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.

Continue reading

Christian Lust for the “Supernatural”

UntitledI am thankful for forty years of charismatic heritage. I have experienced the best and the worst that universe can offer. If, like Paul, I had to show off my “supernatural credentials,” or my resume of “supernatural experiences,” I could hold my own. I choose to boast of something, er, Someone else. Today, the lust for manifestations, and self-centered, insecurity driven, need for a “touch” from His presence, etc., are leading more and more believers (especially naïve younger believers) into New Age, Gnostic, occult, and other pagan practices and “spiritual techniques” in the name of “being open to the Spirit.”

Continue reading

“None Dared Join Them for Fear” – Why did Pagans Join the Early Church?

Have you ever wondered why hundreds and thousands joined the early communities when it would cost them everything? Great grace, power, and fear were upon the ekklesia (church). We’re not too crazy about #3 these days-it’s not church growth seeker friendly. “None dared to join them,” doesn’t fit our “church growth strategies.” Yet even with great fear, people joined themselves. Why?

Continue reading

Discerning “False” Prophets

business is full of thoughtsBalaam gave the only accurate Messianic prophecy in the Pentateuch and he was a false prophet! There’s more to the issue of who is or isn’t a “false prophet” than an accurate/inaccurate prediction of a future event.

Continue reading

“Whose God is Their Belly” – by Ken Talbott

obesity 1My dear friend, Ken Talbott, is in a life and death battle with liver and pancreatic cancer.  I have known and walked with Ken for close to 15 years. I respect him and admire him deeply, not just because of how he is navigating this season in his life, but for who he is in Christ.

This recent effort of his has a vitality about it that usually comes from only someone who, in the midst of the struggle, has touched the Spirit. Right-wing evangelicals tend toward manic obsessiveness about certain sexual sins in others, while being criminally indifferent/silent about other sins that are much closer to home!

Perhaps if we would heed someone who is facing his mortality because of lifestyle choices, we might live more abundantly in Christ. Christ may be our healer, but we are responsible for our health. It is a partnership effort. If we are absent in the partnership, many of our illnesses are no mystery.

I pray we might hear the Lord in Ken . . . listen, and live. I pray we would focus on our own sins, sins in the house, before we go pointing the finger at sins in the culture and society. Judgment MUST begin in the house. 

Reprinted with permission. This post is not necessarily an endorsement of any of the specific treatments Ken may be pursuing, nor a recommendation for what others should do facing similar diagnosis. Ken’s path is between Ken, Robin (his wife), and the Lord. The point is to hear the Spirit of the Lord in Ken’s testimony, not argue about the medical-pharmaceutical establishment versus alternate holistic treatments.  Let him who has an ear, hear.

_____________________________________________

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. -James 5:16 (New International Version)

In my ‘umble opinion, the Lord has recently helped me identify several stages in the healing process that is helping people like me face down and treat my pancreatic and liver cancer. The first stage is articulate, thorough confessions of sin. I do assert that the evidence suggests most American Christians fiercely resist this confessional stage—often in the name of a sloppy understanding of God’s grace. Unfortunately, in the process, they miss out on it’s absolutely necessary role in the overall healing process.

When they first told me I had stage-four pancreatic cancer and that I was, in effect, dead meat, with less than six months to live, I started exploring what kinds of things people like me have done to, in the words of trauma surgeon, Dr. Lorraine Day, create the conditions favorable to the development of my own type of cancer.

In Dr. Day’s compelling testimony on her website, DrDay.com (a must-see), Dr. Day presents a compelling case for how, through resisting her own professional training and peer pressure, she not only found out what she had done to herself to get her fast-growing cancer, but how she could lick it without the need for immune-system-trashing oncology of her background training.

Now, in my opinion, gluttony and pancreatic cancer go together. Once I made this connection clearly (helped along by my health coach, Ray Gebauer, in this thought-provoking article, “How Does God Feel about Over Eating?”), the Lord helped me go deeper and deeper into healing’s confessional stage, until finally I could see with new eyes Hosea 2’s advice to the children of Israel:

14 [a]Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
“Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
that we may offer the fruit of our lips.[b]

I began to perceive that the sin behind my decades of gluttonous abuse of my body was at its core not acknowledging God in ALL things. Instead, I chose to suppress my consciousness to the “still, small voice” of the Holy Spirit and blotted out the multiple warnings throughout the years (such as a potbelly in what I made into my midlife’s sedentary years) that had whispered to me about my gluttony:

“Whose god is their belly.”. . .

