Nov 182017
 

Everlasting God, our maker and redeemer,
grant us, with all the faithful departed,
the sure benefits of thy Son’s saving passion
      and glorious resurrection,
that, in the last day,
when thou dost gather up all things in Christ,
we may with them enjoy the fullness of thy promises;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever

Nov 182017
 

Matthew 28:11-20

The Report of the Guard

 

11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place.

  • “While they were going…” v.8 “so they departed” – The Christian is always to be going – and as it shows in v. 9 Jesus will meet us along the way.
  • “Some of the guard” – who drew the short straw to have to go deliver the bad news? How would you like to be that guy?

12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers

  • What does scripture say about the love of money?

13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’

  • Is this not a tragedy? – they cannot accept the truth and will both deny and cover it up.
  • From an apologetics point, this does prove that the tomb was empty.
  • Think a
    bout this – they are asking the guards to take responsibility for what could be a capital crime. Compare this to the Philippian jailer who was ready to kill himself when he thought that the Apostle Paul had escaped his prison.
  • But it is funny that they must come in and confess that even though their job was to guard a dead body the lost him.

14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.”

  • What is going to be told to the governor? That the guards were paid off or they were incompetent?

15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

  • “And this story…” Which story? The Resurrection story? No, the “someone stole the body” story.
  • To which day = this day? The day Matthew is teaching – 33 to 67AD – for 34 yrs this story was going around – well it is still going around.

The Great Commission

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.

  • Now the 11 = Judas was already gone.
  • Galilee is in the north – the crucifixion took place in the south. They had to believe the women and travel. They went by the direction and the testimony of women.

17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

  • Is the “they” in 17 referring only to the 11 of v 16 – or is “they” comprised of more? Did the women go?
  • How did they worship him? Compare to your puppy who comes and sits at your side, licks your hand – just because he knows that you love and provide for him. Even down to the ball he plays with.
  • “Some” = more than just Thomas.
  • At this point, what is there to doubt? This is why we are commanded not to forsake the assembly of ourselves together. We have all doubted at times, but we help each other overcome that doubt as God speaks and works through the church.
  • Not going to church is dangerous.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

  • How much is ALL authority?
  • Heaven and earth = All everywhere.
  • Jesus is the mighty king, our risen savior – victorious – crucified – and risen Lord gives us the great commission.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

  • Go therefore – as you are going – along the way, to the post office, to the market, at your job etc – be making disciples.
  • A participle vs an imperative.
  • What is a disciple other than a Christian? How do you make Christians? Through both water baptism and teaching.
  • I have heard people try to make the distinction that you are first a believer and then you develop to a disciple. I don’t see how this is possible – it is usually brought up to get around the claim that Jesus is teaching baptismal regeneration… which he is.
  • This is also the institution of Christian baptism – and… the answer to “what about the thief on the cross?” He died before Jesus instituted Christian baptism.
  • Note that baptism is in the name of the trinity.
  • Important here is Jesus’ recognition of the trinity.

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • What is ‘all that I have commanded’? Simply, be a Christian.

The End

 

 

Nov 172017
 

I have made the decision to post the Wayne Taylor letter about the Calvary Chapel Association in full.

You can access it here.

I made this decision for a number of reasons.

 

First, it is imperative that every CC pastor and church member read it so that they can know the truth as Taylor documents in his letter.

Taylor has a great memory and the documents to back up those recollections…every thing he writes in this letter I have had verified by other sources and much has been the basis of my reporting in the past.

He writes the truth…not just from his perspective, but from what factually has taken place.

Second, as Taylor says, this split didn’t have to happen.

It was created by avarice and dishonesty.

Third, it vindicates Brian Brodersen, who won’t vindicate himself.

Read his own words and see what he’s been through…and then compare that with the untruths that have been propagated against him.

Finally, in a strange way, I do so to protect Wayne Taylor.

If the rank and file pastors and secondary leaders of the Calvary Chapel Association do not stand up and demand changes in leadership immediately here’s what will happen to Wayne Taylor for his efforts.

He will become a pariah.

He broke the rules and told the truth for all to hear and must be punished.

People won’t remember in a year why they shun him, but will do so anyway.

This movement hates conflict and these mighty men of God become eunuchs for Christ when dealing with it.

If they do so in this situation, they become complicit in the slander of good men and the splitting of the movement which will lead to the irrelevance of the movement.

If they stand up and do what is right and righteous, one may assume that God the blessing of God will follow.

If they don’t…we’ll have plenty of material for future articles.

