Everyone I know seems to be recovering from something!
But quite a few people I know haven’t even started recovering yet, because they deny they are sick! "Denial" is not a River in Egypt!
“After these things Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Luke 5:27-32)
In actuality some among us are virtually dead already and don’t even know it! Perhaps you know someone in this group?
Our First Step Forward into entering fully into real life is to become aware of how Jesus sees things.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Jesus is in a position to know. He has been where we are, “done that already” We have no excuse whatever for ignoring Him. He’s is running the entitled universe as we speak. .
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an Antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” (1 Peter 3:18-22)
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death...” (Revelation 1:17-18)
If you still doubt who Jesus is consider Chapter One of the Letter to the Hebrews:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”?
“I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?
But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
And of the angels He says:
“Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.”
But to the Son He says:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail.”
But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Hebrews 1:1 - 2:4)
Catch a glimpse of how God sees you in His Son:
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:14-17)
The new-born ones all around us who received Jesus Christ as Lord at one time in their lives and were born again by the Spirit (John 3:15). -- aren’t lost in most cases -- they’ll make it to heaven but with little to show for their wasted lives.
Folks in the recovery ministries of the world almost always know the hell they were saved from. They are way better off (so far) from their brethren and sistern (the “dead in Christ” all around them). They usually are found in the vast company of cultural Christians extant everywhere in the world.
From John Eldridge:
“You must understand an important distinction—there is Christianity, and then there is church culture. They are not the same. Often they are far from the same. The personality conveyed through much of Christian culture is not the personality of Jesus but of the people in charge of that particular franchise. Tragically, the world looks at funny hats or big hair, gold thrones and purple curtains, stained glass or fog machines and assumes this is what Jesus must be like. When you are confronted with something from Christian culture, ask yourself, Is this true of the God of the wind and the desert, the God of sunshine and the open sea? This will dispel truckloads of religious nonsense.”
What God wants for each of us down on the planet is healing and wholeness not mere coping, enduring, and development of survival skills. The kings and queens of Narnia were only small children when we first meet them in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Watch what they become as they discover Aslan. He is not a tame lion, but he is good.
Consider the man Jesus as He is now today. He wants to know each and everyone of us intimately and personally! “Intimately” means we are to have no other gods before Him in our lives (even our spouse). This in an unattainable goal unless we drop everything and come to terms with Jesus as He is now today.
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:7-12)
King Ego leads each of us to the wrong assumption that we are the center of the universe, the most important person who ever lived, the man or woman who deserves the very best in life—but who has been marginalized and neglected.
Those inflated egos of ours have been deceived by a really bad fallen angel who said (long ages ago),
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
(Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.)” (Isaiah 14:12-15)
You and I need not worry excessively about the “dead in Christ” who are walking among us, or who have already “passed on” (whatever that means).
The “dead in Christ” will be raised first!
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13)
The Love of Jesus for us saves us; not our sound theology or our reasoned thinking.
The Choirs of Heaven
My letter report to Bruce Maez and Andy Burnham on June 23, 2019.
Subject: Recovery Ministries Sabbath (Saturday) Gathering s
Last Saturday I attended the area recovery group meeting at pbc, per your suggestion. Thank you very much. I had a wonderful time and I pray our God will greatly enlarge the borders of this movement. This display of unity is wonderful to see! Lots of brotherly and sisterly love.
“If you see a small fire, go pour oil on it,” (RCS)
I had a bunch of 3x5 cards with me, so I filled seven with notes as I gained insights into the evening from start to finish.
My Number One concern for the age we live in is Biblical illiteracy! There is a famine in the land!
The church is supposed to be “the secret government of society” as Ray taught. “As the church goes so goes the nation.” The overwhelming problems we face today reflect the failure of the church more than fifty years ago.
We can’t trust God for big things when we do not know what He is like as a Person. What in the world is Jesus really doing? We have no excuse for not knowing the Word of God and not expounding it in the power of the Spirit.
I believe He is running the entire universe with perfect orchestration and with flawless integrity.
He is our Father and we can know Him intimately.
We are supposed to be team players with Jesus as His beloved sons and daughters. We are not supposed to be treading water in a septic tank! We are up against powerful enemies: the flesh, the world, and the devil.
“...we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
I see another huge issue in America having to do with our missing fathers!
