Archive for April, 2009

24.1

Most of what I know, especially about the Bible, I learned by doing 3 things:  First, I study the Bible itself.  I have always tried to read whatever I am studying several times and just let it say what it says, as opposed to reading what someone else thinks it says.  (that comes later).  During this step I ask myself questions to try and help me understand what is being said, to whom it is being said, why it is being said, who is saying it and so on.  I take notes, I think about it but most importantly, I ask the Holy Spirit to teach me.

Secondly, I carry what I have read around in my head for a while and let it soak.  Over time, could be a few hours, a few days or in the case of Matthew 24, a few years, but when I let it soak, I usually get something fresh, something I have never heard before.  That doesn’t mean no one else has thought of it but it means the Spirit speaks fresh to me.

In the third step I try to find out if anyone else has written anything about the subject I am studying, something that confirms, challenges or affirms what I believe the Spirit has taught me.  This is always the third step because if I do this first or second I never get to see the Spirit guide me into truth and just end up knowing what other people know (that is not always bad).  When I depend too much on what others think I usually end up in the ditch on one side of the road or the other.

Candidly, I have never liked the whole end times teaching that was part of my dispensational upbringing and training.  I never found any joy or hope in things spinning downward through a Great Tribulation, The anti-Christ, “melting with frevent heat” and all that horror.  But just because I didn’t like it didn’t mean it wasn’t true.  Who was I to challenge or disagree with my professors, who were very intelligent men and very sincere and Godly men besides, who I liked and who loved and cared about me?  Who was I to go against the increasingly strong tide of an end game that looked more and more right on with each new world crisis, new war, new famine, new disaster and so on?  So I joined the pre-tribulational, pre-millennial crowd and tried to force the questions out of my mind.

But still questions would boil in my mind and heart whenever I would hear something about the Great Tribulation.  What about the people in the Sudan, Dufar or any of the other beat down, diseased nations where millions have died, is it possible that there could be a greater tribulation for them, yet to come?  Why is it that most of the pessimistic end times scenarios originate in the United States, the richest and most blessed nation in the history of the world?  How come this view of our Father’s plan for His Family has appeared only recently?  Was it progressive revelation that brought it along or was it more a desire to make sense of the bad things that were happening at the time dispensationalism came on the scene?  Why didn’t Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley and even thinkers further back than them, not buy into the pessimism of this end times view?

Whatever one chooses to believe about how the future is going to play out begins in Matthew 24.  Depending on how one understands the questions the disciples ask Jesus and the answers Jesus gives, sets you on course to see other prophetic passages like Daniel 2 and 9  and the vision of Revelation a certain way.  So in my mind Matthew 24 is central and critical to determining whether we should view the future as going downhill to an ugly end or view the future as a glorious and beautiful Bride welcoming her Bridegroom to a planet where every knee is, by choice, bowing and every tongue confessing that this Groom is Lord, to the Glory of the Father.

So here is my suggestion to you.  Read 24.  Try to read it in something other than a study Bible and maybe use a fresh translation.  Ask the Spirit to guide you into all truth.   Ask questions and write them down.  If you do that you will be in a better place to interact with where the Spirit has been guiding me.

Next week I will begin to open up Matthew 24 as it has been opened up to me and we will go from there.

By the way, step 3 in my Bible study method led me to a man named Harold Eberle who along with another man wrote a book called Victorious Eschatology.  I was doing a search for positive end times scenarios and stumbled upon Harold’s teaching.  I ordered the book and found it very helpful.  But because I had already done my study and had already made some desicions about my personal convictions, Victorious Eschatolgy was confirmation and affirmation that I was on the right track.  I hesitate to tell you about the book, not because you will not need to read what I write, but because I fear you will do what most people do and simply decide what you believe based on what someone else says, rather than doing your own study, but that is really not my problem.  Follow this link to find the book.  HERE

See you next week!

April 30, 2009 at 9:42 am Leave a comment

What are you passionate about? Lorissa Kingsbury

Sayre, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago I sent an email to about 50 people asking this questionWhat are you passionate about?  Several responded and here is the first post.  Maybe seeing how this looks more of you will want to join.

Lorissa Kingsbury is one of our Spiritual daughters here in Sayre.  Just writing that made me think about how blessed we are to be able to say that.  We share that honor with others and that is part of what makes Spiritual parenting so special.  Lorissa is a lot of things including wife to Charlie, mother to Chaynee, Carty and Cason.  She is a sports woman who has competed at the highest level in rodeo, basketball, track and probably others.  She is a runner, a serious runner, having completed a number of marathons including the Boston Marathon.  I think her best time is under 3:15 which is very good.  She grew up on a ranch in Texas and she and Charlie ranched together in Colorado after they travelled doing rodeo together.  She loves the Father, hears from Him and stays in step with the Spirit. 

lorissa-11

What is Lorissa passionate about?  Here is what she wrote:

I am passionate about my relationship with the Father first and foremost. I feel like outside of that I am in a season of my life where my main focus is on my family and serving them. And I love it and enjoy every moment I have with Charlie and my children. I am completely satisfied with just being “Mom and Charlie’s wife” as it’s called by most. The enemy tries often to remind me that I don’t do much for the Kingdom. But I am passionate about the real truth and that is that I am building character and implanting the Kingdom of God in not only my children but all their friends.

