Separating TRUTH from FICTION.

What the Bible Really Says!

Who is JESUS?

Learning to Live like HIM.

Did CALVARY Matter?

Where would we be if He was as motivated as we are?

What does Worship Mean?

Love without limits.

How Do WE Treat Others?

For God so loved the world that He gave.. what do we do?

Dec 15, 2009

More Than...

In the church I attend in Alaska one of the duties I have is leading prayer meetings and give direction on what I have learned, or am learning about prayer. Sometimes, I talk about how to pray, but each month I also write a newsletter in which I attempt to give some keys or insight to a greater prayer life. I had planned to do the same this month, but the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with this message and I would like to share it with you.

We would have to be locked up in some closet not to recognize that this is the holiday season. Our lives are filled with spending time with family and friends, running to the stores, pushing our way thru the crowds, or even getting up entirely too early to attempt to get that one item that Walmart has marked down in a marketing scheme to get us in the door. They may only have one of two of these items that are gone first thing as the crowd pushes their way in, but it gets us in the doors, and then we end up spending more than we can afford on items we won't even remember a week or two after Christmas is over, with the exception of the bills.

It is also the time of year, when regardless of our personal religious beliefs, we can find displays and ornaments, and our thoughts turn to the birth of Christ. I realize we can get easily caught up in all the commercialization, Santa Claus, and all the amazing food items that never seem to be out except at this time of year, but for most of us we also remember the baby in the manger.

When Jesus was born it wasn't in a hospital; he didn't have doctors, and Mary didn't go through prenatal classes. There wasn't a sterile room with rubber gloves and gowns abundant. He didn't even have a midwife to deliver him. The bible doesn't specify who delivered Jesus, but only exclaims that he was born. We know he was born in a borrowed stable. We know that they laid him in a manger which the reality is, was the place the cattle got their food. He didn't have pressed linen sheets, or even a pillow. He will forever be known as the baby in the manger. For some of us, that is all we see him as, just the baby in the manger. Saints been down in awe to this baby; this icon of what is good about all of us before we are corrupted with cares of life, and we esteem him as a miracle and perfect. While we all seem amazed by his birth, some of us stop right there and never see him as anything else, but he is so much more than the baby in the manger.

Scripture and tradition teach us that Joseph was a carpenter, and thus when Jesus came of age it was only common for the sons to learn the trade of their father. Jesus probably spent untold hours sweeping, sanding, putting together wood to make something of use. In those days, carpenters not only helped in construction of housing, but also in the very furniture that would be in that house. Jesus may have had his own work bench where he would carve, saw, and hammer a piece of wood into something of use. Perhaps he made chairs or tables, and many of his day only saw him as the carpenter's son. He was so much more than a carpenter's son though, and history has told us so.

We read that he went about doing good, teaching in the synagogues and on the hillsides. He astounded the teachers and theologians at an early age with his knowledge of laws and scripture. There are many passages that speak of him as a rabbi, or teacher, and he could tell stories with the best taking the examples from life as he would instruct those who listened in steps to lead a productive, successful life. He taught so even the little children could understand how they should go about their day and grow into adulthood with purpose. If he was alive today, I am certain he would be on the best seller list, and people would buy his self help books to go on the shelf with all the other wisdom that ends up there. He was a great teacher, and some would spend hours, go without food even just to hear him teach, but he was so much more than just a teacher.

Some didn't come to hear him teach, but rather to see what he would do. To many he was a magician, a seer, a miracle worker. They came to watch the show, or perhaps even be involved in it. We read with astonishment and maybe even a smile about the time he fed the five thousand, or when he raised Jarius daughter from the dead. See, they knew where to come when they had problems, when they didn't know where else to turn. Even his closest flowerers, his disciples, whom he would teach more in-depth, who should have realized that he was giving them a great gift, saw him many times as just the one who could fix things when they were in trouble. To most, he was just the one who did the miracles, but he was so much more than the miracle worker.

I have had a copy of the passion movie on my desk for more than a year. I have planned to watch it. I have heard many stories about how close the real deal it must have been. The scenes of agony and and powerful testament of what took place has been shown by Hollywood to be more real than ever before. I like anyone else have seen bits and pieces online, but I often wonder why I never seem to have time to watch the movie. It has went with me on several airline flights but remained in my bag, and someday I will watch it, but he is so much more than just the depiction of his struggles with humanity and praying in the garden, tempted and abused by the people of his day.

We can read the passages of scripture ourselves, where he wanted someone to just pray with him for an hour when the religious right of his day conspired with the government to do away with this man that is upsetting their plans. We read about how he was beaten, carried his own cross up a criminal's trail to a hill where they hammered nails into his hands and feet and stuck him in a hole, naked before all humanity, to die for his transgressions of trying to help others. History has cleaned up the story; it was so much more brutal than we can imagine, and they have given us and image of this pretty cross with a man hanging on it dressed in some sort of garment as he died there on Golgotha.

I can relate with most people as to the power of the cross, and many of us have preached about it, and some religious entities have made the cross into an icon that they hang on the wall, wear around their neck, or put in a place of honor in their cathedrals. They look to the image of a man hanging on a cross to find strength in times of trouble, to restore hope, and as a companion, while most of the time, the words of this man sit idly on a shelf somewhere collecting dust. At Christmas, or any time of the year you can find all sorts of icons, images, idols of Jesus on the cross, or the cross itself as a reminder of what he did for us. While it is a powerful image, he isn't that little idol; he isn't on that cross you carry around, and even though he died on a cross and we all know he rose again, he is so much more than the man on the cross.

Most of us make an effort to attend some sort of worship service each week, where we will sing, pray, listen to someone talk about some passage in the bible that is usually meant to be uplifting and a way to feel the humanity of Jesus. We tell the different bible stories of old, how David killed the giant, Jonah and his big fish, Jesus walking on the water. We sing songs praising his name, his blood, the significance of the price he paid as we embrace who he was, and how his life has changed the destiny of most who listen. A lot of us get this idea that if we go to church on Sunday, and listen to the preacher then we become good people, and of course good people go to heaven. There were times when we listened and our hearts were pierced with the suffering of our savior, but these days of more modern influences, it has become more about the social aspects, the gathering together, and perhaps the prayer for our needs. We reflect on Jesus, and we have ministers who can make him come alive with stories, but the truth of the matter is Jesus is more than what we do on Sunday.

