Archive for September, 2008

So, are you a Charismatic now? Part 2

Thought I might get a little more discussion on my post from yesterday. One of the bigger hit days in a while but only a couple of comments.  That isn’t really unusual. 

As I said yesterday, many of the words we use to describe what we are, are either words that have lost their true meaning or they are words that are loaded up with meaning that is either incorrect or misleading, and so if I give myself a label for where I am on the theological spectrum, right away people make assumptions and jump to conclusions.

There is no question I have drifted out of the stream I was raised in and served in for most of my life.  That stream has a lot of labels attached to it like, cecessionist, dispensationalist, Calvinist, fundamental, Baptist…  These are all good words and when used appropriately they mean some things that are important and valuable in a Kingdom way.  I have good friends and family who would claim many, if not all of those labels, and because I no longer claim those labels, they are pretty sure I have lost my way. 

In the stream I used to swim in the word Charismatic was not held in high esteem and for that and other reasons I don’t like the label because for many it communicates some things that are not true and communicates some other things that are misleading. I do believe that all of the gifts mentioned in the Bible (including the gift of tongues and subsequent baptisms in the Holy Spirit) are very much for today and I believe that our Father speaks to us in ways in addition to the written Word and that there is much greater freedom in the Spirit than I ever knew and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him…” and that the enemy hates us and therefore serious spiritual warfare is absolutely essential to walk out our spiritual journeys, among other things, but for many those beliefs are lumped, along with some other stuff into a stream called Pentecostal or Charismatic and there are things about those labels that leave me as cold as the dispensational label.

While I find myself much more attracted to the Charismatic stream today than I am the dispensational stream, (make that a lot more) there are some things about this stream that concern me, things that I began to notice as I watched the mess that evolved out of Florida and seem to find root in a lot of these places where a claim is made that the “anointing” has come. 

Here are a few concerns:

  • Everything the Spirit does, must point to the Father and to the Son.  There is no hierarchy in the Trinity, They are not in competition with each other for attention.  While I love “getting blessed” the Spirit is not here to bless us, or to provide power encounters, He comes to bring us into relationship with the Father and with the Son.  Power and blessing are by-products of entering into relationship with the Father and to make us able to live and act like Jesus.
  • Seeking to be blessed and having power encounters tend to send us on an unquenchable search for greater blessings and more power.  Again, I love to be in the center of things when the Spirit comes with power and I will never step out of the way of blessing but that is not all that “walking in the Spirit” is about.  I not only believe in the gifts of the Spirit I believe in the fruit of the Spirit.  What I love about my friends Dennis and Diane, who routinely see the power and the blessing of the Spirit, they are day by day walking in the fruit of the Spirit, especially humility, in relationship with people who know them well.  That’s the kind of place you will always find the anointing.
  • One of the most important subjects I learned in seminary was called hermeneutics and I am teaching what I learned about basic, appropriate Bible interpretation to my students here in Convergence.  Why?  Because, while I think my old stream is too tight with interpretation, in general the Charismatic stream is too loose.  The Old Testament and New Testament are not in conflict, one interprets the other.  There is a place for spiritualizing the text and much truth is mined from seeing the Old in light of the New but there is a whole lot of junk that is run out there through over typing and over shadowing that violates every standard principle of Biblical interpretation.  Making the written Word say whatever you want it to is not a good thing.  The Holy Spirit really did intend to make a point with what He caused the writers to put on paper.
  • I already touched on this one but I want to write it again, in a little different way.  The Spiritual journey was never intended to be about what we can get.  It has always been a faith that flows outward.  It is about what we can give not what we get.  The greatest weapon of our warfare is not power but weakness, weakness that flows out of giving to others, especially giving to the poor.  The best way I have seen to break the enemies hold over people is to give ourselves to them, in love, no matter how un-lovely, until the enemy has to let go.  Here at Trinity I have watched the enemy’s tactic of meth addiction broken simply through the power of love and acceptance far more than I have seen it broken through a power encounter. If it comes through a power encounter I will take it, but that is not the usual-love, acceptance and forgiveness is what breaks through most of the time.
  • While there may be times when travelling to Florida, or Toronto, or wherever to get in on some special move of God is a good thing, it seems to me it should be a rare thing.  Mostly those things are celebrity deals where most of what is worshipped is a person or a happening.  I just don’t get the celebrity attraction, or the idea that the anointing is floating around out there until some person can call it down for a season.  As i said in the previous post.  The real work of the Spirit in healing, blessing, breaking, releasing, setting free, and other wonderful blessings, happens day to day in the place you have been sovereignly placed.  The anointing is on our house and we need to learn to live under it with our neighbors, the poor, the broken, the addicted and those who hate us, right here, right now.  Trying to find out where the anointing has fallen just doesn’t seem like God to me.  Humble walking it out with those who know us best does.

