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... And His Name Will Be Called ...
Aesthetics & Worldview (eBooklet 52 pages)
Art as Perception & Expression of Reality - A Foundation for a Biblical Aesthetic - A Call to God-Centered Art
This essay offers a foundation for a biblical aesthetic by submitting simple definitions of the terms ”worldview”, “art”, “reality”, and “aesthetics”. The science of “Perception” is also discussed briefly along with the concepts of “perceptual set” and “predictive coding”, which are likened to the apostle Paul’s concept of “the renewing of the mind” – viz. to a biblical worldview.
The essay presents brief overviews of some branches of philosophy and various types of worldviews only to establish a context in which these things relate to art.
The essay discusses the focus and source of artistic inspiration in the material creation, our humanity, the attributes of God and the Person of God Himself.
The essay is a call to God-centered art, purporting that in the biblical worldview, God is Ultimate Reality; and that for the Christian artist, art is the communication, or expression, or reflection of one’s perception of that Reality; and that the attributes of God, revealed in His creation, in His written word, and in His Living Word, Jesus Christ, are the conceptual forms by which we perceive and communicate our expressions and reflections of God. Therefore, the purpose of the Christian artist is to communicate through works of art his perceptions of God and His attributes.
And His Name Will Be Called... (Isaiah 9:6) (eBooklet 46 pages)
The focus of this message is the names that Isaiah used to describe the coming King. And the key to understanding these names is the historical context of the people he is speaking to. Basically, he was telling these people that this coming King was the only One Who had solutions to the situations in which they found themselves. So, we will look at these names – each one a combination of an adjective and a noun – and interpret them in the context of these people, who are not unlike ourselves.
Apostolic Teaching (eBooklet 25 pages)
Apostolic (adjective) teaching, based on the apostles’ (noun) teaching recorded in the Scriptures is an absolutely necessary and sorely lacking genre and quality of teaching having a particular approach and goal – namely, to lay the foundation of Christ and to build Christ experientially in the lives of individuals and churches. (I Corinthians 3:10-11, Ephesians 2:20, 3:1-7) This essay focuses on the adjective, apostolic, rather than the noun, apostle – i.e. a genre and quality of faith and practice (Jude 3), rather than a supposed job description of an apostle.
Art & True Spirituality (eBooklet 23 pages)
Art as an Essential Form of Worship including some Cautionary Thoughts for Christian Artists
Through his works of art, the Christian artist can “magnify the Lord” by “telling of His glory”, often without words, through reflecting on the attributes of God, which are “the radiance of His glory”. This is an essential form of worship which, like other forms of worship and prayer, can act as a bridge – a “Jacob’s Ladder”, as it were – in which a work of art can be used by the Spirit of God as – a door, or a window, or a portal - between the physical and spiritual realms, through which God can reveal Himself.
But in all his creative endeavors, the Christian artist must avoid “worshipping the creature rather than the Creator”, being ever aware that “the artist is not superman”, and that “art is not religion”. In order to truly “magnify the Lord”, the artist must view himself and his art from a consistent biblical worldview.
A Call to God-Centered Art (eBooklet 28 pages)
As a call to God-centered art, this essay offers Christians involved in the various art forms a foundation for a biblical aesthetic. The attributes of God, revealed in His creation, in His written word, and in His Living Word, Jesus Christ, are the conceptual forms by which we perceive and communicate our expressions and reflections of God. Therefore, the calling of a Christian artist is to communicate through works of art his perceptions of God and His attributes.
Christ Is Prerequisite For Church
Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church. We cannot discern the Body until we first discern the Head. We cannot understand the mystery of the Church until we understand the mystery of Christ. Jesus is building His Church through revelation of Himself. As we pursue the revelation of Christ, He builds His Church. As disciples of Christ, let us pursue REVELATION of Christ as the Head and the Foundation, having that translated into RELATIONSHIP with Christ, with a view to REFLECTION of Christ. May the Church, which is His Body, be able to say: “Look, ‘so also is Christ’”.
