Practice What I Preach August 26, 2012Posted by Gordon Brock in faith.
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I’ve been ministering to a brother for a while about his faith, and how to trust God in all circumstances. He’s dealing with his flesh and emotions being stronger than his faith, and his circumstances are wreaking havoc in his life. Then the test came for me, and I failed miserably.
As I headed out to go to the bank, I had placed my cellphone wallet on the top of the van to walk over to the mailbox before leaving. I got the mail, came back to the van, opened the door, dropped the mail in the passenger seat, and headed to the bank. When I got to the bank, I reached for my wallet, and there was only mail in the seat. I then realized that I had left it on top the van. Hopefully, it fell off in the driveway…. I drove home, looking around the street as I went. I got home, looked around the driveway and street, and felt desperation as it was no where to be found.
My phone, my license, my credit cards, oh the horror of this being missing! I began to panic. I drove back up to the bank, searching the street as I went, looking for the point where it fell off the car. I’m frantic, I’m scared, I’m nervous, I’m multiple emotions all at once, and I’m freaking out. Back at the bank, and no wallet anywhere. I get back home and remember ‘find my iPhone’ in iCloud. So I go online, and it says my phone is in the Cal Fitness parking lot, which is nowhere on the route I took to the bank! Someone has my wallet! I’m shaky, and still freaking out. I text my phone and ask the person to call me. I call the phone, and some one answers, I tell them they have my phone and I want it back, they deny having my phone and told me what number I dialed. That’s not my phone number! My number is…is….I can’t remember my number, I’m too freaked out! I apologize and hang up I borrow My daughter’s phone and drive up to Cal Fit, I’m going to call my phone when I get there and listen for the ringing, as the Find My iPhone did a pretty good job of pinpointing the location. When I get there and go to dial my phone, her phone is pass coded and I don’t know the code! I walk the parking lot looking for suspicious activity with a cell phone and wallet….nothing.
I get back home, check the location of the phone again, and it’s still at Cal Fit. While I’m deciding to go back up there, my wife calls and says someone with my phone called her phone and left a message. She gives me the phone number to call him. I call the number, and the recording says it’s been disconnected. Why would this guy call and give a phone number that’s bogus? I’m still freaking out, and it’s going on about an hour or so now. I have Katie call Denise back while we are driving to Cal Fit, to recheck the phone number. Right number. Now the person is calling Denise back and telling her he will meet us at the park a block from our house. We drive back and wait at the park. The guy arrives and I get my phone and wallet and thank the guy profusely.
I had allowed my emotions to take over and dictate my actions through the entire ordeal. I was sick to my stomach, exhausted, trembling, and relieved. When I got to the point of thanking Abba for the safe return of my wallet, I believe the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about my lack of faith. I had not practiced the same trust in the Father as I had been preaching to my friend. At no point did I take the situation to the foot of the cross and wait for instructions from on high. I did not have God’s peace, I did not have clarity or sound mind. I was not exhibiting any fruits of the Spirit, I was relying completely on my flesh. The thing that really struck my heart was that Abba was faithful, even when I wasn’t. He already had my back, and I could have avoided the whole trauma if I would have gone to him in the first place. Oh what a hard lesson.
The Spirit reminded me of a verse that Abba gave me many years ago, and it appears I need to go back and reflect on it from time to time. May this encourage you, dear reader; the verse is Proverbs 3:5,6.
The Great Omission February 2, 2012Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
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At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus grabs His 11 remaining disciples, and speaks to them. He told them to go to all the nations and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them His commands. In context, this verse tells us that Jesus just called His 11 closest companions as apostles, thereby setting the stage for other apostles, such as Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy, to follow.
Taken out of context, this verse has become a man made traditional doctrine known as ‘The Great Commission’ whereas Jesus is speaking this to every Christian from then on as the main commandment of all Christianity. The term ‘The Great Commission’ is in my bible, but it is a title header placed there by translators, not a commandment or even words spoken by Jesus Himself. In the organic Christianity conversation we are suppose to be evaluating the things taught us by organized religion, testing all “christianeze” and doctrines by the Spirit and the Word. If the context of a scripture doesn’t match a doctrine, we take it to the Spirit for help with what to do with it. Let’s compare this supposed commandment with something Jesus did actually say….John 13:34′ “I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” and Matthew 22:37, Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ It appears to me that if we were to call anything a ‘great commission for all of Christianity’, it is to love our neighbors as Christ loved us. I imagine in my love for someone I may be compelled to tell them about Christ and Abba’s love, but that is far from some mandate to “go to all the nations and preach”. If your have an apostolic gifting and feel the Spirit has called you to “go to all the nations and preach”‘ then do it! But don’t put your calling on the whole of Christianity. Paul certainly didn’t. Isn’t it strange that this supposed great commission is not reinforced anywhere in Paul’s communications to his beloved fellowships? Isn’t it strange that the 11 don’t seem to express it or reinforce it anywhere in their ecclesia?