Time to choose…

 

Nov 172017
 

Chester just jumped into my lap…and slid off the other side of the chair onto the floor.

He did extend his claws into my leg to slow his descent, however

Chester does not know how to be a lap cat.

 

Chester doesn’t know much about a lot of things and knows too much about some other things.

He knows that life is hard and a cat does what a cat must do to survive.

A cat may have to kill, both prey and competitors for prey.

A cat must never trust, because trust leads to confinement or abuse.

Love is a lie that is used to snare him, the worst trap of them all.

He knows these things because that’s what life (and humans) taught him before I coaxed him out of my bushes.

He doesn’t know how to purr, but he tries sometimes.

Chester has never kneaded and weaved as most cats do to comfort themselves…he knows little about comfort at all.

He is a glutton…food was scarce once and he eats his food, Missy’s food, my food (if he can reach it) and then screams for more food when he’s done.

He screams a lot.

He’s attacked Miss Kitty, for no reason except proximity.

He knows that life has changed…but he can’t fully shake his past.

He tries.

He likes being petted a bit…just a bit.

Being comfortable makes him nervous.

He’ll lay at my feet like a dog and walk right next to me as a dog would also.

If he thinks he can do so without Miss Kitty noticing, he’ll sleep right next to me…with the queen of the house snoozing on my other side.

He wants to love and be loved, but his fears and his scars keep him from fully having what he desires.

For another cat owner,he wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

He’s so much like me, I couldn’t possibly give him away.

Every once in a while I have to be reminded that God feels the same way about me that I do about Chet.

God loves me and is sometimes the only one who thinks I’m worth the trouble.

He will keep me…even if I never get better.

He feels the same way about you.

He gave me Chester to remind me…and you.

You’re worth it…even if it seems like He’s the only one who sees it.

He will never leave or forsake you.

Don’t even think about petting me…

Make your own application…

Nov 162017
 

What’s Your Address?

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership [Grk: koinónia: participation; communion; fellowship] in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:3-11)

Reading the opening verses of Philippians, one quickly notices Paul’s deep affection for this church. He thanks God whenever he remembers them; prays for them with joy; holds them in his heart; and yearns for them. He feels this way even while writing from prison.

However, it would have been inconceivable only a few decades earlier (before his conversion) for Paul to have written such a letter. The differences in religions, cultures and worldviews between the zealous, Pharisaic Jew and the pagan Roman citizens of the leading city in Macedonia (named after the father of Alexander the Great) were so immense that Paul elsewhere described these differences as a “dividing wall of hostility” (Eph 2:15). The requirements of circumcision, food and other purity regulations, Monotheism and national aspiration would have rendered unthinkable the type of deeply personal fellowship that Paul and his Philippian partners later came to enjoy.

Meanwhile, Paul was also an enemy of the very God he claimed to serve as an early persecutor of Christ and His Church, as he confessed: “as to zeal, a persecutor of the church” (Phil 3:6). What happened to radically change everything for Paul and his Philippians partners?

“for you are all partakers with me of grace”

Simply put, Christ and His Gospel happened to them. Christ sent Ananias to proclaim the Gospel to Paul (Acts 9:17-18; 22:13-16). Some years following Paul’s conversion, Christ sent Paul to proclaim the Gospel to the Philippians (Acts 16). The grace of God through the Gospel of Christ profoundly and eternally changed their lives and their worldviews.

What happened was the implementation of God’s “plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph 1:10) This plan God implemented through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7). The Gospel reconciles God and man, as well as human relationships. It “unites all things in [Christ]….”

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3:7-8)

The Gospel totally eclipsed Paul’s former life and worldview. The zeal for his former way of life passed away once he was grasped by the love of God in Christ. All the symbols of his former religious and national zeal became loss in comparison to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.

Paul’s gratitude for grace extended to his partners in the Gospel: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy” (Phil 1:3-4). The communion (or fellowship) of believers in Christ, not only reconciles God and mankind, but creates peace and mutual affection between old enemies. Writing to the Galatians, Paul said: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:27-28)

The Body of Christ does not obliterate genders or individual personalities, each with his or her own unique gifts and talents. But this communion does unite us to the Image of God, which is Christ Jesus, and bestows in us a participation in the same Spirit. Therefore, Paul urges all Christians: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:4-5). What we share in Christ is eternal and takes precedence over any temporal association.

