Names of G-d: #50- The L-RD Who Partners With Us

Okay, so, many of y’all think, “G-d made a covenant and how He has to hold his nose around me and tolerate me, wicked, bastard, poor, old, miserable, sinner-barely-saved-by-grace that I am.”
Um, no.
Not just no.  Hell no.
Not even close, friend.
Nowhere near reality.
That is a supreme walking in denial of your identity, follower of Yeshua.
Read Exodus 34:10:

And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.”

HELLO!
This is one of G-d’s names right here.  Let me spell it out, and do not be stooopid.
He is the G-d who does awesome things WITH us.
In other words, He is the G-d who Partners with us.
He identifies Himself in relationship to his covenant with us.  There are, by my count in this verse, three names of G-d.  I am focusing on ONE.
The L-rd Who WILL Do Awesome Things With You.
In other words, The L-rd Who Will Partner With You.
Why?
Not because He has to, gang…
He has a free will and a free choice in the matter.
What is the will of G-d, some of y’all ask?
“He is so holy that He cannot look on sin! WHAAAAA {make crying and whining expression}!”
Blah blah blah
Look. Is He not capable of solving the problem of our sin well enough that He can tolerate to be in our presence.
Yeah.
Which means, when we are forgiven, what happens to our sin?
“As far as the east is fromthe west, so far does He remove our transgressions.”
Get over the inabilty of G-d to handle your sinful estate. You no longer make your residence in sin. Rather, son of The King, Bride of Christ, your home is with Him.  Therefore, you are a new creation.
Hmmmm…quit your whining and enjoy the fact that G-d chooses to identify Himself by His DESIRE TO PARTNER WITH YOU.
The only question you have to answer is, “will you partner with Him?”
He is not impressed with your sin.  He took care of it.
Quit being so impressed with your ability to be separated from Him by your sin.
Um, it is His choice, and He is choosing to partner with you and He already forgave you, you repented (unless you didn’t, in which case you should repent), and He came into your heart.
He does not partner with us because He has to tolerate us.
He partners with us first, because He wants to, and second, because we are part of His mission to those who do not know Him.

Church Government

Yesternight, I posted some thoughts on church government live on Facebook.
Here is the written equivalent of those thoughts.
I have seen a whole lot of models of ecclesiology (church government) that each have been held up as the paragon of G-d’s will for how the church should be governed, led, etc.
My mother currently (as an Arminian and a Wesleyan) serves on the pastoral nominating committee of a local Presbyterian congregation in Florida.
I have served as a Deacon in an Assemblies of G-d congregation in Missouri.
I have seen Deacon Boards, Elder Boards, Fivefold Ministry Boards (and mind you, we change the name because we think it is more biblical and yet elect the same people to lead the church).
I have seen Episcopalian forms (deacons, priests, bishops) of governance.
Congregational rule.
Et cetera.
And I have seen people push a hard line for one form or another, vocalizing effusively that their church’s form, or this form, or that form is the most legitimate form of government, and others need not apply.
I am also aware that there are people that have “prophesied” of the need to move past denominations.
And honestly, I think G-d is more concerned that we are in Him rather than we model a correct style of government and delegitimize all others.
And oftentimes, if the Episcopalian style of government transforms to the Fivefold style of government, and the Bishop graduates to Prophet, and then to Apostle, then all you have done is changed the lipstick and still have the same pig.
Gang, there is a better way. There has to be a better way.
So, some of my thoughts.

  1. “Apostolic oversight” is the greatest malfeseance to ever be foisted on churh government. An apostle establishes the church, or churches. They plant and give life to. The do not oversee politically. If you want to see new life come, you turn loose an apostle.
  2. Bishops, also called overseers, are the ones who oversee.
  3. The form of church government (many of these forms have marshalled scriptural support) to me does not matter a whole lot for practical purposes. So long as things are done decently and in order, we are good.
  4. If you have a man or woman at the top (yes I am a fan of women leading churches and overseeing, provided they are G-d’s woman), but they are incapable of learning and listening together with those flocks they serve, and the community is incapable of hearing the voice of G-d together, then you have a bigger problem than whether or not you have the right form of governance.
  5. One word: HUMILITY.
  6. See number 5.
  7. See number 5.
  8. After you have read number 5, go and do a word study on number 5 and gather all the chain references on number 5, and do not stop marinating in number 5 until you have significant revelation on number 5 and until you are incarnating the wisdom of number 5. Even after you are incarnating the wisdom of number 5, keep at number 5.
  9. The Greek word for “deacon” in 1 Timothy 3 is Διακόνους. This word is also used in Romans 12:6-8. In Romans 12, it is translated as “servant”.
  10. Servants are those who walk best in the Principle of Authority, because when they are reasonably healthy, there is no guile and G-d easily backs them in unusual ways in this realm.
  11. I would contend that whatever form of government you go with, having a goodly number of those with the Redemptive Gift of Servant in leadership is a wise move. If you minister to those people with this Gift, and they walk in a healthy manifestation of their design, and you give them liberty and lattitude to speak, they will tell you the way things are and should be, and they will not try to finesse you. The trick is in helping them to recognize that you value the counsel of a straight-shooter. They will advocate for purity in many things, and they really do an excellent job of synching with leadership. One key, however, in establishing them is in making sure they are not victimized. They need to be kept from abuse.
  12. I think there is a practical reason why Paul used the same word in both places. I think having the mentality of an RG Servant helps a group, institution, network, or family to flourish. That mentality of no guile, shooting straight, and working hard for your tribe really does reap a positive harvest. Leadership is not about how much you can dominate, but rather how closely to Yeshua can you emulate. He did not come to be served, but to serve. Leaders that do not know how to serve, and walk in grace and humility have an issue.
  13. Personally, I would put healthy Servants in charge of most of the major departments of whatever organization I was leading.
  14. One other reason it is good for Servants to lead is that they are most effective of all the Redemptive Gifts at building platforms underneath others for their success. They look for and see the best in people and can really highlight those qualities for others to see.
  15. Top-down forms of government go haywire if there is not a mechanism for accountability.
  16. Congregational forms of government go haywire if there is not strong discernment in the majority of the congregants.
  17. Gang, take care of those who lead you, hold them accountable, and take care of each other and hold each other accountable.
  18. Leaders, be humble enough to let some people hold you accountable.
  19. Lastly, all y’all go be dangerous.

