Christian Community at its best is an all-inclusive ministry of many colors where every member is a respected joint of supply; juxtaposed to the "One Man Show", which is dominated by the color of the one man, regardless of the colors of his supporting cast of "lackeys". The former is a multi-cultural, multi-racial expression of ONE HOLY RACE where Jesus is the Head, while the latter often makes that claim, yet has an extra head, and falls dreadfully short of the mark.
Religion clings to that which is Lifeless and rigid. Wind, Water, Light, Fire, & Wine aren't rigid. Where there is no allowance for freedom and flow in the Spirit, fulness of Joy, in the present, seems like a cruel, elusive, and heretical notion.
Most of today's church systems are set up like bad pot-luck dinners in five-star restaurant buildings; where just one person brings a dish, everyone shares from that one flavor, and money is collected for the upkeep of the elaborate restaurant and the salaries of the one-dish-chef and his or her staff. This was not the case in the First Century Church, where the church met in homes and every member was truly a joint of supply during their regular gatherings.
Heaven is the invisible and exact blueprint of what Earth shall one day look like. It is the very culture that we incrementally pray into this visible, earthly realm when we cry, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven"! Heaven & Earth are where God and mankind shall continue to dwell together forever. The air that we breathe is invisible, yet it is not far away. The same applies in an even deeper way to our relationship in and with The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit! An innumerable company of angels and a great cloud of witnesses (those who have "died" and long to be clothed again with their glorified, physical bodies) also surround us continually in this unseen, yet ever-so-near realm called heaven!
God didn't create Heaven because He was homeless. He created it as an invisible realm which would perfectly complement Earth forever and provide a perfect atmosphere where He could dwell with mankind in His visible creation. The Incarnation of Jesus and His resurrected and glorified, EARTHLY body are everlasting proof of Heaven's inseparability from Earth! Heaven isn't "somewhere out there". Heaven is closer than the air we breathe!
With over 33,000 denominations professing Christ, it's important to be a life-long student of the Spirit and the Word (To include an understanding of History, Culture, Language, and Audience Relevance).
If we are to take our beliefs and ourselves seriously, we must know and learn Jesus for ourselves and be willing to admit that while our family, our church leaders, our seminary, and those with whom we affiliate are worshipping the right God, there are plenty of Christians whose doctrines are obviously wrong on many levels.
The chances that we were born into a family with perfect doctrine is a virtual impossibility. The same holds true for the "brand" that we were "born into", believe that God placed us in, or simply chose for ourselves...especially if our choices were based on programs, good singing, pretty people, great coffee, or "liking the pastor".
Over 33,000 denominations??? I understand that that number is contested. However, It's safe to say that we shouldn't feel bad about professing that the Holy Spirit is our primary "Bible Teacher", questioning whatever we believe to be questionable, and humbly acknowledging that our group may not have all of their theological ducks in a perfect row...regardless of what Grandma, the Pastor, or the Denomination has been saying for centuries.
Doing this doesn't shake our FAITH IN JESUS, it simply allows us to KNOW HIM MORE and to live fuller lives!
Unless we've been deceived into believing that our church leaders have absolute perfect theology, the content of the previous paragraphs certainly shouldn't cause us to lose respect for God-given leadership in the Body of Christ. In fact, our level of respect and graciousness should increase once we acknowledge that we all have imperfect, yet growing understandings of the Perfect Christ...Who enjoys revealing Himself to ALL people!
The Earth's Apocalyptic Annihilation through a Divine Temper Tantrum has never been God's Will or method for bringing Peace, nor does He delight in "peace" through bullets, bombs or bullying!
Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Psalm 115:16 "The heavens are the heavens of the LORD; But the earth He has given to the sons of men."
Ecclesiastes 1:4 "A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever."
Psalm 78:69 "And he built his sanctuary like high [palaces], like the earth which he hath established forever."
Psalm 104:5 "Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever."
Psalm 37:29 "The righteous will inherit the land, And dwell in it forever."
Ephesians 1:21 "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end (an unending age). Amen."
"Heaven and Earth" (See Matthew 24:35- Herod's Temple and Jerusalem as people of the First Century knew it) passed away and the "Elements" (See 2 Peter 3:10,12- The basic doctrines and commands of the Old Covenant World of Israel...to most definitely include the priesthood and its practices) were destroyed by "fire" way back in 70 A.D.. To lack an understanding of ancient metaphors is to misinterpret the Bible and totally misunderstand God's original and ultimate Intention for planet Earth.
Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth (The New Covenant Church/Temple of the Holy Spirit/Body of Christ): for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (Perhaps...The Large, Bronze Bath in the Temple used for ceremonial washings...because the New Covenant, Royal Priesthood is clean through the finished work of Christ...and/or this speaks of an abolishment of the concept of a "Sea" of "Gentile outsiders".).
Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of PEACE. 7 Of the increase of [his] government and PEACE [there shall be] NO END, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
Luke 2:10 "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and ON EARTH PEACE, good will toward men."
Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
The Black Panther movie was a strong reminder of where the church has been, where she ought to be, and where she will be.
Much of the church isn't aware of the PRESENT TRUTH that, through the finished work of Christ, we already dwell in the "Land of Vibranium" (Seated in heavenly places in Christ)...and on earth, simultaneously.
Many hide out in their cocoon communities...away from "the world"...awaiting its destruction rather than cooperating in its healing. Some would love to use a sort of Anti-Vibranium (not exercising real power...just acting like mice with religious megaphones) to bully and conquer the world through fear-mongering, political and military means. For others "Justice" requires vengeance, by means of their own wrath.
It brings me great joy to know that Jesus, our Glorious Leader, has a Kingdom of Priests who will ultimately use all of "Wakanda's" Resurrection Power and resources for Earth's good!
I'm no movie expert, but I give this one an A+!
It was great...and on so many levels. I especially loved the way that it beautifully portrayed African people and people of African descent.
I'll save my comments about the constant presence of very strong women, throughout the film, for another post.
Grace, while remaining ever-present, functions through sweet, experiential, loving communion in and with the Godhead, not presumptive acts of human will and whim.
Being IN Christ doesn't automatically mean that our words and works are OF Christ.
His Finished Work brought us into a very special relationship with Himself...one which requires reciprocal Love (which is freely given by God and never humanly manufactured), appreciation and cultivation in order for His Glory to truly emanate from us.
Grace is all about ROMANCE, not presumption or legal transaction!
Why would you want to change the world for the better, when you believe that the answer to the problem is for things to get progressively WORSE...so that you can be "raptured"...once God finally gives up on His "Project Earth Failure"?
Bad Eschatology has done far more collective harm to our youth than guns, and is no doubt a contributing factor to much despair, hopelessness, low self-esteem, low self-worth, depression, anger, violence, death, ministry burnout, and ministries aborted...due to many novices attempting to "fulfill their call" before the imminent rapture buzzer sounds.
People greatly err when they confuse THOSE last days (Of the old system...ending in 70 A.D.) with this NEW DAY... and the Old Age, before the cross, with the New Age that was ushered in at the cross.
We'd also do well to stop conflating ancient metaphors that were fulfilled in and prior to 70 A.D. with present and futuristic reasons for a hopeless Earth that needs to be destroyed.
Our Loving Father has great things for this generation, while much of the church has "Left (Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom) Behind" in favor of the modern-day Christian fiction of Darby, Larkin, Scofield, Lindsey, Van Impe, LaHaye, Hagee, and friends.
Was your response to the recent school shootings, "Father, what do you want to do through me to help change this?" or was it "That's just a sign of the times. We don't have much longer."?
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on EARTH as it is in heaven!
The last time that I checked, there were no shootings in heaven; and there won't be any in God's fully renewed earth.
For those Christians who are all for "Freedom of Religion" AND mandatory, audible prayer in public schools... What happens if the prayer is being led by a Satanist?, a Buddhist?, a Hindu?, a Muslim?, someone who claims to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or another Christian whose beliefs don't line up exactly with yours? Do you expect people who don't believe in Jesus to pray in His Name? Should that be forced? Does God punish schools that don't adhere to your philosophy by ordaining mass shootings?
Fearful people quite often treat prayer as a superstitious, good luck charm that must be imposed on others in order to fend off a Zeus-like god who is longing to wreak havoc, pain, and death on those who don't yet know him. Others believe that it is in His nature to be passive-aggressively "absent" in the midst of human pain and suffering. Nothing could be further from the Truth! God isn't a school shooter, nor does He ordain such actions. God is LOVE!
The Truth is: We can't literally TAKE GOD OUT OF anything, and unceasing prayer can't be stopped by anyone or anything!
I agree that our influence must be stronger, but that should be facilitated through Jesus' Love flowing through us...not by us imposing religion on others. Our delegated authority must function through Love and Servanthood, not legislation and imposition.