I would like to confess the following, in no particular order…
1. I miss Missouri and the worship we enjoyed there, with letting our kids dance and with us being able to wave flags and dance during worship.
2.  I am a little nervous about my application to Yale, but I am very happy that I chose to apply.
3.  I have been praying for many of my students at Dayspring Xian School.  That the Lord would raise them up.  Luke; Cassie; Hannah; Zach; Batman and Robin; Christina, Rebecca, and Kim; Jessy; Chala; Renee; Jamie; Karen; Destiny; Caleb; Josh and Carmel; Robbie; Benyamani; Twinkles; and others.  You guys have been foremost on my heart and in my prayers, and I wish for the Lord to release each of you into the fullness of your destinies.  To a certain extent, I claim responsibility for each of your callings, and I take a vested interest in where He is taking you.  
4. I really have been enjoying the teaching of Mike Bickle and the worship of Misty Edwards since coming north and east.  New England has been a good place for me to pray and intercede a ton.
5. Especially since my season of spiritual abuse ended nearly half a decade ago, I have really seen the need for the church to have vibrant leaders who protect her flocks.  God has grown my heart for discipleship by exponents.  
6. Despite the accusations of Latter Rain connections, Mike Bickle, Todd Ganovski, and Misty Edwards have been used of the Lord to minister many copious amounts of encouragement.
7. Kresha, Isaac, and Emmaus.  The three of you have been God’s instruments of further and most important solace in this hard, cold, barren place.  This is by far the most difficult season we have encountered, and true to the old adage, “the grass is never greener.”  That is, except when the Lord moves and calls.  I pray He uses me to communicate the same breadth and depth of sanity to your lives, that He has used you to communicate to me.  I listed you guys with #7 as you are the symbol of completion in the one aspect of my life by which God has helped to move in other areas of my life.  You are my Christ-bearance, laughter, and hot springs. 
7b. David and Wendy Falls: Words do not begin to communicate, oh quiet ministers of grace in Ohio, what God has used y’all and Kresha to speak to me.  Stay strong, and faithful.  He has a task for you.  Complete it.  Thank you three for encouraging me along with countless others, to apply to Yale, and long with my family, despite the concerns of others that going to such a liberal school would destroy my faith.  Thank you, David and Wendy, for WALKING with us, with my family through heartache, joy, solitude, and congregation.  You guys are at the top of my list for ministerial associations.  Though you may get blasted by others in the ministry, and because you, as well as my wife, defended, protected, and did not try to rewire me to function a certain way in the kingdom, since you three  know how I was wired (strange though it seems to many) in the manner of a seer and teacher.  May I learn the sacrifice required to flow where God has called me to flow.
8. Dr. Railey’s definition of the attribute of God’s love as “that quality of God by which He is eternally moved to self-communication” has helped remind me that He really does still speak to us, use us, and move through, in, and for us at all times. 
9. To the Lord, you have given me life and light.  May I do Your word and handling of Your word justice, as I seek to dissert the texts you will give me.  I appreciate the chance at having the opportunity to delve into your words, and help others to delve therein.  Help your servant to suck out the marrow and teach others to do the same.  
My many thanks to the many members of the household of faith who have been used to flesh out Christ’s unfailing love to me.  

Text of Letter from AG Holder on the DOMA

WASHINGTON – The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman:
In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court.   Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment.   While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard.  
Section 3 of DOMA has now been challenged in the Second Circuit, however, which has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated.  In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply.
After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.   The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional.   Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.   I fully concur with the President’s determination.
Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit.   We will, however, remain parties to the cases and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation.   I have informed Members of Congress of this decision, so Members who wish to defend the statute may pursue that option.   The Department will also work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation.  
Furthermore, pursuant to the President ’ s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President’s and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3. 
The Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense.   At the same time, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because – as here – the Department does not consider every such argument to be a “reasonable” one.   Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute in cases, like this one, where the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional.  
Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA.   The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional.  Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.   Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional.   Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law.   But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

DOMA, Executive Branch Responsibilities, and Executive Inactivism

The post of the day goes to Dave Heughins.  Concerning the President’s take on Dum-er, DOMA.  Heh. Post from what he sent me

The week I decided to talk about Biblical marriage is the week the President decided to abandon it.  So he can pick and choose which laws he upholds?  Does the policeman or the judge get to choose which laws they enforce?  Maybe that red light is in the wrong place?
None of us are surprised, I think.  With defense such as Holder was giving for Doma, who needs plaintiffs?  The government that’s in my face about buying health insurance and energy saving light bulbs has no logical interest in where babies come from or who raises them?  As in future voters, tax payers, citizens – or not?  They don’t know where a healthy society comes from either – and I don’t mean bottled water!  I should say Obama’s conscience should be conflicted.  When you know what is right and do what is wrong – to be popular with the in-crowd – what does that make you? 

