God’s gifts and calling are about His mission, not your title, position or “ministry”.
I need your help to stop a stalker who has been harassing and threatening my wife.
For over a year now, an obscure blogger named Bart Breen has been acting on behalf of a cult that’s upset and trying to silence me (and others) for daring to warn folks about their history of sexual predation, abuse and cover up.
As more and more people learn the truth about that cult – centered on narcissistic “Beyond Evangelical” author Frank Viola and his mutual promotion network of self-proclaimed “apostolic workers” – they’ve become more and more shrill in a desperate attempt to hide their history of shame, failure and abuse.
As a result, Mr. Breen is now stalking my wife in a perverse bid to silence me. He’s even openly boasted about it on Facebook and in his various blogs.
Why? By harassing my wife and publicly boasting about it, Bart Breen and Frank Viola are sending their victims – and those who stand with them – the clear message that they too will be attacked if they don’t toe the line and remain silent about what has been going on within their “Beyond” Cult.
Last month, on January 6, 2015, my dad died peacefully in his sleep after a seven year struggle with dementia. His was a life well lived, in service to the King of Kings and His Kingdom.
This is a blog I first wrote a couple of years ago about my parents. I am re-posting it as my tribute to him and the legacy he leaves behind.
– – – – – – – – – – –
The last several years have been a wonderful journey of seeing folks come to the Lord and fellowships emerge in highly improbable places. In my own life, the roots for this go back to my dad and mom, Bob and Mary Jane Wright.
In the 1970s and 80’s, the Lord used them as pioneers in what we’d now call simple “organic” church – before that term became popular (even though today, unfortunately, it can mean nearly anything).
Forty years ago, they helped birth a regional network of open, participatory fellowships in Maryland, where people could find and express the vibrant life of Christ in dynamic gatherings as everyone ministered one to another – rather than having directed, scripted meetings.
Last evening some elders from among our fellowships took time to share a meal at a local pizza joint and talk – just talk, with no agenda.
Our conversation turned to how the traditional model for church leadership is to inspire folks to “come” and be part of our own gift, calling or motivation – but that we don’t see this in Apostle Paul’s life.
Rather, Paul’s main approach was to unleash Christ within existing communities where God sent him. As Paul would “go”, he was secure enough to then let Christ be expressed through the wonderful diversity of the many unique gifts, callings and motivations He chose to bestow among His people in each church.
Thus, it was never about Paul inspiring people to come gather around his own gift, calling or motivation. Likewise, there is no example in the entire New Testament of any single “pastor”, one-man ministry or other person serving as a primary focal point “over” any local church.
Rob Bell, by insisting that the church embrace homosexual “marriage” and reject clear Biblical teachings, is an apostate existentialist: He claims the right to let his sensibilities define God and His written Word, rather than let God and His written Word define his sensibilities.
Every once in a while we get to touch the hand of God. When we hold a loved one’s hand there is a connection that transcends more than the mere physical touch. Holding hands unites the emotions with the physical. Touching the hand of God unites creation with the Creator.
This morning God reached His hand down to the Sunday fellowship group that meets in our home. After a short time of sharing we began to pray for each other. Some of the shared needs will require the totally miraculous to happen.
I believe that God is in the business of the miraculous. When we prayed this morning the supernatural presence of God filled the room. Almost everyone had a word, Scripture or a picture from the Lord to share with the person who was receiving the prayer. The sense that the Lord was standing right there in the midst of us was overwhelming.
Here’s a much-needed blog from PredatoryPastors.com – a locally-based (but unaffiliated) ministry near us – about the victim blaming that often occurs when a beloved or otherwise respected church leader is outed as a sexual predator.
I have been involved in many church abuse cases over the years, both as an attorney (now retired) and as local elder who has been asked to intervene on behalf of victims in other churches.
In my experience, victim blaming – and even outright trying to destroy the victim – always happens in cases involving an abusive but otherwise inspiring church leader.
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Prov. 30:5-6 ESV
Yesterday, after a seven month hiatus to care for my dad and deal with some of my own health issues, another local elder and I visited the jail to check on a church I previously had been helping.
The first thing I noticed was around twenty new men were now in that fellowship, with only two of the original brothers still around (the others, as is normal in a jail environment, had been released or transferred).
The church, I was thrilled to see, had not only survived but thrived during my absence – with them showing a wonderful continuity of life from when I last saw them.