I am sure by now, some are a bit rattled in what I am writing, and yes I do believe he is all of these things. I myself have known him as a healer. I depend on him to supply my needs. The scriptures tell us to. We are taught to cast our cares on him; trust in the Lord with all our might; if we have a need to take it to him. Growing up in a preacher's home I saw many miracles over the years. Broken bodies have been healed by the power of his name; families have been put back together; in times of dire financial straits, somehow the money has just been there. Even now I pray for my own healing and restoration of my body, spirit, life, and ministry after some terrible circumstances have changed my life forever. I pray for my family and friends, all the while believing that God is going to give them what they need. God has shown me revival in churches soon to come. He has showed me that certain people I know are going to be healed to such a magnitude that right now they are not able to comprehend it. He has shown me things that are set to transpire in my own life, that even I have a hard time accepting. He is so many things to all of us, and yet he is so much more.

More than...
a baby in a manger
a carpenter's son
a good teacher
a prophet
a miracle worker
the man on the cross
the one who rose again
an image on a cross
strength in need
something to do on Sunday
a song or message
a memory of what he has done
a celebration time
even more than our savior
anything we can imagine

He is still more...

It is easy in our circumstances or trials to forget how powerful Jesus really is. Sometimes we become so complacent with the day to day, that we forget him. Even when we are doing good ourselves helping humanity, leading others to him, we can sometimes forget just who he really is.

I used to sing specials in church and there were times when I would feel God leading me to minister in song to let others know he is there. One of my favorite songs was "More than Enough." My dad would play the piano, and I would sing and I would see tears on even the most wounded spirit as they remembered that he really is enough to take care of their circumstance. Many times if we are not in the midst of the trial, then we tend to overlook the power of his deity, the strength he gives in the midst of the storms and that welcome hug when we have nowhere else to turn to. If we haven't been thru times of crisis, we cannot really appreciate just how "More than.." he really can be.

I used to hear people talk about how Jesus was this or that, and many times to me I didn't fully get it. I knew he could do anything; I knew he healed; I knew he supplied; I knew he saved, but I didn't fully grasp just how 'more than..' he really was until I faced hardships in my own personal life. Faced with situations in which I had no control I agonized over how I was going to make it. It seemed just when one part of life got better another part got worse, and it has been a long battle. There have been days I thought I couldn't get out of bed anymore; days where I questioned God and his methods; situations where I really just felt like giving up. I still face things that I don't have the answers to, I don't know the outcome, and can be very fearful. However, in the midst of all of this, there is a depth in God that I feel that I could not have known had I not been thru that trial.

I know some are going thru devastating illness and burdens that seem to have no end, but I am living proof to say, he is More than Enough.

He's more than enough, more than enough,
He is el shaddi, the God of plenty,
The all sufficient one, God almighty,
He is more than enough.

No matter the trial you are in, no matter the questions you have about God, no matter what others might think about God, He is more than enough for any situation. He is more than just a baby in a manger.

Jul 17, 2009

What is a LIE?

Over the past several weeks, I have been faced with situations that I am sure well meaning people thought they were protecting me, but in fact they didn't tell me the truth. That is a LIE!

Somehow, we have gotten the idea that when we know things, even if we are not sure if they are true, we tend to let it out to someone thinking that the way to fix everything is to tell other people. This only spreads the rumors and makes the individuals affected hurt and upset. It does nothing to correct the situation.

So what exactly is a lie?

If you hear something and it doesn't come direct from the individual involved, whether it be good or bad then there is a chance that the information is not correct and therefore, that is hearsay and could in fact be a lie.

There are times when we hear something, but by the time we tell it, it is expanded on some and then the person we tell adds their own take on what they heard from us, and by the time it gets back to those involved it is completely not the truth. That is a lie.

I know that sometimes we realize people will get hurt if they knew what was said about them behind their back, and so we keep it to ourselves, and let the rumors continue, rather than telling the person saying it that they need to stop and they need to talk to the actual individuals involved so that the are aware of whats been said. If we do not, then we are helping to circulate and adding to the fire and perhaps causing detrimental actions to those involved, because we allowed a lie to continue.

I realize there are many circumstances where we would prefer not to get involved, but instead of taking it to the person who it is about, or, telling the person who is saying that they need to stop, then we just allow it to continue. That makes us just as guilty of the lie. We think we are doing someone a favor by not being forthcoming, but in fact, we are more concerned with how others may view us, and in turn we generally really hurt someone who loves us.

More than 90% of lies are generally started by friends or family, and usually it is meant to bring harm to someone.

So why am I bringing this up?

The Bible says, ALL liars shall have their part in the lake of fire.

Yet, somehow we have this idea that it wasn't a big lie, I did it to protect you, it would have hurt worse if you knew, so... how can we not realize then, that what we are doing is still a lie? It doesn't matter the size of the lie, or whether we were doing it for someone's benefit, or thinking it was our way of showing we care, it is still a lie. And ALL liars shall have their part in the lake of fire.

I know lies come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we don't even realize that we are lying. So, I have compiled a list of lies below for your reference. See if any apply to you?

If you hear something and have not verified it, be it good or bad, and you tell anyone else, then it is a lie.
If you tell someone, you are, or will be somewhere and you are not, or don't show up when you said, then that is a lie.
If you pretend to be something you are not, so that people will think better of you, or less even, then you are lying.
If you say you will do something and you do not then you are lying.
If you act like you are younger than you are, or older than you are lying.
If you well meaning to not tell someone the whole truth about what is affecting them, or even your own life, that is a lie.
If you say I am fine, when the reality is your life is a mess, or you don't feel well, and you think its a way to keep people from thinking you are not a whiner, then you are a liar.
If you say it doesn't matter when someone does something to hurt you, but in your heart or in secret it upsets you, then you are lying.
If you say you made so much, when the truth is you made less or more, then you are lying.
If you don't want to offend someone or hurt their feelings, so you don't tell them what you know, that is a lie.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We have this idea that only the lies that we tell knowing full well that we are lying is wrong. But that is A LIE!

So, when you get where you are going, and you stand there thinking you are ok, knowing full well that you did some of the above, do not be surprised when you go the other way, because you believed a lie, and all liars, and those who believe lies shall be damned. Look it up, it is in there. And that is not a lie.

Jun 12, 2009

Pause and Think About It!

Today while working on projects for a new client, I have spent a lot of time listening to some of the gospel music I listened to growing up. It brought back a lot of memories and the majority of them were great.

There was something about those old songs, that moved the angels and people were brought to worship. The impact of those days is still felt today, and yet some try to get rid of the past, bury it under a pile of 'a new day, a new spirit, change' and think they are doing the right thing.

