Names of G-d # 26A and #26B

DISCLAIMER:  Make sure you read the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.  What follows is NOT intended as a guilt-trip.  Just one post to provoke thinking about what G-d’s opinion is about your current station.  With that in mind, read on.

Exodus 3:17, gang.

One of my absolute favorite topics is the nature of G-d.  For those who do not know,  I am not preeminently Charismatic or Classical Pentecostal, though the L-rd made abundantly clear that after he made me speak in tongues (“a good story, for another time”).  I was not raised in the Charismatic and Pentecostal streams of the faith, though it might seem like that was the case.  I was raised Methodist and have some definite Roman and Orthodox Catholic influences.

I heard the groan of a million Fundamentalist Evangelicals and their corporate eyerolls.  Giggle.  Good.  Some of my dearest friends are Catholic and Orthodox believers.

I raised that point about RC and OC influences in order to say that the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed are two of my favorite documents.  Why?  Because they are historic confessions that deal specifically with the nature of G-d.  The idea of “G-d From G-d, Light From Light, True G-d From True G-d, one in being with the Father”, really sums up a lot of the motive for why I go and do work with a whole lot of people.  My desire for so many people is that they know Him.  Not what others think Scripture says about Him, but Him.  Not what the Dispensationalists and the Calvinists and the Arminians think Scriptures says about him.  Rather, what He really is.

Very good.  Now that we have gotten the collective eyeroll of “MacNelly isn’t a Protestant/doesn’t behave like a normal Protestant” out of our systems, and you have a few more of my cards, I will gladly share another piece of gripping thought.

I am currently in the midst of researching for a publication on the names of G-d.  ALL the names of G-d.

Not just the neat and pretty Seven compound names (there are more than Seven Compound names anyway, given that Adonai Tsevaot is not mentioned among the Seven), and this neat and tidy combination or list.  We have the 7 names of G-d, and the 52 names of G-d, and the 365 names of G-d (366 on leap years), and the 7 in the New Testament, and the 7 in the Tanakh, or the 30 names of G-d, and we have these neat and tidy combinations that fit easily into weekly, monthly, and yearly cycles for the masses to do whatever they do devotionally.

My purpose is to derive maximum frame and set out a book that has ALL of them, given that I have seen that dramatic hole in our theology and in the books that are out.  Find a void and fill it with something.

What better than the nature of G-d, and yes I know, I can hear the screams of “He’s An Exhorter”, already.

Well, in about 25 years we may yet come to an understanding fully of my RG.

Meanwhile, I will share this piece, since y’all are my tribe and gang.

Moses was chit-chatting with the Almighty on the mountain called Sinai in Arabia.  Father was giving instructions, Moses was pushing back a few times

Seven times, To Be Exact.

Aside:  I guess this means we each have a scriptural excuse for why we don’t want to do what G-d wants us to do, one for each day of the week.

But even excuses backed in Scripture don’t always impress the L-rd of Heaven and Earth.

And here in Exodus 3:17 let’s distill one of the more expansive names of G-d, name 26 of the names I have found.

I have called these 26A and 26B because there is a sort of two-part idea conveyed here.  But different aspects of the nature of G-d can be thrown into sharp relief based of which part of this phrase you pull or if you pull the whole phrase.  For the purposes of this post, I want to draw the whole phrase below because it shows you the same G-d works in both actions.

He is “The G-d Who Brings You Up Out of the Affliction of the Land of Egypt To the Land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”

Digest that for a moment, gang.  Here is a G-d who brought His children up from Egypt, FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF PUTTING THEM IN HARM’S WAY.  G-D THE FATHER PUT THEM IN THE SAME PLACE AS THE SEXUALLY PERVERSE CANAANITES!

Now, I am going to grind an axe.  Next time you want to bitch about how bad Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington are, with their gun control laws and crime, just know that the G-d of Heaven and Earth is the G-d Who Brings Us Into The Land Of The Canaanites.  If we are moving away from these places because we want a safe and more anointed place in which to live and raise our kids….

If G-d is trying to speak to us to move into the places (ahem, South Houston) and we flea for the suburbs so we can have our cul-de-sac….