Well, those are some thoughts here. What do y’all think? Something that should be added? Taken away? Modified?

Transience…

The last couple of days have been marked by signs of transition.
One of my friends left for Black Rock City for Burning Man.
Another is moving out to South Carolina after decades in California.
And yesterday, Senator McCain, a many my grandmother supported 18 years ago, passed away, leaving a definite legacy.
And yet, people, even on the eve of his passing cannot engage in civil discourse.
To that I leave the following comment

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

2 Peter 2:10 NKJV

Many of these posts on Preisdent Trump, President Obama, and Senator McCain carry some sort of spiritual defilement, probably because the authors have forgotten the true enemy.

“If your enemy has a driver’s license and a Social Security number you have the wrong enemy.”
-Ed Silvoso-
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood. But rather [we wrestle] against the rulers, against the authorites, against the cosmic rulers of this darkness, and against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.” (Ephesians 6:12 My own translation).

We are in a season of transition, marked by transition.
SLG stopped shipping on yesterday, my brother’s birthday, and restarts shipping on September 5th, my son’s birthday.  The first set of blessings of the new business, the LLC in South Carolina, was delivered on my best friend’s anniversary, as well as the anniversary of the establishment of the first European settlement on US soil: Fort Caroline.
I am concerned that we as a people do not know how to walk well through transitions.  And while I disagree with the prophecies that Trump was this or that, I do say, he was still elected to serve us.  And we should be praying for him.
We should be praying for those transitions to be what G-d wants them to be.
I despise either a posture of gushing and kowtowing or lambasting.
I hazard to say that part of the reason we still deal with devourings with our own seasons, is in part because we with our authority curse the transitions of others.
I have personally come to despise, for example, the 18 months preceeding an election.  Because you know what is going to happen in this land we call the United States.  The same tired prophecies and antiprophecies are going to come out vaunting or lambasting this or that person.
We as Americans love a good bloody slugfest that marks transitions.
And for whatever reason, we have yet to learn that these bloodbaths and cursings do not establish our position, but rather, envulnerate our position.
We have shown repeatedly that we prefer the gruesome bloodbath of Fort Matanzas instead of the gracious peace of Fort Caroline.
3-fort-caroline-1564-granger
 

Healing Testimony From Alan Champkins

Alan is a firecracker of a man of G-d from South Africa, and a gemstone of a follower.
Below is a testimony of healing from him.

Here’s one from 2011 when I ministered to a guy who openly spoke about the dragon tattoo on his leg and how it gave him supernatural demonic power when he did cage fighting:
“power meets Power today!”
I spent some time over the last 3 days chatting to someone who is a ‘cage fighter’.
He is very involved in martial arts (and openly talks about using spiritual powers to be more effective!), and has been mixed up in gangs, drugs and a whole lot of other stuff. On top of that he has been rejected by a number of churches because of who he is/what he does.
He believed God would never accept him because of the terrible things he had done. I spent some time talking about how God sees him and what He thinks of him plus spoke a lot on the need to forgive and be forgiven but had no significant breakthrough until….
I asked him if he had anything wrong in his body? Cracked ribs requiring surgery, left knee with ligaments damaged and his right little finger knuckle seized – all from fighting. I told him to put his hands out and I am going to convince him that God is real! 30 seconds later he jumped right back and could not stop shaking. All he could say was what did you do to me!!! He felt his ribs rejoin, his knee go back into place and his knuckle get hot!
All I said was you said God could never love or forgive you yet He has just completely healed you. How do you figure that out?
It did not take long from there for him to accept Christ as his saviour.
All he had been doing was seeking ‘power’ when he needed to know he was loved. God’s true power smashed every other conceived/false power in that man today. Praise God”