Group Discussion Guide: Christ Is Prerequisite For Church
This is the group discussion guide intended to accompany the reading of the booklet entitled “Christ is Prerequisite for Church”
A Colony Of Heaven (eBooklet 19 pages)
A Multi-Ethnic Church Built on the Foundation of Christ
The “United” States of America, as well as many other nations in the world, continue to fail in the struggle against racism. People ask: “Why, after all that has been tried for so many years, has there been no apparent success in solving the problem?” The answer is this: Racism is sin; and human society will never overcome any sin without “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 8:2)
But has the Church, the Body of Christ, manifested victory over the sin of racism? The answer is: No. And the reason is this: Churches have been built on (shifting) foundations of culture, and not on the Foundation of Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
The churches of the New Testament were confronted with the cultural issue of racism, but found their way to “the Firm Foundation of God which (still) stands”. (2 Timothy 2:19)
I believe G.K. Chesterton was referring to that authentic biblical Christianity we see in the New Testament when he said: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” The Lord has called His Ekklesia out of society and gathered them together for the purpose of being a witness and testimony representing the Kingdom of Heaven to the societies of the world. Will we walk in that calling?
Concerning Gatherings (eBook 78 pages)
This essay is meant to be a follow-up to my series entitled “A New & Living Way: An Investigation into New Covenant Worship in Spirit & Truth”. Here, I hope to offer some “applications” of the “principles” examined in that previous series by approaching the subject of “Gathering” - NOT on how we gather, or where and when we gather, but WHY we gather, hoping that will lead to some insight into the nature of our collective life in the New Covenant. The “collective life” I’m referring to is worship – as we have defined it: a lifestyle of surrender and service to the Lord. And just one component in this lifestyle involves gathering – gatherings of the Ekklesia. WHY would the Ekklesia gather?
Offering as some thoughts on the matter, and not the end of the matter, we will consider WHY we would gather in light of: Custom, The New Testament Scriptures, The New Commandment, The Commission(s) of the Church, and the New Covenant itself.
The Cross & The Powers of Darkness (eBooklet 44 pages)
We have a calling that could be referred to as “The Even Greater Commission”: “… that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 3:10 Jesus laid down His life for a Bride who will love Him more than herself. The Lord purposed to have a Church that would demonstrate the wisdom and power of self-denying obedience in order to put to shame the powers of darkness. When the Body of Christ, the Church, rises above self-preservation to a self-denying obedience in demonstration of THE CROSS, God will be finished with the powers of darkness and they will be condemned to their eternal punishment.
The Drawing Of The Holy Spirit (eBooklet 26 pages)
The subject matter of this message concerns the influence of the Holy Spirit on the human soul during the conversion-regeneration process. By this term, "conversion-regeneration process", I mean specifically the process of coming to "repentance" and "faith" in Christ, which would be followed by baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The process being discussed in this message concerns that work of the Holy Spirit upon the human soul prior to someone actually receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Evil - The Absence of God (eBook 49 pages)
We all acknowledge that there is an evil contingent in the spiritual realm; but are hesitant to give too much attention to it, preferring to maintain a truly Christ-Centered faith. To say that I am a staunch advocate for Christ-Centeredness is an understatement. And, I have also seen much too often the spiritual dissipation that results when Christians “major on the minors” and become almost literally obsessed with the realities and activities of the forces of darkness. Therefore, my goal in this research and study has been NOT to become educated in “the deep things of Satan”; but rather to more fully understand the panorama of truth contained in the scriptures.
As some others have pointed out: We need to recover the supernatural worldview of the Bible and the unveiling of truths contained in the scriptures (albeit it sometimes obscurely) regarding evil and the spiritual forces of evil. I have found that this has served to increase my personal perception of God and His spiritual domain. It has also served to deepen my understanding of His plan of redemption in and by and through Christ.
The referencing of certain familiar New Testament scriptures with maybe more obscure Old Testament scriptures has given an increased understanding of what the writers of the scriptures were actually communicating to their ancient and first century audiences. Not only is it exciting to discover these things, I believe God intends to give more wide-spread understanding of these things to His people “upon whom the ends of the ages are come”.