I am sorry to be a downer, but a lot of the music of today just fills up space. If you cannot sing the glory down, and lift each other, as you lift the praises up in songs that are just repetition of one phrase over and over and over... then you are missing the whole point of the purpose of music.

In the Bible, there were singers and musicians appointed to lead the way into battle ahead of the armies. Think about that. We hide behind those who are 'stronger, more spiritual, bro so and so, etc' when really it is the job of the praisers to lead the way into the battle. However, it is apparent a lot of the time, that the singers, and musicians, have not prepared themselves, and they lead in uncertain directions, waiting on someone else to take charge. Music orginally was not to be entertainment or space filler, it was meant to change the atmosphere.

Saul, when he was troubled, called for David to come and play that his spirits may be settled. Most churches now, music is an after thought, or something to do before the preaching or during the offering. And frankly, most of the music of today, does not have the same impact as some of the songs of the past.

Gone are the days of Holy, Holy, Holy, The Old Rugged Cross, Crimson Stream, and An Old Account Was Settled. Gone are the days when grandma would wail from the back of the church in agony over someone else's soul. We want it compact, fresh, high impact, and if it isn't... somehow we do not think it belongs. We leave people fighting the battles on their own, and we do our little shout, jump, and then its time to head for some fellowship time.

The difference in yesterday's music from today, isn't that people of today cannot write good songs; some are very good, but for the most part it comes down to the inspiration of the song, and the anointing.

I realize not all songs of today are lacking power and not all of them do not touch lives, but it has been a long time since I was in a revival that went past 9:00pm. Yes, I know people work, yes I know that we have to get up in the morning or have worked hard all day, but there was a day when being in the presence of God was enough to sustain us, and we would get up do what we had to do the next day and come back still refreshed. It changed lives, and you are reading this today, because in that 'past' someone was moved on by the spirit, and they led others and that is why you are here.

In the 1970's the music began to change, and some were worried about this new beat that was similar to the hippies and then disco came along. But the praises still went up, churches were packed, and the truth was still preached. In the 80s, we still had great songs and there was still an anointing, and bus ministries brought in 1000s of children to Sunday School which impacted lives and they brought their families. In the 90s, the anointing wavered a bit, there were a lot of programs on how to do this or that, some wanted to see change, and yet, there was still revival. Then along came 2000 and people wanted change, the programs weren't working; people threw out the standards by which we had been raised thinking that was the reason, and they started making songs to go with this 'new image' the church was trying to achieve. Gone were the hours of weeping in the altar, gone was the wail from the back pew, that just wasn't cool anymore. Instead we brought in light shows, smoke, cranked the volume up, took off our ties and suits, and were surprised when the churches didn't explode with people. Churches going through transition blame it on this one or that, or the fact that 'people just don't love God anymore.'

The reality is, we changed. We got worried about what everyone else would think of us, and we climbed in the box with them. Let's have peace, joy, grace, mercy, but lets leave out the meat of the word. Lets change the words we say to better reflect the change in society; don't want to offend anyone. The message didn't change all that much, but the method of delivery did.

Just this past week I heard of a church that if you happen to miss the service, they will 'text you the message.' Really? Is that what we have become. I love technology, but it is just a tool!

I wonder what would happen, if we stepped away from the computers, the multi-level sound systems, the "online pre-chewed by someone else before us" messages, and actually set aside time to really pray about what God wants. I wonder what would happen if we picked up an old song book and started from the front and sang "Where could I go but to the Lord." But, instead we flip on the radio, "oh that song has a good beat, and its up to date, and I think its cool, so lets learn that one."

And so they attempt to teach it to the church, while half the congregation sits there like they don't know what is going on. Because they don't.

Maybe we all need to go "back to our old landmarks" the places where "we" first found God and remember what is used to be like. Have a few "retro" services and let the glory take precedence over the offering, or the program. Lets spend time feeling out the spirit, rather than checking our email for today's message and figuring that the one you have been sent is good enough for the members.

But I know, we just don't have time anymore...

for things that matter most...

for lives that need direction...

for peace of mind knowing where we are headed...

for that one LOST sheep.

Pause and Think About It!

May 6, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

We all make numerous decisions everyday from what time we wake up, the clothing we put on, the food we eat, or what we do with our time. We rationalize the decisions we know we shouldn't be making until we are satisfied that we are okay with it. Maybe some of these are familiar to you.

    It doesn't matter if I have one more piece of cake.

    No one is watching me, so if I do it just this once.

    It is just a white lie.

    It doesn't hurt to look.

    Well, I need the money, so this one time...

    Well, if you heard what so and so said, then you would know why I am doing this.

    So, I drive a little faster than the speed limit, I am in a hurrry.

    It is for my kids, they deserve it.

    I will pray thru, I am just not ready now.

I was pricked in my heart today when I read a blog online. I want you to read it as well.

Lust, Pride, and Simplicity Lust is clearly tied to pride (and no, this is not the beginning of my new hip-hop lyrics). We/I lust after things we can't have but don't really want them as much as we just want to know we could have them. Actually, I usually want to take it a step further and fully attain what it is my selfish nature desires before I realize that I don't want it.
Everything we obtain in life comes with something attached. The typical saying is that it's impossible to find something good with no strings attached. Unfortunately, that phrase is usually what old business men say and it is rarely used in the context of the three major sins of our selfish nature.
The lust of eyes may bring us to find fancy new electronics, but they come with a price tag as well as serious time investment that begins to control our lives.
The lust of the flesh may bring me to a buffet, but I can't eat all that food and feel ready to win a speed race directly afterward.
And, finally, the pride of life may convince me that I've got some pretty damn good plans for myself before I realize that I would have been happier had I followed God' will.
You can simply call it consequences if you want to spare yourself the description.
True freedom and joy will arrive when I not only know but also act upon the fact that simplicity and submission of control are more powerful than anything my lust and pride can find.
The above was written by a popular rock star. I quoted it as he wrote it.

He made the decision and he realizes it has cost him. However, we must realize that sometimes the decisions we make affect not just us, but our children, our friends, our family, our church.

I know of a lady who 'goes to church' and has for years, but she has never really been completely sold out. Many have worked with her and her family but it always comes down to she doesn't have time, she has things to do, she is sick, etc. Yet, she is always calling someone for prayer. "Please pray for my sons, they are in jail again. Please say a prayer for my son, he is on drugs, and I don't understand it when he used to have the holy ghost."

Decisons, that were made most likely cost this family their souls.

I have seen other families come into church, but they are for the most part ignored, despite the fact on a Sunday morning, it is usually the pews they sit in that are filled with visitors; but they are not good enough to help out in sunday school , or to sing with the choir.