“For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:8)

In his letter, Paul did not yearn only for the nice folks or the ones he knew personally; he yearned for “all” the Philippian Christians with the “affection of Christ Jesus.” Jesus gives us His affection to share with others. Christ’s affection includes forgiveness. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matt 18:21-35), Jesus warns his disciples against withholding forgiveness of our neighbor from the heart. Thus we read of Paul entreating Euodia and Syntyche to reconcile their differences (Phil 4:2-3).

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:9-11)

The “fruit of righteousness,” which Paul desires for the Philippians, through his intercessory prayer, comes through Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness by faith through whom we are made pure and blameless in the sight of God through His precious blood which He shed for us. In Christ, God gives us a new address: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Phil 3:20-21)

Let us abide in His Word and never grow weary of receiving grace upon grace, which is ours in the Gospel. And may the fruit of righteousness fill us and manifest itself in faith towards God and in fervent love towards one another, “to the glory and praise of God.” Amen.

“With what shall I come before the Lord,

   and bow myself before God on high?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

   with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

   with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

He has told you, O man, what is good;

   and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

   and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:6-8) Amen.

Nov 152017
 

“Gossip is a sin that most of us feel we are not guilty of, and which most of us are very guilty of. Gossip may be defined as saying anything negative, whether true or not, to anyone about the pastor or about the ministry. If there are things wrong, take it to the Lord in prayer. Tell absolutely no one, including your spouse. Do not repeat anything that would cast aspersion on the ministry in any way. Doing so dishonors Christ and His cause.

But, you say, what do you do if there are real problems? Pray about them and forget them. If that doesn’t work, take your concerns directly and only to the pastor himself, and share with him honestly. If that doesn’t work, resign, and move on. Under no circumstances should you ever say anything negative about the pastor or the ministry to anyone, even after you’ve quit.

In a situation where something in the church is so completely wrong that the sheep in the body are in spiritual danger, then say nothing to anybody, resign, and move on. If the church is a Calvary Chapel affiliate, then take your concerns and share them privately with Pastor Chuck or with Oden Fong, then drop it; leave it alone. Let them handle it. Trust God. He’ll correct the situation. But do not gossip. It is a terrible sin before God.”

The Ministry of the Assisting Pastor

While most Calvary Chapel’s no longer use this little pamphlet, the ethos in it has been deeply embedded in the culture as long as I can remember.

I called it the “no talk” rule.

No matter what is going on, no matter what kind of scoundrel the pastor is…keep your mouth shut.

Former Calvary Chapel Association board member Wayne Taylor of Calvary Chapel Seattle blew that rule to smithereens yesterday.

In a lengthy email sent out to CC pastors, Taylor explained why he was no longer a board member along with the news that he has been removed by the CCA as the regional overseer for the Pacific Northwest.

He included in the letter correspondence that detailed the CCA agenda against Brian Brodersen and revealed the depths of contempt that the old guard holds him in.

The bottom line is that the CCA is now demanding a full split…you’re either with them or against them and the line is drawn clearly with Brodersen and his Calvary Global Network.

These bullying tactics will have little impact on local pastors who have pastored their churches through the split.

It does impact missionaries who draw support from churches affiliated with both…the threat of being cut off by CCA member churches for doing so is real.

Those who are caught in the middle should speak up and stand up.

The “no talk” rule has been broken.

Freedom from tyranny is just a few sentences away…

Nov 142017
 

Phil and I are back together again and today we deal with the troubling story surrounding Bob Coy.

 

It was early in the month of June that I was contacted…and the contact was in the form of a police report sent via social media.

The file was, without a doubt, the most sickening document I had ever received.

It was the police report detailing the allegations that have been made against Bob Coy in the Miami New Times story.

There had been rumors of such for months, but nothing of substance that could justify repeating in a public forum.

Within a couple of days I’d received multiple copies of the document.

The people who sent me the document weren’t disgruntled former Calvary Chapel attendees, but people from inside the movement, including some pastors.

They wanted the story to come out and to come out as quickly as possible.

I sent the document to my advisors and some pastors I knew and trusted, including some in Calvary Chapel.

Everybody agreed that it should come out.

The question in my mind was how to gather all the possible information, write the story fairly, and above all else, protect the victim.

I decided I couldn’t do all of the above to the necessary standard and shelved the story.

That’s when I heard from Tim Elfrink, who wrote the story.

This was, in my mind, the proper way to proceed…with a local writer who could do investigative work on scene and have his work vetted by both attorneys and editors.

He did a fine job in my opinion.

He did so without the help of anyone who had wanted the story out so bad a few months before…when the rubber met the road, nobody would stand up and be counted.