“Whose god is their belly.”. . .

“Whose god is their belly.”

I kept hearing those words whispered to my inner spirit, but it took me decades and my cramming multitudinous gallons of ice cream, fries, and junk food into my gullet and onto my overloaded pancreas before I got around to looking up and finding this Philippians 3: 17-21 passage from where this repeated, Holy Spirit’s warning was drawn.

What I saw was not pretty: Philippians 3: 17 – 21 (NIV):

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

What Are You Doing with Your Precious Immune-System “Talent”?

The way I now see it is: The Lord presented me my immune system somewhat like a “talent” that is infinitely more valuable than the one, two, or five bags of gold given to the Master’s servants in Jesus’ parable of the “talents”!

At the day of judgment “for deeds done in the body,” I’m not sure about you, but I certainly don’t want to stand before my Master and declare, “Through making my pot belly my “god”, overwhelming my hard-working pancreas, and “setting my mind on earthly things” (cf., Philippians 3: 17-21) in my lifestyle choices, I actually went out and not just hid my valuable “asset/talent” like the servant in Christ’s parable, but I outright, willfully trashed my precious immune system in the process!

Within twenty years: “Hello, pancreatic cancer!”

So, my first step in the healing process was to confess how thoroughly I had worked toward the destruction of my own body.

Sure, as I told you last time, I have long-since blown off the oncologists’ advice to finish the job off by cutting, burning, and drugging my immune responses down to nothing (at the expense of more than my net worth and the building of theirs), but it was my own death-style choices that brought me to the present place I’m in right now.”

I have now confessed and, I believe, been forgiven—with my culinary wickedness being removed from me by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ—as far as the East is from the West!

After the well-articulated, in-depth confession can come God’s forgiveness and a wonderful new release into whatever He has for me ahead—whether healing me physically here and now, or bringing me home to Himself. But, when I depart from the earth, all will be well and I will go out clear, because I’m even now being ushered into a new era of cleansed “peace and purity” I have never before known.

Life is great!

Anybody See Dumbo in the Healing Room?

In my humble opinion, the elephant in many of the American Church’s “healing rooms” types of ministries is this: “We have all been asking for release from the consequences of our sins without touching the sins!” Perhaps next time instead we might start with the application of the blood of Jesus upon those carefully articulated, thorough confessions!

Since I started my responses to my current health challenges, I have moved well beyond the necessary, initial confession stage, as I am now starting to plumb the depths of God’s forgiveness and grace that follows the well-articulated confession of our sins.

Anything in here for you and yours?

Pullin’ and prayin’ for and with you, Ken Talbott

____________________________

Copyright 2013,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. 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. Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself?  Please go to www.stevecrosby.com for details of our Affiliate program. 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 article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.

Listen and Live: Three Miracles of “Quietness”

[wpvideo myAuT2jj]

If you come from a modern Evangelical church expression, it’s likely that there’s a facet of life in Christ that has been significantly under-represented to you. That is the practice/discipline of quietness: contemplation and meditation.

Continue reading

How “Good” Do We Have it? Very Good.

Front view portrait of four business executives jumping with arms raisedThe quality of life we enjoy in the West today is due in large part to the advancements of medicine and science. It’s not difficult to find a place of deep thankfulness when meditating on the reality of my birth in the 20th century rather than the 10th.  Five minutes of rational reflection on the facts of history should have the same affect on any of us. Of course, the deceit of pride is we begin to believe we’re entitled to certain things just because we’re alive. We know that the roadway to sin is paved with the cobblestones of thanklessness.[i]

Until the most recent times, the grueling struggle for mere existence was the normal lot of life for everyone but the rich or the aristocracy.  The average human life span in ancient Greece was 20 years.  It was 21 at the time of Christ. It grew to 30 years in medieval Europe, 47 years in the United States in 1900, and to over 75 years today.[ii] This means that hitting a ripe old age of 70 has only been a possibility for approximately the last .25% -.50% of recorded human history! [iii]  99.75%-99.50% of those who have gone before us[iv] on the planet would not share our definition of normal. Not only would our life span have staggered them, but the overall average health that we enjoy today would also have been inconceivable. Our predecessors were (along with millions of our contemporaries) locked in a bitter daily struggle for life or death that we just can’t comprehend.

Continue reading

Cessationism Undermines the Gospel

This post is a an excerpt from our newly released book: Your Empowered Inheritance . . . Now!

Why is Cessationism so damaging to the gospel?

