for the Universal Church to clean house! History teaches us that a civilization that allows evil to prevail is a result of the Bride’s obedience and faithfulness to her Groom. We see this in the Church in Laodicea. The process of separating the sheep from the goats is being intensified. What side will you be on?   SELAH

The Hustle of the American(or western) Church: Part 3, The “Business” at Hand

And now…for the The following link from http://www.ecclesia.org was sent to me and I found it extremely helpful.

I’ve always wondered why churches operated as businesses. 503c status in churches seemed kind of off in my opinion because it didn’t seem practical and much of the standards contradicted or compromised the Believer’s ability to honor Elohim.

It is written: Study to show thyself approved, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Initially when I read and studied this, I didn’t fully understand, but as I continue to strive for obedience in Christ I’m finding that there are so many layers to this onion called life.

I exhort the Body of Christ to continue to seek the truth only in God’s word. click here to read the article….good stuff! http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/501-church.html

LOVE THIS GUY!!!! Antics from the firebreathingchristian

Guest blogger Scott Alan Buss blesses us with some prospective on America’s every changing “strategy” for freedom!?.

Read more at http://www.firebreathingchristian.com

HOW “FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS” MAKE US ALL RENTERS FROM THE STATE.

House for rentRemember when you could actually own a home in America?

The answer is: No, you do not.

Even if you think that something like true home ownership was recently or is presently allowed here in “the land of the free” and the home of the NSA, you are simply wrong.

As with most of the ugliest realities defining modern America, State ownership of American homes is deeply intertwined with the State and Corporate use of what they routinely pitch to us as the “free public school system”.

As if building our concept of education directly upon the serpent’s approach to the pursuit of knowledge wasn’t bad enough for the minds and souls of our children and culture, we’ve managed to throw the notion of true home ownership on the burn pile, too. Actually, it’d be more accurate to say that we’ve sacrificed home ownership as a sort of necessary kindling wood to accomplish the greater fire of State-controlled children’s “education”, which then feeds the all-encompassing inferno of State-controlled everything.

What we’re talking about here is the primary funding mechanism for “free public schools”. We will save deeper examination as to why “free” things require funding for another time. For now, let’s just settle in for a sec and soak in the truth and terrible reality of…property tax.

Property tax – the primary means by which your local “free public school” is funded here in the “land of the free” and the home of the NSA – means, in essence, that the State actually owns your home, land, and all taxable property.

You are a renter from the State, at best.

Even if you owe no mortgage, you owe the State.

Every year, you must pay your rent taxes, or you will eventually lose possession of your “property”.

Let that soak in.

Let it hit hard.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

You cannot actually own a home in America.

The State owns your home.

The government owns your home.

All so that it can provide you with glorious “freebies” like…*drumroll*…State-controlled children’s education.

Still think you’re free?

Probably so, as long as the State-controlled “education” and Corporate-controlled pop-culture in which you’ve been purposefully immersed for your entire life is successful in determining the foundations of your worldview and way of life.

The NSA, IRS, Federal Reserve, perpetual warfare abroad, and perpetual loss of property and liberty at home aren’t just happening accidentally.

They are happening purposefully and systematically, with the multi-generational vision of the serpent guiding them along in what at least seems for now to be an effortless march from cultural victory to cultural victory en route to complete cultural dominance.

Proud idolatry of America itself has been fomented and deployed to blind and lead even the “conservative Christian” right into enthusiastic support of Statism. In their unwillingness to subject American tradition, history, and patriotism itself to biblical scrutiny, they have been led along by the nose in promotion of a State that is utterly opposed to biblical truth and even most professed values of “conservatives”.

How many planks of The Communist Manifesto are embodied in the American implementation and celebration of State-controlled children’s “education” alone?

Several.

Once upon a time, that would have bothered most, if not all, Americans.

But not anymore…and not for a loooooong time now.