Facing The Future (eBook 72 pages)
The keys words in the title give the subject matter. There is a fact which we all must FACE; and that is: the FUTURE is coming. Whether the prognosis is good or bad – whether we want it to come or not – the FUTURE is coming – we must FACE IT. What is in the FUTURE? Jesus already gave us the answer: TRIBULATION. The scriptures tell us that God has His purpose in TRIBULATION. But the future will require FAITH. In fact, Jesus will be looking for that FAITH when He returns. True FAITH brings us into a place of REST. The FUTURE will also require WISDOM - the WISDOM of HUMILITY and SIMPLICITY. There is much we can learn from four creatures which are “small but wise”.
Forsaking All to Follow Jesus (eBook 68 pages)
What Does a God-Centered Life Look Like?
In this essay, we look at what “forsaking” means, what “all” means, and what “following Jesus” means. But the impetus for writing this essay clearly came from observing the spirit of materialism in our current generation – even among God’s people. The essay identifies this materialism with some discussion of Self-Centeredness, Man-Centeredness, and the love of this World. The Way of the Cross is discussed as the path to God-Centeredness. The goal put forth is to live our lives not for our “selfs”, but in pursuit of God’s eternal plans and purposes for His people. A quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” sums it up: “If we would follow Jesus, we must take certain definite steps. The first step, which follows the call, cuts the disciple off from his previous existence. The call to follow at once produces a new situation. To stay in the old situation makes discipleship impossible.”
Foundation Stones (eBook 72 pages)
Knowing and experiencing Christ in and by and through sound doctrine is a pre-requisite to being a witness of Jesus Christ. We cannot communicate what we do not know and understand; and we cannot give to others what we do not have – we cannot share what we have not experienced. My burden is that everyone would know and experience Christ in and by and through sound doctrine, having their spiritual lives firmly built on the Foundation of Jesus Christ.
The God-Centered Life (a 3-part series)
“God-Centeredness” is a quintessential issue. All Christians, as well as, all churches and ministries come down on one side of the line or the other regarding Man-Centeredness or God-Centeredness. There is a very clear line of demarcation. Our perspective has implications for virtually every activity of both our personal and corporate lives as Christians. Our perspective also affects our understanding of God Himself, as well as His eternal plans and purposes.
In order to address the issue of God-Centeredness, we need to investigate God’s intention – His plan and purpose – in creation. And in order to properly understand this, we need to see things from God’s point of view. And in order to have God’s point of view, we need to adopt an eternal perspective.
When we have become convinced that the vast majority of Christians, churches and ministries are preoccupied with Man-Centeredness rather than God-Centeredness - seeing things from a self-centered point of view rather than God’s point of view - this question emerges: “What can be done about changing all this?” Or better, “What has God provided as a means of changing our tendencies?” The biblical answer would be – the Cross – not only the Message of the Cross, but also The Way of the Cross – a rare topic for the present generation.
Headship, Leadership & The Body Another Look at Consensus in the Church
It is currently in vogue in certain movements in the Western Church to criticize church leaders for usurping the Headship of Christ in the Church. I agree that, generally speaking, this is a valid criticism. But, I but would like to also point out that people in general usurp the Headship of Christ much more often than church leaders. This makes sense simply because of the fact that there are more people than leaders in the Church. But, the more accurate statement would be that human beings, church leaders and people alike, are very guilty of usurping the Headship of Christ in the Church.
I am absolutely for the Headship of Christ in the Church – it is my passion. I just don’t think that the Headship of Christ is contrary to leadership in the Church. And, obviously, leadership in the Church should not be contrary to the Headship of Christ!
The issue is the Headship of Christ - not whether leaders get to “push their weight around” and “run the show”, nor is it about whether all the people get the opportunity to “share what’s on their hearts” and “have their say”. The issue is the pre-eminence of Christ and “hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches”.
