The Gospel of John Friday, Apr 30 2010 

The Gospel of John

The Apostle John

John was Jesus’ first cousin and His best friend for 3 ½ years.  Jesus’ mother and John’s mother were sisters.  No man on earth knew the story of Jesus better than John.  His gospel is a magnificent treatise to the life of Christ and it’s impact on planet earth.

His gospel is different than the others.  Very different! It is written like John is sitting under a shade tree with his feet propped up, just daydreaming about the life of Jesus.  He only selects vignettes, short insights or events, from 20 days in the life of Christ.

John uses the simplest words, and a small vocabulary to plunge us into the deepest mysteries of God.  John uses the vocabulary of a six year old child.  A child learns about 100 words a year and John uses about 600 words in his writing.

The words John selects are powerful words.  He uses words like world, father, light, and truth. He uses the simplest words to paint a profound God and His plan.

Matthew writes to the Jew, so he begins his gospel at the lineage of Abraham.  Luke writes to the gentile Roman world, so his lineage begins at Adam.  John writes to the church, so he reaches all the way back to eternity.  He begins with, “In the beginning”.

.John reaches back to the inky blackness of eternity, before there was the brush of an angel’s wing.  He reaches back before there was the first blazing shaft of light that shattered the darkness.  When there was nothing but God.  In the beginning was the logos, the word, the thought, the intent.  And the logos was God.

John does not cover the same material as the other three gospels do.  The only miracle he repeats is the feeding of the 5000.  He writes to the church about 50 years after the other writers.  The church was facing many challenges.

When John wrote, there were those who said Jesus never really existed.  There were others saying Jesus was not a human, but rather a phantom.  Other views at that time proclaimed Jesus did exist but he was just a man with divinity projected upon him by his disciples.  It was into this morass that John wrote his gospel.

John writes of no parables, and uses 7 signs to build his story of Jesus.  He explains things like no other writer.  When he tells a miracle, he often explains why he used that miracle.  An example would be the feeding of the 5000.  He tells us Jesus is the bread of life.  The other three writers did not explain the connection for us.  When Jesus heals the blind man, John explains Jesus is the light of the world.  It is his explanations that give his gospel an added dimension.

He also includes things of immense importance.  Consider how important John chapter three is to the doctrine of the new birth.  The story of Nicodemas is the bedrock of salvation.  Ye must be born again.  That one inclusion validates the day of Pentecost and the doctrine of the New Testament church.  Chapter by chapter, John gives the church a gospel for the ages.  He delivers the most profound insight into Jesus the man, of any writer of history.

2/3 of John’s book is about the last week of Jesus’ life.  Fully 1/3 of his book is about the last 24 hours of Jesus’ earthly life.  After 60 years, the need was for a complete record of the importance of calvary.  A whole generation had arrived that were not eye witnesses to the events of Jesus’ death.  Someone needed to write it down and John succeeded as Heaven’s emissary.

We have the gospel of John and it is indeed  magnificent!

Thanks for reading today!

The reason “Reason” is the reason! Thursday, Apr 29 2010 

The reason “Reason” is the reason!

There are so many questions today.  Where is America headed?  What is our future? What is the cause of America’s current direction?

Then there is the church.  Where is the church headed? What is the future of the Apostolic movement? What is the cause of the church’s current direction?

Will Durant wrote a series of books over a period of fifty years.  He wrote a volume every five years.  The set is called the Story of Civilization.  The series begins with “Our Oriental Heritage”, and continues through “The Age Of Napoleon.”

This series is what put the publishing house Simon and Schuster on the playing field as one of the major publishing houses in America.  One of the volumes of this series of books is “The Age OF Reason Begins.”  It is the story of the struggle of faith verses reason.

In the big picture of the last three hundred years this seems to me the root cause of this world’s drift and problems, as well as the church’s drift and problems.

It seems to me we deal with a closer view and say things like television, or worldliness, or carnality is the cause of the current drift of the church.  I readily admit these are the visible manifestations of the problem, but I am suggesting the cause is deeper and more long standing.  I am suggesting it has been the undercurrent of the Prince of this world for hundreds of years.

One of the proponents of Reason was the philosopher Descartes.  It was his writings and contributions that played a monumental role in Reason attacking faith.  He began to put forth the idea that free will was mans destiny, not blind faith.  “It is Descartes….who gave us a new method of reasoning, much more admirable than his philosophy” (Will Durant), The Age Of Reason Begins, page 645.