If we are doing something in order to avoid doing what G-d wants us to do, then we are not doing the right thing.

Now, granted, if G-d did not tell you to move there, then do not move there.  Those who are designed to live not in these urban centers have a purpose.  But those who are designed and reject that design stand to reap futility.

And G-d puts us into lands of the Canaanites because He uses us to transform the culture.

My ex-pastor’s wife once spoke out against Burning Man and exhorted a whole group of us to avoid that festival at all costs.  That was about 16-18 years ago.

That was before I found out that John Paul Jackson once led a ministry team to Black Rock City years and years ago because of the heart for the Burners.  I have a close friend who is going there this year for that purpose.

There are leaders everywhere that are designed, without realizing it, that they have the hardwiring to work with, reach, seek, and transform the Canaanites among us.  And besides, it is Dad’s heart to see them reached for him.  He wants to transform the Burners into His Burning Ones.  He wants, nay, years to see a people made up of every nation and tribe to increase His fame in the earth.  This sort of ministry among the Canaanites is exceptionally close to His mind and His heart.  And it will take a combination of cleansed mind and heart in order to effectively reach these pre-Christians who are hungry and open for spiritual things.

G-d brings you out of Egypt, dear hearts, to bring you into the lands of the Canaanites.  He brings you out of a barren, predatory place that you thought was a life-giving place, in order that He could teach you how to receive the life that He has for you in the Wilderness so that you could come into the dirty and defiled land of the Canaanites and clean up the various messes.

So, questions?

Who are the actual enemy?

Who are those in need?

Is it a specific people group, a plot of land, a span of time, a set of offices, or a unique birthright that needs to be cleansed?  And are you equipped to cleanse that or those?

If not, what tools or understanding are you missing?

How are you implementing what you already have, no matter how messy the implementation may be?

The following YouTube presentation will be critical to help you move into some of that.

Enjoy it, gang.

And remember, He brought you out of Egypt so he could bring you into pagan lands.  What thing are YOU specifically avoiding that He has been trying to get you to do.

DISCLAIMER:  IF G-d has not specifically told you to move to a particular area, DO NOT move there!  Get Father’s game plan and strategy for YOUR own course of life.  Don’t merely feel bad and then go somewhere just because I said so.  What I am really attacking here is a mindset that says “G-d’s primary goal is my comfort and cushy safety”.   Honest to goodness, if you are supposed to have a cul-de-sac or a nice home in the suburbs, then get the CDS in the suburbs.  But don’t do it in order to avoid something G-d is trying to get you to do, because that will result in ultimate lack of fulfillment.

 

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PTSD and the Church: A Pastor’s Perspective

If I were to hazard a guess as to why so many have left the church as a whole, it would be because of some things like this.

True, some of us have not seen a whole lot of physical combat, but with the way many believers have treated many of us in the church, the symptoms are similar.

Deep friendships, sharing spiritual foxholes, loyalty that runs years-and-decades-deep, and tender affection that is marred by horrible and nasty memories.

I myself have barely stayed in the church, and issues like PTSD make it and friendships harder, but I am grateful to have a number of friends whom I can share my loyalty with.

Many-if not most-of y’all have left the institutional church, and as a pastor, it grieves me that stuff like this has happened.

And, if you will note, the garb Obi-Wan wears when he meets Luke is eerily similar to that which he wore in the battle he and Qui-Gonn had with Darth Maul.

So, to those still in the church, I counsel you, do not take for granted where you are, and do not speak disparagingly of those who are no longer part of the church but still believers.

Sometimes, the wounds are deeper or more complex than just mere offense.

Some of us have been shot at in ways that are unheard-of within the church, and the subject and nature of our wounds are not fixed with a silver-bullet.

So, next time you wonder why someone acts as strangely as they do, know that it may not be an easily-found single reason that can be fixed by rattling off a bible verse.

Many of us are emotional widows and orphaned.

Grateful for the friends that have walked with me through this, and at the top of that list is Pam, my wife.

Throne and Footstool

I was working with some people yesterday, and mention was made of the throneroom.

This morning, as I was devicing out receptacles, I was stirring an idea.

Here goes.

Why do I as a believer have to pick between being where my conception of His Throne Room and not there?