American State-controlled children’s “education” inherently means increasingly pro-State children overall. That much should have been obvious from the start, yet even now the culture is loaded with proud, patriotic, denial of even the most obvious of connections and realities. Score one for Marx. And the serpent, of course.

Generation after generation has been programmed by these secular, serpentine systems to the point that now most elderly “conservative” Americans cannot fathom (or abide by) serious critiques of the American State and most young Americans cannot fathom a world in which the State doesn’t own, control, and determine everything of significance for its people…all for their own good, of course. These are the multigenerational consequences of a proud people rejecting Christ as King in practice.

Young men and women of today have inherited an absolute nightmare from preceding generations of enablers and game players. The generations who founded and reaped the unbiblical benefits of any number of inherently impossible to sustain Socialist schemes (like Social Security, Medicare, Public Schools, etc.) are now on the verge of heading off into eternity, leaving us behind to deal with this mess.

How we choose then to “deal with this mess” is vital.

Will we repeat the failed approaches of the past? Will we keep pouring our energies and playing the controlled political games purposefully designed to lead us ever-closer to the total tyranny of the State Will we keep trying everything but the Gospel-fueled Great Commission as our one and only true path to real cultural restoration?

Or will we finally repent, believe, and obey…pursuing that Great Commission so that one day we here in this land will once again actually insist on training children in the essential, life-enabling “fear and admonition of the Lord”?

I believe that we can and will find our way to that place in this land once again, by His grace and for His glory.

But only through repentance and submission to Christ as King in practice.

Only then will our serfdom to the Corporate State and its “money”-printing elites end.

Only when we repent and repudiate the profound delisions and destructive behaviors that we’ve personally indulged and enabled will we finally be on that path to true cultural restoration…one supernatural salvation and act of obedience at a time.

And, along the way, we will even be able to own homes again.

Won’t that be nice?

Soli Deo Gloria,

SAB

© 2015 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.

Guest Blog: 3 FEMALE GHOSTS THAT HAUNT THE CHURCH

The following is from blogger Jen Wilkin of The Gospel Coalition. http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/3-female-ghosts-that-haunt-the-church

FEB 12, 2015

I will never forget the first time I met my pastor. Our family had been at the church for two years before a meeting with another staff member threw me into his path. The first words out of his mouth were, “Jen Wilkin. You’ve been hiding from me!” A giant grin on his face, he draped me in a friendly hug, and then proceeded to ask me about the people and things I cared about. He kept eye contact. He reflected back what I was saying. I was completely thrown off. I don’t remember what books were on his desk or what artwork hung on the walls, but I left his office that day with a critical piece of insight: this room is not haunted.

He was right—I had been hiding. Coming off several years of “part-time” ministry at our previous church, my husband, Jeff, and I were weary and in no hurry to know and be known by the staff at our new church. But as a woman with leadership background, I had other hesitations as well. Any woman in ministry can tell you that you never know when you’re walking into a haunted house.

If you’re a male staff member at a church, I ask you to consider a ghost story of sorts. I don’t think for a minute that you hate women. I know there are valid reasons to take a measured approach to how you interact with us in ministry settings. I absolutely want you to be wise, but I don’t want you to be haunted. Three female ghosts haunt most churches, and I want you to recognize them so you can banish them from yours.

These three ghosts glide into staff meetings where key decisions are made. They hover in classrooms where theology is taught. They linger in prayer rooms where the weakest among us give voice to hurt. They strike fear into the hearts of both men and women, and worse, they breathe fear into the interactions between them. Their every intent is to cripple the ability of men and women to minister to and with one another.

Though you may not always be aware these ghosts are hovering, the women you interact with in ministry frequently are. I hear ghost stories almost on a weekly basis in the e-mails I receive from blog readers.

The three female ghosts that haunt us are the Usurper, the Temptress, and the Child.

