Ekklesia – Part One – Looking for The Church: 'Monday Morning Musing - May 10, 2021'

 

 

Being able to define a matter does not necessarily equate to possessing the reality of the matter. There is much discussion in social media about the ekklesia–the church–and attempts to “properly define it” so we can “correctly practice” it. Deeper, more foundational discussions need to occur first. It doesn’t matter how something is packaged and presented, if the content is toxic. The result will not be positive.

 

Copyright 2021. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

 

 

 

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Gentleness – Jesus Style: 'Monday Morning Musing - February 1, 2021'

Like humility and meekness, biblical gentleness is not a human personality trait. It is a spiritual awareness of our one-ness with each other in weakness. It is a quality that understands and lives from a relational awareness of mitigating circumstances. It does not demand its just due from stark legal, quid-pro-quo dynamics. Gentleness is like mercy. It is a tempering quality to the severity that is always inherent in naked justice.

 

 

Copyright 2021. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

 

 

Meekness – Jesus Style: 'Monday Morning Musings - January 25, 2021'

Biblical meekness, like humility, is also not a personality type. It has nothing to do with an external demeanor of diffidence. It does not involve being an emotional eunuch. It is about being fully alive, experiencing all range of emotion, but having those emotions under the rein of the governance of Christ. It does not mean I live as a doormat for others to abuse or degrade me.

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Copyright 2021. Dr. Stephen R. Crosby. www.stevecrosby.org. For video and audio resources, sign up as a student here. You will find a mix of both free resources and those with cost. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this blog article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a contribution through our Paypal button to help? Stephanos Ministries is NOT a 501-c-3 corporation Click here to understand why. Thank you and God bless you.

Dying to Self – What Does it Really Mean?: 'An Excerpt From: The New Testament Prophet - Understanding the Mind, Temperament, and Calling'

death to self

Dying to self? What is it really?

There is a brand of Christianity that is always talking about the cross and the importance of dying to self. At best it is an imbalanced over-emphasis–a half-truth–and at worst, flat-out error. It promotes sin-conscious introspection, feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, self-hatred, unworthiness, spiritual paralysis, and legalism. It promotes spiritual pride in a reverse sort of way—you are esteemed for how worthless you feel about yourself and how “humble” you have become in appearance to others who control access to power in the specific church culture.

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Laodicea: Are We Healing or Refreshing to Others?: 'Guest Blog by MIchael Rose'

Laodicean Indifference

Laodicea: Hot or Cold?

The city of Laodicea was founded around 260 BC, in the Lycus River valley in what is now Turkey. It was a bustling city known for its great wealth from medicine, textiles/wool and finance. Laodicea was so wealthy that when it suffered a major earthquake in 60 AD, they refused the support of the Empire and financed their own rebuild.

Laodicea had it all – except water. So they constructed two aqueducts. One sourced from the cold mountain water of Colossae, and the other flowed from the hot springs of Hierapolis. However, by the time the cold fresh mountain water from Colossae and the hot, healing waters from Hierapolis flowed through the aqueducts, the water had become lukewarm. This provides some context for the images that John writes concerning the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-22.

The Spirit of the Lord challenges the citizens of Laodicea on their self-sufficiency stemming from their wealth. They think they are rich because of their finance, textile and eye medicine, but the Lord sees them as blind, bankrupt, and threadbare. We also find this strong statement: I wish you were hot or cold but because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!

The image of cold speaks of the refreshing that cold mountain water brings. Likewise, hot speaks of the healing, therapeutic aspect of the hot springs. They are neither refreshing or therapeutic – they are lukewarm. The religious elite of Jesus’ day had some lofty thoughts about God, they knew the scriptures well and lived with moral excellence. They had become comfortable, all about their traditions, interpretations, practices and knowledge but missed the very Messiah they had been anticipating. In spite of their religious prosperity, they were neither refreshing to others (cold) nor were they healing and comforting (hot).

Laodicea: What could this mean for us as a church today?

