Is Your God a Magician or a Trainer?

I have found that Magictrainermany Christians, especially those who come from a broadly defined charismatic background (like myself), can easily fall into a very unhealthy view of God. It is almost like He becomes a heavenly magician who exists to work for lazy and undisciplined believers, rather than a loving Father who empowers and trains us. We expect God to do things for us supernaturally and  “cathartically.” What He often intends, and designs, is a process of development in which He awakens and trains us to recognize the life-potential of the gift of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

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Reassessing Father-Son Ministry – Part 4

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There is no scriptural example, anywhere, for the concept of recruiting spiritual sons. Recruitment is practiced commonly today as if it is a heaven-sanctioned methodology.

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Discerning False Apostles

business is full of thoughtsThere is much talk these days in some circles regarding apostles and prophets. This blog is the first in a two-part series regarding recognizing the difference between the genuine and the false. This blog is a collaborative effort of my good friends, Bryon Wiebold, and David Newby. I hope it helps you in this very important matter.

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Obedience: God’s Gift to Us, Not Our Gift to God

Beehive_geyserThe advice Job’s friends gave him typifies quid pro quo thinking: if you do well, you prosper; if you do evil, you suffer. If you are faithful to God and follow His precepts, only blessing follows; if you don’t follow His precepts, you are cursed—bad things happen to you. It is important to note that God personally appeared to rebuke Job’s counselors for thinking that way. Unfortunately, that is the way most teachers and preachers  (especially televangelists) present the gospel and the way most believers live it. It shows a deep lack of understanding of the realities or the new covenant.

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Hurt in Church? Get Past Your Past – Jesus Heals

SPiritual Abuse - How to Overcome It

Overcoming Spiritual Abuse

Folks with unhealed emotional damage from “church-world,'” will always view with suspicion the deep, healthy, and fulfilling mutual kingdom relationships others have one with another. They will see ill-motive, agenda, and dysfunction where none truly exists. They can’t get past their past. They assume that the present reality of others is the same as their past reality. It is unfortunate.

Perfectionistic, rationalistic, suspicious, skeptical, unbelief is not “discernment.” It is normally just people who have been badly hurt, trying to protect themselves from being hurt again, which is understandable, naturally speaking. Folks need space to process healing. Step-by step. You can’t rush someone past the stage of healing the Spirit is taking them through. But that does assume engagement in a process of healing, not bonding and forming an identity with one’s woundedness and eternally commiserating with those folks who are determined to not be healed.

If unhealed, that kind of person will end up in a church of one: themselves. Because, no one will ever be “right enough,” or no one “safe enough,” or no one “worthy enough” or “whole enough” for he/she to relationally invest in-LONG TERM. They will constantly separate, go from group to group, trying to find perfection only to live in cycles of chronic, reactionary, disappointment. Love involves risk, and risk involves the possibility of pain. Closed hearts cannot know love. Jesus is ready, willing, and able to do better than what we can do for ourselves by locking our selves down in a prison house of judgmental, isolationist, skepticism and calling it “safety” and “freedom from religion.” The only one we are fooling is ourselves.

God knows the unique circumstances of each of His children. There is no one-size-fits all “path” to healing. But healing is the prescription for us all.

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Copyright 2014,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephrcrosby@gmail.com.

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Reassessing Father-Son Ministry – Part 3

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The Scriptures refer to believers in churches as children in several passages such as: 2 Corinthians 6:13, 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 2:11; Galatians 4:19; 1 Peter 1:14, and multiple times in John’s epistles. The Corinthian and Galatian passages that mention fathers and sons/children are metaphors for the state of spiritual infancy of those in the community. It’s not necessarily a compliment, a model of ministry, a protocol, or standard to be maintained for all time. It is a metaphor for a relational spiritual reality and a season of spiritual development that we all pass through on our way to realizing our maturity in Him. .[1] Continue reading

Reassessing Father-Son Ministry – Part 2

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The theme of family saturates Scripture. The shared covenantal love in the Godhead is to be reflected on earth through natural and spiritual family relationships. The language, spirit, and methods of family are kingdom normal. However, the cults use the principle of family with great effect to win people into their association and to establish unbiblical belief systems and practices. Even the idea of family can be pushed too far.[1]

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Divine Disillusionment: 'Tugging Rugs and Tired Horses'

Tired Horses and Worn Out Rugs

Dealing With Disillusionment

Disillusion and disappointment are normal for anyone who has the courage to be a follower of Christ.  Spend time in the machinery of any local church expression, and you will face disillusionment sooner or later. Disillusionment can be mild or debilitating. It is often accompanied with despair and loss of hope. When we are in the middle of it, it can be so difficult to see any of God’s goodness. How can it be redemptively processed? It helps to understand what Father is up to when we feel our rug being tugged.

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An Appeal to Bethel, Redding: God is Not a Heavenly Landlord!

Follow the MoneyIf you want to see corruption in any endeavor, simply follow the money. Where money aggregates in large quantities, corruption easily follows–secular or “spiritual.”

The internet can be a very hostile place. Facebook can be toxic. I try not to respond to things I see in social media, because I know how easy it is to be slandered and attacked by people who do not know me. I have been the recipient of that kind of treatment and do not want to make a habit of doing it to others. I much prefer leaving people alone and not “policing the universe,” especially if I do not have a personal relationship with those who some might think need policing!

However, every once and a while, something comes across the internet, which if confirmed, can be so disturbing and so slandering to our Father’s nature and character, that it is appropriate to respond publicly. This is especially so if the source is from someone who influences hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. With great influence comes great responsibility, and the need for great accountability, and not just from “hand-picked friends and associates!” If someone posts something publicly, a public response is not a “violation of Matthew 18,” neither is it “judgmentalism” nor slander.

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Can Two Walk Together in Disagreement? YES!: 'Christian Unity is Not Uniformity'

Can we walk together in disagreement? Yes.

Can we walk together in disagreement? Yes.

Can two walk together except they be agreed?  – Amos 3:3

It grieves the Spirit of our Father when the scriptures are so poorly handled as to misrepresent their meaning and His heart.

This verse is commonly used as the scriptural justification for brothers and sisters to separate from each other, to sever relationship, on any number of secondary issues. Regrettably, I have used it in the past, and have had it used on me, as recently as in the past few months.

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