I confess I am kinda writing this as a response to a brother’s post in a Facebook group. His post was claiming that organic fellowship groups appear to be self focused, unhealthy, and narcissistic since they do not focus on ‘planting churches’. He says that any theology that discounts the reality of The Great Commission is “fundamentally flawed”. Hopefully, I have shown the opposite, that any theology that would hold on to man made doctrines may be fundamentally flawed. This brother, and I assume others in his group, appear to have an apostolic/evangelistic calling and gifting. By all means, go and ‘plant churches’, as you are called. But let’s not commit The Great Omission by omitting from our Christianity the fact that other organic fellowships will have different callings, giftings, and focus than our own, and we should not be comparing them to our organic fellowship, ESPECIALLY not by using terms, concepts, or doctrines of organized religion.
God is Love…? January 12, 2012Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
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We hear this a lot, we see this a lot, but do we really know what it means? I think we look upon it with our human understanding of love, and I don’t think our human understanding of love is adequate in explaining this phrase, or concept.
Frank viola shares in ‘From Eternity to Here’ how the fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a love triangle, an expression of the purest love, and that this Trinity decided to create a being to express this love to, and have the creation join in the fellowship of love. Adam and Eve got to experience this love as they walked, talked, and abided with the Father in the garden. When they disobeyed God’s command, they changed the dynamic of man’s relationship with God, and man no longer experienced the same abiding, all consuming love that was God. Man still had the desire for this love, as it was placed there by God himself, but without intimate fellowship with God to fulfill it, man had to turn to other humans to fulfill it, and we are left with our current human understanding of love. Which includes misconceptions like, love = sex, something the enemy will happily reinforce to us, twisting the true reason for both love and sex, but that may be a topic for another blog…
We all need love, we all desire love, we all spend our lives wanting to be loved, and that is because we were created to BE LOVED. But loved with a love that is pure, holy, righteous, and selfless. Someone at work put up flyers, the kind that normally have something for sale, with ‘pull off’ phone numbers. But this flyer said ‘Love, take as much as you need’, and the little phone number tags had the word Love instead of a number. Now as hokey as this sounds, people were actually removing the tags and, I assume, taking them to hold on to. That struck my mind as to how much humans need love, yet most don’t understand that the love they truly need is only expressed by the Father. The hole in their heart can only truly be filled by the Indwelling Holy Spirit.
This is not man’s love, and can’t be satisfied by man. It must be satisfied by intimate fellowship with the Creator, and by that I mean the whole Trinity. Intimate fellowship with Abba Father through what Christ the Son has done on the cross, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Once you have experienced that intimate fellowship, you will get that “aha!” meaning of ‘God is Love’. And I believe that when you understand the love of God, you can experience His love in a deeper way, and you can then better express his love to others.
Man overboard! March 19, 2011Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
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I am reading a book called ‘Searching for God Knows What’. The author writes about searching for Jesus of the Bible, and learning that Jesus is a relationship and not a religion as presented to him by the todays Christian ‘system’. One of the author’s premises is that Adam and Eve got their value and self-worth from an external source, that is, the Lord. Then there was ‘the fall’, and man no longer had an intimate connection with God. So if man was meant to get his value from an external source, and the Lord was no longer “with us” to give it to us, then man would start getting his value from another external source, that is, other men. So man became reliant on man for value and self-worth, and hence he is constantly seeking approval from others, and/or trying to be ‘better than’ others. Only when we come back to right relationship with the Father through belief in Christ, can we see that our value and self-worth should come from the Father, and we really shouldn’t care what man thinks of us, and we really shouldn’t try to be better than the next guy.