The Executive Branch’s responsibility, according to a basic understanding of the definition of the term “executive” is to execute (enforce) the law.  

Teddy Roosevelt could have chosen to ignore blue laws in NY State when Governor, or the cops could ignore traffic laws, or other executives could choose to ignore their Constitutions’ several clauses, to the detriment of two things 1) respect for their various constitutions 2) respect for the execution of their offices, which are empowered by those constitutions.  But they did not.  They executed and execute laws which were or are on the books and unpopular with criminals (speeding laws, blue laws, murder laws, theft laws, pornography laws), despite their personal feelings or “professional assessments,” because those are the laws of the land.  For us to set the precedent that a law does not need to be executed is to shirk office.

Also, in plain, unbastardized English, and without need for some “living, breathing” exegesis or interpretation (as only the Word of God is living and breathing), Article 2, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  It does not say that the President shall “take care to determine the constitutionality of the Laws,” or “take care to interpret and apply the Laws.” Interpretation of the constitutionality of a given law rests with the Judicial Branch, who judges the law against other laws and against the Constitution.  

Creation Debates. Round three…FIGHT!

You know, it’s quite odd. 

I have heard a lot of debates in the last six or so months concerning the interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.  And, while they are all fascinating, in the end, I will be honest.  I really don’t care.  

I thought Kent Hovind had a pretty decent line of thinking, despite his tax problems and imprisonment, given one of my minister friends recommended him to me, and then I read about conspiracy theories supported by him.  And brother Watts makes a good comment about just reading the text for its own merits.

I would have said the young earth views put forth by Bob Jones University and Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, and as taught in our last school’s life science class.  I thought Dake had a decent explanation of the gap theory.  But there were other arguments against that.

Then there are the old earth people and evolutionists…

Does the dubious reputation of people like Hovind, Dake, and others really matter when hermenuting this passage?  I mean, many of us were always taught to “eat the meat and spit out the bones” because so many ministers out there are full of bones.  But perhaps the reputation and integrity of a minister does matter, even when speaking for God about His text.  

The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable, but can one walk in the fullness of all God has for that individual when s/he chooses to walk in a lifestyle contrary to that expounded in Scripture, “a life of holiness without which no one will see God?”  Will the Lord of glory deign to permit our interpretations of Scripture to stand if sin colors our life?  It is quite doubtful, because there is a larger issue in play than just one’s theology.  Morality is connected to theology, because morality is what one practices, and morality/practice preaches more loudly than words.  

But if we found a person or persons of character and integrity whom held to a young-earth view, could we yet trust that individual’s views as being biblically sound?


I forgot who it was that said, “God has made the Bible so simple that a child can understand it and at the same time so deep a theologian can drown in it.”  Perhaps if our interpretation is so complex that a child cannot understand it, then our interpretation needs revising.  I also like the following two concepts with respect to hermenutics (hermenutics means “interpreting and understanding what the Bible says”)

1) Try to read the Bible for all its worth.
2) Try to get the plain sense of what is being said.

It seems there are a couple of definite places where it seems Jeremiah invokes creationary motifs, such as 4:23-26, and 31:35-37.


Stepping into the Light

I have no illusions about one of my liberal friends.  He is a believer who happens to be on the left politically.  Yes, fellow Xians on the right who dittohead and think Mormons do a good job commenting on the political scene, there are lefties who are believers.   Tonight, I was told that I was too good to be a conservative, and to step into the light.

I thought about this, because I have had friends take political philosophies and superimpose them on the Scriptures.

And that got me to reply with the following, about which I felt good enough that I thought it worth reposting here.