I love where I am today, even though I don’t love everything about it.  What I am contending for is reality, truth and expectation played out in my living room, our gatherings and in all my relationships.  There is no need to manufacture anything, twist anything or long for anything.  We just need to walk it out, everyday in relationship.  The anointing will fall.


September 26, 2008 at 1:41 am 3 comments

So, are you a charismatic now?

When I was in Washington state a few weeks ago, someone close to me asked this question: So, are you a charismatic now?  My answer was something along the line of; if by charismatic you are asking if I believe all the gifts (charis) are for today, then the answer is yes.  If by charismatic you mean do I throw myself on the floor, knock people down, point my finger at people and yell BAM! BAM! Then the answer is probably-no.

If you read this blog much you probably already know where I stand on many of the issues that are often relegated to a stream called Charismatic or Pentacostal so I won’t write more here on the specifics of my convictions related to healing, prayer language, subsequent baptisms in the Holy Spirit.  Those subjects are covered in detail elsewhere in the archives of this blog. It is enough to say I am for anything authentic that arrives via the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  I want it all and I want a lot of it.

But frankly, I don’t really like any of the labels available for those of us who choose to follow Jesus and take our direction from the written Word and the revealed Word.  I don’t really want to be called a Christian, doesn’t really mean anything.  I already know what you think I am if I call myself a charismatic, so that label doesn’t work either.  Fundamentalist, well, don’t even go there, even though almost all of us agree on most fundamentals of the faith.  Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical Free, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Foursquare, I have good friends and family in all of those denominations but I would rather not be labeled any of those.

The Church is in trouble.  Sure there are some good groups meeting out there and of course, the church you attend is really good but to most of the world church people are crazy, gun toting, homosexual hating, money grubbing, empty headed rascals who abuse women, claim healings and miracles that never happened to increase the offering and other sordid and assorted junk.  Of course if the culture thinks these things about the church, they are probably correct to one degree or another.

Events of the last few months in Florida and other places has raised my concern about these issues to a higher level than normal.  Some of us just don’t want to claim any of the labels preferring to do what we are called to do in relative obscurity so as to impact the most in the most relevant and Kingdom way.

I am afraid, terrified actually that unless some very hard changes take place in our faith communities, whatever you call them, we are going to be totally and completely irrelevant within 5 years.

What follows are a few places to start making changes, whatever label you carry. 

 We must reclaim…

  • The priesthood of all believers.  The “church” at it’s very best is a collection of brothers and sisters bound together in a Family of peers.  Any other view than that creates a hierarchy of gifts and levels of leadership that distort the reality that we all have equal access and equal authority in this Family.  While I agree with the Apostle Paul that we need more Fathers and less teachers, just like in the natural family the Spiritual family needs Fathers and Mothers who know that nurturing, affirming, loving, enabling, caring… always gets the job done quicker than anything else. The whole concept of ruling elders is bogus and creates the environment that has destroyed our credibility in the world. 

Hierarchy is always damaging to relationships because it removes the beauty of mutual submission and service which God intends for our relationships. To define our Family relationships through the lens of mutuality rather than by government and hierarchy would change so much of what is wrong with church as we know it today.