Redefining Faithfulness To Include Pain: G-d May Actually Let You Down

Today at worship, we listened to a lyric that went as follows.
“You’re never gonna let me down….”
As someone who used to believe that line, I vehemently disagree.
We take faithfulness as a promise that G-d is going to bring us a life with no testing, no trial, no pain, we are going to be saved from the wrath that will come on the earth, etc. and…
We have defined G-d’s faithfulness in a very limited scope, that does not include us experiencing pain, and instead includes us only experiencing a life of “abundance” according to our definition of abundance.
Wrong.
G-d gives you abundance the way He views abundance, AND IN THE SEQUENCE THAT HE WANTS TO DISPENSE THAT ABUNDANCE.  And there might be prosperity and provision in many points.
But it’s not merely material provision.
And news flash: given you are moving form glory to glory and from faith to faith, there are going to be times when G-d lets you down in something.
There are times when your dad should not have done that thing he should have done to you.
There are times when people are suffoccated and their spirits are shattered or their souls are divided.
Now, does G-d have your best interests in mind and at heart?
Absolutely!
And does He himself act with respect to those interests, and does He place his actions in the context of your interests?
Yes.
But are there going to be times when you thought He should come through in a certain way and He did not?
Yes.
We still have the truth of free will. And it is used for greatness and for nastiness.
True, His grace intervenes ahead of time.  We call that “prevenient grace”, and that truth was delineated in the canons of the Second Council of Orange in 529, and valued by those of us who trace spiritual heritage through the Wesleyan branches of our like precious faith.
But He may not violate the free will of humanity on their way to assaulting us.
We have taken this idea of G-d never letting us down, and inserted it into the doctrine (teaching) of G-d’s faithfulness, and the results of that assetion that G-d will never let us down have been disastrous for the church and for those who would be part of the church.
So, we have required that, in order for G-d to be considered as faithful, nothing bad can happen to us.
It is not right to take G-d’s faithfulness and make our safety and, by extension, a violation of the free will of man, a qualifier of whether or not we see G-d as faithful.
There are times when He lets us down.
There are also times when we feel G-d lets us down, and we have left G-d on the hook with this expectation of “never letting us down” and it has bred offense in many of us when He fails to meet an expectation we had of Him.
G-d’s faithfulness does not mean He will never let us down.  What it does mean is that he will father and shepherd us through all things.  That includes pain, strain, testing, trial, and other nasty things that are inflicted upon us when people engage in jackassery through the use of their free will to engage in destructive behaviors.
We need to know and understand and approach His faithfulness in the context of painful circumstances, and in the context of our right response to that pain.
Painful circumstances do not contradict the faithfulness of G-d; rather painful circumstances are an element of that faithfulness.
We need to reject the idea that G-d will “never let us down” when it comes to our circumstances, and by implication make our circumstances painless.  He will do things that we do not understand.  He will allow pain to come our way as a deep method of moving along His purposes for our lives, that we might possess the specific birthright that He had for us all along.
Related to those painful circumstances that happen from day to day, and from week to week, the grace from one day that sustains us in dificulties will not often match the grace available in the next day.
We have to learn how to become experts at hunting out the grace of G-d, and tasting the flavor of that grace from day to day.
In short, we need to redefine faithfulness away from whether or not our comforts are met and our emotional needs are met or even the expectations we have of G-d that He did not promise to meet.
And on the other hand, we need to redefine faithfulness more in alignment with what He actually has promised us.
He will not leave us.
He will shepherd us.
He will raise us in His nurture and admontion, His discipline and correction.
He is faithful to raise us up, but it may not be in a fully safe, fluffy, pink-padded room.
But there will be times when He will let us down in terms of our unreasonable expectations.
It is in His interest to break our unreasonable expectations.
For example, this unreasonable appropriation of the Prayer of Jabez that hit the church 20 years ago.  Some people need to learn how to respond to pain.  There is a right response to pain.  There is a wrong response to pain.  There is also a Principle of Compensation.  For more details on this, see CD 7 in the SLG Series, Seven Curses and Blessings by Arthur Burk.  It’s called the Ammonite Curse.  The link is below.
https://theslg.com/content/124-the-seven-curses-and-blessings
It is further in His interest to move us into a place where we embrace the right frame, a frame that embraces the principles He has for us.
This positive-confession denial of reality is a violation of the fourth principle, and if you walk in denial, then you will have a hard time embracing the threefold Fourth Principle.
It is the Principle of Reality….
Sowing and Reaping…
Pain and Suffering…
Your offense will grow if you believe He will “never let you down”.  Your frame for what “never let you down” has got to adjust.
A firm wake-up call, and credit for much of this goes to my bride.
This is bitter medicine, bur real medicine, and it will protect us from the seasons of pain and heartache that must come, for they are growing pains.
So, my question to you is, “do you have the right frame for faithfulness?”.
And secondly, what are some ways in which you thought the L-rd would protect you, and He did not, and as a result, you allowed a bitter root to grow.
It is time to come out from the spirit of Wormwod:  that spirit that is making your waters bitter, tribe.
He really loves us, but He will send us into the midst of a real battlefield with real consequences.  This is ultimately an expression of the weightiness of the full measure of His love for us.  He sends us into difficult circumstances in order to prepare us to lead both ourselves and others.
We must be ready for that.
We must build a frame sufficiently great for the fullness of G-d’s faithfulness in order to include, as an element of that faithfulness, a right response to pain that WILL come into our life.  His assignment of pain prepares us for being strong enough and dangerous enough to effectively impact others through the authority that we will earn through that pain.  This is an aspect of earned authority, and is a reason earned authority is so important to the expression of both His bride and His son, us.
Just because pain happens in our lives does not mean that pain was not first approved by G-d.  Some pain is approved by G-d.  Further, some pain that touches us is not approved by G-d.  But G-d does not always get what He wants.  We do still have free will.  And as a result of that, when we experience pain that was not G-d’s will, we come away with the “why” questions of G-d and therefore have this view or perception that He has let us down.
Are we ready for this increase of our perception of our faithfulness?
Are we ready to move from the immature view of G-d not letting us down, to a place of being able to respond well to pain from G-d?
Pain from G-d is an element of the faithfulness of G-d.