We can get into all sorts of back and forth over presidential reputations. It’s the political philosophy of liberalism, abortion rights, gay marriage, gun control, public union collective bargaining, Kennedy-Clinton philandering, cure of all social ills and do it better than the church, thrill up my leg, New Deal/Great Society/Planned Parenthood/Car Company/Banks too big to fail mentality, IRS taxation, preserve the Union mentality invasion of states’ rights that started with Lincoln and manifested in liberal political philosophy such as the following

that make my stomach turn.

And ___ is right you know.

And with my work within the church, and my incapacity to make a case for one political philosophy against another, or find arguments for either-or infallibly in Scripture, instead of just letting Scripture be Scripture, and letting it weigh the hearts of men wherever they be found.

And how people on both sides of the aisle want to tell us that Scripture means one thing or another and thus supports their philosophy, that irks me. They treat Jesus like the whore of their political party.

:Jesus was a conservative”-he’d prevent murders of the innocent, and tell you to be a good steward of your finances, even if you did not care for the poor in their various needs

“Jesus was a socialist”-he’d care for all the poor, and spread the wealth, even if it meant you were a crappy steward, and make sure the poor were provided for.

Romans 13 is, of course, true. But we lean to heavily on that for our caring for the poor, and don’t get ourselves jobs (as guilty as I am of this, I have never taken one single handout from the government) to care for the poor as individuals in the body of the church, the only redemptive organization, besides families of believers, and we wonder where the judgment will start. Hint: it’s not with the governments.

And when a government is more broke than many of its citizens…

I have no illusions about the commentators on both sides. I know the major flaws of those on the right, as well as the candidates, but judging from their actions, they all, adulterers and witches (Clinton and Reagan, et al.,) malicious vitriolic hatemongers on the right (Limbaugh with his arrogance, Beck with his LDS, ) and patronizing tweedjackets on the left (Matthews-thrill up my leg, Beck is a hatemonger) and the verbal attacks leveled on women on the right, which I don’t think Jesus would engage. I think He is so far removed from the political discourse honestly with its two-facedness, that I have very little to say, except when it comes to issues.

Even if you disagree with Palin and Bachmann’s rhetoric…what would Jesus have the left say? Do our comments reflect the Father’s heart?

Seriously folks, the truth about political rhetoric is, we cannot assert Jesus would side with left or right wholly, and everything that came out of every talking head’s mouth.  But here is the real question that demands asking as we “step into the Light.”

It’s all about the Light of Christ, as non-fun as that is.

What would He have us say to the left and the right?  What would he have us say to our own political party as well as the opposition?  Sometimes I think God is using Glenn Beck, even if he is LDS.  Others are welcome to disagree, and I can handle that.  Sometimes I think Glenn is just talking out of his butt.  But the bottom line is, it does not matter what Beck and others on the right say, and what Matthews and others on the Left say.  What really matters is what Jesus is saying to us?  And are our thoughts and words aligning with the heart of God the Father, the Father of Lights, before whom we will all stand and give an account for “every thoughtless word.”  I cannot worry about Beck and Limbaugh and Matthews.  Right now, I can only worry about David McNelley, and whether or not his actions and words reflect the Light of the World.  

Are you ready to step into the light.

If we are in the light as He is in the light.  We have true fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sins.

1 John 1:7.

For my Fellow Ministers…

As a general rule, I can’t stand weddings.  With exceptions to people with whom I am already friends who are single, meaning, I would in a heartbeat perform a wedding for you if you were my friend with the proper provisions, I do not like weddings, at all.  Usually ruled by people who think it’s a woman’s day, wedding planners, etc. who know nothing of the humility of the divine Bridegroom who is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle, and manifest all manner of pride, and cannot handle it being about the union between Christ and His Church, weddings are frequently tragic.  Compounded by the current debate over gay marriage, they are made even less fun for those of us whom defend traditional marriage.

Having said all that, I approve of Bob Caldwell’s below sentiments.

Here here.  

My “solution” to gay marriage in church is this: Let the government decide who can be legally married and then churches should get out of the wedding business. Not marriage, but weddings. Way too much money is spent on them anyway and churches always have some level of struggle when people whose status as a believer engenders some doubt wants to get married in the church.

If we got out of the business, then you tell people in the church to go down to the courthouse and get married. Then on a Sunday morning, either during the service or just afterward, the pastor conducts a short simple service that asks the blessing of God to be present in this new marriage. If the couple wants a reception, they can do that anywhere, anytime.