And then we wonder when those who at one time were so full of God, never come back, because of something that was said that hurt to the core of their soul. It is easy to blame them personally, but the decision a minister made left them feeling they were not welcome. They ask for prayer from friends and family, but their kids are no longer serving God. It doesn't matter that he used to be a pastor, he wasn't good enough because he could no longer support practices that he felt were wrong, so they stopped coming and before long it ended in a broken marriage, and a family destined for hell. Is it their fault, or does the ministry hold some responsibilty as well?

The decisions made possibly cost the church the revival you have been asking God to bring for years. But it isn't your fault, how could it be. If they loved God they would be here, even if they felt like they were not wanted.

Are their things we are doing today that will negatively affect our church, our children, our future? I would hope not, but we all make decisions that bring change in our lives, and most often bring an effect on our future that will cost us heavily.

Lust, pride, and impatience are connected to decisions we make that are usually wrong, but do we even care anymore? God wake us up somehow before it is too late and we are responsible for another soul.

While thinking of this today, I came across a message from First Apostolic Church in Nashville, TN. It was very much worth listening to. It was entitled 'A Decision for a Lifetime.' What is your decision going to be?

Apr 25, 2009

Bring Back Truth and Holiness! Or Get Out Of The WAY!

I admit, tonight I am angry. In times past, some have told me I am too angry to be 'apostolic.' That somehow I shouldn't rock the boat or that I am trying to bring division. And on some level they may be right. However, there is a pervasiveness happening amongst our faith that is sickening and I feel like vomiting all over their shoes.

We like to be passive in our relations with others rather than standing up for what we believe. We think somehow if we keep being nice and play the game that somehow people will be won to Christ. Meanwhile our churches, our fellowships, our homes are filled with lies of the enemy and we serve God out of convenience rather than duty and honor. Even if we do win a few, how long will it be before they are just another face in the crowd as we line our pocketbooks?

The past several months I have been faced with trials that have seemed insurmountable. If it had not been for a few online friends, I may have succumbed to the pressures of life. I don't really have friends left in the church I attend, with the exception of a few who are related by marriage or such like. Even they have grown quiet rather than stand up and say the changes happening are wrong. I have sought solace with a few online who have seemed to be dedicated and true. I have spent countless hours being a friend to those who have been hurting and in turn being lifted myself. But I find myself seething tonight as I find out most of what I was led to believe was lies.

I want to say tonight in all sincerity, that it doesn't matter how much you drop in the offering plate. It doesn't matter if you sit on the front row of your church and dance everytime the music plays, or shout and amen the preacher. If you do not live the life when you leave that building, or you lie to your brother or sister, even the small lies, then you are not right with God.
It is a sad commentary the stories I am hearing from so-called friends who want to serve God, live holy, and even raise their children up right, but when they are faced with indecision or something hurts their feelings, their holiness and truth goes out the door. They give in to the pressures of life simply because they think they can repent later and that God will be okay with it all. We seem to forget that while it is true God is a God of Love, He is also a Consuming Fire!

Our spirituality means nothing if we play the piano on Sunday but do not dress, act, or live holy the rest of the week. We can sing and shout and run the aisles, but if we think we are fooling those around us, we really aren't. And God is not fooled at all.

How can you talk about how much you love the Lord, but cannot wait until you meet so-and-so, and when you do you excuse your behavior as an accident? The bible says emphatically not to lie. It also says "he that knoweth to do right, and doeth it not, to him it is a sin." Yes, I realize some of the doctrines we have held up as truth are only our personal convictions and we cannot back up with scripture. However, I have seen so many compromises over the past several years that have been swept under the rug. And while it may be true that this or that is not a sin, when we have let down on what we have believed or been taught in the past there is a destructive spirit that has come into our midst. The church is no longer a place of refuge but a social gathering.

I say in the fear of God, that if we do not get our act together and quickly, then the fire of God will refuse to fall upon our minstries and He will take his spirit from us. We are kidding ourselves if we think we are what we are supposed to be. Mark it down, judgement is going to come to the house of God. It just depends on whether we are staying holy or in the way of the move God wants to bring to his church.

There is a reason the scripture is in the bible that says "two will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left, two will be grinding at the wheel, and one will be taken and the other left, two will be in the bed, and one will be taken and the other left." Somehow, we have forgotten that the easiest sin to do is to lie. It comes when we make excuses for our behavior, or when we get caught doing something we know we shouldn't, or when we pretend to befriend someone, all the while knowing we are only friends because we want something from them. The second easiest is apathy. That word simply means we don't care enough about what is happening around us to do anything about it. We cover it up by saying. "We are praying for you," or "let God handle it." Truthfully, we know usually that something isn't right, or that we are complacent, but it is too much of a bother to do anything, so we sit and grow lukewarm. There is a possibility we will regain our fire, but the person on the pew next to you may not. I guess that is okay with us.

I wonder what would happen in our churches, if God took the blinders off our eyes and we could see every sin that each individual, in the pews or the pulpit, has in their life, floating over their head. Would we scream? Would we still listen to our pastor? Would we run from the church in terror that everyone knows my sins? Or would we run to the altars and take those next to us with us?

I know in my own life, I am far from perfect. There are things in my life that I struggle with and that I desperately need God's help with. However, I am so sick of phonies and pharisees, that I have come to the determination that I am going to do something to change things. I realize I will not be popular, and most will hate me most likely. But something has to change. It has to return to the values and principles that were ingrained in us, when we first found God.

We don't need new programs or methods to reach the lost. What worked in the past, still will work. We don't need new songs, because the songs we sing are outdated and boring. If God blessed and the power fell back then, it still will when the sisters cries unde the anointing as she sings. We don't need to add strobe lights, and rock bands to our churches to get the young people involved. We need to teach them respect for the house of God and get them in the prayer rooms on their knees where we should be too.

It seems to me as the size of our congregations grew, and as we replaced those hard wooden pews with padded seats, we also padded our message and we pushed God out the door. Bloody, disgusting truth of what happened on Calvary has been replaced with a pasteurized version that everyone can swallow. Basically, we have put makeup on our ministry and sexed up our religion.

But, it isn't the prettiest saint that is going to be the first in line thru those pearly gates. It is the pure and undefiled before God that are going to be the only ones making it in. Truth is not a multiple choice decision. It is either truth, or it is a lie. We need to get back to core values, spending as much time in prayer and bible reading as we do in paying attention to the news or to our favorite tv show or even novel. Actually, if we spent half as much time in serving God, as we did in other things, we would see a revival that would shake our world.