I was very much at home last Saturday because the horizontal connectedness was so good! The sense of family and of commonality was very fine. Your hard work was evident! What was missing was any vertical communication with God our Father. I noticed at that no one talked about Jesus! He is the object of our worship and reverence and awe. When we gather we ought to be in fear weakness and much trembling.
See: Horizontal and Vertical Realities.
The cliche “Christ-centered ministry” is, I think, meaningless. Of course He is with us! That is the launching pad for us coming into His holy temple for grace to help in time of need. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise knowledge and instruction.”
We have credibility with outsiders when they are afraid of our God! People move out of recovery into real life when they see the splendor of the King in glory.
Rahab told Joshua,
“I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
“Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2:8-13)
Shortly after that, The Angel of the Lord, (Jesus) disabused Joshua of His assumption that God needed His help!
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”
Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.”
And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
Peninsula Bible Church is certainly serving better than most sister churches (based on appearances), but surely not as far as the Lord of the Church expects. We ought not to shrink in shame at his coming. (1 John 2:28)
We won’t see a revival in our day apart from every single member of the body moving from recovery into knowing Jesus as He really is now, and obeying Him with fear and trembling every day. No more hiding in the closet!
In considering our usual protocol at PBC I was struck by our Lord’s feeding of the 5000—and a great message by Ray showing that teaching, awe and amazement of Jesus came first. Then food and fellowship. We have it backwards!
The very last church at the end of the age just before the Rapture is Laodicea! Here again Ray anticipated the Rapture 50 years ago. It was delayed, but surely is still on God’s calendar whether we are ready or not.
The Big Burner
The Last Church before the Rapture
If the Rapture Happened Today
Thanks for listening!
My Keywords: Ignoble, The Flesh, Sabbath Rest, Body Life Revisited, entertaining the saints, wait for the Spirit, honey, holy hush, where is our transcendent God? No Fear, wonder, awe, sense of our deep need. Great horizontal fellowship. Bible illiteracy. No “electricity” but good “chemistry.” No “fear of the Lord”. No Millennials attending. Few old saints. Jesus feeding the 5000 featured all day teaching, then food. Muddy water. Dumbed down culture. Clean but pagan. Cultural Christianity. No connection to the eternal church “militant and triumphant.” Disconnected from the past. Existential. Exchanged Life not in evidence. Jesus not the main object or subject of attention. “Christ-centered” is a meaningless term. (No main burner at PBC. Satellite burners flickering out. Soulish Christianity. Not AC as Ray taught). Wisdom from below is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (James). We are fully Laodicean! No discernment of spirits, therefore no separation. Coming attraction: the maw of hell. “Staged Recovery?” Where is the “believing remnant” or “the called-out ones?” We Harmless Christians. Treading water in the septic tank of life. Partial healing—not emerging wholeness (holiness, adult sonship). Band aids on cancer. Rat race lifestyles in SV. Cultural imprisonment. No discipleship evident. No spiritual gifts evident. “Restoration” to what? Veil intact in the Temple.“Performance oriented.” “...our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Three enemies. False worship (the flesh is very religious). The “good side of the flesh” is unacceptable to God, (Gibeonites in Joshua). Father-wounds in families these days are huge. This comes from not knowing Jesus intimately since He is the only one who shows us the Father. We seem to all live a Fake Sabbath Rest (Hebrews 3,4). Sharp two-edged sword missing.
Huge pluses: No hierarchical top down management evident. Wonderful “tender love of the brethren in evidence.” Servant authority functioning well. Much love and great people! Individual uniqueness has not been subsumed! Wonderful evening!
Just a reminder... this Saturday, June 22, 2019, from 5:00-8:00pm, will be the recovery celebration at PBC--an event where eight Christian recovery ministries on the Peninsula are all joining together for an evening of food (prepared by Maureen), music (by the band Isaiah), and a speaker (Kevin Bost). It should be a great time and hopefully will be the start of more collaborative undertakings (like maybe a joint retreat).
Hope you'll be able to be join us this Saturday!
The Temptation and Fall of Man
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The Snake in the Garden by James Montgomery Boice
Developing Priorities in Life.
Horizontal and Vertical Realities
Finding the Will of God (Ray Stedman)
Accidents and Disasters…
Israel's Certain Future
God’s Land, God’s People
Come, Thou Almighty King
Lambert's Music Library
San Diego, 1946, Age 14
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Edited May 3, 2023.