Reason stood up, introduced itself, and stepped to the center of the stage.  It is my opinion it has never sat down.

Reason has produced its many children.  Children like evolution, and abortion are easily identified.  Reason has also had some children that have been bene vixit qui bene latuit, (he has lived well who has hidden well).

These are the children that are hard to see and identify.  Hence these children are not removed for our lives, but remain and consequently grow stronger every generation.

These children of reason hide and hence they live well.  For the last three hundred years men have began to question everything.  They have questioned the universe, this world, laws, but most all authority!  These hidden children of reason gave birth to many movements that continued to have children, then grandchildren, to the present day.

Some of this reason was justified because of the excess of the Catholic Church.  Things were done in the name of God like the selling of indulgences, or the worship of Mary.  The advocates of reason seized these and held them up for the world to see and placed all faith in the same light.  So reason claimed superiority.

The battle of reason against faith continues today bene vixit qui bene latuit.  Yes we see the obvious.  We see the destruction that Hollywood brings, the emergent preachers and their liberal views.  Satan loves his hidden long-range plans of reaching the day where everything is questioned.

Satan longs for the day when every single child of God will question every thing possible.  Satan wants all of us born again believers to question every standard, every value preached across the pulpit.  It is the long-range plan of Satan to cause reason to triumph.

Faith and reason cannot co-exist!  There are simply things God expects us to accept by faith.  God created this world.  That is what faith says.  Reason says evolution is an option.

Faith says there are absolutes in life.  Reason says question homosexuality as right for some people.

Faith says give God ten percent.  Reason says share the wealth with those who do not work.

Faith says ye must be born again.  Reason says all good intentioned people will go to heaven.

Faith says there is a heaven and a hell.  Reason says that went out with the dark ages.

Faith says your gender is how you were born.  Reason says your sex is determined by your choice.

All of these are reasons why “reason” is the reason!

Reason is the reason that the world is out of control and the church is headed for apostacy!

“But without faith it is impossible to please God”

Thanks for reading today!

Do you agree with this? Wednesday, Apr 28 2010 

So, do you agree with this?

How will YOU die? Tuesday, Apr 27 2010 

How will YOU die?

He was cold! He was way beyond the kind of temporary cold that gives you shivers.  The cold he felt was way down in his bones, and had been there for weeks.  He wished for the thousandth time for the cloak he left in Troas.  Life would be easier when Timothy arrived with the books and parchments.

Six feet away, across his cell was a large rat.  They eyed each other with measured tolerance.  He had long tired of trying to make the rat leave for good.  The rat always came back.  It was no longer worth the effort to accost the rat.  He and the rat certainly weren’t friends, but they had learned to co-exist.

He reached over and picked up his writing instrument and parchment. The voice inside him told him to write.  So he dipped his quill in the borrowed ink, and began.

As he formulated the words that were appearing in his mind, another part of his mind began to go back over the years…..

He smiled as he remembered that day on the road.  It seemed like just yesterday.  Then there was the time in Arabia.  The years began to unfold like a novel, like a slow motion reel.

He drifted back through the years, the cities, the trials, the beatings, and the stonings.  Once again he asked himself if he had done all his master had asked of him.  He honestly could not see any way it could have turned out differently.

The other part of his mind returned back to the parchment, and he began.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.  I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness….

He finished the final words of his last letter. He was well aware he would never again pen another syllable.

He heard the jingle of keys. Marcus came into view.  Marcus was his most recent convert, albeit secretly.  He said to Marcus,”It’s okay, I understand.”  Tears began a slow roll down Marcus’ cheeks.

He rose, straightened, and started for the door, and noticed the rat seemed to be smirking.

The stairs seemed steeper than he remembered.  The light of day was blinding.  He had lost count of the days in the underground cell.  Slowly he looked around.  Spring had arrived, his last spring of his 67 years.

He saw the executioner waiting.  How far?  Maybe a hundred steps?  He started the final one hundred steps of his earthly journey.   He drew up at the chopping block.

With one long last look around the Appian Way, and a smile for Marcus tear stained face, he knelt and placed his head on the block.  The Roman official placed a check next to his name on the slate and nodded to the ax man.

In one slow movement, while heaven held it’s breath, the ax was raised. It paused for a fraction of a second, then in blinding speed arched downward.  His head, severed from his body rolled over the edge of the block and dropped to the ground and rolled twice.  Unseeing eyes on mortal earth stared upward.