Here is my thought. His Throne Room is comprised of heaven, where his throne is, the portion where His butt rests. assuming He has a butt, and earth, which is His footstool.

We are capable of being always in the vicinity of His Throne Room.

Psalm 110

Ezekiel 1

Revelation 4

Isaiah 6

Ephesians 2:6

Everywhere earth is, some part of Father’s throne is.

I don’t necessarily think I have to depart from His Throne Room.

And if He deigns to dwell wherever and whenever I worship Him, not just in song, then His Throne is present in that moment.

In my prayers, my presence, my gifts, and my service.

In my bridal identity and in my sonship.

Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy , to the only wise G-d, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forever.

There Are Some Days When A Mercy Gets Bashed

Portion of an old testimony:

Read at your own risk.

I have those days where I think that I may be a Mercy. Which means the three-legged octopi are out (pardon the inside joke)

Let me explain.

During one of my stints teaching, a group of my students were feeling a specific urge to spend time worshipping the L-rd. And I knew that He simply wanted to meet and commune with us. Period. No agenda. No info session. No prophetic word. Just meet.

So, I had taken them into the chapel with the express purpose of spending some extended time in the L-rd’s presence.

However, word had spread to two other classes and they decided to join us, which I was fine with.

The issue is that after about 5 minutes of worshipping, the two teachers asked me what the purpose of the gathering was.

“Purpose…?”

“Yes, every time we meet there is a purpose for meeting.”

Sure. We are just meeting with the L-rd.”

“But what is the reason you are meeting?

I was tongue-tied. I was fairly certain I had just communicated our purpose: to simply meet and dwell and be.

These two teachers then decided that we needed to gather I to a circle and discern what the L-rd was saying, at which point I verbally checked out.

This action of theirs had quenched the L-rd’s presence, when all He wanted to do was be with us.

It really drives me up a damned wall when people assume there is an agenda when we are meeting with the L-rd, and when they find there is none, they have to manufacture one or else find some reason to start speaking prophetically when the L-rd intended nothing of the sort.

It is also infuriating when the L-rd attempts to move one way, and we sideline that because we have all of this info that says G-d is somewhere He is not.

Needless to day, that was a day when I converted some of my design because it got sidelined to make room for the obsession with the prophetic gotta-have-a-word, gotta-have-a-purpose.

Gang, we gotta sometimes not have an agenda or a point.

Deal with it.

And Mercies, for the record, I get you more than you know.

I Wonder…

If these fires out west are not the result of Californians walking in massive non-reality on many levels.

I realize the massive unpopularity of such a statement, but I don’t get paid to make statements that accord with the majority of what the body is saying.

And I regularly find myself in a differing point-of-view to most people within the so-called prophetic segment of the church.

I recall the stem-cell bond that was voted in and the massive ecological disasters that followed.

And I wonder, if instead of praying for rain, we shouldn’t be praying for repentance.

What specifically is the Spirit saying?

Curious.

Revival will not solve this problem, gang.

Walking in principles will.

I don’t think the issue will be fixed by the band-aid of rain.

The problem lies deeper than that.

And the church in California has run in severe non-reality on many levels simulaneously.

The job here is to get Father’s mind and Father’s sequence rather than react to what we merely see and hastily pray to escape from something that may be part of Father’s larger plan for Northern California.

Just some thoughts here.

What say y’all?

From Fr. Darryl: The Seasoning and The Meal

Fr. Darryl Fitzwater is a dear friend and former Pentecostal preacher.

I assume as much guilt and responsibility as the L-rd will assign to me for his taking the Canerbury Road and leaving the Pentecostal movement for the Anglican Communion.

Below, this dear man shares some thoughts on his transformation and what he sees as a concern we have in our revival-obssessed church culture.

One of my favorite preachers has always been Leonard Ravenhill. Ravenhill, who lived from 1907 – 1994, was a Revivalist. For a long time, since my freshman year of college, he was my bread and butter. Listening to his sermons, reading his books, etc. was like fire in the bones, fresh water in dry land, and vision in the dark. My soul resonated with his cry “Where are the Elijah’s of God?!” and “Known in Hell.”