My Pessimism Towards Revival's Current Or Prevailing Model and A Couple of Other Issues…

Does anyone recall what happened to Brownsville Assembly of G-d following the revival?
Does anyone recall what happened to Lakeland following Todd Bentley’s departure?
In the first case, an outsized bulding and an unsustainable debt.
In the second, it appeared to fade from view and peter out.
And many of us in this segment of the Jesus-following population (I resist the word “generation” because it has grown increasingly trite and overly-used) are crying out for revival, but we have no discernible model for pastoring and transitioning into or out of that phase of church history.
We have no metric for measuring measurable, verifiable, sustained positive change.
We are so quick to point out one side of the picture of historic revivals and recent revivals and their catalysts without considering a bevy of other factors.
Brownsville and Lakeland are examples of what happens when we grab and examine one or a few threads of reality and fail to account for other threads.
We should not treat this attitude as acceptable.
G-d did not die so we could have five year plns that end in burnout or bankruptcy.
Rather, He died so we could have churches, groups, and cohorts outside the institutional church full of love and affection that grow deeply, are financially sound and multiplicable.
He died for reproduction and life.
What ultimately happened at Brownsville in terms of bankruptcy is not something we can afford nor should it be something we tolerate.
What happened to Lakeland, which felt so much like a one-person show, should not have been that. We chose to accept lack of accountability and suddenness in laying on of hands.
What we have accepted in the Charismatic Movement, which is why I refuse to countenance the Passion Paraphrase with little more than a flick of the wrist, is a gross negligence of a basic biblical duty: namely, the responsibility of the church to hold leaders accountable.
We have accepted the dereliction of duty that is downright satanic whe we allow people to remain ambiguous about the nature of their work.
For example, Brain Simmons cannot claim to have a committee of translators working on this translation with him, and yet never show the names of that committee while also presenting arguments that imply he does not have a committee.
Secondly, he cannot violate the principle of sexual marriage dynamics by making the Song of Solomon only about allegory and millions of Christians and believing Jews take him as his translation’s words and not expect to reap the consequences of a lack of sexual counsel which should flow from that very erotic book.
I am quickly tiring of a church that claims to be prophetic and Spirit-led and simultaneously refuses to do due diligence when it comes to verifying the veracity of apparently contradictory claims.
The Passion is not a translation, and it does not clearly state who its multiple translators are.
And our obsession with revival at the cost of our churches will only foster more Brownsville-like financial destruction.
Following is the text of a 2012 article from Charisma:

Brownsville Revival Church in Debt, Struggling to Survive

Gina Meeks
4/24/2012
The Brownsville Assembly of God in Florida’s Panhandle was home to the Brownsville Revival for six years. It saw countless healings and miracles in the mid- to late-1990s, but the church is currently struggling to survive as it is entangled in a large debt.

According to the Associated Press, the Brownsville Revival, also known as the Pensacola Outpouring, drew as many as 5,500 people a night for six years; estimates put the total between 2.5 million and 4.5 million people. The church saw donations pour in as it added staff, built an enormous new sanctuary and opened a school for preachers.

A decade removed from the largest Pentecostal outpouring in U.S. history, the church is facing financial ruin. It incurred an $11.5 million debt after the out-of-town crowds and its former pastor moved on.

“Every Monday I find out what the (Sunday) offering was and we decide what we can pay this week,” the Rev. Evon Horton, Brownsville’s current pastor, told AP. “The good news is last week we paid our mortgage. The bad news is it drained our bank accounts.”

The church has been making cuts wherever it can. It has slashed millions off its debt by selling property and trimming expenses, and it’s in the midst of raising funds to pay off the remaining $6.5 million.

The paid staff of 50 is now down to six, and the weekly newsletter is printed monthly instead. Between 800 to 1,000 worshippers total attend two Sunday services, leaving most of the 2,200 seats in the sanctuary empty. Another sanctuary, which seats 2,600 and was built just for the revival, is now used for a gym, community classes and storage.

Horton told AP it’s a blessing from God that the church has survived this long. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in 30 years of ministry,” he said.

The church’s former pastor, the Rev. John Kilpatrick, resigned in October 2003, almost three years after the revival died down to its last nightly service. He now operates a bustling church and the Bay of the Holy Spirit Revivalministry based in Daphne, Ala.

According to AP, Kilpatrick said Brownsville was never the wealthy church many thought it was during the revival years, so the only way to pay for growth was by taking out loans. He said the church fell into even deeper debt after he resigned and membership fell.

“I resigned (from) the church, and I never would have left if I knew the struggles it was going to have,” he said.

During the revival years, word spread quickly about the miracles and conversions happening at the church, so it started buying nearby housing and demolishing them to make room for parking. The AP reports Brownsville took in millions in donations and revenue, but used mortgages to expand rather than cash.

“You’d think that money was just flowing into the place,” Kilpatrick said. “But it wasn’t.”