It’s way too radical an idea to ever catch on, but when the day comes that the government requires churches to perform gay marriages if they also do heterosexual ones, then I will dust off the proposal.

The Eternality of the Lord-Powerful, Possible, Able

I just got done with a conversation with a pastor friend from Kentucky that got me thinking of the Word of God, Jesus.  A bit of what follows I credit to our conversation, and his musings on the Logos, which got me thinking.  So, credit for this post belongs to Darryl Fitzwater of Ashland Independent Pentecostal Church of Christ. 

On the concept of the Theotokos, that Mary was the God-bearer, I take a very simple approach to this.  Mary did give birth to what is the second person of the Trinity.  She did bear God in flesh.  However, Jesus was already divine eternally before His birth.  He just took on human flesh, in order that He might dwell with and among us.  The Israelite faith had a structure that described this reality well.  The Tabernacle. The prophetic foreshadowing of Christ’s work.  The place where God’s presence dwelt among God’s people.

It is not heresy to say God died on that cross.  Jesus, being God, died on the cross.  Jesus, fully man, died on the cross.  The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily, and in His form, the fullest expression of the Trinity found it’s manifestation. 

And He died.

And He raised from the dead.  He laid down His life of His own free will and then He took it back up.  He did not suffer like a punching bag or whipping post in hell for us.  Rather, by His word, by the Sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth, He pronounced the powers incapable of stinging through death.  He ripped the keys out of Satan’s hands, and pronounced the coming judgement.  This is part of what was behind the statement, “It is finished.”  This is one of the sources of our authority.  The mere fact that He is, roots our authority.  Not only is He, but He is also able.  He is powerful.  With Him, by death and resurrection all is possible. There is a term for this in Greek.  Dunatos.

The life Jesus provides by His atoning death and resurrection in one full of power, abilities, and possibilities.  Dunatos.  Powerful. Possible. Able.

How are you appropriating that power, that possibility, and that ability that flows from Christ?

The Need for Apostolic Christianity-From the Desk of Rev. Darryl Fitzwater

Speaking of the possibility that the apostolic office can be restored. This Christian agrees with the sentiment wholeheartedly.  Let that office be restored and let us flow in that office as the Scriptures plainly illustrate, through the lives of the apostles…let us return to being an apostolic faith (2 Cor. 12:12).

Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church said in his address to the Methodist Church:

            “I am bold to say that the apostolic order of things was lost in the first century, when Church governments were adulterated and had much corruption attached to them. At the Reformation the reformers only beat off a part of the rubbish which put a stop to the rapid increase of absurdities at that time; but how they have increased since! Recollect the state of the different Churches, as it respects government and discipline in the seventeenth century when the Lord raised up that great and good man, John Wesley, who formed an evangelical society in England. In 1784, an apostolical form of Church government was formed in the United States of America at the first General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church held in Baltimore, in the State of Maryland.”[i]

[i] Ref. L.C. Rudolph’s book on Francis Asbury, Francis Asbury. 

thoughts on fasting…

While reading the letter on fasting that correlated with my reading of Judges today, the thought occurred to me that in many places, the church walks similarly to the nation of Israel, where “there is no king and every one did what was right in their own eyes. Even the leaders, the Judges, with the exception of Deborah, did largely what they saw fit.  

We have lost, by and large, the working of healing and the miraculous.  And, like the letter posted days ago, we accept that this is the norm existence for our lives as children of God, who Himself said that we “would do greater things that these.”

Not in merely demonstrating what is currently in operating, such as delivering a prophecy, or speaking in tongues, but consistently laying hands on the sick and seeing them consistently healed.  The church of this day does not seem to want for teachers, pastors, and evangelists, but it lacks seriously in those who are willing to make the sacrifices to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and consecrate themselves for the full work to which Christ has called us.  I say all this as a teacher.  

Such a willingness to accept a miracle-free, healing-free, supernatural-free existence as the best God has for His children, who should be walking in realms that bring the Jews to envy (Romans 11) is not just disturbing.  It is downright alarming.

Moreover, I believe there is a correlation, starting with me, between our lack of the supernatural and our lack of persistence and willingness to settle for less than God does have for us. 

Repentance has been grabbing me greatly, and it does as I write this.  Repentance from lack of persistence, lack of faith, idolatry (in my case, of food, Facebook, and intellectualism), and lack of intimacy with God.  