We must reclaim…

  • The headship of Jesus.  Apostolic leadership of the kind we see so much of today, undermines and usurps the headship and authority of Jesus.  While there are those who seem to want to set themselves up as national and international spokesmen for the rest of us, there is no such assignment in the Family.  Overseeing (a much more accurate and pleasant term than ruling (eldering) always and only occurs within relationships between brothers and sisters in a Family setting.

I am fully on board with the five-fold ministry concept the Apostle Paul gave us in the Ephesian letter but it too is designed to be a grassroots leadership.  Even those apostles, prophets, teachers who travel to equip groups in other locations there must be an authentic, ongoing relationship to a local community of believers with the goal always the release and empowerment of that Family.  Anyone who claims some sort of Apostolic authority abuses it when his or her goal is anything other than Kingdom advancement through relationship. 

We must reclaim…

  • Family as the incarnational expression of the life of Jesus in a local setting.  Where is the outpouring now?  Upon whom has the anointing come?  Let’s go to Florida and get in on that, or North Carolina, or Toronto, or wherever the latest and greatest is ongoing.  If Lakeland taught us anything, it taught us that ministry removed from a local context of Family relationships is not grounded in reality and can easily be faked and completely devoid of the Spirit. 

I know when the Spirit moves here and I know when the visible expressions of the Spirit are real because I know the people, I live day today with those who invite us into the Presence.  The purpose of living in a Family relationship that is authentic, open, honest, consistent, day to day is so that the expression of gifts is not centered in one man or woman but flows from the Spirit into the House where it is exercised in the context of relationship.  The practice of spiritual gifts is not a platform event. Rather than the authority of the pulpit or platform, the authority of the Spirit is demonstrated and can be witnessed in the character of the person and the evidence of the fruit of the spirit in the life of not only the person leading the gathering but those who are relating to the needy out of their own authentic and obvious need.  Enough already of the travelling “power” preacher who climbs the platform stairs to strut his or her stuff.

Why is there such a pursuit of special events, special places, and special ministry? Why do we run here and there trying to get in on “some of that”? In the quest for the next great movement, outpouring, revival, or happening, an appreciation for the normal christian life is lost. The unrelenting search for the extraordinary fosters a disdain for the ordinary. There is little or no glamor in the day to day walking it out with brothers and sisters but there is real power, authenticity, and credibility.

We must reclaim..

  • Giving to the poor as the test of authenticity.  The abuse of the tithing principles by many Christian ministries and the “sowing the seed” concept that one ups tithing is disgusting if not downright larceny.  The way to decide if a ministry deserves your support is the degree to which that ministry is committed to the poor.  It is a disgrace the way many ministries use spiritualizing techniques and bogus calls for cash to fleece people who live their spiritual lives outside of relationship.  Don’t give money to anyone who does not have a proven record of helping the poor.  Not just talk but real, verifiable ministry to the poor.  If fact I question whether you aught to give any money to any ministry you are not in significant relationship with.  The abuse of money in christian circles is horrible.

We must reclaim…

  • The truth that the next outpouring and the next and the next will take place in…  I am pretty sure that the next great revival will not occur very far from my little place in Western Oklahoma and your little spot in Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, California… It will come in the process of sharing life together, praying for one another, encouraging one another, living the spiritual life together, and learning the incredibly abundant potential of the power of the Holy Spirit in the middle of a Family committed to one another and committed not to some man or woman but to the preeminence of Jesus Christ.

The next revival will occur because we have understood the heart of the Father for all of His creation and begin to authentically express His love in our communities, sharing both our spiritual gifts and our possessions with those who don’t yet know Jesus. I am fast coming to the conclusion that the only way to verify the authenticity of signs, wonders, and miracles as a testimony to Christ and His work of redemption and restoration is when it takes place, not half a continent away but in the place I have been called to live.

I really don’t know what label to throw on myself these days.  I don’t like any of them, except one–FAMILY. 

There I finally got that off my chest. I would love to have some good discussion on this stuff.

September 24, 2008 at 1:54 am 6 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.57

Sayre, OK

No it is not Monday and yes I am running behind.  The best of intentions and all that… There is something about this blogging deal, that if you write everyday or nearly everyday you do better than if you are just hit and miss.  It seems, to me a little like preaching, preaching all the time is easier than just preaching now and again, because there is always something peculating in your brain.  Seems the less I write or preach the less I have to say.  Does that make sense?