The pastor says he cannot recall what the financial situation of the church was back then, but he’s saddened by their current situation.

“Many times when a pastor leaves churches begin to get into a struggle,” he said. “That’s what happened at Brownsville. I just hate for them that it happened.”

Brownsville’s remaining parishioners are working hard to pay off the church’s debt, while also ministering to the impoverished community that surrounds them.

“This revival touched the world but not this community,” Horton said.

The church is trying to raise $7 million through a fundraising effort Horton says came to him in a dream from God. They are asking people to give $1,000 each for debt relief, and donors’ names will be engraved in a “walk of faith” around the old sanctuary.

“We can be debt-free if just 7,000 of the millions of people who attended the revival help out,” Horton said.

Although the church is working hard to say goodbye to its debt, it’s also trying to move forward with no bitterness.

Robert Helms Jr., a church volunteer and retired Navy aviator, directs a community center housed in the old overflow sanctuary, where pews now hold lamps that will go to Habitat for Humanity homes. They offer GED courses, day care, youth basketball games, women’s self-defense and computer training for community members.

“We need to stop worrying about the debt, and we’ve kind of put that on the back burner,” Helms told AP. “We’ve said we want to reach this community, and the Lord has graciously given us all these people. Now, the question (from God) is ‘What are you going to do with them?’”

ou’d think that money was just flowing into the place,” Kilpatrick said. “But it wasn’t.”

The pastor says he cannot recall what the financial situation of the church was back then, but he’s saddened by their current situation.

“Many times when a pastor leaves churches begin to get into a struggle,” he said. “That’s what happened at Brownsville. I just hate for them that it happened.”

Brownsville’s remaining parishioners are working hard to pay off the church’s debt, while also ministering to the impoverished community that surrounds them.

“This revival touched the world but not this community,” Horton said.

The church is trying to raise $7 million through a fundraising effort Horton says came to him in a dream from God. They are asking people to give $1,000 each for debt relief, and donors’ names will be engraved in a “walk of faith” around the old sanctuary.

“We can be debt-free if just 7,000 of the millions of people who attended the revival help out,” Horton said.

Although the church is working hard to say goodbye to its debt, it’s also trying to move forward with no bitterness.

Robert Helms Jr., a church volunteer and retired Navy aviator, directs a community center housed in the old overflow sanctuary, where pews now hold lamps that will go to Habitat for Humanity homes. They offer GED courses, day care, youth basketball games, women’s self-defense and computer training for community members.

“We need to stop worrying about the debt, and we’ve kind of put that on the back burner,” Helms told AP. “We’ve said we want to reach this community, and the Lord has graciously given us all these people. Now, the question (from God) is ‘What are you going to do with them?’”

Our job: partner with G-d in repentance, and clean up the mess before we invite Him into a new one.

The Descriptive Nature of Scripture Versus the Prescriptive Nature of Scripture: Egyptian Slavery in Genesis

There are quite a few dynamics that go into not just reading Scripture, and not just reading all of Scripture, but reading all of Scripture well.
Many times, we in the church are guilty of reading Scripture rather lazily.  What I mean is authentic Berean searching of the Scriptures and reading them on their own merits in light of their own warts is a practice we rarely engage in.  Case in point:  we have a slew of churches that assume the basics revolve around 6 to 8 concepts: theology proper, anthropology, soteriology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, eschatology, etc.
It causes me to wonder if maybe our assessment of the basics is not maybe in need of a little refreshing.
What if, instead of merely couching our conception of the basics as the “basics in theology”, we included a solid grasp of principles.  What if we taught a principle-based approach to Scripture that translated not just theology but our interaction with life in more practical terms.  I am not merely discussing the formal seminary discipline of practical theology, but being able to think, think biblically, and to think biblically through a grid of the universal, non-optional, cause-aand-effect relationships that impact us on a daily basis.
Many times the mentality of “save that sermon for Sunday, preacher,” where we separate our reading of the text of Scripture from our everyday lives, is precisely the problem.  We don’t want our spiritual viewpoints to inform, address, let alone correct our secular life.
We have entered a reality, which began between 2000-2017, when it is no longer practical to separate the two.
Granted, what I have stated above is rather sweeping, more sweeping than the topic I am adressing in this post, but there is some relevance.  Bear with me.
As believers/folllowers/Christians/believing Jews/[pick-your-designator]s, we have developed a habit of reading Scripture through a somewhat egocentric lens, by which we read certain actions of G-d and adjudicate those actions based on our own views of right and wrong, or we assume a paradigm of “because it is written in Scripture, it must simply have the sanction and approval of G-d”.
Reading Scripture is a little more complex than that.
In the case of the commanded genocide of the people of the land, that was specifically given because of national sin that lasted generations (the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete: Genesis 18:16).  Sodom and Gomorrah was a tipping point as well.
Which brings us to an interesting illustration of principle-based, cause-and-effect-based reading: the slavery of the Egyptians in Genesis and the subsequent slavery of the Jews.
Let’s paint the context of the Egyptian slavery.   Pharaoh has two dreams (Genesis 41:1, 5) that come from G-d (Genesis 41:28), Joseph interprets (Genesis 41:25-32), and Pharaoh sets Joseph up to deal with the famine (Genesis 41:37-45).
Joseph gathers grain without paying for it, then during the famine he sells grain that he did not buy from the Egyptians, and depletes the nation of resources.
Instead of paying and then selling, he takes from the Egyptians without recompensing them for their goods, and then they are forced to buy what was taken.
This is not a right way to handle the situation of dealing with the famine in a just manner.  It does not reflect the principles of justice that G-d placed
Ultimately, as a result of selling grain, Joseph unrighteously enslaves the Egyptian population, enriching the ruling class of Egypt.
This is something G-d never commanded him to do in the process of warning about the famine.
Let me say it a different way to hammer the point home differently.
Scripture never says G-d approved the implications that follow the means by which Joseph dealt with the famine.
Scripture, however, does tell what happened.
This is a difference in interpreting and applying Scripture that needs to be parsed out:  descriptive truth versus prescriptive truth.
We assume that just because David had multiple wives that G-d approved of that.  We further think that just because G-d gave David Saul’s wives (2 Samuel 12:8), that this was G-d’s best (it wasn’t) and we think that situations in Scripture make G-d out to be a colossal hypocrite.  In so doing, we forget that G-d was making the best (caring for what would otherwise be destitute women, compare the situation with Judah and his sons Er and Onan, as it pertained to Tamar in Genesis 38) of a bad situation (a harem in the nation of Israel).
We should also not forget that G-d explicitly commanded that kings not multiply three things:  horses, gold, and wives (Deuteronomy 17:15-17).
Solomon is an example of what happened when the wives clause was violated.
Now, back to the Egyptian slavery, let’s consider another effect of that cause.
As a result of the enslavement of Egypt, it is possible that the effect was the slavery of the Israelites.  Granted, it was already prophesied in Genesis 18, but that is beside the point.  The point here is that actions always have consequences, and we will often reap what we sow.
Further, Joseph could have either given away the grain, or he could have bought what was sold.  This would have not only saved the people, but it would have also protected the economy.
The principle to apply to this passage is Galatians 6:7:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