Someone is going to do it. Is it going to be you? Is it going to be me? If you cannot stand living holy and doing the right thing, then step aside, because it is coming and if you aren't part of it, you will be run over. So get in it, or get out of the way.

Mar 9, 2009

When God Isn't Enough

I am sure some have seen the title and already are judging and saying that God is always enough, but before you respond, read what I have written.
We preach it, sing it, shout it from the mountains that God is enough. He has the ability to carry us, provide, deliver, heal, and provide all we need. While that is true, there are times when God is not enough.

Maybe to some I am having a pity party, but I am not alone in that.

I am going thru things right now that are crushing me beneath the weight. Some of you may know some of it; very few know most of it, and no one knows all of it, but me and God. As a general rule, I stay vague about myself. I am not looking for sympathy, and I do my best to keep my private life private. I guess in a way you could say I am bipolar, because what most of you know about me online is not the complete me if you knew me personally. However, I will not share all of it, but there are times when God is not enough, and I want to explain why I feel that way. I do this with great trepidation but, I am tired of bottling it up.

I have had health issues a long, long time. Almost fourteen years have gone by since I found myself going from healthy, comfortable, and constantly ministering, to where I was too sick to get off a couch. It was a literal hell. Doctors couldn't figure it out. Family and friends walked away, and the church... well they acted like I was a leper. I won't go into more of that now, but maybe someday.

After several years of the loneliness that comes from multiple health issues and people not knowing what to say when God doesn't heal, a friend came into my life. She was apostolic, involved in a music ministry, and at the time she became my everything. Within a few months she rescued me and took me to where she lived, married me of course, and changed my life forever. I loved her children as my own, and for the past several years, they have been my children.

Somehow, we ended up back where I was from, and we came with no preconditions. Since my wife was vey musically talented, she offered to help, and I offered to help any way I could. I had at one time assisted the former pastor. I knew the ropes. I could offer advice, or do whatever was asked of me. Somehow, they got the idea, not from us, that we were there to 'take over' as someone so nicely put it. That was never the plan, there was no plan. However, from that moment, we were treated as outsiders from most in the church and especially the pastor. I didn't understand it. I tried to pray about it, seek advice, but none of it mattered.

I did what I could, but I sat on the sidelines and watched that church die. Oh, it still has a pulse, but its not at all what it used to be, or what it could be. Don't offer to help though. Unless you have deep pockets you won't be considered.
I know I sound bitter, and perhaps I am a little.

Anyhow, over the past couple years, after seeking the mind of God about leaving, staying, or what to do in general, my wife and I decided to start a church. It wasn't just about how we were treated, people were showing up at our house who we didn't know and asking us about God. We did a lot of soul searching, tried to leave, prayed for a new minister to come, did everything because we did not want to start trouble.

However, last spring, everything started falling into place. Someone I had never met called and offered to pay six months on a building if I could find one. My wife was excited, telling friends at work, people in the grocery stores, and planning to take a big family photo and splash it all over the newspaper.

It was exciting, we found a building we could use for up to five services a month for $250.00.

Three weeks later, my wife comes home from work, tells me she and the kids are moving to Texas, she has another 'man' and that we should have never been married. Around the same time, the doctors diagnosed me with leukemia.

My whole world crumbled.

I tried to find comfort in the church, but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It was basically non-existant. It still is. Yes, I still go to church, but for the most part I don't see any reason to. The few people at church who do talk to me are 'praying for you.' Although there are those who tell me the leukemia and the divorce is because I am in rebellion to the pastor, or that I must be running from God.

Please understand, I know I am not the only one who goes through trials, I know I am not the only one who is sick. I also know that when I had friends going through things, I was there for them. I do not understand why they cannot be there for me.

There is a lot of things I do not understand, and yet, his word gives direction to issues like these but it seems that part of the bible does not matter.

Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

I guess what I am trying to say is we cannot pick and choose which scriptures we listen to. I have served God my entire life. I grew up on a church pew, I have been a minister, evangelist, sunday school teacher and director, youth pastor, and on and on. Yet, I am like so much drivel tossed aside when trouble came to me.

And I wonder, is it just me? Did I do something to deserve this? Or is this how everyone from new convert to elderly saint gets treated when the 'church' doesn't know what to say?

You don't know how it will change someone's life to invite them out for supper. Or perhaps see if they want to go shopping with you, or maybe take them a loaf of home baked bread, or a pie. But instead, we get so caught up in our own lives we neglect the ones who need us the most, because, we must be about the work of the Lord.

Does anyone visit the widows and orphans anymore? Does anyone still visit the sick, the backslider, or send them a card or anything? We can pray til we have no words left to say, but sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear, and it seems no one has that anymore.

I know you think I am whining. Kind of like Elijah did, Moses did, David did, Joseph, Jeremiah, Jonah... and yes, even Jesus was lonely. He just wanted someone to spend a little time with him in prayer, but they couldn't make the effort. We all think we are the one who is different. If we were the one asked.. we'd be the first to do everything to help.

I joined everyonesapostolic with that in mind. I needed someone to confide in. I needed a listening ear, and maybe some advice. I had never been thru a divorce before, let alone leukemia. I knew there were other apostolics online who had been thru things, so I decided to try it out.

I made a couple of 'close' friends who I was willing to listen to and I opened up to them some as well. I was finding strength in the midst of the storm. I had a shoulder to lean upon if only online or a phone call. I started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. One called me almost daily to make sure I was doing good; went so far as to invite me to move to where they were, and even had me talk to their child on the telephone. They gave me reason to believe I mattered, and that they wanted to be a part of my life, even if it was hard. But just like always, in a flash they were gone. The three I opened myself up to, trusted, and gave me a glimmer disappeared in the dust.

I guess that is the way it is. Maybe I shouldn't trust anyone. Maybe I should just live a solitary life, because it seems that anyone who gets close to me, God yanks away. I find myself wondering what is wrong with me? But is it really me? Is it God? Or have we become so content with who we have become that we ignore those who need a lift once in a while? Is our own wants so important that we don't care who we hurt in the way to our goal?

I am sure there are some of you after you read this will turn and walk away and I will never hear of you again. Why should you be any different? If we are not always happy go lucky, take it all in stride, don't make waves, then no one wants to get close. I understand that. I don't like negative people.

But I am tired of complacency. I am tired of bottled up anger or grief. I am tired of talking to people who are literally going thru hell and trying to help them out when I have a hell of my own to contend with. I am tired of being vulnerable only to have it shoved in my face. I am tired of hearing about miracles, I want to see one in my own life.