First a qualification on something I just said.  To stop our pursuit of intellectualism, fellow and aspiring doctors of the church, does not mean we stop thinking deeply about the Scriptures and deeply about the things of God, and stop interacting with fellow experts in our given fields.  Rather, it means we stop pursuing and using our ABILITY to do deep thinking as a badge of honor or respectability; a barrier of protection; or bulwark behind which we may hide and then launch our arrows of criticism at those who fail to do the same, whether because they lack gifting or the ability to do so. In other words, it’s not gifted intellect that is the issue. Rather it is the EFFICACIOUS WORTH we assign to that intellect, and the way, manner, and attitude in which we wield that intellect.  When we fail to wield that intellect with humility and in an irenic matter, as Bruce Metzger did, and as Gordon Fee does, to cite two examples of humility in world-class scholarship, we become easy tools for the enemy to hang whole sectors of the church out to dry: sectors which God may very well be using to accomplish his purpose. 

Put another way, swords can be very useful in battle, but they can also damage the owner, if improperly handled.  I have seen in the last several months, examples of denunciation of false prophets turn into downright mean, hypercritical, and vindictive railings.  The denunciation of false prophets is one thing, but it is not central to our ministry.  Acts 2:42-46, Matthew 28:18-20, and Mark 16:14-20 ARE central to our mission, however. And I see far more denunciation of false prophets occurring in the church than I see people working to be used to heal the sick. 

Elucidation on the things of which we in the church need to repent
1. God wants a children who will persist and contend for His kingdom against the spiritual wickedness of the kingdom of the Evil One. 

2. In order for God to show the fullness of His goodness and greatness, which includes his ability, desire, and will to heal at all times, He must have a people who exercise faith, and believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently–persistently–seek Him.  In the last several months I have struggled with believing Him, and if you count my experiences with being spiritual abuse, that would also include believing He wanted me to be completely healed of my own abuse at the hands of ministers.  I know He wants to heal me, and I believe He wants to do that right now.  But there must be a diligence in seeking His face. 

Another qualification here.  Accusing the sick person of a lack of faith, gets the minister nowhere.  The faith that is necessary for healing can have any source.  God will u
se faith of anyone to accomplish the healing, whether it is the person receiving prayer, the person administering prayer, or the people agreeing in prayer for the healing. A lack of faith in one person does not typically hinder God’s choice to heal, but a pervasive lack of faith, or rather, unbelief,  in all persons involved in the prayer can negatively impact what God does in that situation.

3. Dealing with idolatry is a big one.  Forgive me for the following stream of consiousness. In my case, social networking, food, anger, lust, and pride in my own intellect, have been gods to one extent or another.  Not necessarily in that order.  Idolatry is so central to this cause because it does two things.  One, it robs us of intimacy with God, of deepening our relationship with God.  Two, in robbing us of our intimacy with God, it brings us to a place where we develop a deepening and deeper relationship with things we use as substitutes for the vital relationship.  Those things become our God.  We forget what is meant by the concept that “man does not live by bread along, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.”  He wants us to know what it means to treat His word with the same value that we treat the next breath we take, specifically those breaths we take that could be our last. 

4. Dealing with idolatry of things, or as Dave Ramsey says, “stuffitis”, is a primary roadblock to our intimacy.  Closeness to God means distance from the world.  It also means our perspective of the things of the world with which we interact (food, money, sexual intimacy, our intellect, etc) changes drastically, and we begin to see them as tools.  The more deeply we go in our relationship with God, the less the things of this world have a hold on us, and as a result, the greater the Lord can pour out His blessings onto us.  We can indeed handle greater worldly and spiritual wealth because they are not our priorities.  We don’t need a government to nanny our individual lives. More on this later. 

“I have noticed that we experience God’s power in the areas that we have relationship with Him. If we know Him as healer and relate to Him as our healer, we will tend to see Him heal. If we know Him as a warrior, our enemy goes from being a serious threat to just being occasionally annoying. We do not know how to partner with Him in walking in power in many areas. We also do not know how to partner with Him to get answers to prayer in many areas. I believe this is really not a result of a lack of techniques, but rather it is a result of not knowing Him.

We need to admit that we can’t get ourselves to know Him in this way. We have a problem and we have no ability to fix it. We also have been content to stay where we are for a rather long time which puts us in a very deep rut. 

We need God to break us out of this rut. “