The author goes on to reference the old ‘Values Clarification’ teaching, with the lifeboat analogy. Are you familiar with this (and do you remember the hecka funny Steve Taylor song about it)? The lifeboat analogy is where there are certain types of people in the lifeboat, and there are too many to keep the boat afloat, and you are to decide which persons are valued enough to keep in the boat, and which persons are to be tossed overboard. The author says that mankind after the fall has been living a Lifeboat scenario, each person striving to be judged valuable enough by men to be kept in the boat. He says Jesus came, and turned that scenario upside-down, as if Jesus wasn’t even aware there was a lifeboat, which there wasn’t for Him because like the First Adam, He got His value and self-worth directly from the Father. Jesus taught “turn the other cheek”, “give the man your tunic as well”, “consider others better than yourself”, “be the servant of all”, and “love your neighbor”, all of which contradict the “look out for number one”, “king of the hill”, and “he with the most toys” crap our society puts on us.
While reading this, I started to think about the two types of personalities known as introvert and extrovert. Introvert is AKA “shy” or “quiet”, and extrovert is AKA “outgoing” or “friendly”. It occurred to me that both of these seemingly opposite traits stem from the same thing- the fear of what men think of us. An introvert is afraid of what others think of them, so they hide inside themselves and don’t get close enough to be judged. An extrovert is afraid of what others think of them, so they will proactively be funny and show-offy to make people like them and judge them favorably. What’s interesting is that both of these subconscious tactics can backfire – an introvert can be perceived as stuck up, and thus not liked (valued), and an extrovert can be perceived as an obnoxious jerk, and thus not liked (valued). Both types are living their lives as to not be tossed out of the lifeboat, and most likely they developed these traits at a very early age since the need for value is inherent in our humanness. I was an extrovert, the class clown, the show-off, because I learned somewhere that if people laugh at you, they like you, and I obviously wanted people to like me. I got to a point in my late teens that I didn’t care what people thought of me, but it wasn’t because I found the Lord, it was because I became conceited. I had found my self-worth in the fact that I liked me, I believed in me, and I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me different.
I have since found my value in Christ and how Abba values me as His child, even before I read this book, but this book helped me to understand it more fully as it began in the Garden. I now believe the joy of the Spirit gives me an outgoing, approachable personality, without fear of man’s judgement. I only care of what others think of me as it pertains to how I want them to see Jesus in me. I like the cliche, “what you see in me that you like, is Jesus, and what you see in me that you don’t like, is Gordon”.
Are you living in the lifeboat, or have you given Abba back the power of providing your value and self-worth? Think about it…..
Struggles in the flesh February 13, 2011Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
The gospels tell us that Jesus got up early in the morning and went out to spend time with His father. I have heard this turned into a biblical mandate to ‘wake early and do your devotionals’ or the like. I am not one to buy into doctrine that just because Jesus did something in the bible that we must do it too. Devotional time with the Lord should be based on whatever time works best for you and Jesus. It’s all about intimacy and relationship, and strengthening that relationship should be the focus and motivation, not whether you do it when Jesus did it.
But, when Abba asks you in the Spirit to wake early and spend time with Him, should you? Heck ya-a!! Now, I’m talking to myself here…Abba has placed on my heart to wake early and have intimacy with him…yet I am struggling real hard with this. What I am struggling with is my ability to wake up in the morning, not whether I should be waking up early. As the alarm goes off, I lie in bed thinking about more sleep, reflecting on sitting on the couch with my bible while trying to connect with the Lord. Its hard to read, hard to worship, hard to pray, when I would rather be asleep. So it goes in my mind, and the flesh wins as I roll over and fall back asleep.
A couple years ago, I used to wake up early and spend time with Jesus. I had a vision of a coming new breakthrough, a new dimension of spiritual life, and getting intimate with Him was going to be the catalyst to bring it about. I was fearful of this unknown new life, and I struggled with getting up early based on that fear. That devotional time lead to this journey of organic christianity that I am presently engaged in. Now I believe Abba is prompting me for another new deeper understanding of Him, and again intimacy and devotion time is the key. At this point I do not feel fearful of what’s to come, but something in my flesh is fighting against the Spirit and I struggle to get up. I even let my mind tell me that God isn’t really asking me to get up with Him, that it’s all in my head. But I’ve heard this call before, had this prompting before, and made it a habit before. I know what the benefits are, know how special the intimacy can be, and truly want all that the Father has.
Lord, help me to obey, help in this struggle, for the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
I was sick and Jesus didn’t heal me! July 10, 2010Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
I was sick since Tuesday (today is Saturday), had some bad stomach flu or something….diarrhea, debilitating headache, and spent about 48 hours in bed rest. By Friday I was feeling about 75% normal. By today, I was able to spend the day shopping with my wife, eating real food, and having an almost normal bathroom break. Thank Jesus that it appears to be over.