Item one.  The weather here in Western Oklahoma is just terrific!  Highs in the low 80’s and lows in the mid 50’s.  This may be the best weather anywhere in the country but nobody I know moves here for the weather or comes here for vacation.  It really is beautiful out here.  Being back with this good Family is always so refreshing.  They are accepting, glad to have us here and make us feel as if we are the most important link in the chain, while at the same time making everyone else feel the same way.  It is a “peaceful, easy feeling…”  I am still trying to figure out how to best use my time and learning to roll with the way things are done here.  This is a very laid back, “it will get done when it gets done,” kind of approach to life and work.  Sure there are deadlines and we meet most of them but that intense, driven, franetic pace I have experienced elsewhere is not here.  It is frustrating sometimes but it is good for me to learn to take life as it comes, not forcing things or timetables but enjoying the moment with people who I care about and care about me.  It just takes a little getting used to every time we get back in here.

Item two. Found a fun site last night.  It is called the World Names Profiler.  You put in your surname (that’s your last name boys) and then see where people with that surname are congregated all over the world.  The largest concentration of Scandretts is in New Zealand where there are 27.9 Scandretts per million in population.  There are only 1.41 per million in the USA but Brad and Summer are working on that.  You can find the site here.

Item three. I haven’t driven a truck since I graduated from truck driving school and got my CDL until yesterday!  I went out to the yard where our truck is parked when it is in town and drove one of the other trucks.  The truck I drove has it’s best miles way behind it but none the less, I got behind the wheel and soloed for the first time.  That is I drove a semi tractor by myself for the very first time!  After I figured out the shift pattern, things went pretty well.  Our Peterbilt is at the yard today, so I am going to go and drive it.  I am pretty excited about it.  Out here in Western Oklahoma the roads are straight, you can see forever and there is almost no traffic.  Perfect place for me to get comfortable. Did I say I was pretty stoked about driving our truck!

Item four.  Here is another post from Stuff Christians Like.  Find it here.  If you have gone to church most of your life, like I have or have watched the way Christians do “stuff” then you will find this blog a good laugh.  There is a name for those of us who have grown up in church-we are GUBAs, Growing Up Born Again.  Not sure it is totally a good thing to be a GUBA but there are ways to escape it’s clutches and just be a follower of Jesus and one of those ways is to read Stuff Christians Like and laugh at yourself a little.  (read the comments too, they are really good.)

Item five. I started this post writing about the great weather and the beauty of Western Oklahoma and so will conclude it with today’s Nouwen devo.  Trust me, it fits: How do we live in creation? Do we relate to it as a place full of “things” we can use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish? Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine?  As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognise its sacredness because we are approaching it as if we are its owners. But when we relate to all that surrounds us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognise the sacred quality of all God’s handiwork. 

Have a great week and stay in touch!  I am going to get in a groove, I really am.

September 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm 1 comment

Long time gone.

Sayre, Oklahoma

Anyone who knows me well, knows that for almost every word or idea, I can come up with a song with that word or idea in it.  For example: we were driving along and saw a street sign with the name Loretta on it and what pops into my head?  The Beatle song “Get Back” that contains this line; Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman…  Then there was the conversation yesterday where someone said something about there being a “harvest moon” last night and I thought …shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky…  I am nothing if not an intergenerational song rememberer.

So today as I thought about getting back into the groove of blogging, I thought about how long I had been gone from writing and into my head pops the title of this blog “Long time gone” , the CSNY song of my youth.  (That’s Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to the uninitiated.  Perhaps the greatest band in history.  All great song writers and musicians in their own right but as a group, amazing.)  It has been …along time comin’ and (it was a) long time gone.  Love that song.