In the immeasurable moment when head and body were separated, his spirit was free.  He was free of the hardships, free of the privation.  He was free and approaching the gates.

The gate was also about one hundred steps.  He could see the crowds cheering.  It was that great cloud of witnesses he had written about in his letter to the Hebrews.

They were all there.  Some were from the highlands of Galatia, others from the sea coasts of Macedonia.  There were some from Caesars’ household, and some converted rulers of the synagogue.

They were waiting, cheering, and welcoming him home.

And then there was Jesus for the first time.

He never quite remembers those last few steps, he only remembers falling at Jesus feet.  And the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

So Paul, the Christian sage of the ages died.

How will YOU die?

Will you be bitter?

Will you have regrets?

In the prison, Paul called himself “The prisoner of the Lord.” He knew that no mere, mortal Caesar could imprison an apostle without his master’s assent.

Do you see your prison as approved by the master?

How will YOU die?

Thanks for reading today!

The Spider Web Monday, Apr 26 2010 

The Spider Web.

All of life is like a spider's web!

Reading Brother Ballestero’s blog today brought to my mind a portion of a book by Robert Penn Warren.  The title is All the King’s Men.  It is considered an American classic, rated the 36th greatest novel of the 20th century.

It is really written about a famous Louisiana politician who became governor of Louisiana and then a United States Senator. He was killed on the steps of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, at the age of 42. His name was Huey Long.

In the book there is a young man who becomes his assistant.  On several occasions there is a philosophical diatribe on life and it’s long-range effects. On one such occasion the subject is the spider web. The young man’s name is Jack.

Jack is informed that all of life is like a spider web.  It stretches out and sometimes appears empty.  But just one touch and the entire web reverberates and begins to hum.  The spider feels it and out she comes to claim her victim.

It is an excellent analogy.  Life is interlaced and every act and deed we do sends the vibrations out through our life and those we touch.  None of us are an island to our self.

The sad tragedy of the book illustrates the spider web effect.  Jack is told by the man running for governor, Willie Stark, to find something in the life of another man to ruin him.  That man is a judge who has been like a father to Jack all his life.

Jack asks what if there is nothing on the Judge? Stark says there is always something!  So Jack digs in the Judge’s past until he finds something.  When Jack goes to the Judge and presents his evidence that the Judge took a bribe, he thinks it is over and done with.

Little does he know he touched the spider web!

Soon after in the book, Jack is at his mother’s house and the telephone rings.  He hears his mother begin to scream.  He runs to see why, and she screams at him.  Well Jack, you finally did it, didn’t you?  You just had to do it didn’t you?  She says Judge Irwin just committed suicide!

You just killed you own father Jack!

Jack had never known who his father was.  The Judge had always treated him like a son.  Jack was stunned!  He touched the spider web, it hummed, and the spider came out to claim her victim.

Life is indeed a spider web.

When you touch it, all of life is affected.

Thanks for reading today!

Noblesville Indiana New Church Sunday, Apr 25 2010 

New Church in Noblesville Indiana nears completion

Calvary Apostolic Church, pastored by Garry Streeval is nearing completion of their new church. The church has a total of approximately 23,000 square feet.  It is on a new location near the growing areas of Noblesville.  Noblesville is located in one of the fastest growing counties of the United States.

It has been a dream come true for Pastor and Mrs Streeval, after 35 years in Noblesville.

The Streevals came to Noblesville March 7, 1975 and started having church in a converted garage.  Their only member was their young daughter Beth.  The last 35 years have seen constant, careful, consistent growth.  Today there is a growing thriving congregation in this city just north of Indianapolis.

Dedication of the new church is tentatively set for July 30th.

View of auditorium from the baptistry.

View from the balcony.

Main entrance foyer.

Main entrance, with beautiful chandelier (Pastor Streeval and Rev Garrett)

Basement: fellowship hall.

As I post these pictures I realize they do not do the building justice.  My recommendation is to come and celebrate their joy on July 30th, and see the beauty of this church for yourself!

Congratulations Pastor Streeval and congregation!