If the allegations were true, the statistical probability that there may be other victims was high.

If the allegations were true, there was no way that this man should be able to go back into public ministry of any kind.

Somebody had to stand up.

Tim did and I’m going to as well.

This story has haunted me for a long time…

May the Lord bring righteousness and justice, grace and mercy in His measure, to all involved.

Update: My friend Christine Scheller just posted her story of reporting abuse in CC on Twitter…

1/ I’ve never publicly discussed the details of what the child and her mother told me about the @CalvaryChapel pastor I turned in to police in 2005. She was 12, developmentally delayed. She came to me for advice at a church service.

2/ Said he was pressuring her to use tampons so they could swim alone together, even though mom forbid it. Also kissing her on lips after told to stop, rubbing up against her breasts, paying her for massages, saying “I have a gun but don’t tell mom.”

3/ My husband was his friend, fixed his computer for him. It was full of photos of little blond girls like the two he always had nearby and those of the Amish families he vacationed with. Guy’s father had a second secret family, so backstory.

4/ Chuck Smith shot down everyone’s concern about this guy, including a board former / police chief whose wife had been molested as a child and expressed concern. No one would act.

5/ In collaboration with another police officer/board member I secretly taped the mother confirming behavior and separate concern by school counselors. On tape she says current pastor knew her 20 years, but never called to ask her what had happened.

6/No arrest was made because suspect intimidated the mother, his wife’s niece, and she wouldn’t corroborate her account to police. Tape may have been illegal, couldn’t be used as evidence. I still have the recording.

7/ However, police / DYFS told the mother that if she ever left her daughter alone with this pastor again, they would take her kids. I have her on tape saying that to me. After Chuck Smith died, he was demoted, then fired. He’s dead now.

8/ She was not grateful, didn’t care about the impact on my family. She was a single mother with cancer and this guy was offering financial and other support.

9/ After we left that church and went to one nearby, people started coming out of the woodwork telling me their stories and those of their children having been molested at Calvary Costa Mesa. That’s why I tipped off @CTmagazine in 2006. No internal change was forthcoming.

10/ And then nobody would go on the record except my husband, a staff pastor who had resigned over the vile cesspool of corruption. Chuck Smith dismissed him as a “disgruntled former employee” when in actuality he was a hero.

11/ I always tell people, pick up the phone if you suspect something, call police, let them do their jobs, and walk away. You cannot reform these corrupt institutions and trying to will destroy you and maybe your family too. /fin

 

Nov 142017
 

Bob Coy accused of molesting child…we’ll have a lot more on this later

Godless meteorology….

Beginning contentment…

Being married to a pedophile…

Evangelical distinctives in the 21st century…

The corruption of faith…

Should evangelicals change their name?

Art and theology in worship space…

How to deal with a joy thief…

Does God change?

Is evangelical something recent?

Reclaiming the Trinity from Father, Son, and Holy Book…

The jeans and t-shirt orthodoxy of Rich Mullins…

Don’t use Joseph and Mary to justify child molestation…

It matters how you tell the truth…

The Gospel and motherhood…

33% of Protestant churchgoers don’t know about Billy Graham’s ministry…

How to stay close to God during the holidays…

Protect your congregation from a gunman…

Freedom of a Christian…

Salt and light…

On sex in America…

Huge thanks to EricL…support his work at top right!

 

Nov 132017
 

1. We need to warn people that the study of doctrine and seeking knowledge of Christ can be contradictory pursuits…

2. My favorite entertainment involves men hitting each other until their brains and bodies no longer function properly …

 

 

3. We now know that neither the entertainment industry or the political arena are governed by Christian morals and ethics. When our feigned shock wears off we should at least privately acknowledge that most of us aren’t either…

4. When we’re done shaming and condemning all the public figures we can, we will then wonder why more “good’ people don’t seek public office… everybody has a history…or one can be created…

5. At some point we also need to admit that todays cultural values are shaped more by political ideology than Scripture. You may sin promiscuously as long as you’re on my side…

6. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends.(Job 42:10 ESV) Incentive…

7. The desire to create loss for those we disagree with is a scorched earth policy that will produce…scorched earth…

8. If you’re going to tear something down, you better have something meaningful ready to be built in it’s place…society is dependent on functional institutions…

9. “Traditional” values will pretty much die when my generation does…my hope is that we can still demonstrate that they have enough value to become traditions for the generations that follow…we haven’t done a great job with that…

10. It dawned on me this morning that the weather isn’t going to get any warmer for quite some time…

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