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else? Am I the only one who feels this way? I seriously doubt it.

I guess the answer I have been searching for is to not let anyone close. Just shut my mouth, not make waves, and just take it like a man. Maybe I am just not worthy.

It is a new generation. We are in a sinking ship, and there are only a couple of life preservers left, and no one is willing to take a chance that they are the one who can save someone else. Life perservers can usually hold a lot of weight. Would it hurt to help someone else stay afloat for a bit? All it would take is wrapping your arms around them and letting them know you will help them hang on.

Naw. Let them sink. It's what everyone else does.

Could God create a boat just for them? Sure. Could he bring about a miracle just for the one in need? Sure. Could he change the situation? Sure. But sometimes, he needs our help.

There is nothing like the feeling when that person you brought to church gets the holy ghost. There is nothing like the feeling, when the person you prayed and fasted for gets their miracle. There is nothing like a hug to someone who is lonely.

Can God do it himself. Sure. But just like God cannot make anyone love him, he cannot make anyone love us. There are times when even God isn't enough.

He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.

Feb 22, 2009

Do They Know I Am One Of Those?

While browsing the internet today, I came across a story on CNN about people who wear their faith on their sleeve. You can read it here for yourself.

It got me to thinking about my own life, and the lives of those around me.

There was a time when you could go the grocery store and pick out the Pentecostals or Apostolics. Not just because you saw them in church, but everyone knew who they were. We acted different, talked different, would walk away if someone started to tell a dirty joke. Our hair was different. People knew we didn't watch television or movies, and even though they thought we were wierd, they treated us with respect.

Even if we were not over the top witnessing, those around us knew what we believed, and had either visited themselves, or knew someone who did. They had heard the stories of how we did crazy stuff, shouted in church instead of sit there solomnly, and while it was scary it was a bit intriguing. We had them curious.

In church recently, I overheard a couple of pew-raised youth talking about the "awesome special effects" in the movie they just saw. When I go around town, I don't even always recognize those from my own church, because they don't look the same.

I have been told its the change in generation, but we have blended in with the crowd. We don't look different, except at church. I hope we still talk different, but I have my doubts. Our conversation should still be holy, but with television in most of our homes, video rentals (it doesn't appear so much like we are part of the world that way), how can everything that proceeds out of our mouth be something Jesus might say? It used to be popular to wear those WWJD bracelets, but now .. if it doesn't have some garish logo or something that looks grunge, our youth won't wear a shirt that says anything about Christ.

Our older generation for the most part seem complacent with things being as they are, because after all, 'we are praying about it.' Everybody prays, no one does anything.

I have a young friend who is a charismatic preachers daughter. You know the ones. They don't act like we do, they can't possibly have the same holy ghost, and well.. you know. Last fall, she was beaten and nearly raped by the son of preacher. She was missing for two days, and we worried she was dead somewhere. She walked home barefoot, with torn clothing, all battered and bruised, and no one stopped to help her. She walked more than 15 miles like that, and tried to rest on the street when she was too tired.

I talked to her and her sister the other day, and she has forgiven the guy who did it. Not only that, she became friends with him. My first reaction was how could you? Are you crazy? You know he has been abusive to you. But she told me, "that yes he grew up on a pew, but he doesn't know the Jesus I know. Maybe somehow, I can lead him to the truth."

Part of me thinks she is playing with fire, but part of me is ashamed of myself. I am not like that. When I hear what she went through, even I want to get a bat and send the guy straight to hell. But she has completely forgiven him. In her voice, you can hear she is christian. I wonder if my voice says the same thing?

But, I keep thinking to myself, do we still live the life we used to be laughed at for, or have we mutated into something that still looks the part, but only when its convenient. Do they still know we are different?

Just yesterday, someone who I had a lot of trust in, told me about things that have happened at National Youth Congress, and he was bragging about it. I am still in shock about it today. I honestly don't know if I would allow my daughter to go because of what he said to me.

The bible says "by their fruit, ye shall know them." On the CNN article, those men are abused, laughed at, criticized for their faith. Yes, they don't know God like we do, but can we still say the same about us? The bible also says we 'are a peculiar people.' Are we still?

Do they still know we are the ones to run to in a time of misery? Do they see Jesus in us? Are we still the shelter, the hospital, the cleansing station?

I haven't heard the songs that used to bellow out from our pews in years, about the blood, the cross, the sanctity of our worship. The other nite at the end of service, people were in the altar, and I felt the old standby song we used to sing, "Here I am Lord, Here I am." It used to be a call to worship and pour ourselves out before the Lord, but instead it was replaced with something with a beat, and no real submissive spirit to it. The worship lingered for a bit and was gone, and then off to the local eatery.

I feel sad tonight. When I look at the chaos the world, the financial ruin we are headed for, it truly feels like the end to me. We hear the stories of this one or that one takign their lives or the lives of their family, because they don't know how they are going to support them. Our government is taking over everything it seems, and those in real need are left without.
When it gets really bad, who will America's hurting turn to? Who are our children going to turn to? Will they even be able to tell there are some of us who still believe it like we used to? Will they be able to see the Christians who truly wear Jesus on their countenance?

I need to do better and let Jesus be on my sleeve.

Feb 15, 2009


Sleep has been fleeting lately; partly because I haven't felt well, partly because there are things that are disturbing me. My nights for the most part leave me with more questions than answers.

For many, I am sure the situation is very similar. There are decisions we have to make in our lives, and the thoughts we are bombarded with have grown astronomical in size. It seems impossible to go on, and yet, impossible to keep up the fight. My soul cried out in anguish in the middle of the night. The loneliness, the feeling of rejection, and the doubts that can enter our mind in the midst of the battle.

It seems there is something different in the air, and while I cannot place my finger on it, it troubles me deeply. I am sure could attribute it to my health, my family, or perhaps the changes that are about to take place in my personal life. But to me it seems like more than that. I find myself tonight questioning God.

Why does this or that happen? Why does it seem like some with little thought for God prosper while others whose main desire is to live for God and do his will, seem to be bashed around like driftwood in the sea?

I am bewildered at the precipice my life seems to be hanging on, and yet deep inside me I know I have to hang on for just a little while more. I do not understand why God doesn't come with a vengence. I do not understand why he lets the righteous suffer, while the unrighteous seem to get away with everything. It seems like the entire church world has gone cold in spirit, including us, and yet instead of banding together and praying as a body, we go our seperate ways standing alone in the midst of it all. It isn't supposed to be like this.

