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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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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent

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Reading Refresher: The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges

jb

Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.

Children of a Lesser god: the Idol of Technology

It’s the new Babylon. Technology, Technology, Technology…and its place in civilization.

I recently read a post by a “gen Xer” sharing his views on Machine Learning (Machine learning is a subfield of computer science that evolved from the study of pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence). 

The author, self-professed authority of Biblical narrative,  usues the historical narrative about of the Tower of Babel from the OT. He uses this event as a means to argue the fact that technology exists primarily as a tool to drive behaviors of humans. In that, companies will have and will continue to use technology to control and observe behaviors. He gives some good examples on how they can gain from this information. Ironically, he also brings light of Elohim’s sovereignty.

It is no secret that there is a feeling of uneasiness in this current age. This is one reason.

Technology has given us a since of control, yet there is empiricle data that we are loosing control when it comes to what our children are exposed to, how our personal information is being used through data-mining, and what is consumed through our eyes and ears. Perversion is commonplace and if we are willing to admit it, American Christians would rather go about their days in ignorance, indifference, or avoidance rather than discuss the fact that this is a problem within the Church.

I’m baffled by the fact that people, not just “Christians”,  say they welcome growth but are always trying to avoid being uncomfortable. It would be much easier to fill our conversations with small talk and engage in avoidance rather than apply the word:  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The so-called Christian of our modern age is oblivious to the idolatry of technology.

To admit that technology, sports, and other pastimes are idols would be to admit that many of us are idolaters; and who wants to confess that?!  Moreover, if we talk about it, truth is revealed, when truth comes, then we have to choose between the Creator and the created thing. SELAH  (see the results in Rom 1:22-25)

Tech professionals are taught that the mission of Technology is to INTEGRATE.  This means technology’s use should be the primary driver of the business and daily works in society.  In laymen’s terms: Our lives should solely be dependent on technology…even how we study the Word of God. …just a thought.

Don’t get me wrong I embrace the use of technology. I find it very useful and I believe that society can greatly benefit from all innovation; however, how is it effecting you spiritually?

Is Technology making your sleepy and dumb…bitter or joyful?..Are your bearing fruit? Are you salt and light? Wait!…before you get prideful in your response, you must understand a few things: Posting “inspirational quotes”, engaging in online theological debates on social media may not account for bearing fruit, one may also want to ask: Do my actions glorify God or do they glorify me? For it is written:

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:8b-16).

…and indeed they are…

The wisdom of functioning in a society that is alien to the things of the Holy is the quandary, yet the solution is so simple. We must make the  sacrifice and we must choose to die daily. When we are honest and truthful about our inclinations and desires, this will bring to light the struggle and therefore bring an opportunity for spiritual growth. Do you desire this growth?  Practical application is given in the Word (Matt 6:33, Matt 5:29, 1 Cor. 13, ..and so on) so there is no excuse for ignorance. However, we choose ignorance when we refuse to yield to Godly wisdom, robbing us of spiritual fruit.

Technology and it’s purpose is a simple tool. It’s not needed to worship Elohim, for that’s is why we were created. My sincere exhortation for the Body of Christ is to repent, consecrate yourselves, and live Holy (separate) as God has called us. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we should become Amish, nor do I suggest legalism, however please be mindful of your spirit and prefer that which is more important to the Lord Our God in Christ!

Be well!

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.

Why Prison Ministry IS Important

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body”. (Hebrews 13:3 ESV)

As you read these accounts and thoughts of those returning back to our communities, may the Holy Spirit teach and reveal the true character of God….and…may you desire this attribute for yourselves. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment….Selah 

http://sfbayview.com/2011/04/coming-home-revelations-from-former-prisoners-2/

 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:31-40 ESV)

PERFECTION and “Confused Order”…WHAT!?….. Alien Chronicles

The “Perfect”.

A word often used to describe standards of flawless bliss or flawless perplexity toward an object, person, or idea. It is often hastily “tagged” on people, jobs, and events that stimulate our flesh and/or intellect.

As human society normalizes into a modern day Babylon, its idea of “PERFECT” continues to conform to the standard of its ancient predecessors. I find it interesting that perfection is highly desired among them (humans), yet they fail to incorporate the disciplines and order that will produce the desired result. Humans seem to desire financial security, but continue using credit as a means to sustain their households. They consume more than they produce and when they purchase more than what is needed they don’t share.

Humans also desire a “PERFECT” society, yet they participate in infantile, they don’t speak truth regarding perversion, nor do they seek cause to correct and restore those that are harmed by this type of perversion. Over 60% are dependent on pharmaceuticals; which impair judgement. They don’t respect and revere the elderly. They celebrate selfishness and self gratification, which is in direct opposition of the concept of “community”. This is enigma….this is a society that says “we are free”, yet they are not. Their perspective of PERFECTION has been “dumbed-down” to a fleshly existence. It appears that they are slaves to their wants. This is the lowest form of existence. When a society starts to cater and conform culture to the wants of the human spirit and flesh, it is destined for failure and decline. Writer C.S. Lewis is quoted in saying “Safety and happiness can only come from individuals, classes, and nations being honest and fair and kind to each other.” In a word…love.

Accountability toward Perfection……

Humans also say “NOBODY’S PERFECT” as a cop-out for the mistakes they make and ignore the fact that their poor choices are the reason for those mistakes. Their pride doesn’t want others to know that they aren’t perfect, yet when their evils are exposed, they have a tendency to blame others. There are some that insist that there is no right or wrong. This is a puzzling concept.

In my research, I found two separate definitions of this word “PERFECT” in two separate dictionaries. One dictionary is dated in the early 70s. The second is dated 2014. You can see the vast difference in perspective, and it reads:

Perfect(1970s): 1.Being without fault or defect. 2.Exact. Precise. 3. Complete.
Perfect(2014, GS) having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. 2. Absolute. Complete.

Notice that the first definition is absolute. Notice that the latter definition gives the reader a sense of power and control….or a feeling of relativism.

Unfortunately many are unaware of this gradual shift in thought. I pray that they will discover the Great Escape plan that awaits them. This plan is available to them right now if they will just humble themselves and seek HIM that is standing at the door.