Monthly Archives: November 2006

It is possible to tr

It is possible to travel down the clear road of progress on a sure and unshakable foundation; one of certain truth and unmistakable faith.  If I had to sum up the message of the ministry of the Innerstream that would certainly be a part of the total. The reason to me is quite clear, because the body of Christ must never come to a stand still; it should keep up with the times to be relevant to the needs of society. The gospel must be culturally relevant to be socially accessible. My thinking goes on to the fact that there are forces out there that would dismantle the very foundation of Christian truth in order to achieve social freedoms. I do not believe that is necessary, nor spiritually prudent. In fact, I believe that to leave the apostolic tradition and clarity behind on the road of progress is a grave mistake. I believe we can do better.
    The Bible and society need not be at odds. In fact, it is highly possible, for example, to believe in the Inspiration of the New Testament by the Holy Spirit, (as Jesus promised would happen), and to interpret what is written entirely differently than that of the fundamentalists. I think a lot of progressives are so offended by what the fundamentalist interpret the Bible to say, that they mistakenly misread the bible themselves, or simply avoid parts of it altogether; and that is not necessary either. You see, as a liberal progressive, let me restate that so as not to line up with the definition of Bill O’rielly or what’s her name; I, as a religious (not secular) progressive liberal believe it is entirely possible to believe in a loving God that is able to clearly communicate to His children through the written word of others by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Were they fallible them selves? Of course, yet God was able to empower them on the day of Pentecost as Jesus promised. Luke tells us about it at the end of his account, so does John in chapters 14 through 16, Isaiah in chapter 12, 55, Joel in chapter 2, and there are many other accounts concerning the Dunamis ( empowering-cloathed-upon-with-the-power-of-the-might-and-ability-of-God/being Spirit filled). Oh, by the way, that did not end at any given time.
    God promised that all humanity would be overshadowed by the Spirit, that the Dunamis is available to all. There are some on the planet earth who are really full, I mean, full of the Spirit of God. They do pray every day, they do worship every day. They do lay down there material possesions for the sake of others every day. They do see the hand of God work miracles. These are facts. I have seen some myself, but not many.
    So, I cannot stop myself from my imagination. Like John  Lennon, I image a world living in peace. I see justice. I see the poor minister too and the sick healed. I see Aids defeated and war ended. Yes, it may take the return of the King of Kings to finally get there, but He has given we Christians the Dunamis to get there, until He comes.
 
    The Innerstream Praise team will be playing at the Kentucky Theater on World Aids Day, Friday December 1st,  as part of the Memorial service held by Aids Volunteers of Lexington, an annual event. We will also be playing for the children and adult patients recovering at Cardinal Hill Hospital on November 16th. This is the beginning of part of my vision. In the coming weeks I will be reflecting on some of that vision, and how you can be in agreement in prayer with me. I have a message to tell, some music to play, and lots of worship and praise to encourage. Then there is the message of Ecumenism and Peace; justice and tolerance; and social moral integrity.
    
    Please join us in prayer as we venture into uncharted territory of blessing and ministry!

Advertisements

We Are His Conduit o


We Are His Conduit of Wisdom to the World-
“This mystery is the Good News that people who are not Jewish have the same inheritance as Jewish people do. They belong to the same body and share the same promise that God made in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this Good News through God’s kindness freely given to me when his power worked {in me}. 8 I am the least of all God’s people. Yet, God showed me his kindness by allowing me to spread the Good News of the immeasurable wealth of Christ to people who are not Jewish. 9 He allowed me to explain the way this mystery works. God, who created all things, kept it hidden in the past. 10 He did this so that now, through the church, he could let the rulers and authorities in heaven know his infinite wisdom.” Ephesians 3:6-10

     I find it intriguing that Paul, who was Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christians, who had put many Christian converts to death, appears to be excited in this passage about the Gentiles being one with Israel. He was a devout Hebrew and Israelite by birth. He was a member of the high counsel in Jerusalem. He calls himself in other letters a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” meaning that he was entirely devoted to being Jewish and the Levitical law. All others were unclean and of lesser standing with God.
     Nevertheless, in this passage He reveals that his heart has completely changed. He is thrilled that the non-Jewish races are one with them by the same power, Dunamis, which changed his heart. He called this a mystery once hidden by God since before time began, but one now revealed.
     What I find striking in this passage is that we are made the vessels, as the church, the body of Christ, to reveal the infinite wisdom of God by that same power or Dunamis. Not only that, but it is to the authorities and rulers in the heavenly realms, in other words, the angelic forces and demonic forces are to be taught by us the plan and wisdom of God through Jesus Christ.
     Now, whether or not you believe in literal angels and demons is not the point here. What is the unmistakable point is the idea of our responsibility as disciples to allow God to flow through our lives in power and wisdom as a witness of His goodness. That is what I often find challenging in reading the Bible – to get past what is not important to dwell on and get on to my responsibility. I think that it is easier sometimes for us humans to intellectualize in order to avoid the matters of the heart. That is what Dunamis is all about – transformation and the ability to accomplish God’s will.