I know I am not alone in my feelings. I know many are struggling with the why me's, the please Lord's, and the hopelessness that seems to be abounding. We are told in our churches that we just need to pray, hang on, hope, or some other cliche, while in our hearts we are emotionally bleeding out. We don't want to continue going to church. We don't want to fellowship with each other. We don't want to try and help a brother or sister out. We have become shallow in our respect for each other, and it is filtering down to our children and their respect for us and God.

But, no one seems willing to step up an do anything about it. Everyone seems afraid they will get their hands dirty if they stoop to lift a brother. The bible says if the righteous scarcely be saved, wherewith shall the unrighteous. Yet, we have closed our hearts, our minds, and yes our wallets to the work of God.

And it seems God has walked away from us as well.

Tonight I remembered a song Sis. Mickey Mangun used to sing. I tried to find a copy of it online but was unable. But essentially a few lines say;

"Only the sound of the trumpet
keeps me from going home
If things had been left up to me
I'd have been gone a long time ago
I am ready to fly away,
oh so anxious for the rapture day,
everything is in order
my record is straight,
Can't anybody understand?
I just can't wait . . ."

I truly feel that way tonight. I do not want to be a part of this anymore. I want to go where I am welcomed with open arms. I want to know that when I am in the supermarket, that friendly christian faces smile when they see me. I want to hear my phone ring when I am missing service, or even when I am not to someone inviting me to have dinner at their house. I want to hear laughter and joy as we gather together in fellowship with those who believe the way we do. I want to come together in God's house in one accord and see the mighty masjesty of his anointing fall. It never seems to be that way though.

We go about our lives to preoccupied with where we have to be; what we have to get done; how we must succeed in our jobs, schools, lives, until there isn't room for anyone else to feel welcome.

And yet, some do not understand why I want to go home? I am tired of the lonely nights. I am tired of pouring myself out on the altar only to find just a few days later it wasn't enough for the trials I must face that day. I have been in this fellowship of believers for entirely too long to feel unwelcome. I am tired of politics rearing its ugly head in our ministries. I am tired of a little praise and worship being enough. And I am wondering if I feel this way, then what about the new convert? What about those struggling who have only been in church for a little while? What about those who have been longing for God, yet cannot find him?

We used to be the storehouse of mercy. We used to be known for friendship and fellowship, when fellowship wasn't about just going to Applebees after service. We used to be looked at as peculiar in our dress, mannerisms, and worship. I remember years ago a message being preached, and the speaker spoke of going with some of the saints door knocking. He knocked on an elderly lady's door to invite her to church, and her question to him was "Do you still preach it like you used to?"

Now we are more caught up in personality and programs. It is about whose (pastor) church we go to instead of where we worship. It is about hearing this one or that one preach and the excitement we feel when they come to where we are, when the bible says the gifts were poured out to all who believe. Are they the only ones who still have enough faith to see God move. Do we need to take another offering to support this or that cause, when we have people going to hell on the church pews?

I am certain some would think I am too critical, or that I have lost touch, or my burden isn't where it ought to be. But my heart is grieving for what we were. My mind is overwhelmed with the ground we have lost in our desire to do the right thing. It seems like we have lost our focus on what really matters, and yet you wonder why I do not want to be here anymore?
I have heard for almost fourteen years how no one really understands the trial, but that somehow I have to find faith to believe that this battle I am struggling with shall pass, or at the very least, when I see glory I will understand why I must endure. I have heard the accusations of lack of faith and even rebellion when my body was writhing in pain, and when my spirit was broken, if I questioned the situation I found myself in.

I know it is not about the trial. I know it is not significant in the greater scheme of things. I know that someday things will be better. However, I am also looking at the destruction of those I hold dear to my heart. I am seeing those who at one time were strong in faith, falling like flys who have been sprayed with a toxic fog. I am hearing the cries of backsliders in the night, and the calloused echo of 'if they really loved God' makes me want to hurl.

We have to find some way of getting back to where we need to be. I know that all the past was not good, but there were many ministries we did just a few years ago that worked. Now they are tossed aside as not in keeping with today's world. We have become focused on the technological aspects of church, more than the pure and undefiled worship of almighty God.

So I am asking God, why? How much longer should you tarry til we all are lost? How many more have to slip from the bounds of grace until there is no hope left and they go out into eternity lost without you? How much more shall we endure before you step in and say "enough?"

Can these bones live? Lord, only thou knowest. But please bring the wind again, or blow your trumpet, so we can go home.

Jan 24, 2009

Something else; something more...

It is 2:00 am and I find myself wondering why I am awake. I should be resting I know but something woke me up about an hour ago. At times, I appreciate the stillness of the night. It seems that is when God seems to catch my attention the easiest; and a time when it seems easier to hear him calling out my name.

A lot of things have been on my mind lately; important decisions I have to make, why this is happening, or perhaps just trying to make sense of it all. It would be nice if we were allowed to choose every aspect of our lives, but it doesn't really work that way. We can say yes, no, or run away when we are faced with life, or we can accept it, perhaps embrace it, and just move into a new phase.

I guess I have always been more emotional or maybe perceptive about the aspects of my life God is working on, and yet I see others who seem to either disregard or be oblivious to the direction their life is headed, and I wonder why does God allow it to be that way? People who have been completely sold out to God, or seemed to be, so quickly fall away when faced with difficulties. Somehow God has 'forsaken' them, and yet instead of trying to examine what is going on in their lives, they ignore the signs or just don't see what they are doing. Maybe they have become calloused to the point where it doesn't really matter anymore.

I realize there are times when we all just need to take things in stride, and know it will work out, but there are also times when those gentle tugs or the trials that seem to knock us down are trying to wake us up before it is too late.

I don't understand how some can profess to love God and yet, they seem so far from truth, and accepting of the changes, like somehow God is ok with it all. The true hunger for God has been replaced with something else.

We are a generation that knows God, or so we think, and we get so caught up in life that we forget the depths he once took us to. It never used to be a big deal if we spent time in the altar crying out to God and hungering after him. It never used to be a big deal if we were tired and it was a long church service, because we were there with a passion for God, and we found strength in him. It used to be when we were asked to help out, it wasn't just another chore we had to do, or some inconvenience to our lives, but it was a blessing.

What has happened to us? Have we become so complacent that we are not aware of the changes?

I have heard people talk about this as a 'new day.' We have programs and steps to achieve our ministries, rather than anointing and worship. Dedication has been replaced with acceptance; both in our personal lives as well as in our walk with God. There is this perception that God doesn't work the same way as he used to; somehow we have to 'help' him out to achieve his goals. Really?