What are you afraid of? Saturday, Apr 24 2010 

  1. Everything great in history has arisen from silence … even great noise.
  2. Beethoven and Mozart closed themselves off from the world and inhabited silent rooms for days at a time in order to hear things that no one else could hear – sounds so glorious that they themselves would never hear in the midst of the world, and yet sounds that the world would never know if Beethoven and Mozart had not befriended silence.
  3. USA Today conducted a survey in which people were asked to name the ten things they feared the most.
  4. The most feared was death, and then flying.
  5. After flying … silence – followed closely by public speaking, dogs, snakes, and spiders.
  6. Why do we fear silence?
  7. Why do we avoid silence?
Just wondering today?

Are You Surviving or Thriving? Friday, Apr 23 2010 

Are the tears you shed for your marriage happy tears or sad tears?

Surviving or Thriving?

Somewhere around 3000 years ago a giant named Goliath walked out on the battlefield and challenged the armies of Israel. The gauntlet was thrown down and the challenge was bellowed.  The terms of conflict were clear for everyone.

It was winner take all and no survivors!

I am convinced today there is another challenge, on yet another battlefield.  Satan struts out on the battlefield of America and throws his challenge.  The battle in 2010 is for our homes.  Satan attacks with technology, with Hollywood, with busyness and time constraints, and stress.

One of his most effective attacks is on marriages.  He has rolled out the big artillery the last few years.  He is after the family values in America.

In 2009 there were 2,162,000 marriages in America.  The marriage rate was 7.1 per 1000 people.  The divorce rate was 3.5 per 1000 people.

In the 1996 presidential election 50% of the electorate said moral values were one of the most important issues.  In the 2004 presidential election, that percentage stood at 34 %. In 8 years 16% of support had eroded.

From the 2000 election to the 2004 election, support for gay marriages increased 50% in America.

For the last 30 years moral values have been some of the most important factors in elections.

In 2005, 11 of 17 states amended their state constitutions to prohibit gay unions or gay marriages.  Satan is attacking the Biblical ideal of marriage between a man and a woman.

But he does not stop there.  Satan also attacks the marriages of Christians.

Some statistics say the divorce rate for conservative Christians is higher than the rate for atheists and agnostics.  Others say the opposite.  Tom Ellis, Chairman of the Southern Baptist convention’s council on the family says the true fact is 1 in 39,000 marriages, end among conservative Christians. That is 0.00256%.

The question in your marriage is, are you surviving or thriving?

Are you and your spouse meeting each others personal needs?

Here we are in mainstream America where prayer is illegal, and abortion is encouraged.

Where, if you resist the gay marriage deluge, you practice hate speech, and you are homophobic!

Where our kids walk through metal detectors to get on the school ground and are handed condoms.

Does anybody believe me when I scream….the battle is raging?

If anyone is naïve enough to think you can ignore your marriage, and it will thrive on it’s own, by simple church attendance, you are sadly mistaken!

On January 31, 1996, I ended a journey of 9048 days of marriage.  Over 25 years.  I dated in the church, I married in the church, and was finally divorced in the church.  On that January day in 1996, I started a journey that has now stretched to 5,192 days, over 14 years of living alone.

If I could help even one person to not go down that road, it would be worth it all.  But even more, what if I could I help those still in the marriage, to make that marriage all God intended it to be?

I was driving down the road with Martyn Ballestero a few weeks ago.  We were on main street in Sumner Washington, right in front of McDonalds, in the left turn lane.

God spoke to me.  God said “What did the children say of their mother in Proverbs chapter 31?” In my mind I answered, they called her blessed.  And God said, “What did her husband do?”. I answered he praised her.  God told me to look it up and see what kind of praise the man gave his wife.  I did, and Brother Ballestero wrote a wonderful blog on it.

I hope you will click on the link, go to his blog site and read the blog on how to have the best wife in the world!

Thanks for reading today!


Is Pride Always A Sin? Thursday, Apr 22 2010 

FPC singers and musicians at the fairgrounds. They took second place 🙂

Is Pride Always A Sin?

Most of us, if not all of us, are aware that pride is a sin and God hates it! I am just wondering today if there is ever a time it is not a sin?

Last week our church sang at the fairground in a gospel singing.  There were ten groups chosen from the area to sing and we were one of the ten chosen.

The audience then sent in a text message to vote for who they thought won the event as the best group.  Our church group placed second.

I guess I need to repent, because I was very proud of them.  That nasty old pride sticking it’s head up!

I was off in Arkansas at another meeting and they went and did a wonderful job representing traditional Pentecostal singing.

Here is the newspaper report….