Cessationism’s effect on the essence of the gospel cannot be ignored. It must be dismissed as either heterodoxy or heresy because it undermines, or completely overturns, crucial elements of the faith delivered by Christ and the apostles to the church, for which Jude exhorts us to contend:

  1. Its view of the Lord’s humanity is deficient. In Cessationism, Jesus is God’s representative man soteriologically and ethically, but He is God disguised as a man for power. This is borderline Apollinarian heresy.
  2. It attributes manifestations of power as attesting to inherent deity, thus undermining Jesus’s self-attested subordinate dependency on the Father and in disregard to subsequent similar manifestations of power through those who were not divine in essence.
  3. Full realization in time and space of the believer’s union with the Lord is undermined. Cessationism limits the expression of the believer’s union with the Lord to Christ-like character.
  4. The mystery of incarnational truth (Christ is incarnate again in the church) is openly resisted.
  5. It is in opposition to God’s eternal plan for redeemed humanity.
  6. It has a pessimistic and nominal view of the nature of the church, its destiny, and its present role as co-regent of the universe with Christ through intercessory prayer.
  7. It separates God’s people from the temporal benefits and powers of living in the foretaste of the age to come.
  8. It under-realizes the significance, responsibilities, and privileges of being the eschatological people of God.
  9. It artificially separates the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the believer from the power to manifest supernatural power through the same vessel.
  10. It has a deficient view of the effects of sin on man’s intellectual faculties. It mistakes the authority of the interpreter for the authority of Scripture.
  11. It minimizes or eliminates the modeling role of Jesus and the apostles. Historical passages of Scripture are said to have no doctrinal value in the present age, thus eliminating nearly fifty-nine percent of the New Testament as irrelevant to the modern believer.
  12. The doctrine of authentication of the apostles by signs and wonders is contrary to Scripture’s testimony that power alone, does not authenticate. God authenticates His message, not necessarily the messenger.
  13. Cessationism is equivalent to modern Pharasaism: holding orthodox (?) truth but in opposition to genuine spiritual manifestation.
  14. Occultists and New Age practitioners have filled the spiritual void caused by Cessationism in Western society.
  15. Reformed Cessationism has stripped the Protestant Church of spiritual discernment. Cessationist discernment is only a matter of agreement to Reformed theology,  doctrine,  and practice.

_______________________________

Copyright 2012,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. This is an excerpt of from our book: Your Empowered Inheritance . . . Now! available at www.goczn.com/srcrosby. 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 stephcros9@aol.com.

           

New Book Release! YOUR EMPOWERED INHERITANCE . . . NOW!

I am very pleased to announce the release of a book that has been stewing in my mental pot for fifteen years:

Your Empowered Inheritance . . . NOW! 

It is available in softcover (204 pages), Kindle, E-pub and .pdf formats from the Online Mall tab at www.goczn.com/srcrosby. You can search Stephanos Ministries or the book title.

This is a scholarly/academic critique of a doctrine called “Cessationism” that dominates the media and popular Christian culture of Evangelicalism in the West. It is the belief system that teaches certain gifts of the Spirit and the ministries of apostles and prophets “ceased” by divine design at the end of the first century (and other variations of that theme). 

In this book, I try to show that the essence of every vital, core, doctrine of the faith is undermined by Cessationism, and that it defrauds and disenfranchises believers from what is rightly theirs through the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the out-poured and indwelling Spirit.

This is written at a graduate/post-graduate level and it is hoped that it could be a valuable resource to serious students of scripture, leaders, and influencers who may be dealing with people or systems that eviscerates the gospel of Christ, and minimizes the scriptures own testimony of itself.

Copyright 2012,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. 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 stephcros9@aol.com.

If Only . . .: 'The Romantic "Revival" Gerbil Wheel'

The Revival Gerbil Wheel

If only – The Revival Gerbil wheel

The “revival” industry is a guilt and shame-based, obedience avoidance mechanism, that puts on to God responsibility for some great future day “if only” certain conditions are met by us. It fosters a do nothing (other than our meetings), hyper-spirituality that allows one to feel good about one’s self as being “spiritual” for begging, moaning, and pleading for “revival” in the future while doing nothing practical for humanity today.  The problem is, the “if only” list is never ending, conditions are never met, or some blame shifting mechanism is developed to explain away why “revival” never happens, in spite of all our spiritual gymnastics. Hucksters leverage the guilt to keep the meetings full and the cash flowing.


Continue reading