I know God needs us, but he doesn't 'need' us.

Just recently someone made a comment that they heard so and so was going to another church, and how 'they talk about God moving there. It can't be true though, because they are not coming here like they used to.' We can be so self absorbed thinking God cannot move on someone else who does not look like us, act like us, or maybe sing the same songs we do.
And yet, those who at one time were our prayer warriors, seem to just take it all in stride. 'Oh, God will work it out, he always comes through.' While that is true, it seems like we have become so used to how things are that we don't expect things to be any different and somehow we have forgotten how it used to be. We think God understands, and yes he is the same, but we aren't. Many have become so blinded and yet so arrogant to think that our apathy is just God being patient with us.

I am so troubled in my spirit at things that are allowed to go on and no one seems to care. I am so moved seeing those who I believed in, confided in, and loved seeming to go further and further away from what they believed just a short time ago, and yet, they think they are ok. Whether it is blinded by sin, or just simply not caring anymore, I really don't know, but something has to happen to wake them up before it is too late.

The bible talks about the ten virgins and five let their oil run out, and five kept back just a little so they would have something to draw from when the bridegroom came. Most of the time, we talk about those who let the oil run out. People who were once dedicated, bright, shining examples for God, who have somehow let their light dim and flicker out. We talk about them like how could they be so stupid to not keep the faith, and yet we don't really recognize the reasons their flame has gone out. It could be they got lazy; or perhaps they got so caught up in life, that they weren't aware, but it could also be our fault.

The bible says we are to bear one anothers burdens, but it seems to me that we are so busy in our own circumstances that we don't even see what is happening to our brothers and sisters, or even our own families. I know salvation is one on one. It is between us and God, but when did we see a brother or sister slipping away, and not feel touched, or moved by God to do something about it?

We are supposed to be loving our neighbor as ourselves, and yet most of us have become so wrapped up in our own situations, that we don't even know what is going on in the lives of those around us. I had one person tell me not too long ago, that is wasn't so important that you believed and worshipped the way you used to as long as you gave God an hour or so on Sunday. Really! And this person claims to be in the ministry.

Some have gotten the idea that serving God is about making it to church, singing a few songs, and listening to someone talk for a little while about the bible. It is no wonder some lights have flickered out. Those who are 'ministers' don't have time to minister anymore except for when people make it to church, and I have heard preachers and preachers wives say, 'well, if they loved God, they would be here.'

It isn't that way.

Being a christian used to be about sharing. Sharing what we know; sharing what we have, and spending time worshipping together. It didn't take a continual drone from the platform about how we need to raise funds for this or that program. People gave of their own accord; not just finances, but they gave their time, and their worship was more than just something to do. It used to be that 'pentecostals' were considered oddballs, and you could definately pick them out of a crowd in the supermarket, or the mall. They looked different, they acted different, their love for God and each other was apparent.

Last sunday morning I arrived at church just a few minutes before sunday school, and there was less people there, at least on time, that I could have counted them on two hands and maybe part of a foot. This from a church that used to be known in the community, even despised at times. A church that when you talked about 'those people' everyone knew who you were talking about. Sure a lot of it was criticism, but they knew when they had a real need, where to find the answer.
Now, when I go the store, I almost never see anyone from my church. I almost never see anyone who looks holy. Everyone seems to have blended in to the crowd. A few weeks ago I saw a couple of ladies that looked holy, seemed to have a pleasant disposition, and carried themselves with dignity. I didn't say anything to them, but I wondered if perhaps there was another church nearby that preached the truth. There is only one apostolic church in my area for more than 100 miles, so seeing some who looks like what I remember we used to look like surprised me.

I mentioned seeing those ladies and my wonder to a few people from my church, and almost without hesitaion they all said, 'those are the two-by-two's, they don't believe like we do.' How do we know? Did any of us talk to them? How come we assume that we are the ones with the truth? That we are the ones who have enough oil? And if we are, how come we aren't at least trying to communicate with those who look holy? Maybe we are the foolish ones?

Just like in the parable, the foolish had let their light go out to the point that they weren't even aware of what was going on around them. They went out to find more 'oil' when they knew the bridegroom was coming. We see so many signs of the end, and yet most of us are just content to sit on the pew and not try to get on fire like we used to be. The bible says in the end there will be a great falling away, and frankly, I see it happening everywhere. Not just in those who 'quit church' but in the dedication we have for God and his work.

The thing I have always wondered though, and no one seems to preach is about the five wise virgins and how selfish they were. The principle of God has always been give and it shall be given to you. The widow woman gave to the prophet first, and never ran out of oil or meal. There are many cases like that in the bible and we used to be able to spout off the cases in our own lives where God came through when we did something first. So, why didn't the wise virgins share? Were they selfish with what they knew?

Truly, the bible says 'they all slumbered and slept.' All of them; those with oil; those without didn't try to keep it going, they went to sleep.

So we have a dilema; are we sleeping because we are wise, or sleeping because we think we have plenty of time? Are we truly the wise ones, or are we the foolish?

I am so hungry for a real move of God. Not just the "I came to church, sang some songs, worshipped some, heard some guy speak on some topic I will never remember" move of God; not just the occasional 'miracle.' I have heard people talk about miracles and why are we 'looking for signs, we aren't supposed to be.' That is a cop out, the same as when we know a brother or sister is going thru a difficult time, and we say we 'will pray about it.'

Someone needs to step it up and do something. Jesus said we were supposed to be doing greater things than he did. How many of us can say we raised the dead? Too hard? Yes, I know that only God can raise the dead, but what are WE doing? Or how about just being moved with compassion for someone other than ourself? That shouldn't be so hard.
Our churches have become just social hangouts where we do just enough to get by, and then plan if we will go to Applebees or McDonalds after church.

Again, I am so hungry for a move of God. If we looked in our cupboards and freezer for something to eat and couldn't find what we needed, wouldn't we go to the store? Most of us don't usually go to the grocery store to be seen, or to catch up with someone to make plans to go eat somewhere. We go there to get what we need to sustain us. Sometimes, we even share what we buy with someone else.

That is what the church is supposed to be about. Needing something else, needing something more to not only sustain us but to satisfy that longing. Something that will keep us steady; something that will be enough to keep us until he comes. It wouldn't hurt if we got enough that we could share as well. Someone else may be hurting and hungry; are we just going to walk on by, or are we going to help?

Once upon a time, there were four people; Their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.
Whenever there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. When Nobody did it, Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Somebody would do it, but Nobody realized that Nobody would do it. So consequently Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done in the first place.