I have been asking the Father what’s next for me as my youngest children start school. I think another child is part of the picture but have yet to see that come to pass. I am passionate about running and fitness and nutrition. It has been a lot of fun to pass on the things that I know God has downloaded to me concerning being healthy to my family and lots of friends. I have wondered for a long time if personal training is for me or maybe teaching and coaching.

I guess the thing I could use help with is prayer to know what the next season will consist of and when it will start. That really makes me laugh because isn’t that the question that everyone ask? And almost constantly. I just know that until I hear from the Father I’m going to do my best to just love Him and the people He has given to me.

lorissa-21

Thanks Lorissa!  I love what I see the Father doing in you and in me, through you. 

 

 

 

 

Lorissa and Charlie

Now see, that wasn’t so hard.  If you want to join us check out the last part of this POST and then respond!

April 29, 2009 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

24 (A Kingdom view of the end times.)

Several weeks ago I wrote in this post (HERE) these words:

If we believe what is going on is just a precursor to the End, how does that affect the way we think? If we are just going to duck and cover during these so called “last days” of grave uncertainty and shaking, will we miss the opportunity of a lifetime to actually bring Kingdom values to bear on the crisis?  (BTW, we have no idea if these are the last days, and have no way of knowing, so Jesus said in Matthew 24:36. There is a lot in Matthew 24 we need to understand from a Kingdom perspective, rather than just (dispensational) an end times approach. Anyone want to work on that?)

                       end_times

No one jumped at the opportunity to write anything about Matthew 24 from a Kingdom perspective, didn’t expect anyone would, so I decided I was going to.  So here comes a new series called 24 (A Kingdom view of the end times.)

No doubt this will take a while as I am going to write as I learn.  I will warn you up front that what I write is a departure from my upbringing, my training and the church culture I was raised in.  It will be a departure from what has become the popular American church view of the end times.  It will be a departure from the pessimistic view of the end times made possible and popular with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible.  This reference Bible proposed in its footnotes very negative scenarios of the future that were largely taken from the work of John Nelson Darby, the father of a theological perspective called dispensationalism.  Since the time of Dr. Scofield hundreds if not thousands of scary end-time books have come on the scene, none more popular than the Left Behind series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.  Such books  and related teachings have become so popular and accepted in the American church that a negative eschatology (study of last things) has become the most popular view in the western church.

It should be noted that this view of the future has been popular in the Christian culture for a very short period of time, less than 100 years.  It probably peaked in “popularity” when we moved from the 20th century to the 21st, a few years back.  Some of you will no doubt remember all the hustle and bustle surrounding Y2K and the “end of the world as we know it” ideas that were all over the place. 

This series will be a departure from a pessimistic view of eschatology and will attempt to paint an optimistic view of the future from a Kingdom perspective.  A Kingdom view is optimistic about the future because it understands King Jesus and His Family (the church) will take over this world, not Satan.

I fully recognize that the days in which I am writing these words are not very welcoming to an optimistic or victorious view of the future.  Pessimistic end time scenarios are abundant and it does appear the door is wide open to an eschatology that sees nothing but a down hill slide until finally the Father has had enough and beams the church out of the mess, burns up the planet, defeats the anti-christ and calls an end to this hopeless and defiled planet. 

Many Christians (some are my friends/family) actually are excited about the brokenness of our world and see every new crisis as one more rung on the ladder that gets us out of here. One person told me not long ago that these days of economic collapse didn’t worry him because they just mean we are closer to being raptured then ever before.  In other words all the bad stuff going on all over the world (war, earthquake, famine, disasters of all kinds, swine flu pandemics, economic collapse and so on) are actually good things because they are signs that the end is near.  I don’t blame anyone for seeing things this way, it is hard not to. 

As difficult as it is, in these days, to argue for any kind of optimistic view of our world and the future, I am going to try and present a view of the future, rooted deeply in the Biblical text, that presents not only an optimistic view of last things but a victorious one as well.  Jesus wins and He wins, not by giving up on the planet He died for, but by continuing to work the plan, until every knee bows and every tongue confesses.

I am certain what I write will create disagreement, probably in some cases vicious disagreement and I am probably not inclined to participate in arguments that are raised by what I write.   Ask questions, question my view, whatever, but don’t waste a lot of time presenting the dispensational view, I think I have that one down.  I might be all wrong, but its a blog not a textbook.

What I hope to do is present your Savior as the King He is.  A victorious King with a victorious Bride.  Not sitting around fearfully waiting for the end to get here but a King and His Bride that are quietly, steadily, faithfully, supernaturally, confidently, hopefully, extending His Kingdom into all corners of this planet, in order to present our King with a redeemed and renewed planet over which to rule. 

Drop by and read a little, let me know what you think.