But with this post I am back.  I have pretty much taken the summer off even though I managed to meander most of the time and returning to Sayre I hope will put me in a “writing state of mind”.  (New York State of Mind-Billy Joel)

So what is on tap for the next few weeks?  More on the Kingdom.  I think I am on #17?  I want to answer a question I was asked while in Washington- “So are you a charismatic now?”  I also want to keep writing about some of the big issues I think we face as a country, as believers and as the Family.  I hope to bring back the Friday Funny so if you have heard any good ones lately, send them my way.  Monday morning meanderings will still be posted, mainly because it is a way to keep up with our family and friends who seem to be interested in what we are up to. There will be some preaching, some teaching, some ranting and all, I hope done with honesty and clarity.  One new idea I am thinking about is to invite various people I know to be guest bloggers on the Juniper View.  If you want in on that let me know and if you have suggestions for topics I am open to that as well.

The key to blogging and developing a blogging audience is consistent writing on interesting topics, especially “controversial” topics.  Obviously being a long time gone has lost some of the core followers of the Juniper View but I hope it won’t take long to get you back.  Thanks for reading.

September 18, 2008 at 3:11 am 2 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.56

Grapeview, Washington

This will no doubt be the last post from Grapeview.  We are so appreciative of Bill and Leslee sharing their driveway with us for the last 2 months.  The time has been full. So full that we have not really spent the kind of time we would have liked with friends in the area.  Truck driving school took a month, Sage Olivia’s birth was the main focus for several days and just getting quality time with our children and grand children was a high priority.  There has been little down time, which was not what we expected, but we have really had some good time with our family.  Linda already has her tickets purchased for a return trip mid October.  Not sure when I will return.  I apologize to all of you who we didn’t get to see, but that does not lessen our love for you and our gratefulness for you being in our lives.

Item one.  So we will pull out of here Thursday morning and frankly, at this point, I do not know what our route back to Oklahoma will be.  We have several options and I guess will choose them as we go.  Traci and family are going to Disneyland tomorrow for a week.  I will drive them to the airport, Linda will go up and spend the day with Summer, Canyon and Sage. I will join them later in the day.  Wednesday will be spent getting things ready to roll.  It will be hard to leave our ever growing family here, but I am anticipating some great days with our family in OK.

Item two.  While we were here we made an offer on a house that is in the process of foreclosure.  While I feel sympathy for the folks who are losing this house and have major concerns, as we all do for the housing market, it is a great time to buy real estate.  This house will be our “residence,” as in our physical address but will only be there a small part of the year, at least for the foreseeable future.  Everything we can do is done, related to the property, we have the loan in place, renters ready to move in and we are just waiting for the bank that owns the property to get to our deal and agree to the terms we have offered.  I am optimistic it will all come together and be a good investment for us, long term.

Item three.  Brad has some great posts on his blog about his new daughter and other interesting writing.  He hasn’t posted in a long time but with time home caring for Summer and his little family he has posted some good stuff including this one featuring a poem by my Dad and this one on the prez election. Check it out.

Item four. It seems I learn more slowly as I get older but the things I am learning seem to be more important.  The things I used to learn seemed to be more about having something to give to others, now they are more about just living life so as to please the Father.  Here are a couple of simple things I seem to be called to learn these days: I can not provide for others, (no matter how much I love the “others”) that which God alone can provide.  Happiness, wholeness, completeness, contentment are all things I long to give to those around me but I can’t.  Another thing I am learning is that forgiveness may be the most important of all actions we are responsible for in life.  Contentment, wholeness, happiness, completeness, not to mention freedom, hope, security, peace all seem to flow out of a commitment to forgive at all levels of relationships. Simple but important stuff.

Item five. Ever wonder if God really does forgive the junk you have done in the past?  Prodigal John has a good word on this subject.  Read it here.  If you are a fan of Washington Husky football, Saturday night in Eugene had to be really painful.  Good analysis of what happened can be found here.  For the view from Duckville look here.  Here is one that might make you think about why we are so fascinated by events like Hurricane Gustav.  Find it here.  A young friend and reader has a neat quote on her blog that caught my attention: People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but…they will never forget how you made them feel.

I will leave you with that thought and will see you down the road.

September 1, 2008 at 11:20 pm 1 comment

Blog Stats

  • 138,480 hits