It is time for us to not merely look for reasons not to follow G-d, but rather look for the connections that can effectively explain the text we are reading.
What?
Do we honestly think that He is some uncaring ogre who does not speak to us until it is too late?
Dude’s a Father.  Dude calls us his sons.  Dude carried Israel as a father carries his sons.  Do we honestly think He does not know how to effectively father us?  Consider the Father’s interactions with Jesus in the Gospels.
Does a father not take pleasure in his sons simply because they are his sons?  Does the father not see the potential in a son?
Perhaps we should consider looking for the Father heart of G-d in Scripture, rather than looking for ways to turn the Father into a colossal bastard.

Names of G-d # 26A and #26B

DISCLAIMER:  Make sure you read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.  What follows is NOT intended as a guilt-trip.  Just one post to provoke thinking about what G-d’s opinion is about your current station.  With that in mind, read on.
Exodus 3:17, gang.
One of my absolute favorite topics is the nature of G-d.  For those who do not know,  I am not preeminently Charismatic or Classical Pentecostal, though the L-rd made abundantly clear that after he made me speak in tongues (“a good story, for another time”).  I was not raised in the Charismatic and Pentecostal streams of the faith, though it might seem like that was the case.  I was raised Methodist and have some definite Roman and Orthodox Catholic influences.
I heard the groan of a million Fundamentalist Evangelicals and their corporate eyerolls.  Giggle.  Good.  Some of my dearest friends are Catholic and Orthodox believers.
I raised that point about RC and OC influences in order to say that the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed are two of my favorite documents.  Why?  Because they are historic confessions that deal specifically with the nature of G-d.  The idea of “G-d From G-d, Light From Light, True G-d From True G-d, one in being with the Father”, really sums up a lot of the motive for why I go and do work with a whole lot of people.  My desire for so many people is that they know Him.  Not what others think Scripture says about Him, but Him.  Not what the Dispensationalists and the Calvinists and the Arminians think Scriptures says about him.  Rather, what He really is.
Very good.  Now that we have gotten the collective eyeroll of “MacNelly isn’t a Protestant/doesn’t behave like a normal Protestant” out of our systems, and you have a few more of my cards, I will gladly share another piece of gripping thought.
I am currently in the midst of researching for a publication on the names of G-d.  ALL the names of G-d.
Not just the neat and pretty Seven compound names (there are more than Seven Compound names anyway, given that Adonai Tsevaot is not mentioned among the Seven), and this neat and tidy combination or list.  We have the 7 names of G-d, and the 52 names of G-d, and the 365 names of G-d (366 on leap years), and the 7 in the New Testament, and the 7 in the Tanakh, or the 30 names of G-d, and we have these neat and tidy combinations that fit easily into weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles for the masses to do whatever they do devotionally.
My purpose is to derive maximum frame and set out a book that has ALL of them, given that I have seen that dramatic hole in our theology and in the books that are out.  Find a void and fill it with something.
What better than the nature of G-d, and yes I know, I can hear the screams of “He’s An Exhorter”, already.
Well, in about 25 years we may yet come to an understanding fully of my RG.
Meanwhile, I will share this piece, since y’all are my tribe and gang.
Moses was chit-chatting with the Almighty on the mountain called Sinai in Arabia.  Father was giving instructions, Moses was pushing back a few times
Seven times, To Be Exact.
Aside:  I guess this means we each have a scriptural excuse for why we don’t want to do what G-d wants us to do, one for each day of the week.
But even excuses backed in Scripture don’t always impress the L-rd of Heaven and Earth.
And here in Exodus 3:17 let’s distill one of the more expansive names of G-d, name 26 of the names I have found.