As I then listened to them openly share their hopes and struggles in the Lord with each other, and watched them encourage one another to love and good works (Heb. 10), I cried silent tears of joy.
The daily atrocities by Islamic Jihadists against people of other faiths and cultures are bad enough.
What I find equally alarming is the apparent inability of moderate Muslims to counter the Jihadists by openly articulating a clear and effective theological basis – from the Qur’an – for religious and cultural pluralism.
Increasingly, I wonder if it is even possible to do so – either because they fear retribution by other Muslims or because maybe the Qur’an provides no consistent basis for such views.
These issues highlight an uncomfortable truth: Those who are unable to embrace and defend cultural and religious pluralism should not be allowed immigrant or refugee status in societies which do.
This is not bigotry, but frank reality.
Until we understand that Jesus tells individuals to turn their other cheek in response to personal offenses, while giving civil magistrates the power of the sword to punish evildoers and protect the innocent, we will never have an authentically Biblical worldview.
Participatory church? I do that.
I sit and stand when the worship leader tells me to and sometimes even sing along, do the happy clap or raise my arms with my eyes closed when prompted;
I shake hands with the guy in the pew ahead of me when the associate pastor says to greet one another;
On occasion I say “amen” when the senior pastor asks us to say “amen” during his sermon;
I put money in the plate when its passed down my row by the ushers; and
I even bow my head when told to do so during the invitation for folks to raise their hands and receive Jesus.
So yes, I participate when I go to church, thank you very much!
Getting down to basics…
Without external revelation on what is truly true, really real and rightly right – by one with the authority to define all because He created all – you are trapped in the meaningless absurdity of circular logic and self-referential perception.
C.S. Lewis bemoaned, in The Abolition of Man, that the West was becoming a culture of men without chests – meaning we have either lost the courage of our God-given convictions or in many cases denied those virtues altogether.
This is amply illustrated by relativistic “tolerance”, which has been used for too long as a counterfeit “virtue” to attack what is true, beautiful and moral.
Lately, however, those who rationalize Jihadist atrocities in the name of “tolerance” – and who then protest that we must not “offend” Islam – are causing more and more people to reject the moral bankruptcy of their squishy relativism.
Je Suis Charlie – Because the ideals of a free society do not include opening our borders to those who reject the foundations of a free society.
It looks like House2House Ministries and Magazine have closed shop once again.
What an unfortunate, checkered history of organic/simple church failure after failure.
How many times will it take before Felicity Dale and gang finally figure out that you can’t start and sustain healthy local churches – simple, organic or otherwise – by promoting phony self-appointed “apostles”:
– Who ain’t livin’ what their sellin’, with private lives that don’t match up with their finely-honed public persona;
– Who have no consistent history of successfully forming, maintaining or being part of sustainable local churches that look anything like what they promote in their books, blogs and conferences;
– Who deny that the Great Commission has general relevance today;
– Who proclaim that scripture is not the written word of God and that those who affirm scripture are committing “treason against Christ”;
It seems trendy today among celebrity Christians to promote all sorts of rubbish:
Grace without repentance,
Love without truth,
Mercy without obedience,
Interestingly, the four Gospels are immediately followed by the book of “Acts”.
Gifts are special. Gifts can sit on a shelf awaiting the appropriate time to be given, or they can be spontaneous. Gifts can come in small or large boxes. Sometimes the gift in the smallest box is far superior to the one in the larger container.
The Lord knows how to give good gifts. If a son asks for bread, he will not give him a stone.
When the Lord selects our gift, He handcrafts it so it is exactly what we need. His gift is sometimes not what we would have picked, but He knows our true needs.
Sometimes the gift is an unexpected answer to prayers that may be decades old or it could just be a little reminder that the Lord is good and He loves us with an infallible love.
My stunning predictions for 2014 proved to be the ONLY 100% accurate prophecies by anyone anywhere last year.
So, not wanting to let all the prophets of fame, name and gain dominate yet another year with their headline-chasing rubbish, I’ve decided to once again put myself on the line by publishing my stunning new prophetic predictions for 2015.
This way, the world can see once more who is the true prophet among us!
So (drum roll…) here is what’s gonna happen in 2015, raw and unvarnished:
The ultimate seduction exploits not our greatest weakness, but our greatest strength.