So the thought might come to one’s mind, if you’re such a spiritual guy, why didn’t Jesus heal you of this right away? Did you not have enough faith that He could heal you? Did you ask Him?
Well, no, I didn’t ask Him, though I have plenty of faith that He coulda, if He wished to, and woulda if it pleased His purposes. But I know that I live in a fallen, sinful, mortal body, which is susceptible to invasion by virus and bacteria, that will make it malfunction. And I also know that the ominous Creator built inside the ability for the body to repair itself. When my head ached and my bowels created a stew, the body was saying, “malfunction! Shut down! Repair mode!” My bowel movements kept me hiding in my own house, and my headaches kept me down in bed. Meanwhile, the self-repairing agents in the body went to work. Did I like going through the illness, of course not. I don’t want to do it again real soon, thank you very much. But did I plead with Jesus to heal me now and remove my pain? No, cuz God had already been there, when he created in me the ability to repair and recover, so why shouldn’t I just let my body do what it needs to do naturally?
Lord knows I don’t need a testimony of ‘instant healing’ to my flesh, because that might only distract from my testimony of a living Spirit of God inside me, who is to be greater than my soul or my flesh, who is to consume me to the point that Jesus is already my ‘all in all’, where I praise God in all situations, sickness and in health, in want or in abundance. I think of Jesus sittin’ there saying, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden…” (showing my age now?), because technically, He did heal me, as part of the creator Godhead, he gave the body it’s repair-ability.
Thanks for sharing my thoughts, and may you be “snuggled all up in your beds while visions of bowel-stew dance in your heads”….heehee, I kill me!
Holy Idol? June 15, 2010Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
I was listening to Air 1 radio this morning, and they were reporting on a new Bible initiative by the American Bible Society and the Sripture Union. They believe that people aren’t reading the bible as much these days, and they are going to put some programs into place to help with this. Their goal-”to connect the bible to today’s challenges and struggles.”
My first thought was, “don’t we want to connect ‘Jesus’ to today’s challenges and struggles?” We seem to want to get the bible into peoples hands and tell them it has the answers to ‘life’s struggles’ instead of giving them Jesus and telling them that He has the answers to life’s issues. OK, perhaps they are saying that Christians are the ones not reading, but needing, the bible. Well, what if that is because Christians are focusing more on an actual relationship with Jesus himself instead of using the bible for religion? It made me wonder if we have turned the bible into an idol, making it more important than starting with Jesus, or making it a replacement for talking about Jesus. I have learned that when you focus on anything other an Jesus, no matter how ‘good’ it might be, you have the wrong focus. Only when Christ is central and supreme, does everything else come into line, and you don’t need to focus on anything else.
Perhaps the Bible Institute and Scripture Union should have a campaign to focus on intimacy with Jesus, His rule in their lives, and THAT will cause them to go read the bible to know MORE of Him.
Dry Spell? May 19, 2010Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
I just realized it has been many months since I have posted something. I haven’t had nuggets of wisdom for a while….is God not talking to me? Is he not teaching me new things? Perhaps I am expecting profound life changing things, and not looking at the everyday things that God is doing.
For instance, I just had to have my car taken in on 2 occasions for 2 different repairs, the first one was $5000, the second one was $700. Now, we are doing OK financially, but not so well that we have the tune of 5700 dollars just lying around. I ended up selling some stock to pay the $5000 bill, and will possibly sell more for the $700 bill. But, we were faithful to pray and seek the Lord, and put Him in charge during the financial trial. Thank Him that I have Apple employee stock to draw on for emergencies such as this. On top of that, I received a Service Coupon in email from the dealership the DAY the car was finished with the $700 repair. Their 12% off coupon saved us $91. That there was a nice ‘God thing’.
We recently blessed many of my family members financially; my oldest brother, my sister, and my younger brother. They were in need, at different times for different reasons, and we had the means to assist them, so we did. In my flesh, I would want to say, “It’s not fair, God! We were faithful to hearing You, and gave to needs. We are now suppose to be blessed 10-fold, not suffering financial distress!!” But my Spirit knows better, and knows that our blessing for obeying is not repaid in the natural world, but in the Spiritual world. The Word tells us we have all Spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. We are storing up treasures in heaven by obeying, not seeking rewards or earthly blessing. All this shall pass away. God already has our best interest at heart, He already loves us more than the birds of the air or the lilies of the field, He is already our Jehova Jira, and none of that is dependent upon my giving or blessing others. So I ‘count it all joy’ to suffer trials, for the building of my faith. Even though the car is frustrating me, even thought it cost a bit of money and anxiety, God is still God, and I am still to focus on building the Kingdom and making Jesus central and supreme in my life.