I have called these 26A and 26B because there is a sort of two-part idea conveyed here.  But different aspects of the nature of G-d can be thrown into sharp relief based of which part of this phrase you pull or if you pull the whole phrase.  For the purposes of this post, I want to draw the whole phrase below because it shows you the same G-d works in both actions.
He is “The G-d Who Brings You Up Out of the Affliction of the Land of Egypt To the Land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
Digest that for a moment, gang.  Here is a G-d who brought His children up from Egypt, FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF PUTTING THEM IN HARM’S WAY.  G-D THE FATHER PUT THEM IN THE SAME PLACE AS THE SEXUALLY PERVERSE CANAANITES!
Now, I am going to grind an axe.  Next time you want to bitch about how bad Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington are, with their gun control laws and crime, just know that the G-d of Heaven and Earth is the G-d Who Brings Us Into The Land Of The Canaanites.  If we are moving away from these places because we want a safe and more anointed place in which to live and raise our kids….
If G-d is trying to speak to us to move into the places (ahem, South Houston) and we flea for the suburbs so we can have our cul-de-sac….
If we are doing something in order to avoid doing what G-d wants us to do, then we are not doing the right thing.
Now, granted, if G-d did not tell you to move there, then do not move there.  Those who are designed to live not in these urban centers have a purpose.  But those who are designed and reject that design stand to reap futility.
And G-d puts us into lands of the Canaanites because He uses us to transform the culture.
My ex-pastor’s wife once spoke out against Burning Man and exhorted a whole group of us to avoid that festival at all costs.  That was about 16-18 years ago.
That was before I found out that John Paul Jackson once led a ministry team to Black Rock City years and years ago because of the heart for the Burners.  I have a close friend who is going there this year for that purpose.
There are leaders everywhere that are designed, without realizing it, that they have the hardwiring to work with, reach, seek, and transform the Canaanites among us.  And besides, it is Dad’s heart to see them reached for him.  He wants to transform the Burners into His Burning Ones.  He wants, nay, years to see a people made up of every nation and tribe to increase His fame in the earth.  This sort of ministry among the Canaanites is exceptionally close to His mind and His heart.  And it will take a combination of cleansed mind and heart in order to effectively reach these pre-Christians who are hungry and open for spiritual things.
G-d brings you out of Egypt, dear hearts, to bring you into the lands of the Canaanites.  He brings you out of a barren, predatory place that you thought was a life-giving place, in order that He could teach you how to receive the life that He has for you in the Wilderness so that you could come into the dirty and defiled land of the Canaanites and clean up the various messes.
So, questions?
Who are the actual enemy?
Who are those in need?
Is it a specific people group, a plot of land, a span of time, a set of offices, or a unique birthright that needs to be cleansed?  And are you equipped to cleanse that or those?
If not, what tools or understanding are you missing?
How are you implementing what you already have, no matter how messy the implementation may be?
The following YouTube presentation will be critical to help you move into some of that.

Enjoy it, gang.
And remember, He brought you out of Egypt so he could bring you into pagan lands.  What thing are YOU specifically avoiding that He has been trying to get you to do.
DISCLAIMER:  IF G-d has not specifically told you to move to a particular area, DO NOT move there!  Get Father’s game plan and strategy for YOUR own course of life.  Don’t merely feel bad and then go somewhere just because I said so.  What I am really attacking here is a mindset that says “G-d’s primary goal is my comfort and cushy safety”.   Honest to goodness, if you are supposed to have a cul-de-sac or a nice home in the suburbs, then get the CDS in the suburbs.  But don’t do it in order to avoid something G-d is trying to get you to do, because that will result in ultimate lack of fulfillment.
 