April 28, 2009 at 10:45 am 1 comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.77

Sayre, Oklahoma

Wow!  What a weekend, weather wise.  Wind, lots of wind, some rain, hail, tornadoes on the ground to the northwest, southeast and at least for me, a sense of unsettledness related to the weather, that I have never had any where else we have been.  I suppose I will get used to it, at some level and not pay much attention, like the people who live here, but for now I keep a close eye on the radar and the TV as they track the storms that are rolling in here one after the other.  Here is a link to a map of doppler radar for our area if you are interested.  HERE.

Item one.  One of the best church websites I know of is Bethel Church out in Redding, California.  Not only is it a good website it is also a really good church.  Linda and I get the weekly podcast of their service each week and have learned a lot listening to their teachers.  They now have a subscription service site that is also very good if you want to get live streaming video or archived video of some really good worship and teaching.  The church site is HERE and the subscription site HERE.

Item two.  When I started blogging two years ago, I probably got in at the peak of blogging as a cultural phenomenon.  There are still more than 6 million of us out here but for many blogging was so “a while ago”.  I am thinking about finally going to the next step of getting a MySpace or Facebook page, before it is over.  Do you TwitterYouTubeYammer? Social networking is not just a fad, or a trend it is the way it gets done today.  My friend Cody, who is a former world champion bull rider and a man who wants to impact the young bull riding generation with the gospel (and one of the most faithful friends I have ever had) followed his kids into social networking and in a few days had a following numbering almost 1000 “friends”.  Cody can now speak into all these young people in ways that were not possible not long ago.  If you are interested in reading more on this subject try HERE.  Social networking is not changing our world it already has!

Item three.  I really do like this song “From the Inside Out (Everlasting)” by Hillsong United, but I post it not so you can hear it so much as to see if I can actually post a video.  Am I getting good or what?

Item four.  For those of you who really do read the meanderings but did not want to get extra points last week or really did not understand the statement about a girl in a flatbed Ford, I post this video to educate you in the finer points of music and Winslow, Arizona.

Well, enough foolishness. 

I leave you with this thought: Proper theological foundations, as the center of our faith, never leads to an encounter with God.  

Take it easy.

April 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm 1 comment

Home, home on the range…

Sayre, Oklahoma

Since we are from the Pacific Northwest and most of the people we know there and in Arizona have never been to Oklahoma, we get asked a fair amount about what it is like out here.  I did post some pictures a year ago from the Camp of Champions, a rodeo Bible camp here on the ranch, but have never really focused on where we are parked and what it looks like from our little space.  So, here are a few pictures from around our 5th wheel.

trail-fron

 

 

 

 

 

 Our little spot in the middle of 100+ acres of grass.                                                                                        

field

Just in the last week we have been here things have greened up a lot.  Rain is still needed and expected this weekend.

barn1

This is the view I have out the window over the desk where I write most of the Juniper Tree posts.  You can only see about a third of this barn in this picture and you don’t see another house that is further to the left.  This is a big property with this large barn, 3 houses and several other buildings.  There is also a large roping arena, bucking shoots (did I really write that?  chutes, chutes, I know that.  Living in Western OK, I guess) and three ponds.

big-h-field

Our trailer pretty much faces north.  Out to the east, across the field and a small pond sits what we affectionately call the Big House.  For years Trinity met in a small building that was once the club house for a golf course and more recently a steak house.  The most recent use of this property, prior to Trinity buying it was a race horse training ground.  The Big House is the gathering place for the Trinity Fellowship Family and where our Convergence classes and Summit are held.  It is a beautiful building that reflects the Family atmosphere and casual western culture here in Western Oklahoma.  I will try to post some pictures, one of these days, of the Big House.

truck

Looking north to south you can see the Little House behind the truck and trailer.  The Little House is where the offices are and where we spend a lot of our time.  If the picture was a little more focused on the house you could see the shingles are ripped off.  Just before we got back here they had winds of over 70mph that came out of the north.  Not sure what would have happened to us if we had been here.  We are coming into the tornado season and wind does become a serious issue out here.

jake

Jake really loves it here.  Lots of room to run, chase the ball, rabbits, turkeys, deer, armadillos and bark at all the visitors that come to the Little House.  It does get warm for him but he is always seems happiest here on the ranch.

trail-side-1

Green grass, blue sky and all the room to roam one could want.  Linda’s comment when we got back here last weekend was “I like our private RV park!”  We are blessed.

April 24, 2009 at 9:39 am 3 comments

Since I am on a roll…

Isn’t this a great pic of a happy CP?  Canyon Paul is a little bigger but that smile is still all over him!

cimg3833

April 23, 2009 at 9:15 am 4 comments

Couldn’t resist.

Sloan is our oldest grandchild and he lived with us for most of his first year during a very difficult time in our family’s history, so there is a special bond between the two of us.  I am so thankful for all the grandchildren we have been given and they are all very special to me but  I couldn’t resist posting this picture.

poppa2020sloan1

April 22, 2009 at 7:43 pm 1 comment

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