It was Ravenhill who taught me a passion for Wesley, Whitfield, and Asbury. Should be no surprise, the man was an Englishman! When I ventured into more personal Wesleyan studies at college – tucked away in the basement of Central Bible College’s library – I stumbled across Wesley’s journals and sermons. I found, like Gandalf in the scroll room of Minas Tirith, Wesley’s daily devotional use of the Church Fathers and his near daily attendance to Eucharist, while field preaching Christ to coal miners or heralding from the gravestone of father the glory of God. Wesley! Revival, awakening, discipleship, church starting, preaching, sending out preachers, and… he was a priest and lauded the Anglican liturgy.

I thought it was interesting as a Pentecostal minister, and then continued on with what I knew as a Pastor, with Ravenhill and with a smattering of Church history… still thinking the seasoning was the whole meal. What I didn’t realize was that revivalism is akin to what Kierkegaard said about his philosophy – it is like “salt and pepper.” It’s not enough for the whole world-view, for the whole understanding of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” But you still need it.

Revival is not enough to create an entire systematic theology. In truth, revival implies and necessitates that there has been some divinely established point that has been neglected, rejected, or supplanted. We need Revival, and Revivalist prophets, but we cannot consider the salt and pepper the whole meal. Reflect on Peter’s comments about “times of refreshing” (Acts 3).

Revival, but reviving what? Having the life in the Spirit, but missing the historical depth of the living-memory (Tradition) of the Church as both eternal and present (anamnesis/epiclesis/prolepsis). Experiencing the sacramental life of the Church, but not fully embodying it since it couldn’t be articulated. The Church Fathers aren’t just dead guys, no, they are those who “being dead, yet speaketh” (Heb 11:4 KJV). Historical, doctrinal, and practical continuity with the redemptive acts of God in history are not just reference points to help us feel good, they are definitive acts that reveal His character and judgement. The Church is not an abstract, she is the Bride of Christ. And He is jealous.

That is revival my friends, when the jealousy of Christ burns in your souls and you join in the heavenly intercession of Christ for His Church – that she would burn with zeal again for Christ’s Name, she would care for the poor and the orphan, she would educate her children, and be the soul to the nations of the world.

Revival means the should-be-hot meal has gotten cold and needs to be warmed again. Revival is the fire in the fireplace, not the fireplace. You need both – maybe you need a fireplace, or maybe you need a fire, or maybe you need both. Today is the day, set to work and get burning.

Fires need a fireplace to consistently be harnessed of their power and intensity in order to channel it to good use.

May we be ever-guilty of having both fire, a place to put it, and a purpose for igniting it (Leviticus 6:12).

The Starter for August: Places Where Father Causes His Name to Be Remembered, Altars of Earth, and Cleansing of Lepers

So, I have been realy busy this month because my sons have been down from Massachusetts.  But I have some brief thoughts that highlight our Sunday Morning home group that meets in July during MStar’s sabbatical.

For those that do not know, I am designed to pastor, and have been doing so for my wife for sometime; we also have been doing some spiritual work with our family.

And on Sunday previous, I was live sharing the following.

“An altar of earth you shall make for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.”

Exodus 20:24

This verse was chain-referenced to Naaman the Syrian’s account because it talked about an altar of earth.  And what did Naaman do when he was cleansed of leprosy?  Well, gang, he removed two mule-loads of earth from Israel in order to construct an altar in his homeland.  He wanted to construct an altar of earth to HaShem.

Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD.

2 Kings 5:17

Naaman became someone in whom the name of the L-rd was remembered, so much so that Yeshua recalled this healing in Luke 4.

I find it fascinating that in the law, we read legislation about altars of earth and then we find later in 2 Kings, Naaman is removing earth for that very purpose.  I find it further fascinating that the L-rd chose to recall that incident, and bring it into the people’s remembrance in Luke.

Just some thoughts here, gang.  If the L-rd does something strong and hearty in your life, then do not hesitate to do something great in magnitude to mark that occasion.  Sukkot was the time of year, for example, when I was saved, and so these days, I make a pretty big deal about that time of year

It is okay, and even encouraged to mark time when events happen in our lives that alter us for the better.