Names of G-d # 26A and #26B

DISCLAIMER:  Make sure you read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.  What follows is NOT intended as a guilt-trip.  Just one post to provoke thinking about what G-d’s opinion is about your current station.  With that in mind, read on.
Exodus 3:17, gang.
One of my absolute favorite topics is the nature of G-d.  For those who do not know,  I am not preeminently Charismatic or Classical Pentecostal, though the L-rd made abundantly clear that after he made me speak in tongues (“a good story, for another time”).  I was not raised in the Charismatic and Pentecostal streams of the faith, though it might seem like that was the case.  I was raised Methodist and have some definite Roman and Orthodox Catholic influences.
I heard the groan of a million Fundamentalist Evangelicals and their corporate eyerolls.  Giggle.  Good.  Some of my dearest friends are Catholic and Orthodox believers.
I raised that point about RC and OC influences in order to say that the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed are two of my favorite documents.  Why?  Because they are historic confessions that deal specifically with the nature of G-d.  The idea of “G-d From G-d, Light From Light, True G-d From True G-d, one in being with the Father”, really sums up a lot of the motive for why I go and do work with a whole lot of people.  My desire for so many people is that they know Him.  Not what others think Scripture says about Him, but Him.  Not what the Dispensationalists and the Calvinists and the Arminians think Scriptures says about him.  Rather, what He really is.
Very good.  Now that we have gotten the collective eyeroll of “MacNelly isn’t a Protestant/doesn’t behave like a normal Protestant” out of our systems, and you have a few more of my cards, I will gladly share another piece of gripping thought.
I am currently in the midst of researching for a publication on the names of G-d.  ALL the names of G-d.
Not just the neat and pretty Seven compound names (there are more than Seven Compound names anyway, given that Adonai Tsevaot is not mentioned among the Seven), and this neat and tidy combination or list.  We have the 7 names of G-d, and the 52 names of G-d, and the 365 names of G-d (366 on leap years), and the 7 in the New Testament, and the 7 in the Tanakh, or the 30 names of G-d, and we have these neat and tidy combinations that fit easily into weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles for the masses to do whatever they do devotionally.
My purpose is to derive maximum frame and set out a book that has ALL of them, given that I have seen that dramatic hole in our theology and in the books that are out.  Find a void and fill it with something.
What better than the nature of G-d, and yes I know, I can hear the screams of “He’s An Exhorter”, already.
Well, in about 25 years we may yet come to an understanding fully of my RG.
Meanwhile, I will share this piece, since y’all are my tribe and gang.
Moses was chit-chatting with the Almighty on the mountain called Sinai in Arabia.  Father was giving instructions, Moses was pushing back a few times
Seven times, To Be Exact.
Aside:  I guess this means we each have a scriptural excuse for why we don’t want to do what G-d wants us to do, one for each day of the week.
But even excuses backed in Scripture don’t always impress the L-rd of Heaven and Earth.
And here in Exodus 3:17 let’s distill one of the more expansive names of G-d, name 26 of the names I have found.
I have called these 26A and 26B because there is a sort of two-part idea conveyed here.  But different aspects of the nature of G-d can be thrown into sharp relief based of which part of this phrase you pull or if you pull the whole phrase.  For the purposes of this post, I want to draw the whole phrase below because it shows you the same G-d works in both actions.
He is “The G-d Who Brings You Up Out of the Affliction of the Land of Egypt To the Land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
Digest that for a moment, gang.  Here is a G-d who brought His children up from Egypt, FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF PUTTING THEM IN HARM’S WAY.  G-D THE FATHER PUT THEM IN THE SAME PLACE AS THE SEXUALLY PERVERSE CANAANITES!
Now, I am going to grind an axe.  Next time you want to bitch about how bad Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington are, with their gun control laws and crime, just know that the G-d of Heaven and Earth is the G-d Who Brings Us Into The Land Of The Canaanites.  If we are moving away from these places because we want a safe and more anointed place in which to live and raise our kids….
If G-d is trying to speak to us to move into the places (ahem, South Houston) and we flea for the suburbs so we can have our cul-de-sac….
If we are doing something in order to avoid doing what G-d wants us to do, then we are not doing the right thing.
Now, granted, if G-d did not tell you to move there, then do not move there.  Those who are designed to live not in these urban centers have a purpose.  But those who are designed and reject that design stand to reap futility.
And G-d puts us into lands of the Canaanites because He uses us to transform the culture.
My ex-pastor’s wife once spoke out against Burning Man and exhorted a whole group of us to avoid that festival at all costs.  That was about 16-18 years ago.
That was before I found out that John Paul Jackson once led a ministry team to Black Rock City years and years ago because of the heart for the Burners.  I have a close friend who is going there this year for that purpose.
There are leaders everywhere that are designed, without realizing it, that they have the hardwiring to work with, reach, seek, and transform the Canaanites among us.  And besides, it is Dad’s heart to see them reached for him.  He wants to transform the Burners into His Burning Ones.  He wants, nay, years to see a people made up of every nation and tribe to increase His fame in the earth.  This sort of ministry among the Canaanites is exceptionally close to His mind and His heart.  And it will take a combination of cleansed mind and heart in order to effectively reach these pre-Christians who are hungry and open for spiritual things.
G-d brings you out of Egypt, dear hearts, to bring you into the lands of the Canaanites.  He brings you out of a barren, predatory place that you thought was a life-giving place, in order that He could teach you how to receive the life that He has for you in the Wilderness so that you could come into the dirty and defiled land of the Canaanites and clean up the various messes.
So, questions?
Who are the actual enemy?
Who are those in need?
Is it a specific people group, a plot of land, a span of time, a set of offices, or a unique birthright that needs to be cleansed?  And are you equipped to cleanse that or those?
If not, what tools or understanding are you missing?
How are you implementing what you already have, no matter how messy the implementation may be?
The following YouTube presentation will be critical to help you move into some of that.

Enjoy it, gang.
And remember, He brought you out of Egypt so he could bring you into pagan lands.  What thing are YOU specifically avoiding that He has been trying to get you to do.
DISCLAIMER:  IF G-d has not specifically told you to move to a particular area, DO NOT move there!  Get Father’s game plan and strategy for YOUR own course of life.  Don’t merely feel bad and then go somewhere just because I said so.  What I am really attacking here is a mindset that says “G-d’s primary goal is my comfort and cushy safety”.   Honest to goodness, if you are supposed to have a cul-de-sac or a nice home in the suburbs, then get the CDS in the suburbs.  But don’t do it in order to avoid something G-d is trying to get you to do, because that will result in ultimate lack of fulfillment.