What if lukewarm is where we are no longer refreshing to others, or no longer healing and a comfort to folks? Is this the same as salt losing its saltiness? Could it be that sometimes despite all our great doctrines, practices and traditions we have subtly lost sight of Jesus and His mission? The place where to love God and love others as Jesus loves us becomes a mere platitude or a sappy sentiment? To do so is to be lukewarm.

I am not diminishing the importance of healthy theology or healthy practice, but they are not an end unto themselves. They posture us towards Someone and something greater – Jesus and His mission. This posture helps free us from the trap of self-righteousness that is often so darn intoxicating and yet makes us so lukewarm. Like the Church in Laodicea, we are invited deeper into a relationship with King Jesus. It is here that we discover what it means to buy gold refined in the fire, to be clothed in the garment of Heaven, and to buy medicine for our eyes so that we might see, really see! This is to be hot and therapeutic or cold and refreshing for a world that longs for good news that is actually Good News!

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Copyright 2014, Michael Rose. Michael is a spiritual director and the author of Becoming Love, Avoiding Common Forms of Christian Insanity

Becoming Love

Becoming Love

His passion is to help others to learn to live loved and live lives of love.  He  blogs at IamSignificant.ca

Spiritual Covering: 'A Doctrine of Demons'

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Covering – A Doctrine of Demons

 

Like sequels to a lousy B-grade horror movie, bad ideas  often get recycled in the Body of Christ. It happened again for me this week in a painful phone conversation with a dear, damaged, soul.  The bad-penny doctrine I am referring to is the concept of absolute submission to an alleged “spiritual covering” as a necessity for your spiritual welfare and advance. The spiritual covering is allegedly embodied in your pastor/leader, etc. This issue has been hit hundreds if not thousands  of  times over the years by myself and other authors and bloggers. As confirmed by my phone conversation this week, like a zombie, it just won’t die.  For Jesus’ sake, and for the well being of His church, I am going to briefly hit it again here.

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Being versus Doing: 'Step Away From The Cliché'

Being versus Doing

Being versus Doing

Clichés lodge in our minds for a reason: they’re catchy, memorable. However, they’re frequently only capable of capturing a  partial truth . . .  or maybe no truth at all. A preacherism cliché that is often heard in teachings and especially among “de-churched” folks goes something like this: “I am a human being, not a human doing.” I know what that statement is trying to reach: we are more to, and for, God than what we can produce. I understand how a nagging sense of inadequacy before God can be paralyzing.  However, in Christ’s kingdom, being and doing are not in competition with each other and being is not superior to doing. They are incomplete without each other.

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Royal Priesthood – Part 4: The Importance of Psalm 2 and Psalm 110

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0_61_geyser_old_faithfulUnderstanding Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 is critical to understanding all of the new testament and the genuine spiritual authority of a new covenant priesthood. These two Psalms are the scriptural base the apostles used to “justify” the existence of a new order of priesthood based on resurrection life! It is not an exaggeration to say, that the apostle’s interpretation and application of these two Psalms is the doctrinal foundation of the entire new testament, as they tried to explain the “Christ-event” to their generation.

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Royal Priesthood – Part 3: How Do You Explain a Resurrected God-Man?

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empty-tombAbusive spiritual authority is epidemic. Reactionary responses to abusive authority are also epidemic. My friends Don Atkin, Greg Austin, and myself address what genuine kingdom authority looks like: a serving nation of priests, patterned after the Head, the High Priest of our faith, the resurrected God-man, Jesus, the Messiah. That requires, as Desi used to say to Lucy, “some ‘splainin’.”

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A Blind Man with a Chain Saw – “Good Intentions are Not Enough”

Train_wreck_at_Montparnasse_1895So much interpersonal human damage is done by highly gifted (“anointed’) but relationally dysfunctional people. You can be a water-walking, Bible encyclopedia, “super apostle-prophet” or whatever, full of good intentions, and not truly know God, yourself, or others. You can preach, bring forth “outstanding revelation and insights,” and do wonders and be blind to the trail of human carnage behind you. It need not be so.

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