"IN, but not OF" (eBook 60 pages)
"In", but "not of". These are the two contexts in which a disciple of Christ lives – IN the world; but not OF the world. (John 17:13-19) For more than two thousand years the Church has struggled to understand what this actually means; and has also struggled to discern how to actually live faithfully in these contexts – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the World.
We don’t have voting rights in the heavenly realm. Voting is an activity in the kingdom of the World. Yet we also live in the Kingdom of God. This essay is not intended to give the "official" Christian stance on voting. Nor is its intention to stir up controversy and offense. But, rather, it is an honest, personal investigation of the following questions: For a disciple of Christ, is voting moral, immoral? Or, is voting a matter of “faith which you have as your own conviction before God”? (Romans 14:22)
However, what is shared in the Postscript I do believe is "what the Spirit is saying to the Church"; and therefore, I speak it in faith; and am open to it being spiritually judged according to the New Testament scriptures. "It is written: 'I believed; therefore, I have spoken.' Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak." (2 Corinthians 4:13 (Cf. Psalm 116:10)
Laying THE Foundation - A Guide to Teaching Disciples (eBooklet 18 pages)
The apostle Paul wrote:
“As a wise master builder, I laid a Foundation.” For about 40 years I have pursued wisdom on what it means to “lay the Foundation of Christ” through discipleship. This publication discusses laying the Foundation of Christ through apostolic teaching and prophetic exhortation in the context of a continuum of Revelation of Christ and Relationship with Christ through The Fellowship of the Spirit, with a view to answer whole-heartedly The Call of Discipleship.
The Mysteries of God (eBook 35 pages)
The Incarnation & Atonement / His Kingdom & Righteousness
The Kingdom of God is a mystery. Many have misunderstood, and consequently, have also misrepresented the Kingdom of God in the earth.
If we do not understand the mystery of the Incarnation, we will not understand the mystery of the Atonement. And, if we do not understand the mystery of the Atonement, we will not understand the mystery of His Righteousness.
And so, if we do not understand the mystery of His Righteousness, we will misunderstand and misrepresent the Kingdom of God in the earth.
A New & Living Way: Investigating New Covenant Worship in Spirit & Truth (an 8-part series)
This series is the fruit of more than 40 years of intensive study, prayer, research, and reflection, as well as, a varied experience in church life, ministry, and meetings. In passionate pursuit of that “New & Living Way” which Christ has opened to us through the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit has given insight and instruction through His scriptures all along this spiritual journey - shedding light on the nature, the meaning, and the experiential realities of the New Covenant, moving beyond the ritualism and sacramentalism of “the elementary principles of the world” into “worship in Spirit and truth” - a collective life of surrender and service - “according to the Spirit”, according to “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” - for the gathering of the kingdom assembly (the ekklesia). All of this serves the reflection and manifestation of the New Covenant Pattern and Principle - Christ Himself – “in whom we live and move and have our existence”. (Acts 17:28)
The Parable of the Census & the Pestilence (eBooklet 31 pages)
We hear every day in the media what is going on in the world during “this present situation”. BUT, WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE SPIRITUAL REALMS? There is a SHAKING in BOTH the material & the spiritual realms, because GOD IS JEALOUS FOR THE HEARTS OF HIS PEOPLE. Who do you belong to?
Quo Vadis (eBooklet 20 pages)
God is always moving on in His kingdom plans and purposes. He never moves backward. And for those who love Him, He never stops moving in our lives for His glory. But to continue moving on with God “from glory to glory” requires our living “from faith to faith”. It takes an act of faith to begin walking in “newness of life”; and it will take continuous acts of faith to continue walking in “newness of life” – namely, to OVERCOME THE POWER OF THE THINGS WHICH KEEP US PUT WHEN THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS WANTING TO MOVE US ON.