1. The Usurper

This ghost gains permission to haunt when women are seen as authority thieves. Men who have been taught that women are looking for a way to take what has been given to them are particularly susceptible to the fear this ghost can instill. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly a strong one:

  • You find her thoughts or opinions vaguely threatening, even when she chooses soft words to express them.
  • You speculate that her husband is probably a weak man (or that her singleness is due to her strong personality).
  • You feel low-level concern that if you give an inch she will take a mile.
  • You avoid including her in meetings where you think a strong female perspective might rock the boat or ruin the masculine vibe.
  • You perceive her education level, hair length, or career path as potential red flags that she might want to control you in some way.
  • Your conversations with her feel like sparring matches rather than mutually respectful dialogue. You hesitate to ask questions, and you tend to hear her questions as veiled challenges rather than honest inquiry.
  • You silently question if her comfort in conversing with men may be a sign of disregard for gender roles.

2. The Temptress

This ghost gains permission to haunt when a concern for avoiding temptation or being above reproach morphs into a fear of women as sexual predators. Sometimes this ghost takes up residence because of a public leader’s moral failure, either within the church or within the broader Christian subculture. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly an attractive one:

  • You go out of your way to ensure your behavior communicates nothing too emotionally approachable or empathetic for fear you’ll be misunderstood to be flirting.
  • You avoid prolonged eye contact.
  • You silently question whether her outfit was chosen to draw your attention to her figure.
  • You listen with heightened attention for innuendo in her words or gestures.
  • You bring your colleague or assistant to every meeting with her, even if the meeting setting leaves no room to be misconstrued.
  • You hesitate to offer physical contact of any kind, even (especially?) if she is in crisis.
  • You consciously limit the length of your interactions with her for fear she might think you overly familiar.
  • You feel compelled to include “safe” or formal phrasing in all your written and verbal interactions with her (“Tell your husband I said hello!” or “Many blessings on your ministry and family”).
  • You Cc a colleague (or her spouse) on all correspondence.
  • You silently question if her comfort in conversing with men may be a sign of sexual availability.

3. The Child

This ghost gains permission to haunt when women are seen as emotionally or intellectually weaker than men. If this is your ghost, you may behave in the following ways when you interact with a woman, particularly a younger one:

  • You speak to her in simpler terms than you might use with a man of the same age.
  • Your vocal tone modulates into “pastor voice” when you address her.
  • In your responses to her, you tend to address her emotions rather than her thoughts.
  • You view meetings with her as times where you have much insight to offer her but little insight to gain from her. You take few notes, or none at all.
  • You dismiss her when she disagrees, because she “probably doesn’t see the big picture.”
  • You feel constrained to smile beatifically and wear a “listening face” during your interactions with her.
  • You direct her to resources less scholarly than those you might recommend to a man.

These three ghosts don’t just haunt men; they haunt women as well, shaping our choice of words, tone, dress, and demeanor. When fear governs our interactions, both genders drift into role-playing that subverts our ability to interact as equals. In the un-haunted church where love trumps fear, women are viewed (and view themselves) as allies rather than antagonists, sisters rather than seductresses, co-laborers rather than children.

Surely Jesus models this church for us in how he relates to the role-challenging boldness of Mary of Bethany, the fragrant alabaster offering of a repentant seductress, the childlike faith of a woman with an issue of blood. We might have advised him to err on the side of caution with these women. Yet even when women appeared to fit a clear stereotype, he responded without fear. If we consistently err on the side of caution, it’s worth noting that we consistently err.

Do some women usurp authority? Yes. Do some seduce? Yes. Do some lack emotional or intellectual maturity? Yes. And so do some men. But we must move from a paradigm of wariness to one of trust, trading the labels of usurper, temptress, child for those of ally, sister, co-laborer. Only then will men and women share the burden and privilege of ministry as they were intended.

My most recent meeting with my pastor stands out in my memory as well. He’s often taken the time to speak affirming words about my ministry or gifting. On this occasion, he spoke words I needed to hear more than I realized: “Jen, I’m not afraid of you.” Offered not as a challenge or a reprimand, but as a firm and empathetic assurance. Those are the words that invite women in the church to flourish. Those are the words that put ghosts to flight.