Chapter 3

Chapter 3
Verse 1-5
“1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit

A lot is said lately about Gnosticism; especially the books written in the late second and third centuries called the “Gnostic gospels.” In them, the writers proclaim a “secret” knowledge that leads to salvation. The discovery of these books in Egypt has caused quite a bit of controversy, namely because of the cannon, we have already been given and what is taught in it. Some would infer that the Gnostics are true when it comes to a secret knowledge, yet I personally find that the New Testament clearly negates that necessity. Today’s passage is another indication that supports this notion in my mind.
     Paul clearly speaks of a revelation being made known (gnosis) to him and he calls it a mystery that has been hidden prior to the appearance of Jesus Christ. You may recall that I began this study by talking about the need to cross-reference at times, and this is one of them. Look at chapter one again, specifically verses, nine; seventeen; eighteen; chapter three, and verses nine; ten; eleven; sixteen; eighteen; and nineteen. Here they are, listed in order. See if you notice a theme in them:

9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention, which He purposed in Him

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God

in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose, which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Here are basic words having to do with knowledge (gnosis). Paul was no fool. He was well educated and traveled, a “man of the world” so to speak, and he knew about the Greek philosophies of the day. They used the word gnosis quite often to refute the notion of one God, or even that a human might comprehend if any God existed. They used the word for the purposes of debate and human reason. I do not believe it is an accident that Saul of Tarsus is writing the Ephesians Christians about this word using this language. I believe he is being his usual “tongue in cheek” self, using the language of the day to redirect the attention of people to the Gospel truth. Simply put, Paul is making the Gospel message to be culturally relevant to his day to the Greek converts to Christianity. He is telling them what they can know. He is also telling them what kind of knowledge they can have in Christ and where it resides in the holistic being of the human make-up.
     First, he tells us that it is revelation (apokalypsis) knowledge. It is the unveiling of those things hidden by God in the past. Paul also uses the word mystery to describe a portion of the hidden plan of God. Therefore, the gnosis given to us is revealed by God in Christ and is unveiled.
     Paul also describes this knowledge as motivational. It has to do with God’s intentions and will toward humanity. We are told that we may now know and understand the workings of the will of God. We do not have to be ignorant of God’s purpose thru the Gospel. These passages describe the Father’s intentions as one’s of producing faith and hope that they are kind and powerful for those who will believe and receive.
     Paul also tells us that this knowledge is a powerful “inner” knowledge. This is the central point of the book, and happens to be my favorite verse. Chapter three, verse sixteen states:
     “…that [God] would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner [being]; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, that surpasses all knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God…”
     Wow! Can you dig it? All the fullness of God. This passage is one that I have meditated upon many days, and still cannot get enough of it. It is packed with promise, power, and of course, knowledge. The phrase “strengthened with might” refers to the “dunamos” power that Jesus promised the disciples would come if they waited in Jerusalem. Cf. Luke 24:49 and Acts1:8, 2:4. It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the revelation and guidance that the Spirit would provide. Read John chapters 14 through 17 for details on the work of the spirit in your life, along with Romans chapter eight. This explosive power ignites the chain reactions of unveiling light in the minds and hearts of the believers. It is important to note that it is not just the reason, the mind, the brain that gets enlightened. The heart, the human spirit, our innermost being gets ignited and bound to the Holy Spirit, and thus our hearts and minds become balanced and “in tune” with the will of God; and importantly, with each other. All secrets are revealed; Gods and ours.
     That brings me to the final kind of gnosis, or knowledge found in these passages. Paul refers to an intimate kind of knowledge. It is a knowing of the heart of God, and one that lets God know us. The message in chap. 2:4 and 3:17 -19 are awesome. God’s great love motivated Jesus to make it possible for Christ to dwell in our hearts. The word dwell is very important to understand because it not only implies taking up space, but it describes the interaction and endurance of the one who resides in that space. The space is our innerpersons, our hearts and spirits. Here, the word dwell is the Greek word katoikeô and it means to take up a permanent inhabitance. The implication is that the indweller comes in and “unpacks” all of his belongings and riches. Nothing is hidden and everything is shared. Wow. Could this really be all the fullness of God? It sure transcends my ability to imagine all that God has for me! May God unpack all of His treasures in your heart today?