For many churches, music is a reflection of the way they worship. That holds true for First Pentecostal Church of Puget Sound in Lake Tapps, which sent a 20-member choral and instrumental performance group to The Spring Fair.

“We feel like music is an expression of faith itself,” said Kenneth Bow, the church’s senior pastor. “Music is the medium throughout the ages that God has used to reach people, whether it’s gospel or traditional or contemporary.”

Pastor Bow, who has been at First Pentecostal since 1999, said the majority of his church’s musicians have been performing together all that time. They practice for 45 minutes every Sunday and seem to have a smaller learning curve because they’re so familiar with each other, he said.

The First Pentecostal group features saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, keyboards, guitars and percussion to complement its singers. They offered a diverse selection of three songs at The Spring Fair, ranging from a cover of “Say So” by contemporary Christian group Free Chapel to a medley by Ron Kenoly, a widely-known evangelist who specializes in soul and rhythm and blues.

First Pentecostal is a traditional Pentecostal church that uses “exuberant worship” as its focal point, meaning heartfelt music, raised hands and outstretched voices are part of the typical service.

“It’s a vocal expression rather than a meditative environment,” the pastor explained. “The Pentecostal service is going to be an out-loud expression of your feelings. It’s more of an expressive faith than a reflective faith.”

I hope there are times you can be proud of something and not sin! 🙂

Thanks for reading today!

Do Your Emotions Rule Your Life? Wednesday, Apr 21 2010 

Is the storm coming or going?

The tides advance, the tides recede.  Winter goes and summer comes. Summer wanes and the cold increases.  The sun rises, the sun sets.  The moon is full, the moon is black. The birds arrive, the birds depart.  Flowers bloom, flowers fade.  Seeds are sewn, harvests are reaped.  All nature is a circle of moods and I am part of nature and so, like the tides, my mood will rise; my mood will fall.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

It is one of nature’s tricks, little understood, that each day I awaken with moods that have changed from yesterday.  Yesterday’s joy will become today’s sadness; yet today’s sadness will grow into tomorrow’s joy, from exultation to depression, from happiness to melancholy.  Like the flowers, today’s full bloom of joy will fade and wither into despondency.  Today’s sadness carry the seed of tomorrow’s joy.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

And how will I master these emotions?  Unless my mood is right the day will be a failure.  Trees and plants depend on the weather to flourish, but I make my own weather.  If I bring rain and gloom and darkness and pessimism to my people, then they will react with rain and gloom and darkness and pessimism.  If I bring joy and enthusiasm and brightness and laughter they will react with joy and enthusiasm and brightness and laughter and my weather will produce a harvest.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

And how will I master my emotions so that every day is a happy day and a productive one?  I will learn the secret of the ages:  Weak is he who permits his thoughts to control his actions; strong is he who forces his actions to control his thoughts.  Each day I will follow this plan before I am captured by the forces of sadness, self-pity and failure  – –

If I feel depressed I will sing.

If I feel ill I will double my labor.

If I feel fear I will plunge ahead.

If I feel inferior I will wear new garments.

If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice.

If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come.

If I feel incompetent I will remember past successes.

If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

Henceforth, I will know that only those with inferior ability can always be at their best.  There will be days when I must constantly struggle against forces which would tear me down.  Those such as despair and sadness are simple to recognize but there are others which approach with a smile and a hand of friendship and they can also destroy me.  Against them too, I must never relinquish control – –

If I become overconfident I will recall my failures.

If I overindulge I will think of past hungers.

If I feel complacency I will remember my competition.

If I enjoy moments of greatness I will remember moments of shame.

If I feel all-powerful I will try to stop the wind.

If I attain great wealth I will remember one unfed mouth.

If I become overly proud I will remember a moment of weakness.

If I feel my skill is unmatched I will look at the stars.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

And with this new knowledge I will also understand and recognize the moods of him on whom I call.  I will make allowances for his anger and irritation of today for he knows not the secret of controlling his mind.  I can withstand his arrows and insults for now I know that tomorrow he will change and be a joy to approach.

No longer will I judge a man on one meeting.  This day he will not buy gold chariots for a penny, yet tomorrow he would exchange his home for a tree.

Today I will be master of my emotions.

I will recognize and identify the mystery of moods in all mankind, and in me.  From this moment I am prepared to control whatever personality awakes in me each day.  I will master my moods.

I will become master of myself and my emotions.

Thanks for reading today

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