Be advised: This kind of “living by faith” makes us “strangers and pilgrims on the earth”. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
But “blessed is the man whose heart is set on pilgrimage.” (Psalm 84:5b)
A Remnant Will Return (a 6-part series)
“Christendom” is a counterfeit Christianity in the form of a Constantinian Civil Religion. It is a religion which has been taken into the captivity of its surrounding culture. As with the Jewish religion which centuries ago had been exiled in Babylon, any remaining vestiges of our culturalized Christianity are now being utterly shaken to bare bones. This can be very unsettling to all who identify as “Christian”. But it is also absolutely necessary for the counterfeit to fall, so that the Lord can raise up that faith He looks for at His return. In fact, He is at work in the very cultural captivity to “TURN CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE” – turn their hearts captive to Himself – for a more authentic Christ-centered expression of His Kingdom – “a people prepared for the Lord”. While each essay is a "stand alone" message, reading the whole series in order is recommended.
Seeing the Kingdom Through the Cross (eBooklet 38 Pages)
Or Missing the King & His Kingdom
To understand the kingdom of God, we must understand the mystery of Christ, who is the King of that kingdom. If we seek the kingdom of God and do not enter into the mystery of Christ, we have not entered into the kingdom, and will misrepresent the kingdom of heaven in the world. By and large, the Church in the Western nations has failed to see and enter the kingdom of God, and therefore is misrepresenting the King and His kingdom in the world.
So, it is essential to understand the mystery of Christ who is the King of the Kingdom. The quintessential aspect of the Christ of God is His Cross. He is, in fact, a Crucified King. To understand the Christ of God, we must understand the Cross of Christ. To see the Christ of God, we must see a “Crucified Christ”.1 To truly see the kingdom of God, we must see it through the Cross of Christ. It is, in fact, the Kingdom of the Cross. What is needed to see the Crucified Christ and His Kingdom of the Cross? To offer an answer to that question is the goal of this message, Seeing the Kingdom Through the Cross.
The Spirit of the World (eBooklet 35 Pages)
This essay consists of two related messages from John’s first epistle. Part 1 is entitled “Do Not Love the World”, and Part 2 - "Do Not Believe Every Spirit”. Regarding the Christian’s relationship to the world, these are the two commandments the apostle John gives in his first epistle: “Do Not Love the World” and “Do Not Believe Every Spirit”.
Tabernacle Truths (a 9-part series)
A Pattern for Revelation & Relationship with Christ Through Worship & Prayer
Worship can be defined as the way by which we approach God and carry on a relationship with God. Essentially, prayer is also an approach to God. It is God’s ultimate intention to Reveal Christ during worship and prayer, as they are two main aspects of our Relationship with Christ. The Lord gave the Tabernacle to His people as a heavenly pattern for Revelation, Relationship, and ultimately Reflection (expression) of Christ.
The Vineyard & The Husbandman (a 5-part series)
Using the scriptural word picture of The Vineyard of the Lord, this essay takes a look at the current condition of the Church. In response to this, it then takes another look at the commission of the Church, dealing with various aspects of discipleship all in light of the New Covenant, with a particular focus on the Christ-centeredness of apostolic teaching and apostolic fellowship. The essay ends with a presentation of the disciple-maker as “Cultivator”, through the use of word pictures of The Husbandman.
Walking With Sorrow (eBooklet)
Sorrow is inescapable. And yet, the following questions, found in the hearts and minds of all human beings, are equally inescapable:
Why is there suffering and sorrow?
Why does God allow it?
Why do “good” people suffer?
Why do the young and innocent suffer?
The Way Series (a 3-part series)
Acts 2:37-40 is the conclusion of the sermon the apostle Peter preached in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost – that is, the day which is commonly, held to be the birthday of the Church. At that time, Christianity and its adherents, the Church, was known simply as "The Way". Jesus had declared Himself to be "The Way, The Truth and The Life". Through His death and resurrection, He opened up "a new and living way" for those who trust and follow Him. And "He left us an example that we should follow in His steps" as we walk with Him on this Way of Life. The Christianity Jesus founded is a way of living. It’s The Way of Life.