New Creation October 30, 2009Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
I was in a discussion with a friend the other day, about being a ‘new creation’. I decided that what I was sharing with him would be a good blog post. I haven’t updated the blog much because I began to think that what I had to share wasn’t new, people knew it already and I would just be posting “duh” material. This discussion reminded me why I started the blog in the first place; Christ has given me wisdom to share that He desires to use for the kingdom, and I need to be obedient.
What does it mean to be a ‘new creation” as Paul has put it? As a young Christian, I learned that “Christ was in my heart”, that if I “open the door, He would come in and sup with me”. This meant to me, that a little piece of Christ was tucked away in my heart, and when I needed Him, I could pull Him out of this tucked away place and get advice. It also meant that He was watching me, ready to pronounce judgement at any time on my actions. Later, I was taught that I could receive the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”, which would allow me to speak in tongues and use other spiritual gifts. I found out that neither of these were the fulness of ‘Christ in me’, in fact they were a pretty poor explanation of the true meaning of ‘Christ in me’ or ‘new creation’.
See, I believe that man (I’m speaking of man as humankind, not as ‘maleness’) is triune, just as the Godhead is triune. Man has a spirit (God breathed life into Adam and imparted His Spirit), a soul (mind, will, and emotions), and a body (the flesh). I understand that when Adam fell, God separated His spirit from man and every man born since is born with a soul, a body, and a hole where the Spirit should be and isn’t. Man thereby tries to fill that hole and satisfy the need with things like drugs, alcohol, sex, religion, etc. We are dual instead of triune, and our soul tells our flesh what to do. We act on the natural, we behave on what our mind or emotions tell us to. The only thing that will satisfy and fill the hole is the Spirit of God. When we accept Jesus, and he “comes into our hearts” and we “get filled with the Spirit”, what we are getting is God’s Spirit back into the hole, fulfilling us and making us triune once again. There is a part of God in us, that should now be the driving force, instead of our soul. The Spirit should be influencing the soul, and then the soul tells the flesh what to do. Now the flesh is acting and behaving according to the Spirit because we have allowed our soul to conform to the Spirit (a lot of christian teaching tells us in our flesh and by our own strength to try to conform to the Spirit, which is backwards…allow the Spirit to conform your soul, and your flesh will fall in line with the Spirit).
Ok, now that the Spirit has come and made us triune again, we are a new creation. There has not been one like us since Christ, and there had not been one like Him since Adam before the fall. This new creation is not like the old creation. We have a power, a resource, an understanding, and wisdom from on high. We have a connection to the Father that Christ and Adam had. We may walk and talk with our Father in the garden of His kingdom. We don’t just have a little piece of Jesus in our hearts that will only appear when we do bad things, we don’t just have some gifts that the Holy Spirit will use when we ‘meditate and activate’. We have God inside, a spiritual connection to a spiritual being, giving us access to His power, His wisdom, making us unlike any other being, apart, separate, not of this world, belonging to another kingdom. Get the picture? We are different than the world around us. We should see things differently. We should behave differently. We should understand spiritual things differently. We should seek after kinship with others of our kind…we should be one just as Christ and the Father are one. And most important, we should LOVE ONE ANOTHER, for they will know we are HIs disciples by our love for one another!
Frank Viola’s next book September 1, 2009Posted by Gordon Brock in Uncategorized.
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Today, Tuesday the 1st, Frank Viola’s next book goes on sale on Amazon. This is book number 5 in his series on investigating New Testament based church life. I have not read the book yet, but have ordered my copies. If you order today from Amazon, at a nice discount, it will raise his book up the hit list and more people will know about it. If you are not quite familiar with all 4 of his previous books on the subject, they are;
The Untold Story of The New Testament Church
From Eternity to Here
Here is the link on Amazon:
Here’s an early review of the book:
“The author of “Pagan Christianity?” (with George Barna), “Reimagining Church,” and the bestselling “From Eternity to Here” has written a detailed manual on how to start and sustain an organic church. Everything from what to do with the children, to the developmental stages of church growth, to the diseases of an organic church and their cures are all covered in this comprehensive volume. Church planting principles for organic styled churches are packed together with the author’s practical experience of living in and starting such churches. Each chapter is full of advice, outlining the unique problems that such churches will face and their solutions. Church planters of all types will benefit from this book as well as those wishing to explore an alternative way of church gathering.” – Christian Book Reviews, 2009