We see this Way of Life recorded in this passage in the Book of The Acts of the Apostles. This Way of Life was established by the Holy Spirit in the first century for the Church. Acts 2, verse 37 reads: "Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' " In verses 38 through 40, it tells us what the Holy Spirit had the early Church to do:
• Be Baptized
• Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit
In a marvelous way, God saw to it that Jesus of Nazareth would establish repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit as "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus", when He "fulfilled all righteousness" with John the Baptist at the Jordan River: Jesus submitted to John’s "baptism of repentance", and the Holy Spirit came upon Him. Thus, The Way of Life for us is through repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Suggested Reading in conjunction with this series entitled "The Way": "The Drawing of the Holy Spirit", as an introduction; and ; "You Must Be Born Again", as a follow-up.)
The Weakness Of God (48 Pages)
This is, indeed, a captivating phrase penned by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Church. (1 Corinthians 1:25) This “weakness of God” is His chosen “methodology” from “before the foundation of the world - in “the Lamb slain”, in His choice of Israel and Gideon’s company, in the cross of Christ. It is the wisdom and the power of God for each individual follower of Christ. And now, it is the very calling of the Church – namely, to make known (demonstrate) this wisdom to “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”. The Lord revealed to Paul that He DWELLS in our weakness. And, since the Church is the DWELLING PLACE of God, the Church is supposed to be “weak” – in contrast to the “the rulers, the powers, the world forces of this darkness, the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. The pre-requisite to be numbered among “this people being formed by the Lord” is “MEEKNESS”.”.
Who is this King of Glory? (22 Pages)
The title of this message is a question found in Psalm 24: “Who is this King of Glory?” In Matthew’s gospel we find Jesus asking a question of His disciples: “Who do people say that I am?” And a little later in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus is coming into the city of Jerusalem and the crowds of people are asking: “Who is this?”
In these passages, the people called Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, “the Son of Man”, “the Son of David”, and “the Prophet”. These are all names referring to the promised Messiah. Yet, five days after His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, most of these very same people cried out: “Crucify Him. We have no king but Caesar; crucify Him.”
What has happened here? What has gone wrong? These people thought they understood Jesus, but they misunderstood Him – or, they didn’t want to understand Him. The psalmist’s question is: “Who is this King of Glory?” We must ask ourselves: “Do we have the right answer?
Wrestling For The Blessing (58 Pages)
I believe and hope to convince you that the Scriptures reveal God’s desire to offer each individual in Christ a unique expression of their personal identity. This was clearly initiated in the Garden, lost through the Fall, restored collectively to the people of God in the Old Covenant, but restored on an individual basis for each person in Christ. I also hope to communicate that the personal application of this redemption – that is, the “working out your OWN salvation in fear and trembling”, is contingent upon the individual “personalizing” the promised blessing. I will speak of that personalization process in terms of “wrestling with God”. We will look specifically at the Biblical prototype of Jacob “wrestling for the blessing”.
You Must Be Born Again (18 Pages)
Today there are many Christians who do not understand what it means to be Born Again. There are denominations that avoid, and even ridicule, this spiritual reality, because some people have abused it. As someone has said: “The answer to abuse is not disuse.” It may be difficult to understand. It may be misunderstood. It may be abused. But, we can’t avoid it – it’s a necessity. Why do I say that? Because Jesus did. He said: “You must be born again.” There is no sense of option or preference in His statement. He said “Unless you are born again, you cannot see or enter the kingdom of God.” It’s an absolute necessity. We cannot be Biblical Christians without experiencing this spiritual reality. Jesus’ teaching on being Born Again is like Jesus Himself: Both the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Peter refer to Him as – “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” We may stumble over Jesus and His concepts - we may be offended by Jesus and His teaching, but we cannot avoid this stone – we cannot just maneuver around this rock – we have to do business with it – we have to deal with it – we must experience the spiritual reality of being Born of the Spirit, if we want to be Biblical Christians. The apostle Paul said that “if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ”. (Romans 8:9) And being born of the Spirit has all to do with having the Spirit of Christ.